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Garmin FR60 Review – In Depth

When Garmin first announced the Garmin FR60 last spring, it honestly didn’t even catch my attention.  After all, why would I of all people – the person with a gazillion GPS based training watches – want a training watch without GPS?

Well, it turns out, there’s actually a lot of good reasons.  I contacted Garmin back in December about getting a temporary demo unit to play around with for a bit after I read it could wirelessly synchronize with the Tanita BC-1000 digital scale that I was testing.  The watch arrived a few days later and I got to work using it day in and day out – for some 45 days now.  I swam, ran, biked, skied and everything else in between with it…and it didn’t take long to actually really enjoy using this watch.

Now, before we get into the meat of the review, for those of you who’ve read my reviews in the past know that I tend to be pretty detailed…and in depth.  That’s just the way I do things around here at DC Rainmaker.  Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries.  I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more.  My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

At the end of the day I’m an athlete just like you, I want the same things out of the equipment I buy.  I don’t get paid to write these reviews, nor do I keep the units from Garmin – they all go back after a period of time ranging between 30 and 60 days (in this case, it goes back tomorrow).  I write the reviews merely because I’m interested in them.  I work in technology for a living, so I understand how this stuff works pretty well and can relay what I love and hate about the devices – hopefully allowing you to make a better purchasing decision. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out.  Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

So with that out of the way…let’s get on with the action!

In the box:

Once the box arrives at your local mailbox or doorstep, it’ll look something like this:

FR-60 Box Shot

Pretty much your standard Garmin box.  If you happen to get the pink flavor, it’ll look like this next to Mr. Blue:

FR-60 Box Shot Comparison

Upon opening the box you’ll find a pretty clean and easy to identify set of plastic baggies:

FR-60 Unpackaged

Remove all the plastic away (far less plastic than previous watches), and you get the actual components inside:

FR-60 Unwrapped

What are they all you ask?  Here ya go – all labeled (you may have to click to view):

FR-60 Unwrapped Labeled

First up, is the watch itself:

FR-60 First Power On (It comes turned off, we’ll get to the turning on part in a minute)

Then you’ve got the premium heart rate strap (depending on the package you buy):

FR-60 Heart Rate Strap

Next up is the footpod – which is not much bigger than your average quarter…or Canadian Two Dollar (Toonie) piece for ya’ll up north.

FR-60 Foot Pod Loonie Comparison

Then you’ve got your ANT+ USB stick – which is what wirelessly connects the watch to your computer.

FR-60 USB Stick

And finally, you’ve got an assorted stack of manuals in 92 languages (ok, less than that), some warranty junk and some more papers.  No CD or DVD’s included here.  Everything is done online.

FR-60 Paper Junk

 

Size Comparison:

With everything out of the box, let’s compare it briefly to a few other well known watches, shall we?

Here we go, a side shot comparison with the Garmin 305/310XT/405 and FR-60:

Garmin Forerunner Comparison Shot

Garmin Forerunner Comparison Shots

And then the classic wrapped around a compressed air canister shot:
Garmin Forerunner Comparison Shots

(From left to right: Garmin 305, 310XT, 405, FR-60)

As you can see, the FR-60 is by far quite a bit smaller and thinner.  So while the 405 may look similar from a head on shot, when you look at the first shot up there next to it, you realize just how much smaller the FR-60 really is.  Onwards with getting to use it for the first time!

First use:

As I noted above when you first get the watch it’ll be in a turned off state, just like below:

FR-60 Initial Power On

Fear not though, it’s not dead – it’s just sleeping (or as my Grandma used to say – ‘Resting my eyes’).  You simply hold the mode button down for a moment and you’re off and running with a quick setup wizard – starting with language:

FR-60 Language Selection

You’ll go through a series of questions that take only a minute to complete:

1) Language
2) Time Format
3) Time
4) Date (Year, then Month, then Day)
5) Statue or Metric
6) Gender
7) Age
8) Weight
9) Height
10) Lifetime Athlete (Basically do you exercise a ton)
11) Fitness class (scale of 1-10)

Once you’re done answering the pop quiz, the watch will think for a brief moment:

FR-60 Wizard Complete

And then you’re ready to roll:

FR-60 Ready to goNow that the watch is all setup for the first time, let’s get onto configuring it for your first run.

Calibration:

Footpod based running watches have been around for ages, and by and large all of them have required some sort of calibration routine prior to using it.  In most cases it’s running between 400 and 1600m (quarter of a mile, to a mile), where the watch then creates a calibration factor – or the difference between how far you said you ran versus how far it thinks you ran.  That factor is then used in future runs to  give you a more accurate recorded distance of your run.

The challenge with these algorithms is that in many cases they don’t account for changes in stride that are accompanied by terrain changes (hills), weather conditions (snow), or performance increases (speed).  So while it may be calibrated at your ‘normal easy’ running pace, it gets all confused at a faster pace.  Would that hold the same for the FR-60 footpod?

Well, I set out to see how far off an un-calibrated watch was, and then I went ahead and calibrated it.  For the un-calibrated test I used a track, which allowed me to see how close it would come.  In all cases, I did two laps – or 800m (half a mile).

Here’s the first 800m, note the exact distance recorded in Garmin Connect (un-calibrated):

FR-60 Pre-Calibration Distance

So then I went ahead and calibrated it (just run any distance over a quarter of a mile) – and here’s the corrected distance (calibrated):

FR-60 Post-Calibration Distance

Pleased with my newfound calibrated watch, I went ahead and went for a bit of a whacky run.  I started off on the track for a few laps, then across a parking lot, down some roads, through some trails, up some hills, down some hills, more roads, more trails, a tunnel, and then more roads.  Basically, all over the place.  As a comparison, I had the Garmin 310XT GPS watch along for the ride.  And here’s what they recorded:

FR60:

FR-60 Calibrated Run

Garmin 310XT:

310XT Calibrated Run

Look at the first two columns – pretty darn close – only .02 miles off, after 4.3 miles.  And who’s to say that the GPS isn’t off a bit here?  Especially given I was in the trees for some of it.  Note the other columns differ as the 310XT has additional data fields like elevation.

Of course, I was even more blown away when I went for a run with it this past weekend in the snow.  Of all things, snow will affect stride the most – add to that the fact that this particular training run I was doing had a slew of interval like sets in it, with varying paces from 5:00/mile to 10:00/mile.  If anything, I was expecting some pretty big errors here.

What’d I end up with?  Well:

FR-60:

FR-60 Calibrated Run in snow

310XT:

310XT Calibrated Run in snow

And just in case that isn’t clear:

Garmin FR-60 and 310XT in snow after run

Seriously folks…I’ve never been more amazed – I’m relatively certain that two GPS watches – (or for that matter, even two FR-60’s) would never get me that exact of a reading again if I tried.  Though the difference in calories is pretty interesting.  I’d think the 310XT was more accurate in this case…

So..lesson learned here?  Its distance is accurate…and calibration is pretty solid.

Using it while running

Now that we’ve talked about calibration with running a bit, let’s talk about just general use while running.

The FR-60 is undoubtedly a runner’s watch first (and then a cyclist’s watch second).  In order to get pace/distance, you do need the foot pod – which comes included in some of the different bundles that the FR-60 is sold as (see bundling section at end).  Once you’ve got it all calibrated, it’s time to get out and run with it.

Garmin FR-60 while running

When running you have a three data fields that can be shown, and up to five data pages (that’s 15 potential pieces of data accessible on any given run).  Of course, all data is recorded at all times, so it’s just a matter of what’s shown.

A data field is simply a piece of data – such as pace, time, etc.. Shown below is a page with two data fields on it (time and lap count):

Garmin FR-60 Lap Data Field

You can use a feature called ‘auto-scroll’ to have the watch automatically scroll between the different pages at a rate of slow/medium/fast.  This is useful if you have more than three pieces of data you want to track (such as HR/Pace/Time/Distance), and don’t want to have to fidget with the watch.  It just automatically rotates through the different screens of data like a banner ad.

FR-60 Auto Scroll Field

Another way to avoid having to touch the watch is to use a feature called auto-lap.  Common to virtually all Garmin fitness watches, this allows you to automatically set a given lap (split) after a pre-determined time period.  For example, every mile you can set it to record a split.

FR-60 Auto Lap Option FR-60 Auto Lap Detailed Option

Now personally, I don’t use this feature (I turn it off).  This is because when I train, my splits are based off of the given sets I’m doing – which are either time or mileage based.  And I like to review my paces within each split based on that set.  In other words, I may have splits that are 5 Minutes, 10 Minutes, 1 Mile, 1 Mile again, etc… as opposed to simply having them set at a pre-determined distance.  The good news here is that to each their own, as you can simply turn this feature on or off at any point prior to a run, or during a run.  So for me, I just manually create the splits by hitting the lap button.

One feature I do like though to leave on is Auto Pause.  You ever stop at a stoplight, hit pause on your watch, then start running again a few seconds later only to forget to resume your watch?  Yeah, sucks, doesn’t it?  Well, Auto Pause takes care of it all for you.  When you stop running, it stops recording, when you start running again, it starts up.  Perfect for anyone running in the city or places with lots of stops and starts.

FR-60 Auto PausedFR-60 Auto Resume

Now, one word of advise here.  You’ll want to change the default ‘pause’ speed from the 30:00/minute/mile value to something more realistic.  For me I use a 20:00/mile pace – as that’s slower than I would normally walk.  Otherwise you get a bunch of false positives.

