A weekend of new gadgets: Polar Power Pedals, heart rate strap integrated clothing, and more!

This weekend was a bit of a catch-up weekend on items to get unboxing photos on, and ensure I have all the photos I need of a product before I start using it.  I’ve long since learned that if I don’t do it up front, I may never get that opportunity…such as in the event when a product later becomes destroyed, lost or otherwise killed.

Hopefully, that won’t happen to any of these.

First up was the long awaited Polar/Look Keo Power System, which is a pedal-based power system.  This was announced last year, and you saw my ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about it’ post back in the fall at Interbike.  But now I finally get the chance to have it on my bike, using it as I normally would on my own workouts.  Well, actually, my coaches workouts.  I suppose I just follow them.

As you might expect, you’ll get a full in-depth review here in a handful of weeks – but in the meantime, here’s some fun unboxing pics:

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Now I actually haven’t had a chance to ride with it yet, since I ran into a minor snag with the units a communications standpoint.  I think it’ll be all set Monday morning when the right folks get into work and can help me troubleshoot.

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The system was pretty quick and easy to install though from a physical standpoint, and certainly something that anyone could do – not just a bike mechanic.  And pairing with both the Polar CS500 and CS600 was easy as well.  Good stuff, looking forward to my first ride – especially seeing how the power compares with the SRAM/Quarq Cinqo that’s on the backside of this picture.

Next up on the list was another cycling related item that I unboxed, but didn’t quite have time to install yet – the Presta-2.

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Now you may be wondering what you’re looking at.  Above is a highly aerodynamic bike tube.  Essentially a tube designed to have absolutely zero aerodynamic profile by eliminating the valve sticking up out of the rims (as a valve normally would).  You can see just how short it is:

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Once installed, you must use a valve extender to access it – but you’ll find this is somewhat similar to some deep dish race wheels of today.  The reason being that the valve will completely disappear inside the wheel itself – and during a race you’d install a thin cover over it (aka: electrical tape) to make it disappear.

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Now, at nearly $100 a tube, these won’t be for everyone (much like the Keo power system I started this post off with) – but since I get a wide range of followers (from my Mom to Olympians), I’m always interested in testing out items from all categories.  More over the next few weeks on this one as well.

Next up is the Cardiosport Biovest.  This is a heart rate strap integrated top that you can connect to your Garmin watch or other ANT+ enabled device.

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This means you don’t actually wear any heart rate strap at all, instead it’s built right into the fabric of the top.  Nice and smooth!

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It includes a built-in ANT+ transmitter pod, but you can (and I tested) a handful of others as well.  I’m going to finish testing all the ones it’s compatible with – but so far, so good.  The top comes in a variety of sizes for both men and women – and both black and white.

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I decided to take it on my 15 mile run that I had to give it a first look.  I’ve often found that the best places to test products on are my long runs and rides.  Well, that and the ocean.  But since the ocean wasn’t in my plans today, a long run would have to do.  So I put it on below a simple long sleeve shirt and headed on out.

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While I did apply a tiny smidge of heart rate strap gel ahead of time to the strap (as I usually do on cold, dry days) – I  was thrilled to see that I didn’t get a single heart rate spike or dropout throughout the run  – just completely flawless data:

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(The two sharp drops at mile 4 and mile 9ish are simply stoplights.)

Awesome!

Now I had two sizes shipped to me – and this one was fairly snug – a bit compression-shirt like.  I’m getting some clarification on what the ideal tightness level is.  I didn’t mind it too much, but generally I prefer a bit looser clothing.  Of course, some prefer more snug clothing – just a personal preference thing.  The other size shipped to me is bigger, so I’m curious to see how well that works.  Additionally, I’ll update this post later in the day with how exactly you can purchase/buy the top – since I realized tonight I’m not entirely sure on that piece.  It will be available in April via a UK shop that ships worldwide for $79US including tax without the pod (use your own), or another $30US with the transmitter pod.

