Week in Review–July 19th, 2014


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, Facebook, and Google Plus, 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 this past week:

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

Sunday: Week in Review–July 14th, 2014
Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend…in Amsterdam
Tuesday: 5 Awesome Things I Did and Saw on Bastille Day 2014
Thursday: Redshift Sports Aero System In-Depth Review

Notable Tidbit Of the Week:

When the Garmin FR620 first came out, many folks lamented about the lack of a wholly black band.  This complaint primarily came from those wanting to use the watch as a day to day watch in office environments.

Well, now you have that option. Sorta.  See, The Garmin FR220 and FR620 bands share the same mounting system – they’re totally interchangeable.  Adding to that Garmin also introduced the S6 watch (it’s a golfing watch), which happens to have the same band system.  It’s very common for Garmin to “re-use” hardware across totally different product lines.

In any case, the reason that matters is that you’ve now got three additional band colors you can pickup for your FR220 or FR620, including: White, Black, and Black with Orange (for Halloween or something).  Those are shown below at left.  I also snipped in the purple one from the FR220, in case any of you want to make your FR620’s look purple.


Listing of all of them below:

Garmin 220 Replacement Band (Purple/White, Black/Red) - Compatible with FR220/FR620
Garmin 620 Replacement Bands (White/Orange, Black/Blue) - Compatible with FR220/FR620
Garmin Approach S6 Watch Band (Orange, Black, White) - Compatible with FR220/FR620

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) Why power meters are so expensive: A great piece by James Huang with details from all the major players on exactly why power meters aren’t super-cheap yet.  Some very good/interesting data from Stages in there as well. (Thanks to Lieven for sending in).

2) Tour de France riders lead Strava rampage: Pretty cool look at how this year’s pro riders are smashing records left and right on Strava.  Having ridden a few rides on past TdF routes and seen Strava KOM’s hit on TdF stage days for segments I rode, I can relate a bit.

3) How to spot a Stravasshole! In related news, funny stuff, and on the rare group ride that I go on, occasionally somewhat true. (Via Eli)

4) Team Sky Mechanics Truck Tour: One can only wish you had a truck like this at your disposal.

5) Powell & Simpson’s bans cut to 6 months: Two track stars have had their bans cut fairly considerably – a good analysis from the Sport Scientist guys about it.

6) A look behind the scenes at a sports Kickstarter: Here’s a look at Redshift’s journey from initial Kickstarter kickoff to actual delivery of the product.  The good, bad, and ugly.  Part 2 here.

7) 7 Years of Velib: This past weekend the Paris bike sharing system celebrated it’s 7-year birthday. Some of the stats are interesting, like one Velib is rented every second.

8) SRM PC8 arrives at Le Tour: It looks like the long-awaited SRM PC8 head unit has come out to play in the last few days at the Tour de France.  Timeline-wise it sounds like later this summer it might be available.  Full details on how it works in my past PC8 posts.

9) Recon Jet Update: For those folks following along on the Recon’s journey to get their heads up display unit for sports out, here’s a July update with final hardware design and some website snippets.

10) Nike vending machine for Fuel points: Nike has placed a vending machine in NYC where you can get various Nike items by using your Nike Fuel points.  Interesting marketing ploy.

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

Most of this content used to be found within the main section, but I figured I’d just call it out up here and make it easy to find. I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects.  If you’re unfamiliar with projects, read my detailed post on how I decide which projects I personally back.  Note that as always with crowd funded projects, assume the project will be late and will under-deliver on features. Thus far, on the numerous products I’ve helped ‘fund’ (except a leather bike handle), that’s been the case.

Backtracker by iKubu: This is a notification system to let you know a car is coming up on you.  I’ve started chatting with these guys about getting a unit to toy with – so hang tight! (via Dave)

The Journey Begins from Backtracker on Vimeo.

Cycling safer: turn signals made easy

COOLEST COOLER: 21st Century Cooler that’s Actually Cooler Yes, this is sports related, because it’s so darn cool.  Thanks to Stephan for sending in.

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 is 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?

Site/Firmware Updates:

Sport Tracks Mobi Updates: Here’s the roundup of their July 2014 updates.

mAdidas miCoach app major overhaul for Windows Phone 8.1: Lots of updates, including expanded Bluetooth Smart sensor support.

Adidas miCoach Multisport Added to Android: Here’s all the details about that new functionality.

Garmin Fenix/D2/Tactix firmware update: Added support for Android Smart Notifications.

