DC Rainmaker http://www.dcrainmaker.com Sat, 24 Sep 2016 16:30:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.6 Cateye introduces new power meter…well…sort of. http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/cateye-introduces-meterwellsort.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/cateye-introduces-meterwellsort.html#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 03:03:31 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=65364 Read More Here ]]> DSC_0669

While at Interbike this week I found a new entrant in the power meter market: Cateye.

Well, kinda.

As in, kinda sorta maybe.

As you walked by the booth you’d have first noticed the ‘Trust The Cat’ slogan prominently displayed.  The company being well known in local bikes shops around the world for their budget bike computers.  I’m sure over the years, prior to GPS bike computers, I’ve bought numerous units.  More than I can count.  None of which I still have today (though, their Bluetooth Smart bike computer from a year or two ago was pretty cool).


However, immediately after contemplating their new slogan, I found what I came here for: Some new power meters.

I’m always on the prowl for new sports tech at these shows, but especially new power meters.  And sure enough, here was a small stand off to the side of a few new units.


At first glance these appeared like other left-only power meter crank arms, such as Stages or 4iiii.


Err, wait a second, these really appear quite a bit like 4iiii’s own power meters.  In fact, there’s even a 4iiii logo next to them – noting that the technology is Precision by 4iiii.  4iiii of course has been shipping out power meters for about 16 months now, and has recently started offering a dual left/right option as well.  But these newfound Cateye units were left-only, virtually identical to that of the program introduced at Sea Otter by 4iiii to allow you to buy a crank arm with the unit already on it (vs sending your own crank arms in to 4iiii to get a power meter added to it).


The only difference with these? These have the 4iiii logo scratched off the battery cover and have replaced it with a Cateye logo. Trust the Cat is disappointingly omitted as subtitled text.  Lost opportunities…


So now you’re probably wondering what this new Cateye power meter will set you back.  The answer? $21 more than the 4iii units.  Here, I’ll make this simple:

4iiii Shimano 105: $399USD
Cateye branded Shimano 105: $420USD

Let’s try another:

4iiii Shimano Ultegra: $499USD
Cateye branded Ultegra: $520USD

Once more?

4iiii Shimano Dura-Ace: $599USD
Cateye branded Dura-Ace: $620USD


Now why would Cateye do this?  Or why would 4iiii agree to this?


Pure and simple distribution.

As anyone who has walked into a local bike shop in the US knows, Cateye is everywhere.  They’re as prevalent in bike shops as lingerie in Victoria’s Secret stores.  Just not as sexy.

But many consumers will walk into a bike shop and see a display offering a power meter for $420 – and at a price that will likely even get the install done for free (if the LBS is smart).  Compare that with 4iiii branded units, which probably aren’t found in many local bike shops, plus, you’d still have to install it yourself.

In this way, 4iiii has significantly expanded their consumer reach, and thus in turn probably increased their sales figures.  Plus, it’s probably more convenient for some folks (again, if the bike shop throws in the install).

As for the more informed consumer, you can save yourself $21 by just buying the 4iiii version.  Or, you can Trust The Cat.

Your choice…and more consumer choice is good, even if it’s just a different wrapper.

With that – thanks for reading!  You can see all the Interbike news from this year here, and fear not – there’s definitely more on the way!  Next up…new trainers!

Pioneer announces new power meter options, head unit upgrades, bike sensor modeling http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/pioneer-announces-upgrades-modeling.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/pioneer-announces-upgrades-modeling.html#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:23:35 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=65259 Read More Here ]]> DSC_0635

Pioneer has been both a relative newcomer to the power meter party, but also the stable and steady entrant in terms of new products.  Each fall they’ve announced new offerings, and each spring we tend to see further updates and price adjustments.  Such has been the case for nearly three years now.

While they’re still building out consumer awareness of the brand, they’re actually putting out very solid power meter products, even used by pro teams in the Tour de France.  You’ll remember my review last summer on their 2nd generation units, which was then followed by price cuts last fall and this past spring to match others in the marketplace.  At this point, they’ve got a fairly competitive offering if you’re looking to eventually upgrade to a dual-sided platform or want more data metrics from your power meter.

Today at Interbike they’ve expanded their crank offerings with new models, as well as added new features to their head unit.  Also, they’ve demo’d a pretty cool consolidated sensor platform with rider modeling.  But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

The New Crank Options:


First up are the new crank models.  Remember that Pioneer works in one of two ways: You can either send in your existing crank arms to get a power meter added to them, or you can buy one of their ready-made units.  For the options where you send in your crank arms, Pioneer has it such that for the majority of the country if you send in your crank arms on Monday, they’ll have them back to you by Thursday with the power meter attached.

So the new models refers to either expanded compatibility options, or units they’re selling straight up with the power meter already attached.


Here’s what’s new on tap:

Adding Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 offerings: The R9100 is the new Dura-Ace Series that Shimano announced this past summer. Pioneer will be shipping these later this fall (November) and will offer both a R9100 left-only kit for $629 (including crank arm), or the full left/right crankset for $1,499USD.  They’ll have three crank lengths on this.  What’s notable is that there is no higher cost for the R9100 compared to the previous 9000 cranks. Kinda nice.

Adding Shimano XTR, XT offerings: These will be offered as a ‘send in your own crankarm’ option, with the prices being: $999 for dual, $579 for right-only, or $499 for left-only.  Again, you supply your crank arms here.

Adding Campagnolo Potenza offerings: The company will now offer the ability for you to send in your Potenza crank arms and get a pioneer power meter installed on it.  This will mark the first power meter company to offer a Campy dual-leg option (an area many power meter companies have struggled with).  The prices will be the standard Pioneer prices for sending in your crank arms: $999 for dual, $579 for right-only, or $499 for left-only.  Again, you supply your crank arms here.

Adding Cannondale Si, Si-SL2 offerings: Just like with the Potenza above, they’ll be offering these Cannondale crankset options too.  Same prices again: $999 for dual, $579 for right-only, or $499 for left-only.  Again, you supply your crank arms here.

Adding FSA SL-K: Another carbon offering in the works by Pioneer where you send in your own arms. By now you know the drill on pricing: $999 for dual, $579 for right-only, or $499 for left-only.  Again, you supply your crank arms here.

DSC_0625 DSC_0623


All of these new models will ship starting in November, or rather I suppose, they’ll allow you to ship your cranks to them for November. As is probably obvious by now – the real goal of Pioneer is to get local bike shops to up-sell power meters on new bikes.  Pioneer is basically selling an empty box to bike shops for their shelves.  Thus inventory requirements are easy to handle:


But sometimes the easiest consumer awareness solution is a tiny piece of paper.  Pioneer has made these bike hang-tags that go on frames out on the show floor.  That’s an incredibly compelling piece of paper when you sit back and think about it.  Sure, there are other left-only offerings for less money, but they may not be compatible with all the different crank arm options (i.e. FSA, Cannondale, Campy).  So this is something bike shops can put on many bikes on their floors and get immediate traction on.


So why is Pioneer even offering a power meter on the new Dura-Ace R9100, considering you can get one from Shimano directly?  Well, Pioneer believes they can offer a better product.  And honestly, they’re likely right.

For example, Shimano has a wired connection between left and right sides, whereas Pioneer is wireless.  Pioneer has a higher water resistance rating (IPX6 & IPX7), which means you can even use a pressure washer on the bike. Pioneer doesn’t require a magnet, whereas Shimano does.  Pioneer also gives you more data on pedaling analysis, that Shimano doesn’t.  But the biggest?  Pioneer is shipping in November, whereas Shimano is looking like April 2017 or so.

On the flip-side, Shimano does support BLE for firmware updates (but not power broadcasting), and Shimano has a higher claimed battery life (300hrs vs 180hrs).


And just to recap the rest of the lineup, here’s things that remain the same in the Pioneer line-up.

Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 left Only: This stays the same at $629 as before, with 7 different crank lengths.
Shimano Ultegra 6800 Left Only: This stays at $559 (including crank), and has 4 different crank length
Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 complete set: This stays at $1,499 inclusive of crank arms
Shimano Ultegra 6800 complete set: This stays at $1,299 inclusive of crank arms
Send in your own crank arm: $999 for dual sided, $579 for the right-side kit, and $499 for the left side kit

Phew! Tons of options!  Ok, let’s talk software.

New Bike Computer Features:


In addition to all these new cranks floating around, they’re also making some updates to their bike head unit, which they’re calling ‘Training Assist’.  These offerings are aimed at offering training plan primers, as well as workout modules.  They fall into three different categories:

Training Primer: 7 Modules
Power Training Primer: 11 modules
Pedaling Training Primer: 10 modules

The idea behind this is to introduce people to the concept of training with power.  So it goes through step by step by step in a combination of taking your existing ride data on their training platform, and then dynamically merging that into a training plan for your head unit.


As you dive into the platform, it’ll automatically keep your workout targets in sync with your uploaded history.  So effectively, it’s coaching you.


This actually makes a lot of sense – and is something I’ve discussed for a few years now.  Most of the power meter companies basically offload the problem of training with power to the bike head unit companies.  Those bike head unit companies in turn do nothing about it.  Sure, some might offer random training plans you can download – but that’s actually quite different than teaching a consumer how to train with power and use power for training/racing.


Once you’ve gotten a given module setup and understand the basics, it’ll walk you through each workout in a pretty standard fashion to other head unit companies:


They’ve also introduced the ability to setup custom intervals, as well as a new ‘MMP Test’ option, which aims to test your Mean Maximal Power.  MMP is essentially how much power you can hold for a given duration, and is often displayed in a graph like below (this one from Strava):


The MMP values are pulled from their cloud platform, so they know your existing target values for any given MMP timeframe.

DSC_0661 DSC_0659

Oh, and finally – on that manual interval option, you can specify a warm-up period, a work interval configuration, and a cool-down period.  All on the unit itself:


All of these new options are available now, and have been in various pieces over the summer.  But they’ve continued to add new functionality, even as recently as the last few weeks.

Extended Sensor Network:


Last but not least, Pioneer was demonstrating a proof of concept sensor system that uses numerous sensors placed on the rider and the bike to measure various data metrics.  These metrics are then fed into a computer in real time, ideally targeted at fit studios.


There are five different sensor locations, each with different types of sensors within them:

Saddle/Seat Post: Strain gauge based (four gauges per pod)
Helmet: Gyro based
Bar Stem: Strain gauge based (four gauges per pod
Shoes: Gyro and accelerometer based
Power Meter: Strain gauge and accelerometer based

The sensors are still a bit prototype looking of course, but this gives you an idea of how they are placed around the bike or on the person.  With the person in this case being Lisa Leonard, a local Pro XTerra and mountain biker.

DSC_0641 DSC_0642DSC_0645 DSC_0647

As she’s riding, all of this data is shown in real-time on the screen, though slightly smoothed so it’s not too sensitive.  At this point, it’s not yet recorded.  You can see how it’s combining in multiple pieces of data into certain plots – such as the ankling angle combines power meter position data with the shoe sensor data.


Now at this point Pioneer doesn’t have a specific timeframe or even price for the system.  Their goal here at Interbike this year is more to introduce the concept and get feedback on it, as well as to understand what the marketplace looks like for such technology.  I suspect by next Eurobike/Interbike, we’ll have a better look at what a saleable solution might be. Still, it’s cool to see companies experiment in this area

With that – thanks for reading!  Stay tuned to Twitter for all the latest news, analysis and sarcastic observations from Interbike this week!  Fear not – there’s plenty more!

Wahoo announces KICKR Studio platform for local bike shops/studios http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/wahoo-announces-kickr-studio-platform-for-local-bike-shopsstudios.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/wahoo-announces-kickr-studio-platform-for-local-bike-shopsstudios.html#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 15:03:06 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=65293 Read More Here ]]> DSC_0600

Today at Interbike, Wahoo is taking the next logical step in the indoor training realm: Offering a cycling studio package.

This offering, aimed initially at the North American market, is targeted at bike shops and indoor trainer studios that want to have a turnkey solution for selling indoor training classes.  Wahoo’s offering is a combination of hardware, controller software, and a backend web platform.  It covers everything from registration to class/rider management and then even the running of the class/session itself.

How it works:

Wahoo’s goal was to create an end to end platform that any bike shop could easily pickup and implement and get on the road.  The first piece of that is getting a potential customer to sign-up.  To do so, folks can go to KICKRStudio.com and then find local bike shops that offer the platform.


Right now you won’t find much.  But Wahoo says within a few weeks they’ll start onboarding the first studios.  Once you select a studio you’ll be able to create an account on Wahoo’s cloud platform, which allows you to sign-up for classes. The platform can manage payment for the local bike shop.  More than that though, as a user it becomes your one-stop shop for getting your data after the class.

You’ll be able to review your workout there, download the original .FIT files, and sync it to other 3rd parties – like Strava.

But first, you need to complete your session.  To do that you’d head down to your local studio.  Or in my case, the hectic still-under-construction show floor at Interbike.

It’s here the instructor will check you in for the classes being offered.  The system supports numerous classes per day, as well as concurrent classes in multiple rooms. Each room can have up to 20 KICKR’s.


Next, you’ll hop on your bike.  The instructor will then pass around what looks to be a TV remote (though the worst TV remote ever, since it has no buttons to control your TV), but it’s actually a remote pairing device for sensors.



The device uses proximity pairing to figure out what your ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart sensors are.  This way you can easily pair your HR sensor or cadence sensor to a known person. You basically just tap it to the sensor you want to pair and it confirms via an LED light.


The remote pairing device is made by North Pole Engineering (NPE), which also makes the more well-known WASP devices used in fitness studios and gyms.  It’s used to pickup numerous sensor connections concurrently and stream them in real-time to a backend platform.  Wahoo uses it within the KICKR Studio package, with their wall-mounted version:



Now when it comes to that backend platform, there’s two pieces.  One is an instructor iOS device (iPad in this case) that the instructor uses for managing the class before and during the workout.  The second piece is another iOS device that’s used for sending all the commands to the trainers and acting as a central hub for data, it also connects to the TV.  This secondary unit in turn integrates with the Wahoo cloud platform for data transmission; though, it can also sustain loss of WiFi just fine during the class and still keep ticking.


Below is the instructor tablet while checking in the riders.  Riders can update profile pictures, and the instructor can see whether a rider has paid or not by the credit card icon.  Same goes for if the person’s sensors are paired.


The instructor can also tap any given rider to take a closer look at paired sensors and make any changes if required. They can adjust intensity level for that rider as well.


When it comes to workouts, Wahoo is including some pre-canned workouts in the suite.


But studios can also make their own workouts using Wahoo’s new workout creator. It’s pretty straightforward and has the ability to quickly create workouts/segments, and reminds me a bit like what TrainerRoad’s workout creator looks like.

After everyone is settled, you’ll get started on the session.  The main display is controlled by that backend iPad, and will display rider stats on the screen as well as the workout along the bottom.  Instead of showing exact watts, it’ll show your % of FTP.  The workouts are ‘leveled’ for varying rider abilities by using % of FTP, as opposed to straight wattage values. The rider should simply aim to keep intensity in the green target zone, which adjusts as the workout goes along.


In the event someone doesn’t know their FTP, the instructor can put in an estimated value and then easily change it on the fly as the situation warrants.  More than that though, the rider can actually use their own shifting to make it harder or easier in the workout (effectively adjusting the overall workout intensity).  Meaning that since it’s in ERG mode, it would normally ignore your gear shifts. But in this case, it’ll now consider speed as a factor for intensity.  So to allow a student to reduce intensity, you simply reduce your speed.


Speaking of changes – probably the most important piece of the KICKR studio is actually the technical changes that Wahoo had to make to have everything work. While other platforms work by controlling the trainers using ANT+ FE-C or Wahoo’s earlier ANT control options, those sometimes had delays of a few seconds between all the class participants.  That was fine for longer multi-minute intervals, but didn’t work if you had a 5 second delay to start a 15 or 30sec interval. This was especially important in larger studios – such as those with 15-20 people.

