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Tech Tidbits: Polar Vantage Updates, Strava sorta removes ads, PowerTap P2 pedals

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There’s been a handful of non-headliner tech tidbits this week in the world of sports tech that are worthwhile mentioning and chatting about. Of course, given this is Friday, the post length is required to be short. Apparently people have shorter attention spans on Friday. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, onwards we go.

Polar Vantage Series Updates Plan:

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It’s no secret that the new Polar Vantage series announced last month landed with a thud. In large part due to the oddly significant number of features missing, especially important ones. Some of those features were on lists to be implemented in the coming months, while other features weren’t on any list at all.  All of these features were ‘removals’ of features that had been and are in current/predecessor Polar products.  For example, route navigation was removed, as was smartphone notifications, along with timers and the like.

Again, some of these were outlined as future additions for likely early next year, but one in particular – route navigation – was not found on any list. While one can academically debate whether or not they utilize route navigation, the results from the vast majority of people in the comments sections of any post, forums, Facebook, and bathroom stalls around the world was clear: WTF?

Thankfully, Polar has amended and published their longer-range plan of action to list out exactly which features they’ll be adding going forward – and route navigation has now made the cut. Here’s what else is on the list:

Update 2.0 – December 2018:
Polar Vantage V: Stopwatch, countdown timer, and interval timer
Polar Vantage M: Stopwatch, countdown timer, and interval timer

Update 3.0 – ‘Early 2019’:
Polar Vantage V: Smartphone notification, back to start guidance, waypoint navigation for downloaded routes
Polar Vantage M: Smartphone notifications (calls/messages/etc…), back to start guidance

Future Updates – ‘Timing to be confirmed’
Device type not specified: Strava Live Segments, Fitness Test, ‘other features to be confirmed’

Note that all of these updates all say ‘enhancements to existing features’, but don’t specify what such enhancements they are.

When I met with Polar back a month or so ago prior to launch, I noted that they’d really need to have a clear-cut plan on how to restore these features. I pointed out that years ago with the Suunto Spartan series when that company found themselves in a similar predicament, that they ended up putting together an entire site dedicated to how their Spartan series was going to get a series of updates. And by and large, Suunto hit all those milestones – and usually in the timeframes noted. In fact, they did the same things many years ago with the Ambit series too, well before Spartan.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not Polar can hit their timeframes. Historically speaking that’s been trickier for them to meet promised updates/timeframes. And given it’ll be nearly five years since the Vantage’s predecessor came out (the V800), I’m not super confident that all the features will be hit according to schedule.

Now both Polar and Suunto have been very explicit that they aren’t trying to chase Garmin in features anymore. Instead, they’re going to focus on the more hardcore/professional athlete (at least in terms of specific features). But even if Polar isn’t trying to chase Garmin, they need to be chasing Suunto. And the entire purpose of the Vantage M unit (the little brother to the V) is to undercut Garmin and challenge Suunto at the also-$279 price point for the Suunto Trainer Wrist HR. Yet Suunto’s offering does navigation, and Polar’s won’t.

I’m not convinced that’ll help sell the Vantage M – especially when sale season comes along for Suunto and they drop the price down to $224 like they tend to do every 2-4 months.

As for my in-depth review of the Vantage series – later this month. I’ve continued to use it on runs/rides/swims (including these last few days openwater swimming). Polar says they’ll start shipping in early November [updated].  So I’m curious to see how others fare compared to my latest tracks. I will say though that given the 9 (yes, nine) LEDs they have in the optical HR sensor, that the HR accuracy there has been on-point so far.  More to come.

Strava Integrations:

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At this juncture you’re probably trying to figure out what the heck ‘Strava Integrations’ means. Here, I’ll rephrase it for you:

“Zwift and TrainerRoad Ads in Strava.”

See, now that makes sense, right?

Of course you’ve seen these ads – not just for Zwift and TrainerRoad, but other companies as well. The SufferFest, Peloton, Mindbody, Wahoo, and as of Monday, Suunto.

In general the opinion is split between:

A) WTF is wrong with Strava!?!?
B) Shrug…swipe.

I tend to actually fall closer to the 2nd category. It really doesn’t bother me. And honestly, if these companies find value in paying Strava for it and get good ‘conversion’ rates, then so be it. You can see an example of an activity, and what happens when you click on it:

2018-10-11 12.21.18 2018-10-11 12.21.14

2018-10-11 12.14.19 2018-10-11 12.14.49

However, Strava has heeded some of the yelling and given us a new option (sorta). Specifically the ability to turn it off. The biggest complaint to date was that for many premium (err… Summit) members, you’re paying for a service only to be served ads. Though, I suppose both Hulu and the New York Times subscriptions I also pay for do the same. Still, the point is valid.

