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Week in Review: October 25th, 2020

WeekInReview22

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:

We’re currently in the lull between Amazon Prime Day a few weeks back, and the start of Black Friday type sales in November. Still, there’s some decent options out there. Oh, you can always access all deals at dcrainmaker.com/deals

ProductSale PriceAmazonOther siteSale Notes
Polar Grit X - 20% off
$429
$350Given my post this past week, seems like something might be coming up here shortly. Still, a good watch for the reduced price.
Tacx NEO 2 SE (Special Edition) - 16% off (US)
~€1,100
$1,170The Tacx NEO 2 SE is basically just a NEO 2 but with added native thru-axle compatibility. That's it. Note this is shipped by Chain Reaction, but comes with either a UK or EU power adapter. You can simply use a $1-$2 power adapter without any problems in the US. All Tacx trainers are dual-voltage (and in fact, I regularly use $1 adapters with trainers when companies send me out of country units to test).
Tacx NEO 2 SE (Special Edition) - 25% off (Europe)
~€1,100
£899.99/€1,061The Tacx NEO 2 SE is basically just a NEO 2 but with added native thru-axle compatibility. That's it. The UK price is 25% off, whereas the EU price will vary from about 15% off based on exact country.

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: October 18th, 2020
Monday: DC Rainmaker State of Sports Tech 2020 Keynote
Tuesday: Garmin’s Virtual Developer Conference News Tidbits for Connect IQ 4.0 and Garmin Connect Platform
Wednesday: Garmin Instinct Esports Edition with Special Software: An Explainer of Sorts
Friday: Wattbike ATOM 2020 Smart Bike In-Depth Review
Saturday: Here’s the DCR $500 Gadget Giveaway Winner!

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:

1) DCR on ChaseTheSummit LiveStream: Just a heads up I’ll be doing a livestream with Dave of ChaseTheSummit, chatting about all sorts of things from wearable tech to behind the scenes geekery. You can click below and hit the bell to be notified. The livestream is this Thursday at 5PM US Eastern Time/10PM Central European Time.

2) Zwift outage scheduled for Monday Night/Tuesday Morning: Just a heads up that Zwift has a four-hour scheduled outage planned for 7PM-11PM US Pacific Time, or 3AM-7AM European Central Time, or 1PM-5PM Sydney time.

3) Tokyo 2020…er…2021 Olympic Swimming Pool Opens Up: Some pretty cool behind the scenes photos in this tweet stream of both the building process and just the pure size/scale of it.

4) Doping Tests are Returning, but it Might Be Too Late: The article dives into how COVID-19 has created a vacuum with respect to doping tests, which normally occur continuously for professional athletes, including out of competition testing to detect training related doping (which can then benefit racing).

5) Canyon Bicycles up for sale: And, from what appears to be roughly the same investment group compilation that recently took a $500M stake in Zwift. No surprise here, Canyon is set for huge growth if they can figure out logistics (and competitive pricing) for countries outside of Europe. As a two-time Canyon buyer now (road and mountain), I’d happily buy another frame given I live here in Europe. But looking at US pricing, it’s just a non-starter.

6) Impact of COVD-19 on Professional Athletes: A study by Stanford University with Strava takes a look at all the stats and data. This includes everything like changes to pace or HR intensity levels, as well as mental related aspects.

7) Peak Design’s new bike mount system: I like the looks of it. I’m a big Quadlock buyer/user, but I appreciate that I don’t have to rotate this. CyclingTips has a good hands-on look too. And based on what I see here, I like it a lot – including the mini-tripod concept. Though, two thoughts. First, I’m simply not joining a Kickstarter for something that I don’t get till next May (best case scenario). Second, this is super similar to the concept that I tested two years ago from another crowd-funded company, SwitchLok. I validated they didn’t license the IP from SwitchLok, so will be interesting to see how that shakes out. Still, I’ll likely be a buyer for it once it reaches retail.

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 MARQ Series Firmware Update: Massive pile of new features including track mode, daily suggested workouts, improved recovery time, and a boatload more things.

Garmin Fenix 6 Series Firmware Update: Same as MARQ.

Garmin FR945 Firmware Update: Essentially same as MARQ/Fenix 6.

Garmin FR745 Firmware Update: Adds indoor climb/bouldering, plus MTB Grit/Flow metrics

Garmin FR245 Firmware Update: Adds track mode & advanced recovery time

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series Firmware Update: Bug fixes

Garmin Fenix 5 Series Firmware Update: Bug fixes

Garmin Edge 530/830/1030/1030 Plus Firmware Update: Adds Tacx Road Feel, new Varia All Clear tone, and a bunch of other tweaks.

Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM Firmware Update: Bug fix related to old workouts appearing as new workouts

With that – thanks for reading all!