While running outside I find the watch super easy to run and pace by.  One cool thing is that it’s far faster to update than a GPS-based watch.  Typically on a GPS based watch (such as the Garmin 305/310XT/405/etc…), you’ll see a pace lag of about 5-7 seconds.  Meaning, if you start sprinting all out, it will take about 5-7 seconds until the pace is accurate, and then the same as you slow down.  But not with the FR-60, it’s instantaneous.  Which is kinda fun.

FR-60 Virtual Partner

If you find yourself outdoors at night while running you can use the little light on the watch to illuminate the console.  The light isn’t terribly bright though (nothing like the 305/310XT), and can only be set to stay on a maximum of 20 seconds (the default is 8 seconds).  I suspect the reason for a maximum timeframe of 20 seconds is that the watches battery is designed to last a year, and can’t just be recharged by plugging it in, which is fair enough.

FR-60 Backlight

(In case you’re curious – and I know you’re not – I was pretty excited about this shot of the backlight, I got it inside a dark bathroom hanging it on a towel hook.)

When you’re running with the watch you’ll get a number of data streams from accessories that are recorded, including run cadence (how fast your foot turnover is) and heart rate data.  However, do be mindful that both of these data streams do require additional accessories if you purchase one of the cheaper bundles.

Here’s what a typical recorded run would look like with time/distance/pace/cadence/HR:

FR-60 Pace GraphFR-60 Garmin Connect Splits

One thing you might notice when comparing it to something like the 305/310XT/405 is the lack of altitude (elevation).  Unfortunately Garmin decided to not include an altimeter in the FR-60.  The GPS watches I just mentioned include a GPS based altimeter, while most of Garmin’s cycling computers include a barometric altimeter.  I’m surprised at the lack of altimeter, especially given many sub-$100 watches include altimeters these days, so this seems like a significant oversight – or perhaps a specific reason to try and draw you towards a more expensive GPS watch…your call.

Using it while biking:

I’ll admit, I was a little surprised when I first realized the FR-60 could record your bike rides.  Not because a watch of this size shouldn’t, but just because it didn’t seem like it was part of its primary ‘mission objective’.  That said, it’s actually a great way to allow runners (who may be very casual cyclists) a way to record their rides.

FR-60 while on bike

Now just so we’re clear – in order to take advantage of the cycling mode you must have the optional cadence/speed sensor (see later accessories section)  This $40 accessory is compatible with all Garmin fitness devices, so if you already have one – then you’re in business.  The cadence/speed sensor is a small wireless device that sites near your back tire and records both the crank’s rotation (which is what the pedal is attached to), as well as your tire rotation via a spoke magnet.  The crank rotation gives you cadence data (RPM of your pedal), and the spoke magnet gives you speed and distance – both inside and outside.  I detail these a bit more in the accessories section.

The watch’s cycling mode features pretty much all the same options as during running mode.  These include:

– Auto Lap
– Auto Pause
– Auto Scroll
– Virtual Partner

I didn’t talk about Virtual Partner in the running section, so let’s talk about it here instead.  Virtual Partner is a feature common to almost all of the Garmin fitness line of watches.  It allows you to race against ‘the little man’.  This ‘little man’ is a small stick figure on the screen that shows you how far ahead or behind you are with respect to a predetermined pace you want to hit.  For example, you can set the little man at 15MPH for cycling (or for example, 8:00/min/mile while running) and then hit go.  The virtual partner screen shows up just like a normal data page does, allowing you to easily scroll to it.  It then shows you how far ahead, or how far behind you are at that moment.

FR-60 Virtual Partner on bike

If you speed up, you’ll either gain distance (or catch up), and if you slow down, you’ll lose ground.  I’ve found this feature pretty eye opening in training when using it – especially when thinking about things like walk breaks through water stops in races.  It’s amazing how much time/distance you can lose without realizing it.  I know…this section is about cycling…but here’s another running related Virtual Partner screenshot – configuration of the virtual partner setting:

FR-60 Configuring Run Virtual Partner(Above – configuring Virtual Partner for running)

This feature is primarily useful when you’re trying to hit a very specific target pace on less variable terrain, but it’s not always as useful in hillier terrain.  The key item to remember is it’s showing the average over the entire ride (or run).  For me, I tend to only use this when running, and not really as much when cycling.

Like in the running section, setting up the sensor ahead of time is pretty important.  It only takes a second and allows the watch to know the exact wheel circumference (size), which in turn allows it to determine distance.  You can follow my handy guide for how exactly to get it all setup.

FR-60 Bike Wheel Size Calibration

The watch supports one bike – compared to some of the Garmin cycling/triathlon watches supporting multiple bikes.  But I think this is a fair compromise.  If you want a watch that you’re primarily going to use for cycling, then this isn’t that watch.  This is in my mind a running watch with fringe cycling capabilities.  Think of it as a running watch with benefits.

In addition to wearing it on your wrist, you can also mount it on the bike mount.

FR-60 and 405 Bike Mount

FR-60 on bike mount

I discuss the bike mount a bit later on in the accessories section, but wanted to briefly show a picture above in this area just to make you aware of the option.

Using it in the water:

When I go to the pool I use a simple stopwatch to record my lap splits, I don’t want a big bulky Garmin 310XT with me.  I used to use my simple $20 sports watch for this purpose…until I killed it while diving with Great White Sharks.  So, I was in the market for a replacement to use at the pool.  It may sound funny, but for me a watch that I use for laps has to be visible when I slightly twist my wrist to see a split underwater.

This is actually not always the case on sports watches, as sometimes they have various plastic/glass designs that prohibit certain angles of viewing to see numbers, especially underwater.  Well, I’m happy to report that the FR-60 can be viewed quite easily underwater with a simple twist of the wrist.

FR-60 in swimming pool

Now, the FR-60 doesn’t automatically count laps or distance when underwater, it’s simply a stopwatch.  But, if you want to record laps and splits – it will do that.  That’s what’s cool about it. Meaning, now instead of trying to remember all my splits, or having to write them down, I simply hit the split function on the watch, and it records it and transmits it to the computer for later access.

FR-60 Lap Count in Garmin Connect

You can see above the simple splits for a swim I did last weekend.  Nothing more than times, but to me, those times mean something.  And I can easily correlate those in my training log to the exact sets I was doing.  Kinda handy!

Now unlike its GPS based cousins (305 and 310XT), the FR-60 can go pretty darn deep.  Up to 50m down (150ft):

FR-60 Back of watch

And I was determined to test that.  So on a trip back in December I took it along on multiple dives.  We ended up only going to about 30m (90ish feet), so that’s as far as I got with it.  But after multiple dives, I had no issues whatsoever:

Garmin FR-60 while scuba diving

I also had no issues with snorkeling with it, or any other sort of day after day beach-like activity – sand and water are its friends.

Using it indoors:

In many ways, the FR-60 is just as capable as any of the higher end GPS watches once you bring it indoors.  Like those watches, once indoors the FR-60 uses the footpod for tracking running related tasks, and the cadence/speed sensor for any cycling related tasks.

Assuming you’ve already calibrated the watch for running, it will easily work indoors.  And best of all, unlike the GPS based watches, you don’t have to remember to turn the satellite off before starting.  Just jump on the treadmill and go.

When on a trainer, the story is much the same as outside.  Because the watch has no concept of exactly where you are (because of no GPS), it simply uses the same wireless speed/cadence sensor as it would outside, when indoors on a trainer.  Again, just jump on the trainer and you’re off and cycling.

FR-60 with Indoor Bike Trainer

Now, here’s the really really cool part about the FR-60.  And this is unique (as of this writing anyways) to JUST the FR-60.  With some specific treadmills and indoor stationary bikes, it can actually wirelessly communicate back with the device to get detailed data about your run or ride.  Meaning – no footpod or cadence sensor required at the gym using that equipment.  This is found in the watch menus under ‘Fitness Equipment’:

FR-60 ANT+ Fitness Equipment

You just simply swipe your watch in front of the area on the device (such as a treadmill) to pair it, and you’re ready to run.

Ant+ LogoAnt+ Link Diagram(Diagram from Garmin)

But, here’s the bad news.  The number of treadmills that support this capability is extraordinarily low.  Like…less chance of finding one than me becoming president tomorrow.  But, there are a few out there in a couple of gym’s that are nationwide.  You can check out the list of them here.

I tried calling the handful of gym’s that were nearby me here in DC to ask if they had capable machines, but I wasn’t terribly successful in getting them to understand what I wanted, or if the machines had it. 🙁  Though, in each case the employees did go physically inspect the machine to try and find the logo.

I also researched both companies that Garmin points to as having compatible ANT+ Treadmills, and neither one had any mention of ANT+ anywhere on their website.  A call to customer service was also unsuccessful.  Finally, I researched other companies that in a press release Garmin noted as having compatibility…and none appear to actually display any info on their websites.  So while the feature may be out there…it’s certainly not something anyone actually knows about, which is too bad.

Perhaps in the future these will become more common, though I suspect it will take a long time before you see them in a gym near you.

Integration with the Tanita BC-1000 scale:

One feature unique to only the Garmin FR-60 and Garmin 310XT watches is its ability to wireless synchronize with the Tanita BC-1000 scale.  What’s the BC-1000 scale you ask?  Well, let’s start with a picture:

BC-1000 Scale

Ok, picture complete.  It’s a relatively new scale that leverages ANT+ (that’s the wireless protocol/standard used/owned by Garmin) to transmit data about your weight, body fat, hydration levels, and more – to your Garmin FR-60.  This data is in turn transmitted to Garmin Connect.  Pretty cool stuff.

