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LIMITS Power Meter: Really cool or really fake?

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It’s been nearly 6 months since the LIMITS power meter jumped onto the scene with a sub-$300 power meter, and plans to have units shipping by the end of the year.  I expressed skepticism early on in the project, primarily due to the company’s timelines and lack of experience in the incredibly complex realm of cycling power meters.  To be clear, from a pure technology standpoint what they are attempting to do is quite possible.  But what they are attempting to do in the time period they’ve specified is not possible.  Much like trying to have a baby in 6 months, versus the regular 9 months.  Yes, you’ll end up with a baby – but just not in the timeframe you promised.

Since their announcement I’ve continued to press the company for further details on where the project really stands.  While buying into a crowd-funded project is always risky, that’s even more the case with Indiegogo projects (over Kickstarter).  Indiegogo allows companies to pretty much do whatever the heck they want with zero controls to protect the consumer.  It makes Craigslist look downright regal.  As a general rule of thumb, if a company is on Indiegogo, you should treat it with a much higher risk factor (exponentially).  That’s because Kickstarter requires you to show actual prototypes of the unit, and not computer generated mockups or fakes.

Lack of product:

Shortly after my initial post on LIMITS back in April, the company reached out for a phone conference on their status.  I expected them at the time to tell me how wrong I was, but in reality, they actually dug themselves an even deeper hole.  See, everything they showed in the video was ultimately just an illusion – a fake if you will.  At the time they had no power meter, in any form.  They had nothing that transmitted power, nor anything that fit into the sexy little pod they so prominently displayed.  Basically, my dog Lucy and them were equal when it comes to the number of functional power meters they each had: Zero.

So I updated my post accordingly, and went about my business – watching each and every status update.

And to LIMITS’ credit, their status updates were frequent and full of all sorts of excitement.  Just like those e-mails from folks claiming that you’re the next prince of an African country you’ve never heard of.  Lots and lots of talk, but actually nothing truly tangible.

See, to someone not familiar with power meter development, you might see an update (such as one from a month ago) that states:

“We are now very pleased to confirm that we have received the form factor PCB for the LIMITS power meter!” (bolding theirs)

Wow, the PCB – can you imagine?  Next step, a FedEx tracking number?

Well, no.  In reality, the PCB (printed circuit board) is something that should have probably been done a year ago.  This is like saying they got the parts to put together just the engine of their car.  Not the rest of the parts for the car, nor that they’ve even tested the engine.  Just that the parts arrived.  We haven’t even got to the point of faking emissions tests yet.

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Or you might see another update, such as this one from about six days ago:

“Just a few weeks ago, we’ve applied for ANT+ membership and today we’re delighted to announce that LIMITS power meter technology is now an official ANT+ member.”

Woot – updates!  Great news!  Except guess what?  Basically any company that forks over the $1,500 gets in.  The ThisIsANT.com website makes that abundantly clear.  Heck, even if Polar were to apply they’d be welcomed with open arms.  Dynastream wants people in this club – it doesn’t want to exclude anyone.  The more the merrier.

Or perhaps this:

“LIMITS team is back from T3 Awards and our key takeaway from the event is that it is an exciting time to be looking at smart ways to revolutionize cycling technology with LIMITS!

During the recent T3 Awards – the celebration of the most innovative tech products that have shone the brightest in the last 12 months, LIMITS was honoured to be among the 9 best tech Indiegogo campaigns. “

So basically, you didn’t make any progress at all.  You spent time going to pickup an award for something you haven’t yet created.

In fact, a fair chunk of their 57 updates to date are these sort of throwaway updates.  Sure, they might be great little endcaps to a larger more substantial update for most crowd funding projects, but not something that replaces real progress.

But sometimes the insights do provide real and tangible insight into where the company sits, such as this:

“As you may know – it is part of the qualification of the LIMITS power meter that we must compare ourselves with the key players in the field and to this end we have purchased these  nice toys that you can see in the picture below!”

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Well, that’s kinda funny.  See, they actually can’t use Garmin Vector to test their product.  It’s a technical impossibility (as I’m sure they’ve since found out).  That’s because the Vector2 pods wouldn’t be large enough to fit over the LIMITS pods. The little band piece doesn’t go that far with an extra pod in there plus the width of the crank.

Vector2Pods

Never mind the fact that it wasn’t until July that they decided to buy a bunch of random hardware to finally get around to testing a product that doesn’t exist.

But there are other important and clarifying updates, such as these more recently:

“The demand for LIMITS, more than 1500 units sold, is overwhelming but as we move into the Product Introduction Phase of manufacturing we need to set a deadline for purchased product that can be delivered in 2015, so here it is!”

What the hell does the ”Product Introduction Phase” even mean?  You’ve already introduced the product, you did that in April.  Well, actually on second thought – you are correct.  You never did that.  You showed us a fake shell.  So I suppose technically you could introduce the product to us for real now.  Except, you’ve never done that either.  I even tried Google’ing the term, and it really provided nothing other than a few nebulous references on slide decks from other companies that look like 1996.

But let’s assume though that the product introduction phase means we get to see the product and some data from it, right?

I’ve made repeated requests to them (publicly too, such as here) for any data at all.  Heck – I even gave them the opportunity to cherry pick the most perfect test data they could find.  Give me your best shot.  Show me your most perfect ride out there where it lines up beautifully.  Even if that was the 1 out of a 100 rides where it actually worked, just give me that.

Silence.

Every request until now, nothing but silence.

As a reminder, every other company in the industry has been able to show me (privately or publicly) the status of their power meter projects.  Every. Single. One.  Sometimes they may have limitations in place around what I can and can’t show (a company flew engineers in from both Boston and Israel a few weeks ago to demonstrate a new product, parts of which I can show in an upcoming post).

And in those cases – those companies have had timelines far in excess of what LIMITS has had when they got to that point.  For example, Ashton Instruments when I met with them this past spring (at the same time as LIMITS) said about a year out.  Yet Ashton at that time actually had a working prototype that I got on a bike (twice!) and rode.  As for LIMITS? Just an empty/fake shell.

For most companies in this space, it takes 1-2 years from the point they get something on a bike that’s ride ready, until they get close to selling their product.  Even then, it can still take more time.  Garmin with Vector (after acquisition from Metrigear) – with the untold millions of dollars in testing/design/implementation/people, and still didn’t ship for some two years after the initial acquisition from Metrigear.  There’s nobody in the industry that has more resources (bodies, facilities, money, or clout) to throw at bringing a power meter to market than Garmin, and yet they show you just how difficult it is.  PowerTap? About the same – some 2 years before they introduced the PowerTap P1’s we discussed which battery they’d end up using.  SRM? They’re still working on their rechargeable battery system, again, 2-3 years after they announced it and showed demo units.

I could go on and on with every power meter company in the industry and how long things take.  It seems peculiar to think a company is going to go from their first outdoor ride the last week of October, to delivery in December.

Actual status of project:

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So where do they actually sit?

Well I had hoped to catch up with them at Eurobike.  But alas, they weren’t in their booth.  Apparently they went to Eurobike (the biggest and most important bike show each year), but were only there for a short period one day.  Kinda odd to not stay for at least two days (out of the three industry days, plus the one public day).

They also weren’t at Interbike (the 2nd biggest bike event of the year), which I suppose is understandable since it’s a long way to travel.  Though most other companies do make the trek, even if without a booth – in order to meet with other companies, media, and just be able to scope out competition or partnerships.

So given that the frequent Indiegogo status updates left me as hungry as eating a single raisin, I simply e-mailed the team behind LIMITS to try and get some clarity on things.  I asked the following questions (copy & paste) in a polite little e-mail.  I figured this would be a starting point for future questions:

“Can you clarify a few things?  I figure e-mail is probably easiest:

A) Is LIMITS power meter being ridden on any bikes at this stage indoors?
B) What about outdoors?
C) If so – can you share any comparative test data?
D) Has the implementation of the ANT+ stack with ANT+ power meter profile transmission been completed?
E) Has the implementation of the Bluetooth Smart with Bluetooth Smart power meter profile been completed?
F) If so (to both), which devices has it been tested against – and can you share files?
G) What is the planned start date of production of the units?
H) Will both left-only and left/right units ship in December?
I) Can you share any photos of the current prototype units (with all of the electronics in them)?”

That resulted in a lot of back and forth, with the following reasoning as to why they couldn’t give me answers to most of their questions:

“Our marketing strategy is key to the success of the project and ultimately LIMITS so this cannot be jeopardized by all our ‘good news’ stories being released at once.

So before we answer your questions we need to understand that you will only release the information that we want released so as not to negatively impact our marketing strategy.”

Fair enough, I understand that marketing is an important part of your project. Key I’d say to success.  But I’d also caution (as I did to them), then when the winds are shifting you want to throw out carefully manicured marketing messages and throw down some concrete proof you’re not a scam.

But of course, you’d know by now that I don’t play by such rules of only releasing what’s good for a company.  If that was the case people would have stopped reading years ago.  A pony-farting marketing machine this is not.

The only thing we’ve learned since my questions were sent over was a new status update that they have at least gone outside now and done their first test ride – just 17 days ago

“Up until now our outdoor trials have been short bursts run on prototype hardware. This is the first time we are testing LIMITS outdoors and this is a defining time in its development progress.” – Oct 23rd.

That aside, they did respond to my e-mail roughly around the same time. And they did answer my questions…sorta.  In a politicians kinda way – ultimately giving no proof of anything.  Here are the answers (exact quotes):

Question A: Is LIMITS power meter being ridden on any bikes at this stage indoors?

Yes, we have bikes set up with the most popular power meters available on the market today to run comparison tests.

Question B: What about outdoors?

Yes, same as question A. [Since then they have confirmed doing this]

Question C: If so – can you share any comparative test data?

This data is a key milestone in our marketing strategy so will be released in accordance with this strategy via our news stories.

Question D: Has the implementation of the ANT+ stack with ANT+ power meter profile transmission been completed?

Yes.

Question E: Has the implementation of the Bluetooth Smart with Bluetooth Smart power meter profile been completed?

Yes.

Question F: If so (to both), which devices has it been tested against – and can you share files?

We have a whole raft of head units to qualify against but for now the test bikes are fitted with the most popular Garmin products such as the Edge520, 810, 1000 etc. As for file sharing see point C.

Question G: What is the planned start date of production of the units?

The manufacturing planning and preparation for pilot build is already underway with MPIs, MMIs, PVT, PMT planning all in progress. The manufacturing flow and processes and procedures are under review while we run exhaustive trials on fabrication and assembly. We will have all the manufacturing planning data back this week/next week after which we will set a date for the start of manufacturing – this again is a key milestone in our marketing strategy so will be released in accordance with this strategy via our news stories.

Question H: Will both left-only and left/right units ship in December?

The right hand product is a separate development scheduled for 2016.

Question I: Can you share any photos of the current prototype units (with all of the electronics in them)?