Garmin Fenix2 firmware update: Added support for Android Smart Notifications, power alerts, and improved battery life. (Note: The release date on the page incorrectly shows June instead of July, but it’s July)

Quarq Firmware Update Incoming: Of note is soon the ability to get cadence from the accelerometer, in the rare event your magnet falls off – the unit will continue to function.

iPhone Updates:

20140716_234650000_iOS 20140715_202210000_iOS

20140716_234643000_iOS 20140719_135315000_iOS

iPad Updates:






Android Updates:

Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-17-11 Screenshot_2014-07-19-09-07-45

Screenshot_2014-07-19-09-08-01 Screenshot_2014-07-19-09-08-16

Screenshot_2014-07-19-09-08-25 Screenshot_2014-07-19-09-08-31


Windows Phone Updates:


Thanks for reading!

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  1. Gary B

    Hi Ray. Thanks as always for interesting read.

    Magellan have released Echo Utility to the google play store so you might want to install on your android and add to next weeks week in review.

  2. Myria

    Yeah, Echo came out with Android support the day after I gave up waiting and got an FR70 instead. Ah well, the FR70 won’t pair with Garmin Express, if that isn’t fixed soonish it’ll go back for an Echo or an FR15, depending.

  3. Squeegy

    Stravasshole! That was great and unfortunately sometimes too true.

    The Coolest was pretty cool too.

  4. Gingerneil

    Still no velcro band for the 220/620. Garmin missing a common requirement there I think….

  5. Paul

    Ray garmin connect on my android phone only shows swimming distance in feet?

  6. Jose I

    Now I understand why power meters are so expensive. Makes sense. Thanks!

  7. David George

    I use Velibs when I’m in Paris and even do some Stravassholing on them (a top 5 on the climb to Montmartre and a top ten on the Cote d’Assas are a couple I recall).

    However the scheme (which incidentally copied the first scheme in the city of Lyon) is getting more and more decrepitit with a number of the bikes I’ve rented being in a truly appauling condition – steering, brakes, tires. People do their best, turning the saddles on clapped out bikes to warn users but if you rent a bike that sucks you can’t just put it back and pick up another but have a timeout to wait which is a pain if you are in a hurry. There are also a lack of stations in the more “funky” areas of Paris but I must buy a map or get some app. next time I’m in the city to find my way around the stations.

    • Yeah, there’s some rough ones out there. There was an interesting article a little one back in one of the major papers (US I think) that basically said Velib hasn’t done any replacing of bikes nor had any new infusion of funding in years. Basically just mechanics trying to make due with what they have.

    • Which, as an aside – I think they should really consider raising rates to cover that. It’s 35EUR a year for the pass, which is crazy awesome. And a day pass is 1.70. Most tourists wouldn’t care if it was 2.50 – and that’d be a significant jump in funding.

    • David George

      Isn’t a single metro ticket 2.30 euros now? Pricing should at least be the same as that. I did a bit of reading online and they have had incredible rates of theft and vandalism. They’d figured 4% bike loss per year but there have been thousands of bikes stolen, particuarly in the north of Paris (probably why I couldn’t find many parking spots there).

      Having criticised the state of bikes the accident rates appear to be quite low due to the awareness of bikes they have created amongst drivers. A decade a go I used to commute from the 6th district to Puteaux every day (on my singlespeed – the only one I saw in Paris at the time and the object of much ridicule) and I was almost the only cyclist on the roads and it was a bit of a nightmare at times.

    • I though it’s still 1.70, though I buy them in a pack of 10, so it’s 1.37 each.

      Yeah, the theft is tough. The thing is at this point there’s no reason why they can’t cheaply put GPS trackers in them that re-charge automatically at stations. The technology is there today, and would have to cost less than the loss rate.

      I definitely agree on awareness of bicycles. I haven’t found a city as easy to ride a bike in yet as Paris (even Amsterdam was occasionally slightly intimating only because it seemed there were many unwritten rules). The drivers will go far out of their way in Paris to avoid you – and virtually never honk at you either, even if you do stupid things.

  8. Himanshu

    Hey Ray. Do you know the details behind the price cut on the Garmin Virb Elite? Is Garmin planning to come out with a newer version?


    • Just to drive summer sales. I don’t expect to see a new version this year. I suspect also with rumors of the next version GoPro imminent, they’re probably trying to convince people to purchase now. Pretty common Garmin playbook when competitors launch new products.

  9. Tyler

    One question on the Jet Recon product.

