I'm ready to plunk down the money for a good three-sport watch. I'm most seriously considering the Garmin 910xt w/ heart rate monitor. Does anyone have a better suggestion? Also, should I invest in a separate bike computer? I know the 910xt can clip onto your bike, but am not sure if there is a better option out there. Thanks in advance for any advice!
Fun! You'll be so glad you did this...until you become obsessed with strava.com . Beware!
In planning your purchase, think about what you'll be using it for. Training only? Racing too? Do you like to wear a watch when you swim? In my case, I don't like swimming with a watch (and can get my time from a paceclock or the race results), so I didn't get a 3-sport watch. Also, I found it distracting to look at my wrist while on a bike, and didn't want to fiddle with clipping during a race. Therefore, I wound up getting a Garmin Edge 500 for the bike and Garmin Forerunner 610 for running. If you buy both, you only need one heart rate strap, but make sure you get the model that can read a strap! For me, the important features were heart rate zone (much easier to remember than actual 3-digit numbers) and auto-pause since I live in the land of many stoplights. The 610 has a touchscreen, which I like a lot. As for purchasing, REI has a very generous return policy, so you can buy it, try it for a week, and return it if it doesn't meet your needs. This way, you can feel confident you're getting what works for you.
My Garmin Edge gathered water condensation under the screen and fritzed out - lucky me. Performance sent it back to Garmin, but haven't heard from them yet.
Performance got a working Garmin for me - picking it up tonight. Hope I am happy.
30% dividends this weekend at Performance for their 30th anniversary. I at least need some Clif Blocks.
I am in the same boat - looking for my first tri watch - and I'm going to go with the 910xt. I'm not sure how much I will use the swim functions day to day, but for me it is worth it to be able to use it in open water, to use the bike and run functions (especially virtual partner), and to be able to time an entire tri - including transitions - without too much trouble. Buying it at REI is a good idea!
By the way, the DC Rainmaker blog has lots of GPS reviews: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/p/product-reviews.html
I love my 310 xt! I guess adding the swim feature of the 910 would be cool, but I don't feel I miss it much. The updated software for the 310 will take the data points from your OWS and chart the course you took and give you close approximation of distance traveled and course (the maped swim course looks acurate when I look at it after an OWS.). Mostly I use it as a run and bike computer, it's the only bike computer I use, if you don't want to wear it on bike, just wrap it around a bike mount and it sits right in front of you.. I have a power tap wheel and the data is displayed on the watch. Very cool. It is bulky an looks big on my little girl wrist (BTW, I'm not a girl.), but is very light. The battery life is more than enough. I have had good customer service with garmin. Pair it up with Training Peaks and start loging a ton of great data, in a few years you might finally understand what you are looking at.
Gato - What's the power tap add-on? Is that through Garmin too, or separate? Thanks!
The Garmin 910xt can vibrate at a set distance in an OWS. I like knowing when I am halfway. It also automatically counts every lap in the pool without pressing any buttons.
Power tap is Power Meter built into the hub of a wheel (Cycle Ops website has all the info). A power meter is expensive, but can be a powerful tool for improving your bike speed. I bought a less expensive bike in anticipation of paying for a power meter. The great thing is that if you get the 910 you can always add a power meter later (doesn't have to be power tap). Any ANT+ device will link up with watch (they have weight scales, fitness equipment, you can get foot pod for treadmill running, cadence sensor for stationary trainer, ect.) My point is the watch is expandable as you decide to spend more on options, but for starters just get the watch and HR strap and grow from there. I get home from training, lay the watch next to the computer (no wires) and my workout is automatically uploaded onto the computer, it is crazy simple. Have not heard too many complaints, other than size.
With the Garmin 310XT you can get a quick release kit that allows you to clip the unit into a wrist strap or onto a mount on the bike, so you can wear it on your wrist for the swim and run and on the bike for that leg. It clips in securely (unlike their earlier models), and I haven't had any problems with the unit falling out. With that you can look at the unit on the bike without having to look at your wrist. It looks like they make a similar kit for the 910XT, but I haven't upgraded to that unit, so I couldn't tell you how well it works.
I don't use the 310XT for pool swimming - it's too bulky and with an indoor pool you get no data past time, so a regular timex works fine for that. The 910XT, on the other hand, has swimming functions that tell you stroke rate and all that.
I was just going to ask this same question- advice about a good all-around tri watch. My current, very low-level watch has finally bitten the dust. Reading these posts, I think I might go with the Garmin 910XT, but I wanted to ask, do I need to purchase any separate equipment to use it as a cadence meter? I would hope that, given the price, the watch can do it all without additional costs!
Unless it is different that the 310 I bought a few years ago (i doubt it, you will have to get a cadence sensor seperately. It comes with the watch, HR strap, charger and that is it. the sensor costs about $60-70 dollars. It is a must have if you plan on doing any stationary training in the winter. Also, foot pod will be needed if you plan on using the watch on a treadmill. Great product, but expensive. Good luck.
Great, thanks Jason. I guess I'm going with the super-$$$ 910XT plus the sensor. I don't like treadmills so at least I can save on not getting the foot pod.
No problem. I fugured you weren't a treadmill type. Hope your summer is off to a good start and you are taking it easy in the heat on some of those crazy long runs!