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Week in Review–April 3rd, 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–March 27th, 2016
Tuesday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend
Thursday Morning: Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer In-Depth Review
Thursday Evening: The DCR Easter Bunny $600 Gadget Giveaway Winner!
Thursday Evening: Why your Garmin GPS is better off taking EPO

Sports Tech Hot Deal Reminder (ends Apr 4th):

Just a heads up that the Wahoo KICKR & KICKR SNAP 20% off sale that I mentioned 2-3 weeks ago only runs through Monday April 4th (tomorrow).  Snippet from before below:

REI currently has the Wahoo KICKR and KICKR SNAP on sale for 20% off using member code MEMREWARD16.  Now as regular REI folk know, this is technically not just a Wahoo sale, but rather a ‘anything full price at REI’ sale.  Except that REI excludes GPS watches, activity trackers, and the like.  So basically, the key thing of interest to folks here is the Wahoo KICKR & SNAP trainers.

For the KICKR, here’s my in-depth review.  And the REI link here (now $960).

And for the KICKR SNAP, my first look post, and the REI link here (now $560).

If you have it shipped to your local REI store, it’s free shipping.  And most importantly – if you use any of the REI links above, it helps support the site.

The DCR Podcast:

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

Hang tight! This will be up shortly!

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!

Also on the Ben Greenfield Podcast!

I recently recorded an episode with Ben Greenfield, where we discussed all assortment of sports tech goodness.

Even if you might not normally listen to Ben Greenfield’s podcasts– I’d definitely encourage you to give this episode a try.  I was very impressed with how well researched all the questions were – and we chatted for quite some time!

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 the UCI Driving School/Certification is really like: Wow, just wow.  Though, doesn’t surprise me. For those not in on the cycling world, this matters due to the death of a rider last week when a motorcycle hit him after the rider crashed.  While this particular incident genuinely seemed like an accident and with a very well respected driver, the details of the UCI certification are mind boggling.

2) Three things I learned from being a European racing on an American team: Solidly funny account of the habits of American Pro cyclists from a European perspective, worth the quick read.

3) HP wearables include ID badges: Kinda a brilliant concept to combine the two, somewhat amazing nobody has ever thought of (or introduced) this before.

4) Marathoners mistake soap for energy bars: Having seen something similar with Vaseline in the Marine Corps Marathon some years ago, I can believe this (man grabbed and ate a tongue depressor of Vaseline at the 21-ish mile marker thinking it was gel). (via Scott E.)

5) First action cam with built-in gimbal:  Pretty cool stuff.  Though, I don’t for a second believe they’ll hit their December launch date.  That to me says ‘we’re too far away to know exactly, so we’re just going to hope this works out’.  My bet says between April and June of next year.  Thus, I wouldn’t invest in it, since that’s basically a year away and all new things would come out either in the fall or in January at CES 2017.

6) How not to handle a security screw-up: While not exactly sports tech related, I figure this is pretty interesting enough to make the cut.  Especially for any computer/security/PR/TV geeks in the crowd.

7) Taylor Swift wiping out on a treadmill: While this is no doubt cleverly staged (faked) by Apple, somehow, it makes me feel better in advance of the day I fall off a treadmill in a similar fashion.

8) Shimano’s upcoming power meter: A handful of new details of the new Dura-Ace groupset, which is rumored to come with a power meter built-in.  Obviously, the question becomes at what price (since the mere act of adding a power meter isn’t earth-shattering), and then if at the same price how accurate will it be.  That said, I don’t expect Shimano would roll-out an inaccurate power meter, since the stakes would be too high for them to the Dura-Ace brand to do so.

9) Tandem Surfing: For when surfing with just one person isn’t enough.  Or, when surfing with two people on a board is too boring.

10) Sports tech company threatens to pull ads from VeloNews over story: In *cough* totally unrelated news from a previous link in today’s post, pretty interesting snippet from the Editor-in-chief of VeloNews. (Via Caley Fretz)

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?

Wahoo ELEMNT Firmware Update: Mostly minor fixes, but definitely worthwhile if you have a power meter.

Garmin VIRB Edit: A number of bug fixes.

Garmin Vivosmart HR Firmware Update: Brings in many of the previous beta features to a production firmware update.  Includes screen lock (new), and changes to many metrics (Resting HR, intensity minutes, floors), and more.

