RacerMate (CompuTrainer) resolves RacerMate One contract issues, might release this summer

RM1

Just a brief post to relay some information that is definitely of interest to some of you out there.  This afternoon an e-mail went out from the company notifying folks that they have resolved the contractual issues that have kept the major software release from reaching your hands.  RacerMate One (the name of the suite) aimed to centralize many of the previously separated products they had, and consolidate that into one updated software suite.  You can see some of my past previews of it here.

As you may have been aware, while the company made final preparations to release the software last fall, they ran into a snag with the development company (3rd party) that did the bulk of the software development for them.  The exact details are a bit fuzzy, but essentially what they have said is that somehow along the way the distribution rights were not secured – and thus RacerMate didn’t actually have the rights to distribute the software.

Since then they’ve been in a bit of a mess trying to get it all sorted out between them and the 3rd party company that did the development – with no date being published.

Today’s e-mail however announced that those issues have been resolved, and that they will now resume the final prep for release, and then aim to have it available by “June/July”.

The e-mail was sent to all those who bought a CompuTrainer directly from them since June of 2010, which qualified for the free upgrade (that was when the new software suite was first announced).  All others will have to purchase the software for the previously stated price of $199US.  Here’s the full text of said e-mail (thanks to those who sent it in):

“Hello CompuTrainer Owners–

We would like to bring you up to date on the status of the long awaited “RacerMate One” software suite. Customers who purchased their CompuTrainers after June 1, 2010, are entitled to receive this new software suite when it is released. Though most of the work was completed, we were forced to halt release due to a contractual issue. Now that the contractual logjam has been resolved, the final development has resumed and final testing is excpected to begin in March. Final release is expected in June/July. While we believe these delivery dates can be met, they cannot be guaranteed because of the inherent complexity of software development. If anything unforeseen happens to change this schedule you will be notified. Needless to say we are working very hard to meet this goal.

The RacerMate One software DVD will be mailed free of charge to every eligible customer who wants it, but we need to hear from you. Our purchasing records indicate that you are eligible to receive the software. To insure we have your current shipping address on record, and to confirm you have received this message, please click the button below and provide us with the requested information so we can fulfill our commitment to you.

We greatly appreciate your patience and believe you will be pleased with the end result.
Updates will be posted on our main page at: www.racermateinc.com

If you have any questions that are not addressed on the main page, please send e-mail to: RMOne@computrainer.com

Of course, the bigger question remains around how much damage this has done to the CompuTrainer brand.  With the distraction of the software delay, many would say that it puts CompuTrainer’s software offering a bit behind the competition.  On the hardware side the unit is unmatched from a durability standpoint, but the hardware technology advances of competitors like the PowerBeam Pro and the Tacx Bushido aren’t going unnoticed.

Add to that the impending PowerBeam Pro software release (CycleOps VirtualTraining) for the Fall of 2012, and you’ve got a serious list of competitors with hardware and software offerings that seem to undercut the long lasting CompuTrainer in all three important categories: Hardware, Software…and price.  Speaking of which, I promised some screenshots weeks ago for ya, so I’m definitely not one to disappoint on Valentines Day.  Thus, my present to you:

imageNewSuite

Note that the above two are just tiny little snippets of the overall suite – a suite with tons of potential (though, it’s still 6+ months away from release).  Since I’m quite literally knee-deep in trainers right now, I’ve been mostly focusing on getting reviews done with currently available products – then talking about the future products.

I’d be curious though – for those that own a CompuTrainer and bought it prior to June 2010 (like myself) and thus aren’t eligible for the free upgrade, are you planning on buying the upgrade?  At the moment, if it weren’t for the sole purpose of eventually writing up a post on it and answering your questions, I’d have a hard time justifying the purchase given the differences in features.  But again, I’d be curious about your thoughts.

As always, thanks for reading.

23 Comments

  1. Ray,

    I've been asking myself the same question since the entire software debacle began.

    I am eligible for the RM1 software and am excited to see some forward movement in getting it out to us. However, if I had it to do all over again knowing what we do now I would have went with a Tacx or TrainerRoad.

    I have lost all faith in RacerMate and will be surprised if we really do see RM1 released this summer.

    Reply
  2. To late. With the RacerMate One issues, I lost faith and just bought a PowerBeam Pro. I have my fingers crossed the fall software updates will be worth it. Then again, the Joule 3 is pretty awesome.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I'm no doubt biased by being an RM1 beta tester, but I would say absolutely. RM1 is head and shoulders better then the old product. The interactivity is unmatched. Some will no doubt complain about something, but it's a very good product from what I've seen. Now it just needs to be wrapped up and shipped.

    Reply
  4. DQ

    I was waiting patiently, but now I've moved on to ErgVideo. I'm also not so bullish on recommending the platform to friends because of the issues.
    .
    I would agree with the sentiment that other platforms are/have caught up.

    Reply
  5. I own a CT. I also work on GoldenCheetah (I wrote the CT support due to frustration with the old software).

    Its not just that Tacx are nipping at their heels - TrainerRoad.com and GoldenCheetah do most of this stuff for free or with a lot more added value.

    But if I was a new user I would expect this software to be standard.

    I *was* going to buy this two years ago .. but now I don't feel like I need it.

    Reply
  6. hip82

    Even with the RM1 software pending (I'll believe it when I see it) it's looks like a lot better software is out there to the point where I would consider selling it for one of their competitors.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I bought a computrainer three months ago through a third party, and hence I am reliant on their goodwill for any software upgrade. $200 is pretty steep for having put in $1,400 already, and if I knew it was going to have been this long, I would have gone with the Bushido instead.

    In both design and service, in no way could I recommend Racermate to anyone. The competition has caught up and exceeded Racermate's due to their self-inflicted wound. At least the new software will be out before the company folds for good.