So Strava now offers the ability to disable certain ‘integrations’. You can see this option down in the settings on the app:

2018-10-08 18.26.56 2018-10-08 18.27.25

Alternatively, if you click on one of your own activities and the sponsored info, you can see the same options for that particular company:

2018-10-11 12.12.42 2018-10-11 12.12.49

Except, there’s some sorta weird quirks here.

Quirk #1: Only the poster (the person posting the workout) can disable the integration as to whether or not their followers see said integrations (ads). So in my case, it’s me that makes the decision on whether you (if you follow me) see the ads. It’s not you. You’ve apparently got no control/say over it.  This is bizarre on so many levels, and seems to be ill-thought out in two ways. First, is the consumer minded way. In this scenario the consumers that hate it the most still can’t turn the darn thing off unless they bug the people they follow.  But second is the real kicker: In this scenario high-profile accounts that have thousands of followers (and thus the most impactful to both Strava and the connected integrations bottom lines from an ad standpoint) are making the decisions.

So let’s take me. As of this writing, I have 11,678 followers on Strava. Hardly a big deal in the grand scheme of Strava accounts. In my case, if I turn these integrations off – then those 11,678 won’t see the integrations for the crapton of services that I use. Not a single person. Yet, as I’ve seen in the past – a number of folks are actually interested in knowing (and frequently ask). So in this scenario, because I make a fart in the wind choice to turn it off, Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc loses out on 11,678 opportunities to convert…every…single…day I post a new workout.

And more importantly, the people who hate the ads still can’t do squat about it. I’m struggling to think of any scenario where either side (actually, three sides – Strava, Consumers, Partners), wins in this case.

Quirk #2: Strava says in the e-mail that integrations technically fall into two categories. Sponsored and non-sponsored. Sponsored are ones where Strava has entered into a partnership with the company and the company gets a link on your feed from your activity off to their site to sell something to you. Additionally, they might do things like screenshots from the app/etc.

Here’s how they explain this bit:

“We’re going to be even more transparent by labeling paid-for integrations as “Sponsored.” We want you to know which brands have paid for the privilege of showing up differently in your feed (and to be clear, today’s updates do not make sponsored integrations more or less likely to appear in your feed than unsponsored ones).”

Hmm, except, I’m not clear on something here: Since all of these companies are already paying for the privilege of doing so (they pay on a per user basis), aren’t all of them sponsored?

They do note some interesting things coming though:

“You’ll soon see some of our partners creating new integrations for their GPS devices. Go for a run or ride with select watches or head units, and your activity might highlight stats that are unique to those devices, or show an upgraded map of where on your route you snatched up a PR.”

And that sounds like it could be good. And in theory, if they reverse the way they handle the integrations bit in Quirk #1, this might actually be useful to folks. In talking with a number of GPS device makers about the integrations over the past year, their main pushback to Strava was that people were frustrated they couldn’t turn them off in their feed. So much so that they were getting angry at these companies (as we saw towards Wahoo), thinking Wahoo was turning it on when it was more directly a Strava feature.

So the idea that there could be some legit value for GPS/device makers is interesting.  Unfortunately, it’s a little unclear on what these newfangled integrations might look like beyond what we have today. On Monday, Suunto entered into the partner realm with Strava for device integrations – but it’s all kinda same-same there. Nothing fancy that I can see in my testing – akin to Wahoo’s integrations (they only seem to show a PR icon on the map for a given segment if you hit one). They’re almost placeholders by the looks of things.

Of course – my voice is only one, so I’m curious to see what folks think below in the comments on the integrations. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, think they should be different – drop a note. While I know Strava is paying attention to these comments, what matters more is that many ‘partner integration’ companies are also paying attention. And since they pay the bills in that relationship (between them and Strava), voicing your thoughts to them matters more than voicing it to Strava.

PowerTap P2:

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Finally, we’ve got a tiny bit of news I’ll dive into in more depth in the coming weeks. Since I’ve been in snowy Canada and hot and steamy Mexico these last two weeks I’ve been without my bike. But, I did receive more power meters instead – specifically, the PowerTap P2:

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Above is a half-unboxing. I find hotel rooms don’t make great unboxing venues, so this is like a strippers tease of an unboxing. What you really want is the specs though. Here’s how it’s different than the PowerTap P1:

Weight: Reduction of total pedal mass, down below 400g now (previously was 437g). This reduction was done mostly internally inside the pedal body by cutting away inside. However, there is now a small cutout from under the skid plate as well. Externally there’s no visible differences in size.

Battery life: The company says the units will now get 80 hours of battery life per battery (still AAA), however with more steady-state and longer rides, you could see up to 100hrs of battery life. They noted that this was done by tweaking some of the electronics inside to gain back some battery life.

Improved sealing: The company says they learned a lot from the PowerTap P1, and specifically had a lot of “why are people using it like that” moments when troubleshooting issues. They say that the new unit improves various sealing points more than before. They did note that the PowerTap P1 did see a lot of changes in-line though over the years (for example we saw the new battery caps pretty quickly after introduction).