This data is a key milestone in our marketing strategy so will be released in accordance with this strategy via our news stories, I can say that it will be released very soon. Please note however that this will be heavily pixilated to hide all sensitive data.

So yes, on the surface they answer the questions – but ultimately they didn’t provide any proof of any of it.  They continue to provide frequent updates of little tangible consequence.  Providing heavily pixelated images is laughable.  C’mon!  Any competitor has already paid to be a backer (all of them will have done so, as they always do) and will theoretically soon get a unit to tear-down and test.  Right?  So why bother to pixelate when nobody else in the industry does, or ever has on any power meter product.

Going Forward:

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Ultimately, I just don’t see this story ending well.  At least ending well anytime soon.  I fail to see how they can do something in 1/10th (or less) the timeline of every other company with immense amount of experience in this space (when they appear to have no previous experience in building power meters).  And to be clear, I want them to succeed.  I really want more options in the market that give consumers more choice.  And I genuinely think this area of the bike is brilliant for a power meter (q-factor concerns aside, something folks fail to realize usually changes every time you go from mountain to road bike).

And I have no doubt they’ll succeed eventually, but I suspect that in the highly unlikely event they ship consumers something this December, that it won’t be accurate or reliable.  But I suspect they won’t ship anything this year.  After all, they don’t have a start date yet defined themselves – or at least one they can share.  I’ve actually never seen a crowd-funded project that doesn’t include a production timeline.  And if they do ship something in December, I’m going to guess it’ll be horribly unreliable and inaccurate.

So why do I care?  Well, I hate when consumers get ripped off.  Right now some $424,199 worth of unsuspecting consumers money (including mine) is being used.  Further, some unknown additional portion of funding is actually subsidized by a grant from the Scottish Government, and thus, by the taxpayers.

Ultimately – my long-standing offer to them (just as any other company) applies – prove to me that you’ve got something real.  Jump on the roughly 75-minute flight from Scotland to Paris, stick a unit on a bike (I’ve got plenty) and show me where you really are.  I’m not expecting perfection in a beta product, but there needs to be clarity on actual product state (wherever it may be).  We’ll collect data against other products in the market on the same bike, and put that data up for analysis.  And again – as with any beta power meter products, it’s OK to have quirks that you’re aware of and working on.  And to be clear – it need not be me. There are plenty of very capable and technical journalists out there – the guys and gals from Bike Radar, Velonews, or CyclingTips (as well as others I’m overlooking), are all technically capable of carrying out such tests and posting the raw data.

Rumor around these parts says technical validation by a major outlet is worth far more than any marketing e-mail update.

(Note: Most imagery here is from various LIMITS postings, since they’ve not shown the unit independently anywhere.)

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218 Comments

  1. Asaf

    That’s a new sheriff in town, boys! Keep the good work of calling the bluff (if and when it’s out there).

    • Remy Wetherup

      Sounds like a bit of a Nigerian email scam.

    • tony

      Nice one. +1 on the Nigerian scam. I thought it was iffy the first time I read the “marketing”, and thought anyone putting money in was giving to charity (a Nigerian one at that).

    • Stephan Blather

      It’s awesome the sheriff brings little startups like LIMITS to account. The sheriff might want to turn his badge on the big boys in a similar way for POTENTIALLY more serious transgressions.

      There is HUGE concern globally about tax avoidance. This has a MASSIVE impact on the American/European tax-paying publics – unlike a trivial tens-of-dollar impact from a delayed LIMITS power meter.

      For example, Garmin are registered in Switzerland. Why would that be?

      Worth an article? Thought not.

    • Last I checked, it’s not illegal for any company to register wherever they like. If you want tax organizational discussions, there’s plenty of other forums about.

      If you want to talk about technology and whether a company can deliver on their promises in the timeframe they specified…then this be the place.

  2. Laurens Bloem

    For time-pressed readers here’s the executive summary:
    “LIMITS power meters: no news and therefore worse and worse news as time goes on”.

  3. Charles Zappone

    “We haven’t even got to the point of faking emissions tests yet.”

    best quote, …..ever

  4. David Lusty

    When someone wins an award for being influential in your industry, ignoring them for a year is probably a poor marketing strategy. Well done Ray, this is why we like the site :)

  5. James Turner

    Regarding Q-factors. I can’t see what al the brouhaha is. People seem to think that bike fits have to be mm perfect to be any good. If you stand 10 people next to each other and measure the width of their stance (or hip socket width) how much variance would you see? Oh and don’t forget how much lateral adjustment you get in your cleat setup.

    I will conceded that you don’t want to go too wide else you will never fit narrower people!

    • I do agree. I think it’s a problem people don’t actually understand, with previous studies that aren’t detailed or clear enough to really say anything.

      If we look at how often a more advanced rider changes bike types throughout the season, it’d probably surprise some as to the q-factor changes.

    • Ted H

      I’m a narrow skinny dude. I sold my fat bike because I can’t stand the significant change in Q factor from my road/mtb… I got a 29+ bike instead. Much more to my liking. So for me, the Q factor is important and therefore (luckily) wasn’t interested in this product.

    • Scott E

      For the majority the Q-factor is probably a non-issue, yet thank goodness for my fitter in recognizing a past ankle injury required those few millimeters of change beyond what the cleat could accommodate – more power and more miles thank you very much.

    • Jens Westergren

      Just to be picky, your MTB stance width is probably wider than that of your road bike including Limits pm. Off course than fatty is much wider than that.

  6. Bruce Burkhalter

    Hard to tell how much of this is hubris vs. slimy behavior. Power meters seem like the classic case of “this isn’t that hard”. The tech and software is pretty straight forward to get something “working”. Getting it consistent, reliable, and shippable is a tremendous amount of work. There are lots of weird edge cases and the device has to survive water, dirt, rough terrain, etc. for years. Look at how long 4iiii and Brim have taken. Their “evasive” responses don’t really help.

    In the end, the likely scenario is that they ship something that isn’t that great. Then the backlash and lack of funds doesn’t allow them to make it what it could/should be. I hope I’m wrong because it could be a cool product. It just may need to be another company that actually fulfills the dream.

  7. Dave Lusty

    Having just taken a slightly closer look at the pictures, I started off by thinking that they look like someone knocked up the metal case on a lathe purely for marketing.
    Then I thought – metal would be terrible as it would block the Ant+ signal and there’s nowhere else for an antenna in this design.
    Next, I started thinking that plastic or some other FRP type stuff may not be strong enough to support the pedal.
    Finally I realised the horrible truth – there is probably enough extra leverage by adding in that pod that it will snap various types of crank. Bear in mind that pedals connect to the weakest part of a crank – the slim bit with a hole in it. I would be truly amazed if carbon crank manufacturers honour a warranty where these are used as they will also put more twisting force on the cranks throughout the stroke.

    • MrHappy

      What makes it different for the crankarm than mounting a pedal with a bigger Q-factor?

    • David Lusty

      Are there pedals with spindles that long? In theory no different but only if there are actually pedals that wide available. Given that the pedal thread is the same size as the thread on these there can’t be a lot of metal supporting it within the pod either?

    • ” Given that the pedal thread is the same size as the thread on these there can’t be a lot of metal supporting it within the pod either?”

      That’s a really good point. It actually looks from the pictures on their website as if the female threads extend out quite a bit pedal-side. I checked their tech spec, but apparently the marketing department got ahold of it (without passing it back through the design team) and its full of talk about interchangeability rather than boring measurements like width.

  8. Erik

    What a great article on powermeter and their quirks behind the scence. I all want more of this investigative posts … ;-)

    Many thx
    Erik

  9. Marc

    A good marketer will give their consumers the illusion of control, not tell them that everything is part of a careful marketing plan — that’s a disaster before you even start.

  10. Glynn

    Smells like ____.. probably is ______ :)

  11. M

    since i was actually wanting to go into January shipment and finish my winter training with new powermeter, i’m now reconsidering this and will probably go to other alternatives and spend more

  12. Jim

    So what do you know management background and experience? Are they intelligent guys with a possibly great idea but lacking the skills to market, manage expectations and execute this?

  13. Bluegray

    It’s too go to be true….sigh….

  14. Don

    To play the devil’s advocate for a minute; could a smaller team have greater success in putting together a prototype/working out the kinks, in a short time frame, than a large company? Nothing like corporate bureaucracy/politics to slow projects down.

    • David Lusty

      Even if they could, starting the testing now doesn’t leave them enough time to do so and manufacture units by year end. Especially for a product with small margins. If they were charging £2k for them then next day shipping from China may be a reality, but for this money it probably is literally shipping from China which takes weeks.

    • I think we’ve seen that smaller companies are pretty much in the same boat. Brim Brothers is in that category of being small but still having a really hard time with that last 2-5%. It’s pretty much taken them somewhere between 2-3 years for sorting out bugs in the last 2-5%.

      Note that LIMITS has said they are manufacturing local – which definitely would help their case, especially if they had to iterate a bunch. It also significantly reduces risks (but not usually costs).

  15. In the early days of the Indiegogo campaign, I’d sent them a message asking if the cycling team they spent 80% of the video talking about was actually riding on prototype units, since the cutaways made it very hard to tell. I figured the answer would be no, but wanted to hear it from them rather than assuming.

    Gordon’s reply was illustrative, and as the future has shown his comments around the “alpha units” were maybe a little “forward thinking”?

    Didn’t back, but still getting updates.

    • For the record, I’m with Ray on this one – I love the idea, love the placement, and really really hope that its real. It just isn’t, this time. Thanks for the great details – I hadn’t picked up on the fact that some of the PMs they got wouldn’t work with their pedals, for example, I was just amazed that they hadn’t bought them before starting the project.

    • David Lusty

      I find it more worrying that they appear to be mainly using other power meters to test with. Surely they should design and build a test rig first and foremost which is capable of delivering known power to the unit, then use this rig to test competitor units. I would be a little concerned about buying a power meter that was calibrated against another power meter!

    • Yeah, I guess that’s what’s so frustrating. They flat out lied to you in that message. They didn’t have a unit then: Period. They said directly so much to me in the final days of their campaign way back when.

      And while they flat-out lied to you, they misled everyone else via the videos/text thinking people were riding them. Even today their Indiegogo page they list “As reviewed by” and show pictures of their team. Except they’d never ridden it (and best we can tell, still haven’t). It’s all smoke and mirrors of making you believe things (I actually believe these quotes were different before btw).

    • Ray,

      Only last month did I speak with a member of this particular racing team about Limits. I was really surprised to discover that he hadn’t seen it, nor tested it and in fact knew very little about it which I found really strange. It makes sense now. Unfortunately.

  16. Mark

    Can’t wait to see Limits response to this article, keep us posted!

  17. TR

    Based on these presented facts, I’d say there are two things possible :

    1) this is a deliberate scam,
    2) they’re way over their heads and living in a bubble.

    I’d say no.2 is more likely, because it’s common nowadays in this “startup” culture to get hyped up inexperienced people “doing business”.

