Spending time with the ANT+ enabled spin bike

You may remember last fall at Interbike I spent a bit of time getting a tour of all of the ANT+ enabled gym equipment.  These are commercial grade pieces of exercise equipment (Gym equipment) that can connect with certain ANT+ devices, namely some of the Garmin Forerunner series (though, nothing is stopping any others from connecting to them).  The devices in turn offer detail such as speed/pace, distance, and even power output (cycling).

Given I was on a show floor last September, it was a bit difficult to get more than a fleeting glance at some of the offerings.  In such some of this may be similar to what I wrote last fall.  This time though I really wanted to play with it on my own without a bunch of PR people standing around and with regularly used gym bikes – not perfect show-floor samples.

Over the past week I got access to the Equinox Gym just outside of DC as part of the Men’s Health gig, and they are one of the few places out there that actually has some of the ANT+ enabled spinning bikes.  Thus naturally, the only logical thing to do was go visit them.  These Gym’s have the Schwinn A.C. Performance Stationary Bikes in them, combined with the Schwinn MPower Performance LCD system (ANT+ compatible).  Now, Schwinn very carefully calls these ‘stationary bikes’, as opposed to ‘spin bikes’, likely due to various licensing issues.  But, since I’m just a normal guy – I’m going to call a spade a spade and just call it a spin bike.

In this particular gym, the spin bikes aren’t used very much – only twice a day for an hour, and even during that hour, it doesn’t appear the classes are very full.  Outside of that timeframe though you’re welcome to use any of the equipment you see fit.  So I simply picked a time in between classes and got busy.

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From a basic functional level this spin bike isn’t terribly different than any others.  In fact, if you were to remove the LCD console, you’d probably be hard pressed to tell it apart from a regular one.

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However, the biggest stand-out feature is the ANT+ enabled LCD console, which gives you all the data points you’ve come to expect from a typical bike computer:

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At the top though is the important part, the little ANT+ logo.  Think of this one square inch area as a ANT+ hotspot, and anything ANT+ that you rub up against it will start talking to each other (kinda like on a dance floor).

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In my case, I was using the Garmin FR610.  Though, there is also support on the Garmin FR60 and FR310XT.  Again though, other vendors could add this functionality if they wished to.  Once you get rubbing, a short moment later the watch will let you know that it has found its friend:

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At this point, you’re basically ready to go.  What it’s done now is create a link between the two units – a tether of sorts.  Though the data flow is largely one way, from the bike to the watch.  But as part of this data flow it’s sending over cadence speed, distance, cadence and power.  Here you can see cadence being displayed:

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There is a small bit of lag between the bike LCD screen and the watch – perhaps 1-2 seconds.  This is pretty much fine though because realistically you’re looking to just record data here more than monitor it (since you can monitor it just fine on the giant LCD screen).  You can see the lag above where the watch shows a cadence of 86 while the unit shows a cadence of 85 (center of LCD).  Of course, all of this cadence information is stored as well:

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The two devices keep in sync for basic things like laps/splits.  For example, when I press the lap button on the LCD screen, the unit will automatically trigger a lap on the watch as well.  You can see that below in this short video clip:

ANT+ Spinning Bike with Garmin FR610 synchronized

I thought it was interesting however that pressing lap on the watch won’t trigger it to lap on the bike console.

Laps/splits are all recorded on your watch just like your normal lap/split function – all later accessible within Garmin Connect (or any other application you use):

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I think for me, I’ve always said the coolest thing about the ANT+ spin bikes is that it will send out power information.  It does this via measuring the angle of the resistance unit on the bike itself.  Now, the real kicker here is that it will send this to watches that don’t otherwise support power (watts) – that’s the cool part.  For example, the cheap $90 Garmin FR60 doesn’t support power meters…but does support power via the spinning bikes.  Same goes for the running focused FR610, it doesn’t support power meters, but does support power data streams from the fitness equipment. Note however that it won’t display power on the FR610 itself, but rather just afterwards online. Since power data is on the console in front of you, I can understand that compromise.

