In my Quest to loose weight (45 yrs old, 245lbs @ 5’6") and get in better shape. I decided to get into indoor biking so I can ride when the weather is not favorable. I recently got my Zwifting set up all done and got a few good workouts in so far. I am riding on a Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2 (fluid resistance), hooked up to the Zwift companion on my phone. I went ahead and bought an Apple TV and I am playing that over a 43" 4k TV hanging in front of my set up. So far things are working good. Couple weird bugs so far like the sound seems to not play sometimes and every now and then it wont connect to my companion. But other than that its been great.
Anyway I got to thinking about heartrate monitors and cadence monitors.
At the moment zwift connects through the sensor on my Kinetic for the power and cadence. My first question is if zwift is picking up the trainer sensor for the cadence, should I even worry about getting a separate sensor for cadence? Is it like putting a hat on a hat? Or is having a separate sensor give more accurate info?
Also what is a good heartrate monitor to have? Is there any significant difference between an armband monitor and a chest monitor?
Finally because Apple TV will only connect 2 things at a time by Bluetooth, how does everything hook up together. Kinetic Sensor–> Cadence Sensor–> Heartrate monitor. Is there some tricky finagling that has to be done or is it just plug and play?
Bonus question: How many of ya out there use a Concept 2 rowing machine with Zwift? I have one and it seems like it would be fun to try with Zwift.
Anyway thanks in advance for any answers ya all might have. Seems like Zwift has a pretty cool community.
I use an AppleTv for Zwift and think it’s great barring a few things. You already know the 2 BT device limitation. A few things:
- Any BT HR strap should work fine. I have a forearm optical strap and various chest straps for my IRL riding. I prefer the Wahoo version of a chest strap, always have a good signal and there are two separate lights to indicate function and connection. The optical forearm strap for me is spotty both in connection and staying in place.
- I use a separate cadence sensor, I think it responds better. I compared cadence from my old Elite trainer to a separate sensor, had quicker response and I think better accuracy. The difference is small though and really not worth buying a new sensor if your trainer already reads it and sends it to Zwift.
- If you have more than two BT signals, you can use the Zwift companion app to receive all. The AppleTv then would not be the receiver and remain your main interface. I tried this for awhile but it didn’t work for me 100%. I opted for the 4iii chest strap that consolidates multiple sensor connections to a single BT signal and have used for a couple of years without issue.
Best wishes on your Zwift journey. You will see good progress if you stick with it, and don’t mind the fliers who blast past you. They are bots, or Chris Froome.
I use a cheap armband HR monitor available via eBay. It doesn’t need wetting to get it to read like the chest one does. The two are normally within 1 or 2 breasts of each other so it’s accurate.
I don’t bother with a separate cadence as the Neo does this quite well albeit there are occasions I get a 135 rpm reading for a second or two.
I fitted an magnet on the inside of my pedal axle which means there is less distance to the sensor on the Neo. This helped.
Enjoy your Zwift journey.
I use a Wahoo Tickr which is fine. I prefer a chest one as it make me feel pro
Cool thanks for the answers. That gives me a little more insight on things. One thing I wonder is, any idea how the sensor on my trainer picks up my cadence when all there is, is a little magnet on the roller that my tire is on and the little sensor picks up that magnet wizzing by. Is it just an estimate thing depending on the speed of the roller or is the sensor actually sensitive enough to tell how fast I am actually peddling from the slight differences in surges in speed from each leg pushing causing the roller to speed up and slow down ever so slightly.
On another note when I first started I paired things wrong and I was the one whizzing by people. I was barely peddling and I was going down the road ding 40+ MPH… that was pretty funny. Luckily I got it figured out.
It’s a little more elaborate than that.
There is however a known issue with the cadence reporting of your trainer and Zwift. There’s an open ticket for it albeit it’s been ongoing a while.
I think the cadence issue with Kinetic is more than just Zwift.
DC Rainmaker suggested it was 8 rpm off when compared to his cadence sensor
I think mine is about 6 off but my sensor is on my other bike with a dead battery so I just haven’t messed with it.
Oh ok… I didnt know there was a bug with the Kinetic trainer. Thats good to know. So does having an accurate cadence give a more accurate speed?
The cadence has no relevance to speed.
Accurate cadence is not real important unless you’re in a workout and still, the stars are awarded based on the power goal.
Ah ok… sounds like cadence is all that important after all. Maybe I will just go and get a HR monitor and stick to that. I’m not a professional rider anyway, so I am sure it wont change my experience all that much. Just making sure I wasn’t missing out on something that might make things better in some way I wasn’t aware of.
I don’t think it’s that far out that you’ll notice. Occasionally you’ll see people riding with no cadence. Really weird having somebody pass you who isn’t pedalling.