With the sun out, and cycling allowed even in UK lockdown, I’ve been spending more time on the bike. To enrich my workouts with more data, I decided to buy the bundle pack of Cadence 2 and Speed 2 Garmin sensors.
In this post, I’ll share an unboxing of what to expect in the bundle as well as how to set up correctly and current thoughts on the product.
What do these sensors measure?
First up, cadence is a measure of how many rotations your pedals are turning a minute. You may have already noticed when riding how different gears affect your cadence. With the lower gears, it’s much easier to turn those legs faster. Contrast with the higher gears, where if you’re not already up to an efficient speed, your cadence will slow as your legs face greater resistance.
Initial rides will help you understand your natural cadence rate but with training drills you’ll learn how to speed up your cadence further. The long-term benefits on your cycling efficiency can be huge, as a higher cadence requires less force (and energy!) for each rotation.
The speed sensor, well I’m sure you know already that measures how fast your bike is moving. But did you know it can also track distance without relying on a GPS connection? By counting your wheel rotations and multiplying against wheel circumference, which is calculated with a quick calibration, you’ll soon have distance figured out. Useful if you’ve decided on an indoor spin session during those dark winter months.
What’s inside the box?
So I opted for the bundle pack, containing both the Cadence and Speed sensor. There’s also the option to buy the sensors individually.
Inside the box contains the cadence sensor, speed sensor, instructions, safety information and bands for attaching the cadence sensor to the bike.
In the black bag you’ll find the sensors; both of which are petite in size! The units are powered by a replaceable coin battery (CR2032) which gives approximately 360 hours of use.
You also get three different sized bands for attaching the Cadence 2 Sensor to your bike. You’ll only need to use one of them, Garmin just give you a selection so you get a tight fit.
There’s also a fairly detailed instruction booklet to help with setup. Mine had six different languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
Installing onto a bike
Both sensors are pretty quick for set up, as long as you have a compatible Garmin device. In my videos I’m using the Edge 530.
Set up Garmin Cadence Sensor 2
Set up Garmin Speed Sensor 2
Though the main benefit of the Speed sensor 2 will be for indoor use, take it for an outdoor ride and it’ll soon calibrate to the size of your wheel rims.
Visualising the data
On Garmin Connect, when reviewing ride performance you can hover over any point of your ride and get context of Bike Cadence (orange graph) against the likes of elevation (green), speed (blue), heart rate (red), even temperature (grey)
For Strava users, cadence and speed data is uploaded in one go with the rest of your ride.
Can I buy the Cadence or Speed sensor separately?
If you only see value in one of the sensors, there’s no point buying the bundle. Garmin give you the option to buy either unit separately so you only pay for what you need. In UK, these are £35 each, though if you are interested in both, buying the bundle is a tenner cheaper at £60.
With it being summer, right now I have little need to use the Speed 2 sensor, as the GPS in my Edge 530 will calculate the pace for all my outdoor rides. Come winter, when the roads are a little more dark and dangerous, I plan to use the Speed 2 on a turbo trainer indoors.