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One of the more interesting things I discovered when playing around with the FR610 compared to my previous 2 minute Interbike show floor test with the FR60 is that the FR610 with the increased recording options allows you to record the data at 1-second intervals.  I noticed it initially in Garmin Training Center when looking at the activity moments after it downloaded, but it wasn’t until I broke up an XML editor that I was able to validate the data is being streamed and recorded at 1-second intervals (I’ve highlighted the 1-second increments in yellow):

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And to geek-out for a brief second (everyone else can move along), I found it interesting that unlike most .TCX files where the power value (watts) is stored at the same XML level as the distance/cadence, but is instead recorded one level deeper in a subtag called under ‘extensions’ (along with speed):

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Had I been wearing a heart rate strap, that data would have been recorded as well, but alas, I somehow managed to forget it at home.  Thus, perceived effort was my only indicator aside from power – and with the sweat slowly building, it seems like I was at least showing some effort:

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Now, this is all very cool – but the biggest challenge continues to be club availability.  Today, it’s largely limited to a few high-end clubs, such as Equinox and Life Time Fitness.  And based on changes in the last 1-2 years – either that hasn’t changed…or the official list hasn’t changed.  I suspect it’s probably a little bit of both.

The issue for most gyms or rec centers would be the justification for increased costs of these machines and the extra LCD dashboards over standard units.  Multiply that times 20-30 units and it starts to add up – especially in the razor thin margin world of gyms.

Unfortunately, the number of folks out there that can take advantage of these bikes is pretty small.  While Polar has great penetration at the low-end of the market with many of their cheaper (sub $120) heart rate monitors (which aren’t ANT+), Garmin lags a bit there.  This is likely because Garmin only has one product – the FR60 in that category (about $90).  And their marketing simply isn’t there to drive product adoption of that line.  While in the ideal DC Rainmaker gym I’d love to have bikes like this (and anything else that integrates), I can certainly see it being a tough call to make – especially given how few customers could take advantage of it.

Of course, Garmin could drive increased adoption of these through a firmware update to their other Forerunner watches that don’t support it today, specifically the FR405/FR410, the FR110/FR210 and then the FR305.  Once you add in these watches (especially the FR305), you start to really get a much larger group of folks that could take advantage of them.  Heck, even an update to the Edge 500/Edge 705/Edge 800 wouldn’t hurt, since road cyclists and spin bike folks likely have more crossover than runners and spinners.

Though the blame doesn’t fully lie with Garmin either here – there are plenty of other ANT+ watch makers that could fill in and offer support.  Further, one of these could look to create a watch that is price-wise competitive with the FR60 (and most of the popular Polar units) that could work with these units.

With that – I’d love to hear about your experiences with the units out there – do they work well in full class environments (they should, since pairing is unique)?  Are you seeing many people use the functionality if your gym supports it?  Drop a note in the comments with your thoughts!

59 Comments

  1. Oh I wish my YMCA would get these spin bikes next go around!

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  2. Why does a gym have to fully stock their spin studio with these bikes? That would be very expensive. How about getting a couple, put them in a corner and label them accordingly. If it's high demand, schedule it or get some more. Otherwise, the few customers that want it will have it.

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  3. I have toyed with the idea of joining Equinox in Bethesda but the monthly price of $140 didn't seem worth it over what I pay now. This doesn't really change that, I'm not doubling my monthly gym fee for these bikes, but it is REALLY COOL! I don't have a power meter so it would be really interesting to see where my numbers are. I do wish more gyms had this capability, but I do think that when they offer 'Spinning' classes the gym might be under some contract to provide spinning branded bikes (just a guess).

    Also I think that the clientele of Equinox could afford the FR60. I know that at my gym they have pushed people to purchase Polar HR monitors (thru the gym) for spinning, and LOTS of people in the class bought them (cost $60). I think that Equinox could offer something like that, and at $90 I think they could be successful at it. Maybe the clientele doesn't know about this possibility.

    Hope your having a GREAT honeymoon!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. So, the support for power information from ANT+ spin bikes is not the saem as the support for power information from power meters?
    You said that 'the cheap $90 Garmin FR60 doesn’t support power meters…but does support power via the spinning bikes. Same goes for the running focused FR610, it doesn’t support power meters, but does support power data streams from the fitness equipment' and that the EDGE500/705/800 does not work with the spin bikes?
    That's very strange !!!!
    Why would computers that support the ANT+ power stream from a power meter not support it from a spin bike? or if the FR610 receives it from the ANT+ spin bike, why can't it receive from a power meter?
    I thought that the ANT+ power information stream was all the same regardless it's coming from a spin bike, trainer, or power meter?....

