Outdoor Cycle readings totally off

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by mstator, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. mstator macrumors newbie


    Dec 28, 2016
    I just got my first apple watch (2) about a month ago. The activity readings, especially during an outdoor cycle session, are really off, and I'm hoping it's because I've failed to do something obvious (otherwise I'm regretting my purchase!).

    I've been on several outdoor cycle sessions and they're grossly off in terms of miles, speed, and calories. I know this because I use my Garmin Edge 820 with heart rate monitor strapped on for comparison. For reference, I use Open goal on the apple watch, and when finished I save the activity.

    Recent example:

    Garmin Edge 820 Apple Watch

    Distance 22.96 miles 6.16 miles

    AvgSpeed 12.4mph 3.1mph

    ElevationGain 1207 ft 1007 ft

    Calories 1362 total 1014 total (814 active)

    From what I understand, for activities like running or indoor training, calibration is necessary to fine tune heart rate/calories burned, but my concern is the GPS data is WAY off on these outdoor cycle readings. What am I missing?

    FWIW, the watch also regularly fails to register my daily dog walks as exercise. I've assumed maybe that's because it doesn't get my heart rate up enough, but again shouldn't the GPS discern that I'm moving? My old Polar watch was a better daily fitness tracker than this watch so far.
  2. Resqu2 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 23, 2011
    1st question, did you have your iPhone with you on your ride? I have a S2 and also ride with a Garmin and mine is dead on it and my last ride was over 4 hours climbing a mountain trail. I did have my phone with me so I know the Watch was using its gps. My HR reading between the two was scary close and I'd never believed it would be.

    As for the daily walks, you're not getting the hr up to register so that's not really an issue.
  3. mstator thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 28, 2016
    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I did have my iphone with me. When I check the apple watch activity app on my iphone, it doesn't show a route.

    I was under the impression I didn't have to "do anything" to activate the GPS with the 2nd gen watch - that it should just automatically detect during activity, even without having your iphone with you? Regardless, I did have my iphone with me and it was still way off.
  4. Resqu2 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 23, 2011
    I would go by an Apple Store if I was seeing that kind of difference as something isn't right. You should be real close to the Garmin and your route should be there also. Maybe before you get it looked at try another ride and leave the phone behind to eliminate it as being the problem.
  5. daflake macrumors 6502a

    Apr 8, 2008
    That is way off and not reliable at all. I would recommend a trip to the Apple Store as well. I tend to stick to Garmin for my cycling needs. Everyone else's stuff always seems to be off.
  6. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    Try un-paring and re-paring if you haven't. Fixes almost everything.
  7. db67fm macrumors regular


    Jul 5, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have tried a few apps for "outdoor cycling" and found that the Apple Watch Workout app works best (right now) in terms of distance accuracy and calories burned. I'm sure other apps will get fixed or updated in the future.

    I like using Strava but I found that the calorie count is not very accurate and the screen doesn't always display the HR.
    Before getting a AW I used "Map My Ride" on my iPhone and it always worked well even though there is no HR monitor. I am hoping they come out with a AW app soon. The Under Armor "Map My Run" app has a AW app...
  8. gsucyclist macrumors regular


    Oct 10, 2014
    Yeah, Strava calorie count has always been way high. From what I understand, they don't take HR into consideration in their calorie count algorithm like Garmin and some of the others do. I can take a garmin ride and upload it to Strava and it does its own calorie calculation and is usually a lot higher than what Garmin calculates. Calorie calculation is voodoo anyway and none of the calculations are going to be accurate. When it comes to distance, I have found that Strava has been pretty spot on when compared with my Garmin.
  9. raqball Suspended

    Sep 11, 2016
    My watch is close in distance and average speed when compared to my Fenix 3 and my Wahoo Elemnt..

    They all vary slightly but the Apple Watch is close. I've only used the watch twice for rides though as I mainly use the Elemnt for cycling and the watch for runs, swims and other activities..
  10. cgould macrumors newbie


    Jul 31, 2017
    Did you ever figure this out? I'm about to give up on it for tracking, even though i do it mostly for curiosity. I've paired/re-paired several times, have gone through three wathc ios upgrades - it still is way off, and it seems unique to outdoor-cycling activity. Interesting enough, i've been out on my bike and just tracked it as outdoor - run, and it tracked the distance correctly and mapped it correctly. Any help would be appreciated...
  11. jhfenton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I ride with my Apple Watch 2 all the time, and it is dead accurate in terms of speed and distance. I rode 89 miles with a my AW2 and a Garmin 315xt mounted on the bike the Sunday before last, and they were within 0.2 miles at the end.
  12. Orr macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2013
    I've been using my Series 1 regularly again (primarily as a fitness tracker), and it seems excellent tracking my outdoor rides. Granted I also have my phone with my for music, but everything looks spot on.

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