Garmin Fenix3 HR BETA firmware update: Improvements and minor new features.

Garmin Fenix3/Tactix Brava/Quatix 3 BETA firmware update: Same as the F3HR, just for the non-HR variants.

Thanks for reading all!

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40 Comments

  1. Robert

    Ethics in review journalism… I doubt all of the reviews on internet I read. Even from you DC rainmaker. For exemple the ELEMNT review… you have allot of goodwill against wahoo and you probably know some of the wahoo folks personally. I don’t think you intentionally give good reviews when its uncalled for but watch out. It’s so easy to go to the dark side…

    • I’m always kinda interested in what people read into my reviews, or how they read it. Two different people often have very different takes on the same exact review. One will say that I said not to buy the product, and yet the other will say that I said to buy the product.

      If you have the ELEMNT, and there’s something you think amiss in the review – then say so. But do back up your hints with your own experience, and not just reading something else.

      As far as knowing people – of course I know everyone in the industry. I see them at events regularly, as with any other media person. I’ve been on rides/runs/whatever with them, because that’s when and where I convince them to do the things that readers want. But, as any of them will tell you, it doesn’t mean anything when it comes to a review. If their products suck, I’ll call them out on it. And, if they have cracks, I’ll call them out on that too. The ELEMNT’s review Bugs/Quirks section certainly isn’t short, in fact, I think it’s the longest I’ve written in any product review in many years.

    • EB

      I didn’t perceive a bias in the report. I thought you quite liked the device, but on the basis of its features and having experienced Wahoo, Garmin and Mio’s customer support, or lack of it, it seemed reasonable and as regards future firmware features I too would be a lot more hopeful that Wahoo would produce what they promised than those other companies.

    • Mikey T

      Bias comes in all forms. From what products are chosen to review to the lengths of posts and yes the words in the piece. I see a lot of bloggers and novice review was fall into the same trap – they think if they disclose certain things or buy the products themselves then there safe. Not so. The fact that you might tell some of the product sucks isn’t just dispositive bias. I think concerns about somebody being too close industry are valid.

      Reviewing is a dicey proposition regardless. That’s why always take reviews with a grain of salt – even Ray’s.

      I don’t think I’m picking on Ray. The real measure is if I didn’t think he was trustworthy I wouldn’t read them nor would others.

    • adam

      I agree bias is very hard to eliminate. I think the real issues is that you must do your best to minimise what you can. You also need to demonstrate that you don’t have any conflict of interest. The biggest one here is financial. And i think that’s Rays point. By not taking advertising money from the companies themselves he has eliminated that problem. This is the trouble with media today. Everyone now expects free news. But in essence they’ve made a deal with the devil in that what we’re now reading is regurgitated rubbish straight from the propaganda machine. It’s a shame investigative journalism is nearly dead. I believe as a society we’ll regret it sometime soon.

      So salute to you Ray for your stance! Sign me up for the $20 subscription!

    • Thanks Adam – I appreciate the support!

      To be clear, it’s impossible to eliminate all forms of bias. As Mikey points out, the mere decision of what products I review has bias. I’m biased towards reviewing things that I think others will think are interesting. So I often don’t bother to end up reviewing things that are boring/less popular/etc… In theory, if time were unlimited (still my biggest challenge), I’d review the boring items and then note it appropriately. I’ve often thought about having a short-description page of why I didn’t review something, but then folks would say that I didn’t give it enough detail/time/whatever.

      One could also say that links to 3rd parties for purchasing represents a bias. They would argue that I’d want to sell products. But for me, if folks stop trusting reviews, they’ll stop visiting, and the house falls apart. So I don’t really care what device you end up with, as long as you find something you like. If you do that through the links, great, but I also review many things that aren’t available through links (Stages comes to mind). One could also argue that I’d want to focus reviews on more expensive products due price, but as regular readers know – I actually probably have a bias against more expensive products – as I think many are overpriced.

      When it comes to web ads, I think the whole interwebs is in for some serious challenges with the ad model. Microsoft just announced that the Edge (Windows) browser will soon start blocking ads by default. While Apple allowed 3rd party plug-ins on iOS, that required downloading/adding something. Having it on by default is a totally different ball game. The challenge though is that something has to give. The model I have today works well for me in that ads don’t really make a ton for me (since I block everyone that wants to advertise with me). But that model doesn’t work for Velonews, CyclingTips, or many other publications delivering awesome content day in and day out. They still have to pay great writers/photographers/editors/etc… And if you take away ads, you take away the content. Paywalls don’t work when you have to sign-up for dozens of them. Which is too bad, because in theory it’d make the system much better.

