Week in Review–May 24th, 2020


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

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

Sports Tech Deals of Note:

A new slate of sports tech deals began over the last few days. These are typical deals that Garmin does *every* single year, usually starting about a month out from Father’s Day. Suunto also often jumps in the fray (and others too). Note: All the trainer ones end tomorrow (May 25th).

ProductSale PriceAmazonOther siteSale Notes
Garmin Edge 1040 - $100 off$499The is the lowest price we've ever seen on the Edge 1040, and only the 2nd time it's ever been on sale in two years. It's still Garmin's top-end units, and still receiving new features via quarterly firmware updates.
Garmin Edge 1040 Solar - $100 off$649
Garmin Edge 540 - $50 off$299First time this has been on sale, and the lowest price to date. I personally prefer the Edge 840 due to the menus being a bit easier to use with a touchscreen. Both Edge 540/840 have identical buttons though for days you don't want the touchscreen.
Garmin Edge 540 Solar - $50 off$399
Garmin Edge 840 - $50 off$399This is, best I can tell, the first time Garmin has put the Edge 840 on sale.
Garmin Edge 840 Solar - $50 off$499
Garmin Epix (Gen 2) - $200 off!
$499⚡⚡ This is an incredibly strong deal. Especially viewed in light of all the non-Garmin AMOLED competitors charging far more for far fewer features. This non-sapphire edition doesn't have multiband, but testing has pretty clearly shown that Garmin's Epix non-multiband GPS is basically on-par with their competitors multiband config (see my NYC tests for that).
Garmin Epix Pro Series (All variants) - $200 off!
$699⚡ This is only the second time we've seen these on sale. This is probably my go-to watch these days (middle-sized one), with the singular reason I tend to choose it over the Forerunner 965, being the built-in flashlight for night.
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro (All variants) - $200 off (7S/7/7X Pro) - $200 off!
$599+⚡ This is only the second time we've seen the new Fenix 7 Pro series on sale, and it's a nice strong sale. The smaller Fenix 7S Pro watch has become my wife's go-to watch since it came out, for all of her training and 24x7 usage.
Garmin Fenix 7 Series (All Models/Styles) - $200 off!
$449+⚡This is a strong deal if you don't care about the new optical heart rate sensor (including ECG) of the newer Fenix 7 Pro, especially given the Fenix 7 series has received virtually all of the Fenix 7 Pro's new software features, keeping them essentially identical. $449 is the lowest price I've seen to date.
Garmin Forerunner 255/255S Music - $100 off!
$299This is Garmin's mid-tier running watch, and is a very polished option with good multi-band GPS, and of course, a boatload of running metrics. This model also includes offline music such as Spotify and Amazon Music.
Garmin Forerunner 955 - $100 off!$399This is one of Garmin's most popular running watches, and it's back down to the lowest price ever. I often use this in my accuracy testing comparisons when validating other watches, due to it's very strong GPS performance. Note this is the base edition without solar. It'd be hard to find any better deal in sports watches today, from any company (given this has full mapping, tons of new features even this week, etc...)
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar: $100 off!
$499See everything I said above on the Forerunner 955 base, except this one also has solar.
Garmin Varia Radar (RTL515) - $50 off
$149This is Garmin's standalone radar/taillight option, and $149 is pretty much the standard sale-price. This product is universally loved, and works with Garmin/Wahoo/Stages/Hammerhead/etc, and other bike computers.
Garmin Venu 3 - $50 off!
Garmin inReach 2 Mini Satellite Communicator (2-way) - $100 off$299⚡ This is my defacto satellite communicator when out of coverage area, and I've used it on a number of major treks over the past two years when well outside of cellular service, both in a 24x7 tracking mode for friends and family, but also there in case of emergency. Would strongly recommend for anyone doing anything in the wilderness.
Google Pixel Watch 2 - $70 off!$329
HoverAir X1 Drone - $80 off!$349Note: There's virtually always a $80 coupon that can be clicked on the Amazon page.
Suunto Veritcal (Solar edition) - $50 off$699

DCRAINMAKER.COM Posts in the Past Week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page this past week:

Sunday: Week in Review–May 17th, 2020
Monday: Strava Cuts Off Leaderboard for Free Users, Reduces 3rd Party Apps for All, and More
Wednesday: First Look at COROS’s new Structured Workout & Strength Training Features
Friday: Trying Out Zwift’s New Boost Mode Feature in Beta

YouTube Videos This Past Week:

Here’s what hit the tubes over on the You of Tube, definitely don’t forget to subscribe there to get notified of videos the second they hit!

Stuff I Found Interesting Around The Interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet (and in this case, some of these are from the past few weeks…as my backlog is a bit longer):

1) Person mods GTA V to work with smart trainer, and pedals around world: That’s super cool! And it will even export a .FIT file out for upload to Strava or others, and it seems to imply it’s doing road-feel too. Now before someone compares to Zwift, as pointed out in the Reddit comments, GTA V had upwards of 1,000 developers working on it (Zwift has 200-300 employees in total) with a budget of $265 million. Yes, Million.