    After some time reality hit them that they wouldn’t deliver this as easily as they thought, but they kept going with the BS “marketing 101” answers and they still are trying to ride this out till it’s possible.

    • I actually believe it’s #2, I don’t think they set out to scam people. But I believe at this point they are scamming people.

      I think like you noted, they’re on some weird marketing train that’s using 1990’s techniques. No smart company deletes FB comments these days. Doing so is a recipe for disaster, and shows you’re already behind the curve.

      Further, I really think they underestimate the value of providing data as proof. Any other power meter company in the industry can attest to that. Most of these smaller companies are trying to land bike OEM’s (Giant, Trek, etc…). They often waffle between going straight to consumer, versus the big bike companies. Those courtships flourish once there’s independent proof (again, as any power meter company to date).

  18. M

    ok, seems like a scam !!???, they are deleting all negative comments from their facebook page
    link to facebook.com

    • M

      really hope that all will settle down quickly, also am concerned about the leverage that this kind of PM will create

    • M

      not really sure if you can undelete the comments, but they are back again, so sorry i made a mistake calling them out like that, but still no response from them….

  19. Ray – I noticed that the recent picture from their IndieGoGo site ( link to c1.iggcdn.com ) looked quite different and more bulky than their initial pics, and also different than the parts shown from the manufacturing run. What did the PM look like at Eurobike? I’m assuming that they at least had one behind glass if they had a booth.

    • Theres even a different pic that only seems to be shown on their FB page on the preview of the “15 items” list, not in the article itself, that shows a black dipped (?) covering with an oddly protruding battery cover.

    • I noticed it as well. They slightly changed the pod styles (with the little wings now) about 6-8 weeks ago I think. The more recent pictures have bigger looking wings. My guess is that’s where some batteries fit in (hearing aide style, kinda like Infocrank).

      Not sure what to make of it.

    • Richard Stanford

      Even more odd, I realized that the update about them doing “on the bike” testing shows zoomed in pictures of their iPad mount, but doesn’t actually show the PM itself at all clearly (if at all).

    • Yeah, also appears that bike doesn’t have another PM on it – just the KICKR.

      For the outside ride pic, it’s too far away to tell if there’s a PM on the crank side, or if there’s a PT hub. It does show they didn’t put Vector on it.

  20. Nicole Thomas

    I really hope this pans out because I supported the campaign and I like the price point.

  21. Couldn’t they test limits against Vector by reversing the Limits’ thread and sticking it on the other side?

    • No, as it wouldn’t make the electrical connection inside the spindle. They’d be up a creek in one of two ways:

      If they went:

      1) Pedal > LIMITS > Vector Pod > Crank arm: Then the electrical connection wouldn’t be made between the pod and the pedal (gaped) by LIMITS.

      2) Pedal > Vector Pod > LIMITS > Crank arm: Then pod rubber band wouldn’t be long enough, and again, the electrical connection wouldn’t be made between pedal and the pod end.

    • Just for fun, if I was them and was testing it, here’s the configuration I’d have:

      A) Crank spider based power meter: Power2Max, Quarq, SRM, Infocrank (not spider but would work great here).
      B) PowerTap hub in wheel
      C) PowerTap P1 pedals
      D) + LIMITS

      I’d probably actually use the Infocrank in this case, since it can provide true left/right power while not limiting pedal types. That would allow me to compare on a per-LIMITS pod basis how power is tracking and identify errors.

      I’d use the P1’s as pedals, because they don’t require pods that would interfere with the LIMITS.

      And I’d use the PowerTap Hub on the wheel as just another reference point.

    • David

      I can hear them now. “Hey guys look. Ray made us a shopping list.”

    • David Lusty

      “C) PowerTap P1 pedals”

      And how were you planning to tighten the P1 pedals? From what I’ve seen they only allow hex wrench/allen key as there are no flats for a pedal spanner. I’ve never seen them in real life so maybe I’m wrong, but your review showed some pretty good pictures.

    • My thinking was that you’d first attach the P1 to the LIMITS, and then attach the limits to the crank. There are a number of pedals that don’t work with a pedal wrench (for example, a pair of regular KEO pedals comes to mind), and require the hex wrench through the back method.

      Of course, I may be missing something there.

    • David Lusty

      I think you’re probably missing that the Limits will have a hex of the exact same size, making tightening impossible – the pics of Limits also don’t have flats for a spanner which implies that must also use a hex wrench. This would suggest there are a number of pedals which are incompatible with the Limits system. I can’t imagine it’s worth asking them for clarification, but I don’t see any other way to successfully tighten and more importantly untighten both units without a spanner. Obviously you could just put pedals in loose and they will tighten themselves but I certainly wouldn’t want my expensive pedals being permanently attached to these pods, especially with the recent pics on Facebook showing the pods as plastic and therefore prone to the same damage as the BePro ones.

      I hope you realise how difficult it is for an Englishman to keep writing “hex wrench”!

    • Don

      Technically this would “work” for install, but if the LIMITS has any give to it (softer metal, loose parts) wouldn’t that throw off the measurements of the P1?

    • Harri Roto

      This is a really good point and in my opinion anyway almost kills the whole concept, even if they miraculously would actually deliver something one day.

  22. Pat

    I read your blog on a regular basis mostly because of your transparency and reliability. Thanks for being such a great watchdog Ray ;)

  23. Nate

    All of this is bla bla bla to me. It doesn’t matter if they make it to market – it is one of the dumbest power meter concepts out there.

  24. fisao

    I would like to join those that thank you for your role as a keep-them-honest watchdog that doubles as an invaluable geek-out nirvana tester-in-chief !

    I for one would welcome your expertise as a knowledgeable observer if I was a company developing a new product.

    People like you make the world a slightly better place :)

  25. Paul

    I backed the project out of hope for a cheap power meter rather than expectation. I’ve backed some similar “aspirational” tpye crowdfunding projects before and while they haven’t delivered a fully functioning product they have delivered something that they promise to improve over time.

    This is the impression that I get with Limits, they will ship working hardware by the end of Q1 and then the users will be part of the testing programme and feedback will be developed into firmware updates to get the product as close to the original promise as possible.

    Nothing aspirational that I’ve backed so far has got to the point where the original promise works as expected, they are more like a development propotype which will hopefully improve over time.

  26. Max

    Ray,

    Your posts are excellent and I always look forward to reading your latest reviews.

    I was however a bit put off by the tone of this article. To me DCRAINMAKER stands for an honest and objective appraisal of technical issues and of the facts. I feel that the tone of this article would have been more appropriate if the company had folded and the backers had lost all their money. As of today, this is not the case.

    Sorry for the negative comment but in this case, I feel that a more detached report stating the facts as you see them would have been more appropriate. Your readers are intelligent and can read between the lines once the facts are laid out.

    Hope that these comments may be of use in some small way.

    Max

    • I dunno, Max. This is a product who’s team has been caught out lying to folk, who have never shown even a working prototype to anyone outside of the company as far as anyone can tell, who is claiming to be shipping the first round of finished products to the public next month, and who is continuing to try to drum up more business. This wasn’t the first article here covering them, and the earlier ones were far more “between the lines” as you said. How late should you wait to sound a warning?

    • Thanks Max.

      I can appreciate the tone is strong – but that was my goal. At this point the company has outright lied (such as saying a team had been using them when they didn’t even exist), as well as deceived people (implying prototypes had been there, when they didn’t exist). Those are simple facts.

      It’s never been an objective here in my writing to simply sit on the sidelines. When I see a company doing customers wrong, I’m going to call them on it (I’ve done so before with companies big and small). Sometimes it’s hinted at, and sometimes it’s over the top obvious. In this case, I gave the LIMITS team multiple chances to provide evidence (both in private and in public).

      If I can’t get an answer now – how can anyone else? Just today they once again pushed via an update for more people to sign-up for near-term deliveries. And again, there’s no evidence those folks will ever get a meaningful or useful product (if anything).

      I’m keenly aware of how search optimization works. As such, it’ll only take a few weeks (if that) for this post with it’s clear and meaningfully accurate title to be #2 behind their Indiegogo campaign/page listings on Google. That way when folks are searching for information – they’ll find something relevant. Rather than just fluff pieces written ages ago. Hopefully, it’ll cause them to pause and dig a bit more.

      Finally – my tone was specifically designed to be incredulous – because that’s what this is. It’s crazy. My goal was that said tone comes across that way. I want people to realize something is rotten, and I the 1,912+ people who have backed thus far to demand answers from LIMITS.

      Nonetheless, I appreciate it may not be for everyone. Thanks for reading!

    • Carl

      It’s #3 with a bullet in just a couple of days.

  27. Matt

    Ray, step away from the rosé ;P

    Seriously, I love to see people getting called out on BS. Well done you sir

  28. Matt Evans

    I think you are being a bit (only a bit) harsh. You asked some questions, they answered some (though only some) questions and then you criticized them for not providing “proof”. I suspect a lot of companies at their stage of development would feel that if they’d answered truthfully they didn’t need to go the extra step until they were ready for market. I realize that others like Ashton have shared from early on and that gets them more credibility. If I was to look at some of what Limits have done from another perspective:
    1 Finalized form factor (which looks OK to me) and apparently manufactured at least a few
    2 Finalised and ordered PCB’s (at least some. well, one I guess but let’s give them benefit of the doubt)
    3 Shelled out the money for ANT+ and confirmed implementation
    4 Shelled out money for other test PM’s (though maybe they returning the Vectors….) and head units (though they never responded to a suggestion of mine that they use a WASP)
    5 Started testing

    OK, you are completely correct that that’s a heck of a long way from delivering consumer units but all I am trying to point out is that they may well view what you are criticising as legitimate progress steps.

    You should also not under-estimate the impact of Britishness on the way they are responding to you (saying this as a foreigner living in the UK).

    To be clear, I am not associated with Limits and I completely agree with many of your sentiments, particularly that deliveries this year seem quite unlikely. I think the Limits team are probably naive in how they are approaching the marketing but I do think there is a least a prospect that backers get a working (though how well is anyone’s guess) product in 2016.

    I must admit I have found it unbelievable the number of puff-pieces they got without a working model. I guess that’s the press for you…

  29. chris

    I can’t believe that anybody in this day and age would release any type of bike power meter or computer without talking to Ray 1st. He has said many times that he is more than willing to help….

    It’s even more crazy that Limits thought they could lie to the public and not get caught.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that even a hold off but has potential write up from Ray can make you product, and a I have see some of the data and it looks good could have write up most likely would have end their search for money.

    It was a very high risk when Limits 1st announced and now that there is more data about how they operate and how they have avoided Ray questions the risk increased the risk exponentially.

    C

  30. Markl

    Shame they are being so evasive. I would rather they took longer and brought a good product to market than cut corners and supply a device not fit for purpose. Remember BSX insight gen one!!!

  31. alien8

    so a few things.. as I’ve done reasonable scale electronic projects with interesting boards like this ;)

    They’ve got they say ‘DFM’ boards – that’s design for manufacturing – so last board before it gets actually built.

