5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Despite my rainmaker moniker – it hasn’t rained a single day on me during my stay in Australia to date. Instead, it’s been endless sunshine. Well, actually, it was overcast one afternoon here in Perth.  But otherwise, it’s the best kinda weather for enjoying the great outdoors.  Here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days.

1) Installing Shimano power meter


Within 45 minutes of my hitting publish on the Stages LR power meter in-depth review, I was removing it to get the Shimano R9100P power meter on the back and cookin’ on testing.  The Stages stayed on a bit longer than I expected, since I was working through some firmware updates to resolve issues I saw (which were resolved, so all good there).

Thankfully, the swap between the two units was in theory straightforward because both use the same crankset.  So no bottom bracket messiness to deal with.


The only thing ‘unique’ about the prep was that you install a magnet – which is fairly rare for power meters these days.  There’s also a tiny bit of internal cabling…but it’s quick and easy.



Regrettably, the messiness quickly began elsewhere – none of which was the fault of the Shimano unit.

I had noticed in the last ride or two that the rear derailleur was brushing against the trainer (and barely touching my spokes when on the road), in the biggest cog in the back.  Turns out, the hanger was bent.  I have no idea when or where it got bent, as it wasn’t on the flight over. Perhaps one of the times the wind tipped over the bike taking pics…not sure.

Thankfully, I had planned for such an occurrence and brought an extra hanger with me.  So swapping it was no big deal.

2018-02-18 09.16.02

However, what was an issue was that the chainring sizes of the two cranksets (Stages and Shimano) happened to be different.  As it was, I was already a bit shorter than I’d have liked for my chain previously.  But this put it over the edge.  So I had to get a new chain (and a chain breaker tool).

2018-02-18 09.16.21

Not to mention that I had to also adjust the front derailleur upwards a bit too.

So what ended up in theory being a quick swap turned into quite a bit more including a trip to the bike shop.  Nonetheless, the final product:


In total, over the last week installing various test products, I’ve added duplicates of the following tools to my bike toolbox collection: Chain whip, then cassette lockring tool, and finally a chain tool for link sizing/shortening/removal. I should have bought a chain quick link remover tool…as that would have also made my life far easier.  Of course, I have at least one of everything back home. Just didn’t quite think to bring them here (actually: I already have 3-4 lockring tools, 2 chain whips, and at least one each link remover tool and quick link pliers).

On the bright side…I did bring with me a pedal wrench, and two hex wrench sets.

2) Hours with a little fish

Since we arrived in Western Australia, I’ve been doing weekly swim lessons with The Peanut.  No, the lessons aren’t for me – rather, her (though, most of you true swimmers would probably disagree!)  Much of it is spending that 35 minutes singing and dancing and tossing her about.  She’s swum plenty in the past in pools in Paris and elsewhere on trips, but with less consistency or structure.

And up till this past week, she’s mostly just been halfway between displeased and confused about it.  Her English hasn’t been that great (since she goes to school daily in French back home), and throwing the Aussie accent along with water being splashed in her face…well…she just wasn’t thrilled about the pool.

Except this Friday it all seemed to click at swim lessons.  She’s still not entirely sure what on earth these people are talking about Vegemite for (though, she’s now actually eating it at daycare here).  But at least she’s enjoying the water.

So we went back Saturday and I spent two straight hours with her in the pool.  She didn’t want to leave. Water slides, jumping, bubbles, you name it.


It’s now her new favorite thing.

Oh, and her English has been improving dramatically in the last few weeks too. If only ‘no’ wasn’t basically the same in both French and English. Sigh.

3) Signed up for Kite Surfing classes!

2018-02-12 17.38.47

Ok, this is a minor one – merely because the weekend was mostly about the kiddos, so to save you from five bullets of photos of kiddos…I’ll go with something totally out of left field. I signed up to be dragged around over great white sharks by a gigantic kite on a small board.

Should be totally awesome!  I start Tuesday afternoon and I’m super excited about it.

I’ve wanted to learn this for many years, but never quite had the time in the right place to do so.  But given we’re here for a while I can start off with my classes and then be able to rent gear here for a while and do it frequently.

