Ok, catching up after a busy weekend going into Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona. You’ll see a bit more on that as the week goes along. In the meantime, here’s what I was up to this past weekend. It was a bit of a blur!
1) Riding around Paris
I started off with numerous rides over the period leading into the weekend, as well as during it. Testing out various things, lots of things really. Watches, power meters, bike head units. Craziness! Including final rides on the PowerPod system as I wanted to get a few more scenarios in (now it’s just writing and analysis that’s left). I was also trying out the Brim Brothers power meter cleats – which are up on Kickstarter right now.
Unfortunately, there was a physical snag there on the hand-built unit, which appears to generate error messages due to a wiring connection issue being frayed. They’re getting me another unit and hopefully upon return from my trips in time to get out a first look post prior to their campaign ending. I’m not terribly worried at the moment about the error, as that’s one of the inherent risks of working with non-production line samples. It’s the same whether it’s Garmin, Adidas, or PowerTap. Hand-built samples are notoriously fragile.
Still, the install went well and was silly easy to use. More on that once I get the updated units back, and get back to my bike.
Last but not least, I cracked open a production Wahoo ELEMNT to get started there. While I’ve had an ELEMNT since September, this is the final production hardware. It now just awaits them wrapping up their software. As pre-order customers know, they’ve been trying to crack one last software bug before release – and have been delaying shipment as a result.
As far as my use goes, so far, so good. Their particular software bug doesn’t impact my usage, so it’s not something I’m worried about at the moment.
Overall the unit works fairly well. And, it kinda-sorta fits into my existing Garmin mounts. It just takes a bit more ‘pop’ & ‘push’ (it’s a touch bit chubby for the official mounts). No idea yet though if that’ll eventually break the tabs long-term. I’ll let ya know if so. Perhaps I’ll just give the tabs a tiny trim with a file and then life will be perfect.
2) Off to Barcelona for MWC!
After my ride Saturday I finished packing things up and headed off to the airport. It’s only a short flight down to Barcelona. I’m here for Mobile World Congress, which is the annual mobile-focused tech show in Europe. It’s massive, with some 2,000 companies exhibiting.
While the vast majority of them are more in the mobile phone/device/app space, there are numerous fitness companies here. Plus, companies that make action cams and sports gadgets. We obviously saw Garmin’s MWC-timed announcements already, and while you won’t see any more majors announcing this week, you’ll find a few tidbits of fitness goodness at the show.
Plus, nobody can go wrong with a few days in Barcelona this time of year!
3) A waterfront long run
Sunday morning it was off into the sun I ran. I had a slew of devices I’ve been preparing for imminent reviews, and for this run I selected the Garmin Fenix3 HR on my right wrist, and then the Fitbit Blaze on my left wrist. However, I was also capturing data from the Stryd Running Power Meter.
To do that, I leveraged a Garmin FR920XT on a Spibelt. And to capture some Running Dynamics data and just additional HR comparison data, I had a FR630 on the other side of the Spibelt. From a GPS accuracy standpoint, I’d largely ‘throw away’ that data, because that position against my waist isn’t normal.
Oh, and you can see the Bragi Dash in there, as well as my usual photo cam – the GoPro Hero4 Silver.
In any case, my run was basically steps of 10 minute chunks at increasing cadences, resulting in a little under 13 miles of running. The route was great; along the ocean – and one of my favorite ‘easy-button’ routes in Barcelona (or all of Europe for that matter). I don’t have to think, I just run along the waterfront.
Of course, there are many great routes around Barcelona that I’ve run on my numerous past trips. But it’s hard to beat the smell of the sea.
4) Running with the Vivoactive HR
With my first and primary run done, I grabbed a quick bite to eat. But about 2-3 hours later, I was back out again. This time, grabbing shots of the new Vivoactive HR and heading out for a run with it. For some strange reason, I thought that a second run of the day would be a good idea. At least, it seemed like a good idea when I scheduled it earlier in the week.
And it was a nice run. It’s just that it brought my total running mileage of the day up to 19 miles. Which is a bit longer than any of my recent long runs have been. So while I wasn’t thankfully sore during the run, I was moving a bit slower later that evening.
For all the details on that run, swing over to my Vivoactive HR post from yesterday, where I talk through how that worked and how the device handled.
5) Riding around to events!