It got a paint job: It’s now silver, which, PowerTap admits is…’polarizing’ (their words, not mine). I probably would have selected other words, but given the majority of this post (outside the PowerTap P2 section) is mostly ranting, I’m running low on creative ways to phrase this one.

So in a nutshell, it lost some weight, got an exterior makeover, and in the process, the batteries last longer. It doesn’t receive any new features at this point.

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And I think that’s a bit of a disappointment. With the Favero Assioma pedals slated to get the new ANT+ Cycling Dynamics, PowerTap doesn’t appear set to join them. I asked about this, and they (PowerTap) felt that their existing mobile app driven process was the best place for that. Frankly, I can’t think of a worse place for it (except printing it on a latte). It’s clunky to use, doesn’t work well when riding outdoors in terms of people’s workflow, and doesn’t translate very easily in the end-state app. Just like trying to take a latte outdoors on a bike.

Pricing wise, the new PowerTap P2 will go up in price to $899, while the PowerTap P1 will stay at $799 (and the PowerTap P1S will stay at $529). There’s no immediate PowerTap P2S on the books.  Availability for the PowerTap P2 is slated as November 15th.

Ultimately, I’m not sure this will help PowerTap much – especially in the fight against Favero, but also against Garmin Vector 3. While Garmin’s Vector 3 has had a messy year, most signs indicate that it’s past the troubled waters they’ve crossed. And even if it’s not, people are still buying a crapton of them – so something must be working.  And with Favero – the story is also true (except they’ve got no issue). So they’ve got a lower priced product than PowerTap that’s more or less universally loved.

I think people were hoping PowerTap would come into the market with a sleek Vector-like looking pedal, sans the pods of the Favero Assioma (that some people dislike). That would have hugely driven sales. Or at least introduced the P2 at the same $799 price point and dropped the P1 down below Assioma’s price point.

Either way – I’ll still be throwing them on my bike and seeing how they fair. Given that the crappy Netherlands winter weather shall soon be upon us, I’ll be able to see how well those new robust sealings work.

With that – thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend ahead! I’ll be spending a good chunk of it in a metal tube crossing back over the pond to home and a giant pile of new trainers to review!

P.S. – Today is the last day to order our DCR Cycling Kits/Gear – so definitely hit up the page and pick your color! Also, today will likely be the last day the DCR Open House/Cave registration is open. It’s nearing capacity and frankly we won’t be able to fit any more people in.

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86 Comments

  1. Marios

    “And more importantly, the people who hate the ads still can’t do squat about it.” Actually what I ended up doing was to follow people who post all those super-annoying Peloton stock photos with the creepy back-light. I now have zero “ads” on my feed and also follow many fewer athletes.

    Is this what Strava wants us to do? I know I am a minority but I really hate ads …

  2. Frankenzen

    Thanks for the Strava explanation Ray. The information Strava have been putting out this year had been all mumbo jumbo

    • Ian S

      Ditto, the email strava sent out was completely incoherent. I think paying members don’t see adds, that’s an almost universal internet rule, it’s odd that strava have deviated.

    • Dan G

      Tbh I still don’t understand it. As Ray says, when is a Partner not a Sponsor?

      I’ve seen the Zwift links a few times and they don’t bother me. It seems a reasonable way to spread the word.

      It seems I don’t follow anyone with a Wahoo head unit, so I’ve never seen “…rode with a WAHOO”. However, if *I* used a Wahoo, I’d be seriously pissed off at having something like that appended to my name in the Strava feed! I would not have bought a £200+ device to have that appear on my workouts.

    • Reggie

      That’s not true for the base subscription level on Hulu. Sometimes the cost of a service is high enough that ads are needed to sustain profitability even with subscription fees. I guess they could have a higher ad-free tier if the basic one isn’t bringing in enough revenue. But with Strava, they do lay out what you’re paying for, training, safety, and data analysis. Which you can now even parcel out for less money.

      Seems to me that as long as they improve transparency, which I do think is a bit lacking here, it’s fine. They tell you what you’re agreeing to pay for, and you get that.

  3. RE: Strava. So Zwift pay Strava to advertise to my 15,000 Strava followers. And Wahoo pay Strava to tell my followers I’m using a BOLT. I’ve worked my arse off to curate a nicely maintained Starva profile. Photos, ride descriptions, no double-posts from my x number of head units….. And companies are paying Strava to advertise via my feed? Is the fee weighted? I suspect the value to Zwfit, Wahoo, TrainerRoad is greater for large follower accounts.

    At this point I’m not comfortable with any of this. All integrations have been disabled. I’d like to negotiate my own “sponsored fee” if anything is going to be labelled as such. The recent privacy additions gave the users a TON of new control. This needs to extend into these partner integrations.

    And why can’t I get a damn verified badge on there.

    /rant.

