Team Suunto vs Team Garmin – The Roundabout-of-GPS-Doom Duel – GPS/Cycling Accuracy Test

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After a Half-Iron distance race at the weekend, today was still a recovery day. 10k on a bike seemed sensible enough as did the thought of combining that into a GPS test. The cunning plan was to circle the Roundabout-of-Doom.

Perhaps a faster-moving me might give rise to different GPS results than previous running-based tests?

The Teams:

  1. Team Garmin
    1. Forerunner 920XT
    2. Edge 920XT
  2. Team Suunto
    1. SPARTAN Sport
    2. SPARTAN Ultra

Match Conditions

  1. All latest firmware as of 27Sep2016.
  2. Wrist-worn except 820 (this might favour the 820 very slightly)
  3. Cloudy, daylight, light wind, 17 celcius. No tree cover, no buildings.
  4. 15 minutes of GPS recording in a warmup ride.

Here is a clickable image of the main talking point of the match.

garmins-vs-suunto-gps-spartan-accuracy-820-forerunner-edge-920xt

Results

  • Distance – all were in the range 9.69-9.74 and I stopped the watches whilst moving which could easily account for 20m. They’re basically the same.
  • Power – the two Garmins tracked the average as 200w from the same source +/- 1.2w from a ROTOR 3D+ InPower single sided crank.
  • Speed – was near-identical, although the 820 had a minor wobbly at 7:30 minutes. A yellow card offence.
  • Elevation – The 820 failed at elevation (referee wasn’t looking, otherwise a second yellow) – A surprise as in training at the weekend over 90km, the 820 and 920 both performed near identically. For the other Garmin and 2 Suuntos, I could not tell which was correct.
  • HR – both Suunto’s simultaneously lost the HR track from the 4iiii Viiiiva. that is almost certainly BTLE a transmission issue from the dual-band 4iiii HRM. However the ULTRA didn’t pick up the HR again when it came back on track. That is a yellow card offence.
  • GPS Tracking (Visible judging of the above map) – all 4 tracked the ‘pattern’. The two Garmins were off the track a few metres skewed to the East. SPARTAN Sport was ‘just’ the most accurate looking.

garmins-vs-suunto-gps-spartan-accuracy-820-forerunner-edge-920xt

 

Result

In the GPS game there are no points won or lost for power/speed/elevation performances. So all that mattered was the GPS track in what, I have to say, were UNchallenging and near-perfect conditions. The first image shown above was indicative of the performance of the entire route. They were all very good boys and girls and performed well at any and all points they were probably no more than 5m out from each other. THAT is supposedly the accuracy of a GPS signal or thereabouts AFAIK.

A DRAW, in normal time.

For the penalty shootout I would say that the Team Suunto just edged it (pun intended) but only because of the Garmin’s Easterly skew. HOWEVER, based on this test, I would have no problems buying any of them for GPS purposes. Other recent test with these devices are <here>, <here> and <here>.

Edge 820 – The speed issuette and the elevation track were a little concerning. Personally  I’m interested in neither bike speed nor, usually, elevation. But some of you are. Genuinely, over the 90km at the weekend both Garmins tracked elevation consistently – although the Edge was consistently lower. That could quite easily be put down to me never bothering to calibrate it.

 

Valencell to demonstrate HRV in optical sensor

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jabra-trackfit-in-ear-headphonesIt looks like HRV level of accuracy is nearly commercially possible for optical wearables with an announcement from Valencell, below.

It has been demonstrated before at several shows but I would assume that association with medical-grade usage, even if only implied by the joint FDA/CTA axhibition, is a good thing.

Jabra, who also embed Valencell technology, have been talking about HRV for a couple of years using ear-based optical HRM. The ear seems to be one of the most accurate locations for a good reading.

ESSENTIAL READING: Jabra Sport Pulse Review

Why do I mention this? Other than an unhealthy interest in HRV I probably should also bring to your attention that Suunto’s 3rd release for 2016 will be an optical HR version of the SPARTAN SPORT. And, you’ve guessed it, it will use Valencell technology for that🙂 – Presumably their PERFORMTEK technology.

Draw your own conclusions…

 

———-Press Release below, in full —————

 

Valencell Showcases Innovations in Biometric Health Wearables at Digital Health Technology Expo sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association and U.S. Food and Drug Administration

 

Raleigh, N.C. and WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. 26, 2016 – Valencell, the leading innovator in performance biometric data sensor technology, announced today that it is among a select group of technology and consumer electronics companies invited to exhibit at the Digital Health Technology Expo, sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) on Monday, September 26, 2016 at the FDA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Other companies exhibiting include Philips, Qualcomm, Sony, Samsung, Fossil/Misfit, and Validic, among others.

Valencell will be demonstrating its groundbreaking biometric sensor technology and its ability to accurately measure RR-interval in wearable devices worn in numerous form-factors. Accurate RR-interval data is critical to the wearable health monitoring marketplace because this data is required for assessments of heart rate variability (HRV), atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, stress analysis, and various cardiovascular conditions.

The Expo will feature presentations from the CTA, FDA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as additional government, academic and industry market leaders on consumer technology’s critical role in advancing healthcare. Sessions will discuss innovations in biometric wearables for healthcare data delivery; ways in which innovators and regulators can work collaboratively to drive innovation in healthcare technology; and how patient generated data can create positive change in healthcare delivery through empowering patients and caregivers to drive positive behavior change and reduce health risks, leading to better treatment and outcomes.

