Today Specialized continued their slow invasion into sports tech gadgetry with the introduction of the Specialized ANGi standalone pod and fully pod-equipped helmet lineup. These connected helmet pods alert your friends and family when you crash, but also give those folks a tracking link for your entire ride (and even alert when you don’t come home on time). Oh, and Specialized quietly acquired ICEdot (the company) a year ago and managed to keep it under wraps.
Another oh – the company (Specialized) is building out a ride meeting/organizing app that should probably give companies like Strava pause for thought. But more on that in a moment.
First up is the helmets and sensors, which I’ve gotten a couple of rides in already – but will wait a few months before doing a complete review on it (so I can find out if I get false positives or worse, real positives). However, in the meantime, here’s this first look at things. The video below is notable as I show how the crash detection bits work in real-time:
Though, if you want all the textual details, then read on! Note that in case you’re just reading this intro bit while deciding whether to read everything else: The standalone pod is available for a mere $49. Quite reasonable actually from Specialized. Do they sell anything that inexpensive? I kid…mostly. Let’s get into the tech details.
The Tech Specs:
The ANGi lineup is essentially two parts. Or three depending on how you slice it. You can buy basically one of three things:
A) Standalone ANGi pod you can attach to any helmet on earth
B) ANGi capable helmet from Specialized, sans-pod, for later pod addition
C) ANGi equipped helmet from Specialized, with the pod already attached.
About now you’re probably wondering what the heck ANGi stands for. No, it’s not ‘Ahhh….Noooooo….Ground…In my face’, but rather “Angular and G-Force indicator”. Personally, I think my acronym is much better. But maybe that’s why I don’t work in marketing.
As mentioned earlier, Specialized acquired ICEdot about a year ago, but this isn’t simply a re-branded ICEdot product. In fact, in talking to Specialized it sounds like there’s more new than old. The sensor is completely redone. Previously it was a rechargeable system, now it’s coin cell. Previously it was just an accelerometer, now it’s got a gyro in it as well. Previously they could only detect accelerometer impact type incidents, versus whiplash with the gyro. Not to mention the entire app and online platform behind it is different.
The pod itself uses a CR2032 coin cell battery, so the same as most heart rate straps and many power meters. Specialized claims it’ll get up to 6 months of battery life per battery. All of which connects via Bluetooth Smart to your iOS or Android app. But even the connection is highly optimized. For example, it goes to sleep for five-minute intervals before checking back in to the app. The app on your phone does the GPS transmission and related work. But fear not, if you crash, the pod instantly alerts the app – it doesn’t continue to sleep like Garfield for five minutes.
As noted earlier, the pod has two basic variants. The standalone one that you can attach to any helmet uses a sticky mount, just like a typical GoPro sticker would. The pod itself is IPX7 waterproof (so you can go swimming at 1-meter deep for up to 30 minutes).
Whereas the ANGi equipped helmets come with a small mounting plate on the back of them that the pod attaches to.
It’s barely noticeable.
Specialized noted that while the pod is compatible with any helmet, their validating testing in terms of detecting crashes and not triggering false positives has only been done on their helmets using that mount system. They’re pretty confident it’ll carry over to all helmets, but their validating focus has been on their own helmets.
Speaking of which, the new ANGi capable helmets are all MIPS equipped. And in fact, that’s actually MIPS SL. It’s exclusive to Specialized at this point and essentially integrates the MIPS lining into the helmet padding itself.
Here’s a list of all the helmets that are ANGi equipped or capable as of today (the helmets are available as of today as well). The ones where I’ve noted ‘WITH ANGi’ are those that include the pod. Everything else is just ANGi capable (has the mounting plate):
Align MIPS: $60
Centro MIPS: $80
Echellon II MIPS: $90
MIO SB MIPS: $55
Shuffle Child LED SB ANGi MIPS: $65
Shuffle Youth LED SB MIPS: $55
Tactic 3 MIPS: $95
Ambush Comp MIPS [WITH ANGi]: $150
Ambush MIPS [WITH ANGi]: $200
Dissident MIPS [WITH ANGi]: $385 [Holy balls, there’s $385 helmets?!?]
Propero 3 MIPS [WITH ANGi]: $130
S-Works Prevail II MIPS [WITH ANGi]: $250
S-Works Evade II MIPS [WITH ANGi]: $275
Got all that? Good.
Let’s talk about what it’s like out on the road.
Riding with it:
From a helmet standpoint, it’s just a helmet to me. It fits my noggin and is lightweight (obviously, that’ll vary depending on which helmet you have). So let’s talk tech. The first thing you’d do is get the pod activated in the service/platform. Normally it comes with an activation card inside that gives you a code for the first year of subscription service, but in my case the cards weren’t printed yet. You’ll also need to provide a credit card for service, even on day 1. That won’t be charged until day 365, when it’ll cost $29/year for the service. All of this is done via the app.
[Side note: I’ve seen a ton of questions in the comments on why can’t Specialized simply send text messages straight from the phone. This is blocked, in particular on iOS. Apple doesn’t permit *any* 3rd party apps to utilize the text messaging interface. Thus, an app can’t send a text on your behalf. Therefor, all 3rd party apps have to use 3rd party cloud services in order to make this happen. Plenty of discussion in the comments section if you want more details.]
To pair up a new helmet to the platform you’ll simply wake-up the helmet by giving it a light shake, and then you’ll see it in the app to pair. It takes like 6 seconds total.
Once that’s done you’ll want to add some emergency contacts. These are the peeps that will get notified both for ride starts as well as when you do something embarrassing.
When you add a contact, it’ll text them and ask them to confirm. After all, you don’t want someone to not know they’re getting something about you. Note at the bottom how the alerts are divided into two categories:
1) Emergency Alerts
2) Ride Alerts
The emergency alerts are when you crash, and they go out via text message. Whereas the ride alerts occur when you start and end a ride, and they go out via e-mail. Note that in the case of both myself (Office 365) and The Girl (GMail), our ride alerts got moved into our Junk E-Mail folders. So go white-list them and encourage your friends/family to double-check it at some point.
Meanwhile, text messages worked both times and didn’t get caught anywhere.
To start a ride it’s super simple, on the app you’ll tap that ‘Record’ tab at the bottom, which then takes you to a single button to press to start the ride. Just press it, and then it changes to indicate it’s active.:
At this point, your contacts will receive an e-mail with your current ride location. They can tap on that e-mail and then get a map with your location and then a map of where you’ve been with track dots:
As of launch day, the complete GPS track with higher quality isn’t yet available. Specialized says that’s coming in a few weeks (they even joked that I’m sure I hear ‘a few weeks’ quite often, and then it’s months – they promise they’re a legit ‘real meal deal few weeks’, so we’ll see). Once that happens you’ll see the full track, which is also what uploads to apps like Strava and others if you want.
So what happens if you crash? Well, first, if you want to just play around with the sensor you can actually do that. They have a test mode to see the impact of various forces. Kinda cool:
But, let’s say you crash for real. In that case it triggers the alert, which on your phone starts a really damn loud alarm (you can hear it in the video towards the end). But there’s a countdown there. you’ve got that many seconds to turn off the alarm before it notifies someone. The default is 15 seconds, but you can change that up to 90 seconds.
Once your time has expired then the app and backend platform notify your emergency contacts via text message. This all happens within 15-20 seconds of the timer expiring. The text message allows them to click on a link to show your exact location.
This of course does depend on your phone’s cellular service, so if you’re out of range, this solution won’t really work. Though, the original tracking link will show where you were up until the point you disappeared. Once done with the ride you’ll just tap the button to end it.
All of this works pretty well, and in the handful of rides I’ve done over the last few days I haven’t had any false positives. Specialized says they’ve had 200 riders on a beta platform and haven’t had a single false positive since. They didn’t note if they had any non-triggers though for real events. They did note that they tuned the helmet sensor to specifically focus on incidents that were likely to cause situations where the forces are considered enough to have you either be unconscious or otherwise memory challenged. Meaning, if you just make a stumble off your bike (as is common mountain biking), but don’t actually hit your head on the ground, the sensor is unlikely to trigger.