    • Chris

      I click on ads on your site all the time. Figure it’s the least I can do 😉

      I’ve noticed more and more sites just detect an ad blocker, and display a nicely worded message about turning it off to see the content.

    • Andy

      Personally, i think you’re totally biased Ray. I mean, you think your other half’s cupcakes are the best cupcakes in the world. I disagree, i think my other halfs cupcakes are the best. 🙂

      But seriously, I think you have always given what you consider, your best unbiased reviews on products. No one is 100% perfect and there will be times when some people disagree, but generally I always get the impression you’re merely trying to give people the facts be it good or bad, and as unbiased as you can be.
      Ive always found you to be fair but tough when it comes to any given review, regardless of who you know or who you talk to. I mean look at Garmin, you speak to them but won’t be worried about digging them out about a lack of something.

      With regards the Elemnt, i got the impression you liked it, that it would/could be a potential ‘go-to’ product over a current Garmin, but as it stands it just needs a few more features to tip it over the edge, and like the most of us, you would like that to happen. But also like us (and me myself with the Mio Cyclo for example) you’ve also seen great potential not come to anything, and at the end of the day its just a bit disappointing.

      So personally, I’ve always found your reviews to be non-biased as much as you can. Don’t change anything.

  2. sean sloan

    Picked up the KICKR last week,thanks so much for the heads up

  3. EB

    I actually think, in the medium term, it might be technology that helps with all the crashing in cycle races.

    Today’s upset just looked like lack of concentration. The reason all the vehicles need to be so big is to carry a human. Human drivers will always make human errors and have poor response times. Big races are on closed roads and are at, relatively, slow speeds: I can’t think of a better place for driverless vehicles. You’d still need a small number of normal vehicles, but they could be driven by the very best. Live streaming of onboard cameras might reduce the need for photographers to ride along. It is a pity the batteries in airborne drones is so poor as they might be very good. I’ve read about ground based ones too though.

    I hope as well as talking about improving the riding/driving they are also considering improving tech as a way of removing humans from the Peleton. I bet a massive tech company, like Google, Amazon or Microsoft, could solve this in just a few years (and get pretty good publicity).

  4. Craig Ruaux

    You really mean to tell us you’ve never gone “Full Taylor” on a treadmill!? I know I have…

    (Always check your shoe laces are tied)

  5. adam h.

    Daylight savings changes here in NZ this weekend. While this won’t result in harm or death it appears Garmin’s ability to track sleep when the clocks changed died a death. Happened on her F225 and my fenix 3hr. Is this just a NZ thing or another software bug to notch up to the many on their ‘unresolved’ list?

    • Interesting. I wasn’t wearing a Garmin watch last weekend when our clocks changed, so didn’t know. Haven’t seen any other comments on it, but also haven’t gone digging in Garmin forums to see if it’s a NZ thing, or a general thing.

      There was a case a few years ago on one of the Garmin running watches where it didn’t have the time change right for the UK, and they had to basically issue an emergency firmware update for it. Kinda a solid mess.

      The other thing to validate is that the Timezone Maps are up to date, which are usually updated every month or so. For the FR225, it’s best to get those via USB (Garmin Express), whereas the Fenix3 will grab them via WiFi/BT/USB.

    • Adam

      Yup both watches fully updated. Sleep tracking worked the night before and night after and died on both watches the very hour that the clocks changed. Oh well. I’ll put something on a forum somewhere if I get the chance.

      I wander if it would cause trouble if you were doing a race through a clock change. I mean how would GC display the data on all its graphs. Anyhow, probably not a likely scenario.

    • Mark B

      Odd behaviour for me too in NSW, Australia when our daylight savings ended. More odd behaviour when I tried to edit the sleep too. Connect would save the time 1 hour earlier than I entered. Once I figured that out I was able to work around it and manually enter the correct times.

