General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth Rss Feed  
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2014-03-12 12:12 AM

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Subject: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
My question essentially boils down to this, if you were starting today would you get all ant+ gear or bluetooth smart?

A little background to flesh out the question. I only recently started running and just got my first road bike, I swam competitively when I was younger so I might try a sprint triathlon in the near future, but I have no electronics, no gps watch, no bike computer. So I am trying to put together a basic package to get me started with a budget around $200 for everything. Could go up to $250 but no more, especially considering that I paid less than that for my bicycle.

My original plan, before discovering DcRainmaker's site and being led to the dark side of fitness electronics, was to get a low end bike computer w/ cadence and a low end gps watch though I didn't understand at the time how modern electronics all seem to be able to talk to each other and these lower end options cannot. After reading an article about ant+ speed/cadence sensors and finding that a ant+ bike sensor could talk to a ant+ bike computer or an ant+ gps watch my plan changed and the idea to get a garmin 310xt and gsc10 sensor formed as it seemed to be the best bang for the buck and covers all my needs even if the 310xt has been discontinued. I figured that if I wanted a newer smaller gps watch in a year or two then the 310xt could be designated a full time bike computer. However, additional research and discovering the tom-tom multisport introduced me to what seems to be the protocol of the future, bluetooth smart.

I have come to the conclusion that iphone will never include ant+ as a built-in while bluetooth 4 will be standard soon enough in modern electronics. Already, bluetooth speed/cadence sensors are becoming easier to find and bluetooth is cropping up in all the new gps watches as it allows for pairing to sensors as well as uploads to phone apps or computers. This made me wonder, is ant+ on the way out? Should I invest in equipment that is using a protocol that could be overshadowed in only a few years requiring me to get all new equipment (not necessarily a bad thing, just trying to think frugally)? If I had a unlimited budget then the entire question really would become moot but considering that I'm trying to stay around $200-$250 total initial investment is an all bluetooth outfit simply not feasible at my price point, though it looks like I might be able to do the tomtom(as an example) with bike sensors for around $250? Would I regret going with the 310xt and gsc10 or some other ant+ combination instead of bluetooth?

Ultimately, If you were going to put together a complete electronics package today, on my budget what would you get? Nice gps watch and cheap bike computer or single multisport computer or some other combination?

Sorry for the long question,

Adam

P.s. Using my phone isn't an option as for some reason the fitness apps kill my battery way to fast to be useful.


2014-03-12 7:52 AM
in reply to: asp9208

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth

if you are asking if ANT+ is becoming dated, then you are correct.  new garmin units for running no longer support ANT+, and my guess is the next gen bike computers might not either. The garmin 610 supported link to bike sensors with ANT+, the 620 does not, but the ability to be used for cycling was left within the unit for future product releases.... meaning the new cycling computers/sensors will be bluetooth.   I think the next generation of those units are a year or two out from now though: 520/820/920.

does all this mean you should steer clear of ANT+ entirely? not necessarily.  the products are going to be around for a long time still with support. seems like you already have everything figured out and have done your research on what is out there.

2014-03-12 8:22 AM
in reply to: asp9208

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth

With all due respect, it seems kind of silly to be spending more on tech toys than you did on your bike. 

But to answer your question, with your stated budget I'd look at the new Timex Easy Trainer GPS watch and a wireless Cateye cyclocomputer with cadence.

Mark

2014-03-12 2:38 PM
in reply to: Clempson

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth

Originally posted by Clempson

if you are asking if ANT+ is becoming dated, then you are correct.  new garmin units for running no longer support ANT+, ...

Not true.  ANT+ is garmin's spec interface.  they've added bluetooth functionality to their new watches, but that's for communicating with cell phones.  

So- ANT+ is going to be around for quite a bit longer.

If you're on a tight budget, and already own a modern smartphone, then perhaps just get a bluetooth HR monitor and use one of the many fine apps for tracking.  you'll be limited to the GPS battery life of your phone for long cycle rides (generally 3-4hrs), and you lose the convenience of having the info on your wrist, and it's not as rugged/waterproof as a watch- but it will do the job for now.

Or, there are less expensive GPS watches, such as the TomTom multisport (which is bluetooth btw), that will also do a fine job for you.

I think we're at a juncture where both ANT+ and Bluetooth are both very viable tech solutions right now, and all the current higher end products are still ensconced with ANT+.  

if you want a ton of capability for a low price... check out the older model Garmin 310xt.  it's dirt cheap (~$160-$170 I think?) and fully capable.  it has mounts for your wrist as well as your bike, it's waterproof, has a long battery life, does everything but count laps in the pool.