So Wahoo ended up creating a specific studio mode that allows the KICKR (both new and old versions, plus KICKR SNAP) to cache upcoming commands.  This way the KICKR knows the commands (levels) ahead of time, and is essentially just acting out a script on demand based on a time-code.  So once it gets its initial starting command from the instructor, all KICKR’s are operating exactly in sync on this preplanned flight. Of course, that can still be adjusted in realtime from the instructor.


All of this is controlled over private-ANT (they noted that if ANT+ FE-C gets its long discussed group mode, then they’d look at that as well).  However, Wahoo still allows you as a rider to pair to the trainer via Bluetooth Smart during this, so you can view your data right on your phone using the usual Wahoo app if you’d like.  It just will disallow control of the trainer during the session.

Upon completion of the workout it’ll show a summary screen, as well as then e-mail each participant a data summary and then a link to download their file.  If they’ve configured auto sync, it’ll also send it off to partner accounts (i.e. Strava).


For now Wahoo is rolling out just the structured workout mode, but says they’ll likely look to add in video partner integration shortly as well.

From a studio ownership standpoint, you’ll be able to ‘buy’ the KICKR studio as either a straight-up purchase of the package, or you can also do short-term leases of the entire platform and the KICKR’s, to test whether you can make the platform work in your specific bike shop/studio.  All of which will be available over the next two weeks.

With that – thanks for reading!  Stay tuned to Twitter for all the latest news, analysis and sarcastic observations from Interbike this week!  Fear not – there’s plenty more!

Hands-on with the Lezyne Super GPS Bike Computer http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/hands-lezyne-computer.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/hands-lezyne-computer.html#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 06:25:29 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=65184 Read More Here ]]> DSC_9028

Over the last few years Lezyne has transitioned itself from a company that just made bike lights, into a GPS bike computer company.  Albeit, one that probably doesn’t get enough attention.

I’ve touched on them from time to time, but I think their latest units are getting closer and closer to mainstream adoption, especially given the price points – which start at $100 and top out at $200.  So, no matter what model you choose you won’t be spending too much.

I had a chance to sit down with the folks at Eurobike, and then also brought the new Super GPS unit home with me as well.  I’m going to run through some of the core features below, especially some unique features that aren’t actually found on other computers.  One phone-integrated function definitely spiked my interesting.  Let’s get rolling.

What’s unique:

So we’ve established it’s (Super GPS) a bike GPS computer, so I’m going to skip past the obvious things like that it records where you went while riding using GPS.  Some of the less obvious things though are that it:

– Includes a barometric altimeter as well as temperature data
– Includes GLONASS for additional GPS satellites.
– Can connect to both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors (Heart Rate, Cadence, Power, Speed sensors)
– Can connect to electronic shifting platforms
– Has Strava Live Segment support (so it gives you feedback in real-time)
– Displays smartphone notifications (text/phone/email)
– Contains the ability to send live tracking links to friends/family via e-mail
– Includes bread crumb trail/course maps based on where you’ve been
– Can customize 5 pages, each with up to 4 data metrics
– Shows the battery life of not just the unit, but also your phone!

However, I want to touch on two areas.  First is the Strava Live Segments feature, which allows you to quickly load your favorite segments to the unit.  This is a bit unique compared to the Wahoo & Garmin offerings, in that you can actually see which segments are loaded from your phone app – as opposed to it being either the backend Strava favoriting process or only displayed on the unit itself. You can also configure settings with respect to how soon it pops up notifications.


Based on what I saw, it appears that Lezyne has a good base here – though it might not be quite as detailed as Garmin or Wahoo’s offerings.  Still, it’s probably fine for most people.  And of course, after the fact the unit syncs direct to Strava as well via your mobile phone.

But it’s one specific mobile phone feature that I thought was particularly cool: The ability to instantly send turn by turn directions from your phone to the unit.  See, all GPS bike computers today require you to do a bit of planning before you start your activity.  You’ve either gotta have a route figured out ahead of time and sync’d to the device (Wahoo/Garmin), or you have to have to use the tiny display on the unit to manually enter an address in (Garmin too).

The Lezyne units allow you to skip that painstaking process.  Here you can simply open up the phone app and type in an address or desired locale:


Then it’ll instantly spit out bike-friendly routes using a backend platform of multiple bike-specific routing engines.  The route of your choice (including turn by turn directions) is then transmitted to the unit for navigation.  So even if you lose phone signal, you’re still good.


So why is this so cool?  Well, you can do this mid-activity, at any point.  It doesn’t impact your recorded activity, and is again, a million times easier than entering an address on a unit.  I can’t count the number of times I’ll be riding with a Garmin Edge device, yet navigating with my phone because I’ve changed my mind on a destination mid-ride and don’t have an easy way to enter that address in.  This is simply super-cool, and easily the coolest head-unit feature I saw at Eurobike.


Now you can see why I’ll say this appeals most to bike commuter types – it’s just quick and easy to enter in new destinations.  Speaking of commuters, you can also see your phone’s battery life right on the unit itself; handy if you’ve got your phone stored away in a bag or back pocket somewhere.


Another really innovative feature is their integration of accelerometers within the unit itself to save on battery life.  When the accelerometer detects you’re still (like getting ice cream or at a prolonged stoplight), it’ll basically put the GPS into a sleep mode.  This allows them 24 hours+ of battery life.


Again, another feature I’m kinda surprised nobody else has implemented – but one that has very real benefits for bike commuters (or ice cream lovers) and others that may be doing a fair bit of stop and go.  Over the course of a week, this time can certainly add up.

The Lezyne Models:


This evening I was at Tim Hortons at the airport trying to decide which donut to get.  I couldn’t decide, so I got two (one of which I’m eating now on the plane).  Obviously, I could have chosen to buy 7 different donuts for myself, but I didn’t because that would be indulgent.  Or, because I’d be like Homer Simpson.

Lezyne however didn’t exercise such restraint.  They went for the 7 unit variety pack instead.  They’ve got 7 different units on the market, rivaling only the running GPS watch confusion that Garmin has now made for itself.  They are:

Lezyne Super GPS: What I’ve mostly talked about
Lezyne Micro Color GPS: A tiny version with color
Lezyne Micro GPS: A tiny version without color
Lezyne Macro GPS: A big version without color
Lezyne Mini GPS: A…ummm…mini version without color
Lezyne Micro Color GPS Watch: The running version of the Micro Color GPS unit
Lezyne Micro GPS Watch: Sans color of the one above.

Phew.  Still confused?  Ok, that probably didn’t help much, I admit.  What you basically need to know is the following:

The Mini versions don’t have: As much battery (only 10hrs vs 24hrs), and half the storage. Also doesn’t have barometric altimeter or GLONASS.  Nor do they have accelerometers.
The Micro versions don’t have: As much battery (only 14hrs vs 24hrs), and half the storage. The Micro non-color doesn’t have GLONASS.
The Macro versions don’t have: ANT+ Connectivity (BT only), nor barometric altimeters
The Color versions have….Color.  But, in the case of the Micro versions they also get GLONASS.
The Running versions: Does do cycling, but have a dedicated watch band, but you can’t use the dedicated cycling version for running.

Got all that?  Still no?  Sorry.  Well, here’s the sheet that explains it all. Bring a magnifying glass (click to zoom):


So as to pricing?  Well, it’s all relatively cheap compared to Garmin or Wahoo (Polar is closer with the M450).  The pricing is a bit more like Cateye.  In any case, they are as follows:

Lezyne Super GPS: $149
Lezyne Micro Color GPS: $159
Lezyne Micro GPS: $129
Lezyne Macro GPS: $99
Lezyne Mini GPS: $99
Lezyne Micro Color GPS Running Watch: $169
Lezyne Micro GPS Running Watch: $139

All of which are shipping now (and, for those curious, all of which can be ordered on Clever Training using the links above to support the site and saving 10% with DCR10MHD).  Oh, and yes, I did mention that running watch.  In essence they’ve taken two of the models and added a few non-cycling sport modes to get you a daily GPS watch:



The only challenge here is due to the size, it sits rather high on your wrist, so I suspect appeal will be limited here.