    • Daryl

      It would be cool if you got reduced costs for Strava memberships based on click through… shouldn’t be hard to track if people are clicking on the link on your activity.

      Otherwise, totally agree with your assessment, Ray. It is puzzling that they have an option to shut off ads, but it works backward from how you would expect it. Maybe the logic was like Shane’s, and they don’t like the optics of forcing people who already drive a lot of Strava traffic to advertise for their partners, too? They’re trying to avoid alienating people like you?

    • Dan G

      If a service is free, you’re the product. C.f. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

      Strava has given you, for free, a platform where you can have 15,000 followers. They need to make some money from that. If having 15,000 followers benefits you, then you’re getting something from the deal too.

    • Dan G

      You don’t have to though. Certainly not to build a base of followers.

    • Geoffrey

      Then you’re a “Strava Ambassador” (read you do something they attach their name to it and you get nothing in return) oh wait its not even that….I hear you and feel you…your only other option is to get off Strava altogether (as I did albeit for different reasons)

    • RE: “So Zwift pay Strava to advertise to my 15,000 Strava followers. And Wahoo pay Strava to tell my followers I’m using a BOLT”

      But don’t forget, depending on the head unit maker – they also pay Strava an additional licensing fee to allow you to use Strava Live Segments (even if you don’t use it). If you use Garmin or Wahoo, at present they aren’t paying that fee. Most other smaller ones are/will be for new units from this summer forward.

    • Drew E.

      Agree with you, Shane.

      As Ray wrote, “Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc loses out on 11,678 opportunities to convert…every…single…day I post a new workout.”

      Let’s say every single one of those was converted into new accounts. Great! But they did so through your effort, your popularity. How are you compensated for being the brand ambassador for these companies? Do they even track how many accounts can be attributed to individuals on Strava, or just that they came from Strava generally? If an internal sales person at Zwift drove 11K new subscriptions by whatever means, I promise you, they would have a fat bonus at the end of the year as well as a steady paycheck.

      You don’t get free advertising on my jersey. I have bills to pay also — and I pay for all the services I use, including Zwift and Strava. It’s weird of them to think anyone would be okay with this arrangement.

    • Lars

      What I did immediately after receiving the email with the new “privacy” policy:
      deleted my Strava profile.

      Maybe we should all stop ranting and start doing. Support open source communities like Mastodon, Friendica, Diaspora and PeerTube. If nobody goes there, nobody is there.
      Ray and Shane, you could setup profiles there and crosspost to Facebook and Twitter and such. So your followers could decide whether they want to continue to support data leeches like Google and Facebook, regardless of the support for you.

    • Mathias

      Same here. Was a paying member but cancelled & removed my account. don’t see any reason to pay strava to see ads.. I’ll continue using garmin + smashrun going forwards.

  4. ghotz

    Good to see Polar updates, “stopwatch, countdown timer, and interval timer” were really WTFs, but I’m still puzzled about the Fitness Test being left out in the generic “future updates” camp… this is available even in the A370 these days (with an external HRM, still…)

  5. More importantly, and possibly more significantly for Strava, they have a new privacy policy which is in breach of GDPR. They have decided they can share our information with partners unless we opt out (to enable the ads which paying members shouldn’t be forced into anyway!). Everything about this section of thier policy is illegal under GDPR. I’ve notified their DPO, although dissapointingly the DPO email address just raises a generic support ticket in the helpdesk, which I’m pretty certain is also illegal under GDPR. They assumed I’d misunderstood their privacy policy and said some pointless nonsense in return. I reiterated the legal status of the policy and mentioned the gargantuan fines, and now in typical Strava style we have radio silence.

    This company doesn’t deserve my money, unless something changes pretty soon I’ll be cancelling my subs but will probably also remove all of my data and leave the platform. Which is unfortunate because I used to love Strava.

    • Dan G

      Wow, you go through all that but you still give the, money??

    • Dave Lusty

      My subscription auto-renewed a month ago before any of this was announced. I like the old service and the way the company was being run and was happy to pay, so I’ll wait and give them a chance to fix this. Unfortunately it looks like they’ve decided to cash in and milk the user base for every penny so might be time to move on.

  6. cycloscott

    Regarding the PowerTap P2 pedals…

    It’s been 3 years since the P1s were release. At the time, they stated that support for updating the firmware would be coming to Android devices soon. Never happened. Then they released the companion app with advanced metrics for iOS devices, stating that they were working on the Android version. Never happened. They replied to one of my criticisms and asked me to beta-test their Android version. Never happened.

    Apparently they’ve been spending all of their development time working on pedals that are silver.

    Suffice to say I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.

    • DSimpson

      Agreed – they really need to make the advanced metric available to Polar/Garmin/Wahoo, etc. for use on head units. No way I want to be sticking by iphone on the handlebars during a ride. My phone is usually in a plastic bag in my jersey pocket (for emergencies) and that is where I would like it to stay.

