For multi-sport athletes, a multi-sport watch can be a great solution to collect data in all types of workouts within one device. For those using a multi-sport watch alongside a Stages Power meter, we have collected some of our best practices for collecting power data while riding and competing.
For instructions on pairing your device with your power meter, please see our topic:
Wrist mounted Garmin FT 920xt vs handlebar mounted Garmin FT 310xt (using 310xt Quick Release Kit)
Handlebar mounting / quick release mounts: When worn as a watch, it is possible to experience drops in data due to orientation and signal blockage by the body itself. By attaching the watch to a handlebar mount, it will be mounted in a stable location with minimal blockage between the power meter and the head unit. Mounting on the handlebars also creates a much better view of the display, which helps the rider track their pacing in order to ride consistently and efficiently.
Quick release kit: Certain Garmin watches have an available "quick release kit" that allows the watch to be switched from on wrist to on the bike quickly and efficiently.
Using a secondary on-bike head unit: In our experience working with athletes of all levels, we have also noticed that many people can improve their riding experience by having a dedicated handlebar mounted unit. By placing a separate head unit on the bars (either on the aerobar extensions, stem, or base of the bars), you can best view your data while riding in order to set pacing, plan for nutrition, etc. The power meter can be paired to both a watch and a secondary head unit without any conflict* – allowing you to continue using your multi-sport watch on your wrist, in addition to a second head unit for optimal display and data recording for the bike portion of your race or training.
*The power meter can be paired to multiple ANT+ head units as well as a combination of ANT+ and one Bluetooth 4.0 head unit. The Bluetooth 4.0 connection is limited to 1 head unit per power meter.
Garmin Edge 520 mounted on top of water bottle vs on stem
Water bottle mounts: Water bottle mounts that place a water bottle between the head unit and the power meter can cause issues with reception, as wireless signals cannot pass through water.
Mass Interference: Depending on your handlebar set up
Position on the body: If you do continue to use and ride with your multi-sport watch on your wrist, it may work better when placed within optimal line of side of the power meter, located on your left wrist. Since the body is primarily made of water, it can do a good job of blocking the wireless signals sent between the head unit and the power meter. For some devices, simply experimenting with position can avoid any potential loss of data by the head unit.
While experiences may vary across different head units and handlebar sets up, these are our best general recommendations to avoid crucial missed data while training and competing with a Stages Power meter. By locating your head unit in a consistent, fixed location, you may be able to improve the data reception, as well as make it more easily visible for pacing during workouts and competition. Additionally, pay close attention to the head unit's proximity to water bottles and other items that can create mass interference that could potentially block the signal.