    My head sweats a lot during running/biking, and I have to frequently clear my sunglasses/wipe my brow.
    This seems like a bigger problem with the Jet Recon, both in visibility, and potential damage (I’ve ruined many a pair of sweat proof earbuds).

    Do they have any mitigation strategy?

    • Recon has said the Jet is waterproofed enough to deal with a hard rainstorm, so I assume sweat will be fine – but fear not, I’ll be able to test that. Keep in mind however that their current product line is all about snow sports, which have far uglier conditions (rain/snow/sleet/etc…) than cycling.

  10. Joshua Parks

    Actually, Power Meters are expensive because they can be. And because we pay for them at these prices. As I think Ray’s seen from my posts, I am a keen pricer. there are many niggly, but very important pricing errors that are made in the article. Rather than restate my comments – I will simply point you in the directions of the comments on the ‘why are PMs so expensive’ link. Hopefully my comments help explain why many things are so expensive in life. Like colleges in the United States for example.

    Their price is reflective of their perceived value. Not tied to R&D or manufacturing costs or anything else. Come on folks, this is an industry where each groupo set comes in at LEAST three different flavors to match different price points – don’t tell me that PM manufacturers aren’t as/more sophisticated!

    • Mr Nofish

      To tell you the truth I’d be ashamed to put my name on an article like that. It’s so full of wrong, I wouldn’t even know where to start taking it apart – they should’ve simply published that as paid advertisement, nothing more.

      (but just to mention one thing, if Stages’ claim that every PM takes two days to manufacture were actually true, it would simply mean they have huge room to bring that figure down)

      On the plus side, it makes me hopeful: when firms go out of their way to explain customers why exactly they are morons and should not simply shut up and play, but say thanks and be grateful that the stuff is not EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE!!!1!

      …then it means prices are really too high and manufacturers are fully aware of that, simply bidding their time.

    • While I agree companies like SRM can certainly lower priced (and I still argue they’ll be forced to), I’m very hesitant to agree that Stages and PowerTap will see massive price drops.

      As for R&D, like it or not – it’s a fact of life for a power meter startup (i.e. Stages, Brim, and initially Metrigear). You can’t just wave it away when companies have gone in the hole millions of dollars and pretend like they don’t get that back. Investors want that seed money back – hence how investing works.

      There’s also the simple reality of margins as well – most of these companies will be paying a cut (industry average) of 30% or more to a retailer (LBS/etc…).

      For all the companies that have said they wanted to introduce a cheaper power meter, none except Stages has really come to fruition. And there have been a lot of trying. Getting a PM to market that’s actually repeatably accurate is really tough. DIY projects just aren’t there, if they were, then people would be doing DIY PM’s left and right. It’s laughable when people keep saying they can do that. I know some of those guys, including the guy who published one of the videos references. As he’s learned (and he’s very smart) – there’s a lot more to it when you try and make a sale-able product that can stand up to day to day pounding in alll conditions.

      If a company could introduce PM’s at half the price – they certainly would. How many more times over do you think Stages would sell PM’s at $299 instead? Yes, many times over what they sell today. Again, every year I’ve met with companies that have said they were going to introduce products at that price, and every year it doesn’t happen. Not for lack of trying.

      Will prices fall? Sure, by Interbike likely we’ll see further cuts. But knowing most of the people in that article (likely even better than James) – there’s simply a lot of truth in there, whether or not consumers want to hear it: It’s still reality.

    • Mr Nofish

      Apologies if the somewhat abrasive tone of my comment upset you Ray. I love posts like the one you did at CycleOps, it IS great to get to see a little behind the scenes as it makes me understand how much more there is behind a product than the actual box it’s in my hands.

      And I’ll admit, if you read among the lines, there’s a number of interesting tidbits of informations in that article, but on the whole it’s still not what I call good journalism.

      PM prices … I’d be a fool to argue with you 🙂 but rest assured I’m not here asking for gifts, or that companies go broke for my sake. That said, there’s no arguing that a lot of things in cycling are already stupidly overpriced – power meters are not even the worst offenders there, by far, but they do live in the same market space and live off the same kind of expectations.

      It might sound a little silly, saying this to you, as you clearly won’t swallow the kind of bullshit the cycling industry will try to spoon fed us – but I can’t say the same about many cyclists – they’ve been trained to believe it and in many instances don’t even have the tools to tell facts from marketing fiction.