All you do to get it to work is hold down the light button for 2-3 seconds, which triggers a scan for the scale:

FR-60 Scanning for BC-1000 scale FR-60 Scale Found

Once the scale is found it will start blinking (the scale), and you simply step on.  About 3-5 seconds later it’ll beep again, and then display your readings right on your watch.

FR-60 weight results

The next time you synchronize your watch to your computer, the data is automatically downloaded to the computer and then transmitted to Garmin Connect.  This allows you to view all your data right in an easy to read console, just like below:

Garmin Connect BC-1000 Capture

Garmin Connect then supports the ability to graph the various data sets over time, enabling you to see if you’re making good progress on any goals you may have:

GC-30dayGraph

If you want to learn more about the Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ Scalecheck out the in depth review I did just a few weeks after publishing this one.

General watch use:

One of the biggest draws for me to the watch is the fact that it looks like a normal everyday watch.  Nothing big and clunky like most GPS watches, nor ugly like a lot of sports watches.  Just sorta middle of the road nice and pretty design.

Of course, adding to that appeal is the fact that the battery lasts a year.  Yes…a year.  At the end of that, you just simply run to your nearest watch repair place to have the battery swapped out.  Usually this costs about $15.  Remember though to ensure they do the waterproofing test on the watch, otherwise you could be in for a sad day when you go to the pool (or beach).

With respect to all around general use, it acts like any other watch would.  When not in active sports mode, it displays the day, date and time on the front.  These fields are not customizable.

FR-60 as a watch

You can however customize two times on the watch – Time 1, and Time 2.  So if you travel frequently across time zones, you can quickly and easily swap back and forth.

FR-60 Time 1 and Time 2

Also, you can set a watch alarm (to remind you to wake up in the morning and go run).  This can be set as a one-time alarm, or daily.

FR-60 Daily Alarms

Finally, if you’re feeling a bit linguistic, you can shift into a few different languages, including: French, Italian, German and Spanish (plus of course English).  Also, as a side note, you can turn on/off both key tones and message tones.  Meaning, if you press a key it will make a beep, but if an alert pops up, it won’t (or vice versa).

Data Synchronization:

One of the key features that differentiates the FR-60 from any other standard sports watch is its ability to download data to a computer.  Just like the Garmin Forerunner 310XT and Forerunner 405, the FR-60 uses a simple ANT+ USB stick to wirelessly communicate with the computer.  This stick can easily be swapped between computers if you have multiple computers in the house:

ANT+ USB Stick

Once you’ve got the USB stick all plugged in it’ll automatically trigger the Garmin ANT+ agent running in the tool bar (if you have a Mac, the process is similar).  The agent then wakes up and starts searching wirelessly for a nearby watch:

ANT+ Agent Stick in USB Stick

The watch itself can actually be quite a ways away from the computer.  I’ve been in cases where it’ll pickup the watch a number of floors and rooms away from the computer itself.  Kinda impressive.  I can literally walk in the door and it’ll start synchronizing.

ANT+ Agent Downloading Data

Once it’s done synchronizing the data, ANT+ agent sends it to both Garmin Connect and Garmin Training Center (if configured as such):

FR-60 ANT+ Agent Configuration Options

[Warning: Geek stuff ahead, no need to normally know this]
Now, it also keeps a copy of the data locally as well.  It puts a copy of every single activity you do in a .FIT file, which is then kept within your user profile.  This same location also stores information about your health (such as from the Tanita BC-1000 scale I mentioned).

FR-60 Windows Data Folder Structure

On a PC, this location is located within:

C:\Users\[Username]\Application Data \Garmin\Devices\DeviceID

Inside the Activities folder, you’ll find a copy of all your activities:

FR-60 .FIT files folderBecause the files are both in Garmin’s propriety .FIT file format, as well as lacking any GPS coordinates, they tend to be pretty small compared to 310XT files.  Now the .FIT file format is pretty new, so the ANT+ Agent also creates a copy of all the files within the ‘History’ folder, using the XML standards based TCX format:

FR-60 .TCX Files Folder These TCX files are much more widely accepted by sports applications out there, as well as contain the ability to be directly opened by any XML editor (or just notepad).

FR-60 XML Marker View (For those curious, the above is with XML Marker)

[End Geek Section…I now return you to your regularly scheduled review…]

Software Applications:

Once you have the data synchronized to your computer, the next step is choosing which software to use.  By default, the ANT+ Agent will send the data off to Garmin Connect, which is the web based training application allowing you to look at and analyze your data.  We’ll start off with that, and then talk about some of the other options out there:

Garmin Connect:

After the ANT+ Agent has downloaded the workout from your FR-60 to your computer, it will immediately begin transmitting it to Garmin Connect, like below:

ANT+ Agent Transfer to Garmin Connect

From there, your workout is available on Garmin Connect (GC).  What’s Garmin Connect you ask?  Well, it’s your one-stop shop for most all Garmin Devices – including the FR-60.  Once your workout is uploaded to GC, it’ll show up on your dashboard or details view:

Garmin Connect Activities

From there you can drill down into the details of the workout by clicking to show more details:

FR-60 Pace in Garmin Connect

Now, because the FR-60 doesn’t have GPS, you won’t see any of the route information like you would on a GPS watch.  But you can see items like pace and speed, which is provided by the foot pod (or cadence/speed sensor on the bike):

Cadence in Garmin Connect

In addition, as long as you have the heart rate strap on, you’ll be able to see heart rate information as well:

Heart Rate in Garmin Connect

In addition, GC allows you to create basic reports about your historical workouts:

Historical Graph in Garmin Connect

Now, the features are somewhat basic compared to some sports applications out there, but I think for the majority of users who are buying FR-60, most of the features available on Garmin Connect will do the job.  I’d love to see the ability to really drill down into data and re-arrange splits and laps based on whatever times/mileage I’d like.  But perhaps in the future…

Garmin Training Center:

Garmin Training Center is Garmin’s old school downloadable application that you can run on your computer locally without access to the internet.  It’s not exactly the smoothest piece of software, but if you’re in a location where you can’t get Internet, it’s a good way to quickly check on your run (or bike or swim).

Garmin Training CenterAs you can see, the interface is pretty ‘classic’, but there’s actually a fair bit of information in there if you drill around a bit:

GTC Detail ViewOne item to note for regular Garmin users is that unlike many of the other Garmin watches, you can’t download workouts from Garmin Training Center to the FR-60.  You can go the other way (FR-60 > GTC), but not GTC > FR-60.

All in all, you’re far more likely to use Garmin Connect than Garmin Training Center.

Sport Tracks:

If you follow my blog, you know I love Sport Tracks (ST).  I think it’s one of the best freeware applications out there for managing and analyzing your sports data.

Sport Tracks Overview

Within ST you actually have two options for importing in the data.  The first is to use the Garmin Communicator tool:

Sport Tracks import FR-60

This allows you to pull in the data from the ANT+ Agent that already downloaded it.  The other option is a direct import from the TCX file in the folders I mentioned earlier.  Regardless of which way you choose, from there simply select the activities you’d like to import:

Sport Tracks Import Data

Which then will show up in the individual workout view:

Sport Tracks HR data

One of the features I really like about Sport Tracks is the ability to create custom splits in software – as opposed to on the watch itself:

Sport Tracks Custom Laps

If you like what you see above, check out my Top 10 Tips for Sport Tracks here.  And remember, it’s all free, and downloadable from here.

Training Peaks:

Last but not least, is Training Peaks (TP).  Now TP has both a free version, and a paid version – so some of the options differ slightly.  Training Peaks allows for some pretty in depth data analysis of your runs/bikes (and any other sport for that matter).

The FR-60 is compatible with the Training Peaks device agent, which allows you to upload workouts from your computer straight to Training Peaks:

Training Peaks import FR-60

Once you’ve selected the file you want to upload, it simply transfers them to the online Training Peaks site.

Training Peaks overview From there you can drill into any given workout that you want to see:

Training Peaks detail data

Quite a bit of information is available, from the different menus.  I personally use Training Peaks to allow my coach to view details about my workouts.  I simple upload the workout and he gets notified instantly.  Pretty handy.  He can then view the workout and make comments as appropriate.  Pretty handy.

Accessories:

Like most Garmin products, the FR-60 is compatible with a wide range of accessories, some Garmin made, and some 3rd party.  Depending on the exact bundle you purchase, you have a few different options.  Because some bundles don’t include any accessories, I’ll go over all the different options available out there today.

Heart Rate Strap

The most basic addition you can make to the FR-60 is the heart rate strap.  This accessory allows you to monitor your heart rate while you’re training, enabling you to better target heart rate zones, or do specific heart rate based training.

The packages that do include the HR strap include the new Premium HR strap, which is a softer fabric strap that’s (in my opinion) much nicer than the older more rubberized HR straps.  Below is a picture of the newer Premium Heart Rate strap:

Premium Heart Rate Strap

Of course, the one challenge to the newer premium strap is that it can be a fair bit more expensive – especially on Garmin’s site. The good news here is that Amazon has recently started selling them, and the price is much more reasonable now.  In general, I’d recommend the premium strap over the classic strap.

Below is a picture of the classic strap:

Classic Heart Rate Strap

And here is a picture of both straps side by side:

Comparison of heart rate straps

Lastly, regardless of which strap you have or decide on, they are all compatible with all Garmin fitness devices.  So if you already have a Garmin Forerunner or Edge and it has a HR strap, there’s no need to buy another – you’re good to go!

