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Tech Tidbits: Garmin GPS Offsets Again and PowerTap Units Discontinued

As we round out Wednesday, there’s a few tidbits of news that are definitely worth mentioning – especially this first one as a heads up for Garmin users to ensure you don’t get any wonky GPS tracks over the next day or so. Plus, a notable discontinuation of a power meter product set…at least for now.

Garmin GPS Offsets Show up Again:

GPSOffsets

This morning, readers started contacting me about GPS offsets for their Garmin devices, specifically the Sony GPS chipset based ones (e.g. Forerunner 45/245/945, Fenix 6, and a host of other newer units), showing the dreaded GPS offsets that we saw across numerous watch makers back the first week of January. You’ll remember that’s when GPS tracks were offset by sometimes hundreds of meters (or more) to one side or the other – as if they were shifted entirely. The problem ended up being a bad satellite cache file from Sony, which was then propagated down to GPS watches from Garmin, Suunto, Polar, Wahoo, and others. It was compounded by an unrelated so-called Week 52 bug, and then the whole thing was sent into the inferno over a holiday weekend.

In any case, comments started coming in this morning with folks reporting the same. I actually had a number of tests on Garmin watches this morning, but didn’t see the issue myself. Like before, this was/is more of a specific file retrieval timing issue – hence why it’s not as bad as previous.

I checked with Garmin, and they confirmed the issue has popped up again, saying (bolding mine):

“We are aware of the issue and already have the fix implemented (new file on server). Users should see this problem resolve on its own (no action necessary) within the next 24 hours.  Until the new file gets downloaded, users can wait a little longer (~5 minutes) when acquiring satellites to get a better fix.  We regret any inconvenience this has caused for our customers, and we are actively working on the changes necessary to eliminate this from happening again in the future.”

In checking back again with them, there’s no way to know whether or not your device has a good file or a bad file. Unlike back in January when you could roughly figure it out by the CPE status, they said this time that’ll stay the same either way. Thus, your best bet is simply to stick that watch in the window or on your doorstep and turning on GPS before heading out into the cold. Or, if you live in Australia, then simply enjoy an extra five minutes of sun. Your watch will automatically grab the correct file behind the scenes via its near-constant Bluetooth sync with the phone, or, syncs via WiFi or USB when it connects.

Again – like before, this is largely solved by letting the watch maintain an active GPS connection for a period of time, where it then updates the cache information it has about the satellites. You can easily do this by just sticking your watch outside and letting it record a 15-20 minute workout of nothingness. Then delete it afterward.

I don’t know at this point whether or not this impacts other vendors that use the Sony chipset (Garmin did confirm this only impacts the Sony chipset watches). Like with January, due to the pure numbers of Garmin devices out there compared to Polar/Suunto/Wahoo (roughly in the 40-50:1 range these days), it’ll take a bit longer for those other complaints to pop up (if at all). I didn’t see the issue on my Polar Grit X this morning (just as I didn’t see it on my Garmin watches).

PowerTap Hub & Pedals Discontinued:

Last week a DCR reader brought to my attention that the SRAM/Quarq website had quietly stopped selling PowerTap hubs and pedals. These would be the PowerTap G3 series wheel hubs, and PowerTap P2 Pedals. You’ll remember that SRAM/Quarq acquired the PowerTap brand from Saris almost two years ago, but planned to continue to sell the hubs and pedal lineups. And indeed, they did continue to both manufacture and sell them, as well as of course support them. They selected not to continue the C1 chainring lineup, since that sold relatively poorly (even before the acquisition).

I checked with Quarq (under SRAM, where the acquisition took place) about this, and sure enough, they have indeed discontinued selling of the G3 line and P2 pedal line. They will however continue to fulfill existing orders placed prior to shutting off the order spout, as well as continue to support all existing G3 & P2 customers (just as they’ve been doing for the last nearly two years).

