Review – TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio


We talk about progression a lot in the mountain bike community. It’s part of the scientific how does suspension work terms that few understand. It fuels the forums globally whether or not or sport is driven by it or marketing. But here, we arrive at the GPS watch with no doubt in my it is due progression. IMG_0514

Years ago I would been thrilled with a bar mounted Cateye cyclometer to give me current speed, average speed, max speed, trip miles and total miles. Then and for a long time the smart phone acted as a do all for these and more. With the smart phone we would get all of the above with the addition of maps, heart rate monitors with access from bluetooth and GPS. All of that might be enough in my opinion but then Strava came along. In some forums people even claim Strava had wrecked mountain biking. For myself, it has changed things especially in regards to accuracy. I want to know I have the most accurate account if I am tracking my ride. For me, the Tom Tom multi-sport cardio fit the need.


The watch came with the red and white wrist band. Which wasn’t a look I preferred so I bought an all black version. Let to discover they also have a narrower band making the whole thing look much more like I normal sports watch. As for function the bands don’t have any special functions other then the obvious. The one thing I would add about the band is the wider band has a very nice clasp system instead of the traditional slide band to hold the extra. The red TomTom logo at the end of the band has little knobs that fit into the holes of the band and make everything clean.

Function of the watch is very intuitive. The screen isn’t touch screen, there is a square joystick just below the screen. Making navigation of the function and mode very simple. on the underside of the watch  it has a built in heart rate monitor, so no need to the chest strap heart rate but one can be connected to the watch if you prefer that style.

Lastly for fit, if you don’t want to wear this on yourself and don’t need the included heart rate it comes supplied with a bar mount. Which is very nice secure and give a great easy to read in all light display.



Okay, function. I wear this everyday and it’s very comfortable. Beyond the basic functions of speed, average speed, distance, clock the heart rate monitor while riding is great. I have found many times when I feel like I am about to explode I can now look at my watch and see why. With a max around 195bpm my average rate falls around 125-135bpm. I now also can look at the same display and know I have room to go faster too. Both are very helpful. The biggest plus is not having to depend on it for GPS mapping. I came to this conclusion when I started using the watch and was still using my iPhone for visual effect and still using Strava. When both were complete and upload there were huge differences. Climbing and decent were the biggest discrepancies. Also, i found the iPhone would miss Strava segments. I assumed that was due to the phone not being as accurate. Since moving to only use the TomTom watch for Strava I have seen a more complete mapping of segments I know I hit making me assume that whatever else I am riding is being tracked by GPS accurately too.

In the end, I think if you only know one or the other and basic account of your ride is what matters then it might not matter whether you have a GPS device or use your smart phone, as long as you commit to one or the other. I have committed to the TomTom and feel with the combo of integrated heart rate monitor and GPS its the best of the two.

Pros –

  • Simple to navigate functions
  • Very comfortable
  • Simplify my riding equipment
  • Durable
  • Strava compatible

Cons –

  • Battery life while using heart rate is less then full day.
  • Would rather a touch screen verse the navigation button.
  • Lack of altitude feature on the display.


Further good reading on this topic and some great conversation starters on GPS accuracy check out Singletracks article on GPS.

Tom Tom info

Technical specifications from Tom Tom. 

Weight and Dimensions

Battery lifetime Up to 8 hours (GPS+HR), up to 10 hours (GPS)

Display size .87 x .98 in

Display resolution 5.67 x 6.61 in

Thickness 0.54″

Weight 2.22 oz

Strap length 9″


Location GPS

Location boost QuickGPSFix


Sensors (internal) Motion sensor, compass, optical heart rate monitor

Sensor (wireless) Bluetooth® Smart

Alerts Beep & Vibrate


Waterproofing 50 m / 165 feet (5 ATM)


Pace/Speed Yes

Distance/Calories Yes

Heart Rate Yes (Built-in Heart Rate Monitor*)

Cadence Yes (Cadence sensor – optional accessory)


Indoor Running Yes

Outdoor Running Yes

Cycling Yes

Dedicated Bike Mount Yes

Swimming Yes


Race Past activities + favorites

Goals Time, distance, or calories

Zone Pace or Heart Rate

Laps Pace or Heart Rate

Intervals Yes







The base line for this product need and review is as follows. Staying with a 1X10 speed configuration and moving to a wide range configuration that equals a typical 1×11 speed config. Current this bike is setup with a 30t front and 11-36t in the rear.

The other goal here is climbing ability. So I did two things here with this test. As I wanted to gain a climb gear with the 42t I also wanted to make some gains in the other gears with more speed. So I changed the chainring from the 30t a 32t.

Installation was very easy with the included instructions and to be honest the whole process makes sense. Remove the rear cog set and cleaned the freehub. Installed the E*Thirteen 42t cog and begin remounting the SRAM PG-1050 cassette. I choose to remove the 15t figuring if I was shifting down that far in gear I most likely would be on a fast fire road or downhill and could afford the jump. I did install a new SRAM PC-1071 chain and the included extra long B-Limit screw. There was a need to adjust the cable tension a bit and fine tune the B-Limit but over all a very easy and quick install.

Initial impressions very good, with consistent shifting with little if any noise added while pedaling. After come trail time and heavy dose of climbing of different types I am very pleased with the change. The change to the chainring to a 32t has made for a great long climbing gear matched with the 36t and when needed the 32t – 42t is amazing. One of the surprises was while in that gear I was able to make the short steep obstacles  and still have enough drive to get over some the big square edge rocks without dying out no more pedal like before. For the suggested price of $69.95, if you have a 10 speed this is a great upgrade that you will see and feel a difference with instantly.

Thumbs up.