Prices for the heart rate straps are: $37 for the normal classic one, and $40 for the Premium Edition.

Foot Pod

In order to get distance and pace with the Garmin FR-60, you’ll need the foot pod.  Now, depending on the exact package you purchase, it may actually come with it.  But if not, you’ll really want to get one (otherwise you’ve basically just purchased a really expensive stop watch).

Foot pod

The foot pod easily snaps right onto your shoelaces in a matter of a few seconds.  I mentioned earlier in the review how to calibrate it, and all the details around it, so I’ll just get on with the important deets – the price.  Now, here’s the important part – the foot pod is REALLY EXPENSIVE if bought separately – so if you’re planning on getting one, get the bundle…and save yourself a bundle.  How expensive you ask?  Well, $90 expensive.

Bike Cadence Sensor

If you plan to hook up the Garmin FR-60 to your bike, you’re going to want to pickup the speed/cadence sensor kit to get speed…and cadence (and distance).  The good news here is that these kits are relatively inexpensive (compared to the foot pod anyways…), and they’re also fully compatible with every other Garmin fitness devices.

Cadence Sensor labeled

This means that if you already have one for a different Garmin device – you’re good to go.  And if you get one now, and eventually upgrade your Garmin watch, then you’re still good to go.

The speed/cadence kit can be picked up for about $40.

Bike Handlebar Mount:

This mount kit was actually created for the Garmin 405, but has since been renamed to be compatible with the FR-60 as well.  It’s a simple (and cheap) rubber mount that uses two zip ties to secure in place.

FR-60 Bike Mount

The watch then wraps around the mount in the same manner that it would around your wrist.  It’s pretty secure that way – and highly unlikely to come lose.  The flexible rubber components mean it easily fits on most bikes.  Below are three bikes:

First up – the mountain bike:

FR-60 Bike Mount on Mountain Bike

Then the road bike:

FR-60 Bike Mount on Road Bike

And finally..but..not very functional – on the triathlon bike:

FR-60 Bike Mount on Tri Bike (not really functional)

As I noted in the Garmin Forerunner 405 review, this mount simply doesn’t work well on triathlon/time trial bikes, but given it’s not likely the target audience – I think that’s alright.

The mount itself is the cheapest Garmin accessory you’ll find out there.  It’s priced at a very reasonable $14.

Tanita BC-1000 Scale:

I mentioned the Tanita BC-1000 scale earlier in the review, but just to recap.  This ANT+ scale made by Tanita (the same company that makes your normal bathroom scales), will measure your weight, hydration levels, body fat – and a slew of other readings.  It will then transmit them to the FR-60 (or Garmin 310XT), which are in turn transmitted to Garmin Connect for easy tracking.

FR-60 with Tanita BC-1000

The scale is a bit pricey though, starting at $279.

Garmin Product Comparison:

If you’re looking at some of the different watches out there to train with while running, you may be a bit confused as where to start – and which direction you should go in.  So I went ahead and put together this handy chart of the major Garmin running watches, in hopes of illuminating the options a bit:

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 15th, 2019 @ 8:20 amNew Window
Price$100.00$229$199$279 ($329 for metal bezels)$149
Product Announcement DateJUL 24, 2009June 26th, 2019Apr 30th, 2019August 10th, 2017Oct 6th, 2016
Actual Availability/Shipping DateAUG 2009July 2019Early May 2019August 30th, 2017October 2016
GPS Recording FunctionalityNoYesYesYesYes
Data TransferANT+ WirelessUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB & Bluetooth SmartUSB/Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingYesYes - 30m50 metersYes - 50 metersYes
Battery Life (GPS)Days.Up to 17 hours13 HoursUp to 30 hours6 hours
Recording IntervalSmart1sSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)Variable1s
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerN/AYesYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionN/A (No GPS)GreatGreatGreatYes
AlertsSound/VisualVibrate/VisualSound/Visual/VibrateVisual/VibrateVibration/Display (no audio/beep)
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreatGood
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoWatchfaces onlyNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Can control phone musicNoYesNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoYesNoNo
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoYes (via phone)NoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AN/AN/AYesN/A
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AN/AN/ANoN/A
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesNoYesYesNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionNoYesNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesNoYES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)YesNo
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Running PowerNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoYesYesYesNo
Race PredictorNoNoNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNonoYesNo
Run/Walk ModeNoNoYesNoNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Designed for swimmingNoYesNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)YesSorta
Openwater swimming modeN/AYesN/AYesNo
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesN/AYesNo
Record HR underwaterNoYesN/AYesYes (optical HR)
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesN/AYesNo
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesN/AYesNo
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANoN/ANoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureN/AYesN/ANoNo
Change pool sizeN/AYesN/AYEsNo
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A20M/Y to 250 m/yN/A15m/y to 1,200m/yNo
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesN/AYesYes
Can change yards to metersN/AYesN/AYesNo
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesN/AYesNo
Indoor AlertsN/AN/AN/ANoTime
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoYesNo
Multisport modeN/ANoNoYesNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Create/Follow custom workoutsFR60 OnlyYesYesNoYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesSorta (offers structured workouts)YesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoSorta (offers daily workoutsYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesNo
Virtual Partner FeatureYesNo (but can give out of zone information)Virtual PacerNoNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoYesNoNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNoNO
Weather Display (live data)NoNoYesNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoNoYesNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoYesNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Back to startN/ANoNoYesNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationN/ANoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoYesNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Altimeter TypeNoGPSNoGPSN/A
Compass TypeN/AN/ANoneN/AN/A
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)NoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)YesNoNoNoNO
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesNoYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoYes (+ Stryd Running Power Meter)No
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoN/ANo--
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
PC ApplicationGTC/ANT AgentPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacGarmin Express (PC/Mac)PC/MacPC/Mac (Polar Flow)
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectPolar FlowGarmin ConnectSuunto MovescountYes
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoAutomatic via online
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)N/ALinkLinkN/A
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 60/70Polar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45SSuunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HRPolar M200
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

In short, the 305 and 310XT are targeted towards the triathlon crowd, while the FR-60 and Forerunner 405 are targeted towards the running crowd.  While both the FR-60 and FR-405 can do cycling, it’s simply a matter of not doing it as well as the 305/310XT.  Meaning, the screen is harder to read on a bike than that of the 305/310XT, and the lack of multisport mode is a huge differentiator as well (this feature allows you to change sports with the press of a single button, ideal for a triathlon race).  Here’s all my previous Garmin Forerunner reviews:

Garmin Forerunner 305 In Depth Review
Garmin Forerunner 310XT In Depth Review
Garmin Forerunner 405 In Depth Review

Bundling:

If you start to do research on the FR-60 the first thing you may notice is the number of different colors it comes in.  The next thing you may notice is that you can’t just pick whichever color you’d like.  Nope, you have to pick a certain bundle – and that bundle in turn comes with specific accessories.  To start with, let’s look at all the colors available:

FR-60 Color Options

Ok, with me so far?

Good, cause here’s where it gets messy.  Real messy.

Now, depending on which color you want, you are forced to get (or not get) certain accessories.  So let’s take that pretty picture above, and overlay the required accessories (heart rate strap, foot pod, USB stick) below:

FR-60 Bundle Options

(For the record, if you actually split out the two different men’s and women’s black bundle and plain options, then it gets even messier)

Of course, you can always buy accessories that aren’t included in the bundle – and in general, the bundle doesn’t save you any more money than just buying them individually (with the exception of the foot pod, it usually saves a ton there).  So no harm no foul there.  But what if you (like my girlfriend) want the pink version, but already have all the accessories?  Well, you’re out of luck.  You have to buy the whole package.

Now, here’s where it gets a bit weirder too.  There are actually male and female versions of the watch…driven by color.  The only real difference between the two versions is the band size, which varies slightly – but are primarily a color thing.

Speaking of bundles, here’s some of the prices associated with each bundle – from Amazon.

(Full disclosure note: If you happen to find this review useful, and happen to purchase anything from any of these links, I get a few percent back from Amazon.  This review has taken me about 25 hours to write, and dozens more hours playing with the FR-60.  I don’t make any money on writing these, so the above is an experiment to see if I can recoup some money to put towards picking up future devices to review.  So far though, I think I’ve only made enough to cover a 5K race…)

Here’s the simplified accessories table:

Accessory name/Description

Retail Price

Amazon Price

Heart Rate Strap (Classic)

$60

$37

Heart Rate Strap (Premium)

$70

$40

Running Footpod

$100

$90

ANT+ USB Stick

$50

$45

Bike Mount Kit (for FR60/FR405)

$15

$14

Cycling Speed/Cadence Sensor

$60

$40

Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ Weight Scale (My Review here)

$279

N/A

Pros/Cons:

Because all reviews must have a pro’s and con’s section, by law of the International Review Association of Me, I shall submit my own Pros and Cons section.  Though, if you’ve made it this far in the review, I’m going to assume (hope?) you’ve probably got the gist of the watch:

Pros:

  • Small Form Factor – looks just like a regular watch
  • Measures your run distance using a a very small and unobtrusive footpod
  • Super accurate once calibrated
  • Works just as well indoors as outdoors
  • Battery lasts a year (yes, a year!)
  • Waterproof to 50 meters
  • Functions as a normal watch (alarms, time, date, day, etc…)
  • Can associate with ANT+ gym equipment if available, as well as Tanita BC-1000 scale
  • Can store 20 hours of data

Cons:

  • No GPS, thus requires the foot pod or bike sensor
  • Somewhat expensive given the feature set, compared to rest of Garmin line (specifically Forerunner 305 these days)
  • Doesn’t link up with some ANT+ accessories (Power Meters for example)
  • Forced bundling options leave you spending more than you might want to
  • No elevation/altitude/altimeter

Summary:

All in all, the FR-60 is my favorite watch for all around use.  And from a Garmin standpoint, it ranks second only to the Forerunner 310XT.  If you’re a new runner looking to get into some basic run and cycling data, the FR-60 makes for a great choice.