    If they are using one of the UK manufacturers I know then they could have 1,000 of these within a week. As long as the board is right and QA of them is good – 1000 boards for beginning of December isn’t too hard an ask.

    The casing needs to be made – that will take slightly longer – but still not too horrible a CNC run if they are organised and are outsourcing that to the right people.

    So it’s the software. the risk *is* lower here as firmware updates are a ‘thing’

    Getting the hardware right is the bigger deal.

    I’d expect shipping something vaguely on-time unless they are let down by manufacturing partner. Bugs *will* be exposed and it’s their agility in resolving them and pushing updates that will be key. I don’t see much evidence that they are planning for this. (and if they push a windows only update mechanism for their product I will scream.)

    now the really bad side…

    They seriously need to clean up their comms methodology – stop using terms that are electronics industry focused that are really not clear.. they’ve been doing it through all their updates. It sadly does seem like a transplant of terms from a manufacturing email and pasted into a press release with no real understanding of what it means.

    Even if they have the hardware right, the firmware kinda right the data could be way off.. and that’s where they should hire Ray to do proper testing for them!

  32. Joe C

    When I first saw the Limits campaign, I was already in with 4iiii. Felt like I had left money on the table. Been using the 4iiii for quite a while now, so I guess I dodged a bullet there.

  33. Jimmy Stevenson

    This is definitely disappointing. I was not hopeful for release by December 2015, but was hopeful that they would have something concrete to announce by year end. That may still happen, but it seems like they are very far away from anything real.

    Power Meters are just a bit out of my price range even with the recent price cuts. I was (and still am) hoping that the introduction of some lower end options would reduce the demand on some of the higher price products and drive down prices a bit. And hey, maybe the low end options could even be worth the sub-$300 price tag.

    Good work as always, and thanks for the update!

  34. Peter William Everitt

    Another factor that people have overlooked is CE marking.

    If they are designing a PCB, putting this into an enclosure and emitting an RF signal they will have a whole host of CE certification tests that they will have to go through before they can sell a device in Europe. Then they will have to do the same with the FCC for anything being sold to the USA. This isn’t trivial and can take many weeks assuming everything passes. It will include tests of immunity to RF, transmission of RF, Static discharges and then safety. Chuck into that lead free soldering, a real pain on strain gauges, and WEE compliance and I can’t see how they can have anything ready for release in December of Jan – did they mention which year???

  35. Dan

    Ray Maker ladies and gentlemen, now a *full time* pain in the arse for anyone peddling hopes and dreams ;)

  36. RustedRoot

    What always impresses me is that Ray gives the benefit of the doubt with virtually every product review and constantly looks on the positive side, so when he posts a report with a headline that includes the word “fake” it gets my attention instantly. Anyone know another reviewer who is more measured and objective than Ray? I know he’s such an optimist and it pains him to be negative, but I value the rare critical review more than the others because it tells me he’s not in this to be friends. The comments that he’s harsh or too critical are way off the mark and missing the point.

    Those of you who chastise him, those who are LiMiTs backers, should step back and research the background of the CEO, Kenneth Hamilton Norton, who appears to be living in China, and is also running a battery technology company. Anyone who knows about investing knows it’s not the arrow it’s the indian that you’re buying. We’re all the wiser being guided by the wisdom of the three most important things venture capitalists look at before they back a company: management, management, management.

    I just spent 45 minutes reviewing the CEO and all that he’s been connected with, and, in my opinion, LIMITS does not pass the smell test. I’m sorry for the many backers who chose to look at the glitter of this product rather than its developers. It happens all the time (laser razor anyone? That was a good one, I admit) and I’m not immune to its pitfalls.

    I, too would love to see this meter come to market. From all that I’ve seen and read and know, it will likely not. LIMITS requires incredible luck for its meter to make it, but don’t be surprised if it releases a model that has an error margin of +/- 10% which would make it useless and very expensive. It’ll market the device with much fanfare, sell a few and then struggle with cash flow, in my opinion.

    As a joke I have a sticker on each side of each of my tire rims that says “Sell the Sizzle…Not the Steak” to explain why I wear very loud kits (to be seeen!) I’ll leave it to you to decide if that saying is LIMITS mantra.

    Caveat emptor.

  37. Duke Nuken Forever

    I guess this article is part of a plot, started by Putin, North Korea and ISIS. There is no doubt at all that limits powermeter will be delivered soon, because I read it on the internet.

    But that’s up to you. If you don’t want the Limits powermeter all the more I will buy. And once your want to have the famous powermeter I will sell it double-priced on internet! That’s what you get!

  38. MattB

    As a company, when Ray writes an article like this it must be like when your dad catches you misbehaving and says “I’m not angry…. I’m just disappointed”. Crushing!

  39. Don

    Ray, THANK you for doing this. All too often “hard-hitting” tech and sports sites become afraid to call out companies on bull or products in fear of losing access and the readers lose the chance to get real information. Your site’s strength is that you are an unbiased, very knowledgeable reviewer who doesn’t take money from companies and doesn’t do half measures. Keep up the great work!

    • David George

      > All too often “hard-hitting” tech and sports sites become afraid to call out companies on bull or products in fear of losing access

      to be honest, no-one including Ray is getting any access, so I’m not sure there is much to lose.

      I must say I’m disappointed in the bike press (road.cc, cycling weekly etc) doing very little due diligence on the LIMITS meter. BikeRadar’s Dave Rome was a bit more cautious.

  40. Guillaume

    Dished wheels anyone?

  41. Marc Walker

    Hi Ray,

    Great work! I’ve noted that your previous post from April is the top Google hit when searching “limits power meter”. One place above the indiegogo page and two above the Limits home page…….. It may be good for you to put a link to this post at the top of your previous post so that any unsuspecting customers get the scoop when searching for the product (or non-product).

    Cheers,

    Marc

  42. Eugene Brown

    as always the content is first class
    on this occasion though the delivery is a little disappointing

  43. Steven

    Shut up Ray! They know more than you do about sales and the industry than you. You’re just some blogger.

    But seriously. I bought my 4iii in March when they had working hardware. now in November the app that will get me the firmware for good accuracy and maybe close to promised battery life is in the App Store. 8 months later for firmware tuning alone. Then I get to wait a little longer for right side. My advise to anyone is just wait and see what’s released. Once proven then buy. I did 4iii as I wanted left/right balance and Bluetooth. By now I might have been better off waiting for pioneer or others to add Bluetooth.

  44. Jonathan

    I found a picture of the form factor PCB on the LIMITS website. It does seem pretty real to me…

    • Dave Lusty

      Weird that they couldn’t send that over with their responses then. It’s not like anyone thinks Ray would break an NDA, it’s quite clear that he often has knowledge of products months ahead of launch and I can’t think of a single occasion where he’s even let anything slip.

    • The problem is that in the grand scheme of power meters, a PCB isn’t really that meaningful. I know it sounds it to the average person – but it isn’t. The vast majority of time PM companies spend is on software algorithms to sift out good data from bad.

      For example, Brim Brothers had their PCB’s 5 YEARS ago: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Just because I have a PCB, doesn’t make it a power meter. It just makes it a component (and to be honest, in the realm of power meters – not a very important one, I’d rather know the strain gauge layout).

    • David Lusty

      Looking at the other component pictures it would appear the strain gauges are under those 4 slots in the PCB. I agree that the PCB isn’t a big deal but it does at least look like they have all of the components sorted to create a package capable of measuring and transmitting data. If that’s the case then I think the sensible option would be to get on a train to Paris with the first unit assembled and try to get some positive PR. After this article they really should be shooting for another saying “I’m under NDA but I’ve seen a working prototype”. Literally one line could turn this PR around for them and probably get them masses of extra funding/orders. Right now there is only one reason they would be resisting showing you something that I can see and that’s that they don’t have anything useful to show.

    • David George

      To be honest David, if they succeed in selling a reasonably accurate, easy to install, power meter for under $400 I don’t think they need to trouble themselves with taking the Eurostar to Paris. It will sell itself.

      I agree with Ray that the software (firmware) could be hard to get right but hardware wise it is just a digital weighing scale, pretty much. They retail at about $10.

  45. Sayitlikeitis

    I heard a rumor that a mother of a member of the team is critically ill and probably won’t last beyond Christmas.

    That’s ridiculous. *I* paid some money for an electronic toy and *I* want *MY* toy by Christmas. Who gives a **** about some dying relative? When *I* want something, *I* get it. I’m the most important person in the world!

    • Then the team could have said that (if actually true). It’s a startup, people would understand. Or, they could have perhaps tapered expectations by not continuing to flog for more money before Christmas for supposed deliveries by Christmas.

      Or, perhaps they could have not lied and deceived people back in April when it launched.

  46. Greg

    The aspect of this design that really worries me is the connection of a pedal to the Limits unit. The connection here is completely different than that used in Powertap P1 or even BePro. I cannot imagine that Limits would not require extensive fatigue test runs to test the design of the connection.

    It looks like this aspect is not even on their list of priorities, which incidentally could have been tested months ago. The evolving dimensions of the unit clearly show that nothing of that sort has been completed.

    I hope they will not leave it to the backers to do testing for them.

    • Yeah, that aspect of the design is definitely potentially quite risky.

      That said, they did actually feature a pressure testing rig back this summer in one of their updates. So at least they do have the tools to do appropriate stress testing on that component.

      It’d be an area they wouldn’t want to skimp on, since quite literally it could kill someone if it snapped. At the very least, it’s likely to heavily injury someone if it broke.

  47. Bluegray

    Yesterday, they announced an “important” news.
    They have the second wave of LIMITS Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign…..
    I really don’t know what should I say….

    • RustedRoot

      If true, here’s the centuries old proverb you could employ Blue: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

      If anyone is still tempted to throw money at this ask yourself what you could lose by waiting against jumping in now? Bupkis.

      If these folks were real why would they be putting so many roadblocks in Ray’s way?

  48. Paul Fitzpatrick

    Another reason why I am so pleased that I plugged for the Favero BePros, which seem to be pretty much the same as what Limits are trying (but obviously with only a Look pedal option)
    Ray, you seem fairly positive about BePro and their popping up and shipping at a great price point. Do you know what their time frames were? From where Limits are now to the point of Shipping?

    • They actually took a really unique approach in simply waiting until they were done to announce they existed. So from initial announcement of existence until unit in my hands was about 2 weeks. Then a few more weeks until units started shipping to consumers.

      That said, in some e-mail conversations I believe they said they were working on it about 2 years.

  49. Duane Gran

    Bravo. I agree entirely with your assessment and this whole saga is quite sad because the *idea* of what Limits represents is so fist-pumping cool, but the execution and communication is dead wrong and they deserve to get called out for it. They are sort of the anti-Keith in my opinion.