In fact, you may remember a year ago when SRAM updated their AXS app to actually support the existing PowerTap products for things like calibration and firmware updates. In fact, I still use my PowerTap P1 and P2 pedal sets nearly daily on two different indoor bikes for accuracy testing.

In checking with Quarq’s co-founder, James Meyer, he noted that while they could have continued to make minor tweaks to those products to keep them in production, they decided to use those engineering hours to instead make “steps forward to a next generation of what those power meter technologies should be.”

We don’t know exactly what those new technologies will be yet (or if they’ll retain the PowerTap branding), but keep in mind that Quarq has reiterated numerous times that they didn’t buy PowerTap to kill it. In fact, they noted the reason they bought PowerTap was to continue those products and make future editions of them, specifically calling out interest in both the pedal and hub-based product lines and building atop them. You can read my original interview back then about it.

Either way, given Quarq and SRAM often announce products as a one-two punch between the first week of February, followed by what used to be the Sea Otter timeframe, and given it’s been a few years, and given that they did the first punch last week…it might not be long till that second punch.

With that – thanks for reading!

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78 Comments

  1. Ow funny, just had a gps problem this evening, it was completely off at the first 1,9km of my 6k run, never happened before! What is weird is that even though it was completely off those first 2km my run was only 50m shorter than normal!
    link to strava.com

    • DC D.

      Now I know why this afternoon’s run to meet a friend for coffee was the craziest GPS generated route I have ever had in many years-was off by .35 miles and had me on streets I never touched… unless it was Impeachment related Satellite interference here in Washington, DC. After coffee the run home was back to normal.

  2. Chad McNeese

    Thanks for the confirmation on the PowerTap products status. I was bummed to miss out on an upgrade on the P2’s since my P1’s have been quite reliable. Here’s hoping we will see some improved options on par with the Garmin and Favero pedals at least.

    You mention support for the G3 & P2 pedals. Does that mean the P1 owners are out of luck if/when we have issues, or are the P1 pedals close enough to the P2 that we can expect service for them too?

    • SRAM specifically said they “honor the full warranty period”. I don’t think it would have been possible to buy a P1 pedal anytime recently. But, perhaps wrong there. Knowing Quarq, I wouldn’t honestly expect any issues there calling support and getting assistance. After all, it’s virtually an identical pedal.

    • Chad McNeese

      I sure wouldn’t expect warranty specific service. I was thinking more about longer term maintenance and service, if there are issues like bearing wear. I did have a warranty issue with my first pair, where the bearings came loose on one side. PowerTap handled it and replaced or repaired them (don’t remember which).

      Just looking to the future if my P1s were to wear or come out of adjustment again, and wondering if I have fancy paperweights or dead pedals at that point. Sounds like it would be worth contacting Quarq in any case, and see where it goes.

      Thanks.

  3. Nathan Budd

    I wish they’d do a disc version of the G3. If they did I’d be all over it!

    • John

      In 2018, PowerTap announced (but never delivered) the G4 hub-based powermeter with support for standard 142mm thru-axles and off-the-shelf centerlock rotors. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Andrew

      It was quite far along when it was handed off to SRAM/Quarq, but given their aim to develop OEM-compatible powermeter solutions combined with SRAM’s staying mostly out of the wheel game I think it left the hub development in a bit of an odd spot.

    • John

      Yes, at this point I would be surprised to see any new powermeters from Quarq that didn’t have some sort of proprietary lock-in with SRAM, whether AXS road chainsets or DUB bottom brackets or their AIREA wireless protocol.

      Selling pedal-based or hub-based powermeters that could be used with a Shimano drivetrain doesn’t seem to be SRAM’s MO.

    • They did…It was called the “Pro” model, but uses the same G3 electronics “pod”. On the downside, it uses a proprietary disc, and the axle is QR only. I have one…just finished swapping it from a 26″ rim into a 650B rim.

