As reported a few months back, Garmin have released some new ANT+ sensors to provide alternatives to the traditional crank and spoke magnet systems. Previously I thought I’d probably only need the Magnetless Cadence Sensor, but with an increasing amount of turbo sessions this winter I decided to also invest in the new hub mounted sensor to see how it performed against the magnets.
It’s basically a one piece rubberised pod with a stretchy loop to help fit to most conventional rear hubs. So simple in fact, you can be up and running in seconds.
Opening the Box – Garmin Magnetless Speed Sensor
The box matches the current Garmin trend of black and white with a glossy finish to display the item inside.
In the box it’s simply the sensor unit and a brief instruction manual. It comes protected in a little black bubble wrap pouch. It’s a very similar design to the new Magnetless Cadence Sensor save for the outer housing which also incorporates the universal fixing loop.
The sensor contains its own in-built accelerometer to count wheel revolutions via motion rather than magnets.
Easy! You just reach between the spokes hold in place with one hand and stretch the loop with the other. Once you’ve stretched the loop over the plastic hook you can let go and spin the wheel.
Here’s mine on what you can see is a kinda cone-shaped hub. I read the instructions and Garmin state that the sensor will work equally well on standard or asymmetrical shaped hubs. So long as you have enough stretch in the band, it will work.
There are no moving parts whatsoever and mounting system is both reliable and robust. The hub position is probably one of the few areas on a bike where nothing else really reaches.
Operation & Compatibility
This image gives some further perspective on the unit itself. On the underside you’ll find a battery compartment which will remain protected being the piece nearest to the hub (when fitted). The only time the compartment is exposed is when off the bike and/or when changing between bikes (which can be done in seconds).
The Garmin Website lists the following devices as compatible: Fenix 2, Fenix 3, Edge 500, Edge 510, Edge 800, Edge 810, Edge 1000, Edge 500, FR310XT , FR620, FR910XT, FR920XT & the Garmin Epix.
I got hold of sensor at the very beginning of 2015 and have performed multiple rides both indoor and out on the road with the magnetless option pitted against traditional combination sensors.
In fact, I’ve tested against both the previous Garmin GSC 10 Speed/Cadence Sensor and the Wahoo Blue SC just to double-check against two different magnet based units.
Here’s a little comparison over a 1 hour turbo session. This Garmin chart shows the performance of the Garmin Magnetless Speed Sensor.
The second chart shows the same session recorded with the Polar V800 and the Wahoo Blue SC.
You can see the results aren’t just near identical, they are identical. I’ve not included any other charts in this review for the simple reason that every single comparison has been the same. Identical!
The point is… the both magnets and the magnetless sensor do a great job at tracking speed. What’s great about this new sensor, however, is the convenience and total ease of operation.
The ease of use and convenience factor is on a par with the magnetless cadence device Garmin released at the same time. As with that sensor, speed is detected and sent to your paired device without any fuss whatsoever. Once installed, you’ll forget even there as it’s highly unlikely to require repositioning until you either need to replace the battery or swap to an alternative bike/wheel.
- Easy installation & mounting
- Universal application
- No moving parts
- No combo option
- More expensive than the GSC-10
Conclusion – Garmin Magnetless Speed Sensor Review
I really can’t fault this little sensor and I have to say that it makes sense over the previous magnet-based GSC 10. The only slight downside is a small additional cost, however, this is far outweighed by the convenience factor of having no moving parts and the ability to mount and remount on multiple bikes within minutes. The speed sensor can be purchased separately or as a pair (with the magnetless cadence sensor). If you already have GSC 10 on a single bike it’s probably not worth the upgrade just yet, but for anybody using multiple bikes or not yet tracking speed/cadence these newer sensors are the perfect solution.
I want my reviews to be as independent as possible. On that basis, I thought a link to Amazon would provide the most impartial method of you looking at other user comments should you be considering a purchase.