    • David

      They said early on that there would be a path toward upgrading a P1s to a P1 dual-sided pair. Never happened. I’ve contacted them about twice a year for the last several years, then just gave up. Actually glad I never had an opportunity to upgrade to dual-sided…it would have been a waste of time and money.

      My Vector 3’s were purchased after all the problems were fixed. They work great, have a crap-ton more metrics, and don’t require special cleats. They are way less bulky, weigh less, and I can clip in/out much easier.

  7. R.O

    Hey, will there be an Apple watch review coming out anytime soon? Stoked to hear your thoughts on that one.

  8. Kris

    Nice updates for the Vantage, that is a good sign. Because I’m looking for a Triathlon watch on a budget and the Polar Vantage M looks great, but how does it compare to the Suunto Trainer … ?

    Also on the lookout for a power meter and pedals are the easiest way without having to ditch my Cannondale spider crank. Curious about the in depth review.

    • David Chrisman

      Kris–power2max also has Cannondale compatibility to consider in your search. Hoping Quarq will too at some point.

    • Fneu

      Couple of months ago I ordered a Suunto Spartan Trainer, Polar M430 and Garmin FR 235 to compare.

      Suunto Trainer is a nice Watch with good GPS and lot’s of functionality. Most notably it does navigate, which the Vantage M won’t do according to current roadmap.

      BUT the display of the Trainer is small and dim, I did sent it back because I had too hard a time reading the data fields during training.

  9. Eugene Chan

    That’s too bad. I was hoping the PowerTap P2s would be a complete redesign not a P1.5. Guess I’ll be adding Assioma Duos to my stable to go with my Vector 3s.

  10. Dan G

    I don’t know what Polar are thinking but they deserve to lose money on the Vantage series. Basically, in a year, they might have finished developing the watches to a point where it might be worth buying them. So why buy one before that?! I sincerely hope people don’t.

    Polar evidently chose not to invest in employing sufficient developers to get the watches’ software fully-baked in the same time period as the hardware. Let’s not reward that choice.

    • DSimpson

      Because the HR is still far better than anything Garmin has to offer. And if they get the GPS sorted out so that it is as accurate as the V800 then that beats Garmin as well.

    • Dan G

      So long as I follow Ray’s advice I find Garmin’s optical heart rate fine.

    • The Real Bob

      I had a stress test last month, EKG on a treadmill. I found the garmin 935 pretty darn accurate at HR compared to the fancy medical equipment. Although the garmin was slightly delayed as compared to the machine. The machine noticed what it seemed to be instantaneous HR changes, where the garmin took a second.

      I my opinion, POLAR is a dead man walking. i say this even though Polar was my first running/biking gps watch. So, I have a little sentimentality for them. But I haven’t owned a Polar device since, because they just lack the features.

    • Josef sojka

      Well I preordered. Polar Is excelent with working in updates for while life cycle of their devices. And still vantage m Is best what I can get for this Price. All i miss Is interval, but i Guess it still suports interval training created on PC So O.k. for me.

  11. Sean

    Compared to Garmin’s Vectors the PowerTaps are still too clunky. And I Completely agree with “Cycloscotts” post. I will get the Vectors in Spring (time to upgrade from my one side Stages.

  12. Ivan

    Hi, Ray
    I have noticed you are no longer using P1 as your main power source, is it becouse of bearings play?
    The P2 will have same bearing replacement policy – $175 each year?

  13. Nick M

    Re: Strava’s ads – I agree with you Ray. They got this one completely the wrong way round. I’m a fee-paying member and really really hate seing ads – I want to be able to stop ads showing up on other people’s activities. If they don’t sort this soon I’m moving back to the free level as I already use TP for most serious analysis.

  14. Giuri

    hi Ray,
    you said about vector3 that things are getting better.
    is this true?is everything fixed for the v3’s?
    you also said that people are still buying a crapton of them – so something must be working.. where do you found your info?
    I’m curious since I canceled my order from powermeter24 (dreadful story…) and while I’m waiting for the refund to appear on my account I still consider them as a choice vs exakt.

    • Cristi

      I can’t speak for everyone, but I did have the “left pedal missing” issue. In my case some battery brands worked fine (Duracells LR3s), while other ones just didn’t (Energizer for example) and this was before getting the new style caps. I do have two pairs and I only had issues with one of them. Since sticking only with Duracell I had about 0 issues.

    • Eli

      I’m only one data point, but I bought my Vector 3 pedals from my local shop at the end of the summer. They were part of the new shipment after the issues had been claimed to be fixed. They arrived with one set of batteries dead, which I only mention because it means I have done a battery replacement. I’ve experienced zero problems whatsoever; no dropouts, no missing pedal warnings, and the power readings seem to be accurate (not that I have a lot of ways to test this, but they’re within the margin of error with my Kickr Snap when I’ve recorded both at the same time). Very happy with them.