And finally, while I did un-package a few more items (after all, I spent four hours unboxing, photographing and getting stuff ready) – I’ll instead move onto the most important part of Sunday:

The Superbowl.

Yes, if there was any reason why I ran 15 miles ahead of the big game, it was to be able to eat anything I found there.

Which, happen to include The Girl’s cupcakes:

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Well, and a slew of other things that other folks made.  Regrettably, this did not help the New England Patriots to win (and yes, those are NY Giants cupcakes, but because we went to a hardcore NY Giants party – didn’t want to rock the boat).

On the bright side, there were some good commercials. :)

With that – hope everyone has a great week ahead, and thanks as always for reading!

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28 Comments

  1. Googling cardiosport biovest only end-up one result with your website, you really have the pre-released products!

    Reply
  2. @Chmouel: you just stole my posting ^^

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    what will be the retail-price for the polar pedals? anyone heard smthn about that?

    Reply
  4. Hi Anon-

    $2,200US for the Polar/Look Keo Power Pedals.

    Hi Chmoel-

    I just updated the section with the Cardiovest details. Enjoy!

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Now that Garmin 610 is supported by Firstbeat Athlete, you could test the recorded heart rate error percentage with cardiosport biovest, instead of visualizing for apparent heart rate spikes or dropouts throughout the run.

    Reply
  6. Wonderful review as usual. Thank you for posting this and can’t wait for more data on those pedals.

    Reply
  7. Speaking of heart rate straps, is Cycleops going to send you a PowerCal power meter heart rate strap to review?

    Reply
  8. Wes

    $100 a tube? *snicker* I guess the 1%ers will be lining up for that one ;-) I mean, everybody needs to shave 4 seconds off of their Ironman bike leg.

    Reply
  9. Kim

    i need that vest.

    ray – i just bought a lightly used garmin 310xt to replace my forerunner – i am going back to your previous review posts, etc… i have the integrated trek/bontrager…do i need to do anything for it to work with the 310xt or will it just sync up when i turn it on?

    Reply
  10. Tom

    As you spend more time with the Keo power pedals, can you provide some detailed measurements on the sensor arms? I am trying to figure out if either they or the Garmin Vector will accommodate the wide crank arms on PowerCranks.

    Thanks in advance. Like many of the folks out there, I really enjoy your posts, keep up the good work.

    Reply
  11. Andrew Salmon

    Hello, great work on the site!
    Some requests:
    1) More info on the bent allen key and how it works to align the Keos with the crank arm please. IMHO getting the Keos 1 degree out of alignment with the crank axis would have a significant effect on power measured.
    2) Also how well does the tightning collar work to clamp the pedals to cranks? Other reviews mentioned it was a PITA and came loose.
    3) Does the output correlate with your PT? How does it react to temperature when you step out of your 25deg house into -5 degree outdoors?

    Reply
  12. Kim, Once you turn on your 310xt and it has located satellites, you hold down the mode button on the left side until the “change sport” screen pops up. then select bike 1 and press enter on the right side of watch. Now you are in Bike mode and you press mode button until you see the main menu. go down to settings and hit enter. Then hit enter on “Bike Settings” Then scroll down to “bike 1″ and hit enter. Now you can pair up with the Bontrager Speed/Cadence sensor. Once finished then use Mode button to back out of Menus.

    Reply
  13. you are the luckiest man out there- all these great gadgets for you to test! I am jealous of those power pedals!!!! can’t wait for the review!

    Have a good one

    Reply
  14. Hi Anon-
    RE: Firstbeat

    Interesting idea. I’ve had Firstbeat on the list for a while, but that might make for an interesting post in and of itself.

    Hi Mark-
    RE: Powercal

    I do indeed have a PowerCal, and have been enjoying it – just havne’t had a chance to write it all up.

    Hi Kim-
    RE: 310XT with integrated bontrager

    Yup, just scan for the new sensor and it’ll pick it up instantly. Super easy!