They didn’t want a scenario where it wasn’t useful to mountain bikers because it was constantly triggering due to bumps, jumps, etc… More on my longer testing plans in a moment.
What comes next:
In some ways, what comes next is actually more interesting to me. Right now the platform sends your current dotted location to friends/family. But Specialized is working to onboard a bunch of routing providers so that you can load your planned route straight into the app. They want to connect to apps like Strava, RideWithGPS and – I quote “As many as possible” other platforms. This will allow them to overlay your planned route with your actual route.
That’s super valuable if you go out of cellular range and friends/family have to start trying to figure out why you haven’t responded – they’ve got a place to start their search.
In addition, Specialized will soon be enabling a ride expiration alert. This allows you to put an estimated ride time in the app, and then alert friends/family when you’re not back in time. Obviously you’ll want to add a small buffer for cookie stops, but the idea is that if you’ve budgeted a 2hr ride and it’s been 3.5 hours out in the woods – maybe someone should know about that.
Lastly, in conjunction with all of that (and specifically in the next “couple weeks”), they’ll enable the GPS ride recording to upload to platforms like Strava. The idea being that the app becomes a one-stop shop.
Which in some ways is my only challenge with it. While great for recreational riders, many more experienced riders are going to ride with dedicated bike computers (Garmin/Wahoo/Lezyne/etc…). For that, many of us don’t want yet another app to remember to start and then causing GPS drain on our phones. This seems like precisely the type of thing they could have partnered with Garmin and Wahoo on and captured 99% of the market. For example, Garmin’s Connect IQ platform could have allowed a connection to the sensor, and then leveraged the Garmin itself for GPS. Thus no battery drain on your phone. It’d also have meant that the second you start your ride, the sensor starts working. No extra apps. On the flip side, Garmin’s device to phone app tracking system isn’t exactly known for being the most stable either.
Finally, the bigger picture here is the Specialized Ride app. The app name itself isn’t “Specialized Ride”, but just ‘Ride’, and in fact – the sensor isn’t predominately displayed anywhere in it. Specialized’s goal here is a more general app that anyone can use to plan rides. This way you can add new rides, starting locations, show riders, etc… All of this exists today on the app in the app store [iOS and Android].
Then ultimately this all ties into the tracking so people can see where riders are mid-ride using the app, such as when you miss the group or if you fall off the back. Why on earth Strava doesn’t do this is probably the big question. Specialized says the goal is to replace the usually Facebook-driven ride planning that tends to be wonky at best.
Still, the concept has been tried before by smaller players, and usually without success due to lack of adoption. But my gut tells me that if Specialized spends enough time marketing this – this could actually take-off. We’ll see.
Speaking of time – I’m going to use the helmet for the winter as my day to day helmet and see how things go as a long term review. I want to see if I get any false positives, or (hopefully not) any positives. I’ll report back sometime this spring, which should hopefully give Specialized way more time than needed to finish up the app pieces.
With that – thanks for reading!
I stopped listening at yearly subscription model. Was cool until then.
Hi Shai, believe us, we know that people are wary of yet another subscription service. But for us to make this entire ANGi ecosystem sustainable and scalable to many riders (cost of servers, SMS messaging globally, etc…), there just wasn’t a way to do it otherwise. When you buy an ANGi equipped helmet or the standalone sensor, it comes with a year of the service free. Hopefully that year of using it will convince you and other riders that there’s enough value there to justify the cost.
I don’t doubt the value.
But at the end of the day the number of services that are trying to get into the recurring subscription revenue model is just growing, and there is a limit at how much money you are willing to spend to all of these. It adds up. The one year for free is also a well known tactic in this realm to get the user in and hope they stay.
There are providers out there way bigger than specialized that have servers, send SMS messages and do it for free. There are ways.
Having said all that – I understand. You are trying to make money and subscription model is definitely the way to go as a business.
I’ve become super wary of the subscription model. Since most CC providers try really hard to send bills electronically (which really means – go to my website, remember your login and password and navigate to this month’s bill – download it – and THEN see where your $ is going), AND auto-pay is convenient – I often forget/neglect to look at my bills. A few months pass and then you look and discover $7.95/mo from that plumbing company for their ‘club’ and some recurring Microsoft charge your kids signed you up for from the Xbox and are reminded about Sufferfest and … and … and. It’s too much work to keep track and too expensive to ignore. So you know what I do? Just say no to as many recurring charges as I can. This one is a no-go for me.
Between the annual fee and having to start a separate app on every ride it is a hard pass. Integrated with garmin and wahoo… well I’m still not paying for it on an annual or monthly basis.
My thoughts exactly. Explains the low purchase price though, I guess.
Just from a pure curiosity standpoint: At what price point would you buy the now $49 unit and expect the subscription fee to go away (ignoring any other feature set type things, and assuming you were happy to buy the device but didn’t want the annual fee)?
Meaning, if it were $79 but no annual fee, would you ‘still’ buy it? What about $89, or $99?
I’m actually curious.
99 easy, if it would be from Garmin.
No interest in having a second app to start when I go ride.
Doing a Fred here, wake up Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarmin!
Specialized is turning around fine though, the new s works is good and looks good. And this is a smart move. Integrate lights, radar, xert and a few other things and they can compete with Garmin and strava
PS i know the garmin crash detection in the 1030.. But i take my 1030 of the bike during a stop, fumble it and the girl gets a message I crashed.. Not the best way to keep spousal support for cycling
Sorry, but this is all “migrants at the gates” fear mongering to sell “another” subscription service supporting hardware sold below cost. Everyone is trying to be the athlete’s Facebook. Starting with that horrid Garmin Connect app and its LiveTracking that DOES NOT WORK. Finally, what exactly is the problem we’re trying to solve here other than anxiety? In Canada last year, 42 cyclists died. Almost all of them in urban centres. Trust me, if I crash at the corner of St. Catherine street and McGill College in Montreal, someone will notice. I’m not saying a crash can’t happen on a 100 km solo ride in the countryside, but that’s not where the big risk lies. And If I consider the number of times I called my wife after a mechanical I could not fix roadside and she did not answer or did not “hear the phone”, I’m struggling to see the point of all this. To your question Ray, yeah….I would pay up to $99 CAD for a single cost hardware/service of this type, but I would not support an ongoing cost…..why do I need a yearly subscription for a bike app when I can only ride outdoors six months of the year?
I’m all for subscription models (as opposed to the alternative model of forcing repeat buys by abandoning support and/or planned obsolescence), but not when they are forced on top of a piece of hardware that could just as well make sense without.
What does this mean? Specialized is not selling a helmet sensor, they are selling a complete “worry platform” improving on the precedent of Strava Beacon by trying to seriously tackle the offline case. This requires cloud infrastructure, messaging services and so on. Subscription makes sense there (except when you want to create a community tool, then you either have to pay up or give up, because network effect some happen without a serious free option).
Where does the ANGI sensor fit into all this? The sensor can only contribute when the phone happens to have network coverage after the crash. In that case, it could do it’s job perfectly fine coupled to an app that sends out those emergency messages without any involvement of specialized servers at all. The app runs on a phone, phones tend to come with communications features built right in. The only reason that the sensor is tied to the “worry platform” that supports the no network case is because people like buying gadgets much more than starting subscriptions. The sensor device is intentionally crippled to lure more people into the subscription. They naturally complement each other, but they only depend on each other because it’s a useful marketing trick.
If its already paired with your phone then why does it need to send SMS through a subscription service, why can’t it just send the messages through your phone?
iOS doesn’t permit 3rd party apps to send text messages.
