Week in Review–October 24th, 2015


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.

Monday: Week in Review–October 19th, 2015
Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend
Tuesday: A few quick thoughts on Polar’s new A360 with optical HR sensor
Wednesday: Everything you ever wanted to know: Garmin’s new Forerunner 230, 235, and 630 watches
Thursday: Hands-on with See.Sense ICON Smart Bike Lights

The DCR Podcast:

Here’s the low-down on what was covered this past week in the DCR podcast:

– A brief discussion on the new Garmin devices
– How to fix Garmin wonky altimeter issues
– Thoughts on Stages power meter pricing (and the field in general)
– Whether or not BSX is doing the right thing with their Gen2 devices
– Is the extra money worth it for a Fenix3 over a Fenix2?
– Understanding altimeter smoothing
– Who will buy Strava?
– Where will HR optical sensors go with heart rate variability?
– Connect IQ thoughts

Thanks for listening! Subscribing and rating in iTunes is much appreciated, and be sure to send in your questions via the voice mail widget at the bottom of the podcast page!

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) Death threats, doping and disillusion: The troubling state of cycling in Colombia: Wow. Just wow. Definitely worth a read. Especially the part on what the country’s top official thinks. Unreal.

2) Crazy GoPro footage from last weekend’s Red Bull mountain biking event: While there’s still controversy over the number of riders injured during the event, this video helps to put in perspective just how nuts the course is/was.

3) Garmin drops price of Vector by $200 – still too pricey: I’ve decided I’m going to keep beating this drum until someone at Garmin understands: Vector is [still] overpriced (now at $1,299).  It’s overpriced because the PowerTap P1 is $100 less and far easier to use and just as accurate.  Further, it’s far less fiddly than Vector is.  Yet for some reason Garmin believes people will pay $100 more for something that’s more complex to use and more prone to installation errors.  Perhaps it’s because they believe people will buy into Cycling Dynamics.  And sure, some will fall trap to the marketing.  But Garmin really needs to own the story on what on earth to do with all that data.  After 2 years you can’t keep claiming “Well, someone else will figure out a cool use for it.”  Start by allowing users to opt-in on Garmin Connect to sharing Vector data so researchers/scientists can access it (just remove the GPS track for privacy).  Then, try and actually educate people on what to do with the data using informative, long, and well-written posts or documents.  Not just 2 minute marketing videos with slick graphics shot in pretty mountain locales.  It’s cheaper to produce a written piece than marketing videos anyway.  And then finally…drop the price so that it makes sense in the market – I can’t see recommending Vector for any more than $999 right now. $1,299 is just ludicrous.

4) An impressive look at the warranties of outdoor gear companies: Pretty cool listing, and definitely a solid guide to use when purchasing anything in the space.

5) Fitbit Security Hole – Moderate or Massive? There isn’t a question here on whether there’s a security hole – that’s been confirmed, it’s rather the implications of it.  Specifically the ability for a compromised device plugged into a computer to infect the computer and potentially associated networks.  Fitbit says that risk is low, a security researcher sorta-claims it’s possible (but doesn’t demonstrate that part of the attack).  In any case, being in the IT field and having spent a fair bit of time on the security side – it’s interesting given how pervasive these devices are at top levels of government and elsewhere in industry.

6) What is a SwimRun race? Turns out, a lot of getting wet and cold…repeatedly.  Interesting little video below on it.

7) A photo-tour of Nike’s headquarters: Kinda neat, always interesting to see the various workout rooms that such campuses have. (via Sport Tracks)

8) You can now purchase gigantic 4ft tall stickers of famous runners: Yes, seriously.  No, they don’t offer one of me (thankfully).

9) The Ale Trail – Lake Tahoe’s new Beer Trail: Pick your favorite sport, and the associated trail will ensure you’ve got frequent beer stop options.

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?

Polar M400 Smart Notifications for Android Update: Finally! Android users can now feel the love with smartphone notifications.

Polar Flow New Sport Profiles: Polar creates sport profiles to get more precise calorie calculations – this week they added a crapton of new ones.

Garmin FR225 Firmware Update: Updates to HR-based calorie calculations, Bluetooth connectivity tweaks and more.

