Week in Review–April 24th, 2016


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

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

DCRainmaker.com posts in the past week:

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

Monday: Week in Review–April 18th, 2016
Tuesday: Sea Otter 2016 Power Meter Tidbits: Stages & Verve Infocrank
Tuesday: My Sea Otter 2016 Trip Recap: The Festival, Riding, and More!
Tuesday: A WatTeam PowerBeat Power Meter Update
Thursday: Fitbit Alta In-Depth Review
Friday: PowerPod releases new GoPro/Garmin combo mount for triathlon bikes

Well then, that was a busy week for sure. Especially coming off a redeye from San Francisco and Sea Otter!

Garmin & Fitbit Sales:

We’re back into the sweep of spring sales for fitness tech (as seems to be an annual tradition).  First up is Garmin with a bunch of products on sale.  You’ll notice that the vast majority of these products already have successors, some of which are just starting to ship. i.e. the Vivofit 3 and Vivoactive HR would effectively replace the Vivofit 2 and Vivoactive.  Full details below.

Garmin Vivofit – $49 (was $79)Review here
Garmin Vivofit with HRM strap – $79 (was $109)Review here
Garmin Vivofit2 – $69 (was $99)Hands-on here
Garmin Vivofit2 with HRM strap – $99 (was $129)Hands-on here
Garmin Vivosmart HR – $129 (was $149)Review here
Garmin Vivoactive – $169 (was $249)Review here
Garmin Vivoactive with HRM strap – $199 (was $299)Review here
Garmin Forerunner 15 GPS watch – $99 (was $119)Review here
Garmin Forerunner 15 GPS watch with HRM strap – $129 (was $149)Review here

In my opinion the best deal out of the above would be the Vivosmart HR at $129 (never been that low before).  Most of the others are good deals too, but it just depends on whether or not you’re in the market for that type of device.  With the Vivosmart HR, at that price it’s kinda a looker.

Sale ends May 7th, 2016.  Note that for items over $75, from Clever Training you get free shipping.  But the DCR coupon code doesn’t apply to these sale items.

Next we’ve got Fitbit.  They’ve just got one item on sale, the Fitbit Flex.  In their case, that’s semi-succeeded by the Fitbit Alta, though not 100% according to Fitbit (they say they expect to keep selling the Flex, unlike the Fitbit Charge).

Fitbit Flex – $79 (was $99)

Phew – got all that? Good. Go forth and enjoy!

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) What not to do with cars – a perfect use for 360° video: This video is a great use of 360° video (the one inside the car).  However, I’d caution that in general I wouldn’t consider the car/human relationship wise.  Inversely, you’ve got the concert put on by The Verge with YouTube.  While this could have been cool, in reality it was just kinda disappointing.  Video and audio quality weren’t really what I expected (details on that here).  Further, they appeared to find random people in an office building to show-up, who kinda seemed forced to be there.  Anyway, cool car vs human jumping video below.

2) What’s it’s like at a hotel the NBA stays at: If you travel much, you’ll find this behind the scenes look at how a hotel manages an NBA team’s arrival kinda neat.

3) Amsterdam trials beacons for runners in park: Pretty interesting, not sure I’ve seen anything quite like this before. Note that you’ll need to use Google Translate or such if you don’t speak Dutch. (via Mario)

4) Soul Cycle in IMAX:  So expensive. I’m so confused.

5) Building hardware? Is an accelerator right for you? Even if you’re not building hardware, it’s probably worthwhile to understand this if you often jump onboard crowd funded gadgets and gizmos. (via Keith Wakeham)

6) Acer is making a GPS bike computer with a HD camera in it: For realz folks.  Now it’s technically a 720p camera, which, is a pretty rough quality level. Still, the concept could be interesting if correctly implemented.  They aim to automatically take  3-second snippets based on things like acceleration and changes to HR/cadence (kinda-sorta like what TomTom has done in their Bandit action cam).  It appears like this bike computer is based on Android (at least looking at the icons), and it has ANT+ compatibility.  Pricing isn’t clear yet, but availability in the fall 2016.

7) Garmin releases GPS-enabled band…for golfing: This is basically the form factor of a Vivosmart HR, but with a GPS chipset tossed into it.  So it’s activity tracker + golfing stuff.  While I haven’t taken one golfing (nor tested it beyond a few minutes of hands-on time, I thought the form factor/concept was interesting and worthwhile noting.  Photo I took recently of it, below.  It’s virtually identical in size to the existing Vivosmart HR, just with GPS as well.


8) Front Derailleur repurposing: With so much talk lately of the front derailleur going away, this video comes up with some alternate uses for the component.

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?

Garmin Vivoactive Firmware Update: Misc fixes and minor updates.

Garmin Vivofit3 Firmware Update: Small fixes, mostly launch readiness items (it just started shipping).

Gamin Fenix3/Quatix 3/Tactix Bravo Beta Firmware Update: Another boatload of new features, plus some fixes.

Garmin Fenix3 HR Beta Firmware Update: Same as above, just for the Fenix3 HR.

Have a good remainder of the weekend, and thanks for reading!


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  1. Matthew Weigel

    Looks like the VivoActive is actually $189, not $169.

  2. Andy

    The new GPS cycling computer from Acer looks good, turn by turn too. Might be the unit the Wahoo Elemnt should have been.

    • It’s often hard to say this early. There are two things that Acer will have to overcome:

      A) Understanding the nuances of sport GPS computers. Many companies have failed at this. It sounds easy on paper, but there are so many examples of mapping GPS bike computers that just flounder around and fall out of the market because they fail to account for years of little tweaks by the major companies for edge cases that cyclists care about.