And…since about 62 of the 84 comments are about this point, I just added a line to the main post:
“[Side note: I’ve seen a ton of questions in the comments on why can’t Specialized simply send text messages straight from the phone. This is blocked, in particular on iOS. Apple doesn’t permit *any* 3rd party apps to utilize the text messaging interface. Thus, an app can’t send a text on your behalf. Therefor, all 3rd party apps have to use 3rd party cloud services in order to make this happen. Plenty of discussion in the comments section if you want more details.]”
OK, so let those who can afford Apple phones pay a subscription and those of us that have other phones don’t have to. Sell the device with phone based alerts as is and then add a “premium” subscription for those who want it. But don’t force everyone because of an Apple specific limit.
Still, the cost for passing on the notification sent when the device detects an actual crash is insignificant and totally dwarfed by the average revenue per crash from replacement helmets. Except when the device causes numerous false positives, but then it’s a failure anyways. What’s expensive is the orders of magnitude greater amount of traffic for the “worry platform” because that one isn’t passive at all while no-one gets hurt.
Garmin can do it for free, so why can’t specialized! Ok it’s not really the same but it’s also a crash-support-service. And there is also Strava Live-tracking, ok it isn’t free but u get ALOT more than with this unit!
Garmin does it for free!
Anyways if it does cost u money to implement it, give an option to buy it at higher cost but with an unlimitted time use. If u can give it free for a year it probably don’t cost that much for you company!
It’s just silly that u buy something to protect u but only when u pay monthly for it! Say that I don’t have enough money this month to use it, or u forget to pay, u can’t be protected anymore?! Doesn’t sound like Specialized is really concerned about my health!
I believe the cheapest Garmin devices out there that supports live tracking is roughly $130-$150, or roughly three times more expensive than the $49 ANGi.
And of course, the average Garmin device costs for most users is roughly in the $400 range (Fenix is higher, some Edge units lower, most running watches in that ballpark).
I think there are many valid arguments to be made about cost, but I wouldn’t be comparing it to Garmin’s cost structure.
“Say that I don’t have enough money this month to use it, or u forget to pay, u can’t be protected anymore?!”
Well, the helmet still works just fine to protect your noggin. Plus you pay yearly, not monthly.
I love the idea of this. It seems like a simple, and useful thing. I guess I don’t understand why I should need a subscription cloud service to use it. Why can’t it just send the alert to my phone via the app, and have the alert go out via SMS? I really don’t need another ride mapping tool, and I’m not willing to pay $30 a year for a redundant service.
iOS doesn’t permit 3rd party apps to access the messaging service, so they can’t send texts. It has to go via 3rd party platform which sends the texts out.
Do note that the cloud service is free for the first year.
Hey Jim, Ray nailed it with his reply. One additional piece: being connected to the cloud means that we can offer the Ride Time Alert feature since our servers can send a message to your contacts even if you’re out of cell service (and assuming you haven’t finished your ride in the time you’ve designated).
Fact is, monetizing business models works so much better with subscription models (recurring revenues vs. one off).
But there are so many services out there trying to maximize their share in our wallets.
SMS rates for businesses are around a penny a message. Just how many is this thing sending?!
To be fair, some people do crash a lot. 😉
SMS isn’t the only expense, though. There’s also the cost of getting the system up and running, maintaining it, patching it, etc., etc.
Even in “the cloud”, servers to run this sort of system don’t come free, and all things considered, Specialized would want redundancy in there, rather than having an unexpected outage and somebody lying on the road for three hours with no notification going out.
I’m not saying I _agree_ with the subscription model, but I do understand the impetus for it.
“iOS doesn’t permit 3rd party apps to access the messaging service, so they can’t send texts. It has to go via 3rd party platform which sends the texts out”
That’s a shame, since you already have your iPhone, subscription with data bundle, iCloud mail, iMessage, “Find Friend” functionality in place. Would be brilliant if this thing could hook up into this ecosystem one way or another.
Anyway, still nice. I have a 15 year old son who is an epileptic. When he cycles home from school he calls us so that we know he starts his trip home. Should he not arrive home in time we can see where he is with the “Find Friends” app on his iPhone. He had an accident twice this year, one time he drove into a parked car, the other time a cyclist on a limited edition “red hook crit” Specialized bike crashed into him. He was able to call us so we could help him out. A crashing sensor on his helmet could certainly be useful. Not sure about the sticky mount though. Where are you going to stick it? I would rather have the bracket so that it could be attached in the same way and same place as on the Specialized helmets. And do I understand it correctly that you have to start the app for every ride, or is this thing always on?
Hi Andre, that’s really cool that your son rides to/from school. It sounds like that’s actually a pretty great application for ANGi. He would need to hit “start” on the Ride app each time, but that has the additional benefit of sending you (or anyone else you designate) an email that says he’s started a ride, along with a breadcrumb tracking link. When he ends the ride, you also get an email saying that he’s done.
Yes indeed it could be really useful for us. Price is very reasonable too. What puts me off is the sticker mount. You see, we are in the Netherlands, where people do not normally wear helmets. Now he does wear a helmet on his bike but it is a cool POL Crane helmet, which does not look like a bike helmet but more like a skating helmet. Anything else will be embarrassing for a boy his age. But I can’t see me sticking a sensor to the outside of that helmet. It should be nearly invisible, like in Ray’s pictures above. All helmets have this black plastic size adjuster straps in the back. Where you could easily mount the sensor with a clip, silicone strap or whatever.
Now off course Specialized wants to sell their helmets, but I can’t see any of the ANGI equipped helmets be worn here if you are not on a road or mountain bike and dressed in a cycling kit. But I’ll think about it. Maybe I can find a way to attach it in the back.
not sure about the ride portion. I downloaded the app andit appears that those rides become public. At least here in the US there’s a fear about liability towards the ride organizer. It would be much better if they allowed to “invite” people or to allow the creation of private groups.
Hey Daniel – good feedback and private rides and invitations are definitely on our near term features list for the Ride app. Thanks for checking it out!
FYI, the screenshot showing the emergency contact confirmation shows the phone number. The other screenshots censor the number.
The number ending in 0674? That’s the source for the automated emergency alerts from Specialised, not a human being. I’m not seeing any potential privacy concern here. (Though I’m more than happy to be corrected by Ray if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m not.)
Correct, that’s just the cloud platform that Specializes uses. I presume from either Amazon or Microsoft.
The main concern I have over this is privacy. I know that one of the members of my club was tracked down by some random who used his Strava rides/runs to find his home (fortunately, it was just curiosity, nothing more), and I also worry about the general background in Australia of hostility (unwarranted, but anyway) towards cyclists. After the fact publication of a ride is one thing, but to be able to know where a group of cyclists is in real time… the risk is very small, yes, but I worry about the potential implications here. (It’s not paranoia if you KNOW they’re out to get you… 😉 )
I guess my question is, will this have something similar to Strava’s privacy zones (so people can’t see where you start/stop, and thus figure out your home address)? And what is done to ensure (as much as is reasonably possible) that only the relevant friends/family can see the real time location of the rider/group?
Hope they have a privacy area like Strava
Hi Stuart, agreed 100%. We’re on track to include the ability to post private rides on the group rides list. As for tracking your own ride, we give you full control of who is able to see that information (right now, it’s only people that you’ve setup as an emergency contact and enabled ride alert notifications for).
now if road id made a plate to attach to the sensor………..
In your long term testing I would be curious to see how many the times the helmet wen’t off and Garmin Incident Detention did not and should have.
Or, if either went off accidentally which was easier/fastest to shut off.
Yup, definitely. Though, I suppose that means I’ve gotta re-enable Garmin’s detection and tracking. Sigh…
I will say that in my time with the Garmin 820 before I threw it away, the incident detection went off many times (enough that I recognized it as a “thing”) and what was worse was that the touch detection on the screen was so shoddy that at least twice I wasn’t able to disable the alert before texts were sent off. Ugh.