After my runs, it was off to the Samsung Unpacked event. That’s their massive annual press conference where they announce the latest Samsung Galaxy phones and usually various other devices. They cram a few thousand media and partner types into a room and get everyone all excited. Then Zuckerberg showed up and overshadowed whatever it was Samsung was talking about.
While I could have taken a taxi the approximately 3 miles to the conference center, that would have cost money, and taken time (and been lazy). Lots of time. Finding taxis around these rush-hour times in the city right now is pretty tough, and usually traffic hoses it all up. So, I just rode there.
I rented a bike for a few days from a place across the street from the hotel. It costs $12 for the first day, and then it’s just $5 a day after that. Seems like a steal!
Now Barcelona does have a great looking bike-sharing system. Unfortunately, the city caved to the ‘bike lobby’. How’s that? Well, they won’t allow visitors to use the bike sharing system (as most other cities do). That’s because that would impact the bicycle rental companies adversely. Seriously.
Oh well, at least the rentals are cheap. Just wish I had the freedom of doing one-way rides like with a bike share program. For example, bike somewhere and then take the Metro back (albeit that’s partially on strike this week).
In any case, here’s my bike again on my ride back to the hotel:
With that – stay tuned for the week ahead, and thanks for reading!
Hi Ray, I’m one of those who pre-ordered the Elemnt back in September and have been very frustrated with the constant delays and lack of updates from Wahoo on when it will be finally shipped – I would not be surprised at all if the ‘early March’ shipping is pushed to the summer at this point. Any idea on what the particular software bug is?
That Elemnt is chunky.
Ray – the strap on your fenix 3 – looks different than mine. Less Holes.
It’s a Fenix3 HR, so a touch bit different strap style I believe.
other than looks is the fit better w/ the new strap?
The Elemnt’s display looks crisp & sharp! really looking forward to your review (want to replace my edge 800)!
Question: Lezyne Computer Super GPS? has anybody some experience with it?? seems to be like a modern edge_500 (ANT+ & BT_smart). link to lezyne.com
Agree with you – my Edge 800 is starting to be old… lets see if the Elemnt could be the one to replace it. Or hopefully Garmin announces something new soon.
Ray–your elemnt seems to be picking up sensors, wonder if that is true and if so what is the problem that wahoo is seeing? maybe they should give customers the option of receiving the product in its current state..r
I was just using ANT+ sensors.
Perhaps the problem with “receiving the product in its current state” is that it’s hard to reflash/update the firmware, depending on the bug.
Looking forward to the review and the ELEMNT. Hoping Ray measures battery life compared to the 520/1000.
Ray, do you run without any case on the GoPro? Is it ok with sweat without the case, or do you keep it somewhere dry?
No case. Sometimes I’ll use a frame case in warmer weather with more sweat. But otherwise, it’s more protected than most give it credit for.
How are you carrying the GoPro? In your hand, on a body mount (which isn’t pictured), or in the Spibelt? I wouldn’t think any of those three would really subject it to a lot of sweat. I’ve seen handheld gimbals but wish someone would make one for the Chesty. Never realized how much my trunk moves vertically until trying to watch video afterwards.
I carry it in my hand. Sometimes I’ll put it in a frame case (just the outer black edge), but most of the time not.
As for gimbals, hang tight. I have a post virtually done that just needs me to insert in 4 photos and three videos uploaded and I’ll dive well into that. 🙂
Really excited to hear about the Brim Brothers pedals. I ride Speedplay anyway which for the price made picking up the left-side-only option a no-brainer. I’ll probably upgrade down the road if they behave as advertised. Fingers crossed 🙂
I use Speedplay Zero pedals although not sure like the idea of something attached to my shoes. Bit like a foot pod – use it on a treadmill but would rather not. More worrying, since it only works with one make of pedal, that they don’t seem to have tested it with the newish Aero Walkable Cleats which seem to the obvious ones to buy when you need a new set.
Whoaa, while that elmnt does seem to have great features and a crips screen it really is BIG og rather clunky looking.
great one as always
Ray, I’d actually love to hear your thoughts on the Edge 1000. I don’t think I have ever seen you take a product to task like that one. Do you feel like it has finally grown into its skin a little? I see you using it on almost every product test…
Yes, I think they did do a good job of cleaning up bugs over that summer and into fall. I used it very often with Edge 810’s as well for testing.