      There’s still plenty people out there convinced that a few dozen grams here and there make all the difference in the world e.g. “SRM’s weight penalty is more on the order of 100-200g but that hasn’t stopped countless top professional riders from going that route” – it’s not like it’s easy to notice 200 grams difference in a crankset (but you’ll hear of kind of outraged comments about rotating weight made by people who don’t really understand things like the moment of inertia or the order of magnitude of the numbers they’re talking about) but the vast majority of pro-tour bikes are reportedly underweight and must be brought up to the minimum mandated by UCI using weights. Uhm …nice try?

      Back to the point – lowering prices, regardless of the market and even when perfectly feasible, is clearly a decision that gets postponed as much as possible, for a number of reasons. For one, that point about manufacturing capacity is very interesting, in fact the next squeeze might be triggered by whoever is able to streamline their process earlier or better than the competitors.

      Thanks for sharing and for bearing with us all.

    • David George

      Hi Ray,

      Do you know where we are with “home made” power meters. There have been a few projects on the interwebs but I wondered if you had some insight?

    • No upsetting at all, just pointing out it’s not quite as easy/cheap to produce low-cost PM’s as some might believe.

      I’ve said however many times that I think units like SRM are overpriced, and I also lump Quarq’s units in there as well these days. Both have great quality, but not equal to the pricing their charging. As noted above though, people pay based on brand perceptions. Or in some case, their local bike shops margins…

      As for home made power meters, the one that went the furthest in documentation/progress has changed course a bit. Details in this post: link to keithhack.blogspot.ca

      Knowing a bit more about where he’s working know – I think he made the right business & personal decision.

    • Ray:

      It’s bad form to be argumentative with you on your site. So I won’t be.

      I do want to address one thing – no matter how you cut it, completed R&D is a sunk cost and shouldn’t be part of pricing decision making. People can justify their prices however they want but the R&D (funded via profits) that you reap from your current batch of products goes into future products. Same with investing. If the original set of investors don’t get paid back they won’t make future investments. Still the past set of investment/R&D what have you, created the batch of products we have today. It’s the same in the Pharma industry (where I work): we’ve been deluding ourselves into thinking that R&D matters (which it does in both industries) but getting the “to what” wrong. It’s a minor point really. In the end you are absolutely correct, if there’s not enough return on investment, the investment dries up = no more new, cool power meters or other gadgets for you to test and for the rest of us to buy. So far we aren’t even close to that happening, thankfully.

      Essentially, a lot of what I was talking about was the difference between the theoretical floor price and today’s price. Having done a ton of these analyses, I’m not sure they’d maximize their profit at $299 (to adopt your example) – there’s always a cross over point for profit. I’m happy to see the pricing pressure coming around from Stages and believe fundamentally that’s a good thing for power meters and for cyclists. Math being math, in general it’s always safer to make a good profit at a higher price rather than depending on volume – it’s amazing to see how much more volume you need when prices go down…

      I like the direction that Mr. Nofish was going – and do believe that the article, while well worth the read, made a bunch of mistakes – most of which are really easy to fall into.

      And Ray, the mark-up argument doesn’t work for Stages when they sell directly…but it does work for them if they split the market and sell through bike shops and directly too – as they’ll want to hold their pricing as much as possible.

      In general I’m very impressed by my colleagues in the Biking industry – professional kudos to them. And kudos to you for a fantastic blog/site one that I return to daily for great information. Keep up the good work!

  11. Mr Nofish

    Hah, Stravassholes was nice, can’t help but feel it might have been even better with roadies.

    The Team Sky truck is way beyond amazing, the stem drawer surprised me. I guess now if you buy a Sky subscription, Pinarello bike or whatever, you know where your money are really going 😛

  12. Ernesto

    Hi Ray,
    I updated The Tacx app, so nos I’m unable to control my Bushido anymore with my iPad.
    Nothing seems to work! First tried to create a workout but it crashes every single time. Then editing one of my previous ones, same thing. Too bad, I would just have to settle for an existing one… Not even!
    Went to devices, found the Bushido and hrm, then tried to calibrate it but every time it would state that the tire was too tight to the break… Kept turning the screw but same message even after it barely touched the trainer.
    So, started a workout but nothing would show, no hr, speed, cadence or power! Tried 5 times, rescanned for sensors, etc. but every single time it would loose signal for everything when starting the workout.
    Can’t even describe how disappointing the new version is. Previous app was far from perfect but at least it worked, now it does absolutely nothing except wasting time.
    The only thing that they really needed to add was the capability to retrieve the workouts so they could be uploaded to training peaks, strava. Is there a way a can go back to previous version? Thanks!