      B) Appealing to the non-Asian market. While it’s just a teaser video, there are a number of items in there that should have been corrected (even the title of the video on YouTube for example), along with metric headers shown Chinese on sheets/pages. While these sound minor, I’ve found historically that most North American and European consumers have little patience for sloppiness.

      And finally, they’re going to have to show they are a brand that is active in cycling. After all, I’d wager that Wahoo’s involvement in the sport is a key reason why they’ve become so successful (no different than Garmin, Polar, and others).

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited for another competitor in the space. But I think they’ve got a long road ahead, and personally, I would have waited to announce at Eurobike/Interbike when they were much closer to release.

    • Buster

      Not sure if you missed it but the bike computer also has 3G data network connectivity. That would be more than a little change.

      I know it didn’t workout so well for Timex, but I think the bike computer might be a better fit.

  3. Gary Williams

    Hi Ray,
    I’m just recovering from a serious road accident and cancer and was looking into getting a turbo trainer. I read your reviews and can’t still can’t make up my mind. I really like the idea of virtually riding up Alpe d’huez etc, so I’m drawn to the Tacx Vortex, Tacx Bushido and the Bkool Pro. Removing the price point as a factor, which one would you say is best?

    • Yanick

      Hi Gary,

      I had a Bushido before and now have a Kickr. I know, it is not in the same price range but not having to buy a training tire and adjust the trainer pressure on the tire to avoid the tire to slip.

      With the kickr, you remove the back tire and hook your bike on it and you get your training going.

      To answer to you question, alpe d’huez have section over 7% of incline. If you want this climbing simulation to be more realistic you will go more on the Bushido side. Bushido has a max incline of 15% and the vortex has a max incline of 7%.

    • Gary Williams

      Thank you for taking time to reply Yannick. I also looked at the Tacx Neo and the Kickr. The thing that worried me was it eating through cassettes and chains. If I’m changing all the time, won’t it wreck both cassettes and the chain?

  4. Jerome Bergeron

    The Suunto Ambit 3 Vertical also got an update this week with some major improvement including Glonass support and constant bluetooth connection (for smart notifications).

    • Paul D

      Sync improvements: POD calibration, after exercise syncing
      Improved notifications behaviour
      Allow mobile notifications without Movescount App active
      Added GPS setting to allow GLONASS mode
      Added alert when going OFF ROUTE in navigation altitude screen
      Improved vibration and added for certain events
      Clock alarm duration extended
      User interface translation issues fixed
      Logbook jamming problem fixed in very long Moves
      Memory full warning fixed during exercise
      Fixed GPS problem when calibrating compass during Move
      Fixes to running performance behavior
      Fixes to altitude graph during navigation
      Fixed problem with running cadence during navigation
      Track back does not ask direction

    • Nice catch. I wish they had a blog/feed/something, it makes it easy for me to find updates (Adidas, Polar, Garmin, Wahoo, Quarq and others all do).

    • Matt H

      @suunto & @movescount occasionally announce updates on their Twitter feed but responses to questions like “what’s in the update?” tends to result in a link to the previous release :/


    Will you write up a post on the upcoming BSX update?

  6. Stuart Dunne

    VSHR & GPS is very interesting for activity trackers if the GPS can track fast enough to cope with running and/or cycling

  7. Alex

    Whatever happened to the promised update about Polar and Gopro?

  8. Oleg

    Any news on Vivoactive HR shipping start date?

  9. Gary F

    If one has a tri bike(summer racing) and road bike (fall/spring) and has a Garmin Vector S, with the current price drops, would you recommend purchasing another Vector S (one for each bike, no messing with changing) or upgrading to full Vector?? I use primarily for gaging progress during training and keep under set power as to not blow up during races.
    Gary F

    • If you aren’t switching bikes too often, then I’d go with upgrading to full Vector and then switching as required (not every day, but perhaps once there’s a point in the season you flip over).

  10. Kyle

    My TomTom Multisport just died so should I get the Polar M400 or the Garmin Vivoactive? I was thinking about the Ambit 2S, but the times I think have passed that by in terms of being able to sync, etc.

    • I think they’re both a bit older units these days. But if I had to pick one it’d probably be the Vivoactive, it’s just more flexible in terms of sport options as well as Connect IQ (apps).

    • Graham R

      i had the same debate – I went Fenix3 in the end – had the vivoactiveHR been out in january i would have gone that way for sure. connectIQ apps and the ability to customize the settings is really nice – Plus its a nice looking “watch”.

    • Kyle

      I wish I could get the Fenix, but $500 is just simply not in my budget right now.

  11. Naina Williams

    I love your reviews…they are really detailed…but after reading several, confused more now than before as to which tracking device to use for my runs. Don’t need anything fancy…just to amply monitor my time, pace, lap time, distance, etc. Some of these devices seem like overkill…just want something simple and not too costly, but not so cheap or simple that it isn’t accurate or worth even a modest investment.

  12. Joe

    Any chance Garmin uses the form of the Apporach X40 for a running watch? It already has a gps chip in it.

  13. JayTee

    Hi Ray
    Any news on whether the Garmin sale will extend to the Australian Garmin website?

    Vivosmart HR is still AU$229 (~US$174). We usually get the rough end of the pineapple here..

    • No, likely not. That’s mostly because outside the US there isn’t something called ‘MAP policy’ (minimum advertised price). So basically, in the US folks have to get permission from Garmin to have sales (rare). Whereas outside the US it’s illegal in most countries for Garmin to control prices (i.e. EU). In fact, they can get massive fines for even hinting to a retailer that they control their price.

      So basically, prices are far more flexible outside the US than inside. So it kinda evens out. Except of course Australia, because everyone seems to hose AUS/NZ on pricing. :(

  14. Camillo

    The Acer gizmo looks very promising, when will you be able to test it?