The Garmin 735XT can do lots, but does it deliver as good as expected in triathlon mode? The inaugural Cape Ultra triathlon, comprising a 1.9 Km swim, 90 Km cycle and 21 Km run was to be the testing ground for the 735XT in triathlon mode. For comparison, fellow triathlete Nicol Muller had a Fenix 3 HR on her arm for the same race. The decision was to use the wrist heart rate monitor on both watches throughout the race.
The swim was in the Theewaterskloof dam, and the Fenix 3 captured a temperature of 16 degrees average. Both watches tracked the swim in excellent fashion. If you wonder why the Fenix 3 was a bit all over the place, it is not due to technical issues. Nicol swam a bit all over the place. She even considered using the TracBack function to get back to the shore. No one has ever used that during a swim. It would have been history. As you can see, the 735XT captured the smoothest tracking, thanks to great technology, and a not-so-all-over-the-place swimmer.
I neglected to lock my watch for the swim, and lo and behold, I accidentally forwarded onto the “bike leg” while taking off my wetsuit for transition 1. I right away paused my watch for T1, so my bike split could be correct. So, use that “lock watch” function!
For the bike leg all went according to plan. My preferred data fields which are time, distance, average speed and current speed kept me safely on target. My 735XT measured 88.90 Km while Nicol recorded 88.87 on the Fenix 3. How close is that? As we know, wrist HRM is more spikey on the bike due to road vibration, but the end result was good average that can be accepted and trusted.
For the run everything went fine. The 735XT measured 19.47 Km (Yip, the run fell short of 21 Km) and Nicol’s Fenix 3 measured 19.46 Km. Can’t be closer. Great technology. Not having to wear an HRM strap eliminated the chafing and discomfort of a strap, especially during the run, which was great. The main difference was the elevation capturing. The 735XT, not having a barometric altimeter recorded an 831m elevation gain while the Fenix 3 recorded 975m. The wrist heart monitors worked excellently on the run, reflecting what happened on the day. The Fenix 3 was not malfunctioning. Nicol just missed a water table and hit the wall. See photo below.
As expected, the 735XT is a great tri watch. The size and weight of the 735XT make it very user friendly. The price is quite a bit less than its Fenix 3 wrist HRM counterpart. It is very sporty, and very likeable. You won’t go wrong getting it!