Video Long-Form Discussion on Best (and worst) Cycling Gadgets of 2020


Hey folks – just a quick one here today to share an episode I recorded with Het is Koers here in the Netherlands, which translated from Dutch to English would come out roughly as ‘The Game is On’. According to my Dutch friends, this is what the Dutch commentators would say when a race starts to get exciting – ‘het is koers’. There ya go – Dutch lesson for today complete!

For this one we chatted for some 90 minutes, but about far more than just gadgets. We also talked a bit about my move to Amsterdam (now almost three years ago), as well as my time thus far in the Netherlands including lots of cycling talk. After all, it’s a show about cycling.

But then we dove deep into five different top cycling products of 2020, as well as the biggest cycling flop of 2020. Of course, there wasn’t actually a huge number of cycling-specific products released this year. It was a bit of a quieter year in that respect. Most of the indoor companies were busy trying to meet demand, while the outdoor-focused ones had their major releases last year. Still, a few snuck in – so we chatted about those. Oh, and we talked through all my smart trainer recommendations. You can skip around a bit to find the sections most easily – they’ve got the reviews pulled up on the screen to make it easier.

The entire discussion is in English, save their intro. I’ve set the below video to start at the 7:04 marker, which is when we start chatting – else, you’re in Dutch prior to that point.

It’s always fun chatting with different groups, especially long-form and being able to dive deep into subjects and talk about the pros and cons of things as more of a discussion than just a bulleted list.

If you’re a Dutch speaker, then I’d encourage you to check out their weekly video podcast, which you’ll find here.

With that – thanks for watching and enjoy!


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  1. BobbyTables

    As always, great and informative discussion. Thanks for the insight on the multiple moonshot issues taken by pedal/bike developers. I felt like I was in an accidental business class (this is a compliment).

    For the discussion about the indoor trainer bikes (bike smart, kickr bike) I think you missed a large selling point that they have in common with the Peloton Bike: the lower activation energy to use, and the ease of use by multiple users.

    Relative to a bike+Trainer setup, either you need a dedicated bike on the trainer, or you need to clean your bike every time it is used outside so you can bring it into your home. The former is a non-trivial cost, and the second substantially increases the energy needed to get on the bike.

    For the multiple user scenario, for a couple where each person uses the trainer, moving between users requires changing bikes out each time. This adds substantial time and space requirements for the trainer, making the time riding/time spent ratio less favorable.

    Both the Peloton bike and these smart trainer bikes excel at these use cases.

    • Definitely huge value in the multi-user scenario.

      But, the challenge there is that the smart bike makers don’t actually pull it off as well as Peloton does. Not because Peloton is doing that angle better (they are, but meaninglessly) – but because they don’t have user profiles.

      Take a KICKR Bike or Tacx Bike for example. Both of them require the user to open their phone and open the Wahoo or Tacx app to get the weight information configured (as well as gearing) before then closing that app (if Tacx) and then opening up the actual app they want to use (Zwift/etc…). Else, the virtual flywheel will be incorrect – and quite significantly. For example my wife and I are significantly different in weight – massively so, such that if she used it the in-game aspects would feel horribly wrong unless she changed it each time. The same is true for shifting. She’s a Shimano mechanical person, I’m an eTap person.

      The problem is that neither Zwift or the smart bike makers have worked to address this. It should simply be when I connect Zwift to the smart bike, it pulls in my preferences from that app. Done. Nothing more to do.

      I guess that’s what I mean in that it just seems all a bit early at this point. Yes, there are bikes to like – and yes, in the grand scheme of things these aren’t huge issues. But if someone is spending $3,500+ on a smart bike designed to last them probably 4-7 years, I’d just be concerned all of these were basically public beta bikes. Good beta bikes, but sorta beta nonetheless.

    • Jorge LC (jolaca)

      Hi Ray,I’ve got an Stages SB20 smart bike that although expensive is great because of it’s been riden by my wife, my daughter and myself, so at the end, user-wise, it was not as expensive. So I agree that multi user experience is so important regarding these bikes.
      Ray, while talking about Wahoo and Tacx bikes you said something that concerns me: they need the user to setup their profiles in the bike apps before staring to get the correct weight for each user. I understand that Stages SB20 has a real flywheel and although you can do it, I’ve never setup my weight on Stages Link app, only on Zwift: is that important or in this case it doesn’t matter (because of the real flywheel)??

  2. Joey

    I don’t want to sit through 83 mins. How about a quick text recap.

    • Heinrich Hurtz

      Me too. Not a fan of vids or podcasts. I’ll read a computer generated transcript if made available.

    • Yeah, realistically the vast majority of what I cover is via written stuff. But in cases like this I’m mostly highlighting an interview that folks might be interested in. If I just put a quick list of the five things and one failure, I think it’d lose a lot of the longer form context of what we talked about in relation to those things. And in some cases (such as the Karoo 2 or IQ2), I think that context is important.

  3. Frank Goehner

    Bring back the fitfiles with gplama

  4. JP

    Ray you said the IQ2 pedals stopped producing power 15 minutes into your ride, I think you meant to say “stopped measuring” power, unless there’s a feature to this pedal you aren’t disclosing. ;)

    • True. Though, my wording was more on the communications side – as in, “producing the power signal”, because they were actually still measuring, but weren’t transmitting power values anymore. ;)

  5. giorgitd

    Is there a way to get this as an MP3? I looked at the link, which is You Tube. I searched iTunes podcasts, but could not find ‘Het is Koers’. Somewhere else to search?

  6. JimC

    Hey Ray, quick question that comes to me after you/them mentioning the Dutch only bike: How many products do you test that never get a published test? Given you have a certain responsibility (sorry!) as a respected expert in the field, do you ever think you should publish a list of failed products?

    • Quite a lot, though rarely just because the product doesn’t work. Usually simply because there’s low to no interest in something by folks, and that often translates to low to no interest from me.

      Generally my line in the sand about publishing on failed products is mostly whether or not they’re production. In the case of the Dutch bike, it was still in a forever-beta realm (though shipping beta to consumers). I believe now it’s considered production, but I haven’t touched one in about a year I think.

      The ‘challenge’ I’ve found with just producing a quick list of ‘failed’ products, or such, is that there’s rarely an easy way to explain why something sucks. Sure, sometimes a product fails disastrously, but oftentimes it’s a much longer explanation, and then people want both sides of the coin shown…and before you know it you’re back at a full in-depth review on something that nobody was interested in, in the first place. :-/

  7. Iliyan

    Hey DCR, what is the red watch on your hand in this video? Is it a Forernner 745?