    Could you clarify that?

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  6. At the spin studio at Chelsea Piers they have the Keiser spin bikes, which I LOVE. link to amazon.com

    But the best thing about them is the quality of the 'spin' - much more like riding a real road bike than any other spin bike I have tried.

    Both the power and the distance numbers are 'imaginary,' and vary a great deal from bike to bike, so you'd be well advised to make sure you got the same bike each class if you were hoping for comparative numbers!

    I wear my Garmin 305 during class to store HR data, as alas, the HR function on the bikes only works with Suunto, which is a pain. The system displays HR of those wearing those monitors as percentage of max - instructor often has one on too - it is interesting to watch, but currently in a class of 15 or so I would say usually only 2-3 are using, because the Suunto is so much less popular a monitor than either Polar or Garmin.

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  7. Great review and definitely on the right track. We have an Indoor Cycling Studio in Manhattan Beach, CA (you're right, can't use "Spinning" unless using "Spinning" bikes) We prefer "Indoor Cycling" anyway as that is what we teach. We have 22 of the AC Performance bikes and currently only have the MPower console on the teaching bike. I actually paired mine to the Digifit app on my Iphone/Ipad and it works great (will work with Wahoo as well,
    I suspect). I also can see all of my numbers much clearer in a darker environment. The other easy way to capture and upload data is the USB port on the top of the MPower console. The USB port has to be enabled via the master settings, but once it is, it is as easy as plugging in a thumb drive, capturing the data during the ride, unplugging the thumb drive and then uploading it via a one-click operation to Training Peaks. So, I use Digifit for the real time stream and a quick review the ride (or my student's rides via an email share) and then I can analyze it with a one click share to Training Peaks or I sometimes just use the thumb drive option. You are right though, these units come at a price and are probably only feasible for clubs or Indoor Cycling Studios.

    Indoor Cycling is making a huge resurgence as "Spinning" has lost it's stranglehold on the industry. More and more competitors are producing quality bikes, like Schwinn AC series, Kaiser M3, Real Ryder, Free Motion, etc... This new technology is incorporating magnetic resistance instead of the old pad and strap resistance to create lighter flywheels with less inertia, and more consistent tension between bikes. Combine this with cycling specific training like intervals and hill repeats and you have an environment where novices to experts can enjoy the ride or suffer a little...

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  8. I just joined a gym (Colorado Athletic Club) that has a studio full of these. It was a pleasant surprise since I mainly joined for the pool but we have had a rainy month and I've taken several spin classes.

    One other thing to point out - that I have been doing, is that the Schwin bikes offer a USB port to download your workout file. This is just a simple .CSV file.

    Ray - could you maybe provide a clue about how to incorporate the .CSV file into training peaks? I was stumped..

    -John

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  9. jeffcaw

    first of all thanks a ton for all your invaluable insight... so i gathered up my garmin 610 went to the gym linked it up flawlessly to the schwinn computer. i was stoked for about 2 seconds when i realized that this computer was set up for cadence and time only!!! ugh! is there an upgrade module?? navigating schwinn's website is impossible. thanks in advance, and keep up the good work.

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  10. Hey Jeff-

    Assuming you still don't see the data once in Garmin Connect (note, it won't show power on the watch during the activity, only afterwards and/or in history), then it sounds like they were using the cheaper of the two Schwinn computers, the MPOWER Sport, as opposed to the MPOWER Performance. Only the performance shows watts. That's a bummer. :(

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  11. jeffcaw

    thanks for the response... that is one expensive cadence meter at $249. take it easy.

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  12. Would you know why 405CX doesn't work with the bike since it is ANT+ enabled?

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  13. Anonymous

    I've just tried the Wahoo Fisica key with my iPhone. Can't find any application that truly supports the MPower console. Wahoo gets close, but its buggy...

    Any ideas?

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  14. Just joined a new gym (24 Hour Fitness in Sunnyvale CA) and delighted to see they have the Schwinn spin bikes with MPower.

    Haven't tried it yet, but next time I will take my iPhone with the Wahoo Fisica key and see how it goes.

    My preferred app is LiveCycling which works great with the Wahoo key, and also uploads to strava.com.

    So my hope is that I now have a way of capturing my spinning metrics and logging it directly to strava.

    Anybody tried this already? Can't see why it would *not* work...

