Author Topic: Cadence sensors?  (Read 1521 times)

contango

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Cadence sensors?
« on: February 25, 2013, 12:36:34 am »

I'm thinking it might be time for me to work on my cadence, for the longest time I've been quite merrily chugging along at an estimated 60-70rpm but then get to thinking it might be slower and I gather it should ideally be faster.

I want something that will work with a Garmin GPS so it has to be an ANT unit, and ideally not too bulky. There seem to be a few out there, just wondering if people have experience of what's good and what's not.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 01:13:06 am »
What Garmin are you using?
If its something like a Dakota/Oregon/Etrex, it won't work with an ANT+ cadence-only sensor. It will only work with an ANT+ combined speed/cadence sensor.
Which is rather annoying, as a cadence only sensor would be a lot neater.

If you're using a Garmin Edge or Forerunner, then a cadence-only sensor should work fine.

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 02:00:38 pm »
It's a Montana, so much like the Oregon but a bit bigger.

I'm curious about your comment that it needs a combined speed/cadence sensor, as Garmin's speed/cadence sensor says that with the Oregon and Montana it will only report cadence. It would be intensely annoying if I have to pay more for a speed sensor that won't tell me my speed.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 03:02:19 pm »
Are you going to start time trialing this season?

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 06:37:33 pm »
I'm curious about your comment that it needs a combined speed/cadence sensor, as Garmin's speed/cadence sensor says that with the Oregon and Montana it will only report cadence. It would be intensely annoying if I have to pay more for a speed sensor that won't tell me my speed.
I believe that's the case. See for example the Ant website: http://www.thisisant.com/directory/montana-600/
It lists the Montana as compatible with combined sensors, but not any cadence sensors.

And yes, it is very annoying as speed/cadence sensors are more expensive, plus usually have arms sticking out which are more likely to get broken. You could try complaining to Garmin, I'm sure they could be fix this with a firmware update if they wanted.

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 08:44:18 pm »
I'm using a cadence/speed sensor with my Etrex 30 (it's a Duotrap, so Madone only), and have found that cadence drops with periods of feeling rough - going to try to keep an eye on it to keep my speed up on longer rides. Hope it's prove useful, and not just datap0rn.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 09:30:09 pm »
I'm using a cadence/speed sensor with my Etrex 30 (it's a Duotrap, so Madone only), and have found that cadence drops with periods of feeling rough - going to try to keep an eye on it to keep my speed up on longer rides. Hope it's prove useful, and not just datap0rn.

FWIW, I think cadence is useful, but as an instantaneous readout for exactly those sort of purposes rather than as something to log and analyse afterwards.  As such, I find a cheap cycle computer with cadence sensor sufficient (and frees up a field on the Garmin for other things).
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 10:55:11 pm »
I'm curious about your comment that it needs a combined speed/cadence sensor, as Garmin's speed/cadence sensor says that with the Oregon and Montana it will only report cadence. It would be intensely annoying if I have to pay more for a speed sensor that won't tell me my speed.
I believe that's the case. See for example the Ant website: http://www.thisisant.com/directory/montana-600/
It lists the Montana as compatible with combined sensors, but not any cadence sensors.

And yes, it is very annoying as speed/cadence sensors are more expensive, plus usually have arms sticking out which are more likely to get broken. You could try complaining to Garmin, I'm sure they could be fix this with a firmware update if they wanted.

That would be irritating. I spotted a Bontrager cadence only sensor for £22 at Evans, maybe I need to pay them a visit and make sure it actually works before just handing over my money with a mouse click.

It looks like quite a compact unit, especially since it doesn't have the arm that sticks out.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 08:25:34 am »
I don't have a cadence sensor. I have a nervous system in my upper legs which tells me to either speed up or slow down.

Spend some time on a machine with a wattage readout, and learn to recognise the signs.

Sticking to a pre-determined pedalling speed may result in a c**p day out.

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 05:57:10 pm »
I don't have a cadence sensor. I have a nervous system in my upper legs which tells me to either speed up or slow down.

Spend some time on a machine with a wattage readout, and learn to recognise the signs.

Sticking to a pre-determined pedalling speed may result in a c**p day out.

I don't have a machine with a wattage readout :(

I'm not expecting to stick rigidly to a pre-determined speed, more looking to gradually increase my cadence and be aware if/when it goes high or low and from there working out what's best for me in terms of getting around. I don't want another device that just gives me an excuse to beat myself up for not riding correctly, just wanting to see what figures work best to improve my speed and endurance.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Hillbilly

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 06:16:32 pm »
I have used a cadence meter in the past to help improve training sessions (i.e. keep cadence above certain level on a particular hill or interval).  If anything, it's another thing to distract the mind and body from the hell you are putting it through.

Other than that, I've had little real use.  You would expect this for audax, my main sport, but I'm also thinking back to when I did time trials.  For such things, I found heart rate more telling.

Oh, and looking at the options (and despite saying it's probably not that relevant) I suspect my etrex 30 will be coupled with a Wahoo speed/cadence sensor at some point in the future...

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
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Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 06:58:37 pm »
I have used a cadence meter in the past to help improve training sessions (i.e. keep cadence above certain level on a particular hill or interval).  If anything, it's another thing to distract the mind and body from the hell you are putting it through.

Other than that, I've had little real use.  You would expect this for audax, my main sport, but I'm also thinking back to when I did time trials.  For such things, I found heart rate more telling.

Oh, and looking at the options (and despite saying it's probably not that relevant) I suspect my etrex 30 will be coupled with a Wahoo speed/cadence sensor at some point in the future...