Garmin Vivofit, Vivofit2, VivoSmart Updates: Lots of little random updates here for each unit.

Garmin Fenix3 Beta Firmware Update: Continued tweaks and minor adds. Remember this is the Fenix3 BETA edition, not production.

Varia Headlight and Taillight Firmware Updates: Minor changes.

Thanks for reading all!


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  1. Phil B

    Glad you are taking Garmin to task on the Vector pricing. Kudos!

  2. nr. 8 – actually you wanted to say: not yet 🙂

  3. Peter Felix

    That mountain biking clip…that is just completely and utterly bonkers.

    They are total nutters – but amazing to watch at the same time!

  4. Ben

    Garmin Connect iOS app had a major update this week

    link to buy.garmin.com

    • Mayhem

      Sigh, and Garmin yet again broke Bluetooth sync for my Edge 510. Edge says it is connected to the phone, iOS says the phone is connected to the Edge, but the Connect app is in denial. Garmin software is the worst. Can’t wait to switch to the Wahoo Elemnt…

  5. Yancey arrington

    SRM PC8 also got a firmware update to 1.7.1 which fixed a slew of bugs and has partially enabled bluetooth. BT appears to connect with devices but transferring data is not possible yet.
    Release notes

     Device Agent 1.0.169 is needed for this firmware
     Improved battery lifetime in standby
     Added “Sensor battery low” popup message
     Fixed altitude graph y-axis scaling
     Removed automatic switching between ANT and GPS speed
     Speed source has to be selected manually in menu or DA for each bike profile
     Fixed language translations
     Fixed “message box locked” bug
     Improved automatic time adjustment
     Added Bluetooth LE connectivity as client roll
     Fixed Percent in Training Zone Bug

  6. Martyn

    Would you say Vector 2 would be good value for £770? (New from a retailer) and worth paying the £200 extra to get them over the Bepro? Powertap are £1000 here so even more to get them.

    • Leendert

      I would opt for the bePRO; certainly in this case of UK based costumer. I live in The Netherlands and received my pedals two weeks ago. Got some minor issues with setting them up, completely due to my own incompetence 🙂 and got via the e-mail instant and very polite support.
      The pedals are lightweight, use standard cleats, have the opportunity to replace broken parts by yourself with relatively ease (see the post of Rhett Butler in “The Queue” on the subject, especially his October 7 post on the matter).
      Furthermore I haven’t encountered any problems with installing them without the special tools; just turn the hex nut till it allows you to tighten the pedal another 1/8 turn with a/the standard Allen key and your done.
      Dom’s advice to put a sliced inner tube section around the pod does the job really well.
      For me its a no brainer with the current costs of the different units.

  7. Tim

    I have the Garmin vector 2s left side only, and was hoping the price drop would mean the right side upgrade would get a price reduction, but doesn’t look like it. I would have upgraded the right pedal for 500 but 699 seems out of line. Looks like the Powertap pedals are going to be in my future.

  8. Considering that training peaks didn’t integrate cycling dynamics into wko4, and neither cycling or running dynamics have made it out of garmin connect, it is clear that serious athletes and coaches see no benefit in the data. If they did, then this data would have been incorporated into the major platforms long ago.

    If garmin do incorporate smO2 into the .fit file as proposed by the connect I updates, it will be interesting to see if that data used by third parties, as there seems to be a bit more interest in that.

  9. Remco Verdoold

    WOW that swimrun is brutal!!! I have cycled that hill passing those lakes during our Round Scotland bike trip.

  10. Damien

    About Loch Gu Loch, lookup O till O for the event that inspired it:
    link to otilloswimrun.se

    And why don’t you take the opportunity to sign up for Celtman!, a triathlon that is organised by the same team of peoples:
    link to cxtri.com
    (The registration window is about to open 😉 )

    Disclaimer: I have volunteered for both races in the past…

  11. Dejan M.

    Polar should fix its Flow app o0n Android instead of focusing on fw updates. It doesn sync via bluetooth (only works once in a while/few tries) + it (the pairing) doesnt work on android Marshmellow at all.