I’ve only come across two other platforms that have a ride organization function like this new Specialized app. One is the JOIN app (which has/had zero traction), and the other is the Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) app. The RCC one seems to be the most well-baked one, with decent amount of active users in my area (Southern California), ability for ride organizer to share a gpx route file directly through the app, seeded rides from the parent company, and ability for any user to post their own ride and make it recurring. Big negative is that you need a $200/year membership to access it.
The Specialized Ride app has some promise if they can get a good user base (beyond people who use their helmet) and keep it free. I agree that the Facebook/Meetup/email newsletter way of organizing group rides is an outdated way of doing things and doesn’t do a good job to encourage new people to join.
I hope you get way more then access to an app like that for 200 a year
I’ve only recently joined, as I was looking for more people to ride with regularly near my age and skill group, but there are a few things (which probably still don’t add up for any close to $200 value, but there was only one way to find out). Subsidized bike hire when traveling to other clubhouses, free Wahoo rentals, private web forum, social events, and free coffee for the year at any Rapha clubhouse.
Focusing on just the ride app part, I think Rapha is on the right track with encouraging and organizing group rides too, it’s just a shame that it’s hidden behind a $200 membership that I could never convince my casual cycling friends to join.
I’m one of the ‘small’ guys that was tired of FB or messaging to find a ride. So I created https://chasingwatts.com to help solve that problem. The site is relatively young, but as Ray mentions, it’s user adoption and getting the necessary critical mass!
And I just bought a Prevail II a month or so ago and haven’t used it just cause it got cold by the time the shipment came in. (Got it cause I was getting hot on the century rides before that so wanted something with more airflow, now that its cold don’t want that much airflow)
I’m not sure I understand your flip side of using connect iq with this. Specialized could have a data field app (the only code that can run at the same time as recording a ride) and when you start a ride it just makes a web api call to specialized servers to tell them you are starting a ride and can periodically send details about the ride (location, etc). Specialize’s app could be running in the background on the phone and get a notification that a ride has started so could then monitor signals from the helmet. You aren’t depending on Garmin’s phone tracking functionality at all and the specialized app isn’t talking to the garmin app as everything is just going through the cloud.
“Specialized could have a data field app (the only code that can run at the same time as recording a ride) and when you start a ride it just makes a web api call to specialized servers to tell them you are starting a ride and can periodically send details about the ride (location, etc).”
All of which depends on the GCM app, the same as Garmin’s own live tracking service. I’d love to see some integration there, but ultimately as noted if the Garmin BT connection continues to be the weak spot, then it’s really no different if Specialized is piggybacking atop it.
That said, in theory the next piece of what you said is technically possible with the latest CIQ API’s, based on my understanding (whereby the Specialized app could takeover via the BLE side). In theory…
What happens if you don’t have any cell service? Will it still try to connect as soon as cell service is restored? Say you crash with no service and are injured. If you are taken away by ambulance or some other means and your cell then gets cell service will it then send the alert?
Will the app show data on the screen that could be given to emergency services if you need to call 911 and give the location of where you are? If you crash and can’t give them a location its much harder to get a good response
Everything is queued until cellular service is regained, in which case it’s sent.
An app screen would be behind a lock-screen anyway, so that wouldn’t help emergency crews that arrive onsite. However, the information sent to your contacts shows your current location. It doesn’t give the contact any medical info.
“Garmin’s device to phone app tracking system isn’t exactly known for being the most stable either.”
Whew!! I thought it was do to me running my Edge 520 through the wash.
I am guessing that Specialized has tested this on typical Specialized Lunch Rides and other rides in the general Uvas/Chesbro reservoir area. I’ve noticed that I have no cell service once I get onto McKean/Uvas/Oak Glen, which is one of the main reasons that we use a Spot rather than any of the other tracking services that rely on cell service. However, I’m curious how the Specialized tracker has behaved in real life, as I’ve just made assumptions that anything based off cell service is useless to me. Anyone from Specialized care to comment?
Hey, great question and yes, many of us have been testing this along all the normal lunch ride routes. Luckily, none of us have experienced a real crash on those roads yet. If you happen to have an incident in an area that doesn’t have cell service, you would need to rely on the Ride Time Alert feature. With this, if you do not end a ride within the time you’ve allocated, our server sends an alert to your contacts with your last known location. On our lunch ride loops, with in and out cell service, that last known location would be presumably pretty close to where you are. We also show a breadcrumb trail of your route so your contacts have a better idea of where you were headed.
Thanks, Chris! I’ll consider this when our Spot subscription is up for renewal. I’m not sure if it will work for us because my SO doesn’t like to use apps, generally speaking, but it will be something for us to consider. Actually, that’s an interesting question: what happens if you have two cyclists in the family? We don’t use our Spot on rides when we’re riding together, but when we’re riding separately, we carry the Spot. We share the one Spot between the two of us. Does the Specialized version mean that we’d need two different trackers, one for each of us?
Yes, in that case the only way to share when you and your SO are riding separately would be to share the same helmet (which is entirely possible) since the ANGi sensor isn’t really designed to be removed/replaced regularly.
I am definitely going to give this a try as I think it will give me piece of mind when I’m out touring on my bike by myself.
I literally stopped reading when Ray mentioned it requires a subscription.
The pod already requires a cell phone which should be capable of sending text messages. Why do I need an additional paid service for this?
That said, I think the pod itself is very useful. They just need to dump the subscription requirement.
Unfortunately, Apple does not allow apps to initiate calls or text messages directly on the phone. Also, we wanted to provide a safety benefit for situations where a rider may venture out of cell service (via a Ride Time Alert). As a result, it makes the most sense for the app to relay to a server to initiate emergency and ride alert messages. This also allows us to send your contacts a ride tracking link via email if you choose to.
You can do it through Whatsapp though, if I’m not wrong, and would al be multiplatform, since Whatsapp works on most systems.
besides the ride time alert, which is cool, What does this differ with Garmin incident detection system, that is included an free on most Garmin bike devices?
I agree that a subscription model is not understandable for this service, not at 29USD at lest (probably 40EUR or so in Spain)
ANGi is based on a patented combination of gyro and accelerometer at the helmet, coupled with extensive correlation testing. Compared to Garmin’s incident detection system, which is located on-bike and linear accelerometer based only, this allows ANGi to achieve 3 things:
1. Much more robust rejection of false positives (e.g. will not go off if you hit your brakes hard, etc…)
2. ANGi can detect potentially dangerous rotational forces even if your head doesn’t impact anything. E.g. hitting a car door, body checking a tree, etc… can all result in a dangerous whiplash force to the head even if your head doesn’t actually strike anything.
3. ANGi is designed/tuned to trigger in the incidents that matter the most (e.g. possible head injury). We’ve found that in all other incidents/crashes, even ones where you may be injured elsewhere, but mentally aware, riders much prefer making the emergency call themselves vs. a scary automated distress message.
If their device/service can prove to reliably maintain its connection with your phone and send the live tracking links out as they should, I will definitely pick one up. Garmin’s Live Track and the Garmin Live Track through Strava Beacon service fails to initiate >50% of the time for me, because my 935 is horrible at maintaining its connection to my iPhone. I end up running the workout tracker on my watch and then also running Strava on my phone for Beacon.
The Evade with ANGi isn’t up for sale yet. 🙁
Oh wow, I didn’t even think about how you would start an activity with this device. Dumb. I don’t want to faff with my phone in addition to the Garmin/Wahoo.
I’m right there with others on the subscription model being an impediment. Might not be as bad if the variety of cycling services out there had bundle pricing. Of course that would require different companies to split revenue, or for one company to buy up the others. Both scenarios are unlikely to happen. Kind of a shame since Spech helmets fit me the best, and the Edge 1030 has me covered for now.
Should note that the helmet color matches your kit much better Ray – The Girl should adjust down her dork score and give you some cred.
Indeed, The Girl is much happier with that color scheme.
