Week in Review–September 6th, 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:

Ok, not much left this week. Sorta a lull. But hey, if ya need a GoPro Hero 8 Black or AirPods, it’s still on sale!

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, as noted last week, I planned for this past week to be pretty quiet as I prep for this upcoming week

Sunday: Week in Review–August 30th, 2020
Tuesday: Garmin Launches Clipboard App For Coaches: Here’s how it works
Thursday: COROS Pace 2 In-Depth Review: A $199 Multisport watch with Running Power

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 to clear out the backlog):

1) Behind the scenes with Week 1 of the Tour de France: Good snippets of videos from beyond the fence lines this year, which would have undoubtedly required an immense amount of coordination with the teams to get the video clips (as media wouldn’t have been permitted to get them in these spots) and then atop that consolidate all these otherwise uncoordinated bits into a cohesive story that actually makes sense. Super impressive.

2) Peloton appears set to launch cheaper treadmill, more expensive bike: It’s been long rumored (nearly a year) that Peloton was looking to offer the treadmill at a more appealing price point. Inversely, it sounds like a bike with a bigger and tiltable display is on the way. This makes sense in normal years, but given Peloton is already having significant issues keeping up with demand – I’m a bit more perplexed on the bike piece.

3) How the original Apple Watch was hidden: Turns out, as an iPod. These days, that’d gather more attention than just an Apple Watch out in the open.

4) More Q2 Wearables Sales Stats: This time for so-called ‘wearable bands’ for North America specifically, which appears to be anything inclusive of watches (but not things like headphones/etc…). Either way, once you make the category more broad than purely smartwatches, then we see Fitbit ahead of Garmin/Samsung, versus lower than Garmin. Of course, Apple still leads. As I’ve oft noted, the definition of smart watch, band, etc… seems to change with the wind, dependent on the message that whichever firm is putting out the report wants to convey.

5) Zwift Steering Exclusivity Workaround: Sports tech industry’s Uncle Keith has once again shaken things up, this time illustrating why open standards are always better than closed proprietary exclusivity. In this long video (definitely for geeks), he shows under the covers how the Elite Sterzo Smart communicates with Zwift for steering, and how to build our own Zwift steering device.

6) DJI Mavic Air 2 Component Teardown: Speaking of tearing things apart, a complete breakdown of the components of the DJI Mavic Air 2 shows that the vast majority of the components are off the shelf, even apparently using common smartwatch GPS chipsets. Though, I couldn’t find the exact chipset that was used. Apparently the cost of goods for the Mavic Air 2 is $135 (it sells for $799USD).

7) Garmin launches Catalyst performance driving display thingy: I mention this, not because I care about the product (I don’t, I don’t even own a car – let alone a race car) – but actually it’s notable in the context of the Garmin MARQ series. You’ll remember when Garmin launched the MARQ series they basically launched one SKU per division in Garmin (Boating, Outdoors, Fitness, Automotive, Aviation). At the time, all of them made sense, except when it came to the automotive one it wasn’t just regular car driving things, but rather race-track focused (versus normal car stuffs). Garmin had never done that before, so in some ways it was out of left field. This product shows you basically Part 2 out of what I presume is a long product path towards building an entirely new category. Similar to what we saw with diving for example, though, that seems to have stalled a bit. Anyway, I thought it was randomly notable. Also – it kinda looks like Best Bike Split for race cars.

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, Wahoo, Polar, and a few other firmware updates.

Garmin Forerunner 45 Beta Firmware Update: Bluetooth Stability improvements.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series Firmware Update: Fixed battery drain issues after music playback

Garmin Instinct Solar Firmware BETA: Various fixes.

Lezyne Year 10 Firmware Updates: Maybe, the updater got updated, but it’s not clear from the site whether any updates were with it.

Stages Power Meter Firmware Update: Largely performance and handling related improvements.

Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM Firmware Update: Stability improvements.