More on that in the next few weeks!

4) More bike maintenance

Well crap.

Turns out I wasn’t caffeinated enough when I set up the new chain – because in doing so I ended up going too short when shifted into certain gear combos.  The whole big-big + 2 thing is great…until you stupidly do ‘minus 2’.  Grr.

New chain needed. Again.

At least I bought the cheap chain two days prior.

Plus, I ended up fiddling a bit more with the shifting to get it dialed in.  At least on eTAP it’s silly simple.


Now, I wanted to get my ride started, but the bike shop didn’t open till noon.  So I took a hammer and put back together the bike chain in the least awesome-sauce manner possible, and off on the ride I went.

5) Riding around the River

Of course, you didn’t think I was going to do a full ride on that chain, did you?

Nah, just the first 2-3 miles – to get me to the bike shop.  From there I bought another new chain, and the guy and I quickly swapped them out.  Given I’ve been in his shop like 5 times this week, we’re now BFF’s.

With that all settled, it was time to begin my ride in earnest, which was essentially just a loop around the Perth area via the Swan River.  I did a pretty similar ride a few weeks back, albeit this time with a bit more wind in parts.

2018-02-18 12.53.27 2018-02-18 13.05.54

Of course, I was mostly interested in how the power was looking on the Shimano, so plenty of head unit capturing action happening here.

2018-02-18 12.53.10

And here’s the overall post-ride files.  Note, I trimmed off the bike shop part in this screenshot, since it’ll look funny otherwise (I kept the units recording):


Overall things seem to track fairly well.  Some slight differences within range, but nothing of concern at this point.  Though, there wasn’t much of difficulty on the ride. No cobbles, no huge sprints, no high/low cadence work, etc… All that will come over the next week or two.

Also, keep in mind that the Shimano unit doesn’t transmit via Bluetooth Smart (sometime in 2018 apparently), so there’s that element to consider as well.  In any case, wait for the full in-depth review in a few weeks.

With that – thanks for reading, and have a great week ahead!


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  1. David Tucker

    Oh man, I’m jealous. I lived in Perth for three months when I was on a project for work several years ago and absolutely loved it. I really miss the Dome for breakfast and running along the Swan River was always great.

  2. Tom W

    Are you planning a group ride of sorts whilst your here in Perth?

  3. I suspect you’ll love kite surfing, I really enjoyed it even in cold English weather!!

  4. Thijs

    Kiddie swimming lessons are loads of fun! My little one can now actually float around on her back :)

  5. Ian

    What GPS Headunit is out front in your last riding pic?

  6. Carl Thomas

    Serious question, when you do something like kite surfing do you think, ‘I could me another site out of this hobby”?

    When I was a content creator this distraction into other fields was a constant battle.

  7. Corey W.

    Minor grammatical note
    In Part 4: “going to short”…should be “too”

  8. Michael

    Ray, two questions on the Shimano Powermeter. I installed mine over the weekend and it works fine but I am not able to check the firmware level as the E-Tube app returns an error, even though after the error the powermeter is listed among the connected Bluetooth devices, and un-pairing from the device settings and repeating does not solve the issue. Second question, do you use the Garmin calibration routine or just align the crank and push the button on the control pod? Coming from years of using SRM’s, I am used to seeing zero-offset values and am curious what values are displayed on your Garmin as I am seeing 150000 before calibration and 250000 after.

    • Yeah, the E-Tube app is on my to-do list for the morning. I’ll circle back and let you know how it goes.

      For me, I’ve been calibrating just using an Edge unit. I also get the same 15000/25000 values. Typically you do get more detail than just those two values. Either you get a torque value back (in the case of Garmin Vector and a few others), or you get an offset value back (Stages/PowerTap/Quarq/many others). Or you get some crazy other value back…but at least the value is somehow validatable.

      It’s on my list to figure out…

    • Ed Lee

      I’m considering a PM purchase, deciding between Quark DZeroFour91 and the Shimano 9100P. What made you decide on the Shimano? Weight, rechargeable vs coil cell, cost, etc.? The little I’ve seen of the 9100P reviews seem to indicate issues with L/R balance accuracy and poor temperature compensation – any issues in that regard?