I’m an ICEdot subscriber and have been since a very serious accident left me in a coma. My Specialized helmet saved my life (I’m grateful to Specialized for that). Will my ICEdot continue to work or do I have to switch over to the ANGi now or at some point in the future say when my ICEdot subscription runs out? I don’t mind paying a subscription as my life is worth a few bucks a year to me and I ride often alone. One more question about ANGi…if live and ride mostly in Canada will it work as needed if I am riding in Italy (for example)?
Hi JoGo, stay tuned, we will make sure you are able to maintain service moving forward and thanks for your support of ICEdot.
For your second question, the device and service work globally as long as you have data service on your phone.
Thanks for keeping ICEdot moving forward!
At some point, could this connect to the Ride app? Or would I need the ANGi?
Hey Ray and Chris Yu (from Spesh)
Great review as always.
A quick question (suggestion) – unfortunately about a year ago I was involved in just such a crash that would have triggered this device. My Specialized Propero II helmet was smashed and I was semiconscious, requiring an ambulance etc. I’ve recovered with no major issues luckily.
My question is does the app record the magnitude of the impact? Could it be retrieved from the App at a later time. This may be valuable information for those attending to your injuries. I presume that if you (or more likely your emergency contact) could advise the ER doctor that you sustained X m/s/s acceleration over period Y ms, that would provide a basis for tackling the potential brain injury.
Perhaps such information could be distracting, but I assume that the more information available the better.
Hi Adam, sorry to hear about your incident but happy that you’re recovered. You bring up a good point and it’s a suggestion we’ve heard from others. While technically possible, we currently do not display raw impact data from the sensor since we have seen that the forces that lead to brain injury are incredibly diverse and depend on the individual as well as other incident-specific details. We, of course, will continue to re-evaluate and if the medical and crash safety community agree that there is value in the data (vs. the potential of introducing confusion), we will add it.
I was excited about this product because I thought it was a sensor that would tell me when a crash required me to replace the helmet. Obviously, I’d replace it after a real crash. But what if I tip over clipping out? Or drop my helmet putting it on? Or even just knock it against the trunk pulling it out? It would be great if I got an email “your helmet has experienced XX forces and should be replaced.”
Chris is correct, most brain injuries manifest as a functional disturbance rather the a major structure change in brain physiology. This is the problem of accurately diagnosing concussion and other head injuries. The forces and impact that produce a mild concussion in one person may produce a serious head injury in another. Therefore any impact data would not really be of any use to a physician, they have to the patient based on diagnostic imaging and other functional assessments like the patient’s GCS.
Thanks for the replies.
I figured that a) you might have thought of this and b) the data may not be immediately useful to a physician. Perhaps then a post injury study could be taken to learn more. I.e. could we correlate data and injuries and use it for helmet design or such.
Given my experience, I will probably be buying one.
For the value of your life 39 bucks a year after the first year is not a stretch for anyone on this forum i would expect. The issue is the seamless integration of the solution with the bike rider with pedal sensors , cadence sensors , power meter sensors and now helmet sensors. Is it worth the hassle to save your live ? Yes – See recent incident of Steve De Jongh cycling and from reading this forum incidents where this solution would have made a difference.
A dependence on your phone isn’t great and it wouldn’t be a big stretch i would think to integrate a GPS tracker into the the unit thus removing the dependency and offering another marketplace to move into i.e. tracking when not on your bike – Like for falls and wilderness adventures.
I would love to see an article from Ray on Crash Detection technology ( players and current options ) to narrow down the solutions.
As always great forum Ray and keep diving into the details.
I don’t understand why there needs to be any backend infrastructure for this when all of this functionality can be accomplished via an App on the phone. Default iOS and Android messaging apps support texting current location via URL which could integrate with Google Maps for crash alerts. Alerts are sent via SMS. Tracking apps are a dime a dozen. Better yet, license the Road ID App, add your sensor integration and you’re done…local app….speed to market….no subscription service…no back-end to manage….same capabilities and you have a great partnering opportunity.
As noted above, iOS doesn’t permit 3rd party apps to send texts.
I own several helmets; from your description it sounds like I would need a separate unit for each helmet. Is that correct, or is there a way to move it between helmets?
Correct, however, you only need a single subscription. All sensors fall under a single account – so that’s kinda nice and is designed for exactly that scenario where you might have a road and mountain helmet.
At least 2 road helmets, a tri aero helmet, a road aero helmet, an mtb helmet, and a commuting helmet. Maybe I have too many helmets 😉
Whilst all sensors fall under the same account, you are paying for the first year subscription in each ANGi you buy. Make the 2nd or 3rd ANGi unit one 50% off. (RRP AUS $75 each)
I own a few helmets, I don’t want to have to buy one for each helmet.
Multiple sensors “permanently” stuck onto each helmets dumb. The only thing that makes sense is a secure, but relatively easy to remove (on purpose) attachment so that one unit can be moved from one helmet to the next. Even people who only have one helmet crash occasionally or need to replace it.
-Curious why a device at all? The device uses accelorometers and gyroscopic sensors. Aren’t those already in the phone? There are free apps out there that already do this for car/motorcycle crashes… can’t the algorithms be tweaked for bike cycling impact forces?
-Subscription service is a terrible idea and will turn off many potential users…even if this is a break even endeavor, get as many people ingrained in your app ecosystem, get them using Specialized products and services, then market other stuff (bikes, helmets, shoes, components, etc.) through the app. At the very least, don’t call it $29/year… be smart, market it as only $2.50/month.
– Sticky backing attachment feels like a money grab. Use a different helmet for road, mtb, tt, cold weather, warm? Screw you, buy more sensors (or only our helmets with special sensor holders!).
RE: Why a device at all: Sure there is the phone, but it’s pretty well proven at this point with other apps that do crash monitoring that secondary devices haven’t worked out well for a variety of reasons.
Also, typically the forces for motorcycle/car crashes are far greater than bike crashes. Also, those sports typically don’t have to account for off-road trails, etc…
Do you want to mount your $$ smart phone on your helmet?
Hey Mitch, I posted this above in response to someone else, but here’s the 3 major reasons why an accel/gyro at the helmet (tuned correctly) is a differentiator vs. a phone or other device:
1. Much more robust rejection of false positives (e.g. will not go off if you hit your brakes hard, etc…)
2. ANGi can detect potentially dangerous rotational forces even if your head doesn’t impact anything. E.g. hitting a car door, body checking a tree, etc… can all result in a dangerous whiplash force to the head even if your head doesn’t actually strike anything.
3. ANGi is designed/tuned to trigger in the incidents that matter the most (e.g. possible head injury). We’ve found that in all other incidents/crashes, even ones where you may be injured elsewhere, but mentally aware, riders much prefer making the emergency call themselves vs. a scary automated distress message.
Fair points re: device… If they want recurring revenue via subscription though they could walk away from profit on the hardware to build an audience. Would people feel differently paying $29/yr for the service if the device was $15, or 2 for $25?
This would alleviate multiple helmet annoyance, create a lower barrier to entry for consumers, and get people locked into their subscription. The platform becomes more valuable to users (and Specialized) if they can build a critical mass.
I think their current model seems greedy… profit on device sale, charge a subscription fee, use sticky backing instead of a clip to force users to buy multiple units, and I am guessing their terms of service allow them to sell backend user data (just like strava, facebook, and any other social media player). Feels like they want to get it every way they can have it.
I don’t want to pile on, but I agree that a subscription model just to justify circumventing Apple’s restriction on sending text messages seems at best overkill, at worst greedy.
Plenty of platform offers super low cost ways of sending text messages, and 29 dollars a year for the potential one text it’ll send in case of crash(+ set-up text) seems way too much. It’ll be like a website I’m ordering anything from charging me 5 extra dollars for the text it’ll send me when my order has been shipped.
Infrastructure is very minimal too, it’s not like it’ll be sending millions of texts per day, far from it.
