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Interbike News That Didn’t Fit: Tacx iPad App, iBike, BikeSpike, Pioneer, Garmin FR220/FR620 notes, and more!

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As I wander around the show floor there’s plenty of little things that don’t fit and/or really have enough content to create a full post from.  Usually little snippets of information I found interesting, and/or you requested more information about.

So here ya go, the pot-pie of Interbike news, covering all sorts of different areas:

Tacx iPad Update:

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I swung by the Tacx booth to get a quick update on where the Tacx iPad app stands from a release standpoint.  You’ll remember I got a full walk-through of the app at Eurobike a few weeks ago.

As it stands now they’re aiming to submit it to the Apple App store within the next 10 days (by October 1st), at which point it’ll be in Apple’s hands for the typical approval process (could be a few days, or as long as a few weeks).

BikeSpike:

Last spring on Kickstarter the BikeSpike product/project was launched and funded.  The aim of the product was to add a GPS tracker to your bike that affixed into the holes on your water bottle cage using non-common screws, and then provided real-time location and alerting of your bike.

While at Interbike this week they had units on hand and were performing some demos, so I swung by and got the low-down.  First up is the physical unit itself:

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You can see below how it attaches into the custom-made bike waterbottle cage.  The water bottle cage is still fully functional here, as it’s simply pushed up a bit.

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The unit’s battery lasts between 3-4 weeks and power a built in cellular connection with carriers both inside and outside the US.

The first feature they demo’d was the 3-axis accelerometer that allows the unit to track and respond to changes in orientation (i.e. someone messing with your bike).  If you look at the below photo you can see that the angle of the BikeSpike is wirelessly being represented on the TV screen behind it.

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As part of that, the system could immediately trigger a notification/alert to your cell phone.  Either because the bike was touched, or because the bike is on the move (the unit includes GPS in it).

Next you’ve got location tracking and monitoring.  Below you can see the webpage (beta) showing the bike’s current location as well as information about the battery state.

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In addition to the theft monitoring aspects, you can also track rides on it, as seen below.  In this case it’s looking to just track a given ride and plot the distance along with some basic elevation and speed information on the graph below.

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Over time these would likely represent your daily commutes around the city – ultimately making a pretty neat historical record of your commutes.

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The $129US BikeSpike is currently planned for November delivery, and while at Interbike they were working to sign-up retailers/distributors to carry it once they clear out Kickstarter orders (like mine).

Garmin FR620 and the “black band”:

Out of the 400+ comments on the Garmin FR220/FR620 announcement post earlier this week, there was one curious frequent comment about many asking for a black band instead of a blue band, specifically on the FR620.

This caught me off guard a bit, since there actually isn’t a blue band – instead, it’s really black band with a blue interior.  The interior being the part that’s against your wrist and otherwise unseen.  I think many folks saw the interior of the band in various size comparison shots and assumed there was more blue than there really is.

So I grabbed a unit and took some pictures showing that it’s really rather black, with just a tiny blue accent on the front of the frame, and then the barely visible interior blue portion.

Thus, picture time:

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And more pictures:

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Make sense?  Good.

Aside from that, there were about a dozen outstanding questions folks had that required me going back to the Garmin team on to get clarification on, and/or validation on.  You’ll see these all added into the end of the comments section sometime Sunday.  Additionally, I’ll be adding in the requested FR10 + FR210 photos as well.  Enjoy!

Tour de France Branded Rollers:

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Ok, I don’t have anything to say here, other than I just wanted an opportunity to use the above photo I took because it was pretty awesome. I’d point out that the child’s potential for failure is far less than when I’m on my bike using them.  Obviously, he’s already laying on the ground staring at the sky.  Whereas I first depart the bike/rollers at a higher elevation, and then ultimately fall into a similar position.

Pioneer Power Meter US Distribution Update:

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This week at Interbike Pioneer announced their US distribution plans and official US pricing of their left/right capable power meter.

The unit is available immediately (actually, they started shipping production units in the last week or so), and the pricing is $1,600US for the power meter (excluding cranks), and $900US for the head unit.

While the head unit is optional, without it you’ll just get the more basic ANT+ data and won’t get the additional high-speed data that the Pioneer head unit can handle.  Nor will you get some of the additional metrics around balance and efficiency that are above and beyond what ANT+ is currently providing through standard device profiles.

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Distribution will occur to retailers initially through two distributors – QBP and KHS.  Both of those will in turn offer two methods for retailers (and thus consumers) to purchase the unit.  Also, in Canada the distributor is Podium Imports, and they’re already working with their first few retailers.