Moving forward:


As you’ve figured out by now, Lezyne is doing some cool stuff on the software front.  The Strava Live Segments, turn by turn navigation, and in particular that sweet insta-phone-navigation integration is quite competitive.  Same goes for saving the battery by leveraging the accelerometer to minimize battery burn when not moving.

However, it suffers one key problem that nearly everyone notes: It’s ugly

Recently a friend on Instagram had a baby, and she noted that their baby admittedly had “a face only a mother could love” (really, I’m not kidding – they said it, not me).  However, that’s kinda the gist of the Lezyne bike computer shells – they just aren’t pretty from the outside.  It’s got a beautiful soul inside, but it’s just clunky from the outside.  For a commuting bike it wouldn’t bother me much.  But for a beautiful and sleek race bike?  Not so much.  Oh, btw, there are 3rd party mounts such as those from Barfly.

However I think that Lezyne’s target market right now is really the commuting arena, at least with this model.  It’s a perfect unit to toss on a bike for a cross town journey, and it has everything you’d need there.  Of course, if looks don’t bother you, it’s quite capable in all conditions as well.  But most of all, Lezyne appears to have nailed the software piece.  And as any bike computer company can tell you – getting that piece right is often the hardest and takes the longest to truly perfect.

With that – thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for all the (leftover) Eurobike and (new) Interbike coverage this week!  So follow along on Twitter to get all the latest sports tech news!  Fear not, the official show kicks off tomorrow, and there’s definitely some goodness in store!

Everything you need to know: GoPro’s New Hero5 Cameras & Karma Drone http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/gopro-hero5-karma-drone.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/gopro-hero5-karma-drone.html#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 16:30:00 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=65068 Read More Here ]]> GoPro-Hero5-Black-Hero5-Session-2016

(Latest Update: September 24th, 2016 – 12:30PM EST)

Today GoPro announced three new action cameras, a drone, and a rather interesting flotilla of accessories.  These include a handheld gimbal, external microphone/remote combos, and even a nifty $19 adapter to quickly sync your videos to your phone sans-battery.

Now, I’ll be putting together a more hands-on piece over the next 24-48 hours, but until then, consider this a bit of an appetizer and landing place to discuss the new units.  Obviously there’s quite a bit of interest given it’s been two years since a major GoPro camera lineup launch (or, over a year if you count the Session).

Let’s dive straight into things!

The New Hero5 cameras:


Now technically, there are two new Hero5 branded cameras and one new non-Hero5 branded, but that’d have made for too long of a section header.  So what has GoPro done?  Well, they’ve simplified.  Over the past two years they had amassed a wide number of camera price points that confused the market.  Back in April they reduced that count a bit, but now they’ve cut everything down to these three new models:

1) GoPro Hero5 Black: $399 – Their top-end camera, complete with GPS and 4K, voice control and image stabilization
2) GoPro Hero5 Session: $299 – The square Session body with high-end 4K specs, voice control, and image stabilization
3) GoPro Hero Session: $199 – Same square Session from before, but with a minor microphone update

This means that the entire lineup has received a refresh, and it’s also down to just three camera models (from six).  Note that down below I have a comparison table comparing the features of the higher-end Hero5 Black to that of Garmin’s VIRB Ultra 30 offering, but for this section I’ll highlight the key new features.

But…if text and photos aren’t your thing – I’ve got you covered. Here’s a video deep-dive into the Hero5 cameras:

With the video watched, you’re a pro now.  But if you’re still looking for a bit more – read on.

GoPro Hero5 Black:


The Hero5 Black is in many ways the features and specs of a Hero4 Silver & Black merging together.  It’s got the resolution/quality specs of a Hero4 Black (4K video @ 30FPS), but it’s got the touchscreen like a Hero4 Silver did.  However, that touch screen menu system has been greatly simplified, making it easier for folks to figure out what they’re doing:


As you probably noticed above, the touchscreen is on the exterior of the camera case – and that’s because the cameras are now fully waterproofed – no external case required.  The entire GoPro lineup of cameras is now waterproof to various levels, with the Hero5 Black being waterproof to 10 meters (33ft).


The Hero5 Black does see improvements in video and audio though.  For example, on the audio front they’ve introduced three microphones, including noise cancelling.  This puts it more inline with the VIRB Ultra 30 in terms of minimizing wind noise.  On the Hero5 Black, these mics are located on the sides and top of the camera, and the unit will automatically choose the best sounding microphone during recording.  Here’s the three mic locations:

GoPro-Hero5-Black-Mic3 GoPro-Hero5-Black-Mic1 GoPro-Hero5-Black-Mic2

Next, both the Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session include voice control, fairly similar to what Garmin introduced with their VIRB Ultra 30 cameras a few weeks ago.  However, GoPro both allows you to customize these commands and has more commands than the VIRB Ultra 30.  GoPro’s voice control supports seven languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.

These commands are picked up through the microphones, just like normal audio.


Next, GoPro added the ability to record GPS data.  Some of this is a bit unclear as to how exactly the GPS data will be used (for example, can you overlay speed during a recording?).  Right now it just says it records position. But I’m sure those answers will become clear soon.  This feature puts it back in the camp of the vast majority of action cams these days that have GPS within them.

However, GoPro has set itself apart by introducing the ability to record RAW images (photos) – which is pretty cool. They also introduced a new HDR mode (which they call WDR).  It allows you to get more dynamic shots for photos.


GoPro has introduced a field of view option, which aims to simplify how the images will turn out from a zoom and perspective standpoint.  So now you’ve got Medium, Linear, Wide, Superwide, and Narrow.  Some of these were there before, but Linear is new.  The idea there is to remove the fisheye effect.  Other companies have had this for a while, but it’s nice to see GoPro join that crowd.  More importantly though, what GoPro does is make it easy to see the impact instantly within the preview window – as opposed to after selecting the option.  Garmin doesn’t currently do this today for field of view types (though they do it for pro settings).


Plus you’ve got the pro settings as well, allowing granular control over exposure, white balance, ISO, shutter speed, color, sharpness and ProTune:


Below being the live preview for pro settings (see my video for a live demo of this):


Next, the Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session both got image stabilization.  It’s electronic image stabilization, which like the new Garmin action cam means it’s done within software rather than through hardware.  So basically it takes the 4K image and uses a portion of that to give you a smooth 1080p image. Thus, the highest EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) mode is 1080p.

So how does it stack-up size-wise?  Astoundingly it’s virtually the same size as the Hero4 Silver/Black without their cases:


GoPro-Hero5-Black-vs-GoPro-Hero4-Silver-Side-Profile GoPro-Hero5-Black-vs-GoPro-Hero4-Silver-BackTouchscreen

Speaking of hardware, you’ll notice the unit now uses USB-C instead of mini-USB.  This port area is also used to funnel information to the Karma Grip/Drone.  So the Karma drone will actually power the GoPro using the USB-C port, and then it streams video using the HDMI port:


Note that like the Hero4 cameras, it has user-swappable batteries.  This is different than the Hero4/Hero5 Session, which do not have changeable batteries.


