Garmin Auto Activity Detect Transition for multisport profiles – how does it work?

Garmin Auto Activity Detect Transition for multisport profiles – how does it work?

Garmin has today added a multisport feature I’d asked for years ago. Presumably, Garmin was pushed into it because Apple added it over a year ago rather than at my behest!

Auto Activity Detect Transition (multisport profiles)

The feature has a name that’s a bit of a mouthful but it does what it says on the tin. When you first try to use the feature you’ll get several warning-like messages that clarify if it will work for the multisport workout or race you are about to start.

Providing you use a multisport profile that comprises outdoor sports (with GPS enabled) then Garmin will automatically transition you from one sport to the next. Whilst this might sound like a niche feature that few people will use, I suspect the opposite. Anyone who has done triathlons and duathlons, ranging from newbies to Age Group doyennes will at some point have forgotten to press the lap button to enter transition and then forgotten to press it when they leave transition to the next sport. We’ve all done it and it’s a complete PITA, messing up your stats at best.

At worst, in your state of race anxiety, you will fumble and inadvertently repeatedly press the lap button only to end the whole multisport profile or end up in the wrong sport and, for example, unable to see your all-important bike pacing data as you’ve somehow ended up on the last run leg. Hopefully, this new feature will make those mistakes a thing of the past and, if it’s anything like Apple’s auto-transition, it’ll just give you one less thing to worry about, a bit less stress and not quite the perfect data that you hoped you would get for your transition duration (check the race results 😉 ).

Tip: Whenever you create a triathlon/duathlon race profile add as many bike/run repeats as possible after the first sport, in the worst case you can lap through to the next correct one.

 

Test results

I did a quick RBRBRBRBR test outdoors from my house. In summary, I would say that it didn’t work properly. In the majority of transitions, it did not advance to the correct transition/sport as quickly or accurately as I expected. Furthermore, I had no idea if it had transitioned (I would have expected a beep, buzz or something). Maybe I have to play with it a bit more and learn how it works.

Contrast that to the Apple Watch auto-transition that I used in an Age Group Duathlon qualifier in October 2023ish. My criticism was that it got the dismount line wrong by about 15m. ie hardly a criticism worth making.

It’s also worth noting that you can undo both incorrectly made automatic and manual transitions during the race by long pressing the lap button (or press the down button) and manually correcting it afterwards in Connect.

 

Here is a more correct test of RBRBR with transitions at roughly the same place. I even pressed the first transition manually in case Garmin chose to note the position of Transition by GPS (it didn’t). It also didn’t recognise I was cycling WITH A POWER METER on the missing bike leg during 29:35. ie it doesn’t work as I’d expect.

What Garmi Needs to Do

This is a much more complex feature to implement than you would imagine. Ideally, I would want to be able to log up to 4 transition GPS points before the start of the race (SWIM or RUN in, bike out, bike in, run out)

I would also like to know my transition change time, ie when I have completely stopped moving to change gear.

I would expect GPS pace and power/speed triggers to very accurately determine when the appropriate leg has started eg a meaningful 3s power.

 

 

Take Out

This might need some getting used to or maybe it’s not quite working properly as this is an early beta.

I probably also need to understand how it works ie does it merely look for a GPS positional change and the activation of a power meter? Or is it more cleverly looking at movements on the accelerometer? I suspect that Garmin is doing the former and that Apple is doing the latter. Go figure.

 

Triathlon Transition Automation | Location-Based | Apple Watch…Garmin next?

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9 thoughts on “Garmin Auto Activity Detect Transition for multisport profiles – how does it work?

  1. Almost in the same time as Wahoo for the auto transition ! Or maybe 3 years later, which is the same time considering the Universe age.
    I just hope for something that works properly for races run&bike, with working auto-transitions without having to press a button.

  2. this has arrived already???? Guess that could have been introduced a long time ago. Manufacturers will never understand ‘consumers’. (OK, many (most!) consumers are decent laymen….)
    How about the combination with auto lap? Remember this used to be another struggle..

  3. Will the reliability of the device improve altogether at all?
    Additional features on devices that are develop faults even within warranty periods don’t sound like a great improvement.

  4. Doing my first tri race tomorrow, was playing with the watch now (forerunner 955), getting it ready for tmw, maybe it’s better leave auto sport off and press “back” each time? Also when I did a simulation, I could check activities on Garmin app separately but the Garmin app keep shutting down when I try to open “multisports” training. Have that ever happened to you? Thank u :))

  5. I tried this yesterday and ended up with a 62 minute swim🤦🏻‍♂️ back to the buttons for me.

    1. thanks for the feedback.
      I avoided trying it since the launch hoping it would not do this….I shall now wait for others to complete the beta testing before trying it out in anger 😉

  6. This is the best function ever did my 3rd tri a tri today. All the faffing about last time stop start. This was fabulous press Start and off you go to the end. Did transition times and everything amazing feature by Garmin love it. Times matched my chip times so happy days

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