Also, fun industry tidbit here: The person who did this (Nestor Matas) actually did all the original ANT+ FE-C work at Bkool years before anyone else in the industry did so in their trainers, though he now works for Garmin. Back then though, Bkool was the annual on-stage demo company of FE-C at the ANT+ Symposium – and I even got suckered into being the volunteer cyclist on-stage one year to show it off – I think there’s a picture of both of us on stage somewhere. These days of course it’s baseline functionality in every smart trainer, and is how this mod works.

2) Cervelo co-founder Phil White joins 4iiii as Acting President of Company: This is an interesting one. He’s been a board member for a bit already, so this is a transition within the orbit of the company he’s already familiar with, rather than coming entirely out of left field. The company makes good products of course, but it will be interesting to see if he can boost their profile or market penetration.

3) Dirty Kanzelled race routes: If you were looking at riding the Dirty Kanza and now need a substitute route to keep you busy, this site has piles of awesome routes. Bookmarking it for future reference of simply good routes to scope out (mostly using parts of them).

4) SportTracks shows support for Garmin Varia Radar Traffic Data: Sweet! After I wrote about the Varia radar mapping a week or two ago, SportTracks explained how to use their built-in CIQ data support to do all the overlays and data plotting in a super clean format. Ok Strava, you’re next, right?

5) Emergency Autoland puts Garmin on bleeding edge of autonomous flying: This has nothing to do with sports tech, but it’s all about tech and aviation (and you know, I love aviation). Anyway, it’s a super fascinating look at Garmin’s new AutoLand system for emergencies of mostly smaller aircraft (single-pilot focused). Sure, the tech is interesting, but it’s actually more about the certification here. The idea that if you start with the assumption of all lives being lost in an emergency, and work backwards to find a tech solution that could most likely save everyone with low-risk, it’s astounding. This piece is 6 months old, but notable because the system finally received certification this week. Also – it’s relevant here because people might say ‘I’d never trust Garmin software for life-saving functions’. Ignoring the fact that if you’ve flown on an airplane you probably already have; the key difference here is that this system was a *decade* in the making. Your watch? Probably a 6-12 month product cycle. Different markets, different QA thresholds.

6) GoPro announces new Zeus Mini LED Light: It’s cool, but, it’s actually been out for months. The Zeus mini is simply re-packaging of the GoPro Light Mod with the new GoPro Magnetic Swivel Clip. In fact, you can see it used exactly that way in my review of the light mod. That swivel clip is awesome, btw.

7) 15-year old girl pedals 1,200 kilometers carrying dad on her bike: Well then, I guess that Dirty Kanza make-up ride you were planning doesn’t sound so impressive now, does it?

8) RideWithGPS adds Garmin Course AutoSync (API) Support: After Strava and Komoot rolled it out last week, RideWithGPS joins them. As noted, I suspect we’ll see plenty of companies quickly add support for this. It’s a no-brainer.

Sports Tech Device Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software, and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one-liners are perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?  Oh – and if you want to get a head start on things, this page is a great resource for watching Garmin and a few other firmware updates.

Garmin Edge 530/830/1030 Firmware Update: Huge feature update sweep with lots of indoor focused features, and a boatload of other ones (plus bug fixes). Here’s the 530 link and 1030 links.

Garmin Fenix 5 Series BETA Firmware Update: Bug fixes.

Garmin Instinct BETA Firmware Update: Minor bug fixes.

Garmin Venu Firmware Update: Mostly a collection of random tweaks, but few minor new features like added stress to watch data field.

Hammerhead Karoo Firmware Update: A pile of bug fixes, as well as a handful of new minor features like automatic wheel circumference.

Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM Firmware Update: Appears to be a re-release of the previous firmware update. So likely fixing some underlying bug.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. PeterF

    The “15-year old girl pedals 1,200 kilometers carrying dad on her bike” link goes to “Venu SW 4.60 is now live” on the Garmin forum. Not nearly as interesting ;-)

  2. JimC

    The one thing I hate about your weekly posts is that the offers are always US based. Aren’t there any other areas that get offers? (And I appreciate I’m complaining about a free resource, such is human nature ?)

    • Honestly, it doesn’t oft happen in Europe. But the reason is actually simple: In Europe, the whole concept of MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) is illegal. Which is when manufacturers specify the price a retailer can sell it for, and will cut off that retailer if they advertise lower than that price.

      In the US, that’s the norm for virtually every product out there. However, with Europe (and most other countries) laws against it, the penalties are massive if a company even hints to a retailer than they shouldn’t lower prices (there are however ways manufs get around this, but it’s harder). So as a results, in Europe pretty much everything is always on-sale.

      All that said, sometimes there are retailer-specific deals, like one I shared on Friday: link to twitter.com

    • JimC

      Thanks for the explanation. And I must admit I’m tickled by the fact that socialist Europe enforces a free market, while capitalist USA doesn’t ?