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  15. By the way, one follow-up comment to my previous post: I don't know if the MPower consoles will take data from an ANT+ HRM, but they certainly work with Polar HRMs (I tried it today).

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  16. The key item to remember when it comes to Apps and these spin bikes is that it has to support the 'Fitness Equipment' profile, which is a bit different than just supporting power meters.

    Oddly enough, I actually just used one today for my workout, so next time I'm in the gym I'll give another one a shot and try and find some apps. I'll hit up Wahoo and see if they have any suggestions.

    Thanks!

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  17. Steve M

    Thanks DC, great info. It sounds like someone has previously had success with the Wahoo app and MPower bikes so I assume that app at least supports this "fitness equipment profile" of which you speak.

    (BTW, I can't see a setting anywhere within the app for this profile so I'm kinda hoping it the app and the bike find each other automagically...)

    I'll let you know how it goes.

    If all else fails, I can guess I can always take my Edge 800 into the class...

    Thanks for an awesome website, keep up the good work.

    Steve M (aka "unknown"...)

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  18. Hi Steve-

    I checked on this. All I can say at the moment is some stuff is movin' and shakin', and expect to see something within a few weeks. :)

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  19. Steve M

    Will do - thank you!

    In the meantime, do you happen to know what other ANT+ devices are supported by the MPower console?

    In your (excellent) article above, you mention "I was using the Garmin FR610. Though, there is also support on the Garmin FR60 and FR310XT".

    I scoured the Schwinn website but couldn't find a list.

    I wonder if my Garmin Edge 800 is supported?

    BTW, I was able to capture my workout data from the MPower on to a USB stick, and then successfully uploaded it to TrainingPeaks. However, I'm a hardcore Strava user so not much use to me

    (MPower support is a much requested feature on the Strava forum - one day hopefully!)

    Keep up the great work!

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  20. Just grabbed my Edge 800 - not on there (I didn't think it was, but figured I'd double check).

    The FR910XT also supports it. None of the Timex's do, basically, just the Garmin's.

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  21. Steve M

    Thanks for the note DCR but am a bit confused - are you saying the Edge *does* work with the MPower or does *not*?

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    • Robert M replied

      See reply #32..

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    • Robert M replied

      I successfully paired my Garmin Edge 500(sw version 3.0) with the Schwinn AC Performance with MPower Power Upgrade. Everything works perfectly, except speed and distance. Time, heart rate, cadence, and all power measures(FTP, NP, TTS, IF, etc.) are there in real time(um, one second intervals). I set my spinner up with its own bike profile. Then I told the Edge 500 to add a power meter, and when it did, the rest of the measures were activated. The Edge 500 doesn’t magically “talk” to the MPower Console like the Garmin watches do. Pressing Lap on the console has no effect on the Edge 500. However, while start, stop, and lap functions are operated directly on the Edge 500, they have no effect on the Mpower console. So you have to start and stop them both separately. Assuming speed and distance don’t matter on a spin bike, like they don’t matter on a trainer, then the athlete has everything he needs with his Edge 500. Unfortunately I ordered a Garmin FR70 the day before I discovered this.

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  22. Sorry, does not.

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  23. Steve M

    That's a drag but no worries - thanks for the reply!

    Until Wahoo tackles this issue, I can always dump the data off to a USB stick, that seems to work pretty well.

    Separate question - if you were to recommend any single Garmin unit for triathlon training, what would it be?

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  24. I wrongully assumed the ANT enabled Free Motion bikes at our gym would be able to communicate with my new Wahoo key. It pairs and get's cadence, but then stops when you press record. That will teach me not to bring my jump drive as a back up before I knew it worked.

    ANYWAY...so I emailed the Wahoo folks and got a reply from Murray (I'd imagine there aren't many Murray's at Wahoo). They've been working with Stages(?) on a special app to support Free Motion specifically. Out tomorrow - 3/15. Almost perfect timing...

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  25. Steve M

    Chris - you have totally lucked out!

    You're right, the Stages app is now in the iTunes store and it does indeed work with the FreeMotion bikes.

    Now, my gym has the Schwinn MPower bikes that DCR references in this article.

    The good news is that the Stages app works with them too (I tried it tonight). I guess it should work with any ANT+ spin bike.

    Well done Wahoo and Stages!

