Got a Pioneer Bike Computer? Three Tools & Workarounds Get You Working Again

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This is a quick post, more of a PSA than anything. As you may remember, a couple of weeks ago Shimano burned the Pioneer house down (with gasoline and extra hay bales), leaving Pioneer users in one of two states: Temporarily broken, or Permanently broken. Your broke status, like most things in life, depended on where you lived. With the have-nots this time around residing in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. These users, going forward, no longer have a way to upload files to 3rd party sites (or Shimano/Pioneer’s own site). This is because Shimano isn’t supporting those countries on their upcoming website.

Whereas users in a boatload of other countries will get a new Shimano site in another week, that does something. Frankly, we have no idea what it does. As even the stock imagery picture they used was a blank computer screen. Still, we can hold out hope (as long as we’re not Australian).

However, this isn’t about the past (or the future). This is about the now. Because as promised, Pioneer disconnected ‘all the things’ on schedule.

To mitigate, a few different DCR readers have put together tools to help people out of this dumpster fire. These tools essentially create standard issue .FIT & .GPX files from your Pioneer bike computer’s internal proprietary database. Essentially, it’s an ATM that gives you real-world fitness file currency to upload to Strava or TrainingPeaks, rather than empties. For users in the aforementioned countries, this is the only way to get data off your computer. For users in the other countries, again, you might have something next month.

Now, as I said, this is a quick post. Also, I don’t have a Pioneer head unit, so I can’t test this. But there’s a wide and vibrant community of users in the comments section of the last post, including the developers of the tools/sites (which are all free), commenting and providing assistance to each other. The three main tools/workarounds are:

PioneerDB-to-GPX Conversion Tool: This will take your Pioneer database file from your bike computer, and spit out a GPX file for upload to sites like Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc. Because it’s a GPX file, it won’t have as much data as a .FIT file, nor will it work for indoor rides. But this works on all Pioneer head units. Thanks to Jeffrey for this!

Exporting directly on SGX-CA600: On the newer CA600, you can also go into the menus directly on the unit and manually create a .FIT file. It’s not clear to me if this also works on the older SGX-CA500 units (I don’t think so). Once you have this FIT file (collected via USB cable from a computer), you can then upload it to any 3rd party site, with full fidelity information too. Reader Lucas has outlined these steps, which I’ve copied below:

1. On the CA600 go to History.
2. Scroll to the bottom and you will find “Create a FIT File”
3. Attach to a computer and download the file and upload to Strava

TIP: On the CA600 after completing and saving a ride you will already be in the History menu.
1. Press UP button 3 times
2. Press SELECT on Creating a FIT File
3. When you get home, connect to a computer and upload the file.

Using Cycling Analytics: You can create a free account on Cycling Analytics (a training site), which will accept your Pioneer .DB file and generate .FIT files from it that you can then export manually, or, have it push to apps like Strava. Plus, bonus round: You can always just use the Cycling Analytics training log platform too! Reader KeithB outlined these steps here, which I’ve copied below:

1. Create an account at link to CyclingAnalytics.com
2. Upload your .db file (power on your pioneer head unit, then once booted, only then plug in your Pioneer head unit to your mac/PC using USB cable, brings up a file viewer so you can drag and drop from your head unit to your PC)
3. Upload your .db file from your mac/PC to cycling analytics
4. Link your cycling analytics account to Strava
5. Navigate to cycling analytics/Strava status and manually upload the file to Strava.

Again, both of these seem pretty safe to me. And after all, you’ve got nuttin’ to lose. Right now you’ve got a paperweight. But ultimately, they aren’t Shimano sponsored of course. Mainly because Shimano already left you on the side of the road.

With that – good luck! And huge thanks to Jeffrey, KeithB, and Lucas – who have put these together to help others out.

Thanks for reading!

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15 Comments

  1. fisao

    I do not own a Pioneer product, but I am very impressed by the user community with the way they are helping each other out.

    Thank you to those awesome people! Oh, and Ray of course for talking about it 🙂

  2. Kevin LaCour

    I come here for your insight, but your followers are the best.

  3. Kirk

    Just discovered some info on the Shimano new web service – Due to launch 6/29

    info is here: link to bike.shimano.com

  4. Conza

    Q – got a 2nd hand Pioneer PM few months back. Never downloaded the software, and no head unit.
    That still works – getting data on Garmin 520 etc. and on Strava/Garmin no problems…

    How would I update or check firmware for PM though? That is no longer a possibility? Or a back-end way to do that?

    • Benjamin Pettett

      Hey Conza, you could try emailing Pioneer directly. I originally did the same as you in 2017 buying a Gen 2 PM without a head unit. After I enquired with Pioneer Australia, they sent me a PC app embedded with the latest firmware at the time (now old). I used my PC with an ANT+ USB key to update the PM. Perhaps Pioneer can still provide this for your PM model. Cheers, Ben.

    • Benjamin P.

      Hey Conza, you could try emailing Pioneer directly. I originally did the same as you in 2017 buying a Gen 2 PM without a head unit. After I enquired with Pioneer via cycle-sports@pioneer-usa.com. They sent me a PC app embedded with the latest firmware at the time (now old). I used my PC with an ANT+ USB key to update the PM. Perhaps Pioneer can still provide this for your PM model. Cheers, Ben.

    • Conza

      Oooof, will do. Thanks Benjamin!
      Low expectations, given they’re now Shimano? I guess?

  5. Kirk

    I started the transfer process from cyclo-sphere this morning and got as far as logging into the shimano site before I got stuck. Let me know if you get past this step and what the trick is…

    • Yeah, I’ve been working through it this morning (now, afternoon). I got further than you, but it takes hours for any uploads to show up (still waiting actually for some new ones I uploaded).

    • Benja

      Got the same error. Now I will try to delete my Shimano account at make a new one. Will see if that works…….

    • kirk

      After several tries it worked. I think Shimano may have just put a new user interface on cyclo-sphere. Notice the “waiting for cyclo-sphere” message at the bottom of the page when uploading/analyzing workout files…

    • Yup, full post is up on it: link to dcrainmaker.com

      There’s a quick look at things, for those that can’t get it to work (which, is about everyone).

  6. Steve

    Unfortunately, I have been unable to transfer FIT files off my CA600 to an Apple Mac using a USB cable. The computer doesn’t recognize the Pioneer computer. It seems the only way to upload FIT files via USB might be through a PC. Never worried about this in the past because everything uploaded via WiFi or the Control App on my phone. This Pioneer/Shimano fiasco is a real PITA. So many little features aren’t functioning properly anymore. I might have to jump ship to a Wahoo computer just to keep the pedaling metrics alive, but really I hope Shimano can come up with some sort of firmware update soon to maybe remedy some of these problems. If not, thanks for wasting my time and money, Pioneer!!

  7. Giuseppe

    I tried to create the FIT file (I think I was successful at that step), but when I connect the CA600 to a computer nothing happens. I can’t access the file system and download the FIT file (or anything else). How did you guys get that to work? I tried several PCs running windows 10