    • “staying mostly out of the wheel game”?? They own Zipp, after all…

  4. Alejandro

    Today I had the GPS offset problems yo mentioned. The track was offset around 100m. I did 8 laps to the same circuit and every lap was seen different in the map, not repeatable at all. I hope this time they fix it definitely.

  5. AndreLM

    re:Powertap Pedals

    A few days ago there was some conversation in WeightWeenies about the sell of Time Bikes by Rossignol. Officially, Rossignol will continue making and selling Time pedals, but there was one comment (especulation) that all the IP and tooling to make the pedals would be transferred to SRAM.

    This is just a lot of speculation now, but if true, it would be the first non-Keo based PM pedals in the market, but not Shimano or Speedplay…. Who would have thought?

    • Mayhem

      And there we go, SRAM has indeed acquired the pedal part of Time Sport. Surely this must mean there are Quarq pedals coming based on PowerTap technology…

    • Chad McNeese

      Sure seems likely to be connected. Time’s got pedal options in road, MTB and “gravel”, so that would hopefully me a full line of products. I also happen to love the Time ATAC system, so getting power for that would be a dream on MTB and gravel for me. Road would be a comparison to Favero for me, but would be nice to have another option to consider.

  6. dr_lha

    I’m sure Quarq/SRAM will be coming out with a pedal based power meter. Seems like too much of a market to miss honestly.

    However, I can see hub based power meters going the way of the dodo.

  7. Serhiy Lukovenkov

    Same here in South Florida
    I had same run recorded by Fénix 6s Pro and iPhone
    Both had same lap baldy distorted.

  8. Serhiy Lukovenkov

    Same

  9. Gsaun

    Had the GPS offset problem this evening on my FENIX 6X Pro. Was offset by about a quarter mile to the North. I was running loops to be close to home and they eventually showed up correctly after about 15 minutes. But it sure is screwy.

  10. Marty

    I got a friend on that uses a Suunto 9 and had a funky track for the 1st 5-10mins of his run yesterday and then it sorted itself out.

  11. Alan C

    Hope they continue the G3 line since it’s a great product! It “just works” every time, unlike the Garmin Vector 3 pedals that I routinely fight with.

  12. Maggie

    Thanks for reporting on this! I had this GPS issue for the second time today. Your first article from January 2 came up when I Googled it, so I went back and checked the last time my GPS was off – yep, it was January 2. Then I saw your comment that it was happening again. I’m at least glad to know that my watch isn’t the problem.

  13. Scheerbart

    Garmin‘s lost. Buy Polar or any other brand. Garmin‘s just not worth the money anymore.

  14. Will

    I hope the next SRAM/PowerTap pedals remain with a replaceable battery.

    I’m less worried about reliability of rechargeable batteries, but it is yet another thing to remember to charge. With batteries you just swap out the old ones and you’re instantly good to go.

  15. John Tomac

    Maybe P1 and P2 pedals needs an update to make it more streamlined. An internal battery could be a good upgrade also. But the G3 hub it’s a great product with a lot of years of development! A G3 disc boost version for mountain bikers could be a nice product.

  16. Dushko Kantardjiev

    Hey Chad McNeese,
    My P1s went dead (electronics) in summer 2020 after 5 years and approx 20k km. Sent them to a repair center in UK (the other one’s in US), however were declared not repairable, no spare stock.
    In spite of long negotiations, SRAM refused to sell / replace with P2 and offered only Quark-based solution. I could smell at that time that they are parting away with PowerTap. Did not even bother to return the pedals back, could have been given to a child in a local club who needs to transition on clipless.
    Went on with Favero Assioma, brilliant experience in terms of functionality and responsiveness of the sales chain.
    Don’t bother with SRAM power meters, not on par with competition.
    Cheers mate

  17. pavlinux

    > “steps forward to a next generation of what those power meter technologies should be.”

    You don’t need any steps forward, you don’t need to break what works. No need to spend hours developing. They are already working. Children’s excuses.
    Just sell for $300.00. And the whole market will be yours.