But how does this new top-dog camera compare to the just released Garmin VIRB Ultra 30? Well, this handy-dandy chart I’ve put together should help you a bit:

GoPro Hero5 Black vs Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

Feature ListingGoPro Hero5 BlackGarmin VIRB Ultra 30Feature Winner
General: Price$399 $399 -
General: Touchscreen controlYesYes-
General: WaterproofInternally to 10mWith case to 40m GoPro (but depends on preference)
General: Battery life~2hrs @ 1080p30~2hr 15min @ 1080p30 -
General: WiFi & BluetoothYesYes-
Data: GPS EnabledYesYesGarmin (GoPro only for stamping)
Data: Accelerometer/Gyro/Altimeter/CompassNoYesGarmin
Data: Can connect to sport/automotive/boat sensorsNoYesGarmin
General: USB Connector TypeType-CMini-USBDepends on preference
General: Voice ControlYesYesGoPro (can customize)
Video: Highest resolution4K @ 30fps4K @ 30fps-
Video: Highest frame rate720p @ 240fps720p @ 240fps-
Video: Electronic Image StabilizationYes up to 1080pYes up to 1440pGarmin
Video: Remove distoration modeYesYes-
Video: Wind cancellationYesYes-
Photo: Highest resolution12MP12MP-
Photo: Highest burst mode30 frames/sec60 frames/secGarmin
Photo: Ability to have pro settings modeYesYes-
Photo: Ability to shoot RAW filesYesNoGoPro
Photo: HDR photo optionYesYes-
Accessories: Uses GoPro mountYesYes-
Accessories: Gimbal optionYesNot reallyGoPro
Accessories: Drone connection optionYesSorta but not idealGoPro
Accessories: External auto-sync mic/remoteYesNoGoPro
Software: Mobile appYesYesGoPro faster, Garmin more options
Software: Desktop AppsYesYesGarmin for more powerful editing
Software: Can automatically create highlight moviesYesYesGoPro's mobile better, Garmin's Desktop

I’ll work to add in the Hero5 Black to the larger product comparison database, as well as the Hero5 Session.

GoPro Hero5 Session:


Next they introduced an updated version of the Hero4 Session, called the Hero5 Session.  You’ll remember this is the cube-like camera that was introduced last year.  This time they’ve spun out two variants:

Hero5 Session: Many of the specs of a Hero5 Black, but in a tiny form factor – $299
Hero Session: Basically the old session, but with improved mics – $199

CEO Nick Woodman noted that the Session is “meant to be dropped” and that it’s “incredibly difficult to kill a Session”.  Which is true, they’re a beastly little waterproof cube.  I can attest to my attempts to kill one.


So what do you miss by going with a  Hero5 Session over the Hero5 Black?  Here’s what’s missing from a major feature standpoint:

– No Touchscreen (have to use phone for preview/etc…)
– 1080p @ 90FPS instead of 120FPS
– 10MP instead of 12MP photos
– No RAW photo support
– No GPS

But there are also some positives to keep in mind:

– USB-C port instead of micro-USB on older Session

So for many people, the Hero5 Session will be perfect.  Yet for others (like me), I like the touchscreen on the back of the camera for quick validation of framing and playback. It’s something I’ve come to love on the GoPro Hero4 Silver and the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30.

GoPro Plus Cloud Platform:


GoPro announced their new cloud platform called GoPro Plus.  This platform will allow you to sync your content to their cloud platform as soon as it starts charging (via WiFi) with a Hero5 Black or Hero5 Session.  Which in turn enables you to edit it from the cloud.  For the Hero4 and older cameras, you’d link to your computer first to upload to GoPro Plus.

The GoPro Plus account will set you back $4.99/month, though you can use a free trial version initially.  Now what’s interesting here is that the subscription also gets you 20% off any mounts or accessories.  That’s pretty solid, considering GoPro’s mounts are often pretty pricey.

Within the platform is the ability to automatically create videos from snippets and have them at preset lengths (i.e. for Instagram) and then have music auto-synced to the video.  I’ll likely do a bit of a deeper dive into this in the near future.

2016-09-19 13.47.05

Of note is that GoPro has tweaked the pricing on their ‘GoPro Care’ warranty option, which covers you in case you kill your camera. They’ve also extended it to cover the Karma drone. The new pricing is:

$59 for Hero5 Session
$79 for Hero5 Black
$159 for Karma drone (w/o camera)
$179 for Karma drone (with camera)

To me these prices are fair, and a nice dip from the previous $99 for the Hero4 Black price as well. I’ve got no doubt I’ll pick up the GoPro Care package on the drone, though will probably skip it for the camera (given it’ll be far more difficult to kill than the drone will).

Karma Drone:


Finally, just finally.  The long-touted Karma drone has arrived.  But, as hinted at lately it was more than just a drone – but rather a platform for components including a handheld gimbal.  I’ve put together a video here outlining everything you need to know:

The Karma Drone shares many design elements previously seen in the Airdog drone, which is aimed at sports action.  For example, Karma folds up into a backpack (like how I’ve showed for Airdog in this video), even with the props on – which is pretty handy.


In fact, GoPro is including the backpack in their kit price, along with the gimbal.  The backpack will hold the Karma drone, the controller, and the gimbal, as seen above.


Having skied, cycled, and hiked quite a bit with drones – this backpack definitely looks a bit cleaner than what I use today.

2016-09-19 13.53.51

The unit is compatible with the majority of their recent higher-end cameras:

Hero4 Silver
Hero4 Black
GoPro Session
Hero5 Session
Hero5 Black

It’s also compatible with the Hero3 cameras, but it won’t be able to control those. Instead, they’ll fit in a frame for the Hero4 Silver/Black on the gimbal/drone – but there is no control or connectivity of the settings.  So you’d press record prior to take-off, but no preview mid-flight or ability to change modes.  You can control the up/down of the camera though through the gimbal’s remote control wheel on the back of the remote.  The Hero4 Session won’t be supported because the door frame design won’t support the mounts (vs the Hero5 Session allows the door to pop-off.  On both the Hero5 Session/Black, the door pops off to fit into the gimbal connector.

The Karma drone is controlled by this fold-up remote.  The remote has a 720p live preview screen on it, as well as simplified modes for control – similar to what we’ve seen from 3DR, Hexo and DJI (among others).  Upon setup completion, the controller will also walk you through a flight simulator mode  to practice your aerial prowess.


Once you crack open the controller, it has dedicated buttons for taking off and landing.  It also has controls on it for changing photo/video modes.  Also, it’ll even allow you to review your videos while you’re still in flight.  That way you can quickly check whether or not you had the right angle, or need a do-over (without having to land).


The controller has joysticks for movement, as well as dedicated camera control buttons (like the gimbal one on the back of the controller).  And of course that take-off/landing button.


GoPro says they’ve designed the controller’s display for use in bright outdoor settings, specifically snow and other places where you’d likely be wearing polarized sunglasses/goggles.


On the controller, you’ll note that the controller folds up, which protects all the controls.  I can really appreciate this feature, having tossed a DJI Phantom controller in my backpack before, the joysticks and antennas hardly protected (without a special backpack case to hold it).


When it comes to automated shot modes, GoPro calls these the ‘Auto Shot Paths’, and it has four of them:

– Dronie: Takes a selfie while flying outwards (backwards and upwards) from subject (you)
– Cable Cam: Specify two points, and have drone fly along that path over specified duration
– Orbit: Rotates around a given point at a specified altitude.
– Reveal: Flies in a straight line while slowly panning up to subject

Here’s a simple diagram of how each mode works:

GoPro-Karma-Drone-Auto-Path-Modes-Reveal GoPro-Karma-Drone-Auto-Path-Modes-Cable-CamGoPro-Karma-Drone-Auto-Path-Modes-Dronie GoPro-Karma-Drone-Auto-Path-Modes-Orbit

Now, these modes are handy and do make up the vast majority of basic drone shots that you’d want in a video edit.  But in many ways GoPro falls short of the competition here – even competitive options from 2 years ago.  Drone maker 3DR is probably the most advanced here in terms of cinematic shot options, with DJI coming up next behind it (and many others as well).  Of course, all of these companies started with much smaller shot options and have expanded through software updates over time.  Below you can see one of the Auto Shot Paths in progress.


Further missing from this list is any form of follow-me or tracking options, both of which DJI added this past year and have become a key selling point.  GoPro says that they don’t find these competitive options all that great, however, the market mostly disagrees.