Now I’ve mostly converted over to Edge 520’s (simply because they’re smaller). But in this case I only have four Edge 520’s, and I needed more to record additional data points, so the Edge 1000 got to go for a ride. 🙂
Cool – I ride long distances and need mapping so comparing 1000 vs 520 vs ELEMNT
Almost totally unrelated to this post, but the pods on your cycling shoes reminded me of an question I had for some time now.
Polar M400/V800 recently got a firmware update that show running cadence without the need for a footpod. I am curious if this is as good as using the footpod, or if there are any limitations to using the internal accelerometer of the watch?
Stefan, it works spot on for me, I actually did my first metronome free run yesterday after three months of listening to tap tap tap….. At 180bpm and it showed an average of 89, times that by 2 and its 178. On longer runs it may show a few seconds dip if it’s worn on the arm you take a drink from. I don’t know if it works out pace as I never used that feature much on the sensor despite calibrating it at the track, I never run on a treadmill so just leave everything to current lap pace. Which is far smoother than instant pace, even when used with the stride sensor.
It works pretty well on my M400, but will only give current/avg/max/lap cadence and no stride length and those other foot pod metrics. You can also (ab)use all the other running profiles (“Jogging” or “Ultra Running” and so forth) to get “cadence” data for various other sports. It works for real well for cross-country skiing, also tried air-boxing and air-kaying 😉
Thanks for the replies, for me its fine just to see the current cadence. If i want to measure stride length I can always get on the track and calculate – its not rocket science! 😉
What I might miss out on because of this is how far i run on a treadmill, but I usually stay away form those if i can so its no big deal.
Hey Ray, if you could, would you mind testing out the rowing features on the Vivosmart HR. I know it’s not a widely needed feature but I use the erg at my gym as cross training in the winter and I’m kind of excited as to see what the feature set would be from the device and what exact metrics it tracks. Thanks
How are the headphones? Think of the Kanoas so curious of your experience with the Bragi.
I hope your Dash hasn’t had the problems that many of the Kickstarter backers are having. My left Dash arrived dead on arrival (along with what seems to be quite a lot of others). Bragi’s customer service has been non-existent for the most part. Very disappointing and frustrating for us. I’ve now had my unit for three weeks and have no update on a possible fix or replacement. Chalk some of it up to learning experiance for a new company putting a new product to market and another part to How Not to Rollout a Product 101
Sorry to hear there have been problems. Mine have a few quirks (wearing a wooly hat when running interferes with the user interface which can be a little temperamental although appears better on latest firmware) and there are clearly areas where firmware upgrades could enhance useability (shuffle music play on internal player) but I am generally pleased with them. My major disatisfaction is the limited range of the bluetooth for phone connection outdoors which is sub optimal for me as I do not like an arm holder and generally have my phone at my waist or on my back but otherwise I have been impressed with them as headphones, the best fitting and most comfortable bluetooth headphones I have tried and the internal music player comes in handy. I have not yet made much use of the additional performance monitoring functionality as I am more of an ant+ and Garmin guy. I hope you get sorted.
quote The route was great; along the ocean unquote. The Med is technically not an ocean 🙂
Will utilize ‘Body of salty water’ next time. 😉
For future trips to Barcelona you can borrow one of my bikes (or two if you come with The Girl). 😉 Also any support for anything, I’m at less than 5 minutes from your “coastal route” that I also often run.
Yeah Ray, you’re spoiled with the velib system from Paris. 😉 I loved it when I was there. Riding a bike for a year for 40€ without the need to take too much care for the rides! 🙂
Can you please make a hyperlapse video of running through Barcelona? I think that would be awesome!
Plus, I’m very curious what the best way of making running hyperlapse videos is. So far, I’ve just seen the one you did on a bike.
It’s interesting that Wahoo are delaying the ELEMNT because of a bug. As long as it’s patchable in the future, I would have thought it would be best to release it now and just be up front with their plans to fix it. The RFLCT+ had a major bug – whereby the app would randomly crash on long rides – for a long time. This made it an incredibly frustrating device that was almost unusable for any real training.
I wish they’d acknowledged the bug up-front so that I knew what I was getting myself into, but given many users probably don’t ride far enough to trigger the issue it still made sense to have it available for purchase. It sounds like it might be a similar situation with the ELEMNT.
I say this partly for selfish reasons though. Despite my frustrations with the RFLCT+ I still really like Wahoo as a company and I think I will look at getting the ELEMNT at some point prior to the summer.
I assume your random crashes were on Android? That was always a pain with the RFLKT.