      I’d like to purchase the 9100P as it turns out to be cheaper than buying the Quark (because the DA chainrings are ridiculously expensive – so the whole crankset + rings + BB adapter end up being like $1500), but not if it’s not going to be reliable and accurate – which is what people are saying about the DZero.

    • Ed Lee

      Sorry, I meant “coin cell” and also meant to say people are saying the DZero has no reliability/accuracy issues.

    • Maciek

      Same “problem” for me. I almost ordered Shimano one (vs. Quarq DzerFour91) but then went through bikeradar review for it and read about issues you mentioned. I wonder how much of this can be resolved by firmware upgrade.

      Another problem is that currently Shimano PM is not available in Poland for at least 5 weeks.

      Anyway lokking forward for detailed review from DCR. No pressure DCR ;)

  9. Dave

    Really surprised they didn’t include Bluetooth Smart as an option straight off the bat – I’d really like one of these, but glad I didn’t leap in just yet.

  10. Maureen

    Where and when will you run tomorrow? Would love to join.

    I’m doing the 3km Cotto swim on Saturday so will see you at the start.

  11. Presuming Ed

    Ha! I had exactly the same brain fade fail last week when installing new chain. This was a Dura Ace chain so decided to Bodge it and put the links back in with the spare pin, then ADDED the links via a powerlink.

    I kitesurfed for a few years too. Awesome fun, although almost as $$$ as cycling…

  12. gingerneil

    Did you go with the whole ‘get that chain installed now! DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I Am!!?? ‘ approach!? ??
    Seriously… Are you now creating a whole storm in the local scene of techie aware triathletes?

  13. mspeas

    I understand 3 head units for measuring power. Pedals, Crankset & rear hub, but why the 4th. For the map?

    • The one out front (Hammerhead Karoo) is also in test. Since it has some known issues in power meter data collection right now, I couldn’t use it as one of my power meter data gatherer devices.

  14. Sam

    I actually learned kitesurfing before I started biking, and they’re similarly addictive sports! Can seem like a steep learning at the beginning, but it clicks pretty clickly and is incredible.

    Starting to be a few kite specific sports tech items. Woo Sports has an accelerometer based device that measures the height of jumps, and has strava-style leaderboards by location. Definitely seen people using gps watches to track speed, distance, map data. Some interesting camera mounts on the kite itself or the lines. But still pretty limited compared to the bike world.

  15. Tyler Loewens

    Does the hammerhead really have that bad of a glare issue?

  16. Don

    Looking forward to hearing more about the DA power meter, and the kite surfing! Both are things I’d like to try myself, and expect to within the next year or two.

  17. I train in Perth when I am there for work and you definitely need to pick the correct side of the river to ride depending on wind direction! Luckily, Perth has easily the best cycling infrastructure in Australia (it just lacks climbing).
    Glad to see you all warming to the local delacacies – Vegemite is definietly best spread t h i n l y! ;)

  18. Peter

    I’ve been waiting for your in-depth review of the Shimano PM. This is my first choice for a new power meter but had read of some issues around temperature compensation and L/R balance. I have a Quarq on the MTB and this would be my other option. Really happy with the reliability of the Quarq but the Shimano certainly looks good. Thankfully I can wait a little while before buying so won’t make a decision until reading your review and looking at the slow supply of the Shimano units here is Australia, I won’t have the option to buy it just yet anyway.

  19. HR

    Hey Ray, is that trainer the JetBlack WhisperDrive Smart?

  20. BK

    Glad you are enjoying your time here in Perth, not a bad little corner of the world we have :)

  21. Richard Braginton

    Hi Ray I guess there is a limit to tool stuff you can take with you on trips, but I would recommend the parktool rear deraileur hanger alignment tool a lot easier than trying to find a bike shop with the right hanger! and I would think with the amount of travelling you do more likely to need this. Easy to use and as they make hangers out of super bendy material to save super expensive frames from breaking a really handy tool

    • Michael

      Abbey Bike Tools Hanger Alighment Gauge – a tad more expensive than the Park Tool, but lighter, and more compact such that it can easily be stowed in checked luggage.

