With an exactly 7 days trip to the US complete (almost to the minute in fact), I’m working my way back to Europe as we speak. But here’s what I was up to, spending the last few days in warmer weather.1) So Much Sea Otter!
I’m just going to point out the obvious: The vast majority of my weekend was spent at Sea Otter in California, talking with companies, people, and just generally wandering around.
That unto itself could be subdivided into a gazillion random things, but I’m just going to call it one big random thing!2) Loads of Mountain Biking
I love mountain biking. Regrettably, I only get to do it a few times a year. Mainly, attached to trade shows. In general, my mountain biking is clustered into 2.66 chunks:
A) Interbike (full chunk)
B) Sea Otter (full chunk)
C) ANT+ Symposium (partial chunk)
D) Short stint rides on a trip (partial chunk)
The first two are when I can take out a mountain bike(s) for a full day or so. Whereas the second two are often just a single ride, or, if I’m doing filming for something else like drone stuff, sometimes I’ll do some riding that way. But it’s rarely focused on the ride, and more on the product...
As each year passes, we continue to see drops in power meter prices. One only needs to look at my recent post on power meter pricing to see these plainly obvious pricing trends (in picture-graph format no less!). Which doesn’t mean power meters are getting more inaccurate, nor does it mean there’s a race to the bottom. In fact, power meters have never been more accurate (on the whole) than now. The technology of power meters a decade ago can’t do much of what today’s power meters do – for example, accurate temperature compensation, or high-speed data analytics. Neither of which are reserved for only the most expensive units either.
Still, there continues to be progress made on lowering the barrier to entry in the power meter world. And in the case of today, that’s coming from a Dutch company called IQ2, and their power meter that just launched on Kickstarter.
Of course – if you’re a regular around here you know I have a (perhaps unhealthy) fascination with digging into crowdfunded power meter projects. But my basis is simple: Show me the goods.
Specifically, I generally take the approach with power meters that unless I can touch and feel it in my hands, it’s not real. Same goes for data too – if I can’t see actual data with my own eyes…it’s probably not baked yet.
So where does IQ2 fit in that paradigm?...
With all of the pre-planned Sea Otter announcements taken care of last week, it’s time to dive into some of the on-site announcements and tech tidbits. Most of these are smaller, henceforth why I didn’t cover them in dedicated stand-alone posts like some of the other products. For quick reference, here were some of my other Sea Otter specific sports tech posts that went live:
Hands-on: New $299 AeroPod Aerodynamic Sensor
Hands-on: Quarq TyreWiz Cycling Pressure Sensor
Hands-on: Garmin Edge 520 Plus with Mapping
Garmin Varia RTL510 Radar/Cycling Light In-Depth Review
Garmin Edge 130 In-Depth Review
Also, I recap not only this post, but some tidbits in other topics (namely on heads up displays, but also some general trainer and other gizmo thoughts) in this Sea Otter Recap video I just published, which you can watch here:
In any case, let’s dive into this power meter focused post.SRM Power Meter Pedals:
Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the picture above is not of an SRM pedal based power meter. Nope, that photographic award would instead go to the tweet from SRM sponsored athlete Adam Hansen below, which I’ve embedded:
— Adam Hansen (@HansenAdam)...
Yes, it’s a bike radar. But no, it’s not the first bike radar Garmin has made.
And yes, I can hear the comments about ‘why not buy a $15 mirror’ already being furiously typed into your keyboard.
Except here’s the funny thing I learned in the 3 years since Garmin released the last radar: People actually like it.
Or more specifically, people that bought one like it and find value in it. I don’t think I’ve even seen a single purchaser complaint posted about it posted on my first gen review, or any other review on the Varia Radar (trust me, there are plenty of other Garmin complaints instead).
Which is a long-winded introduction to the RTL510 cycling light and radar. This modest upgrade essentially takes the hardware of the past and refactors it into a different design with a more visible bike light component, while also making some minor internal tweaks. Said differently: If you were a fan before, you’ll likely be a bigger fan now. And if you were a hater before, you’ll probably still be a hater.