    Hi Tom & Andrew-
    RE: Additional detail

    Will definitely cover all of those in the review. Once I understand the root of the issue I’m seeing, I’ll be better able to understand how it impacts those. At the moment the clamp is fairly straight forward once you understand it, though, it’s entirely possible I’m doing something wrong. TBD.

    Thanks all!

    Reply
  15. Ray – What about care instructions about the Cardiosport Biovest? Can’t help but wonder about how well it’ll do in the washing machine…or is it handwash only?

    Reply
  16. Pip

    The biovest looks interesting but I can’t help but think that it wouldn’t really work for women – particularly women who are, er, generously endowed in the chest department. I can’t see the heartrate sensor ever actually sitting where it needs to to be effective!

    Reply
  17. Still not sold on $2200 pedals. You could buy an awesome wheelset with a Powertap for that money. Which I already did.

    Reply
  18. Any review of PEAR Square in the future?

    Reply
  19. Hi Zoltan-

    Washing machine is good, dryer is bad. Just washed my yesterday, so hopefully it’s all good. It wouldn’t last long in this house if I couldn’t use a washing machine. ;) Instructions were on lower label, but just didn’t include in this post.

    Hi Pip-

    I just asked for clarification. Clearly what you’re saying is that I need to find a ‘generously endowed’ woman to volunteer to test and photograph result. No?

    Hi Mark-

    It is indeed expensive. I’m interested in seeing what the price does by end of year, especially with all the new entrants.

    Hi Chris-

    I’m torn on it. I saw it announced a bit ago, but I’m honestly struggling with the ‘why’ of it. Meaning, what does it get me over devices priced half as much? It doesn’t include the iPod, so that’s an extra $100+. There’s no doubt they have a slick site, with a very well produced video – but I’m not seeing/getting the content aspect of their platform or really even much about the device. Meaning, show me the details.

    Again, I could fully be missing something (probably am), but at this point I can’t see it for most folks. For those that want audio feedback – phones do it all for 99 cents an app. For those that want detailed training guidance – watches do the same for half the price. But again, feel free to let me know what I’m missing.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  20. Pip

    Um, yeah, I guess you could say that! Not that I’m claiming to be huge in that Department, but I’m not unendowed either. Feel free to send one all the way to New Zealand, and you may, just possibly, get a headless photo as demonstration!

    Reply
  21. Hi DC, look forward to your review of the keo power. I’ve been using them since Sept last year if you would like to compare notes. There is an interesting bike radar blog comparison on them at the moment (including some comments from me). After starting my new year program with some serious interval sessions you will notice a drawback with the keo power is the head unit. The CS600x just isn’t up to scratch for serious power training. For instance only current power can be displayed in an active screen and average power for a lap or interval is only displayed on the fly at the end of a a pre-programed power interval exercise. No easy comparison to the average last interval power unless you manually select the last phase screen from the menu. Also no IF or NP on the fly. All the data and analysis you need can downloaded after an exercise, but it is not as good as having access to it on the fly. Let me know if you want some more insights to round out your upcoming review. Cheers

    Reply
  22. Hi Road Runner-

    Drop me a note at ray@dcrainmaker.com and we’ll catch up a bit – have a few thoughts.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  23. I have been around a while in the sport of cycling, but those tubes are quite possibly the dumbest bike product I have EVER seen! The concept may be kindof sound, but the price?

    Reply
  24. Anonymous

    Thank you Rhainmaker for your nice work. You seem to be the only one on the planet that have the Polar Keo Power pedals. Will there be a full in-depth review, from your hand, soon?

    Reply
  25. Unfortunately, a few days after I posted this the units had to go back to France due to issues with them. However, I just got them back about 3 weeks ago and have been using them nonstop. Expect a review likely in the next 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    Eagerly awaiting the Power Pedal review!

    Reply
  27. Browsing through your old posts,
    I couldn’t help but notice how prophetic the first paragraph of this post is (re breaking Polar pedals)!

    Reply

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