But even in my case as an ‘advanced runner’, I love the FR-60 because of the fact that it’s small and normal looking, and I always have it on me.  I know that at any point in time the watch is ready to jump into action – such as on a training run or in a race if my primary watch fails me or if I don’t want to carry the bulkier one along.  And finally, with the addition of the synchronization between the Tanita BC-1000 and the FR-60, it makes for an easy way to get my daily weight details recorded.  As I said before, I love it.  So much so that I ended up purchasing one for myself (the demo unit heads back tomorrow), and my girlfriend also liked it so much she ended up getting one too (pink, of course, in case you are curious…).

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated March 16th, 2016 @ 2:26 pm
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00
Garmin ANT+ Transfer USB Stick (large sized)$38.00
Garmin ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$49
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00
Lifesource UC-324 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale (My recommendation)$109.00
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!$55.00
Suunto ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$37
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)$70.00
Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale$215.00
Wahoo Fitness ANT+ iPhone Adapter (for uploading workouts wirelessly)$40.00

Thanks for reading!  As you’ probably realized, this post is just one of many different ones I do related to triathlon and running.  So if this interested you, check out my sidebar for many more posts like it.

And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  Further, you can always e-mail me at the address on the sidebar.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

 

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321 Comments

  1. It’s me again – some feedback on the FR60. I used the watch this weekend in a sprint triathlon, and set it to run mode before the swim. Then I used the lap timer to record the splits including transitions. I didn’t use it on the bike, or with the HR monitor (due to concerns over its waterproof-ness) but when I started the run it picked up the foot pod no problems. I may have pressed mode then start/enter again to get it to wake up (I was puffing too hard to recall exactly) BUT importantly, it didn’t reset my overall time. So I timed the whole tri, including the splits and was able to monitor my run pace and run cadence – the most crucial functions for a watch in a tri IMO (assuming you have a bike computer). So I am a happy FR60 owner as it meets my training and race needs.

  2. Brilliant review! Just what I have been looking for 🙂

    Thanks Raimaker.

  3. Jip

    If I want to use the FR60 with a foot pod, and if I have more than one pair of running shoes, will I need to re-calibrate the foot pod every time I move it to a different pair of shoes? Thanks.

  4. Thank you Rainmaker. I just bought the bundle. I have been comparing the forerunners for a while i.e reading reviews from all different web sites. I could never decide because of all the conflicting reviews. After reading your in depth review, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for to meet my needs as a runner with no need for a GPS. This is a fantastic review! Again, Thank you so much for your time testing this watch out, comparing it to others and for giving your professional opinions. Greatly appreciated.

  5. Anonymous

    Hi, thanks for your very interesting reviews.

    One question, you said you used FR60 to record splits while swimming but isaw on the FR60 manual that you shouldn’t push buttons underwater.
    So is the FR60 water resistant ? i don’t want to break my brand new watch 🙂

    thanks for your answer

    fabrice

  6. Jeff

    A great review of a great product. I have been using its predecessor, the FR 50 w/ HRM and foot pod, since May 2008 virtually trouble free. Two points not mentioned much in previous posts. (1) Because the foot pod counts steps, it’s easy to calculate stride length and frequency, and it’s helped me gradually increase my leg speed. (2) Foot pod is pretty accurate with a single calibration but based on much analysis of data, there’s a strong correlation between pace and calibration factor. For example, running a 5k race at 6:45 pace and calibration factor of 1.025 (for me) gives spot on distance, whereas I’ll reset to say 0.99 for an 8:40 training run. After a while, you get a feel for the right calibration factor for a given pace. I know, you want the watch to tell you exactly how far you’ve run under any circumstances but that’s asking a lot of the foot pod. Keeping track of the calibration factor (CF) setting, known distance, and pace for a few runs of varying speed will help you choose the right CF for the pace of run you plan. It helps to know actual distances too. Many uncertified races are notoriously off in distance. I’ve measured all my training courses with calibrated Jones/Orth counter (the one used for race distance calibration ) and know the distances I’ve run. Also, the ruler function using path on Google Earth is extremely accurate to measure distance run.

  7. Anonymous

    So great review!
    That helped me taking final decision after hours spent on finding the ideal one. I found other good ones but there was always something not working well. Now I found it: Garmin FR60+foot pod and I can change batteries myself 🙂

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. @Jeff, how off would the distance be if the pace changes? because it would be very disappointing to use it during days when you do intervals (run/jog/run).

  10. Jeff

    Response to oldSAP. I don’t rely on FR60 (or FR 50) for exact distances. Even a GPS can be off a bit on that. When I do intervals on the track, I hit lap button at start and finish of each lap, get nice graphs of heart rate, cadence, pace etc. Without changing calibration setting, generally the most distance would be off with varying pace would be a few percent. On my general training runs, varying from about 7:45 to 9:00 pace and calibration setting left at 0.99, I’m generally within maybe 0.05 mile on a 4 mile run. It’s not perfect, but the graphs really help you to look at a run in detail. A lot of info is provided.

  11. Anonymous

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Thanks for the review!

    I’ve been a big fan of the FR50, so was pissed when the strap broke on the first one i had…but then I swiped the one I’d bought for my sister who’d since stopped running…but the now the strap has gone on that one too….is this a common issue? I live in india so getting replacement straps is tricky, do you think the strap on the FR60 is any hardier?

    Cheers, Matt

  12. Anonymous

    Hi rainmaker,

    thanks so much for this. it inspired me to get the fr60. question… I can’t work out how to properly set an alarm so that it beeps when my heart rate goes over a certain level.once i go into the alerts section it only seems to let me enter an alarm which goes off when i go under a certain heart rate not over? any insights?

  13. Jeff

    I had same problem with strap. Garmin does not sell replacements. Buy an inexpensive nylon webbing type strap and fold it through the holes. Very secure and lasts forever.

  14. Darryll

    1st time blogger !! and that say’s something about your review,so much info and in easy to understand terms,knowing that your not trying to sell the item aswell.came off your blog and purchased the garmin fr60, can’t wait now to have a play !! its got everything that I need at my level.

    Thanks for a great review
    cheers
    Darryll

  15. Hi,
    It would be helpful if you can give a comparative chart on FR50,FR60 & FR70.
    I have read excellent reviews in your site about FR60 but with no comparison it leaves a vacuum in this segment.

    Cheers!

    Sachin

  16. wapman

    Hello Mr Rainmaker

    Fantastic reviews on all products, it definitely helped me make up my mind on which HRM to choose.There’s a lot of information out there, most of it pretty confusing,but your reviews put everything in perspective. Keep up the good work!

  17. Anonymous

    my FR 60 has been off lately alhtough I just calibrated it. does the foot pod need to be changed regularly as well?
    thanks

  18. Anonymous

    One thing I may have missed in this review is the content of the data fields you can use, as listed in the owners manual, and training alerts.

    link to support.garmin.com

    I bought this watch a little over one year ago based largely on your review, it’s awesome, does everything I need it to do & more (for running) and general fitness exercise, plus the added capability for biking and swimming. Someday I’ll get to that.

    I’ve recommended your site numerous times based on your thorough reviews & my own practical experience with this product.

    Thanks so much.

  19. Anonymous

    Fantastic review. Got the FR60 for Christmas. Thanks for the review from this Australian reader

  20. Anonymous

    Hi Rain and followers

    Congratulations for the great blog.

    I bought a FR60 and was really delaying to change my old Polar F6 for it.

    I used the Polar F6 for almost 5 years for some running, biking and swimming. As you wrote, FR60 doesn’t give me the reading of heart rate while swimming as F6 does.

    Well, but my question is another, very basic one.
    After finishing an activity with the Polar F6, for example, a running, I just stopped and stored the data from that run after all the previous ones. The next time I started the F6 I would only “start it” to have a new file/workout.

    I run yesterday and stopped my FR60. Today, when I went running again, I pressed “mode/start” (displaying my HR) and it started from the time I run yesterday. I mean, I run 54 min yesterday and, today, when I went running again, it started from 54 min, not from zero.

    Do I need to send the FR60 data to my computer as I can have it ready for the next workout? If not, how do I solve this? When using Polar F6, it was very easy to have my workouts stored on it.

    Sorry for my English. I’m not a native speaker…

  21. Hi Ray,
    I love your site and all the great info and stories that you provide. Long story short, I dropped my FR60 in a hot tub and accidentally forgot it for 36 hrs. Mind you this was after running in a 200 mile Ragnar relay race from Miami to Key West as part of the DC running group Team Beer Run. Needless to say I really hope the watch and the data I saved as part of my journey survives. I’ll let you know how the FR60 turns out. If you are ever interested in following or joing our DC running team (for fun not for performance) visit us on twitter @team_beer_run. All the best ,Ron

  22. Hi, this watch is compatible with the speed sensor and cadence sensor ANT + non-garmin

  23. Anonymous

    A reviewer of the FR60 on Amazon states “I figured out that most of the results (such as calorie counting) cannot be found on the watch itself but only on the garmin website after downloading workouts. If you are looking for a watch that displays calorie count, this is NOT the one.”

    Is this true?