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59 Comments

  1. Jamie

    Can you elaborate on what you mean about Canyon’s US prices? You think they’re not going to make money at that price, or that they’re too expensive?

    • The frame/bike selection (limited mostly to higher end units), availability (often long wait times), and prices are waaaaay higher than here in Europe.

      Just picking a totally random category for fun – ebikes. Crack open the European site (pick a country, in my case, the Netherlands), and then open another page for the US. There’s two options in the US, 7 in Europe. But that’s just a quick one. You can do it for countless sections/frames.

  2. The 530 is getting BLE sync support. Is this going to have any advantage? Maybe on battery life or reliability of the connection?

  3. youpmelone

    Nothing provides a better pro feeling than a giant iphone mounted to handlebar.
    It’s like red cars in Switzerland..

    • I don’t use it for a road/race bike. I use it for my everyday around town bikes. Works great for directions and such around the city.

      That’s the main use case here.

    • Pavel Vishnyakov

      It’s very convenient from a “stop – take a picture – continue riding” perspective. Way better than a phone in a jersey pocket. And the phone doesn’t end up all sweaty.

  4. Frank Goehner

    I still wish we could get Canyon Bikes in Canada. Its been promised for years.

    • Pierre Delionnet

      They are coming to Canada in the spring. It would have been sooner but it has been delayed (most likely due to Covid)

      link to canyon.com

    • Berry Polmann

      Consider that urged scratched after you’ve seen Hambini’s review of a canyon bike.
      I’ve been one of their earliest customers in the end of the 90s, the company has not digested the growth well.

    • Wyatt

      Steve Fleck mentioned the “coming soon!” announcement for Canyon in Canada during Lionel Sanders’ Canadian Hour Record attempt broadcast, and that it was indeed delayed due to Covid. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the selection/prices are like Ray has been pointing out for the US (if it’s bad for the US I can’t imagine how bad it will be for Canada though! lol/cry).

  5. Hi Ray, any plans to review the Garmin Descent MK2?

    Thanks.

    • I do, but logistically it’s challenging right now. I’d want to go somewhere I can actually shoot in clear waters to be able to see stuff better underwater, and realistically everything is locked down right now.

      In the past I’ve gone to NEMO33 not to far from here in Belgium. But the border is currently closed from here to there (and vice versa).

    • Luke

      I have been waiting for this watch for a while. Given the fact that I won’t have any SCUBA trips any time soon I guess I can wait a bit longer for the DCR review !

    • I’m in the same boat (pun not intended). Thanks Ray for letting us know your plans. I guess there are at least two of us waiting on your review. There is absolutely no rush though.

    • Koen Van den Bergh

      Bad luck I didn’t read it earlier, Nemo33 was open up to a couple of days ago. They had to close like all other pools because of new rules. I do understand it isn’t always easy to follow, but the border hasn’t been closed since it was opened in July and there have been multiple announcements they won’t close it again.
      Depending on how you look at it you could even have crossed the border when it was actually closed, work related trips were allowed as long as you had an official paper delivered by the company..

    • The border isn’t closed per se, but it’s practically closed since Belgium is on the list of countries I’d have to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival back in the Netherlands. Which isn’t super practical when you’ve got three kids. Well, it’s not super practical whether you have three kids or not, but it’s a non-starter at this point, and realistically doesn’t really help the whole world situation for potentially either country based on the numbers here in Oct/Nov.

  6. Bert

    I guess you use the Lasko fan with a plug adapter? Or is there a European version of the fan?

    • The Laska, with a transfer.

      However, there’s a very similiar EU unit here: link to amzn.to – I’ve also got that one. Essentially the same for trainer usage. Also has a daisy-chain option if you wanted to do multiple.

      Both work great. Full head to head (vs Wahoo Headwind) on deck.

  7. Squeegy

    Seeing the live stream made me remember the podcast. Any plans to revive it? Maybe podcast 3.0 ??

  8. Seth

    So, it looks like F935 is completely abandoned with issues with elevate and OSW.
    Garmin is a crap. It makes me mad, I really hate this company for so many not resolved bugs, but in other hand I quite can’t see alternative.

  9. Pavel Vishnyakov

    Hi Ray,
    do you have any plans to review Withings ScanWatch? Would be interesting see how true their claims about medical-grade SpO2 sensor are.

  10. Jared

    At the $56 sale price would you buy the Garmin HRM Dual over a Wahoo Tickr ? Or does the Tickr still win?

    • It’s a wash to be honest (assuming not talking TICKR X). The newer TICKR and Garmin strap both support dual BLE alongside ANT+. Neither supports data offloading or such, only Garmin’s HRM-PRO or Wahoo’s TICKR X.

