I’m DC RAINMAKER…
I swim, bike and run. Then, I come here and write about my adventures. It’s as simple as that. Most of the time. If you’re new around these parts, here’s the long version of my story.
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Think my written reviews are deep? You should check out my videos. I take things to a whole new level of interactive depth!
Smart Trainers Buyers Guide: Looking at a smart trainer this winter? I cover all the units to buy (and avoid) for indoor training. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Get all your awesome DC Rainmaker gear here!
I have built an extensive list of my most frequently asked questions. Below are the most popular.
- Why haven’t you yet released a review for XYZ product you mentioned months ago?
- Will you test our product before release?
- Are you willing to review or test beta products?
- Which trainer should I buy?
- Which GPS watch should I buy?
- I’m headed to Paris – what do you recommend for training or sightseeing?
- I’m headed to Washington DC – what do you recommend for training?
- I’m from out of the country and will be visiting the US, what’s the best triathlon shop in city XYZ?
- What kind of camera do you use?
5 Easy Steps To The Site
Here’s my most recent GPS watch guide here, and cycling GPS computers here. Plus there are smart trainers here, all in these guides cover almost every category of sports gadgets out there. Looking for the equipment I use day-to-day? I also just put together my complete ‘Gear I Use’ equipment list, from swim to bike to run and everything in between (plus a few extra things). And to compliment that, here’s The Girl’s (my wife’s) list. Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2023 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s Gear Guide too.
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It’s been nearly three months since Suunto announced the Ambit3, though considerably less time since the unit started making its way into the wild with final hardware and firmware. Since well before either of those dates I’ve been testing the … Read More Here
It’s been just over a year since the first Suunto Ambit came out (which for clarity I’ll use the term Ambit1 during this review), and during that time Suunto has made impressive progress on the original unit through a series of pre-announced and predictable (and even on time!) firmware updates. Today, Suunto has officially announced their latest addition to the lineup, the Ambit2 and Ambit2 S. With the new Ambit, Suunto is squarely taking aim at not only the ultra-running and hiking market that the Ambit1 targeted, but now – the triathlete. It introduces both indoor and openwater swimming functionality, as well as multisport mode. With a slew of other features, make no mistake that this is aimed directly at the Garmin FR910XT.
But, how well does it work? And can it knock the FR910XT off the top spot? Well, I’ve spent a lot of miles with the watch recently, and am here to give you all the details: Good, bad, and ugly.
Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Suunto sent me two final retail units to try out (Ambit2 and Ambit2 S). Once I’m complete here, I’ll send this back to Finland and then go out and buy my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). Simple as that. Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints. If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links from this page to help support future reviews.
Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.
So – with that intro, let’s get into things.
Because I’m covering two slightly different variations of the Ambit in this post, I’ll be doing two unboxing’s below, somewhat in concert.
Here are the two models. The Ambit2 is on the left, and the 2S is on the right. Apparently there was a mix-up and they sent me the original Ambit1 box for the Ambit2 S. Nonetheless, here they are:
On the back however, you’ll see in the SKU that it does list the 2S on the right side for the lime one. Perhaps they were trying to recycle old boxes. Shrug.
Taking a detour for just the full Ambit2 model, here’s its inner box removed from the outer shell:
Inside, you’ll find the watch looking up at you:
Below the watch is a compartment with all of the accessories included. This will vary slightly depending on whether or not you picked up the variant with the heart rate strap. Otherwise, you’ll still find the USB charging cable, and the manual.
Here’s a closer look at the Ambit2 (Sapphire):
And the back:
Switching back to the Ambit2 S, here’s its inner/outer box:
Inside you’ll find the 2S just like Ambit2:
Inside the box of the 2S you’ll find the USB charging cable, the manual, and depending on which variant you’ve bought – the heart rate strap.
And the backside of the 2S. You’ll see it’s essentially identical on the back to that of the Ambit1, and the Ambit2.
Looking at the common accessories, you’ve first got the USB charging clip. This four-pin charging clip simply bites onto the unit itself, and can be powered via any old USB wall outlet you have lying around – or a computer.