    What do I mean? Anyone remember the very cool stuff that Keith Wakeham was doing a few years ago with his DIY power meter project? He documented openly the process, testing rubrics and results along with his internal dialog about the technical feasibility of the project. He went on to build the 4iii Precision power meter, which is fascinating in its own right.

    The people behind Limits need to get real and do it fast. Reading their responses looks like a politician or some spokesperson for the politburo is in charge of public relations. Internally I bet they know they can’t deliver and someone needs to put on the big boy pants and explain that optimism and feel-good talk doesn’t substitute for product competence.

  50. DS

    Two thoughts come to mind:
    1. Solyndra
    2. “It’s the nerve.”

  51. Got a new update from them. Under the section “The first reviews of LIMITS power data” it says in its entirety:

    “Power data is the vital output for LIMITS so no wonder it’s such a popular question. This is at the top of our list but it’s actually one of the last deliverables as there are a number of other metrics which must be delivered to produce an accurate and repeatable power output. In fact it’s these other metrics that produce the accurate and repeatable power output, i.e. cadence, torque, temperature compensation etc. All these metrics must be tested and verified again and again and again.”

    All that is true – I guess – but it is odd that in an email that starts out with “Today, we want to respond to some of your questions.” the one thing they didn’t do is actually respond to the question. They said that power was important, and that other things were also important, and … that’s it.

    If they’d said, “Cadence is perfect, torque is +/- 5% and we’re trying to nail that better, and temperature compensation is nailed!” then that’d be something. Simply admitting that the answer is important is not the same as answering the question.

    This has been an interesting campaign, for sure. Again, I hope they can get this right, especially at their price point – I just haven’t seen any evidence that they can, especially for a next-month committed delivery date.

    The comments about regulatory approval timelines that Peter William Everett made above are interesting too.

  52. Michael

    I have no irons in this fire, but from reading through all the marketing speak from LIMITS, I really have to wonder if Ted Ciamillo (Zero Gravity) is somehow connected to this project!

  53. RH

    As an uninterested (in the product and the company) observer, I have no idea whether LIMITS are evil incarnate or angels being judged too harshly.

    What I do note, with sadness, is that an articulate and knowledgeable writer should choose to use such a confrontational style to diminish a product, even though he clearly feels its manufacturers are one step away from being charlatans.

    Perhaps next time you stumble across something like this, it would be sufficient to say, ‘I’ve looked closely into this company / product and can’t, in all honesty, recommend its purchase’. I think most of us are smart enough to join the dots.

    We have confidence in your advice. No need to use a sledgehammer to deliver your verdict.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      I find comments like this really bizarre. If Ray (or anyone) has the knowledge, insight, and experience to call out a company in a confrontational way, why shouldn’t they? What is wrong with confrontation? If they want to refute it, they are more than welcome.

      They are actively soliciting money from people for a product that for all appearances, does not live up to what they say it is. I want Ray to call them out so that we all know what the potential issues are. If you thought someone was running a scam trying to defraud people of their money (and I’m not saying that is what Limits is doing), wouldn’t you be “confrontational” about it?

      To say Ray should make some generic statement of disagreement and that, “I think most of us are smart enough to join the dots.” is absurd. Why not just say it so we don’t have to join the dots? Are you afraid someone’s feelings will be hurt?

      Look, Ray made a very strong case based on a lot of info to back it up. It wasn’t just some “hit piece” with no supporting evidence. Why this makes you sad is confusing. I (and most others) want a strong advocate to represent us, especially for projects on Indiegogo and Kickstarter where there is little protection. If Limits thinks his analysis is wrong or unfair, they can easily get in touch with him or comment here.

    • Greg

      Don’t you think that the kind of advice you suggest would leave dozens of perhaps hundreds of people guessing?

      I hope that this and the previous article will alert potential buyers to look very closely at the company/product in face of a very slick marketing campaign still underway on Indiegogo.

    • RH

      You’re entitled to view my comment in any way you wish. If you consider it ‘bizarre’ then so be it.

      If you feel you need ‘protection’ in the investment game then you shouldn’t be playing. ALL investment carries risk, it says so on the tin. Personally I would no more put my faith in Ray’s observations than I would in the PR pieces LIMITS produce. But if he’s your investment guru…

      The point I’m clearly struggling to make is that I – and I suspect the majority of us, though I could be wrong – am here to receive Ray’s clear, unambiguous product advice. I’m not here to be appraised of his opinion on the ethics or potential of some startup somewhere.

      If Ray finds a product meets its claims and is a useful step forward, then he should say so. If he doesn’t then, sure, briefly tell us why that’s the case. No need whatsoever to hack into a company simply because their product is a failure. We can all draw our own conclusions. I, for one, did not sit here guessing about what the future prospects were for my investment in VW when they started messing with emissions.

      Ray has just set out on his own. If he’s right about LIMITS this post may well cement his reputation as ‘a fearless investigator of the truth’. But if he’s misjudged some aspect of this product or company, he’s going to look like a man with little insight.

      I like Ray when he tells me whether a new product meets its claims or it doesn’t. End of. I’m not interested in his opinions of a company, its owners or its methods of funding. If that’s where this blog is going then good luck, but I shall look elsewhere for my product advice.

    • Henk

      I suppose it also depends on your point of view?

      For those who are interested in this product, and by extension the company that is developing it, the way the company has been handling this could be quite frustrating – maybe they backed the campaign, and the hordes of vague non-update updates from Limits has them concerned too. I know I would be.
      Ray mentions the number of times he has attempted to get clear information from Limits. If it takes a sledgehammer approach to finally get them to start giving real answers, I’m all for it.

      I’m all for the product being launched successfully – I’d like having a power meter, and this one I would actually be able to afford.
      If I was not interested, or didn’t like Ray’s writing style in articles like this, I would simply skip the article like I would for a review of a device I have no interest in.

    • Nick

      “I – and I suspect the majority of us, though I could be wrong – am here to receive Ray’s clear, unambiguous product advice.”

      Yet you want him to say (of this product): ‘I have a load of information to reinforce my thoughts on this having done quite a bit of research from my privileged position, but I’m not going to provide it. I don’t recommend this product. You can join the dots.’

      That is bizarre. Why on earth would you not want to understand Ray’s logic? If you want to now go and invest in LIMITS anyway you crack on. I sure as hell won’t be. I nearly did first time around.

    • A brief story…

      In my now previous job, I often did interviews of prospective hires. One of my core tenants was that I’d only ask them about things they claimed to know about. I used their resume as my guide. If on their resume they wrote they had experience with Exchange, then I’m going to talk about Exchange with them. I’m going to do so until I’ve determined their level of Exchange competency. I’d start easy, and then get tougher and tougher until they broke. Inversely, if they never wrote Exchange on their resume, I’m not going to quiz them on it. It my opinion it wouldn’t be fair to them, since it’s not something they claimed to have knowledge on.

      I ultimately apply the same logic here. If a company makes claims, I’m going to interrogate those claims. That’s precisely what I did with their updates. They made claims, and I explained why those claims were misleading/non-relevant/unhelpful. I did so in a manner that’s generally entertaining – because most of what I write about here is generally boring by nature. It’s a key thing that readers for years have said they enjoyed.

      I didn’t dive into their company history (though, I could have), nor the founders bios (also could have). Though, they listed all of that on their Indiegogo page – including the fact that none of them claimed any power meter experience. But nonetheless, I gave them the benefit of the doubt there that they just forgot to list that.

      Ultimately, companies are made up of people. Those people make decisions, decisions which are both visible and invisible to an end customer. This is true of large and small companies. In large companies, a single non-executive individual often does not sway the direction of an entire company greatly. A little here, a little there – but not fundamentally (in most cases). In small companies, a single individual can and does greatly impact how a company is run, and how consumers are interacted with. In a startup, this is especially true – even more so if/when founders are involved.

      To that end, this post was about taking their official responses as statements – and discussing why those statements were troubling. While one may want to ignore the practices of a company or it’s people in relation to a product, I fundamentally don’t think that’s possible – especially in a startup.

      At this point the company has chosen to be evasive in their answers, and misleading at all stages of their campaign. They out right lied in their introductory launch. That’s not debatable. That speaks to their character. They produced videos that took time and effort to develop. Every one of those videos was carefully scripted by two or more people. Every word selected for a reason. Both written on the page, and in the videos. They didn’t accidentally misspeak on these areas. It wasn’t one person who was confused or not in the loop (as can happen in companies big and small).

      Why does that matter? Because it speaks to the product. A product which is technically questionable at many levels based on what we’ve seen today. But more than that, it speaks to how a company handles themselves down the road. How will they handle bugs? How will they handle support? How will they respond to customers?

      That’s why that matters. It matters for every company I talk about, from Garmin to Apple to LIMITS.

    • Oh, and one final thing – since it was implied…

      I haven’t changed my writing style since going full time two weeks ago. I’ve written these sort of posts for more than half a decade. They are rare – perhaps one per year or less, when the situation warrants being sharp. Funny enough, I actually wrote the majority of this post about 4-5 weeks ago, and have tweaked it slightly since then based on new updates. I was sitting on it hoping that by early November they’d have more information to share. They don’t.

      Yesterday’s update from them only reinforced that. Their belief that they can wait until the week of shipping to do comparison and accuracy tests is woefully misguided, and not aligned to 15+ years of power meter history and testing from companies that do have extensive experience in this.

    • RH

      Ray, as you seem to have directed your response towards my observations without actually saying so, I’ll try to be equally obtuse but direct in my reply.

      I was NOT questioning the level of research you conduct prior to producing a review of a product. I fully expect you to do this. What I was questioning was the tone and detail you felt it necessary to go into to explain the background in the case of LIMITS.

      As I’ve already stated, I assume that the majority of us are here for product advice. I know I am. That’s where you have demonstrated an ability and skillset far in advance of mine.

      You have not, to the best of my knowledge, prior to this post presented yourself as an investment advisor or company analyst. If you have skills in this field I’d be pleased to hear about them in order to assess the veracity or otherwise of your advice. If you don’t, please re-read your post and ask yourself why you appear to be adopting this role in the context of LIMITS.

      All I wish to know is if, in your opinion, the product from LIMITS is real and viable. If you believe it’s a ‘no’ to both of those, then just say so. Why engage in what looks rather like an attempt at character assassination, whether it’s deserved or not. Time will reveal, for better or worse, the true nature of those behind this product – perhaps then you could offer us your perspective on your interaction(s) with LIMITS.

      Trust – in a company or a reviewer – is hard won and easily lost. There was no need to go beyond offering a simple note of caution on this issue.

      The world is full of angry righteous people. Please don’t rush to join them. I’d miss you.

    • Bill Hedworth

      It’s amazing how much these posts put me in mind of limits product updates… meandering bumph leaving me dazed and bewildered.

    • RH

      Bill, if you’re somehow implying I have something to do with LIMITS you couldn’t be more wrong.

      Some background. Whilst I’m based in the UK for the next few months, my home is in Taipei, Taiwan. Professionally I’m involved in the sports technology industry and have acted as a consultant for various suppliers in this field. I have some knowledge of the bike and allied components industry in the region and some involvement – from an end-user perspective – in products which are associated with health and fitness measurement.