    • Patrick Renschler

      I would buy the Garmin HRM Dual. The Wahoo Tickr does not have accurate R-R data over ANT+. see link to help.elitehrv.com

      I’ve seen it screw up my garmin stress tests and in theory it should also mess with your Training Effect metrics but I haven’t verified that yet. It’s an issue if you have to pair your strap over BLE to something else like an iPad for zwift and then can only use ant+ for your garmin.

    • Dan

      If you’re using an HRV app, you’re connecting over BLE, so the Ant+ side of things is of little relevance

  11. Andrew

    Are there any smart devices out there that I can use as a dimmer for my Lasko fan? I know I could get off my bike and change the settings on the fan 3 feet away, but I’m a lazy triathlete

  12. inSyt

    Also some good news for current Forerunner users (minus the 645).

    Garmin-Brooks 3 days ago
    Just wanted to get this update out there as there have been understandably a lot of questions about the sleep widget and when it is coming back. While preparing to release our new on-device sleep algorithm on Forerunner devices we found that some beta testers had more accurate results on the previous versions. As a result, we have removed the feature to further review results so our customers can ultimately have the best sleep algorithm experience. We are actively testing and verifying the algorithm on a wider audience and hope to release a public beta in the coming months. Thank you all for your patience as we continue to make improvements and listen to your feedback.

    https://forums.garmin.com/sports-fitness/running-multisport/f/forerunner-245-series/243376/forerunner-245-music-sw-5-20—live-to-100

  13. Palle Plutt

    Garmin FR945 Firmware Update: Essentially same as MARQ/Fenix 6.

    same, same but different 😉

    FR945 is still missing “on device sleep” Garmin employee says there is problem with it.
    See comment in firmware thread.

  14. Tyler

    I’m curious how much cheaper Canyon bikes are than the US?
    I didn’t realize there was a difference, and could never understand the value proposition (for the US).

    • On a per-model basis they’re usually only about 10% cheaper in the EU.

      But…that hides the real story: Only the most expensive models are available in the US, whereas the EU has models at every price point, and most of the best deals are not the $7K super-bike levels, but rather the $1-3K price bucket.

      And adding to that, Canyon EU almost always has sales/clearance on last years models (seemingly all year), which are even better deals. Again, rarely in the US.

  15. Joe

    There is apparently a study underway to determine EPO efficacy for Covid 19 treatment, so somebody is going to be cheeky enough to “borrow” a positive swab and try for a TUE.

  16. Stephen M.

    Was a bit surprised by the Fenix 6 software update on my run this weekend! Surprised in a good way. I took advantage of the “suggested workout” because why not…and I was happy to see that you could toggle based on time as well as HR.

    Curious if this will get pushed down to the other models – Fenix 5, Vivo, etc.

    • Pavel

      oh, I did not know that you can change suggested workouts to user HR. Where you can make this change? Thanks!

    • Stephen M.

      When the suggested workout pops up, click the “GO” (top right button), and rather than immediately selecting “Do Workout” scroll down the menu to “Target Type” – this will give you the option of HR or Pace!

      Enjoy!

  17. Christopher F Wilson

    Love all the reviews. Sorry to say Garmin has not yet offered one feature it probably should and could without much effort. Namely – when one is cycling, the Garmin should be able to give “lap” alerts (sound and shake) every 2 miles or so, saying 17.1 mph or whatever the lap pace was. Also, when swimming in open water, the Garmin should be able to give at alert every 500 yards or so saying 2:00 minutes per 100 yards, or whatever the lap pace was. Like that feature for running with my 620, could use the same real time performance update when cycling & swimming. Thanks for seeing what can be done. My wife has a 920xt which could use the upgrade the most.

    • Dom

      I’m puzzled – are you saying that you are not able to set autolaps for cycling or swimming in the same way you can for running? Or is it that you can’t set custom data there?

      For the first, any unit that has a cycling mode has autolap for that mode, though the default is set to 5 miles so you might not spot it if you were only cycling short distances, and has a similar range of lap display settings to the run mode for that unit.
      For swimming, generally the devices with a swim mode will count lengths in the pool, and auto lap by distance in open water.
      Out of curiosity, I dug out my old 620 and, for cycling, you can definitely set a lap distance of 2 miles or many other values, and you can set either of the lap screen fields to show the lap pace, again among many other values. It doesn’t support swimming, so obviously no options there.

    • Christopher W.

      Yes, my goal for the 620 would be to keep my alerts at 1 mile (showing minutes per mile pace) while running, then also have alerts at 2 or 5 miles while cycling (showing average lap mph). Goal for the 920xt would be to also have swim alerts every 500 yards or so (minutes per hundred yards). Sorry to say alerts for rides and swims, along with run alerts, may not be feasible, Not sure alerts are 100% considerate of fellow athletes, but they do help me manage solo runs. Might check with Garmin tech support for their thoughts. Seems like it is a software upgrade vs hardware issue in either case. Thanks for tips.