Then depending on which bundle you bought you’ll also have the HR strap. This includes the strap piece, and the little pod that snaps in between it:
Here’s how it snaps into place on both sides (in this photo, it’s half-snapped on the left-side):
Note that the Suunto strap included is NOT ANT+. Meaning the strap included is not compatible with any ANT+ devices you may have, instead, only working with other Suunto devices over a proprietary variant of ANT. That said however, if you do have an ANT+ strap (say you’re converting from being a Garmin/Timex/etc…. user), then that will work with the Ambit lineup (all Ambits). Good deal, huh?
Finally, you’ve got the manual. Unlike most companies in the sports technology world however, Suunto’s manual is actually really detailed and very solid. And in nine languages.
Now that everything is unpacked, let’s go ahead and look at how it compares in size to other units.
As you can see above, the watch face sizes are actually really similar across the most competitive units in this space: The Ambit’s and Fenix. Virtually indistinguishable. On the far sides we have other triathlon-focused watches with integrated GPS. At the far left is the Timex Global Trainer, then the Garmin FR310XT, then the Garmin FR910XT, then the Garmin Fenix. Continuing towards the right we have in silver the Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire, then the Ambit2 S Lime, then the original Ambit followed by the Magellan Switch Up. Both the Garmin FR910XT and the Magellan Switch up in these photos are utilizing the quick release kits.
In the highly unlikely event that you didn’t get enough Garmin news today with the announcement of two brand new head units (the Edge 530 and Edge 830, see reviews at those links), you’ve also got yourself some new sensors … Read More Here
Garmin has just announced their first watch with wireless charging, the new Vivomove Trend. This analog-hand capable watch is the latest in the Vivomove series of watches that aim to avoid the smartwatch look, yet have all the smartwatch features … Read More Here
A few weeks ago The Girl brought home her new bike, the Trek Speed Concept, which is one of the very few bikes out there that includes the option to add a frame-integrated ANT+ speed/cadence sensor. The sensor kit fits … Read More Here
Today running power meter company Stryd announced their next generation running power meter unit, changing up the form factor and increasing the data metrics gathered. This new model is now a small footpod that you attach to your running shoe. … Read More Here
After the popular ‘everything you ever wanted to know’ post I did back this winter on the footpod, I decided it was time to continue the series with the Speed/Cadence sensor. Thankfully, the speed/cadence sensor is actually a bit less … Read More Here
One of the primary benefits of apps on any platform is to extend the functionality of a device to do something that the manufacturer didn’t otherwise include. That’s true of phones, computers, and now even watches. Be it Connect IQ … Read More Here
(** Update: These sensors have since been updated. Check out the newest generation Garmin Speed and Cadence Sensor V2**) While these sensors were announced a month ago at the same time as the Edge 1000, photographic information about them has … Read More Here
Last week Zwift announced that Pace Partners for running would be arriving on the platform this week, and indeed, as of earlier today they have now arrived. For those unfamiliar, Pace Partners were launched on the cycling side of Zwift … Read More Here
Last fall Stryd announced their intention to add a subscription-based service to their offerings, in conjunction with their existing Stryd running pod. That pod provides running power (as well as acting as an ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart footpod). The pod … Read More Here
There’s a new sensor in town, and for a change, this one isn’t ANT+. Instead, it’s a new Bluetooth Smart (aka Bluetooth Low Energy) sensor, one designed to track your speed and cadence information while on a bike. Following the … Read More Here
Earlier this week Polar announced their latest product – though, it’s not a watch. Or even anything connected to a watch. Instead, it’s an accessory for smart phones that further illuminates Polar’s direction and protocol strategy going forward. The Bluetooth … Read More Here
Earlier this week, Wahoo Fitness quietly began shipping the TICKR X heart rate strap that they showed off back in January at CES. The TICKR X completes the lineup of TICKR straps that include the regular TICKR, TICKR RUN, and … Read More Here