To your question above Ray, I’d be willing to pay 10 more USD to avoid this model, and believe that in fact the costs on Specialised’s side are so minimal to actually run this that given their size they could probably just absorb it at no extra costs/without a subscription model.
Boy, y’all seem to have this real strong opinion that a company is obligated to do stuff for free just because they’re “big”. A server that fields all the data from everyone using an ANGI 24 hours a day, has redundancy for downtime, etc probably only costs about $10 a year for Specialized to run I’m sure… Probably could just buy a PC from Dell and stick it in someone’s closet and let it do it’s thing, right?
Awesome write up – thanks! When I first saw the announcement this morning my first thought was “Specialized does ICEdot… I wonder how different it is?” I never bought an ICEdot because they took forever to support Android and I don’t do iPhone. Then a buddy commented that his wasn’t super reliable, so I figured I’d give it some time. So far the advantages I see from the original/branded ICEdot is that they have a retainer clip so you can use one transmitter on several helmets (a massive bonus for people who road/mtb/moto) and their subscription is only $10/yr. The device costs twice as much as the Spec pod though…
Specialized has my attention – if they come out with a stick on mounting clip so that I can run the same device on any helmet, they’ll have my money.
2 additional things – the Specialized website lists the device at $60USD, not $49. Not a massive increase in dollars, but that’s over 22%.
Also, to get around the need for cellular coverage it would be really cool if one could link the device with a Garmin InReach/SPOT – that would extend the usability into the backcountry/areas with poor network coverage.
Scrap that 22% comment – I failed to notice that the website recognized my location and redirected me to Canadian portal. $50USD/$60USD
The subscription model is hard to swallow but I get it; I work in SaaS. However, it’s a bit misleading if you shop for the ANGi sensor on the Specialized website. It says you get 1 year of the Premium App with purchase, but nowhere does it state that you need the Premium version of the app to actually send the crash alerts from the sensor. So I can imagine someone who doesn’t read DCR thinking that the $49 device is all you need, then being disappointed to learn that to keep using it past a year, you need to pay a subscription fee.
That said I like the device concept; I commute in urban streets daily and have had my share of incidents where this could provide some peace of mind to The Girl in my household.
(Former) ICEdot user here. I had tons to tell the ICEdot guy (there were two people in their booth at Interbike 2015, and I think one was his spouse). Paring was a pain. Charging was a pain. Waking it up was a pain. I bought it mainly for MTB riding, so the lack of cell service is a pain (I realize that’s nor their fault). The subscription model is a continuous pain (Flic, I’m looking at you too). I don’t want to use Twilio or whomever and have to pay beyond my cell contract to send SMS. Did I mention I have two ICEdots? One for me, one for her (still new-in-tube). I also bought an Ambush at the beginning of November, sans MIPS. Also still new in the box. Joy.
Chris, I live in the Bay Area. Help a brother out…
I’m good with the tech.. but now that Specialized has released info on their site – I can’t find that color scheme.. What’s it called and is it only certain geographic areas?
The reason strava hasn’t done the ride meetup thing is simple. They stopped worrying about what the user wants and now they just fiddle with optimizing what they have to extract incremental revenue per user.
So now others will disrupt them.
Amen. Strava doesn’t give a $%!$ about end users. I would be so excited if someone got into the market and got enough traction to toss them on their butt.
For instance…the completely broken Fitness & Freshness system. If you get stronger and update your FTP it automatically recalculates your entire historical F&F as if that’s always been your FTP. So that ride you did 3 years ago that was brutal because you had an FTP of 100? Suddenly it was a cakewalk because your FTP today is 300. Their only response is “we’re aware of this issue but have no timeline for a fix”. Gosh. Thanks.
Was interested, but *another* subscription service? And another app to remember to start / calibrate / spin up?
I literally wake up / start:
Garmin 820/1000 IQ app to pull RideWithGPS route via dynamic.watch
Spin speed/cadence to wake
Wake PM & calibrate
Wake Garmin Varia Radar & sunglasses HUD
Check tyre pressure
Now another thing to start?
Also none of the above services need a subscription.
With the amount of solo rides I do, I don’t mind. I’m in. It would be awesome sauce if Spesh sold replacement helmet straps to retrofit.
I recently have COROS OMNI helmet on hand. I prefer to have COROS because it makes me feel like the gadget in the back might be dropped at somewhere when i ride my bike. COROS helmet has established their SOS sense in side of the helmet, and this function is totally free. I don’t need to pay extra for getting the ANGi. For budget purpose, COROS also offers better deal. I checked their website, and they recently just released a new series. I can’t wait to get the urban one for my teenager son for his daily commute to school. I am a technology newbie. I called COROS several times in order to get my app set-up. Customer service is excellent. CONS might be COROS doesn’t launch in the market for so long. They still have room to develop. However, COROS has such great products, totally can see their potential in the market.
It’s great to see multiple players in the market – that will drive innovation and help to keep costs down. Personally I have lots of different helmets and want something that can easily be moved from one to the next, while still being secure. Fortunately I’m old enough not to really care if it looks dorky. ;p
So true. When i getting older and older, i prefect to be safe instead of being stylish. COROS app is actually easy to use. I feel i am dummy after the customer service rep. explained to me. Well, most likely i am not good at any technology. I surely my boy can adapt the smart helmet way quicker than i do. Kind of excited to get him this Christmas’ gift. I do worry a lot whether he plugs his headphone while commuting. COROS helmet is so perfect to have both music & sos function.
Nice to be an android fanboy with no app calling issues! But for me the 1030 crash detection while not perfect has worked on both occasions when my bike went down in a minor fall. I actually forgot I even had it and it started to dial my wife and I was like OH S*#$@# and stopped it, but good to have.
Garmin could just do this themselves with a better sensor and put these subscription money grabbers out of business. This should be 50$ for unlimited service – I bet that’s what the market will pay.
Sell it at a discount with their helmets if they want to sell allot as spec has some decent helmets these days.
Interesting to read all the comments on this.
I would tend to agree that the subscription model is not a good way to go. Although I completely understand the recurring costs associated with maintaining hardware. I think the trend with the newer generation is less recurring costs, cable cutters, etc.
I think there are ways to make it work though.
Specialized should be the first company to try and have an honest subscription service. What I mean, is make everything default to the customer NOT paying. No auto renewals checked by default. Force a user response to renew.
Be pro customer. I will always pay more if I know the or at least am led to believe the store actually cares about the customer and service. As much as people bash Amazon, they have phenomenal customer service. Same can be said for Costco also.
If you ride with your phone, you already have a perfectly good accelerometer on you. You don’t need to buy more stuff to maintain, sync, and subscribe to.
As others already pointed out, if you don’t have cell service coverage, it’s not going to help anyway.
From the motorcycling community there are already apps available that provide crash detection and communication using just your phone without any additional gear. For example, look at the EatSleepRIDE app with it’s CrashLight feature. The app is free and the crash detection and notification is $15/yr without the need to buy any other hardware.
An app that uses your phone’s accelerometer is more reliable as there are less pieces that have to be working and communicating with each other properly.
Specialized is just trying to provide a more complicated, less reliable system with more moving parts you have to spend time and money on so they can sell you more stuff you don’t actually need and collect data to profile you with.
If you really go out in the boonies on your own, you, or the people who worry about you are going to want to use a SPOT GPS instead. If the Specialized pod synced with that, then it may be useful, but then Specialized wouldn’t benefit from the subscription fees so they aren’t motivated to do that. I’d look to SPOT to have their own version at some point. DC reviewed this solution almost 10 years ago.
Better yet, take the subscription cost and spend it on offering to buy the coffees, beers, gas or whatever it takes to get your friends to go on that big ride with you.
Funny tidbit: The Garmin inReach device actually uses an open standard for pairing and sending onwards messages. Technically companies can actually pair to it and leverage that for sending text messages via it (satellite tracker).
That’s fair and a useful feature on the Garmin inReach, DC. The SPOT3 also has this message pairing.