  15. Jeffrey F.

    Strava never ceases to amaze in how they have built something with such potential and critical mass, yet find new and innovative ways to squander both. It’s as if they’ve built a business for athletes without having anyone who knows business nor sports. If they’d only make you King of the World, Ray, we’d be so much better off…..

  16. usr

    About that Strava integrations “sender controls visibility” thing… My guess is that they want to empower an influencer culture where device makers would outbid each other to get onto the wrist and into the activity teasers of high profile microcelebrities. Becoming more like Instagram, where every active participant now seems to be chasing the dream of one day having enough followers for getting Free Stuff. Doesn’t make sense to me as I generally don’t see the point in following people I don’t know personally, but it might be the current vision of Strava decisionmakers.

    On the receiving end, as much as I’d love to remove that annoying Wahoo bar (paying for summit and all…), I’m actually more concerned that some people might disable integrations for indoor activities that generate a virtual track. I like the in-your-face reminder that this has just been a mind-numbing session in front of the telly, not a trip to some exotic island.

    On a side note, I wonder how this plays into the rumors of Strava squeezing small device makers for live segment integration? Best case scenario would be that it was all a misunderstanding (“Of, you just want live segments for summit members, not a Strava Integration ™ ad on the feed, sorry for the confusion”), but I doubt this is true.

  17. Peter

    Oh..what other powermeter did your received other than the PowerTap P2?

  18. Giles E

    Hi Ray,
    You mention about Suunto and Strava integration. What’s the score there, referring back to the dual Movescount and under-developed Suunto App situation? Are Suunto at the point of the new app actually uploading to Strava?

    • Jonathan Burchmore

      They have claimed on the beta forum that Strava will be coming to the new app soon, but it’s not there yet.

  19. Jon Niehof

    One of the things that really bugs me about the Strava thing is I can’t turn it off until after they’ve pushed the ad. There’s no “off” button. There’s just “off for this particular product” button. Right now that setting page is completely blank for me. So if Garmin signs a deal tomorrow and starts pushing “Jon did this with his fenix 3!” I have to jump on it then. And then if Saucony signs, I have to do it again. And so on.

    Strava’s claim that you can turn this off is misleading at best.

  20. Soap

    It makes me wonder if Strava is going to offer revenue sharing to top athletes with lots of followers. For it sure seems like what this structure allows is opting in/out of monetizing your feed.

  21. Paul S.

    All of the pedal companies are missing out by requiring three-bolt cleats. I just bought a new gravel bike, and my Vector 2S went out the window. I’ve got a shiny new Pioneer Ultegra crank waiting to be bolted on to the bike tonight. Building a 2-bolt SPD-compatible pedal can’t be THAT difficult if you’ve already got a pedal-based meter that works!

    • Bob

      Agree. I’m in the same situation, I have to use road shoes on my cx bike to use my vector pedals. I really don’t want to buy a crank PM.

    • Unfortunately this issue comes down to intellectual property rights. I believe all of the pedal PMs use Look Keo compatible cleats (or a very close approximation). These are older than 20 years and have the design has entered the public domain. SPD is owned by Shimano, and Shimano would have to either develop a pedal power meter, or license the technology. Same can be said for Crank Brothers or any other 2 bolt system.

  22. ekutter

    After reading about the Strava changes, I went to take a look at what I’m paying for Strava now. When I go to my Strava Account’s page, I can’t find pricing info anywhere. Plus I can’t find any info on how to manage which of the Summit Packs I want. Did they never actually implement the packs? I’m set to auto-renew my annual membership in November, and at this point, I’m most likely just going to cancel for now and see if I miss anything.

  23. Geoffrey

    That PowerTap P2 update was really underwhelming…I was hoping they would come out with something slimmer…was even considering switching from my beloved Speedplay for it…..oh well I guess its Power2Max.

  24. Nick K

    Ray,

    Is October 17 start day for Vantage shipping to customers or retailers? I believe I’ve seen 10/22 floating as availability at one place. Clever Training is saying late October, and Polar customer support wouldn’t commit earlier than November when I talked to them about a week ago. They website has November for preorders too.

    As always, thanks a lot for keeping us informed!

  25. Ismo

    If only someone would release a powermeter pedal with SPD SL compatibility…

    I am quite sure I am not he only one hating the idea of replacing a pair of nice carbon pedals with some wellgo cheapos.

  26. Marklemcd

    Regarding strava: when was the last time they released features that were end user focused? That made strava more sticky and fun to use?

    • I think your comment is so critical…and something Strava doesn’t seem to get.

      Having worked for a software development company, it can be easy to forget that even though something like this announcement would internally be called a ‘feature release’, that users don’t see it that way. Same goes for privacy settings, rebranding, and the like. The last thing that comes to mind for me as a legit feature is Strava Beacon.

      And I think that’s core to why people are so frustrated with Strava. It’s hard to find people that are giddy with Strava, despite the fact that all of us use it daily and probably enjoy it (I do).