    • Dan G

      I’m a bit confused Chris, Garmin has had autolap on swimming and cycling for years. Activity Settings > Laps > Auto Distance. Set it for whatever distance you want. Can display up to two data fields in the lap alert message. The 920 certainly has this.

    • Dom

      Exactly. And as above, I have checked and the 620 definitely allows laps to be set for cycling, at a distance independent of that for running, with two data fields in the lap message that are also independent of those set for running.

      They are not just feasible, they are part of the basic system and have been for many years.

    • Christopher W.

      Thanks, Dan & Dom! Have now reprogrammed my 620 to alert every 2 miles on the bike and let me know lap speed. If that is too much info, may scale back to every 5 miles. Also will get an alert after each hour of riding. Would like to get my average speed up for Ironman MD in 2021. Feedback while riding might help. Sorry to say did not realize 620 was so well set up for tracking cycling.

    • Dom

      That’s great! I can see how it’s not as clear as it should be in the 620 – you have to switch to the activity you want to modify, then go into settings, which looks exactly the same apart from colour scheme whatever activity you are in. Newer watches you go into settings then select the activity you want to adjust, or do it when the activity is actually active and ready to record. Better from a UI point of view.

    • Christopher W.

      Got the 920xt to give alerts every 500 yards during swim – updated me on pace as swim unfolded, which was helpful. Both 920xt and 620 gave beeps at intervals on bike ride – every 2 miles seems better for me than every 5 miles. Ideally lap alert will say my speed over the last 2 miles (lap speed) vs average speed.

  18. Henk

    There is an updated firmware for the Saris Hx trainers (31.063, I think). It is not listed on their site (last updated Oct last year!), but I happened to check with the Saris app this morning.
    Something about Bluetooth FTMS calibration, I forgot to take a screenshot.

  19. Sean Kolar

    DO you see Canyon getting with the picture anytime soon for the US market? I really really like the idea and look of their bikes, and your endorsement makes me more willing to drop the money.

    But you’re right, it’s painful trying to find one and the reviews are less then stellar. How long do you forsee it taking before they get with the picture, or tighten up their US supplychain?

    • I don’t see them being meaningful in the US market until they can match the level of ‘Woah’ that’s present in the European market.

      As for other reviews/etc, I can basically only speak for myself and my usage there. I love my road bike (now almost three years old). The singular exception to that being the @#$#@ 2#$@#$ @#$#@ derailleur hanger, which is such as worthless @#$@# of @#$#@ sh@#$@#.

      Seriously, the stupid part breaks if the wind looks at it the wrong way. And it costs like $20/shot, so I always have 2 of them on-hand, especially when I travel. Lean the bike up against a park bench for a second and a strong wind blows it over onto the grass? New hanger. It’s funny, I even one time stumbled onto a DCR reader out riding in Spain at a turnaround with the same bike, that had just had their bike tip over while they were taking a picture, and had the hanger bend.

      But…beyond that…I love everything else about it.

    • Sean Kolar

      That seems like an alarming/expensive issue?! given the difficulty of US supply as is…

      Makes me a little nervous to buy especially for a $3k+ bicycle…

  20. About the Fenix 6 firmware update:
    “Improved Bluetooth stability and reliability.” No Garmin u did NOT, on the contrary I never had problems with bluetooth but now u f*cked with it and now I my earphones keep disconnecting! Same with other Garmin devices, when I first had my Garmin 530 I didn’t have any problems with it but after an update I kept loosing gps in forest area’s (so much that I had to use my Fenix 6 to keep going), also my Garmin Edge 530 is in for replacement as it had a blackscreen and can’t be fixed (and I’m not the only one with this problem).
    Garmin has to stop with updates that f*ck up their own products, do more beta-testing before sending it to every device or let me choose to never update it (or let me downgrade it)!

  21. Sean Kolar

    That seems like an alarming/expensive issue?! given the difficulty of US supply as is…

    Makes me a little nervous to buy especially for a $3k+ bicycle…

  22. Tams

    I like the Peak Design mounting system and understand why it’s iPhone-centric, but just like with their new competitors (Quad Lock, etc.), I’m not going to trust a 3M adhesive to keep my expensive phone safe. And that’s with 3M adhesive being pretty much the best available.

  23. Brian D.

    I have fairly random question, Ray and I can’t find the answer anywhere online; I have a sense that you’ll know so hoping you see this.

    Is there any way to change the x-axis on graphs in the Garmin Connect mobile app (iOS) to be by distance instead of time? Can’t seem to find the answer in the Garmin website or their forums and I have scoured the app to find if it’s possible but can’t locate it (I was hoping for some hidden features like a long-press on the x-axis or something but alas, nothing ?)