      I was sufficiently aware of the LIMITS story to draw my own conclusions some time ago. Enough said.

      I’m not here to comment on the accuracy or otherwise of Ray’s observations on the products he reviews. He has his opinions, I have mine. Normally they align. In respect of the LIMITS power meter I find no fault in Ray’s conclusions. I merely noted that if this is the style of review I can expect from this blog in future, I’m out.

      I don’t for one second believe that you, Ray or the universe will miss me. Nevertheless, just as Ray feels the need to call out questionable practices in product funding and development, I feel the need to call out confrontational and needlessly aggressive product journalism.

      And there, I think, we should do the decent thing and let the matter rest.

    • RustedRoot

      I’ve held my tongue (fingers really), but now I’m calling you out RH.

      First you said you had no interest in LIMITS: “I have no idea whether LIMITS are evil incarnate or angels being judged too harshly.” Then you said: “I was sufficiently aware of the LIMITS story to draw my own conclusions some time ago.” That’s not consistent with being a disinterested or removed party.

      You’ve thrown a few unnecessary barbs (e.g., “I’ll try to be equally obtuse but direct in my reply (to Ray.))” then escape to what you perceive as the high ground. Clever, but snarky. Could one consider you a troll? To employ your writing style whilst I’m at it, might I suggest you would be more effective if you were less imperious and condescending?

      I surmise you’re acting as a consultant with your lofty pronouncements. You come by that honestly, except it’s not appropriate here since Ray isn’t a client. How do I see this? I’m a consultant too.

      On more than one occasion Ray has demonstrated the highly questionable value of LIMITS and its management and has presented it in a persuasive manner, in my opinion. This review was not a bolt out of the blue. I’ve never known him to have an “axe” with any company, including LIMITS. His reporting and analysis are valuable because of his experience and skillset. Why not focus more on the facts and Ray’s valuable opinion and less on the tone? Also, too much detail for you may not be enough for others. You and I add no value opining as to how much is right, Goldilocks. Oops, now I’m being snarky. Apologies.

      You seem to like having the last word and be in control, so I’ll leave the last to you if you’d like.

    • RH

      Firstly, thank you for pandering to my ego and offering me ‘the last word’.

      As a consultant you should be familiar with the concept of listening (or reading) accurately before indulging yourself in a critique of an individual. May I respectfully suggest you need more practice in this field.

      You propose that I was being disingenuous (or shall we simply call it ‘lying’?) when you noted my two comments regarding LIMITS. They’re not inconsistent.

      The first noted that I had no idea whether LIMITS would deliver or not. I still don’t. Knowing would require proof; proof I don’t have. Neither does anyone else apart from those directly involved in LIMITS. The second comment stated I had drawn my own conclusions about LIMITS some time ago. I had. I was asked to provide an overview of this company and product by a third party. But it’s still opinion, not proof. I’m not Baby Jesus. I may be proved wrong.

      Oh god, the troll argument simply because someone offers an alternative perspective on a post? If all I’ve done is upset Ray’s fan base then I shall sleep soundly in my bed tonight. I thought this site was about discussion. My mistake.

      To offer an opinion on the language use in a post is not ‘acting as a consultant’. If you think it is you have a somewhat warped view of our profession.

      How many more plaudits would you like me to throw in Ray’s direction? Let me quote some;

      ‘…that an articulate and knowledgeable writer…’
      ‘We have confidence in your advice.’
      ‘I like Ray when he tells me whether a new product meets its claims or it doesn’t.’
      ‘That’s where you have demonstrated an ability and skillset far in advance of mine.’
      ‘In respect of the LIMITS power meter I find no fault in Ray’s conclusions.’

      If, before you let your fingers loose, you’d actually READ what I’d written you would have noted that my comments have been confined to the tone and language used in the post, which Ray himself admitted wasn’t his usual style.

      I did have golden locks once, many years ago. Sadly time has taken its toll and I’m now losing my ravishing looks. Don’t cry for me – I know crocodile tears when I see them :-)

      Finally, Ray and I have crossed paths in another life, so I know he’s a fine guy. However, this post is far from his finest work. The Ray I know would have stood up and said, ‘Woops! Sorry guys, guess I got a little angry there…’.

      There is still time.

    • The Real RH

      “As an uninterested (in the product and the company) observer, I have no idea whether LIMITS are evil incarnate or angels being judged too harshly.”

      “I was asked to provide an overview of this company and product by a third party.”

      So you are interested because you’ve attached your name to an assessment of the company and product and the final outcome (and, arguably, the assessments that also come out about the company and product) reflect on your abilities as a consultant. “May I respectfully suggest you need more practice in this field.”

      You say you’re “here to receive Ray’s clear, unambiguous product advice” and that you’re “not here to be appraised of his opinion on the ethics or potential of some startup somewhere.” Ray’s made it clear that, particularly with a startup or small company, those can’t be considered independently. The company has shown itself to be dishonest and that must be taken into account when considering their product and the claims they make about it.

      “I thought this site was about discussion.” Apparently for everyone but Ray. It’s his site and he’s built way more industry power than I bet any other LIMITS backers have or are free to exercise. Thus, while their ability to reach a wide audience is limited, Ray can do so on their behalf. I for one, am glad to have someone delivering this (and many other) messages with a bigger megaphone than what I can muster.

      As for Ray’s ability or skill in analyzing companies, I believe he’s demonstrated that in spades over the last few years. So much so that many companies listen to and work closely with him to get insight on customer needs. If, before you let your fingers loose, you’d actually READ what he’s written in the past, you’d know that.

      Lastly, as a consultant, you should know that the way you deliver your message can have profound impacts on whether or not your message is heard and respected. You’re correct in seeing that you’re clearly struggling to make your point and it’s probably due to your delivery. Quite honestly, if you think that being snarky, condescending, self-righteous, and passive-aggressive are the way to get your point across, then “you have a somewhat warped view of our profession.”

      The world is full of angry righteous people. Please don’t rush to join them.

      And there, I think, we should do the decent thing and let the matter rest.

    • Woah-k-doke. I think that’s probably good on the back and forth for now.

    • Alex Simmons

      Many don’t like it when you call it like it is and out BS when it deserves to be outed. I get that all the time.

      Keep at it Ray. We need more people who don’t put up with crap.
      Cheers, Alex

  54. Despatheposh

    I for one, partly agree that the writing style is definitely sharp (almost shouting) at putting Ray’s frustration across of the political non-answering of questions. But, I’m grateful in his updates throughout this year on this product and like us, he is entitled to his opinion and has tried to stay impartial even when non communication from limits could of made his view alot more one-sided. Limits/watteam/powerpod all appeared in my price bracket at roughly the same time and it would seem the ‘sounds too good to be true’ mindset helped me dodge a bullet with limits, especially as the ‘updates’ really weren’t and the website bumpf appears to be smoke and mirrors. Didn’t stop me from logging in to indiegogo earlier today just to double check I hadn’t backed this!! Thanks Ray

  55. Besides, the previous comments on the company were exactly as suggested – quiet, reserved, vaguely skeptical while being optimistically excited about the potential. With initial delivery *still* quoted as one month out, not even an alplha-level functioning prototype ever demonstrated to anyone, and continued sales pitches coming from the company, it seems like its reasonable to step up the scrutiny.

  56. anon

    Thank you for this kind of post, whether it is a new style or something you’ve done rarely. This is great stuff as very effectively cross examined their claims. I read this blog daily because (1) you take complicated things and make them understandable and (2) you come across as fair, reasonable and objective, similar to a Consumer Reports of athletic stuff and gadgetry. This is helpful to me, and others that I’ve referred to your blog, as consumers. Now that you’re full time, I hope you’ll do more of these kinds of posts since it keeps all manufacturers on their toes by letting them all know they’ll be called out on lies, vaporware and marketing fluff that makes no sense (technologically or pragmatically). Your SEO affords you great power since anyone who googles LIMITS now sees your post in position #2.

  57. Greg

    Well, one appears to be certain here. There will be no deliveries of Limits power meter in December 2015 or January 2016, if in 2016 at all. All those who decide to pledge roughly $300 on Indiegogo campaign page in the latest marketing drive, instead of spending 10 minutes reading this article, will have no one to blame but themselves.

  58. rjdennis

    Consumers and VCs stand in very different places. VCs are sophisticated with considerable resources. Before the invest they can use their considerable financial leverage to get data that is meaningful to them. This means they get detailed disclosures about the management team and the product. Moreover, the VCs obtain some control rights which allows them to manage risk to some degree. And the legal system gives them some protections if the data provided is materially false. Consumers also have some protections in law, but if the product fails the company undoubtedly will have no assets for compensation. Moreover, as in this case, consumers make their purchase decision only with marketing material. The service Ray provides here is to give consumers product analysis similar to that available to VCs.

  59. Joe C

    This thread has certainly jumped the shark. Hope it dies soon.

  60. Yep yep yep

    The continual categorization of an indiegogo campaign (or kickstarter) as an “investment” is in and of itself erroneous. These are not investments, but are donations (granted there are hopes/promises of free swag to accompany the donation). Because I made a donation to LIMITS, as many of us have, based on lies, I feel justified in my displeasure with the company. I donated knowing that this product may not come to fruition, but in hopes that it would. LIMITS has only provided information to crush my hope instead of buoying it up. If Ray’s post in this instance bothers you, remember that all of his reviews are subjective albeit it with less strong language. The substance is the same and I applaud him for calling LIMITS out.

  61. BernardB50

    I just bumped into this article “contingencyplanning?
    link to bbc.com

  62. Greg

    Sadly, update No.60 on the Indiegogo rather than facts contains a letter from the Chairman of Limits sniping at the messenger. A very simple diagram comparing performance of Limits to any of the existing power meters less than 4 weeks before scheduled shipping would be far more constructive….

  63. Steve M

    link to indiegogo.com

    Oh dear! Someone in 5 weeks is going to have egg on their face. Being a backer I hope it’s Ray…not in a bad way as this website is a great resource and would hate to see it go….but hopefully if Ray is wrong, an apology will be enough to keep the lawyers at bay! Maybe a lesson learnt to keep this sort of review until the deadline has been missed. I’ve had my concerns all along about this “gamble” but is one I was willing to make, despite thinking about the old saying “if it’s too goo to be true…..” as I did think this to myself many times before investing.

    • A respectful bike enthusiast

      Another great article from DC Rainmaker, but a little far from the usual product reviews.

      The Limits team have so far not failed to deliver on their promises, perhaps come December or January if they fail to meet shipping targets then such an article would be appropriate.

      Rainmaker can throw his toys out the pram all he likes, but just because the team won’t show him product doesn’t change anything!

      Also fair to note that negative blogger reviews on the internet aren’t going to affect the Limits team/product, crowdfunding has created a reasonable size order book. And their price point is around half the next competitor in the power meter space.