  24. Ray,
    Here’s a follow up to the hot tub vs Garmin FR60. And the winner is…FR60! The watch had some water vapor in the face but not that bad. I did not press any buttons for a couple of days before I had an opportunity to remove the back plate, battery, and thoroughly dry the watch. It works as if nothing happened. I simply res-ynched the watch with my HRM, footpod, and bike sensor and was good to go.

  25. Great review, thanks.
    I am really interested in the FR60. My main sport is rowing. I am wondering whether the footpod can be used (i) to register cadence (or stroke rate) (ii) speed and pace. My reasoning being that rowing consists of a similar cyclic motion albeit that for each stroke you would move further than for each step. If you could calibrate it to take account of this? I noticed that someone has tried using it for kayaking but ended up developing their own pod. Even if it could not be fully calibrated do you think it would pick up the motion or do you know of anyone who has tried something similar?

    Thanks
    Dave

  26. Anonymous

    Sensational review. Extremely helpful and thorough. Convinced me to buy one. Thanks a heap.
    Cheers, Cam
    (Melbourne, Australia)

  27. Hi Rainmaker, I had the FR60 for about a year now, but recently it had problem picking up signal from the foot pod. I replaced the battery, paired it with the watch again. It works for a day or two and then failed to communicate with the foot pod again. I called Garmin and they asked me to reset the watch but it still doesn’t work. Any suggestion?

  28. Nancy C

    Re: FR60 watch strap, womens.

    This is my 3rd FR60 where the watch strap has torn where it connects to the watch. The first two were replaced by Garmin but when the last replacement also tore I was told that they would only warrant it for 90 days. Naturally this 3rd watch has torn as well. This is due to the strap being one molded piece and is clearly a design flaw. All broke in less than a year. I can’t believe Garmin continues to sell this item made this way.

    I have the 210 and the Edge, for my bike, but really love the simplicity of the FR60 for daily cardio and strength work outs.

    Do you know if the mens FR60 has a different strap or if the FR70 has rectified this problem?

  29. Hi Nancy-

    Yes, the FR70’s only claim to fame is actually just the strap, aiming to fix exactly the problem you described. In fact, that’s the ONLY thing that changed on the watch between the FR60 and FR70.

    Hope this helps!

  30. Nancy C

    Thank you. I didn’t want to learn a new brand like Polar, so will opt for the FR70.

  31. Anonymous

    Adel

    I have a fr60, but have trouble after about 7km that when running outdoors my Garmin starts gaining km’s. I can be doing 21km’s and it will show that I have just done 52 km! Th support centre told me that I have to re-calibrate for TM running and them again for outdoors. Surely there cannot be this kind of discrepancy!

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Thanks for all your detail rich writings 🙂

    I run and ride recumbent. I cannot use single speed/cadence unit because bb is far ahead in front boom.

    Is it possible to use TWO units (Bontrager – Garmin) instead of one?

  34. Hi Pasi-

    While some Garmin units do support the seperated ANT+ speed and ANT+ cadence sensors, the FR60 is not one of those.

    The Timex Global Trainer, and FR910XT do however.

    One option (depending on how handy you are) is to check out the Wahoo combo Speed/Cadence sensor, which has a small wire in between it. You can actually cut that wire, then extend it with simple wire from home depot. I played around with this a bit. Not the most elegant solution, but it would work and save you from having to get a different watch.

  35. Heh. Thanks.

    I actually order earlier today that Wahoo piece. That 10cm wire could be enough – if i build a little extension stick to my 152mm cranks. And – (second) if i can tigth spoke magnet really near rim or even glued magnet to rim wall.

    Cutting and adding more wire between cadence and speed sensors is good advice and possibility. It could really made that possible.

    If that doesn’t work. I took cadence option – hr and cadence is that information what i need.

  36. Oh. I haven’t notice that page. Thanks again.

    link to dcrainmaker.com

  37. Anonymous

    I do not have a track nearby and am getting confused reading all these posts. If my watch says that I am not running as far as the acutal distance, should I increase the percentage or decrease, thanks.
    SPP

  38. Simple question.

    Can FR 60/70 send sound signals at specific time intervals?

    I am running on a track and I have fixed amounts of time for my laps. When half of that amount is spent I need to be crossing the halfway line and when time finishes I need to be crossing the finish line.

    I need three signals (time starts, 1/2 of time amount, time finishes) so I can adjust my speed. Up until now I have a guy blowing a whistle…

  39. thank you for your review, it was very helpful.. i am a hobby runner and been only running for a year and i am planning to buy a sportswatch and now i think i know what to buy! i’ve been using a nike sportsband or my nike gps in my iphone since i began running and now i want to buy a real watch..at first i was thinking of the new nike sportswatch and then i read the reviews about it picking up gps signals very slowly(one even mentioned she waited 14 mins before she acquired a gps signal). just one question though: ist the size of its footpod similar to nike sensor? thanks!

  40. asabrina

    Hiya Rainmaker,

    Just bought my FR60–my first running watch! I love it, but quick question: when you timed your splits for swimming laps in your review, how exactly did you do that? Sorry for the silly question. I’m new to the watch thing and am still figuring it all out. Thanks!

  41. Hi Eaglos-

    Yes, you can do alerts based on time.

    Hi Glori-

    Yup, the size of the footpod is virtually identical to that of the Nike footpod (though, very different technologies).

    Hi Asabrina-

    While using the watch, just press the lap/split button on the side- which will create splits/laps that can be viewed later.

    Enjoy!

  42. Rainmaker, loved this review as well as the Duotrap review. Question, do you know if the FR60 will capture cadence and calories utilizing the Duotrap device. I can capture the data with the foot pod, but struggling with the Duotrap device. Everything is turned on, but it’s a no go.

    Thanks!

  43. Yup, it is compatible with the Duotrap SPD/CAD sensor. Be sure to be in cycling/bike mode, then go to pair the SPD/CAD sensor there. No issues though.

  44. Hallo Rainmaker

    I’m considering buying the FR60 for my wife. Sometimes she runs and other times she walks. Will the footpod work measure accurately for both types of training?

  45. Generally speaking, yes, it’s fine. I often do walk chunks in the middle of my run intervals (as part of the rest component), and it tracks the walk without issue. Enjoy!

  46. Camille

    Hi! I’ve had a Garmin FR 50 for 3 years, and the band is starting to break. I’m thinking about upgrading to the FR 60 or 70. The FR 50 had two easy to change Interval Timers. Do the FR 60/70 watches continue to have the two interval timers? Also, I have a foot pod and HR monitor for the FR 50, and was wondering if they’re compatible with the FR 60/70?

  47. I’m a little frustrated, to say the least. About a year ago I changed the battery on my FR60. After my first run with the new battery the FR60 started to have problems.

    Moisture showed on the front of the watch and it was pretty much shot. I sent the watch back to Garmin and they sent me another one. Things worked fine until the battery died.

    This time I took the FR60 to watch repair shop to have the battery replaced. Well, I’m sad to say that I’m having the same issues.

    Is this happening to anyone else???

  48. rkkeliikoa

    Thank you so much for your review of the FR60. I ran aross it while digging for info on a decent moderatly priced running watch to replace my ironman after the band broke for the thousanth time. I decided to join the 21st century and get a heart monitor but did not have a bunch of money to invest, nor did I want a piece of equipment larger than my head, that was supposed to be worn on my wrist (very small wrist I might add) while I run. After reading your review and seeing the photos of the FR60 I decided to invest in the women’s bundle and will most certainly be back to your site to set it up. Again thank you for making the complicated simple.

  49. Anonymous

    This is a great product feature wise. Unfortunately, it will not switch between running and biking while keeping a cumulative time from my experience. After 2.5 years the wrist band is cracked and tearing. It is falling off my wrist. Garmin will replace the wrist strap for $50 USD, but you can not replace it yourself. It is molded on. I have run many marathons with it and jumped off of a 48 foot cliff into water below with no issues previously. I am not sure how deep I went, but I weigh 170 pounds if you want to do the calculations. However, just a splash of salt water without submersion destroyed the unit this past weekend. The battery lasts right at one year as advertised. I had no problem with water after changing the battery, but I was meticulously careful with the sealing gasket. It is a bit tricky. I had been running and washing it for six months in water since the last battery change. My conclusion is that this is a great product, but not very durable. Do not expect it to last longer than two years. I think that is pretty weak. My old $30 USD Timex watches always lasted six years on a single battery. I expected at least this up to ten years by replacing the battery on the FR-60. I am very disappointed.

  50. Thank you for this valuable information, I hope it is okay that I bookmarked your website for further references.
    link to ea3ltd.com

  51. I have owned my FR60 for about a year and a half and have been pretty satisfied until a few weeks ago. All of a sudden the HRM stopped working. The HRM would not link up with the watch. I tried replacing the battery, reversing polarity…all of the tricks I found on line. I contacted Garmin and they suggested the same things that I had already tried. I tried them again and then contacted Garmin a second time. This time they told me to buy a new HRM. I am not a happy camper. If I do buy a new HRM, which one do you recommend? I love your reviews!

  52. Hello Ray,
    yes i know this review of your is roughly 2 years old already but after reading – cant count how many times already. decided to buy myself the bundle and one with the HRM for my better half. i strayed away from my 305 and bought one even before it`s still working well – having it replaced here in Asia will be an issue. Thanks again and appreciate it!

    dennis

  53. Anonymous

    I’m looking for the 2.40 firmware for the FR60.

    Can somebody upload it ?

