Monday, May 21, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 910XT Quick Release Kit Review

This is another post dedicated to the 910XT that i am currently using. I am still exploring the possibilities with this new gadget despite using it for the past three weeks now. As the 910XT are made for Triathletes with very specific ability to use the "multi sports" function (Swim - Bike - Run) where the data field will change according with one touch of the button (including choosing the option to count in Transition 1 and 2 or T1 and T2).
Must tri to use this before any races...
This has allowed the manufacturer Garmin to incorporate some pretty nifty (and useful) accessories to make the system a little more attractive for the other non-triathletes - a quick release kit that will please any cyclists that occasionally run. Or even a Duathlete might be impressed. Available from the Forerunner 310XT (the earlier a bit more bulkier model), the Quick Release Kit for the 910XT came a little bit more impressive with an additional strap.
I ordered mine on the day i bought the 910XT. Since i will be cycling a fair bit and having the unit OFF my wrist and doubling up as a speedo or data collection would be a good idea. I have been using Cateye products for the longest time and they have limitations for upgrades. Another weakness with these Cateye is the data fields are limited and you need to press them a few times to see what you want. Much prefer things "at one glance".
Velo Wireless on my Mountain bike.
Strada Wireless on my Colnago Dream
With the 910XT being able to be used with any ANT+ equipments, that very much will allow for future cadence and even power monitoring to be incorporated in the cycling training or race. 
I received a package mid-Monday (May 7, 2012), which was great as the item was shipped out the previous Friday evening. Item arrived as expected. Perfect.
Arrived!
I got my Garmin Forerunner 910XT from Quick-Sport.com and their service is prompt and professional. The owner (i believe) Yong, is also a triathlete that does multi sports individually such as swimming, cycling and running (meaning, not exclusively just triathlon). If you are wondering, i am not getting paid (in cash or samples) to write the previous review on Garmin. My intention is more to educate and to share.
Back to the QR set, it cost me about RM120.00 and it was one of the better made decision for instant upgrade for cycling use. The set come in a Garmin box with part numbers matching the one listed in Garmin.com website.
Front of the box
010-11215-03 per Garmin.com website for 910XT.
The QR kit is so new that even the famed DC Rainmaker has not reviewed it at the time he posted on the 910XT (i am so not worthy compared to his review on 910XT, go read it!) and since no one reviewed it yet, you will be the first to read them now.
Unboxed, the items came wrapped in the individual plastic per below.
From top (L-R clockwise) : The box, the QR kit for bike, the strap with QR for watch, the screwdriver set with spring loaded pins and the manual
Removing the plastic reveal a more substantial item packed in each individual plastic bags.
Now, do you feel that the RM120 was worth it? It comes with (from top, clockwise, L-R): 2 sets of bike handle/stem attachment with rubber washer for perfect fit, 4 large rubber O-ring to be used for over sized handlebar or stem, 4 smaller rubber O-ring for handlebar, strap, two screwdrivers, two pins and the QR attachment for the watch
The whole system looked very easy to be incorporated. First, the 910XT must be unscrewed from the original strap and using the same (so you can save the new pins as spare) screws you lock the QR attachment onto the watch - with the charging port facing the cut out section.
careful with small items, they go missing faster than you can spell fast
Once done, you can attach the watch to the QR strap by inserting it perpendicularly and giving it a 90degree twist to secure the unit.
This was how i did it. When working with small objects (small screws) always work on a white surface and prepare something to place these small items into. If you lose them either through carelessness or something happen (like you knock over the paper), you will have a hard time finding them on the ground.
1. Use the two screw drivers supplied to unscrew the original strap. One is to hold one end, the other is to be used to unscrew (reason why they give you two screwdrivers)
Sorry ah, ideally, someone else should take this photo, but i only got two hands.
Repeat this on the other side of the strap and TAKE CARE OF THE SMALL PARTS.
2. Once the straps are removed, keep the screws, pins and other small items in something such as a name card holder.
Naked. Watch.
I was curious to see if the supplied pins and screws were of the same length as the original that came with the watch. Answer is a YES. they are identical for the pin and the screw. So, no worries if you lose one (but i hate to lose any)
Unless my eyes play trick on me, they are both the same length
3. Next, take the QR attachment and position it over the back of the watch. Take note that the cut out must be where the battery terminal is. Anyway, I have checked, you can ONLY place it in one way. Any other way that does not fit is the wrong way. If this doesn't come any clearer, you are mentally challenge.
No, you did not get a defective QR attachment. No one bites it off either.

There. Fits right in perfectly.
4. Now, that the same pins and screws and tie this attachment to the watch. Take extra care not to over tighten or you will lose the screw thread and render the screw and pin irremovable. Once they are screw in, you will notice that the attachment is specifically made for this 910XT. So, if you have a 310XT and want to get this - don't.
Fits in nicely. Minimal gap. Must remember to shake off sweat or water after use
the other side with a cut out for the internal speaker. You can see the hole on the right hand side, below another hole
The 910XT is not now essentially one removable unit. Next, you wear the QR strap on your wrist, position the notch of the 910XT with QR attachment to the QR Strap.
Looked silly ain't it?
Notch to notch. 
I figured out there is only two ways to put this watch in. You either place the top of the watch at 9o'clock position or at 3o'clock position. I like mine to be at 9o'clock as it is more natural for me. Once in position, you twist the unit 90 degrees clockwise (if at 9o'clock entry) or counterclockwise (if at 3o'clock entry). It all sound complicated, but it isn't.
9o'clock entry with the top of 910XT on the left.
And a clockwise twist with a "tak" sound assures you it is locked

