It’s been a while since a ‘5 Random Things’ post. Not because I haven’t been doing things, but because they’re a bit less random. With everything pretty locked down, our weekend routine is pretty ‘repeatable’ – especially in the winter. So I try not to bore you with what is basically groundhog day on the weekends these days. Still, every once in a while there’s just enough variability to make it interesting. And thus, this weekend.
1) Unboxing the Scosche Rhythm 2.0
Last week Scosche announced the new Rhythm 2.0 optical HR sensor. It made its way across the pond and eventually to the DCR Cave. And by ‘it’, I mean a box full of parts. Multiple units and enough armbands to easily violate the number of adults allowed together, per COVID rules in the Netherlands.
I got it all unboxed. Notably, there are actually two different boxed versions. One for retail stores, and one for Amazon. For Amazon, the box is roughly half the size. That saves on shipping (both cost and environmental aspects), and also saves on shelf space at Amazon, since Amazon charges companies based on the size of the item too.
There was also the new charging case. Basically it’s an 860mAh USB battery pack built into the side of a small case. It charges via USB-C, but has a ‘normal’ USB port inside, so you can plug in the Scosche to it while travelling:
I’ve already got a few workouts in by now on it, and things are looking pretty good indoors on the bike. But I’ve yet to throw down some outdoor track workouts. Likely tomorrow. As for a full in-depth review, we’ll see on exact timing. Scosche sent a note on Friday that shipping has slipped from February to March. So I’ll probably wait a little bit longer to ensure that the same firmware/hardware that I have now hits you then. Plus, it’ll give me a longer timeframe to validate test results.
2) Zwift Friday Night Crashing
Friday night after the kids went to bed, The Girl and I each jumped on bikes to get workouts in. I headed to the shed on a Tacx NEO 2, while she jumped on the Peloton bike. I decided to do a random race that fit that timeframe – and all started out well:
And by ‘well’, I mean I was dying, because as always I forgot just how hard the starts are, and then spent waaaaay too long trying to catch back up.
In any case, just after crossing the finish line as the results displayed – Zwift crashed – less than 3 hours after I just wrote a post about Zwift releasing a major update designed to fix Zwift crashes.
This was on a near brand new Apple TV 4K, with the most recent Zwift update that I talked about on Friday – specifically designed to prevent crashing in events (mostly larger events).
As I ranted on Twitter, I get that Zwift will never be able to mitigate every crash on every platform. But Apple TV is literally the easiest platform for them to develop for. There are exactly *TWO* supported models of Apple TV (4K and not-4K), and these models haven’t changed in over 3 years. It’s a QC dream. And yet, I get the feeling that doesn’t happen.
More than that – my entire post on Friday was about Zwift “finding” an issue with large-scale events in the platform, an issue that has been around seemingly forever that they’ve never bothered to fix.
Which ultimately gets to the core of my question: Is Zwift doing any crash diag/logging at scale in an automated way. We know they do heavy amounts of logging to snag a 19 year old female rider and implicate them in cheating scandals due to pairing the wrong power source – but are they spending any time using that logging to fix real-world crashes?
It took Zwift less than an hour to reach out after my Twitter post, so hopefully more soon there. While I’m annoyed at another crash, I’m far more interested in understanding what Zwift is doing to mitigate this at scale, and what that looks like at the platform level. Because based on the number of Instagram and Twitter responses, I’m most definitely not alone here. A heck of a lot of you experience crashes (and yes, I know some of you never do). More soon…
(Also, Zwift then froze again Sunday night too, mid-way through my group ride.)
3) Amsterdam Night Snow Exploring
Snow in Amsterdam is actually a fairly rare occurrence. The last time it stuck was three years ago. So when it started snowing Saturday afternoon the first priority was letting our kids enjoy making a snowman and throwing snowballs. Especially since it’s unlikely we’ll be able to travel to any mountains this winter.
But the second priority after the kids went to bed was to try and get a few photos around the city with the new-fallen snow. So after they were settled, I took the cargo bike out for a bit of exploration. First to a nearby windmill:
Then from there I just meandered over the course of a few hours through the desolate city.
Eventually my limiter was I didn’t think to bring extra DSLR camera batteries. It’s funny, I so rarely use the ‘real camera’ for anything but product review photography these days. With kids, the iPhone is usually a far better tool because it’s able to capture the exact moments better with live photos and such – things that don’t exist on big cameras. I usually take birthday photos and things like that with the nicer camera, but gone are the days when I’d take boatloads of photos for non-work purposes on fancy cameras. Or maybe it’s just gone are the days of travel. Not sure.
Either way, it was nice getting a few hours of quiet to take photos.