    Thanks

  54. Anonymous

    Hi, I’ve never commented on anything online before but as a beginner runner training for my first half marathon, I have found your review invaluable and intend to purchase the FR60 tomorrow. I have been rather overwhelmed by the range of pedometers and training devises and how wildly the reviews for any one item vary. I felt your essay, however, was so exhaustive I thoroughly trust that you know what you’re talking about, which is jolly useful as I do not, not when it comes to running anyway. So thanks from a no-longer-as-confused novice.

  55. Jeff

    I’ve used my FR 50 every day since May 2008 (more than 1,500 runs) with virtually no problems – until recently. In early August I pushed and held lap/reset to save just-finished run just like always, and screen went wild with random characters and both current run and History were lost. Memory EMPTY! At about this time HRM started acting up too. For about two weeks, it would start at ridiculously low HR and only start registering accurately after 2-5 minutes and be fine for the remainder of the run. Then it would start sending no HR to watch (- – -) and only start working after several minutes. Now the watch picks up nothing at all for HR. (Footpod has been a gem throughout). Tried all the tricks to fix HRM – nothing. And I’ve randomly lost current run and history a couple more times since then. My dilemma is this: Could the HRM problem really be a watch problem or was it just coincidence that the two problems started at the same time? Is there any way to test? So, I guess my choices are: (1) buy new HRM and hope that was the problem, or (2) buy new FR 70. If I go with (1) and that doesn’t solve the problem, then I have to do (2) and end up with 2 HRMs since I don’t think the FR 70 can be bought with watch alone. One last question: Will my FR 50 footpod work with FR 60/70? Thanks for great site and posts and any ideas will be helpful.

  56. Jake

    DC Rainmaker — great site. After a lot of reading here I settled on a FR70.

    Question – to avoid switching the foot pod from shoe to shoe, I was thinking of just strapping it to a road id anklet. It does not flop around at all, but I saw one of your comments saying the pod should be lower on the shoe.

    Thoughts?

  57. Shikken

    Hi Rainmaker. I have just bought an FR60, my first watch ever with an HRM and footpod. All a bit baffling for a first-timer but your excellent review got me started. It won’t pick up the footpod but maybe I just need to get a new battery – I think it was a demo unit as it was marked down to 1/3 price!
    Thanks for a great review/how to.

  58. boodzik

    I really like your reviews. I’m lucky owner of fr 60 for over 3 years. I come up with some crazy idea. What about putting the footpod on the wrist together with the watch and calibrate it for open water swimming. Could it work? I will try when next time in the pool swimming.

  59. boodzik

    It doesn’t work.

  60. Vincent

    hi Rainmacker,
    I google but cannot get the result of my search. Is FR60 can view steps count per minute on screen while running?

    It is quite important to me at least.

    Hope can hear from you soon. I like your blog so much. In future, if you want design your site. I can design free for you. 😉
    thanks.

  61. It doesn’t do steps per minute. Sorry!

    • Mike Johnshoy

      Hi – love your reviews!

      But the answer here should have been that the FR60 and FR70 _do_ show strides per minute while running, as long as you have the shoe pod on.

    • Rainmaker

      Nope, you’re absolutely right. My brain translated that as straight steps (despite me typing it above), which it can’t do. I use SPM on a daily basis in my workouts. Sorry, brain fart!

  62. Scantron

    Thanks for the review DCR! I stumbled upon this watch while at BestBuy… found it stuffed behind newer Garmin devices… and picked up the watch/HRM/footpod/ANT+ stick bundle for only $86, which seemed pretty reasonable. I’ve been using it for two weeks and I love it. Having accurate real-time running pace is important to me because I’m looking to PR at an upcoming 1/2 marathon, so I was delighted to find a sub-$100 watch with footpod that gives me more accurate real-time pace readings than the $500 910xt I was considering buying.

    One thing to note for those thinking about buying this device (or other Garmin devices), is that the Auto Pause feature is not compatible with TrainingPeaks. TP acknowledges this issue on their support page: link to support.trainingpeaks.com

    If you have Auto Pause turned on, Garmin Connect will tell you both your Average Pace and your Average Moving Pace, but TrainingPeaks will show only the Average Pace–including the time you spent in Auto Pause. Obviously this will affect your average pace for the run as a whole, so it’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking at your data and wondering why your avg pace is so slow. I think the only solution is to manually pause the workout at stoplights or use the lap button to isolate pauses into laps, then view your TP data with those laps excluded.

  63. Pierre

    Hi Champ! Amazing work, time and time again! Full of valuable information on all these products and it’s extremely helpful.
    My only suggestion, and I hope you don’t mind as I’m only thinking of how yu can make it all PERFECT, is that don’t use apostrophes with plurals. Such as gyms, pros, cons. Plurals only call for an S and the quality of your work calls for that ultimate improvement…

  64. Brad

    Fantastic reviews, although I appreciated the info I must say you’ve killed a huge amount of my time 🙂

    I’m torn between the various units. I would like to start monitoring my HR & pedaling cadence. My main concern is screen size and alert method. Is this screen size easy to read at a quick glance and are the alert tones loud enough to hear while cycling?

    Thanks!

  65. Skipper

    You show the FR series working as a cycle computer with tha GSC 10, but does it log the data for sync or just display it?

  66. john

    does it have the maximum heart rate alert ?

  67. Bess Mulhern

    has anyone had problems after changing the batteries in the watch & foot pod? The battery in my watch finally bit the dust after about 1,000 miles and I’m going to replace it today.

  68. Cheryl

    A simple question, is the harm waterproof? I want to wear it during adventure races.
    Thanks

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, absolutely. Many triathletes wear it during the swim leg of the race (like myself), even though it doesn’t capture data then, it’ll at least be ready for the bike/run legs.

      Enjoy!

  69. Dianne

    Can the FR60 keep count of calories burned during aerobic exercise or circuit training? If so how do you set it up?

  70. michael

    I’ve had two FR60’s. The first one I had to replace after 12 months because the rubber on the band perished. It was just out of warranty and Garmin told me they wouldn’t sell me a band because then they wouldn’t be able to guarantee waterproofness, and that I’d have to pay US$100 for a replacement, second hand watch. Fortunately a friend who worked at a Garmin retailer got it replaced on their warranty arrangement. Garmin number 2 I’ve had for 2 years, and took care not to wear it for anything but training to reduce UV exposure. This week the battery went flat, and when trying to replace it at a jeweler’s shop, the watch simply gave a non-responsive ‘error’ message. There’s nothing I can do to reset it, and upon googling I found this is a common problem.
    The watch works ok when it works, but it’s not a market-ready product, Garmin customer service is appalling and you should be prepared to pay $100 for a new watch every year or two.

  71. Ashley

    I have a BodyMedia, what product you recommend to work with that the best???

    • Rainmaker

      Kinda hard to say. BodyMedia is doing something a bit different (tracking day to day activity or calories). What I’d recommend then is to check out the Garmin FR10 instead – it’s $129, doesn’t do HR, but does do GPS distance/pace/etc… pretty well.

  72. Rogerio

    Is it possible to track time spent in a given heart rate zone while training? For example, if my goal is 30 min in fat burn heart rate zone, is that a way to set the watch to show this piece of information while on training?

  73. Didn’t read all the comments so you may have already answered this. Any tricks to using the HR monitor while swimming? Mine worked the first two minutes and then picked up nothing. Appreciate your in depth reviews, most helpful I have found!

  74. Amanda

    Thanks for your very detailed reviews! You just saved me a bundle. My husband had an FR60 that he wasn’t using any more. With your reviews we determined that it would work perfectly for what I needed and saved us $. I was headed out to purchase the FR210 until I stumbled across your reviews. I especially appreciated your size comparisons between models, as a woman with a small build. Thank you!

  75. Can you replace the battery? You mentioned it only lasts a year.. and no charging!

  76. Himanshu Agnihotri

    Hi,

    I love your FR60 review. I need your advice on buying my 1st GPS watch. I am into brisk walking everyday and not much Running though I do intend to have a mix of both in my regular workouts. I am fed up with using mobile GPS apps on my iphone which are so error prone. Pls do tell me which watch to go for Garmin or any other band. My research points to FR70 as decent enough.

    Thanks in advance for the guidance sought.

  77. Tina

    Thank you so much for this review. My husband and I will be doing the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in 2015 and I’ve been looking for a watch to give us time and distance. I would also like the watch to run on battery as we will have backpacks that need to stay light (so lugging a charger is not a great option). Do you think this watch would be the best option? I like the look as it’s smaller. I’m thinking of this for my husband’s Christmas present. I am worried about the battery though when I saw previous reviews say the watch didn’t work when they changed the battery.

    Thank you again.

    • It’s a good option, but honestly 2015 is a long way off. That said, for footpod-focused without any battery concerns, this will easily go the distance (battery lasts a year before you need to swap out the tiny coin cell battery).

  78. JakiChan

    Would you recommend the FR60 as an alternative to a standard Polar HRM? My F6 is dying and I need a replacement and downloading gym workouts would be great.

    • It’s definitely a good option. It won’t track movement like elliptical or weights, but as long as you’re wearing the HR strap it’ll track the HR data and upload it later against a timeline. And, it’ll give you calorie data. The footpod will give you stride rate while running, but won’t give you steps (it’ll give you total distance though). Enjoy!

  79. Christopher Peisher

    Your charts says that this watch supports the ability to create and follow custom workouts. Can you create a workout in garmin connect and download it to the watch like with the 910xt?

    • Yes, you can. Do keep in mind though that the FR60 isn’t GPS. So you’ll need to buy the other sensors.