The first method is where QBP/KHS will offer a fully installed solution on one of the compatible cranksets.  This will of course increase the price over the base power meter since it needs to include cranks (pricing wasn’t available yet on what/how QBP/KHS will offer).  If done this way the unit will arrive to a retailer fully ready to mount on a bicycle, pretty similar to a traditional power meter with just some final installation steps.  As noted a few weeks ago, this is essentially how it works for the whole of Japan – everything is centralized.

The second option involves the dealer (retail location) having their mechanics go through a half-day course to understand the installation process and become certified installers.

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In this case, the retailer would receive all the power meter parks along with the installation kit (seen above/below) to complete the installation onsite for the customer at their retail location.

I want to point out that the display seen above/below is probably one of the more impressive meticulously put together displays of tools I’ve ever seen at Interbike.  My photos don’t really do it justice.

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As present there are five bike shops already performing installs within the US (I briefly talked to one dealer from California).  Pioneer noted a goal targeting the vast majority of the Top 50-100 bike shops (of course, as well as any bike shop interested in becoming a retailer).

On a related note, I’m being setup with a unit to start testing on Thursday (September 26th).  As with most power meters, you’re looking at about 30-60+ days before a review – again highly dependent on my travel schedule and amount of time spent on the bike.

Additionally, because I’m sorta curious how complex the installation is in real life, I’m working with them to sit-in on an installation/certification class local to me for mechanics of a retailer.  The goal there being to have a bit better understanding of the unit and how it works behind the scenes – given the more ‘involved’ nature of installation.  I know from hearing from many of you, that’s an area that most are looking for more transparency on (since typically proper installation of power meters directly impacts accuracy of power meters).

iBike Newton with PowerStroke Software:

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About two weeks ago I decided to order the most recent iBike product, the iBike Newton Plus.  My thinking was that at some point over the winter I’ll check it out and see what’s changed in the last few years since I’d played with it last.

There’s been some changes since then, many aimed at alleviating some of my concerns with the earlier generation units.  From redesigns of the front wind sensor to a simplified calibration process, getting rid of things such as leveling the bike and roll downs.

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Additionally, they’ve recently introduced their new PowerStroke software, which analyzes not only the pedal strokes ‘smoothness’, but also the amount of side to side motion that the bike makes while riding.  From this the software calculates “wasted watts” spent moving the bike side to side.

Comparing the next two screen shots, one shows a rider with a more clean stroke, versus the second image shows a rider what the software calculated as less round.

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The first image shows a more experienced ride, while the second screenshot shows that of a less experienced rider.

I don’t have a timeframe for the review, and as I noted above I bought the unit to toy with on my own terms over the winter.  Right now there’s a lot of other power meter related products I’m backed up on (Quarq Elsa, Pioneer PM, Rotor PM, etc…) that I need to tackle first.  However, as I clear off units/PM’s on my bike and make more room on my handlebars, I’ll be looking into how this compares with traditional power meters, and what some of these metrics mean in real life day to day riding.  Obviously, I’m very keen to see what has changed in the past few years, and having four additional power meters (direct force) on my bike beyond the iBike should make for interesting comparisons.

With that, I’ve got one last (slightly more entertaining) Interbike post left after this, but in the meantime, thanks for reading!

– -

Welcome to Interbike week! This week during Interbike 2013 I’ll be tweeting from the exhibition show floor quite a bit, as well as posting frequently. Here’s a quick and handy link to all Interbike-related posts.

27 Comments

  1. Happy Runner

    The bright green LED on the Bike Spike either tells the thief that different bike might be better to steal or, alternatively, notifies him to disable the unit. I wonder whether a stealth unit, hidden somewhere, might be better.

    Reply
    • Aben replied

      I was wondering if $129 can just get you really good insurance? (even with a GPS tracker your bike can be stolen....) as far as route monitoring, there is a website the reviews GPS units (that all include recording) for bikes and othersports, its called dcrainmaker or something like that

      Reply
    • Steve Helgemo replied

      One option would be to use special screws that require a proprietary screwdriver to extract. Something along the lines of the special lug nut on alloy wheels.

      Reply
    • MattK replied

      As a side note, even if you can track down your bike there isn't a police department in N. Cal that will go out and retrieve it for you. So, add the cost of some beer and BBQ to that $129, for your friends who are willing to help you take the law into your own hands.

      Reply
    • giorgitd replied

      Nice enough bike to steal, nice enough bike to drill the screws out. Even if you mess the threads, a helicoil makes everything good. Not much force on screws holding a water bottle. If the thief knows the purpose of the device...it's a goner. Probably best used as a deterrent to get the perp to steal someone else's bike...