But if you were on the fence? Then this review is probably for you.
Now, I’m going to try and keep this review relatively streamlined. Partially because at the end of the day it’s essentially a blinky light that also blinks dots on a screen. Sure, it has really cool technology inside of it, but there’s not...
Today’s multi-pronged release of cycling gear by Garmin is probably the company’s most decisive yet at fending off competitors to its lucrative head unit business. And in some ways, they’re probably even undercutting their own high-end head units to stave off competitors. For starts, we’ve got the new Edge 520 Plus. That takes the previous $249 Edge 520 and adds full-blown mapping to it (including turn by turn navigation), along with a handful of other features like rider to rider messaging. The cost? A mere $30 price increase to $279USD.
Then they’ve got the Edge 130 – which is sorta like an Edge 520-lite, carrying a huge number of features into a relatively tiny lightweight device. That unit appears targeted at the Lezyne product line as well as long rumored Wahoo MINI+GPS units. In many ways, I think I’m actually far more impressed by the Edge 130 than the Edge 520 Plus. But you can read all about the Edge 130 in my full in-depth review.
And lastly, there was the new RTL510 bike-light radar combo-dish. That’s cool too, though not really game-changing. And they don’t face any radar-specific competitors either. Still, nifty stuff.
This post, however, is about the Edge 520 Plus, so let’s dive right into things.What’s new:
There’s a few ways I expect that...
Today Quarq announced their latest creation – the TyreWiz, which monitors your tire pressure on your bike. These small sensors attach to Presta tire values, so basically most bike tires that this target market would care about (mountain, road, fat bikes). From there the unit then transmits your tire pressure second by second to your head unit, be it a Garmin device or a Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT, or even just your phone.
I’ve been trying this out for the last week on my rides, and have come away pretty intrigued. So I figured I’d dive into all the details on how it works, and perhaps more interesting how I think it could be leveraged down the road. Since it’s not a super complex product, I’ll try and keep this post as streamlined as possible.The Tech Details:
The TyreWiz kits comes with two sensors in the box, for your two wheels. In the event you have a single-wheeled contraption (looking at you, Ed), you’ll be able to equip two such contraptions. And if you have a three-wheeled device…well, so does my 1 year old (just kidding). There isn’t a one sensor version of the package, which makes sense because monitoring only one of your two wheels doesn’t really make a lot of sense.
Within the box is a somewhat important...
A few minutes ago AeroPod launched for purchase on Kickstarter, though, the company is hardly new to the aero field. In fact, one could argue that nobody as has much experience (manufacturing or practical) with aerodynamic sensors in the industry than Velocomp. After all, they’ve been making aerodynamic driven cycling products for a decade, most recently with their PowerPod.
The $299 Kickstarter priced AeroPod is essentially stepping up the PowerPod both from a hardware and software standpoint to offer real-time aerodynamic information to a rider that they can adjust their position (or gear) to improve their CdA values, which in turn either makes you more efficient or faster depending on how you use the data.
Now, I want to caution that this post primarily uses/shows a prototype based on their existing PowerPod hardware, it is NOT what the Kickstarter project is. Rather, it’s just that – a functional prototype. I’ll detail the differences later, as some of them are actually quite significant. But until I have one of those units in the future, this will at least illustrate what they’re doing. Note that this PowerPod looking device has both special hardware inside of it, as well as special software. So it’s not your run of the mill PowerPod unit, despite looking like it externally.
Now – there will be a small pile of folks that prefer direct force power meters over the PowerPod implementation. And...
As a techie-geek I suppose there’s some expectation that I’ll be most impressed with the higher end gear. The stuff that has all the bells and whistles, and usually costs more. But here’s the funny thing – out of the pile of Garmin new gear announcements today, I’m most impressed with the little Edge 130. Not because it’s not powerful, it really is. But because it’s the least expensive cycling head unit they announced today while having nearly as many features as units that would have cost almost double it just a year ago.