However, as your review and Specialized states, their hardware is just a sensor. It’s the app on your phone that does all the crash detection analysis and text sending – along with profiling. So you still need a phone for the ANGI to work outside of cell service areas. Neither the inReach or SPOT3 can currently run IOS/Android apps and I suspect by the time they can, they’ll have their own accelerometers built in.
To use ANGI outside of cell service, you would need it, a phone and an inReach/SPOT3 and all three monthly subscription fees. You would also have to hope all three can communicate continuously and reliably.
The ANGI still doesn’t solve a problem or provide a service that a simpler, cheaper product that you already own – your phone – can do.
In looking up if SPOT3 or InReach has a trigger alert feature yet or not I came across a product called A*live by Protegear. It looks to be at the pre-order stage but appears to offer independent triggers like a deadman switch, a geo-fence in case you go off track and wireless pairing directly to InReach, SPOT3 and some others which eliminates the need for the phone and app. They also appear to make a single device that handles all the emergency detection and signalling straight to Iridium satellite. They are from Germany so perhaps you can get your hands on one and give it a spin.
Emergency locating could become a whole category for you like action cams or power meters.
I would LOVE to see this pair-able with an InReach. I don’t think it’s significant technical hurdle, and would open up the use case for one of these even more.
But more important to me is an easy way to transfer one sensor to be shared across multiple helmets, depending on what sort of ride I’m doing.
How’s this for a model? Instead of a yearly subscription, Specialized only charges you when the service is activated for a real crash (to avoid being charged for false positives).
Remember: A large portion of this service is just general tracking for friends/family to see where you are (as well as know when you haven’t come back on-time).
I get why there is a subscription (I don’t like it, and it’s a no-go for me because of it, but I get it) but my bigger concern is the lack of mechanical fastener. I work in an industry that uses adhesives extensively, and I absolutely LOVE the 3M VHB line (yes my wife thinks I’m weird for having opinions on double sided tape) but in an area where hair, sweat, and moving parts (fit system, etc) converge, I would not want only tape holding it on. If the entire adhesive pad doesn’t fit on a helmet’s strap hair is going to stick to the tape. Longer hair will slip up against the adhesive joint and either wedge itself in the seam (already an issue with many helmet adjuster dials) or stick to the perimeter adhesive. Additionally, sweat and hot/cold cycles will affect adhesion.
I also ride motorcycles all four seasons, and a Bluetooth communicator held on by a much larger patch of VHB tape once went flying down the highway due to the adhesive becoming brittle in the cold. Most helmets use low surface energy plastics in their fit systems, which is great for flexibility, but bad for adhesion. The obvious answer is to buy a Specialized helmet, but for folks looking to add a stick on pod to their existing lid, I’d proceed with caution.
The bigger picture is good, a focus on using technology to promote safety. I just question the execution in this iteration. #earlyadopterlife
Seems like a great product but as others mentioned before I also don’t see the real need for it.
Speaking from a mountinabikers point of view I would address the following points:
1) first and foremost I didn’t have a single crash during the last 25 years where I would have benefitet from this device – fullstop
2) I don’t want to use another app in parallel as I suppose Specialized cannot use the topo maps from other vendors which I might have already bought
3) the chances I have no receptions in the mountains is quite high
So to me it is a nice gadget but currently defenitly not worth the money unless the app does things, which are of real value to me, better then others.
#2 and #3 are perfectly reasonable concerns. #1, as I would hope you recognize, is ridiculous. You’ve probably never been in a head-on car crash either, but presumably you recognize that they happen. Just because you’ve never gotten in a crash where this device would be useful, doesn’t mean that they don’t happen.
On learning about the Angi sensor I was initially interested but on discovering more about the total solution I am now of the view that this is just not a good solution.
I believe that there are two key weaknesses in the solution. The first and of top importance is that to work it needs a data link (it needs to link to a cloud platform to send a text message) the second is that it is a subscription service.
Needing to have data enable on my phone is a no no. My objections to turning data on are
1) It increase the battery current drain and on long rides can deplete the battery meaning you cannot call for assistance
2) Getting a secure data link at all points around the country is not guaranteed. – it may be possible to get a phone signal sufficient to send a text but it is not the case that a reliable data link is always possible
3) Using mobile data is a cost above the cost of voice subscription that I don’t want to pay.
All this is not to say that I am a Luddite and against cycling apps I currently use an off-line navigation app on my phone (OSMand) which provides navigation and full tracking. Its just that I would prefer to have a system which is reliable and does not depend on having a data link. Talk to anyone who regularly walks in the mountains and they will tell you that (certainly in the UK) advice is not to use mapping platforms which rely on a data link if you want to get home safely.
And given that this solution really only comes into its own on remote roads and areas where data links may not be reliable seems to suggest that it may not be the fail-safe service it is intended to be (as some commentators have noted in built up areas were data links are reliable why would you need an app such as this!).
I agree with others that the app should use the phones inbuilt SMS texting (if this is allowed) to send a message which includes the GPS coordinates taken from the tracking app (and yes why plan you product strategy around Apples rules. Lots of other apps only work on android)
The subscription issue is not as big as the data issue. I understand that at the moment the subscription is to pay for access to the cloud platform but if this was done away with there are other ways to generate revenue by offering a package of solutions. For example a one off licence to supplement the hardware cost of the sensor which enabled texting from the phone, (for android users) the option to subscribe to and enable the cloud service which provided the full ANGi service cloud tracking.
Unfortunate although initial attractive this solution has too many downsides for me so I wont be buying.
Gracias, excelente información.
Hey there is this available in global market or only in USA? I’m from India will it work in India too?
Hi Ray and Chris Yu,
I stumbled upon this article and couldn’t hope for anything better. In 2017 and early 2018 with 3 friends we tried to build an app/service for endurance athletes that allowed them to find training partners and/or specific workouts (swim/run/ride/XC ski). Eventually we sticked to our daily jobs because we love what we do and weren’t ready to drop it, but we gave it many months of thoughts. If you are interested Chris I’d be happy to share with you what we learned. Since Specialized has a strong triathlon interest (as seen recently with another zwift academy) it may be worth to expand the app to other sports.
Anyway thanks Ray for you awesome posts. I’m going to dip into the Neo 2 review.
I’m less concerned about the subscription model. I’m bummed that my ICEDot service will be subsetted in early 2019, and that I have a sensor that is designed to fit only Specialized helmets – which I don’t currently own.
I hope there’s a plan to create a mount allowing the ANGi sensor to fit other helmet brands as the ICEDot sensor did.
Standalone ANGi arrived to replace my ICEdot. It’s an impressive design and the build quality is a marked improvement over the ICEdot. *BUT* for other than Specialized helmets – I tried MET, Kask and OGK Kabuto – the thin adhesive strip gives an uncertain attachment. For a device whose sole purpose is to stay in-place through an impact, it’s unnerving. Only time will tell if it will remain attached through general use never mind an actual impact. Specialized should have made a universal attachment and I’d happily have paid a reasonable price (would also have allowed ANGi to be used with multiple helmets, like with the ICEdot’s “claw” mount and zip ties). The real answer is to buy a Specialized helmet but that’s an expensive solution to a problem I didn’t have. Specialized: you’ve done the hard part really well; now could you fix up the rest, please.
Indeed. Can the Specialized rep address the issue of a universal mount? The website says nothing, and there is conflicting information on whether or not it can be considered universal. I’m not going to buy a new helmet just for this. I’ll wait until a competitor comes along that offers true universality. At first glance, I was very impressed with Specialized for offering this device (even with the subscription, which I am willing to pay) but now I’m wondering if they’ve decided the profit margins are higher by making the sensor exclusive to their own products…in which case my opinion, and that of hordes of other riders, of Specialized…is decidedly NOT impressed. Tell me I’m wrong?