Similarly, to fix this on the bike handle or the aerobar, the same applies. Take the QR Bike attachment for the bike and place it on the desired place. Use the appropriate O-ring and ensure the rubber grommet is placed between the bike and the QR Bike attachment so it will help to secure the part better and to reduce vibration. Check before every ride as the 910XT falling off while going at 35km/h is not a pretty sight - especially if the rear wheel or another bike roll over it. I will see if i can use a cable tie to secure it better.
The rubber grommet at the bottom and the QR Bike on the top.
 As the QR Bike attachment can be mounted on the handlebar or on the aerobar (both are perpendicular of each other), you would not get any "side way" view unlike choosing to strap the 910XT over the handlebar or aerobar. The rubber grommet has specific cut out and notches that fits nicely into the QR Bike attachment.
Again, straight forward, if you have to struggle to put this in, you got it the wrong way.
In the same manner, twist it off the wrist, place it on the QR Bike, twist it again and you get the 910XT working on the bike! Beautiful! As I am far away from my bicycle at the point of writing, i am using my glue stick to demonstrate.
Fits over the glue stick resembling a normal sized bike handlebar
 The two choices of O-ring allowed tight fit on the "handlebar". Here, i used the over sized O-ring. I might consider using a double sided tape to better secure the unit over the handlebar/stem and then tie it down with the O-ring. That way, if the O-ring breaks, the unit will still be stuck on the bike. That meant, the rubber grommet will not be used as double sided tape will offer the same "cushioning" effect.
Can still be stretched.
 With the same way to attach the unit to the QR strap, the 910XT is secured onto the "handlebar".
Should had switch the watch on for better effect. Marketing FAIL! :(
And lastly, here is the side profile if attached to the bike. Again, check the O-ring every time before you ride. Replace if it look broken. O-ring of this size is easily available in hardware store, so no worries about difficulty finding any replacement.
Nice.
Verdict
1. The base is slight thicker which will cause the watch to "protrude" a bit more than usual. However, it is a small issue compared to the benefit you will get being able to remove it and use it on the bike. The original watch is about 15mm thick. With the QR attachment and the QR strap, it went up to 21mm. That is a 6mm increase which does show significantly.
looked down straight it is 15mm, not 14mm yah.
covered the 20mm mark, looked down straight is 21mm
2. The QR Straps actually function as an additional spare strap in case the original broke and needed replacement. This is ain't too bad as that will allow for easy strap swapping. Both straps (original and from the QR strap) are identical.
Extra is good.
3. With two given attachment, up to two bikes can be prepared for this - perfect as i road bike as much as i mountain bike.

So, if you do have a 910XT and are wondering why you are strapping the watch physically to the handle bar, this is one option for you. After that incident of the lost Timex, i pretty much lose hope in purchasing anything not sent using secure mail which will typically cost up to USD40. Sometimes, some risk are just not worth taking. :) Hope this entry help with the decision to get a QR kit for your 910XT!

10 comments:

  1. fantastic review. Seems like the QR kit is a MUST! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Anon. It is a must if you transition between bike and run often.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I purchased the QR kit because I liked the idea. I was initially concerned about the hard plastic backing that the "brain" snaps into pressing too hard against my wrist while running. Those concerns were realized on a run last night. My wrist is now bruised thanks to that hard plastic. I still think the QR is a good idea, but that hard plastic needs changed. And no, I don't want to loosen or tighten the watch on my wrist...I had it at a comfortable setting, so if that doesn't work for me, then so-be-it. I am going back to my old set-up for attaching the watch to the bike. Hope others have better luck.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Josh!
    Great feedback from another user. I do not have much issue as i do not wear my watch tight on the wrist.
    Keep the feedback coming and we can compare notes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The QR kit is fine if you DON'T do openwater swimming...

    I lost my watch due to the QR kit this weekend.

    /claus

    ReplyDelete
  6. Claus - ouch! was it kicked off your wrist during a tri race? :( Touch wood, mine is still intact!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Quick question, is it exactly the same mount as an Edge 500 and 800. Ergo can i fit my Edge on this strap?

    Thnx

    ReplyDelete
  8. Marnix - I noticed that the Edge too has same or similar mounting aka plate with two slots. I do not own an Edge and would not be able to advise.

    If it fits, the Edge, being larger than the 910xt, will definitely look funny on the wrist. But no harm trying.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This getes easily knocked off your wrist during competitive open water swims. I was very pleased with my 910 and so extremely dissapointed having checked it was all secure to exit my first competitive tri since installing the QR kit to find a empty strap!!!

    advise, do not use.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Ea-Van, do you have any idea any strap/band that is compatible with 910XT quick release band? I noticed thst the Garmin watch bands are quite fragile, they will easily broken after may be one year, for both normal 910XT band as well as 910XT QR band.

    I have the QR set, the plastic mount is in good condition but the band is broken. I am a bit reluctant to buy a new set of QR just because the band is broken, because it's quite exoeexpen (around rm150). Thus am looking for any compatible band from other Garmin model which can fit the QR.

    Kindly advise if you have any idea. Thanks

    ReplyDelete

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