Here – let me give you a one-line sampler: The Edge 130 supports up to 8 data fields per page and 5 data pages. It can support power meters and more, show you Strava Live Segments, transmit all that in real-time via Live Track, while connecting to ANT+ radar and light systems. Oh, did I mention it was only $199. It’s kinda like a throw-back to the good ol’ days of the famed Edge 500 (remember bluey?).
Like I said, I’m impressed. Not just in specs, but because the thing has been working beautifully for me these last few weeks (more so than some of the other stuff). I’m a sucker for things that just work and aren’t expensive.
In any case. I was sent a loaner Edge 130 to try out. I’ll be giving it back to Garmin tomorrow and...
This could alternatively be titled – ‘Pre-Sea Otter Cycling Event $500 Gadget Giveaway!’. Or, it could be titled ‘Crap, I meant to post this on Friday and therefor this is your consolation prize for it being a Monday…nobody likes Monday’s.
Except, the second one is too long for the title. And the first one is confusing for those that don’t know what Sea Otter is. Thankfully, everyone knows what April is, so we’ll just go with it.
So here’s the deal – this giveaway gets you $500 worth of gadget goodness from Clever Training, my always excellent partner in this giveaway crime. And they’ll even let you wait till the end of the month to take advantage of any upcoming new devices in the next week or so (such as those announced this week at Sea Otter). It’s like having stock market options, without any real downside.
How to enter:
Simply leave a short description of an athletic adventure from this weekend. If you did a ‘recovery’ weekend…then…well…think of something vaguely athleticish.
The reason you need a short description of ‘why’ is that if you just put a single word (e.g. run), you’ll likely get caught up in my SPAM filters. And nobody wants to be sandwiched between two pieces of stale SPAM. Got all that?
By supporting the site through Clever Training you also can save 10% on almost anything they sell (or get points...
With our second full weekend in the Netherlands in the books, here’s what we were up to. I think we’re settling in quite nicely!1) More DCR Cave V2 Office Visits
Out of all of the complexities of moving countries, the one thing I didn’t expect to be a problem was finding office space for the new DCR Cave. But it’s turning out to be quite a bit more complex than I envisioned. Not too much complex I suppose – but slow. Or I suppose even further – too fast.
As it turns out, office and retail space is in high demand here in Amsterdam, and as such properties often disappear within a day or so of listing (if they’re even officially listed at all). That’s true of both storefront/retail space as well as more traditional office space. Coming from Paris where spaces languish on the market for months or longer, this adds a new dimension to things.
In any case, I visited a few spaces on Friday. I’m just happy to get to the point where I can even get to visit a space. The one shown below was under construction still, but should be finished up in May.
I haven’t decided on any yet though. I’d say I still have yet to find the perfect space (actually, I did find the perfect space…but it had rented out the night before). Ideally, for...
Virtually every day I use action cams to get shots for all assortment of things: In-Depth reviews, general posts, Strava pics, and even Instagram (ok, I suck at being daily there, The Girl is far better). Over on YouTube I’ve seen a lot of questions on what specific accessories I use often, or even what Micro-SD cards I use. So I put a bit of a video together primarily for YouTube, but then decided to back it into a post here as well. The theme is mostly GoPro focused, though the accessories are from a variety of vendors.
And in almost all of the cases they’ll work across the board with any action camera – not just a GoPro. And not only that, but below I’ve linked a few other variants for people that may have Garmin VIRB or other cameras.
First though, the video:
With that out of the way, here’s my top six action cam goodies.#1: GoPro 3-Way Pole – $54
Yes, the price of the ‘three-way’ pole is actually $69. Who says GoPro doesn’t have a sense of humor? Now, lest you think I’m a huge fan of overpriced GoPro branded accessories, this is one of the handful of GoPro branded that I’ve bought multiple times. And, in trying...
Phew! This weekend flew by. I just got in the door two minutes ago from the airport, after a whirlwind day that didn’t actually involve any flights. Here, let me explain.1) We drove to Paris
We kicked off things Friday morning with a short drive. And by short, I mean about 500KM. I headed out to Amsterdam airport to pick up a large rental van, before looping back to the house to grab The Girl and the kids. Thankfully getting to/from the airport is silly quick and easy for us, a pleasant change from Paris.