4) Into the forest in search of snow
Sunday morning the temps were rising fast, but our kids still (logically) wanted to play in the snow. So we went in search of whatever snow we could find in the forest (Amsterdam Bos). A surprising amount had melted overnight, but we eventually found a few fields that were pretty functional for toddlers to run around and be happy:
Sadly, within a few hours the snow would be all gone. Our snowman at home lasted till later in the day, some timestamped pics up on my Instagram Stories feed (which, is where all the action is).
5) Peloton DFC Broadcaster
Over the last month I’ve been using a nifty little Peloton accessory that’s ideal if you want to connect your Garmin or other watch to record your Peloton data, or, if you want to connect Zwift or TrainerRoad to Peloton (or any other app/device). I’ll dive into it more in a separate post, but a few of you asked about it this weekend. It’s called DFC, made by the company Intelligenate. The small red box broadcasts your Peloton power and cadence numbers out over Bluetooth Smart as a standard Bluetooth Smart power meter:
The little red box basically sits in between the 3.5mm cable that connects to the back of your Peloton display. So instead of plugging that 3.5mm headphone-jack style cable from your flywheel into your Peloton display, you plug it into the little red box, and then plug another included cable to the Peloton display. It simply reads the data and transmits it out as a Bluetooth Smart power meter for any other app/device to read/pickup:
The solution is then powered via the Micro-USB port on your Peloton bike. The great part of this solution is there’s no ‘hacking’ of your Peloton bike or anything. Also, it takes exactly 7 seconds to install and you can just leave it there. Obviously, I could make this look prettier by tidying up the cables a bit. But I’m lazy. Then, on your watch/app of choice simply scan for the Bluetooth Smart power meter and pair it up. Here it is on my FR745:
(Obviously, since the Peloton and Garmin refresh/smoothing rates are slightly different, you’ll see the numbers a few units apart while taking a photo. The underlying data though is identical.)
The company is hoping to start taking orders soon, for $99 I think. The plan is for supporting the base Peloton bike initially, but that it’ll ultimately support both Peloton Bike & Bike+. The original Bike is easier to support because everything is analog signals, so it’s super simplistic. Whereas the Bike+ is a bit trickier. I’ll do a full standalone post on the DFC bit with more details once they announce it’s available to buy. Though the TLDR version is it’s been working flawlessly for me.
With that – thanks for reading!
FYI – ” the easiest platform for them two develop for”
Thanks – Freudian slip from the next sentence. 🙂
Based on your early testing of the Rhythm 2.0, would it be worth it to wait until March when it is available or purchase an OH1+? I had an OH1 but I left it on a bench after a run :-(.
Loved the accuracy but wasn’t crazy about the battery life and was worried how long it would last based on the maximum number of charges/expected battery life listed in the manual.
Honestly, I need to get some harder runs in first to determine.
Can I ask Ray, do you keep things like the straps supplied for testing? I know you return the tech bits so there’s no implication in that question, they are consumable items which the vendor can’t really do anything with if you did return them. I’m sure you consume more than the average person too! It just caught my attention because they sent two of each colour to someone who famously returns things after testing, which seemed a bit odd and piqued my interest. I guess it could be one for testing and one for photography/unboxing too?
I just sent everything back in a box, straps and all.
In this case, I’ll basically use one strap daily (blue it happens to be), and then the others for photographs. The Girl might actually end up using one too, so she might grab another color merely to keep them figured. Many times though, since most companies send lots of strap variants, I just take photos and that’s it (never used).
Haha I half expected that 😀 Seems wasteful but I guess you can’t stop them sending you stuff! It did make a nice picture having a few lined up to be fair.
It totally makes sense to send Ray all colors: he’s got at photogrphing things and his audience is the target group of the product: perfect way of some free advertising. It’s a win win situation.
And he mentioned a previous time he only received- and therefore only photographed- one strap color, so some readers said they didn’t purchase the device (a Rhythm-24, I believe) because they didn’t like that color.
When the manufacturers know that Ray sends everything back to them, they have no problems sending him a wide range of SKUs so readers can visually compare them. Yes, win win.
Yup indeed on the Scosche 24. It was one of the most surprising things that I’ve seen – but also kinda makes sense too. People thought that the purple band seen here (link to dcrainmaker.com) was the only option, and further, thought it looked a bit dated as a black/purple combination.
Ray, on Zwift same thing for me. I did twice stage 3 of the tour now ongoing and it crashed each time when crossing the finish line. I’d rather have it crashing at the start, as now my progress for stage 3 after doing it twice hasn’t been recorded as completed in their system. Running it on an iPad, some friends did it over the weekend from PC, no issues at all. Maybe something IOS specific and maybe another issue not covered in the first update.
This is putting an whole ecosystem in trouble here, as was on the verge of ordering a kickr for Zwift and now having my doubts about it if I should do that investment!
Another thing which popped up and never had an issue with: during ingame going into the Bluetooth menu I can’t get out of it anymore. It keeps searching for devices.