 

My only advice, regardless of whether you choose BT of ANT+, is... get a HR monitor.  Don't skimp on that (i.e. don't get one of the low end, $100 GPS watches such as the Soleus or Garmin  Forerunner 10- as they won't pick up HR).

2014-03-12 3:48 PM
in reply to: asp9208

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
Thanks morey000 I think you really helped settle some of the issues I was having. I can tell I tried to bite off more than I could chew and put all my questions and concerns into a single post but everyone was helpful. While the tomtom watches may be bluetooth only I have a feeling that most companies will continue to support ant+ for a while to come and simply begin incorporating bluetooth uploading at least. While the tomtom multisport has really been tempting me lately I think I'm settled on gettin a garmin 310xt as it does pretty much everything I'm looking to do at the moment.

2014-03-12 4:52 PM
in reply to: asp9208

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
download the cyclemeter app onto your phone for $5, gives you all the data you could possibly want. if you have a water proof case, you could ostensibly even swim with it as it as a setting for that too. but it gives you maps, pace, ave pace, overall pace, ascent, descent, calories, etc, etc., etc. $5!

if you feel you must spend more, send me the other $245 and I will crunch the numbers for you.


2014-03-12 4:57 PM
in reply to: sheesleeva

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
btw, you can even use choose between using Bluetooth or ANT+ , set your alert zone, sync with Heart rate monitor, or bike computer, or power meter, or all, etc., etc.
2014-03-12 8:13 PM
in reply to: asp9208

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
I would love to just use my phone and have been for the last couple weeks but the problem is anytime I use a gps app my battery drains incredibly fast. Went on a 30min ride today and my battery dropped 30%. Tried it on a long ride over the weekend and the phone nearly died in the first hour. I know this is primarily a phone problem and I do need a new one but Ive just decided that I would rather keep my phone separate, wouldn't want to get hurt on some trail and need to call for help and instead have a dead phone.
2014-03-13 12:48 AM
in reply to: asp9208

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
I use a BT4.0 HRM with my Nokia 920 Windows Phone for all my training and it works great. The HRM cost me less than $70 and the phone functions as a bike computer only better with a $4 app I downloaded. I just got a handlebar mount for my phone which makes it easy to check on my stats. One of the reasons I went with the Nokia phone over an iPhone is that it does not washout in the sun so it is very easy to see while riding and it was one of the few phones to fully support Bluetooth 4.0 at the time. I have no issues at all with battery life and I like the ease of being able to upload my ride data without having to plug in anything or sync anything. I quit paying attention to cadence as I really just didn't see the value in it so I have no cadence sensor. For the past year I have just focused on speed and HR. That seems to work well for me. The other nice thing about the phone rout for training is that you can use it for music, you can get apps that coach you through interval training sessions using real-time data from heart rate, speed and distance. They also are easier at tracking multiple different types of activities and keeping the data separate and they have a large touchscreen that is easy to use and see everything on. The only downside to using a phone is that it is a little more bulk to carry. Not an issue on the bike but if you do a lot of running I might be a problem. I don't have an issue for running as I usually wear trishorts for running that have pockets that keep things from bouncing around. .
2014-03-15 7:37 PM
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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
I use Wahoo fitness app with my iphone 5 and have no battery issues at all. I purchases their heart rate sensor and cadence/speed sensor. Both are BTLE. Works great both indoors and out. Easily uploads to items like training Peaks or mapmyfitness. I use it for all my bikes and runs. Probably have 110-120 invested total.

It mount easily on my aero bars with the same armstrap I use for running.

P.S. For those with phone battery issues....get a Mophie. They are awesome.

Edited by Nussy 2014-03-15 7:41 PM
2014-03-16 4:07 PM
in reply to: Nussy

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
What is a Mophie??
Originally posted by NussyP.S. For those with phone battery issues....get a Mophie. They are awesome.


2014-03-18 9:39 AM
in reply to: asp9208

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Subject: RE: Help...need gps watch and bike computer but on a budget...Ant+ or Bluetooth
I would suggest a BT transmitter and apps for now. More wrist units will be BT. At the Consumer Electronics Show it is obvious it is a BT World. You are correct, BT hr transmitters, speed and cadence and even footpods are available and with apps your pretty complete with running and cycling needs and can wait for more affordable wrist and handlebar units to hit the markets. As more companies hit the market, they are likely to be BT and not ANT+, CES reveals that.
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