The drive from Amsterdam to Paris isn’t all that bad, it’s straightforward for the most part. Big wide open roads that are relatively flat and mostly easy to navigate.
We had gone the driving route versus the faster train approach since bringing back a treadmill on the train would likely be frowned upon. It would also make picking up a BBQ more difficult as well. And apparently a sandbox too.
But more on that later. The drive itself was uneventful, and as has been the case since the first moving road trips I’ve done – I’ve very much come to appreciate the Starbucks sprinkled through the Dutch and Belgium rest stops.2) Happy Birthday
The main purpose of our trip was actually to hang out with some close friends and celebrate their daughter’s 2nd birthday party. Thus, that’s...
It’s been a while since my last official ‘runaround’ post in the long-standing series. Not because I haven’t been running around all sorts of random cities, but rather, posting about it usually gets knocked down the totem pole of things to write when a stack of review posts are piling up.
Plus, sometimes I’ve run in a city enough times that it seems silly to write another ‘runaround’ post, especially if I don’t think it’ll be terribly interesting to folks. Sometimes I just run, without it being all that unique of a locale (such as a generic bike path through the forest). I know…every place is interesting, but we all know that’s not exactly the case.
Still, there are definitely some more interesting spots to run – and Singapore is certainly up there! So let’s dive into it.The Runaround:
In many ways, this runaround fits my usual scheme for them: Highly time-limited slices of a city I’m visiting. When I was travelling in my IT job, I fit these runarounds in before/after work. Often just before a flight. So they were rarely more than 45-60 minutes long and in all assortment of places in the world. Middle of China, Tanzania in the dark, Saudi Arabia, and many more (including ones like this that weren’t officially tagged as such).
In the case of this run, I had a sliver of...
It’s been almost two years since Shimano first announced their intentions to sell a power meter developed in-house, launched in the lead-up to the Tour de France in June 2016. That summer, a handful of pro riders would be seen riding prototypes of it. Those numbers increased again in spring 2017 with slightly more WorldTour individual riders using it, and again even more in 2018 on the WorldTour roster. But it wasn’t until this past fall and winter when it started shipping in limited quantities to the masses were we able to start to see whether or not it was accurate, as well as see how it compared to other offerings on the market.
And that’s what I’ve been doing for the couple months or so with a final R9100P unit – seeing how it compares to other trusted power meters and trainers on the market. Not just in features of course, but also aspects like accuracy across power values and cadence values. As well as left-right balance.
As with all units I’m sent, this media loaner unit will soon go back to Shimano. Sometimes for power meters I go out and buy my own afterwards, but I’m undecided on whether I’ll do that here – simply because I already have a lot of crankset power meters in my inventory and this is a pretty pricey one. Nonetheless, if you find this...
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!DCRAINMAKER.com Posts in the Past Week:
Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com 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 that 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.
This past weekend when we touched down back in Europe after three months away in Australia, we arrived home to a slightly different land. Rather than say Bonjour to immigration officers, we were instead saying Goedemorgen. That’s because we now live in the Netherlands!
Why the move?
Well, we’ve actually long been interested in Amsterdam, and have continued to really enjoy our visits to the city (and country of the Netherlands at large). That included a couple of trips last summer that kicked things off, along with a few more that I didn’t post about here. Whether it be the immense number of bikes, to the more easy going lifestyle, to the lack of hilly objects The Girl has to run over. All of it was appealing…minus the weather.
Which isn’t to say we don’t love Paris – we really do (especially the food!). And in fact, we’ll be back in Paris this weekend again for a few days, and probably back quite often. After all, it’s only a three hour train ride away. We’ve got many friends there given we lived there nearly six years, and numerous places throughout the country we’re likely to continue coming back to year after year.
Our time living in France was incredible. We went from just The Girl and I, to having two little ones born there (plus a dog, also born there). Not to...
