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Week in Review–February 14th, 2016

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

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

DCRainmaker.com posts in the past week:

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

Sunday: Week in Review–February 7th, 2016
Monday: A Week of Skiing in the Alps
Tuesday: Garmin Index WiFi Smart Scale In-Depth Review
Tuesday: DCR Expansion On the Horizon
Friday: Behind the Scenes at Quarq HQ

The DCR Podcast:

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

– We chat about my big news!
– The SRM price drops and what it means
– Trainer lag time
– FTP tests, and when/how to do them
– Have watches actually advanced data metrics in the last 8 years?
– Picking a 24×7 HR strap
– Garmin working with 3rd parties on new metrics
– The VO2Max numbers on your watches, and accuracy

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

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

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

1) ASICS buys RunKeeper: Hmm, $5 says this doesn’t work out.  This to me seems like a ‘We too want to buy a platform’ move, but I can’t see how this really benefits ASICS (more than just buying advertising on multiple platforms reaching a broader audience).  And I sincerely don’t see how this will benefit end-users.  At some point ASICS will find they aren’t getting their ROI with dev costs on this, and stop developing.  With RunKeeper, they kept on keepin’ on, because their investors wanted the payday (which they have now gotten).  Even the announcement letter reads (and feels) more about closure than about opening new doors. (via Charlie G.)

2) There’s a stroller pushing half-marathon world record: And it was just broken at 1:11:27. Seriously. (via Randy Cantu)

3) More selfie-related deaths than most sports: File this in the list of ‘things you didn’t know’ category.

4) USA Pro Cycling Challenge Cancelled for 2016: Shame. I hope that when it does come back for 2017, they’ll give up the silly and non-exciting name and just call it the Tour of Colorado.  I (and many others) truly believe the poor name is a big part of their problem.  Branding is everything in events, and this branding sucks.

5) Girona’s gathering place for pro cyclists: In the event you’re travelling through Spain and want to rub shoulders with some pros.

6) Hire a drone pilot to film your next sporting adventure: Pretty interesting concept, and quite logical. Not sure it has a long-term future, but for the immediate time being, it’s pretty nifty.

7) Inside a Ride with a UCI Commissaire: I always love these ‘explainer’ type posts from Cycling Tips. Another great one covering the role of these officials, and how and where they fit/work during a day at a race.

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects.  If you’re unfamiliar with projects, read my detailed post on how I decide which projects I personally back.  Note that as always with crowd funded projects, assume the project will be late and will under-deliver on features. Thus far, on the numerous products I’ve helped ‘fund’ (except a leather bike handle), that’s been the case.

Brim Brothers Launches on Kickstarter: I’ve talked quite a bit about them over the last few years as they’ve neared launch, almost launched, and then had to pull back.  Now, they’re ready to actually start selling.  They should start delivering in May (just 2.5 months away).  I’ve chatted with them a number of times over the last few weeks, and I think they’re in a good spot.  They’re hoping to get me an updated unit to try here this week – so looking forward to seeing how things shake out.

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

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

BSX Gen2 Firmware Update: Adds in tHB functionality (to devices that can read it).  Expect additional site/app functionality exposing it shortly.  Also added a bunch of fixes/tweaks.

Garmin VIRB Edit Software: Handful of fixes.

Garmin VIRB X & XE: Bug fixes, but most notably one with abnormal battery drain (in cold weather).

Garmin Varia Display/Radar: Performance improvements and bug fixes

Garmin Fenix3/Tactix Bravo/Quatix Firmware: Added bunch of new features, bunch of fixes.


Thanks for reading all!

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50 Comments

  1. The Brim Bros video still seems to show a right foot on the left side of the bike. Have I misread it? and of not, then how does that work?

    • It’s a dual foot system, so there’s one on each (well, technically, one in each cleat). What time in the video shows it flipped?

    • Marc, if you want to give me the exact time in the video I’ll take a look and try to clarify what’s happening.

      Regards
      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

    • Eli

      I think there is a slight optical illusion caused by the site picked for the main image. If you look at the ball of the foot back you know it is a left shoe on the left side. But if you look at the toes it looks like it’s a right shoe based on how one side of the shoe seemsd longer then the other (think big toe)

  2. J Ewing

    Speaking of Garmin firmware. The update that activated stair count…What odd the second number after the stairs. It’s got the goal, the actual count, mileage next to a road symbol, then a stair symbol with x/y. X is the stair count. Is y a stair goal? Is this documented somewhere?