Finally on the Karma missing list is any form of obstacle avoidance.  Given the Karma drone doesn’t appear to have LIDAR or other optical sensors on it, this would take more than just a software update – but rather a hardware refresh.  In an age where competitive drone offerings are aiming to make it much harder to accidentally crash your drone, these omissions are odd.  On the bright side, Karma does include crash detection so that it’ll turn off after a crash.

Speaking of crashing, in the event you do crash you can replace a number of parts by yourself.  These include the arms, landing gear, stabilizer, and props (in fact, GoPro includes 2 extra props in the Karma Case).


Now, GoPro makes up for some of my aforementioned software omissions by introducing the GoPro Passenger app.  This app allows you to to pair a phone to the controller and have a second person view the Karma video stream in real-time, as well as control the camera (via the phone).


This is an area that DJI and 3DR have done some work with in the past, but it’s always required a secondary dedicated controller.  The usage of a phone is a solid step forward, both reducing costs – but also reducing the entry point in which these dedicated/remote camera control points were even offered.


Next, the unit has a 3-axis stabilizing gimbal, on-par in spec to what we’ve seen by other companies in the space.  However, what’ll be most important to watch for is the exact stability of it.  There are varying degrees of quality when it comes to gimbals, and those quality differences are exaggerated in drones.  So folks will have to wait a bit to see what footage looks like when it’s not first edited by GoPro’s team of editors.

The company shifted the camera up-front (versus below the unit on most drones), to ensure it’s out of view of the props in the majority of situations.  It also makes it easier to fit in a backpack.


Note that with the Karma drone, you’ll get the Karma Grip, which allows you to pop the gimbal off the front of the camera and pop it onto the handle for land-based usage.  But…I’ll cover the Karma Grip down below in the next section.


When it comes to battery life, the Karma drone is getting 20 minutes (the controller is 4 hours), which is on the low-end for consumer drones these days.  DJI’s latest units can get closer to 30 minutes, though the Airdog is down around 15 minutes.  On the bright side, the charging time for the battery is only an hour, and you could carry extra batteries.  Each battery is 19.3oz in weight.  The drone in total is 35.5oz.

From a specs standpoint, here’s some notable ones:

Maximum Speed: 35 mph (15 m/s)
Maximum Distance: 3,280ft (1000m)
Maximum Flight Altitude: 14,500ft (4,500m)
Maximum Wind Resistance: 22mph (10m/s)

The pricing is incredibly appealing.  Here’s what it’ll set you back once it ships on October 23rd:

$799: Drone, gimbal, and backpack (no camera)
$999: Base kit plus the Hero5 Session camera (saves $100)
$1099: Base kit plus the Hero5 Black camera (saves $100)

At these prices, it’ll definitely take a bite out of DJI’s market, especially in the mid to upper range models (i.e. DJI Phantom 4).  The GoPro brand will sell far better to the average consumer than the relatively unknown DJI brand (again, to the average person walking into a Best Buy).  Of course, to the higher end consumer and those who are more aware of the drone landscape, DJI will likely dominate with its continued expansion of features.  But this holiday season will definitely be interesting for sure.

The New Accessories:


Now there are a boatload of new accessories here for the new cameras.  Some of them are simply rehashes of existing accessories to adapt to the new camera bodies (things like frame cases, floaties, and so on).  While others are GoPro versions of what have previously been 3rd party accessories (such as the gimbal), and finally, some are totally new and innovative to the space.

I’m going to skip the rehash ones (i.e. frame case, floaty, etc…), and instead focus on the uniquely new GoPro things.  First up, the gimbal.

Karma Grip Gimbal:

Next up is the Karma Grip/Gimbal..  This is GoPro’s 1st party gimbal.  For years 3rd parties have made various GoPro gimbals, and they’re pretty awesome.  For example, this wearable and handheld one I often use.  Now with Karma Grip, GoPro has their own offering.


I’ve put together this video – including test footage – to show you how everything works:

The Karma Grip Base is officially the piece that holds the Karma gimbal, so basically, it’s the handle.  This comes with the Karma drone kit, or can be purchased separately for $299USD. Note, it doesn’t come with a camera – you’ve gotta supply that yourself.  You can see how it pulls out below from the drone and the attaches to the grip base.

GoPro-Karma-Grip-Attach2 GoPro-Karma-Grip-Attach1

The Karma grip has controls for shutter buttons, changing camera modes, changing stabilizer angle, and powering the camera on and off.  Plus, you can specify highlights on the fly.


Next, you can then mount the grip to any GoPro compatible mount.  For example you could snap it on the GoPro backpacks (Karma Case or Seeker bags), as well as just about any other GoPro mount you’ve got (such as pole mounts or whatever else).

GoPro-Karma-Grip-Mounted-Helmet GoPro-Karma-Grip-StandardMount

Alongside with the Karma Mounting Ring, which allows you to mount it to existing GoPro mounts and thus put it on things like bars, bikes, and stripper poles.  Really, anything roundish.  For 2017, they’re planning a Karma Grip extension, which is basically like a giant selfie-stick.

2016-09-19 13.55.12

The Karma Grip gets two hours of battery life, and can be recharged using the new GoPro charging accessories as well.


Remo Combo Mic & Remote:

Next, GoPro is rolling out a new combo remote and microphone.  GoPro has long had various remotes to trigger your GoPro, but this one is unique in that it can also handle voice commands when out of range of the unit.


The only minor downside is that the remote doesn’t have any port for plugging in a mic, nor does it pair to Bluetooth audio devices (headsets/mics like this noise/wind-cancelling one).  That’s an area that the VIRB Ultra 30 can do straight to the camera.  Super cool, and pretty reasonable for the $79USD.

iOS/Android Quik Key Adapter:

2016-09-19 13.48.14

This little accessory, called Quik Key, is honestly the coolest thing I’ve seen in the accessory lineup – and also one of the cheapest at $19.  It allows you to pop-out the micro-SD card and then plug it into your phone (Lightning for iOS, micro-USB for Android) and have the GoPro app be able to pull in the footage/data/photos.

The use case here is a common one for me: After shooting I may jump in a car/plane/train, or even just a café and not have enough battery power on the camera to fully offload all the footage via WiFi to my phone (which often takes forever).  This allows me to do that without the battery hit on the camera, and is a heck of a lot faster.  It’s brilliant.

Now some of you might note that you could have done this with 3rd party accessories in the past.  And that’s sorta true, but not really.  See, those 3rd party accessories didn’t work with the GoPro app (a really important thing actually), and even then, they certainly weren’t very slim and key-chain friendly as this one is.  Super cool.

New Charging Options:

Next, in order to speed up the charging process, GoPro has rolled out some new quick chargers.  These are designed to charge your GoPro significantly faster.  In order to get that speed though, you’ll need to use the USB-C port on the GoPro Hero5 Session or Hero5 Black, as well as the Karma Grip.


There are three chargers, first is the ‘Super Charger’, that has two ports (one USB-C, and one regular USB-A).  The USB-C port will charge the GoPro devices up to 3x faster, which GoPro says will recharge a Hero5 Black in less than two hours (P.S. – that’s still a really long time).  The Karma Grip charges in two hours, vs 6 hours in normal charges.  The unit will allow you to charge multiple devices concurrently.



Next you’ve got the dual battery charger, for charging two Hero5 Black batteries at once.  It includes one battery.  Though realistically, I’ll just wait for a 3rd party company to come up with one of these.  It’s what I do today with GoPro Hero4 batteries.


Finally, we’ve got the GoPro Portable Power Pack.  This is basically like any other USB battery pack out there.  It contains two USB-A ports on it, and has an internal battery capacity of 6,000mAh, which is enough to recharge the Hero5 Black four times.  It can also charge concurrently, as well as charge just about any other USB device out there.


Again, GoPro has rolled out a bunch of other accessories, including things like lens filters and deeper dive cases.  But since those are mostly just rehashed existing products, I’ll save your reading for those topics within the future in-depth review.

Initial Thoughts:


Overall, this is an impressive lineup from GoPro.  But more than that – it’s cohesive.  Everything has a place, and everything has clear integration to the next piece.  There are no random cameras that don’t seem to fit the lineup, nor are there odd gaps in compatibility.  Further, GoPro did a solid by allowing older GoPro cameras to attach to the Karma drone.  And the drone itself certainly looks promising.  Whether or not it is will remain to be seen.