  22. Yes, DA PM testing time…!

  23. Ken

    What’s with the 645 elevation? It seems to be tracking to the others, just a few hundred feet higher.

  24. Steve Martin

    Congrats on the upcoming kite surfing lessons. I found it difficult to learn, but once you get through the learning curve, it’s a ton of fun. Stay with it.

  25. Robert Black

    Hi Ray, if you like vegimite you must try marmite when on your travels. Oh and it must be 5mm thick so all the flavour comes through.

  26. Jacob Baty

    Will you please address the issues with the Dura-Ace Powermeter that were raised in this article, specifically poor temperature compensation and inaccurate L/R power split? Thank you!

    link to bikeradar.com

    • Yup, I’ll be looking into both.

      In general though, it’s impossible to be inaccurate on left/right power split and accurate on power. That basically just means that you’re inaccurate on power and by chance happened to be accurate on total power because your left/right power was inaccurate enough in the wrong way to come all the way around to being accurate again.

      Left/right balance on these two units is simply doing the math on the sum of the individually gathered power numbers from the left side and the right side.

    • Jacob Baty

      Is it hard to analyze temperature variation? Do many of the current powermeters not account for temperature variations well?

      And, I too was quite confused that if A + B = C, and C was consistent with other meters, how were A and B then consistently inaccurate? Hopefully you can get to the bottom of it!

    • Temp variation is a tricky one to capture properly, especially in summer months.

      It’s a two part issue:

      A) You need an actual temperature shift in real-life. Meaning, a few degrees is hard to ‘capture’. You want like a 20*F temp swing
      B) Many power meters auto-zero when you stop pedaling (i.e. PowerTap), so you almost want a scenario that doesn’t allow that to occur.

      The best possible place to test temp swings in my experience is long mountain climbs in late spring. This is because the top of the mountain is usually balls-cold, whereas the base is usually quite pleasant. You can potentially get about a 50*F temp swing if you time it right, and ideally, without ever stopping.

      Someday I want to build a temperature chamber for this sorta thing, but I just don’t have the space right now to do so.

    • Jacob

      Not trying to bother you at all, just quite curious: Do you know when your Shimano DuraAce powermeter review will be up? Thanks mate!

    • Within the next few days. I had to split some time a bit for a power meter review that goes live in a few hours for an unannounced product. But been working on both reviews concurrently. My guess is either Friday or Tuesday.

  27. Damian

    Hey, I live in Perth, how long you here for, any chance of getting together for a ride? Cheers, Damian

  28. Oliver

    How well is etap working together with Sram? I would like to update one of my bikes but I do not want to change the crankset ultegra 6800


    • Oliver

      sorry need to correct my post :-)
      Hi Ray,

      How well is etap working together with Shimano crankset? I would like to update one of my bikes to etap but I do not want to change bottom bracket and the crankset is an ultegra 6800


    • No issues thus far. I had to tweak it a tiny bit using micro-adjustments, but all is good.

      I regularly swap in Shimano stuff into my eTap bike and vice versa. No real issues once you get it nice and tuned.

    • Oliver

      Perfect, I will go ahead and maybe change the bb and crankset at a later stage for a cleaner look.

    • Nathan B

      Ideal! I’ve got a 6800 groupset, but no internal routing on my bike, so no Di2.

      I have been looking at eTap, but wasn’t sure how it would get on with the Ultegra groupset.

      How do you find the brakes? Some forums say the levers have different pull ratios…

    • No issues with brakes for me. Though, I’m probably not the most picky there. As long as my bike stops before I run into something, I’m generally satisfied.

  29. Tommy


    Does Shimano have any plans to support power through Bluetooth or are they just going to use it for setup and maintenance?

  30. alban lorenzini

    Hello Ray, I loaded your files and analyzed with WKO4. L / R looks fake vs V3 and shimano powermeter underestimates a lot power vs Powetap G3 and V3. It should be very close V3.

  31. Tom

    Where is the quokka selfie? Surely you are as popular as Roger Federer?

  32. Nathan B

    Cool. Is that with Shimano callipers or SRAM?