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  26. FWIW The Columbia Association Supreme Sports club just upgraded to these bikes. I believe there are plans to switch over the Columbia Gym next

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  27. Hi Chris,
    How did you like the FreeMotion cycles?I am looking at the amd the Keiser M3+

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  28. Shannon Gallagher

    I have a Garmin Forerunner 210 (which I think is a great product) that I wear when running and cycling for heart rate training, pace, route recording, etc. My local gym (24 Hour) just installed FreeMotion bikes with power consoles. After wearing my watch during a cycling class, when I uploaded the information from my watch into Training Peaks and Garmin Training Center, I was surprised to see that it had picked up all the info from the power console (watts, cadence, speed, etc.). I contacted Garmin for some help/info about this, but got no support. Here's their response:

    "Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

    If the spin bike is ANT+ it may capture the heart rate if paired. The cadence and power meter are not able to be paired with the Forerunner 210.

    Please, contact us with any further questions.

    With Best Regards,

    Garmin International"

    Notwithstanding Garmin's response, I paired it with the power console again yesterday during a workout and it recorded my workout again, successfully. I'm still experimenting with how to make it work optimally (my Garmin is set to record stats every mile, and I've been segmenting every "stage" of my indoor ride, so there are some breaks in the data that I wish weren't there), but I thought it was interesting that it DOES capture metrics from the power console on the FreeMotion bikes when paired properly. There's also a USB port for downloading your workout data into a USB drive (phone, Garmin, iPod), but I haven't used that yet.

    Since I don't have a power meter on my road bike, I thought this was a great find, although it seems Garmin should either make an active effort to know which 3rd party products work with their watches, or affirmatively enable their watches to interface with others' devices. Seems like it would be a good selling point.

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  29. Amy J

    The JCC in Manhattan just got these bikes with the ant+ mpower consol, and I've been having a heck of a time getting my garmin 910xt to pair with them. It will detect the power sensors on the bike but not pair with the consol. Is there a trick to it? Do I have my watch settings wrong? Are the consols not set up properly (they are having a tough time with some of them...) Could you let me know what settings your 910xt was in when it paired with the console, which you turned on first etc? Thanks!

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    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Amy-

      You just need to enable the Fitness Equipment mode, which is via the mode button by tapping the left hand side. Then it'll search for it. Enjoy!

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  30. Amy J

    Fantastic, thanks, that was the trick I was missing, guess it helps to actually read the manual :-/

    I am now experiencing a much more frustrating and perplexing problem. I'm finding that the watch only pairs with the bikes about 50 percent of the time and only receives telemetry about 50 percent of the times it pairs. It consistently syncs with my heart monitor as do the bikes, but for what ever reason the watch pairing is really spotty. Its not even that some bikes do and some bikes don't, sometimes the same bike will pair flawlessly once but then never again. Any idea why this might be?

    The bikes are set to be celebrated every ride, and they don't calebrate equally, depending on the bike I could be putting out 75-100 more wats than a previous ride, or some bikes the powermeter wont read anything over 20wats (this the JCC notes as a problem, the inconsistent pairing and Wats numbers they dont really seem to be concerned about) I have to say based on the finickyness of the bikes I'm assuming at this point it's not my watch that's the problem. But after powering my watch down and back up, and recalebrating the bike (neither of which actually fix the problem) I usually just end up frustratedly recording only my heart rate for the workout, not a great measure of fitness or effort but it's something.

    Any thoughts on what might be going on here? I have to tell you, it's pretty infuriating!

    Thanks! Amy

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  31. Robert M

    I successfully paired my Garmin Edge 500(sw version 3.0) with the Schwinn AC Performance with MPower Power Upgrade. Everything works perfectly, except speed and distance. Time, heart rate, cadence, and all power measures(FTP, NP, TTS, IF, etc.) are there in real time(um, one second intervals). I set my spinner up with its own bike profile. Then I told the Edge 500 to add a power meter, and when it did, the rest of the measures were activated. The Edge 500 doesn't magically "talk" to the MPower Console like the Garmin watches do. Pressing Lap on the console has no effect on the Edge 500. However, while start, stop, and lap functions are operated directly on the Edge 500, they have no effect on the Mpower console. So you have to start and stop them both separately. Assuming speed and distance don't matter on a spin bike, like they don't matter on a trainer, then the athlete has everything he needs with his Edge 500. Unfortunately I ordered a Garmin FR70 the day before I discovered this.