      Good luck to Limits I hope they can deliver!

  64. MKDelectronic

    Your an idiot and really have no understanding of a start up company. Your really no different than the hate mongerers trolling the Internet

  65. They’re going to miss the deadline officially now:

    link to cyclingweekly.co.uk

    • Malcolm Dingle

      I wonder whether they’ll write Ray a strongly worded letter and demand/request he print the new timeline? Surely they already knew this would be the case a week or two ago when they were confronting Ray about his scepticism? My suspicion is that Ray (and many backers) can easily be “appeased” by a dose of transparency…

    • I’ll be looking with interest to see who they give the pre production “review special” units to, as they’ve just announced on their website:

      link to limits.technology

      They emailed me a while back after I asked about the Q Factor issue (it’s my area of research), I was told: “we have engaged a sports university to run various trials with a larger population of test individuals. Once this test is complete we will release the white paper. The tests will undertake looking at various items such as knee and hip alignment, peak and sustainable power and an fea of the product itself.”

      But have heard nothing since, nor did I get a reply to a follow up email of specifics. I don’t know what university it is either – could be a lie.

    • That was back in April, by the way.

  66. Adam Wade

    I have read the article with some natural scepticism of both the product and your report. I understand your concerns and it would not be normal to have the same concerns when dates and promises aren’t met.

    I have reservations over your disbelief of nobody new doing something quicker and better than the traditional companies and people in any market. The challenge of the status quo is how things in the world change and significant technological advances happen time after time. We all know that such advances only happen after many, many failures by those seeking such improvements and innovation.

    Typically people intimately involved with any subject tend to be limited in the thoughts by traditional thinking and current methodologies. Let’s all hope for the investors that this is a success story happening and not, as you seem to be implying, more work for the authorities to investigate.

    Only time will tell whether scepticism or faith wins the day here.

  67. Great review.. shame i have funded their campaign at the beginning.. and your spot on with the annoying basic updates!

    all i want to hear is that they are moving forwards, instead what im hearing is they want us to feel as though they are moving forwards. but actually sinking at an alarming rate.

    Keep up the work Rain maker

  68. Steve

    A third of December has been gone. Did anybody get the Limits powermeter?

  69. Marcel

    Just got an email i could choose my colour…

  70. rudy

    What is this pony farting machine you speak of? Will this machine be available next spring?

  71. Wheeler

    Welcome in 2016! Did anybody get the promised powermeter?

  72. William

    I gave up on this project and ordered a Stage power meter which I know has been well tested. Also from what I read, Stages has excellent customer service. If this project does deliver in the future, I will put it on my cross bike.

  73. CS

    I wanted to say thanks to Ray. I was looking for a power meter for the spring and saw the April 2015 launch articles on cycling weekly all looking great (and I’m in Scotland!). I googled it to see what had happened since, saw this post and promptly closed the indigogo page I had open for LIMITS.

    Thanks again Ray, I wish more cycling sites (and other tech) called out BS and nonsense from companies and startups! You saved me and others a lot of money and pain…

  74. Tiffany

    Have you had any updates since November? They just posted pictures on manufacturing on their crowdfunding page. After reading your review I am highly skeptical but the optimist in me want to believe them.

    • No further updates from them to me.

      I’ve seen the usual backer updates, but there are numerous items of concern with them, IMHO:

      A) The single bit of data posts shows pretty ugly results
      B) The manufacturing facility they show, is oddly in Asia (or at least staffed with all Asian women). They made a bit deal out of it being in the UK.
      C) They’ve yet to show an actual device. Still.
      D) They’ve delayed delivery.
      E) I’m not aware of which lucky media were the recipients of the units promised back in September. Nobody has reached out to me on the side either to ask about analysis tools/etc (many usually do).

      Shrug.

    • Kieran kirk

      I used it today it works. Just needing final tweeks

    • You used it today outside on a ride with other comparative data? Or on a trainer at a launch event without comparison for a few seconds?

      (I understand rather well how launch events work, in most cases people can jump on a bike for a few seconds or a minute to see some numbers show up.)

    • Kieran kirk

      Yes on a trainer I ride a quarq normally so I know my numbers and how jt feels and it didn’t feel too bad they have done well considering it was announced 9 months ago and garmin took 3 years to make there vector.

    • Hi Kieran – thanks for responding here. You’ll no doubt be aware of people’s fears around Limits and the fact a lot of money has been invested in them by individuals. Would you be able to offer more insight into your confidence in the product. For example how did you know the figures you saw were coming from Limits and not the Kickr trainer? And how long were you able to test for? When will the team be testing on the road? Any facts really that helps us to understand where they really are with this product?

  75. Kieran kirk

    I used the product tonight a wee test at the spokes team launch it works it gives numbers, just needing tweeks that’s all. Be patient it’s not fake that’s 100% true.

    • Xavier Disley

      It’s surprisingly easy to create a device that “gives numbers”. Creating an ANT+/BT transmission unit is not the same thing as creating a power meter.

  76. rjdennis

    Limits seems to be still following the dribbling out in small bits actual or apparent progress pr strategy that they revealed to Ray in their email. What is very odd is disclosures and timelines come and go without explanation. For example, delivery was to be delayed for third party testing..silence on what happened to this strategy. Now delayed by manufacturing testing and the Chinese New Year. Further, on social media questions by customers are ignored, only creating more doubt and confusion. It does seem that Ray was utterly right, there is a real product and a development team that is over its head on both technical production issues and the pr aspects of running a public start-up. Start ups fail on their weakest link, certainly pr management is very weak here.

    • Steve

      ” What is very odd is disclosures and timelines come and go without explanation. ”

      Yes, it just seems like a lot of random posts with no real co-herent story here. For example they posted a comparison graph indicating a wide difference between an accepted “normal” and they supposed stages results. Nothing was ever followed up there, but now they talk about production runs and product verification/repeatability. Were the discrepencies resolved? Where is the updated graphs?

    • Steve

      Sorry, “LIMITS results” not “stages” results! My bad, very bad.

  77. RustedRoot

    Kieran, you’re the newest member of the Spokes Team, yes?

  78. Kieran kirk

    Oldest

    • Stuart

      So, if you’re the oldest member of the Spokes team and the closest you’ve come to it is a few minutes on a trainer less than a week ago the peer review units that were supposed to be going out at the end of December didn’t go to Spokes then?

      Considering they were making a big thing of its first public appearance you might have thought it would have been visible in the photos they released.

  79. John k

    Tumbleweed

  80. rjdennis

    marketing oddness continues, the current picture of the product that was at the Spokes event at least to my eye looks totally different to the models previously shown, with no explanation

    • Steve

      Just curoius, where did you see a picture of the “product” from the spokes event? The pictures on the ingiegogo update page were so small to distinguish anything, and there was not a single image (even a bad one) dedicated to the the “product” itself.

    • Steve

      Even the photo Kieran kirk posted above, conveniently has the non-drive side crank pointing vercitally downwards and has the pedal (and “product”) clipped off the bottom of the image.

      It’s just some people with a bike, and a big poster.

  81. Steve

    In their latest update…

    “Also, as the technicalities of international shipping for a crowdfunding project appear to be complex, we would like to reassure you that we are working closely with a specialist company in crowdfunding delivery and will be in a position to provide more details in February.”

    Does anyone smell another “Perk” on the horizon?

    • Stuart

      How does crowdfunding affect shipping!?

    • Most companies do tend to struggle with shipping in a crowd funded scenario. The reason is that they’re basically thrown right into the deep-end.

      It’s relatively easy to ship within the EU (from elsewhere in the EU), or to ship within the US. But generally speaking once you break those boundary, it all goes to crap. Sure, it’s easy to do a one-off, but often times customs regulations quickly get crazy. As does taxes (insert people getting pissed off import taxes they didn’t expect).

      I don’t remember a single crowd funded company doing this correctly the first time around. Even Pebble struggled the first time, though they got it right the second.

    • Stuart

      Fair enough, so we just add that to the ever increasing list of “Things they failed to foresee and are now struggling with”

  82. Steve

    The best picture of their “product” at the launch event, is photo edited…. See a close up of the non-drive side crank. There is a smudge of pixels (in the red square i highlighted) which is in-consistent with the defnition of the photo itself. The have deliberatly smuged out that area of the image.

  83. rjdennis

    the picture I saw was posted on the facebook page as a comment

  84. rjdennis

    The only way to make sense of the limits story now is to believe that foolish consistency is the hob gobblin of small minds. Their pr campaign remains in the dribble out mode. They must continue to believe they get better pr by giving out small bits of news to show momentum. What they don’t realize is that they have lost the narrative. So while showing unboxing and bits is nice anybody following the story wants details of performance. Has the product been tested in the wild extensively and comparatively? If they would give that information out rather than continue on a losing strategy they would regain lost ground. Free advice from me..r

  85. rjdennis

    now april, and the predictions of bumps in the road to move from almost done to done are becoming clear

  86. Steve

    So latest update has actually something that might be of some use in any proof of their data (or just another clever mock-up)…

    But on their page:

    link to indiegogo.com

    They now show a graph (albeit of very low resolution) supposedly showing an updated power comparison with other meters.

    Their original graph, only showed LIMITS vs SRM which gave no real clues if that graph was indeed actual data or just fiction. However, the new power graph shows LIMITS vs SRM vs Stages.

    This means we can see if their test data of Stages vs SRM is at least accurate.

    I have not performed a direct comparison like this. I do have SRM’s (7900) on 2 road bikes and a Stages on my track bike, but as the BB’s are different I can’t have the SRM and Stages on the same bike to do a test.

    However my Avg Power/NP and IF values all seem to me to be slightly higher (~5% ish) on my Stages than my SRM outputs. Both SRM’s seem to record something too close for me to tell the difference only the Stages I suspect is recording higher watts. So, either I’m just working harder on track sessions and not realising it or my Stages reads higher power than my SRMs.

    The LIMITs graph shows the Stages power outputs closely mapping the LIMITs “data”, but both are below the what their SRM data shows.

    Is there any other SRM vs Stages comparisons out there to see if there’s a trend. Surely DC has one somewhere. Of to go hunting…

  87. Matthew Neugebauer

    Hi Ray,

    12 days ago the indigogo updates included the following regarding Delivery schedule:
    “We plan to provide samples to independent reviewers within the next 14 days and ship the first batch of supporters units at the beginning of April.”

    I was just curious if you’ve seen or heard anything yet? Or, if you think you’ll be included as an “Independent Reviewer”

    Thanks!

    • I have not heard anything from them.

      Whomever the ‘independent reviewers’ are, I’d hope that they have two other power meters, and that they publish the original .FIT/.TCX files of the full rides.