    • Well, I’d argue that while the PowerTap pedals were/are largely accurate – they’re not necessarily working as well as they should.

      For example – they actually don’t properly broadcast dual-channel as a Bluetooth power meter, at least for how apps want it. For example, if you pair to Zwift (or almost any other app), you only get one side’s data doubled – not both channels. Other units (Assioma/SRM/Vector) don’t have this issue. There’s also weight/size aspects, they just aren’t competitive there.

      So while they could sell them as a budget power meter, I’m not sure that’s the right business move. And if there’s anything that power meter companies need to focus on in 2021 and beyond, it’s not going out of business. Selling a product well below the rest of the market wouldn’t really be smart (even if as a consumer it’d be great).

    • Antti Salonen

      The key issue with the Powertap pedals was always the reliability. I know about ten riders who bought the P1’s back in 2015 or 2016, myself included. Mine lasted about 7 months before they developed play in the bearings and the power measurement became erratic. For just one guy they lasted the full warranty period, and he is a particularly smooth rider.

      But some had their P1’s replaced three or four times before they finally gave up and moved to either Garmin or Favero. And if you search, Google finds many similar stories of people using their fifth pair of P1’s. It’s an extraordinary failure rate.

      There have been plenty of pedals on the market that don’t last well under riders that push big watts. On the other hand, Shimano sells 40-euro pedals that are perfectly durable. The problem for PowerTap is that their pedals initially cost more than a 1000 euros, were a critical component for the rider, and yet they didn’t get the basics right.

      Then there’s the issue that PowerTap retroactively announced that bearings weren’t covered by the warranty. Instead you needed to ship them overseas and pay $150 for bearing service. Compared to the 40-euro easy DIY job to replace the BePro (or Assioma) bearings, it seems like a cruel joke

      If you compare to BePro (or Assioma): The Favero pedals are essentially Xpedo’s proven Keo clones where the spindle has been modified to include the strain gauges and electronics have been added in the pod. The engineering is absolutely superior to the overweight underbuilt junk by Powertap. I don’t know if the P2’s were better, and I have never heard of anybody who bought them.

    • Chris Benten

      I have had P1’s since they came out and, for the most part, have worked really well. They started acting up after a couple/3 years and I found a pretty good video on Youtube to disassemble and clean. Spent an entire afternoon cleaning one pedal where it had become loose and junk got in behind the seal. Cleaned and put back together and they continue to work great.

      That said, I do not ride outdoors anymore. Too many drivers with cellphones on their ear. I do Zwift and for the most part, the P1s match within a couple of watts of my H3. The 35F temp in the garage through everything off last night and the bigger differences, maybe 10 watts, only happens at the high watts which I can only hold for a couple of seconds. In meaty part of the power curve, 180-250 watts, they are pretty much matched.

      All in all the P1s have been a good purchase.

    • Jim Behrens

      Could you post what the video is called? I would be very interested.
      Thanx

    • RichW

      Following…

    • Jim Behrens

      Thank you!

  18. Peter O'Kane

    I had this yesterday on my FR245. Slow to acquire then complete garbage for the first 200m then offset north and west by ~200m. Drifted another 100m north over 50 minutes. sufficient to move the ends of the run out of the Strava privacy zones. Very easy to determine the offset assuming that I run on paths or roads and not in the river. Need to trim the ends of the run or delete off Strava to maintain the effect of the privacy zones.

    • Rui Pereira

      Never thought of that, but yes this could invalidate most privacy circles. Anyway, never thought the privacy zones were a good mitigation, one can never trust technology to obfuscate without failing in some edge cases…

    • Matt

      Just start you run/ride at the junction, just not from your front door. You will lose what 200m at most?