  6. Don

    Hi Ray,

    Just found something you would be interested in

    http://www.omata.com

    An Analogue GPS bike computer. It looks rather cool

  7. matt

    Hi Ray,

    Just wondering if you could give any indication as to when the powerbeat review might be coming or if you have found many issues so far? I have found quite a few issues with the unit and wanted to see if you were experiencing similar prior to sending the unit back.

    Matt

    • JJones

      Matt, I got a Powerbeat in the first round of shipments and have been experiencing issues with the data. They replaced the right side pod because the said it wasn’t reading (they can see the calibration process live on their end as you do it). Even with the new strain gauge the power reported is very low. The first few miles seem to be ok but after that readings drop very low despite hard efforts and steep climbs my watts are often not over 60. Very frustrated and don’t know how to resolve it short of returning the product if I can even do that.

    • (Note: I’m on carbon right now, which isn’t 100% released yet, so things may differ if I were on aluminum)

      Yeah, I’m seeing issues as well. Calibration is super-finicky. If you get it – you’re golden. But if not, there’s really no way for you as an individual to know if it’ll be off, or by how much (unless you have numerous other PM’s).

      But that’s actually not my core issue, which is instead some oddity that occurs at a random point during a ride where the calibration just goes AWOL. So it could be perfect for 30 minutes or 70 minutes, and then near-instantly it’ll start being 30-50w offset. I have a suspicion that it’s to do with not stopping pedaling. Meaning, if I stop at some point, it’ll be OK. But if (such as on a trainer or a long climb), I don’t stop, then after 20-30mins, it basically goes nuts.

      I’m working with them to try and figure it out. I’m guessing it’s a minor firmware issue, but it’s resulting in major problems. 🙁

    • Andrew

      Oh no! I had all my Easter eggs in that basket. Growing pains? Or something more severe? Looking like 4iiii might be the way to go for now :/

    • Matt

      Yeh this is pretty similar to what I ‘m seeing. They have made the water bags to big so its almost impossible for them not to touch the cranks particularly in the 12/6 positions. You would have to think this would effect calibration. Strangely, i have always gotten wildly inaccurate numbers from calibration on a bike stand, but when it has gone right it has been with the bike flipped upside down on the ground.

      In saying that, even when i get it ‘right’ the numbers have been +/- 20-40watts compared to kickr….for whatever thats worth. Have also had data suddenly go awol during ride. It seems consistant but generally reads way too high. Stopping and perforing zero offset often resolves. This made me think maybe a temp sensor problem as seen in your preview.

      I have also had an issue where my edge510 just wont pick it up pre-ride where it had been fine the day prior, despite having charge. The only way I’ve resolved this is performing a full installation on app again which then of course brings with it the drama of going through a calibration again.

      Hopefully it is a firmware things that can be resolved quickly. Watteam sent an email a few days back saying a firmware update was coming to address an issue with zero offset calibration…..unfortunately it seems like it needs to address far more issues than that so likely the first update wont help.

      I think I am going to not bother contacting them because they must be getting all sorts of issues reporting to them as is, and it’s not just me. I reckon if they can resolve the issues you are seeing by firmware than it should do the same for me. I’m sure they’ll give you higher importance than the rest of us. Please keep us updated on this. I am now torn between allowing time for this to be resolved or pushing for full refund and going the P1 route.

    • Following the release of our first batch, we’ve discovered some problems related to temperature compensation that we hadn’t caught despite extensive beta-testing. We are committed to producing an accurate, dependable power meter at a fair price, which is why we’ve made the decision to stop sales and focus on finishing R&D for v2.0 in order to have an uncompromising product.
      Since we are perfectionists, all existing POWERBEAT owners will receive an upgrade to v2.0 at no cost when it comes out.

      The Phase 1 product is working, but there are known issues for some customers. Therefore, Phase 1 customers can keep enjoying their current version of POWERBEAT and will get our full support and will also be entitled to a FREE upgrade as soon as v2.0 is out.

  8. Michael S.

    Just for you, I’ll listen to Greenfields Podcast. I dare you to mention your appearance on Slowtwitch. I’ll provide the popcorn ?

  9. Phil A

    There was also a GPS Firmware update for the Fenix 2 sometime earlier this past week.

  10. Captain Chris

    I have to be enrolled in a random drug testing program, take hours of training, document experience and pass a test to drive a boat with paying passengers on-board, but I can fly through crowed streets in close proximity to cyclist without any of that stuff? No wonder people are getting killed!