With that – thanks for reading!

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  1. Matthew Nguyen

    Still waiting that dang AmazFit treadmill…

  2. Kevin

    You think trainer sales this offseason are going to be anywhere close to what they were in the spring? Seems like a ton of people who wanted one got one in Q1 2020…

    • It’s a huge wildcard. Historically I think those 20% off type sales will happen, but frankly, I doubt they’ll be any inventory for them to sell during that timeframe.

      Trainer companies can’t really keep up with demand today, and I suspect there’s a chance they might break their head above water around early October – only to then have more orders from a blend of COVID19 waves growing, as well as people just going indoors like normal.

      Said differently – if you really want a new trainer for this year, it’s best to put in the orders now. Whereas if you’re on the fence, you can see what happens in November. Either way, I don’t expect any further mainstream brand models this year.

    • George Pajari

      FWIW – I’m in Vancouver, Canada; ordered a Kickr Bike end of July — told to expect delivery end of September.

  3. KCF

    Think the upgraded Peloton bike will support erg mode?

    • Chris Benten

      Not likely. They have stated not interested and my neighbor does electronic QA for them has offered to design the circuit but they declined. Peloton makes money selling subscriptions to their online classes. If they built a “smart” bike that allowed Zwift, etc…they lose the moneymaker…

    • Agree, I’m actually not convinced ERG mode adds anything to the Peloton experiance. Of course, I’m sure in like 12 minutes or something they’ll announce and prove me wrong. But it’d have to be a substantial shift in direction to go towards ERG mode because so much of the concept of Peloton is giving you guidelines, but also those rails to go above/below based on the day.

      I agree in that they’d never build a bike with open standards. While they do turn a solid profit on the bikes themselves, the real long-term money is the subs.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    If Peloton can fulfill “Bike+“ (?) orders faster than for the current bike, then it’s a no-brainer as many of their target customers will just fork up $$$ for earlier delivery. Also, should it come with a detachable screen for taking non-bike classes on, that’s probably worth the up-sell alone.

    • It might be a good business move (and, they have said in various customer communications they’ll refund the difference of any price drop that occurs for existing backorders as well as new receivers in the last 30 days).

      However, ultimately, that manufacturing capacity that could be producing the existing/lower priced unit (since they now own their own facilities). And given the wait times are nuts these days, you’re essentially saying to customers already sitting on a waitlist: ‘Thanks, but, we’re letting this group over here cut the line instead’.

    • Anonymous Coward

      If they indeed affect a retroactive price guarantee, then it sounds like the choice for anyone on the waitlist is to get a refund and keep on waiting for the current product, or get bumped to the new product, ideally to the front of the order queue.

      Hard to gauge how / if their backlog is affected by the transition. Depends how well they’ve managed logistics planning, and it sounds like maybe not so well.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully Garmin Catalyst disrupts the race car lap analysis segment. Current solutions (AIM/MoTeC/…) require a data engineer to decipher all the squiggly lines, so maybe there’s a space for a tool for mere mortals. Except that Catalyst doesn’t seem to include any support for actual ECU data acquisition via ODB-II/CAN Bus/…, so it could be relegated to the “HPDE / hobby racer” segment.

    • Interesting. So, if coming from folks who would be interested in this tech – what’s the current thought on their offering?

      It’s odd that it doesn’t support ODB-II, since their VIRB Action cams do.

    • ggc

      The product seems to aimed at getting faster lap times rather than being a data logger, but I still think supporting OBD2 would be required to make sensible deductions on better laptimes.
      Will be interesting to see how consistent of a racing line it can map out with a 10HZ GPS + accelerometer+ image processing (sounds like voodoo/marketing).

  6. Robert B

    As someone who’s worked in the autotrade for 30 years, albeit lastly in April 2019 has OBD superceded to ODB? Reminds me of the time i got comptia certified, blink and the damn thing was out of date. Hence the long automotive career

  7. Timothy

    What happened to your peloton review?