    • Haha…neither system around pricing is ideal. Both have their pros and cons, and both positively and negatively impact consumers in different ways. And positively and negatively impact retailers in different ways. And positively and negatively impact manufs in different ways.

      I’m sure I could write an entire post about it (and seeing it from both the consumer and retailer/manuf side, on both sides of the Atlantic now), but I doubt they’d want to hear my ramblings there.

    • Scott Buchanan

      You seriously think that (illegal) price fixing isn’t happening here in the UK???

      Have a wander around all the well known online retailers and notice how uniform the pricing is around rrp.
      As one small local retailer told me any stockist that steps out of line will get a nudge from a sales rep. Then they find that they can’t get stock ending with the retailers official stockist status being supuriously removed.

      There’s more than one way to skin a cat!

    • Oh, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen – it’s just that they can’t be as overt about it. In the US, it’s written into contracts and the retaliation terms are also clear cut. For GoPro & Garmin for example, it’s 6-month product turn-offs if a product is a single penny too low.

      Typically in the UK (moreso than the rest of the EU, however you want to define that), they seem to be a bit more clear about it. They’ll often simply cut off stock, rather than actually saying anything – as you noted.

      It’s historically been much harder for companies to pull that off in mainland EU over the years (hence why, for example, we see so many cycling discounters coming from Germany especially).

  3. Heinrich Hurtz

    It’s impossible for me, having worked my entire career in product development (commercial equipment and instruments), to understand how the Garmin sports division is part of the same company as the marine and aviation divisions. I’ve used all three, starting with a basic handheld aviation unit back around ’91-92. Frankly, I can’t understand the development process at the sports division at all, in any context.

  4. CowSqueezer

    When is that whoop strap review coming! I’ve been putting off my purchase/rental until I see your exhaustive review :)

  5. Larry

    FWIW – a friend had the Wahoo Snap on backorder with REI for about a month and they sent her a cancellation notice without any explanation. She called REI and they told her they didn’t expect more to become available. She then called Wahoo who confirmed.

    • So typically speaking Wahoo has a semi-pecular policy that they’ll cancel any pre-orders/backorders if the date from the manuf slips beyond 30 days. This often bites folks for pre-orders of Garmin watches, where they get a random cancellation e-mail.

      We also see it a ton with both Wahoo & Tacx trainers at REI, since in most cases they’re not getting weekly shipments, but likely a monthly drop.

      I haven’t heard anything about Wahoo cancelling the SNAP lineup, so my guess is this is just a case of REI doesn’t have a date for when they’ll get the next order from Wahoo (or they haven’t placed another, etc…). I know for example that CT was expected to get another shipment next week…err, this week now.

  6. Ryan

    If I use one of the links to a trainer at REI but buy the Fenix 6 do you still get the affiliate sale? I have a rather large dividend this year ?

  7. Andras

    regarding garmin edge530 firmware update
    I am sad that virtual activities will loose the live track option.
    I think it was cool to share where the others should have imagined while I was training indoors.
    And I was hoping for a multiplayer option from Garmin…
    As it was able to place us on virtual maps, hence in a group as well, it wouldn’t have been complicated to connect groups to compete against each other, within Garmin ecosystem.

    Ray, is there any chance that Garmin will enable livetrack to be switched on meanwhile doing indoor training?

    • Unless I’m reading it wrong, it simply says ‘Automatically’, not that it’s going away. Meaning, if indoors and yours settings are configured to automatically do a livetrack each time, it won’t do that automatically anymore.

  8. Miles

    That GTA 5 mod looks amazing! Chris Pritchard posted a video of him doing a free ride, and it looked so much fun. It seems to require a Windows operating system, so as an Apple Mac owner, I will have to nab my son’s Windows laptop!

  9. Andrew

    Formula E driver Daniel Abt disqualified and fined for cheating with a ring-in during virtual race.

    link to abc.net.au

  10. Chris

    RWGPS link Goes to an error page.

  11. Richard Geraghty

    Your newsletter no longer reaches me, so I am re-subscribing. Many thanks for all your great stuff!

  12. Ray SEPHTON

    Excuse my ignorance, if in Garmin Express once Edge 530 is connected to PC via USB and sync is done but Express says no Update is available ( for 5.50) does that mean it has not been rolled out in my part of the world (South Africa )ye,t or is there some trick to getting it. Thanks

    • Correct.

      However, at the links in the Garmin Forum, you can simply download the update file (it’s a .GCD file, just put it in the ‘Garmin’ folder on your Edge), and you’ll be off and cookin!

    • GH

      thank you Ray. For some reason my 830 is not updating automatically either.

  13. Brian

    Hey Ray — being a fellow aviation fan, I highly recommend checking out the posts from Admiral Cloudberg on Reddit (link to reddit.com). He does a weekly analysis of a certain commercial aviation incident/accident. I’m always amazed at the multiple factors that go into a plane crash and how disaster (or near disaster) could’ve been averted if any one thing hadn’t occurred. The redundancy that goes into the workings of airplanes is fascinating. The near crash of Air Canada Flight 759 is a great one to start with: link to medium.com