      But if someone pressed me to name what new and exciting features Strava has released in the last few years…I kinda draw a blank (except Beacon). And that’s a problem.

      Whereas, I can think of plenty of things that have pissed people off (also a problem).

      On the flip side, I get Strava’s challenge. They’ve had to spend a bunch of time this year to fix all the unfun things (namely privacy controls), whether or not we asked for them. The challenge for any company is how to balance that with new features.

  27. Jeff Wiggins

    Thanks for the strava information. As a paying member when I received the email I went and disabled the partner integration and was the surprised to see the ads still. Quirk 1 is the reason. I’ve now decided to let my summit membership expire until things chane. (I do pay by the year though and it just renewed 🙃)

    Great update!

    • Stefan Gutehall

      Yep, same here. I been thinking about what the actual value of Strava is for me and that I cannot have in Polar Flow – the only thing for me is really the social connections so I have now cancelled my summit subscription – don’t want to pay for *features* I do not use.

  28. RobHug

    Well you have to say that the P2 announcement is less than underwhelming.

    Same form factor – fail
    No pedal metrics to anything other than their iOS app – fail
    BT only transmitting one pedal and no one channel option – fail

    You’d have to think that they saw the other releases and thought yeah they look rubbish, ours is great. Let’s stick with that.

    I have no clue why anyone would buy these over the Garmin option or the Favero option.

    And this from a P1 user – and I love these pedals, but they desperately need an actual v2.

    Sorry PT but you’ll lose a customer here.

  29. Jay Holbrook

    Still thinking lack of music/podcast support is a mistake for Polar as well. It eliminates another device to carry, which I would think would be important to athletes who log long distances/hours training, plus would also be attractive to the broader market (e.g., casual fitness enthusiast).

    Whiile I (somewhat) get the lack of desire to compete feature to feature with Garmin, but just about EVERY other watch will have music capability in 2018/2019.

    May not be the deciding factor, but I still think it’s a pretty big, obvious straw on the camel’s back.

    • Andrew

      Can’t have both music and 40 hour battery so Polar think athletes prefer battery life?

    • Stefan Gutehall

      I almost always run with music, iTunes or Spotify but I also always have my mobile with me for safety.
      I personally prefer keeping the control of my training data on the watch (right now M430) and my music controlled from my backbeat fit Bluetooth headphones. Honestly I cant see the necessity in music control, payment and other non training related stuff in a watch. (a couple of folded bills doest take much space and are more versatile for payment than e-payment).
      Adding more features might either decrease battery life – at least when in use, but also need more memory for music storage and take more space/weight for hardware and also programming memory that could be used for other features – doubt the program memory is a big issue, but i don’t know how tight they squeeze it. More memory or features that need extra hardware would also mean increased cost so I see several reasons to keep the lines aimed at athletes focused on the essentials.
      If they wanted to have a fitness aimed smartwatch they could develop a replacement for the M600 instead.

    • Jay Holbrook

      Interesting points and we all have our own feature lists, so not disagreeing with your individual priorities. M600 idea is sound, except if you don’t have the $$ to chase features I doubt you really want to support multiple watches.

      I do agree that payments aren’t a big deal though, as bills/credit card are light and easy to stash, but I have an iPhone 8 and there’s no way I’m dragging that around on a long run. Onboard storage for music (vs. streaming options) is dirt cheap and if you want 40 hour battery life don’t turn it on.

      So, my point is really around the addressable market. As it stands, the Vantage line, and the M specifically, is a bit niche in my opinion. I expect the actual need for 40 hours is quite rare, driven primarily by specific races/events, and that typical training needs are significantly less. Therefore, adding music would have greatly increased the market potential with little to no impact on battery life/cost.

    • Andrew

      The point of the battery life is that you don’t have to recharge the watch after every activity, it will probably only require a recharge once a week. 40 hours of GPS activity is more than most people train per week?

  30. Excellent post Ray. I also just listened to your Keynote at the ANT plus conference. Great information.

    I recently signed up for TrainerRoad. I had set that account to private but needed Strava to route my rides not done on the trainer back into the TR calendar. I was mildly surprised to see my TR then pop up in Strava (going the other way) despite TR’s setting as private.

    I have been running and tri-ing for 8 plus years using the free versions of various platforms. Garmin Connect which I assume I’ve paid for since I’ve purchased three new and two reconditioned watches from them. I’ve bought gear from Clever Training and Amazon through your site including the Wahoo ELMNT and Garmin watches and look at your recommendations for any gear I buy. I subscribe to the free versions of Training Peaks and Strava and of course am aware of Zwift.

    I was looking to put the nose to the trainer this offseason and chose Trainer Road as it seems to be aligned with my focus. That all said, I’ll probably leave the integration on as I believe I get great value from them and am a supporter of what they are doing.