Specialized makes just about everything and high quality stuff. From Bottles, to helmets and clothing, never once had any complaints about any of their stuff. Thats basically the only reason I will give it a try, as the idea of having to open an app everytime I go for a ride and having it drain my phones battery sucks.
I ride with garmin devices mainly because I want to keep my phone ready when I need it. I did, of course, learn that it was a much better tool for viewing and recording my data, but still, I want to keep my phone 100% charged. And I don’t want to bother having to remember having to open the app. But, as stated, it’s specialized, i will try it out for myself. Maybe its wonderful and I keep using it.
Did anyone else get the ICEdot shutdown e-mail this morning? Pretty frustrating that they are shutting down servers without letting subscriptions run out first. There had better be a very good technical reason for this, or it just smacks of not carting for existing customers.
I have used the ANGI equipped helmet when setting off for a ride from home without a problem – it sends the email to my contacts telling them I have commenced a ride! Today I started from a location a few miles away from home and the app refused to send any notifications at all – I tried removing the battery and replacing it; deleting the ANGI unit from the app, deleting and reinstalling the app but nothing worked.
Came home and started to take a look and tried to start a ride and of course, the notification went through – so I have a feeling its something to do with my home network (maybe)
Hi Ray – Are you getting close to sharing a long-term review of this? It’s new helmet time for me and was trying to decide if it’s worth it to go Specialized and also buy one of these?
Also – can you tell me why I need to pay a monthly fee if my phone can already send texts???? (Ha!)
I’m due for a new helmet myself.
He answered the subscription issue above, iphones have a problem where they cant send messages from another device. Seems like they could offer two pay models, one where people with decent phones don’t have to pay for the service and one where those with defective phones could. i.e. give the user the choice.
Yup – actually super close. Probably next couple weeks close. I use it for every ride, though only remember to turn on the tracking on about half of the rides.
I’d say that’s the biggest downside I’ve discovered – it just doesn’t automatically start somehow. As I noted before – I think the opportunity was missed for integration with Garmin via Connect IQ so that you had an app on your handlebars that triggers the start of the Specialized bit.
Or some way to perhaps have the helmet trigger an accelerometer based alert to your phone when it detects movement and asks if you’d like to start tracking/ride (other apps can do this).
I get that their target market according to them is different than the Garmin-toting person, but honestly I disagree. People buying this specific higher end road helmet have a 95%+ chance of having a Garmin on their handlebars. As such, integrate at that point.
In any case – as for their app implementation – no false positives yet. And the tracking link seems to go out without issue, even in various countries I’ve been in.
This whole thread about the cost kinda makes me laugh, arguments from people who typically spend thousands of dollars on usually more than one bike!! But what should be the cost of an additional safety feature weather you ride alone or in a group, crashing and then getting help when needed as quickly as possible??
I am old enough to remember when no one wanted to wear a helmet and now not to wear a helmet is almost unheard of and encouraged from a young age!
Granted no system is perfect in cost or performance but this is a step in the right direction, just remember helmets started out all leather!! 😉
I agree with you Dave ! I’m friends with the team who originally patented and built this device and watched them spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars for years to get it working and operating, while also trying to convince people that this was in some for the future of all sport.
Im glad to see it out there, and am certain most any cyclist is familiar with the inventors who thought it was worth creating.
believe it or not, it costs money to develop, build and support things that we all take for granted every single day. Im certain that Specialized will find a model that works.
Just received my ANGi sensor as a replacement for my long-standing ICEdot. Not ridden with it yet but was easy to set up. I’m happy to pay a subscription for a safety service that puts my family at ease to know I’m OK.
However I’m disappointed to note that it doesn’t come with a mounting kit that will fit my 2018 Prevail Helmet, nor one that allows me to quickly and easily move it between multiple helmets (ANGi has a sticky pad, ICEdot was a clip-in system with spare mounts available). It says on the box “escape responsibly”, but forcing us into having one per helmet is not really that environmentally responsible.
Interesting Article as I just bought the after market version and have attached it to a Bontrager Velocis helmet.
Just one short question: How do I remove the cover for activating the sensor, how do I turn the cover for 45 degrees? Is it possible to turn the cover for 1 degree??
I’m a past ICE Dot user (and got my Angi as a “free” replacement as a result). I finally just got my Angi set up this past week (outdoor ride season has been slow in coming to upstate NY this year!), and have only gotten one 35 mile ride in… but two “false positives.” Can’t say that I thought I did anything that might have set the sensor off, but my phone sure started squawking!
That said, I’m NOT using a specialized “Angi compatible” helmet (I have a Smith Network MIPS that I rather like and have no need to replace), but the sensor is placed in essentailly the same location (center rear on the outside of the shell) as it would be on a Specialized helmet. Hve you experienced any false positives since the initial review?
Looks like the subscription is free now link to bikeradar.com
Just got my new specialized helmet with Angi and went on my first solo mountain biking ride… unfortunately, I took a good fall, hit my head on the side and it didn’t set off the alert.
Everything was connected and the ride registered in the app but it didn’t do what I thought it should. Although I was OK and I didn’t have a very serious injury, my faith in the device is wavering.
Same here. I hit a low branch hard enough to dent the helmet but not a peep from Angi. I probably ought to replace the helmet, and it won’t have an Angi.
I’ll be anticipating this feature in new Garmin models, and without the subscription. It’s inevitable, although it will take Garmin about 5 goes to make it work properly I expect.
Well done to Specialized though for trailblazing though.
Wahoo just added ANGi integration to the Bolt but I cannot find any details about how they work together, any info?
My problem is not the cost. Its cost wjen it doesnt work properly. Or worse doesn’t work.
2 or 3 rides in and the track my wife gets on live track where i supposedly am is utter shiiite. Randomly goes showing I’m 20 miles from where I really am. In a place I’ve gone nowhere near where I’ve actuall been. In the event of a real crash that’s actually dangerous as people will looking in the wrong fhecking county.
I cannot see a good use case for this technology – so far. What is usually required is for the first responder (usually a member of the public or your ride buddy) to call emergency services. Around 17 countries support Advanced Mobile Location (AML) so they can find you in case you can not describe accurately where you are.
Outside of mobile coverage e.g. MTB then the best solution is a personal locator beacon (PLB). Works for hiking, boating as well so if you ride solo MTB then its worth the $ for these, most work on a 10 year warranty, no subscription.
Sounds like a good idea. However, the alert threshold seems to be to high imo as at least two guys here wrote they had false negative. From my understanding so far, I prefer the sensitivity of Garmin: got several false positive on the mtb which might be annoying, but a friend of mine dropped of and is now in the wheelchair. You don’t need to heavily impact on your had for severe injuries. So better false positive than a system but working. Also most times, I’m on the road. Typical crashes don’t end on your head but with broken clavicula. Maybe they offer a possibility to increase sensitivity in future?
Guys, did anyone of you fix the sensor on a bike frame? I’m riding on the road most of the time anyways. Dislike the idea I have to impact on ground with my head to trigger the sensor. Maybe one of you having Angi can try it on the bike directly and tell how it works. Thanks.
I just received an ANGi and attached it my helmet using the included instructions. When I tried to download the app for an Android base telephone I found that it would not work with Android 6.0. The included instructions said it would work with Android 5.0 and above. Now I have an ANGi attached to my helmet that won’t work. Specialize is dragging their feet in responding. I would like an older version of the software that will work with my phone, or, a method of removing the ANGi from my helmet without damaging the helmet and a refund of the purchase price. Any suggestions?
A question I cant find an answer to anywhere, do you actually have to record a ride with the specialized app for the crash detection to work, or do I just need the app running.
I don’t really need to record the ride as I do this else where but I am not sure if the crash sensor will send an alert if I dont actaully start recording in the app?
Hi. You start recording (yes you have to press ‘record’ for the tracker to track and to do its thing if you crash).
But what you can do is press ‘discard’ at the end of your ride if you don’t want the record of the route to be kept.