Interesting comment about it being a distraction. I've sometimes found on longer solo rides (to me "longer" means 75 miles or more, not the real hardcore audax rides) I've ended up taking the data fields off the map as I found the seemingly slow increments in distance depressing. When I'm going point-to-point it's not as if I can cut the ride short and head for home unless I want to pay through the nose for the dubious privilege of travelling on a South West Trains cattle truck.

One of the things I want to do is increase my average speed over longer rides. I'm not into racing or TTs and probably never will be, just want to be able to sustain a higher pace for longer than I can currently manage.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Hillbilly

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 07:20:18 pm »
75 miles is plenty long enough.  The "trick" with longer distances is usually to break the ride down into shorter horizons.  Riding 5km passes quicker than 50km, and gives you a morale boost when you tick it off.

Anyway, my comment around distraction is that it allows you to amuse yourself as you ride.  Focussing on keeping cadence above a certain level (or speed, or some other measure) helps keep things, erm, focussed.  I also find it occupies the mind (likewise with GPS units in general, when one starts playing games of arithmetic with the stats it is spitting out, although I am a mathematician by background).  I also used to find cadence useful on hills, as I have a tendency to grind rather than spin - it's useful to have something to remind you that you are churning the pedals at <75rpm etc.

Complete aside.  I've just noticed that one of the bikes I am looking at as an N+1 (a Giant TCR) has ANT built in.  Yay for teh science.

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
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Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 10:57:55 pm »
75 miles is plenty long enough.  The "trick" with longer distances is usually to break the ride down into shorter horizons.  Riding 5km passes quicker than 50km, and gives you a morale boost when you tick it off.

Sometimes that works for me, but other times I'm telling myself I just need to get the next 10k down but all the time I know that having done the next 10k I've still got another 85k left before I get where I'm going.

Quote
Anyway, my comment around distraction is that it allows you to amuse yourself as you ride.  Focussing on keeping cadence above a certain level (or speed, or some other measure) helps keep things, erm, focussed.  I also find it occupies the mind (likewise with GPS units in general, when one starts playing games of arithmetic with the stats it is spitting out, although I am a mathematician by background).  I also used to find cadence useful on hills, as I have a tendency to grind rather than spin - it's useful to have something to remind you that you are churning the pedals at <75rpm etc.

I like playing with the numbers in my head as well, I do that on long drives as well as long rides. Working out overall average speeds and figuring an ETA is wonderful at keeping the mind active. It works better when the GPS says to follow the same interstate for the next 348 miles than it does on a bike ride though - a couple of times I've zoned out and gone off track without realising. Thankfully I never went so far off track it was a huge hassle to get back to where I needed to be.

Quote
Complete aside.  I've just noticed that one of the bikes I am looking at as an N+1 (a Giant TCR) has ANT built in.  Yay for teh science.

:)
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2013, 08:46:46 am »
I also find it occupies the mind (likewise with GPS units in general, when one starts playing games of arithmetic with the stats it is spitting out, although I am a mathematician by background).

You can do all that sort of stuff just using the available road signposts and your inbuilt body clock.  Having GPS stats on the bike is the equivalent of taking a calculator into the exam room.  ;)
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 10:13:51 am »
I also find it occupies the mind (likewise with GPS units in general, when one starts playing games of arithmetic with the stats it is spitting out, although I am a mathematician by background).

You can do all that sort of stuff just using the available road signposts and your inbuilt body clock.  Having GPS stats on the bike is the equivalent of taking a calculator into the exam room.  ;)

I think I'd end up with a reckoning that I was going backwards. I still remember a hill I climbed that felt like it went on for about 75 miles, which would have been a good one to calculate since it featured as a part of a 50 mile route.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 10:25:05 am »
On a bike ride, it is always advisable to enjoy yourself. If you start needing distractions and alternative trains of thought to get you along, ask yourself “Am I enjoying this?” If the answer is “No” or you can’t think of an answer, WHY are you doing it?

Hillbilly

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2013, 01:33:56 pm »
On a bike ride, it is always advisable to enjoy yourself. If you start needing distractions and alternative trains of thought to get you along, ask yourself “Am I enjoying this?” If the answer is “No” or you can’t think of an answer, WHY are you doing it?

On training rides, to make non-training rides more pleasurable.  If you are enjoying training, you aren't trying hard enough.

In any case, if you enjoy every pedal stroke of a 100 mile and beyond ride, particularly in the dark in the middle of nowehere, you have a different psyche to me....

Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 01:43:13 pm »
I spotted a Bontrager cadence only sensor for £22 at Evans, maybe I need to pay them a visit and make sure it actually works before just handing over my money with a mouse click.

It looks like quite a compact unit, especially since it doesn't have the arm that sticks out.

I have both of the Bontrager Ant+ sensors (since recumbents don't generally have overlapping cranks and wheels, the combined type are super useless). Paired with my Android phone however.

I reviewed them here (includes some interesting gearing graphing, if you like that sort of thing)

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Cadence sensors?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 03:17:52 pm »

Unfortunately I couldn't get the Bontrager cadence sensor to work with my Montana. Which makes me wonder if fuaran was right all along.

The guy in the Evans store was really helpful but also really confused as to why it wouldn't work. He didn't have a combined speed/cadence sensor to try with but was adamant there was no reason why one should work and the other not work. Maybe I'll swing by my LBS - for all I like to support them where things like this are concerned they tend to have a limited range and some of their prices are a bit - ahem - optimistic.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.