  3. morey

    this appears to be the 21st official firmware release for the Fenix 3. (lot’s more beta releases). Is it ready yet?

    • Not sure I understand. Do you want them to not release new features (about half of this update was new features)? Or should companies like Apple and others never release software updates to any product?

    • morey

      I have no problem with the part where they add new features. And- it’s great that they are constantly improving the product. But I don’t know how much I should laud Garmin for fixing (and then re-fixing) issues that never should have been there to start with. And my “Is it ready yet” wasn’t intended to be snarky. I actually want to buy the watch. I just want it to work reliably. I acknowledge that it is the most fully featured and complicated sports watch out there, so issues come with the territory. to a point.

    • Bartokian

      Well, I’ve got one now for over 2 months, and I have to say it works great. Completely in love with it. When I first got it, some of the functions were not yet active, but that changed short notice – I love the indoor rowing option that now comes with it. But even without those functions, it was mature and stable enough for my taste. It’s as stable and as reliable as it will come (fw 6.8) for the moment. Like living on the edge: go with the beta’s to come. Don’t like it? Do not upgrade or try if you like, then downgrade (yes you can, super easy too!)
      If you want one, get one when there is still updates to come out and improvements to be had, thus extra bang for the same money. Or you will be wishing you had bought the fenix 4 (or 5) and are having just the same doubts for that model. The only product that is completely ready is probably one that is outdated (still love my 310xt, too bad the battery is actually dying on me all the time without notice, but you may have better luck with a second hand one from someone else).

      Anything negative to remark on the fenix 3? Still working out how to get the navigation operational beyond showing the route map. My 910xt had turn by turn navigation when I selected to run a specific course – a godsend if you are running in strange cities a lot. That part on the fenix 3 requires a lot more doing from what I figured out by now, and could use simplification. Why do I need external tools – thank you McBadger, if I get it working and tested next week – when it was already working on a predecessor? Looks to me like it’s an issue on the garmin connect site, because the map actually works well. It’s just the waypoints that are not being created correctly… — End rant —

    • Bartokian

      oops – forgot to mention: approximately 60 runs, 100 bike rides, a few long hikes and a fair bit of indoor rowing done while hooked up to a heartrate strap. No issues to remark upon. No strange crashes when syncing or charging. Fast acquisition of the location. Seems accurate enough on the activity measurement side

    • Morey-

      Yeah, I guess coming from the software development world I realize that there’s no such thing as a perfect product. I’ll happily take the company that iterates quickly to fix issues, than one that takes months (or longer).

      I think one of the challenges is the watches have continued to become more and more complex with so many new features. Obviously, we see companies like Suunto taking the approaching of less new features (almost no new features), but generally having higher QA. At the same time, the market (sales numbers) haven’t agreed with them there.

      Like others, I’ve been using the Fenix3 for a year, and rarely have issues. I think if one reads the forums, all they see is issues. Whereas, with hundreds of thousands of happy units out there, you rarely see everyone else that is without issue.

    • Eli

      Am I the only one who wonders why the fenix 3 keeps getting these new features and not the 920. (Rowing and the like)

    • ekutter

      Be happy that they are coming out with frequent updates. Garmin often doesn’t do this and lets bugs fester for long periods of time. Edge 810 crashing problems on a two year old product. Read the Epix page and they are clamoring for updates.

      It appears the Fenix has become Garmin’s golden child and getting all the love.

    • We have seen a number of updates to the FR920XT (i.e. Gen2 Running Dynamics). However, with the Fenix3 having a price premium over the FR920XT, I suspect their logic is that it would get more features.

    • Dr D

      @Bartokian – I have been using the McBadger ‘fix’ for navigation and it is absolutely fabulous. Once you get it working, you will love your Fenix 3 even more!

      Note: Every now and then I experience a conflict (memory?) between turn-by-turn navigation and ConnectIQ datafield which causes the watch to crash.