    • ChrisTexan

      Even better, start your watch in “acquisition” mode, warmup walking/cycling away from your “privacy” zone (as Matt indicated), and once you reach a good “official” starting point, the watch will have hopefully dialed-in the GPS (even when working right, adding 30-seconds to a minute or two of acquisition time improves the accuracy significantly for the start of the trace), then “start” the workout when ready. Gets you a little loosened up, and “getting ready” stuff in order AND helps the GPS, win-win, and no privacy concerns. (For me, it also helps with my “gotta go back and get the “x” thing I forgot 1/10th of a mile from the house, LOL, I always forgot something, RoadID, HRM strap, shoes (okay, only once, and that was a driving to mountain-bike day, LOL)…

  19. RaV

    I was running yesterday evening together with my friend, we both use Garmin F945. My watch has the latest beta firmware 6.4, my friend’s one – 5.5. My watch recorded the distance 10.1km (as expected) with a nice a smooth trace without GPS offset, my friend’s watch – 10.42km with a huge GPS offset. BTW, 6.4 firmware is quite stable, no issues so far.

  20. DBrand

    Tod’s Point in Greewich, CT…great place to run! In the summer they set up buoys and each “lap” is about 1/4 of a mile. Great open water training.

  21. Leif Andersson

    I had it today with may Polar Grit X. First 500m 50-100 off-track.

  22. Lee K.

    Yep, I had the GPS offset issue yesterday morning on an out-and-back (FR945), but didn’t think much of it since it was more of a time and HR zone focused run. This morning I ran a loop and GPS looks perfect. Same thing happened last time Garmin/Sony had this issue; it was fixed the next day. While not ideal, I’m not really too upset about it.

  23. Kei the boogie

    Power tap mobile app was gone from Apple store too . I will never buy any SRAM products in future

  24. The end of an era! I had one of those chrome PowerTap hubs with the sexy carbon cut-out windows, my first powermeter, followed by a bombproof G3 hub that’s still going strong on some spare wheels. I guess the weight penalty of the hub plus being “stuck” with one set of wheels puts a lot of people off hub-based powermeters these days.

    • Griff

      This was my first power meter. It was very solid, without any trouble.

    • Gary P

      Powertap pedals being discontinued isn’t that big of a deal as there are plenty of power meter pedal alternatives. The Powertap hub, though? That’s a sad situation as it was unique in the market place. I really hope SRAM are continuing to work on the next generation, as a hub-based power meter is the best solution for A/B aero testing. I have my doubts they’ll see it through, though.

      I never bought a G3 hub as my G2 was still functioning perfectly well when the G4 was announced. I’ve been on standby ever since. Now I’m regretting it it. I hope the “old Norge” holds together.

    • Jim Behrens

      I disagree. For the consumer, more choices are always better.
      Price and quality are driven by competition. Without competition, there is
      no incentive to improve the product,
      With 6 PT wheels and 2 pair of pedals, I know and like their product.
      I look at Quarg products and my head hurts just trying to understand what I would need. I do not see myself buying anything from them in the future.

    • Griff

      Plenty of pedal alternatives? All two of them?

    • Technically three 😉

      1) Favero Assioma
      2) Garmin Vector 3
      3) SRM X

      I know a lot of people here keep reading this as the a power meter pedal brand//whatever going away, but I really don’t suspect that to be the case.

  25. Kei the boogie

    DCR If you know that way of Advanced Pedaling Metrics from Power tap pedals without power tap mobile app . Could you teach me?
    SRAM SUPPORT say about for firmware update and calibrate by SRAM AXS app. But they don’t talk about Advanced Pedaling Metrics . any idea do you have?

  26. Su-Chong Lim

    I’m still mourning the loss of C1 chain ring PM support. I don’t know why the sales were low. It was/is a great product, and I’m pissed that once my chain rings wear out there won’t be any replacements for them. Also, I’m annoyed that there won’t be any opportunity to graft oval chain rings onto the C1 PM spider connector. Maybe I can get a custom manufacturer to make an oval ring, or even a round one when my current ones wear out.

  27. Gennaro

    So where are we at with hub power meters? Are they going extinct?