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    • Anvar replied

      Hey man, how did you managed to pair edge 500 with it please? I tried several times but failed miserably. Hr strap connects just fine but not the device itself.

      Thank

      A

      Reply
  32. AC

    They have these spin bikes in the Equinox in Kensington, London (Equinox's first and flagship UK gym). I went to a class wearing my Forerunner 610 and, unbeknown to me, everything synced perfectly. A great surprise - another awesome bit of functionality for my Garmin watch. I was a little baffled by it and did a search which led me to your page here. Thanks for explaining.

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  33. Andries

    Does the 910xt also communicate with the mpower? I could not get mine to connect today :(

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  34. Tim

    Got my 910 a few days ago and with Fitness equipment enabled it still will not see the mpower console.

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    • Rainmaker replied

      Assuming the watch goes into the search mode, you may need to validate that the mPower console is correctly enabled for ANT+ (even if it says so).

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  35. Nic

    Sorry if someone posted about this already; do you know how reliable these things are, and how easily off-calibrated they can become?

    The reason I ask this is that I belong to equinox and have been regularly spinning there in classes and own my own. I have yet to record data to a Garmin device (the computers also just use USB incase no one mentioned that either) but I have also not attempted to record on usb yet (I will do both tomorrow or thursday). But I have noticed quite a variance in readings from the 2 different model computers and different readings from multiple bikes.

    At my home equinox I am using the computer that looks like the ones in your photo, a gray. The other equinox I recently visited looks like the one in your link to the computer.

    Also here: link to schwinnequipment.com

    I am not sure if there are ever variations, or improvements to ability to read stats, or upgrades in components between year to year. But the different computers have all seemed to give me a wide range of read outs while I feel my riding has stayed consistent (except for sprints and when I was trying to 'break my high score' with the watt meter).

    When I go in the next few days, I will check the comparison between my 510, usb stick, and what I notice the computer reads out on my ride and at the end of each session with averages and maxes.

    Just wanted to know if you or anyone else has insight into this.

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    • Nic replied

      More info on use of the USB if you or anyone else ever needs help on using one. link to trainingpeaks.com

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    • Rainmaker replied

      Almost all gym equipment needs some occasional checks. I'd be somewhat skeptical of power numbers that seem odd from each other. I'd suspect that most gyms, even Equinox, don't do a great job at keeping them calibrated. I've seen the same with treadmills as well, for example.

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    • Nic replied

      That was my assumption too. I will get around to testing and comparing numbers, and I will let you know my findings. I have a feeling that the computers just get off-calibrated from the amount of use they get, and the use from users who dont know what they are doing.

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    • Nic replied

      Ok, So I am visiting the Palos Verdes Equinox in Southern California. I have done several rides on their Schwinn stationary bikes. My first attempt to record data on a USB failed (due to a dying USB I believe) and I was not able to get my Edge 510 with the latest firmware to sync with the bike (aside from HR which is coming from my Garmin HR strap). I asked the training staff if they knew if I could pair the device, and if so how would I do it? They directed me to the group fitness manager who teaches spin classes and is an avid road biker herself. She informed me that the PV Equinox has the latest gear from Schwinn when it comes to the bikes and computers and that Schwinn uses that specific club to test and launch new products for stationary cycling. Not that this means much; I just thought it was cool. (She also informed me that my home gym in Dallas would be getting new bikes and new computers soon. So I'm excited about that). She believes the Edge should be able to sync to the Mpower computer, and recommended I try turning my phone off while in the studio and holding the Edge right next to the computer when trying to sync. She said if I had issues getting it to pair to shoot her an email and she would either find the solution or put me in contact with the people they work with at Schwinn.

      We also discussed the accuracy of the computers and how easily they can become un-calibrated. She said that when you are riding the bikes like you ride on a real road, you could pretty much trust the data that is being displayed. I then asked her about the jump in watts (because on higher resistances when I really push myself I am able to get the watts to display 800-960; which to me seems like a misread). She said that she experiences the same thing and that what she believes is going on is that the computer is anticipating you keeping RPMS and other metrics stable and that the large watt read outs are more of an anomaly and that the computer sometimes takes a few seconds to realize that you aren’t going to keep 100-120 RPMs at that resistance. Otherwise she said you can pretty much trust THEIR computers because they are more active (at that club) in monitoring the calibration.