Yeah, I think issues are mostly transient across different platforms. I’ve seen crashes on PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and now Apple TV. Historically for me Zwift on Apple TV is incredibly stable. Once last summer the same week I had the other crashes on other platforms too (which, as we’ve now learned was likely that bug fixed last week).
Equally frustrating for me is how long it takes Zwift to launch on my Windows 10 PC. On my iPad it starts up in no time.
Zwift rant FTW! Zwift has become the new Strava in having priorities so damn wrong and communication failure. Must be something with the orange color…
Unfortunately no real competition yet.
well – maybe there will be soon? – I get a lot of videos on the Veloton platform on my YT algo. That looks to be a straight competitor to zwift. For now by invitation only, but you can sign up for an account and access.
I just signed up, but I will note that there are a few troubling things for anyone who might want to post photos/videos from their sessions. There is both a rights grab for photos/videos on social media, and a piece that gives them the right to kick you off the platform if you post anything on social media they don’t like (like, maybe a bad review?)
Here’s an older post that should cover those concerns (unless things have changed again of course): link to dcrainmaker.com
I should have been more clear. I signed up for Veloton, which has the troubling T&Cs. (@Ray, you were addressing the resolved problems with Zwifts’s T&Cs, I believe)
Gotchya, sorry, yeah, Zwift’s T&Cs.
I’ve been following Veloton for a while, but am still waiting to get access.
Ray – I really want to get SPD power meter pedals. How is it looking for 2021? I’m tempted to do the Favero hack but curious if you think a fully supported option is on the horizon? Both SRM and IQ seem to be having a hard time getting their pedals out the door. I assume there must be some others working on it as well. Should I just do the Favero mod?
Hmm. I think SRM will likely be the best bet for 2021 for SPD. I’m not really sure what the inventory/shipping hold up is at this point though.
Thanks! Really appreciate it!
I got my SRM last week, at last! They are incredibly consistent to my Kickr Bike so far, even better than my Vector 3. Haven’t tested them outdoor yet.
When you say consistent, do you mean they match or that the delta is consistent? Because it would be odd if pedals measured the same as a PM farther down the drivetrain. (Or is the Kickr bike’s PM crank based and I just don’t realize it?)
Both X-Power and Vector 3 data match the Kickr bike fine. X-Power power is usually 2% lower than Kickr bike and Vector 3 is usually 5% lower.
Any plans to review an Oura Ring?
No plans at the moment. I know there’s some demand there, but honestly, I’m just not a big ring person.
Ray, are you going to post about Sports-Tech stuff on CES this year? Anything exciting that’s worth posting about that you can share?
There wasn’t much this year, since basically there wasn’t CES. Sure – there was a so-called ‘Virtual CES’, but realistically no major companies were making meaningful announcements there. Here’s a few things ‘from CES’ here: link to dcrainmaker.com
Zwift still has the lamest workaround for files not getting pushed to Strava/Garmin… their page tells you to close every other program. Close OneDrive, Dropbox, Garmin, etc and cross your fingers. because apparently having users manually upload is no big deal
I’m loving that little case for the Rhythm. I have the original, and it works great. Battery is enough me and I dont think I’ve ever run out, even during ultra training. However.. that little case could drive my purchase! Being a little battery means I could carry that on long runs as an emergency for topping up my watch, old skool ipod shuffle and the Rhythm. It might even be big enough to carry my few first aid ‘essentials’ so double up functionally. What an awesome idea.
Ray – Sorry if I missed it but how much does that Scosche charging case cost?
$29, but currently on-sale on their site for $25: link to scosche.com
Note that there’s no specific tie-in to the Rhythm+ 2.0 – meaning, you can use it for any USB capable device to charge, such as a watch or older Scosche units.
Any idea if this is available in the uk/europe ? Google isnt helping….
I found it on their Greek page to order: link to scosche.gr
This is one of those things that I don’t really *need* necessarily as I can come up with a 100 alternatives (charging in the car, using a regular powerbank tube, etc) but I like the design and concept so much that I just had to pull the trigger.
I have the Rhythm24, and two of the older units so now they’ll have a little “home” to live in within my gym bag. Plus I can also use it for my Aftershokz headphones as well. Nice little find, thanks again.
I cant get them to ship to the UK .. 🙁
Very stoked about the DFC unit and would appreciate a review sometime in the future. I have been procrastinating about setting up my (real) bike and Wahoo trainer next to my Peloton. While the Peloton is far from perfect, it works well enough and this little box would make it a one-stop indoor training solution.
That is great to see someone testing the DFC. I really hope it does well with my Garmin-Peloton unison.
Has the DFC actually gone to production? Their crowdfunding site (link to crowdsupply.com) has listed “coming soon” for seemingly forever…
I haven’t heard anything. I’ll shoot the developer a note and see if there’s anything new/updated.
DFC is officially available on Crowd Supply as of today…
link to crowdsupply.com
Yup! I’ll have a full post up tomorrow.