  11. Scott Turvey

    I’ve always wondered why you don’t make the links in this page external links. That way one could just close the tab when they’re done reading the page you’ve linked to. Seems it would be more convenient. 🙂

    • Simply because I forget most of the time to check the box on each link to set a link to open in a new window.

      And when I say ‘most of the time’, I mean approximately 100% of the time. 😉

      Maybe next week I’ll remember…

  12. Jeff Kohn

    Ray,

    I would be really interesting (IMO) if you did a post on the value of a company committed to tweaking and updating their product continuously. I had a Mio Fuse for a year and there was one update (and you had to have iOS). I finally invested in the Garmin F3 over the holidays and I’m amazed at the commitment of Garmin to constantly update their flagship product. I know people have had GPS issues, but there’s very little doubt in my mind that Garmin is working hard to improve the product. That’s worth a lot to me. I know you said a few things about Wahoo committed to updating the ELEMNT. This experience is making me realize that I need to not only look at the product review itself, but also to how often a company has been updating the firmware on it’s products. That speaks volumes too, especially if the product is complex.

  13. Steven

    The velonews article on upcoming shimano groupset / hub changes and power meter is interesting. Shimano tried to embargo that article, and no other cycling gear focused website appear to reporting it. See here for some insights link to bicycleretailer.com .

  14. Michal L

    Hi guys!

    If you had to chose one to check steps, HRM (for running and wieghtlifting) and notifications which one would it be?
    Garmin Vivosmart with a HRM band?
    Garmin Vivosmart HR
    Polar A360

    I dont need GPS nor any other “training tracking”

    Many thanks 🙂

    • Weightlifting with a optical wrist HR sensor will likely be tough. But at the same time, the display on teh Vivosmart HR is so much better. Really tough. I’d probably go with the Vivosmart HR and hope the accuracy holds out for your particular gym routine.

    • Michal L

      Many thanks for your answer!
      Ive read that the A360 is way more accurate for weightlifting. Is it true?
      And where do you have the information that the a360 will receive an update to have a 24/7 HRM?

      Thank you fro all your help 🙂

    • I’d doubt it is, since it seems to be pretty horrible at other items.

      I don’t have an update on the 24×7 piece, but I’ll check back with them.

    • Michal L

      Hi again!

      thank you for all your replies. Youre a lifesaver especially that it is so hard to find any relevant info on the web.
      I am still torn apart between the Polar a360 with a HRM band (for weightlifts) and the a360 for the 24/7 hr and the notifications.
      Or maybe should i go straight buy a FR225?

      Many thanks!

    • I would personally go for the FR235, but that’s me. Obviously that’s a bit more expensive – but just tons of flexibility.

    • Michal L

      Unfortunatly the difference in price between the 235 and the 225 is too big in my country. And the only difference is the notifications and a bit more data.
      And the price difference is I would say 1/3 of the price…

      Pretty huge.

    • Gotchya.

      Well, on the bright side – the optical HR sensor in the FR225 is actually quite a bit better than the FR235. 🙂

  15. Joel

    The soap comment reminded me of a story from late last summer.

    I’m part of a fundraising triathlon team, and there are a number of veterans of the squad who act as mentors for new members. This particular season, I was a mentor, so just as race day was rolling around, I put together a package of useful stuff for the triathlon. Anti-fog wipes, energy chews, drink mix, stuff like that.

    Anyway, one of my mentees couldn’t participate, so her husband ran the race instead (they didn’t participate as part of an age group, they were unranked). A cyclist by choice, he was taking on the full Olympic distance for the first time. She handed over my care package, and was beginning to go over everything when he just cut her off, “oh, I know what this stuff is, you don’t need to explain it.” So she didn’t.

    Race came and went, and I spotted him sitting in a tent cooling off, so I walked up to see how he was doing.

    Him: “That wasn’t a gel you gave us was it?”
    Me: “Gel? No, no gels.”
    Him: “I didn’t think so.”

    He proceeded to share his story. During the run he was feeling like he needed to take in some calories, so he dug through his pockets and grabbed the thin packet he assumed was a gel, ripped off the top, and gulped down a quick mouthful. It was horrible, one of the most disgusting things he’s put in his mouth he said. But he needed the calories, so he just said to hell with it, and finished the entire packet.

    The packet was a single use tube of Chamois Butt’r.