    • Eli

      Except when the Fenix and Epix were released wasn’t it here is the base 920xt functionality, you want advanced navigation? Get the Fenix 3. You want maps too? Get the Epix. I thought the $50 was for the advanced navigation and indoor rowing support doesn’t really fall under advanced navigation. And if you want to talk price premium, wasn’t the Epix supposed to be the superset of everything from the Fenix and the 920xt? Seems like that isn’t happening

    • gm

      Well I wish they had the same kind of support for Fenix 2 – instead of it being more of an experimental product. In the ultra world I think they lost quite a few users to Suunto.

  4. Martin P

    On the Asics purchase of RunKeeper, have you read the Kevin Plank interview in this months Inc. magazine? Sheds some light on why they want these technology companiEs:

    link to magzter.com

    Seems it’s more about the brand awareness, marketing and access to the fitness data they seem to care most about not so much the direct ROI from the app.

    • Oh, I get why they want it (and have talked with Under Armour extensively about it). Totally get it.

      I’m just saying I don’t think it makes sense for Asics specifically, or for RunKeeper as a product. I’d give it 2-2.5 years and RunKeeper as a product/platform will be gone/folded.

    • Noelle

      It just bums me out in general. Runkeeper was one of the last fitness tracking sites without a separate brand association, and the one place that has nearly all of my fitness history contained.

      Maybe I’ll have to look into making a switch to Strava…

    • Runkeeper has not been actively developing their platform for a long time and fell behind many fitness sites including Strava which is now leaps and bounds ahead. It was hard for me to keep paying them especially when Strava dropped their prices so I’m now fully Strava + Garmin Connect. You know a fitness tracker is in trouble when they change their logo and cannot get syncing from Garmin working properly, I’ve given up and haven’t uploaded to them in months.

    • M

      Reminds me of whatever the original version of the adidas micoach website was about ten years ago before adidas locked it down. I used that site constantly and now I can’t even remember the old name. Fitness apps are fairly fungible with the exception of the userbases.

  5. Joe E

    BSX also released a ConnectIQ field for SMO2% and tHb. Unfortunately it displays both in 1 data field, so not ideal, but at least you can have a live view now without losing cadence / speed (at least I think, I did not test it yet). Also it is not yet recorded to the FIT file, but hoping this will come soon :)

  6. Martin Steen Mortensen

    Is there any chance that you will be able to post any first impression of the Zone powermeter within the next 26 days?
    I consider buying one, but without you recommending it I will wait until they reach the shops (11% is not that big a discount).

    • If Brim is indeed able to get a unit to me this week, I’ll turn around a 2-3 ride ‘first impressions’ post by early next week.

    • Sébastien Gagné

      I too would be very interested in that post. I’m on the fence if I buy one or not, and if I buy the single side ou dual side.

      Do you have any information on how the Single to Dual upgrade is going to work ? They are very vague on how it’s going to work and even if it’s possible at the current time.

    • Sébastien, we will sell an upgrade (right side only) but we don’t have a definite release date for it yet. All I can say is that it will be before the end of the year. The full list price of the Single plus upgrade will be approximately the same as the full list price of the Dual.

      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

    • Sébastien Gagné

      Thank you Barry for the information, I understand that you will want to fulfill all the orders before selling upgrades :)

      Another question : In the demo video of the guy on the bike, the guy removes one of the pods, does it automatically switch in “Single Mode”, it seems to be the case, but then he could also be putting out 150W from a single leg too.

      Am I right to assume that this would work for either pod if one of the battery is dead ?

    • Barry Redmond

      Sébastien, yes, if one pod is removed (or if it turns off for any reason) the system automatically goes into “Single” mode. That means that the remaining pod will automatically double the power that it is measuring from one leg.

      If the pod is replaced (as in the video) the system will automatically go back to Dual mode.

      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

  7. Jeff

    TLDR: 1) Any word from Brim if they’ll have an SPD(L) version in the future (is it possible)? 2) Any thoughts on reviewing some RPM^2 insoles?

    Have the Brim Bro’s given any heads up as to if they’re exploring SPD or SPD-L meters? It seems like it’d be a completely different ball game, given the form factor, but maybe they already have some ideas on how to do it.

    And on the subject of foot-based (and running) power meters, have you given any thought to reviewing the RPM^2? I’ve read a decent amount about it, but it’s unclear to me how useful it actually is, or if it even works as a standard running power meter while out for a bike/run. A lot of the marketing material, and their app-pricing policy, makes me think they’re really trying to stay firmly in the professional-coach/doctor arena.