      Honestly, given what you noted below, I’d go with the FR310XT. You can find it on sale pretty much all the time for about $170ish.

  80. Christopher Peisher

    Just a follow up to the above post, i’m trying to get an entry level, ~$150, GPS watch for my wife that allows custom workout creation. I have a 910xt so i am accustomed to the Garmin connect platform and would be able to help her with workouts on anything that allows garmin connect custom workouts to be sent to the watch. Would this watch be a good candidate or should i look for an older model like a 305/310?

  81. Carmela

    Hi, Rainmaker, thanks for your nice FR60 review.

    I want to buy a pulsometer for running qand spinning and I’d like a coded one to avoid interferences with the pulsometers of other users, is the FR60’s HR coded ?

    Another question is, if it is possible to see the %fcmax during spinning sesions?

    Thanks,

    • Yes, all ANT+ devices (which is what all Garmin straps/units use) are coded and paired, just like pairing a Bluetooth item on your phone.

      You can add % HR to a data field, no problem.

  82. Carmela

    Thanks, Rainmaker

    Then I´ll buy the FR70 device because FR60 seems to be decatalogued.

    Have both same functions?

    Thank you, again

  83. tiquibola

    Hi, another cuestion else, fat burn in grams is displayed??

    Thanks!

  84. John

    G’Day mate,
    Very detailed review. I am a PT. I run a couple of times a week, box, TRX and kettlebell. Just want a watch which tracks my Heart Rate(as I am getting older) and gives me calorie burn. GPS would be nice but not necessary. According to everything you have written I am guessing I should go with the FR60 or FR 310XT? Is that a fair judgement. Which one do you recommend?

  85. Gurps

    Hi, Great review, very in depth.. I am interested in buying the Garmin Forerunner FR60 Men’s Sports Watch

    link to ebay.co.uk

    from the link above however I wanted to know in order to keep see my heart rate whilst doing activity would I need to have a heart rate strap as well? so without it would not measure my heart rate?

    Thanks

    Look forward to your response

    • Yes, you’ll need the heart rate strap. Any ANT+ HR strap will do however, as long as it has the ANT+ logo. Most folks just go with a Garmin HR strap.

  86. Matthew Siddons

    Beware the FR60 and the Error on screen Fault – My partners FR60 got this fault after 15 months and approximately 500 miles – we had the battery changed after 9 months and it was in for a 2nd battery change but after changing the battery the 2nd time – the unit is now useless with an Error message on screen – this is apparently a popular occurrence judging by all of the other forum complaints. Garmin are happy to just shrug their shoulders and say its not their problem unless I want to pay for a refurb. What a Disgrace! Seriously avoid the FR60 or you will be very disappointed when this happens to you. Thanks Matt

  87. Vic

    Ray,

    I bought the FR60 based on your review. Served me very very well, and still is, after 3+ years. Love the always ready, single purpose design of the FR60, the wireless uploading with Mac and battery life. Garmin Connect is good enough. Thanks a lot! Time to upgrade, with a US business trip next week providing the opportunity to order with Clever.

    Choices, choices, … Hesitating between the FR620, now that it has cycling, and Ambit 2S, now that it is discounted.

    Any advice?

    I am a casual runner (30km per week) with some fair weather cycling (80km per week in summer), no racing. And a tech nerd… Travel a lot (but not as crazy as you) without upload possibility so need memory. Have ANT+ footpad, speed/cadence and bike display. Don’t carry a phone during jogging and leave it off while riding. Don’t intend to use as a normal watch. Reason for upgrade would be primarily GPS functionality (recording and get back to hotel during travel). And some additional interval training settings. And the joy of a new toy. Looking for 2 years usage, and then newer and better (matured standalone Apple Watch?).

    Current thinking: FR620 would be better fit to my profile, Ambit 2 S cheaper but might regret because of complexity due to non-used functionality.

    Thanks in advance!

    • That’s tough. Normally I’d say go with the Ambit2S as you noted, but since you have a Garmin history log – that’s more of a factor than others.

      I’d agree the FR620 makes a lot of sense otherwise, and it’s too bad the FR220 doesn’t have a bike mode since that’d make it eas.

    • vic

      Thanks for the quick reply Ray, much appreciated. Decided on the FR620.

  88. Niels

    Hey,

    Good and clear review (as usual).

    Based on it, I have two specific questions.

    Background info:

    I’m mostly a cyclist, for which I already have a bike GPS (Mio Cyclo 315HC). Recently, I started doing some running as well (3x week), but with a basic polar machine (heartrate only) so I’m lacking some running info (speed etc.).
    Now I’m looking for a watch that can combine info from my cycling and running (speed, heart rate, time and cadence). I don’t like recharging every few days and I don’t need routing functionality while running, so I prefer non-GPS.
    FR60/70 looks quite an interesting option for me, because it is non-GPS and I already have MIO ant+ heart rate strap and ant+ speed/cadence on my road bike so I assume I can leverage these on the FR60/70. That way I only need the watch + food pod.

    Concrete questions:
    1) Next to a road bike for longer weekend rides, I use a MTB daily for home-work travel. Now I would like to differentiate between trainings on road bike and MTB in my recordings (to know for example how many K’s I have done on my tires for replacement purposes). I read in the review that you only have one bike profile on the FR60/70, but is there any way to do this afterwards in one of the training softwares (Garmin or others)? For example a customizable field in which I can indicate the bike type (and on which I can report afterwards).
    2) Based on my info, so running and lots of cycling (on two bikes) with no need for additonal GPS but looking to leverage ant+ cadence/speed, do you see other options besides the Garmin FR60/70? I used your comparison chart, but don’t see anything in the same money category with ant+ compatibility.

    Many thanks in advance!

  89. Chris

    Hey DC! I appreciate your reviews, I respect you.

    I calibrated my wife’s footpod to walking pace and it seems to work great.

    I’m wondering if the pace you calibrate the pod at really matters?

    I’m about to retire my 305 for an FR60 because I’m tired of the jagged pace graphs from the 305 and losing signal under the Seattle clouds.

    I’m a new runner and I absolutely love it. I want to save up for a 620 but it’s going to be a while. I entered your contest for the 920 but I didn’t win.

    Keep up the good work man.

    I’m up to an 8:40 continuous pace now and getting stronger.

    • Thanks Chris!

      Indeed, it does matter a bit. Ideally you want to find your ‘normal running’ pace, so roughly a long run pace. Basically you want a bit of a midpoint to go on.

      Have you tried the FR305 with a footpod instead, and then just selecting that as the speed source? Also – if you’re having issues with satellites on your FR305, first try a soft reset. Clouds shouldn’t impact it, but if it has a stuck satellite in memory, that can impact it and make it super-fickle in slightly non-ideal conditions. Quick and easy fix though.

  90. Chris

    Very important if you have an FR60 to update the software. You have to use the old Ant Agent and the communicator plugin.

    System Requirements:
    FR60 only
    PC running Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later operating system, OR
    PowerPC/Intel-based Mac running OS 10.4.11 or later
    Garmin Communicator Plugin — Check for updates
    Garmin ANT Agent — Check for updates
    Instructions:
    Internet Explorer users on Windows Vista or Windows 7 must add “buy.garmin.com”, “my.garmin.com” and “connect.garmin.com” to your list of Trusted Sites in the Security tab under Internet Options.
    Make sure you have paired your FR60 with the Garmin ANT Agent™ before attempting this software update.
    Make sure you have your USB ANT Stick™ plugged in and the Garmin ANT Agent running.
    Be sure to select your FR60 device. If you see another Garmin device and attempt to update the software, you could harm that connected device.
    Click on the Update Software button.
    Please wait while the ANT Agent transfers the update to your device.
    Release Notes:
    Latest release date: January 6, 2011

    Changes made from version 2.50 to 2.70:

    Improved communication with fitness equipment.
    Fix bug in lap counter for large number of laps.
    Fixed issue where watch could lock up when changing battery.

    Changes made from version 2.40 to 2.50:

    Fixed issue causing heart rate zones to be incorrect when setup from computer.
    Updated translations.

    Changes made from version 2.30 to 2.40:

    Added computation of calories from heart rate.
    Added auto delete of oldest activity when memory is full.
    Added stop of timer when workout is complete.
    Added advance of workout step when lap button is pressed on fitness equipment.
    Improved robustness of data transfer to watch.
    Updated translations.

  91. Luis

    Hi there,

    I know that this is an old product and the review has several years but I got one FR60 and I’m facing the same problem described in the following thread of garmin forums:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    As far I understand, the following answer it’s the nearest from the real cause:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    But, even if I choose to keep the profile in the device, I have the problem of the watch not saving the settings defined by myself.

    Does anybody know if there is a solution other than stop using Garmin Training Center?

  92. Kyra

    Hi there! Great review btw :). Thank you! I am wondering how accurate the calorie counter is? I’m wanting something to tell me how many calories I have burned per exercise. AND- do I have to wear the heart monitor in order for it to calculate my calories properly? Thanks :). Kyra

  93. Danilo Minervini

    I’m using FR210 with footpod (not the original from Garmin, but it’s the same hardware rebranded).
    It’s incredible. I really don’t believe how sharp it is.

    In my last 1500m race on track, I used it and for manual split.
    The split were: 400, 800, 1100, 1300, 1500.
    My FR210 display shows exactly 400,800,1100,1300,1500.

    I opened the .fit file with Turtlesport.
    The maximum error was 3m.

    The standard error of my FR210 with gps on the track is more than 30m for one lap.