I’m a Spotify person. Sure, there are many audio services, but the one I listen to virtually the entire day (and at night with the kids) is Spotify. Largely because it works anywhere I am in the world, without funky restrictions. Regrettably though, when it comes to sports wearables, none of the majors offer options there. Not Garmin (Deezer/iHeartRadio), nor Fitbit (Deezer/Pandora), nor Apple (just Apple), nor Polar (Google Play). Sure, Samsung does on a handful of devices, but those devices aren’t terribly awesome at endurance sports.
Of course, the reasons most of these services can’t get Spotify is 100% on Spotify. Not for lack of trying/desire by Garmin/Fitbit/etc… All of which is somewhat beside the point in some ways, but it’s entirely the point for this post.
That’s because I just got back from the pool using Spotify while swimming laps. But, before you get too distracted note that this Kickstarter project is only available for pre-order through Tuesday. I personally don’t care whether or not you support the project, but since time is tight, I figured I’d mention that first in case you get distracted at lunch with those fries and don’t find this browser tab till late next week. After Tuesday, their campaign closes.The Tech:
Now Waterfi is hardly a new player to the...
One of the challenges with writing reviews that the whole world will see, especially on products that are in relatively limited supply, is what happens when things aren’t finished baking yet. Not in the sense of a transient bug that you might see on a Garmin/Polar/GoPro product, but rather a pile of issues that just kinda make you step away from the product and say: ‘It’s not ready yet, maybe some day, but today is not that day.’
In general, I try and balance that as best as possible – especially right after a product releases. It’s why I specifically only release in-depth reviews on final hardware/software. Everything else gets a label of ‘Hands-on’ or ‘First Look’, usually with an additional note in the first couple paragraphs explicitly saying it’s not a review.
But this is different. This is, after all, a final and finished product that you can buy today from various retailers. It is new, however. And therein appears to lie the challenge. But this challenge is somewhat compounded by circumstance. As it is, the company sent me this 50-pound trainer to test while I’m down in Australia, but I have zero desire to add that to my already extensive airline luggage bill when I head back next week.
Unfortunately, at this point, it’s just not working yet, and they want to replace my unit to home back in Europe. Realistically, by the time...
And just like that, it was time to say goodbye to Australia. After being here a bit under three months, we were ready to begin our trek home. How time has flown by! I can’t believe it’s been that long, and we’ve loved every minute of it!
Here’s a handful of the many things I did this weekend. It was crazy busy, albeit not in a touristy way. More in a ‘holy crap we have an entire house to pack up’ kinda way.1) Packing up test gear
One of the reasons I was actually able to depart the DCR Cave for 3 months is that it wasn’t the fall (or at least, the Northern Hemisphere fall). Why does that matter? Because that’s the major trainer season announcement/shipping time period. And it’s during that time period that I need access to boatloads of trainers in a single spot for testing.
Those trainers on average weighing about 50 pounds, and hardly ideal to bring half a dozen or more on an airplane.
Still, despite my best attempts, I had four different trainers or trainer products under evaluation during my time in Australia. Companies shipped them to me in Perth, and then at the end of which I’d ship them all back.
So a bit of time was spent over the entire weekend packing all of these back up again.
And even more time was spent Monday morning...
My quest to find a drone that can follow me while cycling and running may finally have found its maker. After years of trying all sorts of products, the Skydio R1 came along. And it did so in a big way – packed with 13 cameras and enough obstacle avoidance tech to autonomously navigate even the craziest of running trails, I was eager to put it through its paces. And there’s been no better place for that than the coastline and outback-like trails of Western Australia.
Thus, for the last two and a half weeks I’ve been letting this little buzzing bumble bee follow me around while running, road riding, mountain biking, and an assortment of other random activities. Is it finally the drone I’ve been looking for? And if not – what’s it lacking? I’ll dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly – as I always do.
Now, if you want to get straight into the action on seeing just how well it does, here’s my full in-depth review video. This also includes all piles of footage from running, road cycling, and mountain biking.
Note that the company sent me a media loaner R1 drone to test out. But that’ll go back to them in the next couple days (since I seriously don’t have any more room in my luggage for the trip...