    • 1) No plans there
      2) Yup, the next production batch they receive (I think either next week or the week after they said), a unit will be on the way to me for review.

    • Jeff, We have no published schedule yet for versions of the Zone DPMX for other pedal/cleat systems. As you suggest, there are different technical challenges for each one, and we have certainly given some thought to them but we’re not rushing in to it.

      Regards
      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

  8. tami

    do you need to find out the sex of the baby? i’m the 1% of doesn’t like that people are finding out! it’s the only big surprise of your life!

  9. Kyle

    No mention of Garmin buying Delorme? Pretty big for hiking folks. But really big for all people who want to 2way commincate via satellite. Maybe add 2 way GPS communication in the Fenix 5 haha

  10. Eric

    Didn’t know about the stroller half marathon?!? You’ll find in the coming months it is only one of many things you don’t know about parenthood. Best of luck to you and “the girl”!

  11. Jens

    What’s up with the “ended up on the main page” stuff?
    Am I missing out on some amazing posts?

  12. Tracy Quintana-Parker

    About the Brim Bros power meter: Is there a reason why Speedplay pedals were chosen? My understanding is that they are difficult to get in & out of. A few years back I thought about switching from SPDs but was discouraged by bike shop who advised in/out difficulty. Also, it seems to me that Speedplay pedals aren’t that popular. Just wondering.

    • Many people use Speedplay, so I suspect that’s a key aspect. Also, there now numerous non-Speedplay pedal power meter options on the market, also likely contributing to Speedplay being more interesting as a market option.

      As for clipping in/out, not really sure I see any basis there (having used them both). Sounds like just the preference of that one person.

    • Tracey, we chose Speedplay Zero for a number of reasons, some technical and some marketing. As for difficulty clipping in/out of them, experience varies a little. I have seen a couple of lighter cyclists having problems in our tests but many others having no problems, especially once they got used to them. The answer is to try them and see how you get on.

      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

    • Harvey

      because Speedplays are awesome, is probably part of why.

    • Sébastien Gagné

      I recently switched to Speedplay in part for the Zone Powermeter, in part for the float adjustability. My first impression where that the were indeed harder to clip in than my previous Look Keos, but now it’s getting better. I think the cleats have to be “broken in” and you have to get used to twisting a little while clipping in.

  13. Trish

    Selfies vs erotic asphyxiation mmm…?

  14. Andrea

    I’ve lost all hope to see the Stryd’s review (initially scheduled for december 2015).
    Any news?

    Andrea

  15. Matt

    Is there limitation to Speedplay Zero’s due to anything in particular – just wondering why they wouldn’t work with Light Action pedals?

    • Hi Matt,
      We have not yet tested with Speedplay Light Action cleats and pedals. They will fit mechanically, but we need to do more tests to make sure that accuracy is not affected. We will publish the test results when they are available.

      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

  16. W Preen

    Very annoyed and fed up with Brim Brothers. Signed up over a year ago to purchase their power meter. They kept saying it was coming and that we would be supplied in order of our reservation number. Then last week they decided to turn against all of us that had waited and supported them ; they exclusively put it on Kickstarter. By the time I read the e-mail all the May stock had gone, then I spotted they don’t deliver on Kickstarter to Japan where I currently live. So my chance of getting it in the next 10 months is zero.

    I even wrote to them to ask if they could help. Not a single reply. So if they can’t even be bothered to reply to an email asking to buy the item, you can only imagine how bad their customer service is going to be if something goes wrong…..

    • Warren, we received your email and we replied on 14th February addressing all your questions directly and fully. It seems that email went astray somewhere, so I have just resent it. Please contact me directly on barry at brimbrothers.com if you don’t receive it or if you have any further questions.

      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

  17. Elliot

    Ray, thanks for all of the great product reviews! The first “wearable” power meter reminded me of the RPM2 insole that has apparently been out for a couple of years. I can’t find many reviews of it though — does anyone have any familiarity with this product?

    • I should have a unit shortly, was just waiting for their next production run, which was supposed to arrive this past week sometime (I haven’t checked to see if it did).