Garmin 910XT – Heart Rates Spikes, Dropouts & Straps & Stuff

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Heart rate and power (Photo credit: samwebster)

Winter arrives and my August-purchased 910XT suddenly develops heart rate spikes. Sigh!

Some of you will be having Garmin heart rate recording issues from new. Others, like me, think (or thought) they have got a good unit…for a while at least.

Here’s a summary of some heart rate ‘facts’ by on my non-statistically sound research!:

  1. All major brands seem to suffer heart rate recording issues
  2. ANT+ heart rate will never transmit through water
  3. Heart rate spikes are usually a problem with the strap…not the sender unit and not the receiver (watch)
  4. It can be hard to edit heart rate base data with Garmin software (but it can be with SportTracks)
  5. Heart rate spikes may be caused by static
  6. Static is created only when there are two different materials…your body hair might count as one material
  7. Heart rate spikes may be caused by incorrect contact between the strap and body.
  8. A commonly held view is that licking the sensors on the strap first help with contact.
  9. Garmin are pretty good about sending a replacement strap (not sender unit) whilst under warranty.
  10. Newer/soft straps seem more prone to heart rate error than the older hard straps.
  11. Heart rate spikes tend, for me, never to happen after 20 minutes of use
  12. Dropped heart rate reading are either simply a temporary lost contact with the strap and body or something far more sinister and faulty elsewhere. Possibly could be interference with another unit I guess.
  13. Garmin transmitters fit the competing Polar straps and work on them.
  14. Garmin recommend a medical contact gel to ensure a good signal is picked u from the body/strap contact.


  1. Lick and tighten
  2. Go back to an old Garmin hard strap
  3. Get a new, warranty replacement soft strap from Garmin
  4. <Buy> a replacement on Amazon – a full replacement is often cheaper than just the strap
  5. Wear a tri-suit and shave body hair
  6. Use medical gel if licking doesn’t work
  7. Turn on and wear the watch and strap for 20 minutes prior to starting exercise
  8. Buy <THIS> Polar soft strap and put your Garmin transmitter onto it
  9. It only happens in your warm up so don’t worry about it
  10. Edit the data afterwards with SportTracks

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