  8. Mark

    Ray, you may want to update your sale notes for the Hero 8, considering it’s September already (my time has flown) and leaks of the Hero 9 have been circulating for a while.

  9. Lorin

    Hi Ray, Any comments on this and how it can change gps accuracy on future wearables? Maybe in next year’s garmin device.
    link to sony.net

    • Dan G

      Interesting; the first Sony L5/E5 wearables receiver (I don’t know if anyone else has released one). The L5/E5 waveform should allow accurate GPS-derived instant pace, something impossible before now. (Otherwise you need a footpod, probably a Stryd.) As the article notes, L5/E5 is also much better at cutting through multipathing (e.g. in city street canyons) to deliver your true position.

      Incredible bits of engineering, aren’t they? Such tiny objects that can locate their position anywhere on Earth in just a few seconds.

    • balandreau

      I believe Sony and Quectel are the only ones with this technology at the moment….

    • Dom

      There’s the Broadcom BCM47755 chip in whichever is the mobile variant, which I think was first to market. I’m unsure with any of these how the power consumption compares with single band devices, which will carry a lot of weight in decision making. Antenna design could be interesting, too. That said, show me a watch which has this and gets anywhere near its promise and I’m in.

  10. MAGNUStm

    With the announcement of the new tread/bike I take it they’re delaying the announcement of their Rower.

  11. DVQ

    I ride bikes and I track cars so I hopped on the Garmin Catalyst launch. Even though you may not be interested in driving — from a cyclist’s perspective I will note that they seem to be using some vision neural networks to detect placement of the vehicle on the track. This sort of technology makes me wonder what kind of applications vision based AI could mean for garmin cycling based products.

  12. Michael Allen

    Just browsing Garmin site this week and noticed this:
    link to buy.garmin.com

    Fenix 6 compatible quarter turn quickfit bike mount

    No idea when it arrived but finally ?

  13. davie

    Hi Ray, you have probably already seen this from Drew at Tacx Facx. Basically means that every single Neo 2T ever sold, anywhere in the world will, once warranty is expired and the $10 bearing inevitably fails, become an expensive door-stop. No way to fix the bearing due to a proprietary part required.

    link to youtube.com

    • This seems like a case of not simply asking the question to Garmin/Tacx. In fact, in the comments you’ll find a comment from Hilko – lead of support for Tacx.

      He noted that while they don’t yet have the public extractor tool available, it is something they’e working on. Since bearing replacement at this stage in the product life-cycle is fairly rare, they were doing replace via swaps.

      “Easy to go solutions needs to be availble for the public or dealers so that cost can be reduced to fix the problem and that we can service the NEO2T. They are in planning and will be offered to the market.”

      As Drew himself noted, swapping out full units (while sometimes expensive) is a better overall customer service experience for the vast majority of people that aren’t inclined to replace it. Given how rare it is for bearings to have issues at this stage in the product lifecycle, I don’t really think this is a big deal. If we come back in a few years and the tool isn’t available – then sure.

      But as Drew also noted, Garmin is one of the few companies that will still actually warranty your product forever. There might be a cost for a 15 year old product, but they do retain the parts. And in fact, we *already* saw this with Tacx and Garmin saying they’re going to takeover support and went back and added that for example to the original NEO as a policy.

    • davie

      ppreciate your comments Ray but feel they are optimistic. I live in Australia and own a Neo 1 bought in Feb 2018. Using the Garmin AU website, I can’t buy a replacement shimano hub for the EDCO hub, Can’t buy an extractor tool (however Hilko explained that the 2T tool is backwards compatible). I could do all of this before Garmin took over.
      Why is it acceptable for garmin to supply sub-standard bearings on a flagship unit? Why is it acceptable to not supply a tool for repairs… just because its new? Units are already failing. It’s not acceptable to state that the most minor issue requires complete unit replacement and a 2-3 month wait while this takes place.
      I am not aware of an local Garmin Australia support policy for my model out of warranty if it exists. There is NO mention of any policy on the tacx or Garmin AU website at all. The only policy I am aware of is a UK only one of charging 650 pounds for repairs no matter what the issue – even if its a $10 bearing fix.
      Drew made lots of good points about Garmins attitude towards garmins paying customers. Not expecting you to comment on all of them but he has bent over backwards to help people on facebook.