    I certainly believe you and SM with the number of followers would have a different calculus.

    Keep up the great work!

  31. oof

    reason 6012 why I will never be a part of the strava cult. too much BS form that company plus it breeds a lot of braggy folks

  32. Zoser

    Hello

    There is a watch upcoming from Huawei that this time seems rally oriented to the sports. I believe that it’ll be released or presented next week 16 October. If you feel that it could be really good, it’ll be amaing to watch a review of the watch in your page.

    I have added in the spanish forum “foroatletismo” a new post about the Huawei Watch GT with new leaked oficial images and information obtained from Huawei in a test page today that is now down, an amazing watch it seems. You can click in the links of Mega below the images for download them or view in full size, feel free of use them. There some with the specifications too.

    Gorgeous watch with ceramic bezel plus stainless steel case, till 80h – 100km in off-road mode, 30 days in watch mode or 2 weeks in heavy use, 22 hours with gps in full precision mode, PDR algorithm to predict your route if the GPS fails, infraview invisible leds, quick release straps, and a lot more new features. I hope that in the reviews it shows a good performance, precision and enough compatility with smartphones, etc. Will its propietary OS come with an sdk? If it does well, i’ll buy one for sure.

    Even it is supposed to have a great price around 230 euros.

    You can translate with google translator or Chrome what i explained or ask if me you prefer.

    The link is this:
    link to foroatletismo.com

    Regards

    • Zoser

      I forgot mention that in previous leaks, the leaker commented that it comes with Firstbeat metrics like the Garmin and Suunto watches.

  33. John

    As a paying Strava Summit subscriber, I should be able to turn off the “sponsored” crap if I choose to.

    To be clear: I still want to see Shane’s efforts, just without the Wahoo/Zwift/etc. integrations (whether or not Shane happens to have them enabled on his end). All this will do is push people into unfollowing the athletes who have integrations enabled.

    I’m only subscribing for Live Segments, but if they continue to turn Strava into Stravabook, it’s not going to be worth the BS.

    • I’ve got you covered, I’ve switched them all off. 🙂

    • It’s actually interesting. Unlike Shane – I’ve kept it on. I actually like the base content of the integration – specifically the mostly auto-generated photo pieces. I think Strava in general is far better the more visual it is, and for indoor workouts that are already boring – adding something – anything – is better than nothing. So to that end, I kinda like it.

      (Of course, this is where someone points out that Strava could make all sorts of interesting graphs themselves, but hasn’t.)

      What I don’t care much for is the ad tie-ins. It doesn’t immensely bother me, but I wish I had the option to turn off that bit specifically.

  34. Cory Davis

    I’ve used the original P1 pedals since they came out and have been fairly happy with my investment. I sent the first pair in because the bearings/axles became worn and they replaced the pedals free and also threw in a set of shoe cleats. My biggest problems with the pedals are that they are a bit slow and difficult to clip into compared to other road pedals I’ve used. Rarely have I hit the pedals on corners – though I have a couple of times. They’re reliable, accurate and I don’t mind that they are a bit on the heavy side. As happy as I’ve been with them I’d buy a set of Garmin pedals if I was buying a new power meter and that’s even though I don’t particularly like the Garmin company’s reliability nor the usability of their products. I’m really surprised PowerTap didn’t put in the extra effort to redo the pedals to compete with Garmin.

    • Mark R.

      I’m in your camp here Cory, aside form the fact I got soooo frustrated that the P1 cleats weren’t 100% compatible with Keo cleats ( I kept pulling my Keo cleats out under loads of 500W+ like sprinting uphill), which was just frankly inexcusable and dangerous; that I sold them on eBay. It just wasn’t worth the hassle of having Keo summer, SPD winter and P1 cleated shoes hanging around.
      That they managed to redesign without making them fully Keo compatible is beyond me and makes me very happy I sold them.

      In the market for a new pair of Garmin pedals now.

  35. Rob

    I’ve used Polar for the past 3 years however I’m considering switching over to Garmin as I’m a little disappointed by what the Vantage has to offer. I have all my training stored in Polar Flow, does anybody know if there is a way to transfer all of my Polar workouts into Garmin Connect? Does Garmin Connect have a migration wizard of some sort that allows users to switch platforms easily? I’d also be interested in peoples thoughts on which is best Polar Flow or Garmin Connect. Thanks!

  36. Paul

    Best (well, only) way I’ve found of getting the actual costs is to go to

    link to strava.com

    in private browsing mode.

    Daft I know.

  37. Joey

    I think it is 100% crap that I pay extra for strava, premium, and I get all the zwift come-ons.
    Total debasement of my membership.

  38. Scott

    That does seem crazy to me that Strava shows you ads when you pay for the service. I wouldn’t mind the ads as much if it was a free version.

  39. Matt Haigh

    Odd that the option to control the ads is only in the app settings and not in the corresponding pc settings, it would be so easy to do.