On the flip-side, some video-focused folks may be disappointed the company didn’t push the bounds of video resolution or frame rates more.  When the Hero4 Black came out two years ago, it was industry leading in specs.  With the Hero5 Black, that’s not the case.  It’s basically run of the mill.  In fact, Sony’s most recent camera two weeks ago ups it with better stabilization (though, it falls short in just about every other way).  Still, I’d like to have seen GoPro push the boundaries a bit on quality levels and thus in turn push the boundaries of the industry.

Of course, these days it’s not higher frame rates at 4K that sells cameras.  Rather, it’s simplicity and integration.  It’s the ability to sync videos and have quick and easy edits that you can share to Instagram, Facebook and other platforms with a single touch.  And for those video edits (movies) to look acceptable and be engaging.  And on that element, GoPro seems to be going the right direction.  Further, their three camera price points will help pull people in at all levels, with the Karma Drone sealing the deal for those wanting to get their geek on.

With that – thanks for reading – and stay tuned for more details and hands-on time this week!

(Note: Some Karma photos and/or breakout renderings from GoPro, all remaining photos taken by me.)

5 Random Things From a Weekend in Newfoundland http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/5-random-things-from-a-weekend-in-newfoundland.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/5-random-things-from-a-weekend-in-newfoundland.html#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 14:23:10 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=65020 Read More Here ]]> I’m on my way to Interbike! But first, a bit of a stopover for a long weekend in Newfoundland, which happens to be The Girl’s hometown in the greater St. John’s area.  Of course I have been here many times before, and it’s even where I proposed to The Girl. But even more importantly, this time The Girl’s parents would get to meet the little one for the first time.  Fun times!

1) Getting to Canada:

2016-09-14 17.34.39

Ok, this was technically pre-weekend, but how could I not include the below photo?  This would be the little one’s 3rd transatlantic flight, and I think 6th flight overall.  She seems to love flying.


Of course, in order to fly to Newfoundland with a dog in tow, you have to fly over Newfoundland first.  So we flew from Paris to Toronto flying over our destination, and then backtracked the nearly 3 hours along the exact same route to St. John’s.

While you can route from St. John’s straight to London, British Airways does not permit the transfer or carriage of dogs onboard once we transfer to Paris…so…we’re out of luck there with little Lucy.  No worries, she still seems happy in her little carrier below the seat.

2) Running with the foxes

Both Thursday and Friday the weather was rather nice.  For those familiar with Newfoundland, that’s not exactly a common scenario.  So both days I headed out for a run.  On the second day I went for a run across some ridges and onto some trails to get to an overlook.  On both days though, it was nice running in the trees and enjoying the quiet.


Once I finished ascending on the second day, I got an awesome view of the water down below, and the Bell Island ferry making the crossing.


But, even more interesting was this small fox who seemed curious about me.


He (or she) watched me as I cut across a trail, before I zipped out of view and made my way back.  The run was only 10KM, which I find is about the perfect distance for just a casual run with no specific training purpose.

3) Enjoying the sunshine

2016-09-16 17.39.56 HDR

With all that sunshine, we took advantage of it hanging out in The Girl’s backyard.  It’s effectively a massive garden, with everything from the sunflowers above, to a greenhouse, and even these moose.  All of which they’ve made themselves from scratch.


DSC_0368 DSC_0355

Lucy of course loved running around all day long.  She’s run so much the last few days that this Monday she’s poking around like she just ran a marathon.



And when she’s not running around, she’s following you around.  In this case, feeling left out when I walked into the greenhouse and she missed the door closing.


Inside was all sorts of goodness growing.

DSC_0360 DSC_0365

We also headed down on Saturday for a bit of a hike around the local University’s (MUN) Botanical gardens and trails too.  Baby in tow of course.

2016-09-17 15.20.41

Good times in good weather for sure!

4) Let there be food!

Of course, no trip to The Girl’s parents would be complete without an abundance of food.  It all starts from the garden, with every vegetable we ate being less than 100 yards away.


And for the chanterelle mushrooms?  Those too came from the woods.


The mussels though…we didn’t go and plunk them out of the water this time (unlike last time). However, they were still pretty darn good.


Especially once a bacon crème sauce was applied.  You can never go wrong with some lardon on your mussels.


But don’t worry, we rounded things out with dessert too. Every…night. I’ve long known where The Girl gets her baking genes from. I’m just gonna have to run more.


Don’t worry, despite my Vegas interlude, I’ll be back next weekend to continue the feasting.

5) Riding in the rain

Last up we have a bit of a Sunday ride.  Now when we moved to Paris four years ago we left one of my older bikes up at her parents’ house (and I have another at my parents’ house in Seattle).  It was all packed up in one of our bike boxes.

2016-09-17 10.23.04 2016-09-17 10.25.25

I got everything all unpacked, and then swapped out one of the now popped tubes.  A bit of lube on the chain, and it was good to go!  But still, it’s been quite a while since this bike has seen action!


I found this mount on there, I’ll let you take a guess as to what exactly it was from.  Note, it’s not a standard Garmin Edge quarter-turn mount.


Of course, my timing wasn’t quite the greatest on the weather.  I should probably have gone out earlier in the weekend, as now it was starting to rain a bit.


Still, it wasn’t too shabby.  The wind was strong, as always, but that’s no biggie.  At least it wasn’t pouring out.


I made a bit of a stop at the beach before a long climb back to the house.

2016-09-18 15.09.55

There were no peoples out sun tanning.  Not sure why.

With that – thanks for reading – and looking forward to a busy week at Interbike, which begins today with the Outdoor Demo, and then starts Wednesday with the main show.  See ya from Vegas!

Week in Review–September 18th, 2016 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/week-in-reviewseptember-18th-2016.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/week-in-reviewseptember-18th-2016.html#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 00:02:00 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=64962 Read More Here ]]> WeekInReview_thumb_thumb_thumb

The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter and Facebook, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts in the past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this past week.

Sunday: Week in Review – Sept 11th, 2016
Monday: 5 Random Things From A Weekend in Bruges
Monday: A look at the new Power2Max NG power meters
Monday: A Look at Luck’s Cycling Shoe Power Meter
Tuesday: Hands-on: Garmin’s new Forerunner 35 with optical HR
Tuesday: The New FINIS Swimsense Live: Everything you ever wanted to know
Wednesday: BSX Announces Kickstarter for New LVL Band Wearable Hydration Sensor
Thursday: Elite Drivo Trainer In-Depth Review
Friday: Eurobike 2016 Power Meter Roundup

YouTube videos of note:

The YouTube’s be a flowin’! Here’s what I published this week that you may have missed:

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet.

1) The Norseman Triathlon2016 Video: There’s no greater annual video in endurance sports than that created by the group behind the Norseman Triathlon.  Enjoy!

2) Doesn’t look like a new Microsoft Band is near: Disbanding of a team is certainly not the right mix of ingredients when it comes to new products. But then it doesn’t really surprise me, the Band never really took off within the marketplace, for a host of reasons I outlined in my in-depth review.

3) Zipcar creates bike sharing platform: Well then, didn’t see this coming. Though, it makes sense to hook people into the greater Zipcar platform while in college.  Sorta like Uber started doing with cars, but then spread to food delivery and even helicopter and private jet rides.

4) CDC uses Strava data in study: Cool stuff, and the first that I recall seeing when it comes to usage data from this data repository.  Note, you can read the actual study here.

5) Washington DC plans license plate with 3ft/1m bike separation rule: Well done awareness initiative, and looks like such an offering is already available in Maryland (the things I don’t notice living overseas now…)

6) Narrated pro downhill mountain biking video: Kinda neat to have actual narrative with these types of videos.  Just watch it, I promise you’ll enjoy it.