      So... round two was today. I used a different USB and was successful in recording the data using the step by step in my previous link. It creates a CSV file with.1mile interval data recording on: Distance, Speed, Watts, HR & RPM. All very cool to see, but you still have to do some work in excel to really chart the data or do more with it than just see a data dump. I was still unable to pair my edge even with my iPhone's bluetooth turned off, the phone in airplane mode, and the phone turned completely off. So at this point, I am not sure if the Edge computer is able to sync, if I am doing something wrong, or of there is another external factor that I am overlooking.

      I am going to shoot her an email right now and will hopefully get a response from her/Schwinn before I leave on the 1st. I am hoping to get the Edge to pair and compare data between the USB and the edge computer. I would also like to see how the Edge presents the data from the rides. I am hoping if it is possible to pair that the Edge will give a more user-friendly data dump with less work to analyze what I am doing on the rides.

      If you have any insight on how to pair the Edge to Mpower I would love to hear it, otherwise I will report back with what I hear.

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    • Rainmaker replied

      Interesting, thanks for sharing. Would love to hear more as you get to that level of detail!

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  36. Chaim N

    Do you know if the FR 410 have this capability?

    My gym has spinning bikes with the ANT+ LCD (I am not sure if the ANT+ realy works...old machines?)
    I tried today to connect my 410 based on these instructions (for the FR 610) but was unsuccessful.

    As you know, FR 410 has the ANT+ capability.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It does not connect to Fitness Equipment unfortunately, albeit having ANT+ for other sensors. Sorry!

      Reply
  37. Jose Luis Camacho

    Great post! I just wanted to ask you if I can use my Garmin Edge800 with the ANT+ capabilities of the stationary bike to obtain all my data.

    thanks for your answer!

    have a good one!

    Reply
  38. Tim Grose

    Some confusion on this topic at link to forums.garmin.com
    This article and previous one link to dcrainmaker.com only mentions bikes not treadmills.
    It looks like the 620 does not support this at all at the moment (especially without yet a bike mode) but does this also work on compatible devices (Garmin 610/310/60/910 it seems) and a compatible treadmill ? If so does distance/speed come from treadmill and be recorded by the Garmin?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Definitely doesn't support it (FR620). I think we'll see that die off temporarily in Garmin products (as we have with the Fenix2, FR620, FR220, etc...). The reason is simple: There's practically zero treadmills that support it. In fact, only one to my knowledge: The Woodway, which is a $10K treadmill.

      Spin bikes the story is slightly better, especially with Lifetime fitness having many of those. Still, Garmin has kinda said 'Thanks but no thanks' there for new devices. I asked back in September, again in Jan, again in March, and the story remains the same with no plans there.

      I suspect we'll see longer term inclusion of some of the bike trainer profile pieces on some Edge units. Not now, but perhaps in time for next winter training season.

      For those devices today that support it, my understanding is the speed/distance does indeed come from the treadmill. Unfortunately it's a bit of a unicorn in actually finding one.

      Reply
  39. Ted

    DCR - have you checked to see if the Edge 1000 implements the fitness equipment profile the way the Edge 810 does? I'm having problems getting speed&distance onto the 1000 from a FreeMotion S9.11 spin bike, which has the powermeter/ant+ console.
    I can connect as a power meter, and get cadence and power, but not speed or "distance".

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I have not checked. It's tricky as I have no such device (Fitness Equipment) in my inventory. :-/

      Reply
    • Ted replied

      I also posted this on a Garmin support site and got a very bland response.

      I'm fairly certain that I got full data out of the Edge 810. Actually, looking back at my Strava data from March, it does not appear that Strava picked up this info. Does not appear to be in Garmin Connect either, so I guess I was dreaming / mis-remembering what could be picked up - it HAS been a while since I did Spin class. 8P

