Fitness trackers vs dedicated cycling computers vs phone app?

Rockn Robin

Senior Member
Location
Arizona
I have been using an app on my smartphone called BikeBrain. It has done, well I think it's done, a decent job for me over the past few years. I'm just a doodler on the road, nothing competitive, but I want to track how I'm doing, especially in monitoring the old ticker. Well, just recently my wife and I got Fitbit Ionic watches. I find it great for monitoring my heart rate during the day, steps, and sleep mode.

For the first time this morning, I used the Fitbit in the bike exercise mode along with the phone app. For the phone app I use a heart rate chest strap. During the first few minutes into the ride, the HR on the Fitbit was way off from what the BikeBrain app indicated, but not long after it sort of leveled off. But there were times when the HR was quite a bit different from the app. I have been told that a chest strap monitoring device is more accurate. But in regards to accuracy. Up until now, I haven't had anything to compare with the BikeBrain app. What would you consider the most accurate means of monitoring a ride? Is the BikeBrain app a good reliable source, or would you suggest a bike computer from say Garmin, as an example?

I want to make sure my heart is properly monitored. You see, I have had heart issues in the past and I am dealing with hypertension.

Thank you for you help.
 

Slick

Guru
Not very scientific, but after a hospital visit, I measured my fit bit against the hospital monitor and even the doctor remarked on how accurate the fit bit was. How that performance reacts during exercise is anyone's guess though.
 
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Rockn Robin

Rockn Robin

Senior Member
Location
Arizona
Not very scientific, but after a hospital visit, I measured my fit bit against the hospital monitor and even the doctor remarked on how accurate the fit bit was. How that performance reacts during exercise is anyone's guess though.
I'm sorry about your hospital visit, but the accuracy of the Fitbit with the hospital monitoring equipment is very encouraging.
 
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Rockn Robin

Rockn Robin

Senior Member
Location
Arizona
Fitbit is not very accurate on the bike because of the angle of the wrist when holding the bars. The cheat strap will be more accurate.
Interesting. Never thought of that. Maybe that's my I get conflicting readings when I change hand positions.
 

cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
I raised this on another thread about how inaccurate a mates phone was , he was 20 mins quicker on a two up ride and now he has bought my old garmin ,
 

tom73

Veteran
Location
Yorkshire
Heart rate monitor will be more on the mark then one on the wrist as they work of radial pulse which is a less accurate measure than a direct one worn around the chest. One exception being the Apple Watch that has been designed to be more accurate together with a IOS built around it and is on a pair with my chest worn one 99% of the time.
 
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Rockn Robin

Rockn Robin

Senior Member
Location
Arizona
Heart rate monitor will be more on the mark then one on the wrist as they work of radial pulse which is a less accurate measure than a direct one worn around the chest. One exception being the Apple Watch that has been designed to be more accurate together with a IOS built around it and is on a pair with my chest worn one 99% of the time.
Even during exercise? A new one is scheduled to appear in September I think.
 

tom73

Veteran
Location
Yorkshire
Even during exercise? A new one is scheduled to appear in September I think.
Yes fitness is a central part of it’s function it was designed to be that way. Hence in built health app. Which btw has cycling as a pre set workout option. Yes September time along with the new iPhone and the next OS and iOS. A new iPad maybe in the mix too.
 

nickAKA

Senior Member
Location
Manchester
Is Garmin a good reliable name in cycling computers then? I don't know anything about Garmin other than the GPS unit I have for my car.
Yes, the Garmin units are super reliable, better than phone aps like strava etc.
I have plenty of mates who use strava but generally once they've been at it for a while they get a standalone unit for a variety of reasons, mainly accuracy but also due to mysteriously 'lost rides' which is infuriating. You'll always get discrepancies between different kit, especially elevation so don't get too hung up on that as I think the biggest issue there is the GPS accuracy. I swapped to a wahoo elemnt bolt from a vivoactive watch & a lezyne macro GPS purely due to battery life on long rides, so consider that before you take the plunge on anything.
I personally would recommend all 3 I've used - Garmin, Lezyne & Wahoo - they all do a great job at a range of prices. I bought an ANT/bluetooth chest strap from Decathlon for £30 and that's been great, not a fan of wrist monitors (my old one was hopeless) and bought speed & cadence sensors.
The latest Lezyne units look to be stunning value.
 

tom73

Veteran
Location
Yorkshire
like @nickAKA say's standalone uint is going to be the best best. Using Apps ect is ok too all depends what you want. Buying a good bike computer give's you flexibly for you too add stuff too in the future. i can only really comment on the elemnt I love mine work's out the box so simple to set up and away you go. Upload's all the data instantly and battery life is great too.
 
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