  88. rjdennis

    the new limits facebook posting has a link to the fcc certification that contains the written installation instructions…200 lb rider limit and cant use pedals with toe clips..so much for universal..r

    • TBy

      Well – I’d say that the toe clip issue is an extrapolation. My interpretation of the manual is that you’ll risk to wreck the pod if the foot isn’t fixed to the pedal and may step on the pod. I can’t really see that shoes properly fixed with straps and toe clips and “clipless” pedals differ in that respect. I may even go as far as saying there is a bigger risk with a botched engagement with clipless pedals as those pedals/cleats/shoes tend to have very little friction when not engaged – the cleat may very well end up on the pod in that case.

      The 200 lb limit is a sneaky thing if not previously announced. I would guess that the budget-minded PM buyer is very likely a recreational rider that may well exceed that weight. Skinny racers tend to already have their PM:s.

    • I suspect the weight limit was tied to testing and a fail-point they discovered later. Note that Garmin Vector actually has the same weight limit of 200 pounds as well.

    • Hi!
      Today they released that they expect the first crowdfunders to receive their power meters by the end of the month.
      And they have released images of the power data compared to Stages.
      link to cyclingweekly.co.uk

    • We’ve seen similar ‘just another moment’ timelines before. We also don’t know anything about accuracy beyond the handful of graphs published (they still haven’t published .FIT files).

      Generally speaking, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a crowd-funded project going from first production unit sample to having it in a backers hands in 12 days. There’s all assortment of fun between those two points from yield validation on final production, to testing to import and distribution. It’s the last two that typically hose up companies (big and small).

      As I’ve said many times before – I don’t doubt they’ll eventually produce a product. Perhaps even an accurate one. But at this point they’re at least 5 months behind schedule, which was the core of my earlier concerns (their schedule wasn’t realistic). Remember all units were to be delivered in December to project backers.

    • Ray,

      I’m a supporter of this site, but I don’t think this post has served you well overall. It’s a bit disingenuous to say that the core of your earlier concerns was their unrealistic schedule, when the title of the post is suggesting it is a fake. I have little interest in the product, but as a supporter of this site I think the tone of this post and subsequent discussions would not make me want to return if I believed that it was representative of the way you do business. Having said that I genuinely do not believe that to be the case and all the many other excellent posts keep me coming back. I make this comment because I sincerely hope you avoid been drawn into these sorts of battles in the future, where emotion seems to be slightly winning over a rational discussion.

      Kind regards,

      Ian

    • That’s fair, I’d agree my core concerns were split into two pieces:

      A) It’s wasn’t real, and anything shown previously wasn’t real
      B) Their timelines weren’t realistic

      They’ve since shown in various updates that both of my concerns were correct. At the time they didn’t have a functioning or modeled unit, whereas now they appear to have one.

      I’ve no doubt that this post (or the other LIMITS one) has splintered some portion of readership. But I’m alright with that. I’m OK with drawing a line in the sand for companies to know they shouldn’t cross (misleading consumers), even if that costs me some readers. Could I have used different wording? Likely.

      Don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciate your support. But I also don’t want companies to believe they can get away with misleading people.

    • Stephen Guerrera

      Hi Ray,

      It’s been interesting watching this little bit of drama unfold. It looks like your bullshit detector was pretty well-calibrated from the beginning.

      Did you notice that LIMITS finally released some data a few days ago comparing their unit to a Stages and SRM power meter. You can see it here:

      link to indiegogo.com and higher res here:
      link to flickr.com

      Of course, they didn’t share anything about the conditions that the units were tested in (on a trainer, or in a real environment, etc..)

      One thing I find striking about their data is that there appears to be a lot of similarities between their various “tests.” Spikes, ramps, dropouts in similar locations… it doesn’t really pass my sniff test. Of course, they don’t share the actual data so I can’t do any real analysis on the correlation between the various data sets, but it seems a little fishy just how similar they are. You’ve spent a ton a time pouring through PM data – have any thoughts there?

    • It’s always hard to tell from Excel data. Having products a lot of Excel data myself over the years from power meters, I’m guessing they applied a smoothing factor to it (i.e. 10s or 30s smoothing). That’s fine, I do the same thing to make it readable. But I just disclose what that smoothing factor is (and usually show a graph without it, just to illustrate the point).

      I’d like them to simply post the two .FIT files from the ride. Mostly because that’d make it more clear. It’s not impossible to fake, but I don’t think they are faking the data at this point. Probably cherry picking (like most power meter companies), but at least picking some fruit.

  89. Earth

    Cock.

    In production now. Maybe the troll should poor some hate on Garmin for failing to fix the multitude of faults their products.

  90. rjdennis

    link to cyclingweekly.co.uk

    now june, no update on facebook page as of noon 5/13 east coast us time

  91. rjdennis

    just updated, shows how hard making pms is..r

  92. jason

    since limits power meter is now public and shipping, ok it has taken longer than planned which is the risk backers take are you going to change your views. personally it would be good for you to actually buy one in a few months time and do a fair product evaluation.

    • I did already buy one. And like every other backer except for 3-4 people that showed up in the mountains of Scotland, I’m still waiting for mine.

    • HM

      “Are you going to change your views”

      Dude – change his views? Do you not understand the post?! Any ‘view’ Ray offered has been proven a hundred times in the complete shambles of a campaign that Limits have run!

    • Steve

      They are not “public and shipping”. That’s just more crap written in their last update,so that they can entice more people to part with their money via the newly opened campaign.

    • Womp

      Im awaiting this review as im looking for a 2nd power meter, but in light of the ‘heightened publicity’ with yourself my only concern is that if Limits are aware of your order will you receive the public release version or will it be some a tweaked / extra QC’d version.

    • Steve

      I don’t actually believe even 3 or 4 genuine backers every actually got a PM from them at Friday. Looks like a completely staged event to me, just to boost their new campaign.

      Turn out that Jon Entwistle who “reviewed” the LIMITs, is actually the coach of the Spokes racnig team, so there was nothing independant, public and most likely factual about that “review” at all.

    • Steve (#203) and anyone reading this,

      A couple of points…

      1. I am not the coach of Spokes racing team. I am a one-man consultancy dedicated to cycling. I do many things, coaching is one them. I been privately coaching a rider for a number of years and in 2016 he is riding for the Spokes racing team. I have very little contact with the Spokes racing team, many of whom I’ve never met.
      2. I did not ‘review’ Limits. I wrote a Blog post about social media using the Limits launch as the subject as I am fascinated by how a device can be so divisive. The reaction thus far is very interesting and hasn’t disappointed.
      3. If the event was staged, I was not aware. I attended the launch under my own steam, in my own time, using my own car, paid for my own petrol at the expense of a 3-day sportive I’d already paid for in advance. My mission was to determine whether or not it actually exists. It does. It’s not vapourware.
      4. I saw the COO handing out Limits to a number of people, but didn’t count how many. Whether that was staged as well, I don’t know as I don’t have any evidence to suggest if it was or if it wasn’t. My personal opinion on this that it wasn’t, but I could be wrong.
      5. The buffet that was provided after the presentation was definitely staged. I got the distinct impression Limits wanted people to have something to eat, given it was lunchtime.

      If you scroll up to #42 you will see I expressed my concerns back in November and I still have concerns today as there has been no independent testing (to my knowledge) in the public domain. As a self-funded one man cycling consultancy, my mission is to get an affordable power meter to my privately coached clients who all want one yesterday. My reputation depends on it. As a paying backer I was also intending of carrying out my own independent tests, but I am now realising that my work thus far is now pointless as it’s highly likely people will now not see me (albeit incorrectly) as being neutral.

      If you would test the unit yourself, please get in touch and we can make arrangements.
      Failing that, I’m afraid, it’s over to you Ray (I did try for the greater good).

    • Steve.

      That being the case, Jon, I apologise to you directly.

    • Steve.

      Being the only person who is actually responding to any queries or posting real world info regarding LIMITs, and being the owner of a Stages to compare with, you could do what the whole community has been asking for for a very long time, and that is to post some raw data files from both Stages and Limits from a number of rides.

    • Thanks Jon for some additional clarity.

      Did you receive a unit to take home like the others? If so, and if you have no interest in further testing of said unit – obviously, I certainly would.

    • Rich

      Hi DC,

      I have watched the progress of limits closely as I was one of the first 75 backers. I must admit at times I was concerned over the progress being made and if indeed this product would ever be released…… it is a shame limits have not provided more updates during the campaign and because of their marketing strategy they have left themselves open to criticism. When a company like limits steps forward to create an inviting product which address a mass market such as this power meter the marketing and strategy advise they receive needs to be spot on and they have severely lacked in this department. it is my opinion they will provide their backers with power meters all be it very late perhaps at the end of the summer. I also think the accuracy of this product might not match some of the £750+ power meters but if it is consistent then my hope is it will be good enough for my basic training needs and suits my wallet…

      since with luck I will be one of the first to get my meter I will happily share my delivery date with you all and my experience with the product. obvously I will not be able to comment on accuracy compared to other meters but will happily talk about ease of installation, use and build quality..

      thanks
      rich,

    • Ray,

      I received two units. One has been passed on to a client. The other is mine, boxed up and will be posted to you tomorrow.

    • Thanks Jon – much appreciated!

  93. greg hilton

    Nice offer Jon, looking forward to this review!

  94. Abdul nazar

    Waiting

  95. Matt Neugebauer

    Wow this is really exciting, thanks Mr. Entwistle for the clarifications! We are all eagerly awaiting Ray’s take on Limits. I am so very thrilled to know that soon we may finally get an idea of how this thing is doing in terms of accuracy. Thanks also to you Ray, please keep us posted in your trials once the device arrives from Mr. Entwistle!!

  96. FYI for those interested on current status:

    I’ve been posting data from my usage of a final LIMITS production device to a separate side page which can be found here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    That page explains how I got the unit, unboxing and installation sections, and is updated with the raw data analysis links from all power meters on my bike after each ride. I’ve left the actual analysis of the data to the reader.

    Cheers.

  97. Andy Boyce

    Hi Ray, having followed you for many years and your excellent work, I am asking if you can please help us innocent investors who seem to have been ripped off by Limits.
    I personally had already invested when I read your initial concerns, so it was too late to withdraw.
    The good news is that I did actually receive my unit, the bad news is that it doesn’t work, eats batteries and worst.of all there is no support whatsoever from limits.
    As a champion for the consumer, can you please see if they will respond to you and provide some information about when/if they intend to address the known issues.
    I have since bought a Stages that I installed and had up and running within 10 mins and it works like a dream.
    This has been such a frustrating experience and I really feel that limits have frauded it’s purchasers.
    Thanking you in hope of you help.

    • Yeah, I can check again – but honestly, it’s not going to help. Realistically the unit as engineered simply won’t ever likely be accurate. As much as it sucks, I’d just write this one off as a sunk cost and not spend your time trying to make it work. Things like battery caps still are tough for folks, and that all ignores the accuracy issues (kinda the point of a power meter). :(

      Btw, check out this page where people are posting more details on experiences/customer support/etc… link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Andy Boyce

      Thanks Ray…sadly you are right…terrible that they can get away with this with no recourse…Carma is all that we can hope for 😀