  28. Frederic

    Thanks. I had a GPS blooper at the beginning of my ride but it was resolved within 2-3 mins.
    At least that explains that!

  29. Ray

    Can you or SRAM confirm the AXS app will support zero calibrating the P2 pedals? I tried today after installing a fresh set of batteries and the app wouldn’t talk to the pedals. Although the app discovered the pedals and showed battery levels, none of the readings were being captured and when trying to zero them, the whole app would freeze. I need to have this done before a Zwift race in 4 days so a bit worried.

    • Chad McNeese

      Some possible work arounds:

      1) If you have a head unit (like Garmin or Wahoo) or sports watch (Garmin / Wahoo) that can pair to the pedals as a power meter, you should be able to perform a zero offset with those devices.

      2) If you have access to other apps (like TrainerRoad) most offer zero offset functions.

      In either case above, you can use those alternates to run the ZO, which is then stored in the pedals. Then unpair from that ZO device and pair with Zwift as needed and you are all set.

    • Griff

      I don’t see that the pedals are listed as “products” in the app?

    • I can pair the pedals just fine (simple wake them up, and search for them, they show up individually as left/right pedals – just like they did on the PT app). However, in the latest version the zero functionality does seem to hang for me on my P2 pedals on iOS. Kinda weird.

  30. Chris

    Why isn’t the Garmin 745 impacted? This time and the New Year episode, it’s apparently immune. What gives?

    And the subtext: Presumably it uses a different Sony chip. How is it different? Why did Garmin go with this chip for the 745? Better accuracy? Better power profile?

  31. Griff

    Very interesting. It would be a shame to discontinue PowerTap products when it is such a well established name with a solid reputation for quality products.

  32. Paavo_Nurmi

    I love my PowerTap G3 hub, in fact I have 2, an alloy set and also got a set of carbon wheels when they had a sale a couple years ago.

    Question is how long will we be able to get parts ? I just ordered a freehub body just in case, not sure if any freehub body will work but I wanted to have a spare. I’ll probably reuse the G3 hub if I get new wheels made in the future.

  33. Chris Capoccia

    I guess it’s possible that Quarq stopped sales of PowerTap to focus on next gen pedal and hub technology. But it definitely seems more like they bought PowerTap for patents and engineers but decided to kill all the products. Doesn’t seem likely that engineers designing next gen products would have been the same people building and shipping products. At least that’s not how it works at normal companies

    • rich rutishauser

      Chris Capoccia, you are spot on. Every time we hear a company buying another one and saying that the products will stay the same (and no one will get laid off), we know they are just waiting for the “appropriate” time to drop the axe.

    • Note: No engineers came from PowerTap to Quarq. It was purely equipment/patents, no people were acquired as part of the acquisition. That’s because remember SARIS was (and is) still making plenty of other products. And part of the challenge was that up until this point, the same engineers split time between both. Which…is probably why Saris/PowerTap got behind on both sides of the business.

      Quarq literally rented some trucks, drove from Spearfish to Madison, loaded it up, and then drove up. They had a month or so of support ramp-up/cross-over time, and then that was that.

  34. Tomáš

    Happend to me 😀 And I was thought it was becase that day (January 3rd) I have used Smart recording.

    red/ orange line is from strava, and blue was added by me (“tade som bežal” here I was running)

  35. Alessandro

    Just got my ride halved by GPS magic… It’s the second time I have problems with GPS, I wonder where the problem lies, if it’s my area, my devices or whatever else. I live in a pretty remote place, yet it’s the first time I have this kind of experience

  36. Pieter

    He Ray,

    I’m seeing some promotion on P2 pedals.
    If they are priced the same as the Favero Assioma (dual side) which one would you recommend?

    kind regards

  37. Michael Chomiczewski

    Garmin GPS problems again – this time worse than ever? Or is it just me. 945 did not capture GPS over an entire one hour and four minutes run today. Anyone else getting this? Yesterday no issues…

    Michael