7) The first braking power meter: Speaking of mountain biking, this power meter measures how much you brake.  It’s funny, I recently discussed this type of concept with Jim from Quarq during our Live Q&A, as well as earlier in the day with the founder of Team Zwatt.

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners are perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?  Oh – and if you want to get a head start on things, this page is a great resource for watching Garmin firmware updates.

Garmin VIRB Edit software update: Available for both PC/Mac. Minor tweaks.

Garmin Fenix3/Tactix Bravo/Quatix 3/Fenix3 HR Firmware Update: Minor fixes.

Polar M600 Firmware Update for Android Users: If you’re on Android, you’ve got three new features.

Thanks for reading all!

Eurobike 2016 Power Meter Roundup http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/eurobike-power-meter-roundup.html http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/eurobike-power-meter-roundup.html#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 19:44:02 +0000 http://www.dcrainmaker.com/?p=64947 Read More Here ]]> DSC_9272

Okey doke. Before we dive into Interbike next week, I figured I’d round up some loose ends with Eurobike’s minor power meter updates and announcements.  Or rather, by popular demand as it were – you decided on Twitter last night that you wanted to hear about power meters! Don’t worry Magnum and Lezyne, you’ll get your day in the spotlight shortly.

This post is somewhat of an ‘odds and ends’ pile of power meter related news.  Typically for major announcements I’ll put them into dedicated posts.  This year, that was the following lineup:

A look at the new Power2Max NG power meters
PowerPod rolls out ANT+/Bluetooth Smart version, improved road surface algorithms
First Ride: Quarq’s New DZero Power Meter Series
A Look at Luck’s Cycling Shoe Power Meter

However, sometimes announcements that were more probably major announcements (like the P1S left-only pedals below) end up in the round-up as the week goes on, sleep disappears, and my level of enthusiasm for more writing posts wanes.  Such is life.

PowerTap P1S Left-Only Pedals:


It’s been about 18 months since PowerTap first announced the PowerTap P1 pedals.  It wasn’t until about a year ago (fall 2015) that distribution started flowing, and really wasn’t until this past spring (2016) that orders fully caught up with demand.  However, with the company on top of demand now, they’ve introduced a left-only variant of the popular P1 pedals – the P1S.

This is essentially the same thing that Garmin, Polar, and who knows how many others have done in terms of taking what was a dual-leg offering and making a single-leg offering.

The P1S is $699USD, and will be available later this year (2016). If you want to later upgrade that to a dual-sensing (left/right pedals) system you can do so.  The exact price of that upgrade hasn’t been determined yet, but it sounds like it’ll basically be a wash vs buying the full set up front (meaning, it won’t cost you any extra than it would have to buy dual initially).  But again, that’s the initial plans.  Below with the orange cap is the one with the power meter goodness, while the black cap has no goodness.


Within the box, you’ll find both a left and right pedal – so everything will look nice and tidy. It’s just that the right side will be empty in terms of power meter goodness.  Again, this is identical to what Garmin and Polar have done with their pedal solutions.


In addition, PowerTap rolled out their Advanced Pedal Metrics that they hinted at last spring.  I actually spent a bit of time with this over the summer from time to time.  These metrics give you additional pedal stroke data in roughly the same vein as what Garmin, Verve Pioneer, and Rotor have done.  Below are some screenshots:



Now the one catch here is that these metrics are only displayable with an iOS app, and it’s essentially something you’d do in real-time. There isn’t an option to display the data afterwards.  The functionality at this time is more focused on bike fit than post-ride analysis.  The app update is free though, and the firmware needed is already in the pedals you have today.

Side Note: You can now pre-order the PowerTap P1S from Clever Training.  Like almost everything else you buy there, you’ll save 10% using the DCR Coupon Code DCR10MHD, plus you’ll get free US shipping.  And of course, it supports the site here and makes you awesome.

SRM’s New Crank Arms:


Next, we’ve got some new crank arms out by SRM.  Previously SRM has focused on putting together a package that’s compatible with a given crank arm type (i.e. Shimano, SRAM, ROTOR, etc…).  But now they’ve introduced their own lineup for crank arms.  This is inline with what we saw Stages do a few years ago actually.

The reason? Greater bike frame compatibility.


As more and more of the major crank-arm/set manufacturers are now also power meter companies (SRAM, Rotor, Shimano, and probably soon others too) – there’s little incentive for these companies to make it easier for other power meter companies to offer greater bike compatibility.  Rather, these companies will simply do it themselves and cut the power meter middleman.  That’s all combined with aero-focused bikes becoming more and more complex for component makers to adapt 3rd party parts to.

These first sets of carbon cranks are made by THM, and are integrated with their existing spider product.  They didn’t have prices for their carbon ones, though they did have a €1,728 price point for their aluminum ones.


In addition, I did ask about where the rechargeable unit they touted from a few years ago stood – and it sounds like there are no immediate plans at this point, which echoes what they said last year at Eurobike/Interbike.

At Interbike, I’ll cover more of the software announcements they’ve had – so stay tuned there!

Shimano’s Updated Prototypes:


This next one’s a quickie!  I just wanted to point out that Shimano did indeed have their previously announced power meter not only on display at Eurobike, but also a single bike was quietly floating around the outdoor demo area.  That version can be seen below:

dsc_9450 dsc_9452 dsc_9456 dsc_9460

You’ll remember they announced this back in late June just prior to the Tour de France, but at the time didn’t actually have any samples on-hand at the event.  So this is a solid improvement on that.

The timelines from multiple people I’ve talked to still sound like next spring sometime (assuming nothing goes wrong), so it’s definitely not a near-term option if you’re in the market.

Stages & Campy Plans:


Another quickie here – which is merely to note that Stages has suspended timelines for their Campagnolo power meter offerings, which they initially announced last year at Eurobike.

Officially there isn’t any specific reason given here, but multiple people in the power meter industry I’ve talked to have noted how ‘challenging’ the carbon is on the Campy crank arms, specifically noting that the variability is throwing many power meter attempts for a loop.  I suspect Stages is in that same loop-de-loop.  Stages seemed to have validated that to a DCR Reader when he asked back in August, getting an answer via Facebook of:

“Unfortunately, that information was released when we had several working prototype units. When it came time to start production, some serious issues were uncovered, and we currently have no plans to release Campy based power meters.  We will only release product when we can be sure that we are producing reliable, accurate, and durable power meters.”

On the bright side for them, they announced a pretty cool head unit – so check that out here.

Who was silent?

Of course, there are a number of players that weren’t officially at Eurobike, or didn’t announce anything at Eurobike.  Just to let ya know that I haven’t forgotten about them, let’s round them up here:

Pioneer: I’d look ahead to next week at Interbike, where they traditionally have made announcements.
4iiii: They announced a bunch of stuff back at Sea Otter in April, they’re still working to get dual-sided out the door.  They will be at Interbike though.
ROTOR: They also made their announcements this past spring, so nothing new there other than shipping.
WatTeam: They were not at Eurobike, and aren’t officially slated to be at Interbike.  But, it does sound like they’ll be floating around – so I’ll be looking to catch-up with them there.
LIMITS: They started shipping some units since Eurobike, though the jury seems to be rather variable on accuracy. You can see the comments section on my LIMITS accuracy post for more details.
Garmin: Nothing new at Eurobike on the Vector power meter front, and I don’t really expect anything new at Interbike either.
Look: They announced their dual ANT+/BLE units last year, and were demo’ing them at Eurobike this year.  Nothing new otherwise though.
Polar: While Polar is still technically selling their Look partnership created power meters, I think it’s pretty clear that collaboration is dead since Look has done their own thing now – leaving Polar with an outdated and overpriced offering.

Of course, again, remember the list of companies at the beginning of the post that I already covered in dedicated posts.

With that – thanks for reading and have a good weekend!  Next week will kickoff Interbike, plus things like GoPro’s announcements on Monday.  Good times for sure!

P.S. – Looking for the annual power meter recommendation post? It’ll come out Tuesday, Sept 26th.  Basically following the Interbike show to take into account any new announcements there.  Enjoy!