      Hilko is clearly trying hard, but I don’t’ think he is getting the Garmin HQ support he needs.

      Has anyone at Tacx or Garmin ever heard of a focus group or user survey?

  14. George Pajari

    What’s up with the Wahoo Elemnt ROAM? The Wahoo website (link to wahoofitness.com) says it’s out of stock. REI says “Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT ROAM GPS Bike Computer is no longer available”. The listing on Amazon.com has disappeared, and my order with Canada Bicycle Parts was cancelled with a note asking if I’d like a BOLT instead (no).

    • Patrick Utrecht

      Looks like the same happened in my country (Europe). It points towards a new model release, in which case if Ray knows anything about it, he’ll be blocked to comment on it. I assume he still needs to sign a NDA to get info. I’ll be surprised on what is to come. Though I use the Roam myself, it’s only a minor improvement over the bolt with a huge mark up in price (relatively speaking). The biggest let down was the so called “color screen” which I still consider mainly mono (black & white). I do appreciate the bigger size though and the rerouting option that the bolt lacks.

  15. Clair Hutchings

    Upgrading from tacx smart flow would you go for tacx neo 2t, wahoo of some description or the new next generation wattbike atom. Currently I use an old 8 speed racing bike.


  16. brad

    Hi Ray – any rumors or timeframe for the release of a new Forerunner 645? That product is over 2 years old, and I’m wondering if they’re going to keep that slot between the 245 and 945 or ditch it. Thanks!

  17. Andrew

    I’ve just discovered that the Polar Flow website has an export HRV data option for a given activity. Is this a new feature or am I now seeing this because I bought a new Polar Pro HR Strap? I’m still using my H7 sensor and the export option is also available for my OH1 sensor.

    • George Pajari

      You are probably only seeing it because you have the PRO HR strap.
      (a) I only have the OH1 and don’t see it; and
      (b) I understood that the OH1 did not capture sufficient information to provide HRV data (and so I’d have doubts about the utility of an HRC export from a data set captured by an OH1 sensor).

    • Aidan

      I can confirm, it’s a recent update from Polar – screenshot attached shows my own view – Polar mentioned this on twitter yesterday

    • Andrew

      Yes you are correct about the OH1 as my export file does not have HRV data.

    • Andrew

      Thanks Aidan.
      MAP, MAS and FTP are now available under Physical settings.

      link to twitter.com

  18. Arne

    Hi Ray, I’ve noticed a lot of buzz on social media regarding ‘Aerofit’, a device that is used to ‘train your lungs’ for endurance sports. Since your spot-on review of the Whoop strap, I see you as one of the people very able to get a closer look at this device. Any chance you’d be doing an in-depth piece on that?

    It’s a bit of sub-genre in sportstech, but might be interesting.

    Kind regards!

    • Yeah, I put that kinda stuff in the same camp as those bracelets people try and pitch that supposedly make you do X or Y.

      My thing is simple on these: If they actually worked (even at a 1% increase), then we’d see every single pro athletes in the world using them (for free), since 1% is gold medal at the Olympics or off the podium for most events. But…we don’t. We only see mostly no-name athletes talking about supposed benefits.

      Most data I’ve read basically says there are some short-term benefits, but, like everything else in the body eventually your body adapts (very quickly in this case), and there’s no actual increase in performance, because you can’t keep applying more and more load like you can other stimuli.


    • Arne

      That’s kind of what I expected… Thanks!