    Reply
  8. I have been using a Computrainer since 1999. $200 is a pretty small investment for the amount of return I get from it. Yes, I will purchase the upgrade.

    Reply
  9. Rob

    Not at that price. Was excited by it when first announced but then became quite satisfied with ErgVideo and TrainerRoad.

    Rob

    Reply
  10. Kevin

    I am eligible for the free software, but honestly I could care less if I ever get it. I have ergvideos, I also use Golden cheetah along with some sufferfest videos. You just put your threshold power in the excel file load it along with a video and it all plays through the golden cheetah interface. There is NO WAY I would pay for the upgrade!

    Reply
  11. Am I the only SW "professional" that cringes when reading this?

    "While we believe these delivery dates can be met, they cannot be guaranteed because of the inherent complexity of software development."

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    I've owned my Computrainer since 1996.
    I like the hardware and will continue to use it.
    Software wise, I've switched to Golden Cheetah's Mac version. I won't be buying RM1.

    Reply
  13. Confidence in a RM1 release has long since lapsed. I've owned a CT for three years and frankly all the cables and bodged HW interfaces are as much of a pain in the butt as the ancient ailing SW.

    I have since purchased a Powerbeam Pro and enjoy using Trainer Road, I look forward to controlling the resistance load remotely with Trainer Road and I'm excited about the cycleops SW too.

    The only thing I still use the CT for is SpinScan - and if someone can tell me of a third party app to do that with a Powerbeam Pro - then the CT will be going on e-Bay!

    Reply
  14. The big assumption here folks is that the new software will actually work as advertised, at least from a functionality and stability perspective. Give RM1 tortured development scheduled, and the fact that it's supposedly 'all new', I'm very skeptical. I hope I'm wrong, but IMHO '1.0' software is never as pretty as hoped. In the meantime I'll use ErgVideo, perhaps waiting for RM2! Best of luck to you early adopters!

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    I have been a real thorn in RM's side throughout much of this debacle. Anyone can make a bad decision (failing to get contract terms negotiated before starting a project of this size) but the lack of information (including locking out forums) was unprecedented. After people complained, RM actually seemed to be offended that their customers were irritated, particularly those who bought a unit and were promised software. All these things said will I buy the software? Yeah, probably, though not until this Fall to Winter. Like it or not I have not found a trainer that is as durable and reliable as the Computrainer. I have put thousands and thousands of miles on mine. They also seem to be unusually good as to customer service and warranty issues, notwithstanding the most recent calamity. My recommendation to RM is to (1) beg forgiveness of their loyal customers and (2) offer some level of discount to early adopters (this will help with cash flow to encourage purchases sooner rather than later). My opinions, yours may differ.

    Reply
  16. ekutter

    I've actually been pretty disappointed in RacerMate since I bought a CT in 2002. The current software was pathetic in 2002, let alone 2012. For me, these delays have just been the excuse to move on. My wife still uses our CT but I have gotten a Tacx Bushido and love it. It has its own software hiccups but being completely wireless makes it easy to transport. When we go to a group spin, my wife brings the basic trainer rather than the CT. I actually look forward to what cycleops produces. CT is way over priced for what you get. And they don't seem to have made any effort to earn my future business.

    Reply
  17. DQ

    I would also add that computerized just plain missed the boat on issues like cables. I purchased cant+ and love it for the ease of set up I now have. But there's nothing coming in RM1 that adds that functionality natively and other than spin scan (which is worthless anyway) there's nothing lacking with the wireless setup.

    It seems like technology marched on but computrainer didn't.

    Reply
  18. I planned on buying it at one point, but the drama has lowered my expectations. I'll wait months until after the release to see if other buyers are satisfied.

    Reply
  19. TB

    CT has been a big part of my mix for many years. I'll be buying. Don't really need it, but maybe it will fix the heart rate issues. Or maybe not.

    ErgVideo is great, Real Course works fine, I can still bang out 3D workouts. Maybe RM1 will surprise me with improvements on those.

    PowerBeam Pro screen shots look great! But, as much as I love Saris as a company, their customer service, and the Powertap, Poweragent software has the most screwed up user interface I've ever encountered. Then again, maybe Saris will use a 3rd party developer....

    Reply
  20. I see the value of upgrading the software, but at that price point it is difficult to justify. Especially when I've already poured money into ErgVideo and other software to do what they are releasing in the One software.

    Reply
  21. gatorays

    I have been using my computrainer since 2003 and it has never skipped a beat. The software, however, is a little painful. Looking forward to the upgrade, I hope it is worth the wait. I think they would significantly increase sales and leave the competition behind if you could have "virtual"races over the internet with other CT's. Xbox and nintendo have been doing that for years.

    Reply
  22. Sf Jeff

    I have had a CT since 2005, and rode them for years prior in a gym setting, doing head to head races. I have suffered with numerous "no communication" errors, swapped cables, intermittent wireless heart rate glitches, updates to the stereo to USB cable, together with the odd responses of the performance pacer on hills. I've built a cool custom platform with hidden wires and lockable heavy duty casters. Through all that, I have always been a supporter. But this software debacle has soured me. Despite the contract issue, this was never going to be released in 2010 as originally indicated. I will still probably buy RM1, but RM needs to do something to regain my trust and enthusiam for them. Otherwise, I will be gladly move to some other platform or device that has any marginal advantage over the CT. Their attitude through all this has been abysmal.

    Reply
  23. Our family has used Computrainer since 2004. The hardware is great, the software has needed upgrade for years. Reliability is the key. Numerous software crashes during training really take the edge off a great product. The hope that RM 1 with a new pc (8 years is an eternity in pc development) and the use of HD video keeps me waiting. $199 is not an issue if it works. We just need it now.

    Reply

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