      Reply
  40. Chris VS

    My Gym got a bunch of these bikes a couple of weeks ago and some of them have the MPower Power Upgrade Consoles fitted. The Garmin ANT+ HRM Chest Strap nearly always syncs up but of the last 10 attempts to record the session with my 910XT watch I have only succeeded only once, which means to date I have lost over 9 hours of data :-( I have tried using different bikes and usually end up three or four times before the training session starts to no avail.
    It's a shame this functionality is so flakey because the one time it did sync up it did record some useful information that I uploaded into Garmin Connect.
    When it does sync up it automatically creates another sport called "Indoor Cycling" but I think it reset all the custom data fields I had set up, I cannot confirm this is the case because I cannot get the damned thing to sync up with my watch again.
    I have also tried to capture the data with a USB flash stick and although the light on the USB flashes to indicate that it is writing data to the flash stick when I put it in my PC there is nothing there.
    I am a Cisco Qualified Data Comms Engineer so you would think I could get this to work but sadly no.
    The bikes themselves are really good and the MPower Power Upgrade console do give you a lot of feed back during the session including Watts, Speed, HR (as long as you have a chest strap) Cals Distance etc which makes the indoor cycling experience so much more interesting than spinning which I find really boring by comparison.

    If anyone has found or finds a reliable way of syncing the Garmin 910XT Watch with the Mpower Power Upgrade console please share post it up here.

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Hmm, that's definitely odd to see such high failures. Do you have the unit on our wrist or sitting on the console?

      Also, when using it for other purposes (such as on a normal bike), do you ever see dropouts in the ANT+ data?

      Reply
    • Chris VS replied

      I have the quick relese wrist strap so I click it off and hold it against the ANT Link Here Symbol on the console, I cannot get it any closer, A few months ago I was having some problems with the HRM droping out while running but I replaced the Garmin Chest Strap with a Polar one and it's been perfect since.

      I also have a Garmin Speed/Cadence sensor on my road bike and I also have a footpod for runing on the treadmill and these all work fine.

      I did notice that my watch was set up to detect ANT scales and I thought it might be that so I turned it off but it made no difference.

      It is odd that it usually links to the HRM Strap and that is a lot further away from the console.

      After a lot of searching on Google I did find a comment from soemone that he briefly pressed the power button but when I tried it did nothing.

      When I have managed to get it linked up a pop-up appeared on the watch screen saying "Fitness Equipment Detected" but I've only seen that twice, once when I was in a class and the other time I stayed behind after a failed session to try and get it to link which it did so I thought it was sorted but it failed the next time went..

      I will do some (I suspect a lot) more testing on my own next week because I also want to try and get the USB working as a backup.

      Very suprised that this is so flakey, ifi wasn't for the fact that I alreay have Garmin watch I would have given up a lng time ago.

      I did try and email Schwinn Support but the on line form needs location details in the USA, hopefully they will add other countries at some stage.

      Reply
  41. Ted

    Wrt pairing a Garmin with an indoor bike with ant+, I've had a lot of success, and some problems due to the density of ant+ signals in the room. To be successful, get there early and pair when there aren't any other active bikes.

    Reply
    • Chris VS replied

      Well I have managed to sync my watch up to the Schwinn bikes a couple of times but it is really hit and miss, both times I have had to run through the startup process 5 or 6 times before the little magic "Fitness Equipment Found" popup appears on my watch. The HRM usually kicks in shortly after you start pedaling but the watch seems very hit and miss and I still haven't discovered a definitive procedure for getting my watch synced every time, I've tried with a few different bikes but have the same problem on them all, the only thing that is still common to all attempts is my watch but it does work with my foot pod, cadence sensor and HRM strap and occasionally the Schwinn Bike when it has a mind to so I am assuming my watch is not the cause of the problem.

      If anyone has success getting their watch synced with the Schwinn bike please post it up so I can see where I'm going wrong, it is a little frustrating having to spend 5 or 6 minutes just to get your watch working.

      Reply
  42. Chris VS

    Right I may have solved this conundrum, while the Garmin 910XT will (sometimes) sync up with the Schwinn Mpower Power Console more often than not it doesn't.

    I found that pressing the "Mode" button on the 910XT makes the antenna symbol in the top right hand corner of the screen start to radiate presumably it's scanning and almost immediately the Fitness Equipment Found Popup appears.

    While this seems to resolve the problem I was having I have found another slight problem, once or twice now after a successful sync there has been no HR displayed on the Mpower Power Console even though the Garmin watch does display it, no problem I thought it will just use the watch to calculate the miles, power, calories etc.....wrong! I believe if no HR is displayed it tries to calculate the miles, power, calories etc from a previous calorie figure from a previous rider and in my case it was probably 50% under what it should have been based on previous rides.
    The solution is to stop clear the display by pressing the "End" button repeatedly and starting again, takes about 30 to 60 seconds.

    Reply

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