      Reply
  2. Matt Player

    Hi there, the last product you mention (the new iBike); you mentioned right at the end that this could be interesting given you have other PM's installed and that got me thinking. Could this be used in conjunction with a direct force PM to act in the same way as the track based aerodynamics people (the name escapes me) or is the device not accurate enough? Obviously there would need to be some way of sync'ing the data but if I were one of the bods at iBike, I'd certainly be looking into this. A couple of hundred dollars one off vs paying for time in the wind tunnel, it's a no brainer!

    Reply
  3. Scott buchanan

    Ray, with regards the FR620 my comment and I suspect others was for a completely black FR620. The 'look at me' blue just doesn't look professional for the times you need to wear it at work especially when your in senior management. Also it adds nothing to the functionality.

    Reply
    • Simon replied

      Yep I agree, an all black version would be better

      Reply
    • Jason replied

      maybe you shouldn't wear that watch to work

      Reply
    • Mr. MBA replied

      "you're"

      Reply
    • philippe marc humbert replied

      Wow, that's sad. Senior management cares what color watch band you wear??

      Reply
    • Tyler replied

      I agree with Scott.
      Part of the utility of having a low-profile, professional looking, gps-off-or-on watch is that we can wear it to work, casually, and while running, without having another piece of running/biking/swimming kit to deal with.
      We don't all need conversation pieces.

      Many of us would prefer color choices that are a little more discrete and incognito.
      All black would fit the bill, or with lighter grey tones.
      I liked the 405 and 610, but a little bulky for daily wear.
      The smaller (women's) 10 is a nice color, but doesn't look right on a guy, imo.
      In this age of 3d printing and mass production, it takes very little to mock up additional color choices, and produce what's popular.

      Reply
    • Rich replied

      It's a sad world we live in when you think you're going to be judged by a tiny color accent on your watch. Your actions and skills should speak above any accessory you wear. I agree with the other comment, just don't wear it to work. Shoot, I'm a C level and wear a string bracelet my daughter made me for over a year now, I could care less if it matches my outfit or what other people think.

      The main point is this watch seems great and looks to be going in the right direction. Lighter, more functional, quicker to start. I just hope the battery has the ability to last longer and take more charge cycles (there is better battery technology available). After 1.5 years, my 610 barley holds a 6 hour charge for running, so if you are running multiple days without charging, mine won't last.

      Reply
  4. Dan

    I'm a fan of the white/orange 620, myself.

    Reply
  5. John P

    Any word from the Tacx boys on whether or not they will be making their new iPad mount compatible with aerobars?

    Reply
  6. Harmless Harm

    Hi Ray, apart from 'loop' no further Polar announcements? What kind of venues are typically used by Polar for announcements? Any idea when Polar will gear-up towards competition?

    Reply
  7. As someone who owns a software development company that has submitted a lot of Apple apps and updates, let me adjust your TACX iPad estimate. iPad apps take longer for them to process than iPhone apps, on a good day, you are looking at a week, however I have experienced delays up to 3 months (no request for changes, just after 3 months, I finally got the certificate (which turned out to be wrong and took another 2 weeks to resolve)). I wish TACX the best of luck, it is really a crapshoot with Apple, I know they made it cheap so anyone could be a developer, but I wish they had priority queue you could pay to get in.

    Reply
  8. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Re Newton+:
    "I don’t have a timeframe for the review, and as I noted above I bought the unit to toy with on my own terms over the winter. "

    First I'd test the accuracy of the wind measurement if you can. If the results will be great you will definitely get an acceptable power measurement, since grade and acceleration measurement should be OK, I conclude it relying on the experience with my Gen3 iAero. Accuracy of Crr estimation and mechanical losses should not change the picture

    Reply
    • Tisztul_A_Visztula replied

      Have you already started the test of Newton? Evidently no post was about any in-depth test, but maybe some part of playing has happened.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, not yet, still slammed with other devices.

      Reply
    • Tisztul_A_Visztula replied

      Me still curious. You still slammed?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, not yet. I've started to focus on bike devices this past week (switching from running/etc...). I have a few weeks at home starting in a week, so I may start diving into it then.

      Reply
    • Tisztul_A_Visztula replied

      Last "bump" for any eventual iBike Newton test.

      I have a Gen3 iAero, thus curious about the 4th generation without investing more.

      Reply
    • Pete replied

      Someone just did a review here:
      link to jarredscycling.com

      Reply
  9. cam

    i think the tacx app is available now... just plugged in my wahoo ant+ key for the first time and the ipad said i needed some apps that weren't already installed on the ipad. once it opened up the app store, one of the available apps was "tacx cycling". downloading now (its 300mbs so will take a while where i am) but looks promising

    Reply

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