    This issue has been persistants for months now and they still havent fixed it althoug users have been outraging regarding this in the official forums as well as on google play reviews which is a shame since its a core function ;(

  12. Lars

    Totally agree on the Garmin Vector thing.

    I used to be a Garmin Vector fan. But the combination of reliability issues, errorprone installation procedure (well, at least the Garmin 2 Vector include the crow foot adapter) and price make the pedals a difficult recommendation at this time.

    Cool product two years ago. But seems the world has changed while Garmin stood still.

  13. Elliot


    What do you think of the Fenix 3 production vs beta firmware? What do you use on your watch?


    • David Lusty

      LOL you wrote that like you think Ray only has one F3…

    • Elliot

      Haha. I should ask him which he prefers but he probably wears both at the same time.

    • Dave pretty much nailed it. I’ve got one I keep on Production and one on Dev. In general I tend to use the production one unless I’m testing something specific. Mostly because if I’m dependent on that device for some sort of test data/comparison, I don’t want to lose it if something craps the bed.

      But again, sometimes there will be a specific scenario such as a new feature I want to try out – or more rarely a specific accessory combination that Garmin might be interested in feedback on (for example, I’ve got almost every power meter out there, including some that are harder to get).

    • Elliot

      Thanks Ray! I guess I’ll stick with production.

  14. RonV42

    I am going to keep with my power tap G3 hub. My last wheel build in the spring got a new one for really low price from the builder. If the price of the P1 keeps dropping I may look at it again next year. Ride on!

  15. John S.

    I saw that PowerTap has put out a firmware update for the P1 pedals. Any insights into what this covers?

    • Yup, it covers the power spike issues folks saw, minimization of the right-sensor drop error message on Garmin units, and a few other minor items I can’t quite remember. Someone posted them to the PowerTap P1 In-Depth Review in the last 24 hours though (to the comments). But the biggie was the power spikes.

  16. Steve Helton

    When the Garmin Vector system first came out, I told the bike shop it might be worth $700 to $800 to me. My bike is about $4,000, computer $400, etc. Just seemed about twice as much as it should have been. Getting closer. Waiting for under $1,000. Bet by next spring you can get either the P1 or Vector at that price. Thanks for all the information you provide. Very helpful.

  17. Graham S.

    As far as I can tell, the Vector price drop hasn’t been applied in Europe… any idea when (or indeed if) it will be? I’m looking at the Vector 2s, retail price in the US is now $700, whereas in the UK it’s still £750 (around $1150…!).

    Failing that, if I purchased in the US, and later needed support in the UK, does anyone have any idea how willing Garmin would be to help me out (would I have to ship the unit back to the US….)?

    • Fred2

      Yes, I was noticing the same thing about Vector 2 from European sellers – same price as last week. The only place where I see the new price is at Clever Training in the US. I wonder if Europeans have to sell off their current stock before they can start selling at the new price. And I haven’t found any European prices for the Powertap P1 that are lower than the Vector 2. But that’s okay, I can wait, a trainer is probably next on my list of purchases.

  18. Geoff

    Garmin pulled the 2.50 firmware for the Forerunner 225. A boatload of problems relating to BT, battery life, system hangs. If anyone wants to revert to 2.40 until Garmin get a working firmware out, there are instructions on the Garmin forums to revert using the webupdater. Worked perfectly for me.

  19. Ronald

    Hi Ray,
    Repaired my altimeter of my Garmin 800 using your tip in the podcast of putting it in a bowl. Not sure if it worked because it is now full of water. When I find the right tool to open it and get it working again I will let you know if it fixed the altimeter.
    If not I have a good excuse of buying new equipment 🙂

  20. Clarke

    Anyone know if he Fenix 3 will connect to and record power data from an SRM? The Garmin website appears to have several “holes” in what they show as “features” of the Fenix 3…for example it says it doesn’t do auto lap or let you customize screens, but the manual says it does…The manual is unclear if it will pair with anything other than Vector for ANT Power meter…I’m trying to decide between the 920XT (which appears to be able to pair with SRM)and Fenix 3…I only ride and run…no swimming.