Note when Wahoo says they are delaying it due to a bug, not all firmware is user-flashable. And even if it is, they may not want to take the risk of bricking the device and having a huge number of returns.
This was iPhone, so it might have been an issue on both? The app itself would usually crash somewhere between 65-90Km. When I reported it to Wahoo, they told me it was a known issue and I think they eventually managed to get it fixed in the fall.
The good thing was that it would save the data, so if I was riding on my own I could stop, pull out my phone and then start a new ride. Afterwards I could stitch them together. When I was riding in groups or in an occasional race it was a huge pain though.
I guess the difference was that the issue I just described was related to the app, so what you said makes a lot of sense!
Yeah, because of the heavy battery usage and occasional crashes, I started running with a Garmin also- and then I wrote some Python to stitch the files together. That way I had the Garmin as base time/speed/GPS but could add my sensors and such from Wahoo.
Forget the spibelt, you should run with the rolling pin to mount multipe watches. Handy for twacking people out of the way too.
Hi! What do you think of the RPM2 as a product? Is it mature enough as a product to be taken on board by a pro cycling team (Cylance)?
I’m waiting for a shipment from them, so we’ll see.
I am wondering if Wahoo RPM sensor that is for sale at Amazon (via your site on the items recommended for 2016) and through Wahoo is the RPMv2 – it says merely RPM? If it is not, what are the changes going to the v2, I may have mistakenly ordered the wrong item?
Thanks for the help.
Haha… totally different products.
Wahoo RPM & RPM2 = Small little cadence sensor that you attach to crank arm (sub-$100)
RPM2 = Footbed from a totally different company that does power meter measurements (like $600 or something).
🙂 Yes, I could see how that conversation would probably be confusing without context and company names.
Thanks for the support!
Ray – thanks for the response. Appreciate all that you do. As you said once, your responses go to a broad range of readers – it has been a sharp learning curve for me, but I am gradually learning as I read more. Regards.
Ray- Huge fan of you and this website. I find it incredibly useful and eye-opening in so many areas…Thanks again for your time! When can we expect your final PowerPod review?
Next week. I had wanted to get it out this week, but MWC slid things. I have all data/photos done. Just have to write text and dig deeper into some analysis on it.
due to your first look on Wahoo Elemnt, the presence of Wahoo employees answering all questions and my positive experience with Wahoo products so far I was really looking forward to its release.
But it feels like it takes forever to be released.
Also I am a little bit shocked because on your bar it looks a little bit oversized in comparison to the Garmin units.
I own an Edge 25 and I am very happy with it. But since a powermeter buy seems inevitable I have to upgrade. Or do you think or can ask them if there is a chance that Garmin will add power data to the Edge?
It is bigger, no doubt about that.
As for the Edge 25 and power, no, I don’t think we’ll see it (despite me pleading with them on it). I think it’d be an awesome time-trial type unit.
Hi, i just love reading all blogs, technical or personal adventure, i read them all. But one question:
Wouldn’t it be time to switch to metrical system outings in your communications (in short: dump the miles and feet in your blogs), since it’s a World-wide web and not an US-wide web? And on top of that, you live in Paris for so long, would you consider?
I often do include both, especially in posts where there’s more distances used. Often times, if I only use it once or twice I know that the vast majority of runners can quickly convert to/from one of the two systems in their head (multiply by 2/3rds or 1.3).
As for readership, roughly half is in the US, and the other half international. However, of the other half, a fair chunk of that is in the UK, which use both – so technically it’s more than half that use the Statute system.
touché, thanks. I keep calculating then, no prob
Are going to do a new review of the ELEMNT?
Also do you know if they have something like the Garmin Power Course? I would really need it as I’m planning to use BestBikeSplit for pacing in my IM races this year.
Yup – it’ll be after/once they start shipping out units with a final firmware version. But I’ll be working on it until that point.
Thx, looking forward to it!
Wow, the Wahoo Elmnt is MASSIVE! Who on earth would buy that over a Gaarmin Edge?
Ray, I love your site and in depth reviews.
Are you having issues using the Bragi Dash for phone calls? I have a pre-order pair. It works great for audio playback and fitness tracking but is unusable for phone calls.
People can hardly hear me and say it’s like I’m in a tunnel very far away. Do you think this is something they can fix with a software update, is my pair defective, or do they just not work for me? I’ve tried all the fit sleeves.