I’m Back!

I bought a super duper new Garmin running watch earlier in the year. A brand new model that was at the cheaper end of ‘bloody ridiculous’, but has the latest, top of the range spec GPS. I paid an extra £50 to get the version with music capability on the watch (so you can listen to your music via bluetooth on your headphones, you don’t have to take your ‘phone out with you). It was great. For 2 months. Then the GPS was everywhere. I mean seriously everywhere. It lost nearly 5 miles on an 18 mile run! I tried everything I could think of, then I contacted Garmin support, but it was useless.

I asked around and somehow found out about the new Coros Pace 3 watch. “Cheap” (it’s a relative term, the top of the range Garmin ones are over a grand!) at £219, got the same top tier GPS system, and comes with music capability as standard. All the reviews said it was a great watch if you don’t want all the bells and whistles (that I never use).

To test it I wore the Garmin on one wrist and the Coros on the other and went for a run.

Corros. Exactly right.

Garmin. Seriously, what is the point of wearing it?

Really I need to track down where I bought it and try and get a refund. I didn’t buy it directly off Garmin, unfortunately.

I’ve had the Coros a few weeks and it is a great little watch. There are two issues I’ve noticed though. The Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) on the watch is wildly inaccurate. I’ve pushed myself until I was kneeling on the floor, gasping, fighting panic because I simply couldn’t get enough air in my lungs, and only got my pulse to 166bpm. The watch HRM said I was doing 190+.

That’s a problem, because when I get an accurate measurement of 166 (flat out, near killing myself) it reads it as coasting and gives me bad feedback. The other irritation is although it is spot on for average pace for the mile, when you do a fitness test (a cool feature of the watch) it measures you pace second to second, your pace at that exact moment, and it’s a bit jerky. One second 6.12 m/m, the next 8.12. I’ve worked around the first issue by getting a chest strap HRM (they are always more accurate than wrist based anyway) and the second I’ve smoothed an awful lot by getting a foot pod. It’s a little device that you can put on your trainer. It has forward and sideways sensors and by some techo voodoo keeps your GPS trail spot on, even when you lose signal under a bridge or whatever.

So now I’ve got a brilliant set up. Watch, pod, HRM. The most accurate GPS, pod assisted to make it even better, and accurate HRM.

I’m happy with that.

The other big change for this year was my motorbike. I love my VFR750s but they are getting old. One day I tried to start it and had no power. I had to take Wendy’s car to work. I charged the battery, it started then all the electrics went out again. I worked out I could get the electrics to start/ cut out by wiggling the handlebars, so I tracked down the errant wire. One of the main wires from the ignition was frayed down to a few strands. When you turned the handlebars one way they connected, the other they lost power.

Once I’d sussed it it wasn’t a big job to fit connectors and tape it up. But it took the shine off the bike. It made me look at it as something that was wearing out.

After lots of fun obsessing, review reading, going back and forth, I decided on a new (-ish) model of Honda, the CBR650F. It had an upgrade in 2017 to all LCD lights and some other improvements that made it the more desirable model. Then there was the matter of getting one that wasn’t too ridiculously expensive.

I found one. Right at the top of Scotland. I was going to risk it, get a train and ride it back, but then he said he had a second exhaust system with the bike, so I had to get a van to go and collect it.

Pretty bike!

That was with a fancy aftermarket exhaust system.

First job, fit the quieter standard one.

I’ve also fitted a mudguard extender, a rack and top box, and given it a service.

So, the bike is good to go. It’s pretty, modern, ABS brakes, LCD lights, decent fuel economy, is comfortable, not intimidating, if you wind it up it will go like stink and is good for 130 plus (allegedly) so it ticks all the boxes…But.

Well, two things. One, is it lacks punch off the throttle and lacks character. The other, more general reservation, is that I just don’t need a bike for the miles I do, and I’m feeling more and more conscious of the environmental toll.

Really I want a punchy triple, in a sports tourer configuration. But if I’m working less than 3 miles away (both the most likely candidates for full time jobs are as close as my current job) I just don’t need one. But I want one. Also there is the complication that currently nobody is making sports tourers. They said my new bike slotted into the category, but where is the wind and weather protection? A tiny screen with no hand protection. Just got to wait and see how it shakes out with work.

Really, for where I am, an electric scooter would be just as good.