“We are honored to be invited by the CTA and FDA to participate in this event, and to have the opportunity to showcase some of our latest innovations in biometric data sensor technology for health applications, including accurate continuous RR-interval monitoring technology that can ultimately be used for important health screening applications and fitness assessments,” said Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, president and co-founder of Valencell. “The goal of Valencell’s innovation in wearable technology is to make biometric monitoring easy, affordable, and seamless with everyday living, so that more accurate data can be taken frequently enough to drive personalized health insights and guidance. We look forward to working with government and industry groups, and our partners, to help drive continued growth in this market.”

Valencell PerformTek® sensor systems are the most accurate, robust and flexible technology available today, powering more biometric hearables and wearables on the market than any other company. The technology gives hearable devices the ability to continuously and accurately measure blood flow signals even during extreme physical activity or when the optical signals are weak. These signals can be translated into accurate, motion-tolerant biometric data, including continuous heart rate, VO2 and VO2 max, resting heart rate, heart rate response, heart rate recovery, continuous energy expenditure (calorie burn), cardiac efficiency and heart rate variability (HRV) assessments.

Valencell licenses its biometric sensor technology through product licensing and patent licensing, to enable customers to create custom-designed biometric hearable and wearable devices. Valencell also introduced Benchmark™, a turnkey biometric sensor system with the complete PerformTek technology package ready for immediate integration into wearable and hearable devices.

Valencell has the most cited patent portfolio in wearable PPG in the industry, which includes 37 patents granted and more than 70 additional patents pending.

The accuracy of Valencell’s PerformTek technology has been independently validated by numerous research institutions, including Duke University, NC State University, and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Valencell’s PerformTek technology is the choice of popular consumer electronics brands, including Samsung, Sony, LG, Intel, Jabra, Scosche, Atlas Wearables, Caeden, Kuaiwear, Bioconnected, and iRiver among numerous others. To learn more about licensing PerformTek, visit valencell.com/access.

About Valencell

Valencell develops performance biometric sensor technology and licenses this patent-protected technology to consumer electronics manufacturers, mobile device and accessory makers, sports and fitness brands and gaming companies for integration into their products. Valencell’s PerformTek® biometric sensor technology employs biophysical signal characterization to actively characterize biophysical signals for removing physical noise and extracting highly accurate biometric information. Valencell’s PerformTek-powered sensors are the most accurate wearable biometric sensors that continuously measure heart rate and activity. Valencell has invested years into the research and development of its PerformTek sensor technology, protected by dozens of granted patents and independently validated by the Duke Center for Living, North Carolina State University, the Human Performance Laboratory and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

BSX Insight: LVL Hydration Band MASSIVELY exceeds kickstarter target

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BSX’s Kickstarter campaign for the LVL hydration monitor is over 12.5x ahead of their initial funding goal of $50,000

This will be an activity tracker that also has optical HR and hydration level measurement.

The solution will be brought together by a smartphone app and I have seen some of the research papers that purport to offer good accuracy.

Source: TIMEINC

PROBLEMS?: I don’t see any problems with this per se. If you wanted an activity tracker that also tracks HR from a band on your wrist then you get hydration as an extra.

In reality the issues this product has to overcome TO MAKE IT A REAL WINNER will likely be:

  1. SMARTPHONE APP :: this will probably be fine for a mass market audience. The sporty type though will want broadcastable ANT+ levels of hydration, essentially for their Garmin. Many people DO NOT WANT YET ANOTHER APP. They want INTEGRATION.
  2. ANT+:: for ANT+ data to work then CIQ data fields need to be developed (no biggy if the broadcasting exists) so that it can be seen and acted upon.
  3. OPTICAL HR :: If BSX can make this broadcast HR over ANT+ and BTLE they are on to a winner.
  4. OPTICAL HR ACCURACY  :: many vendors have struggled with this. If BSX are aiming for the mass market and people who just want 247 HR monitoring (as opposed to sports usage) then pretty much any solution will likely give a broadly acceptable value. Not the same for sports/fitness.

Hever: Gauntlet Triathlon – Race Report

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Castle Triathlon Series Hever

Castle Triathlon Series (not clickable)

The Half-Iron Distance GAUNTLET is a significant challenge. 70.3 and full distance triathlons are not for the faint hearted. The GAUNTLET at HEVER also combines the difficulty of the distance with one of the harder half-Iron bike courses in the UK.

The race organisation is very good. Lots of helpful people/volunteers/marshals are at every turn. And there need to be lots of them as this is a BIG event. Everything about the organisation is good even down to the goody bag, free race belt, copious gels and wearable T-shirt. It never ceases to amaze me how most event T-shirts will never get worn which kinda negates the point of it all for the sponsors. The Gauntlet T-shirt is a good one!!

I digress.

A puncture and cramp scuppered my chances of a top5 category finish but I was very pleased considering I haven’t really trained for this sort of thing for much more than this year. Always helps entering in the over-80s age group I find (joking, for the avoidance of doubt).

The Race & Route

HEVER is very picturesque as is the bike and run route. Great opportunities for family-spectators and for things for them to do when you are ‘somewhere else’.

 

Swim: A pleasant 17 degrees saw everyone in the waves off to a good start. The lake is shallow at the start and the water murky. The entire swim is good fun as there seemed to be lots of fairly pleasant people being mostly considerate whilst still competing – all squished close together! The last 3rd of the swim gets a little hairy as everyone is funnelled into a relatively narrow/shallow moat-cum-canal. Overtaking is not easy, on the other hand BEING overtaken is not easy either.

Bit of a stony run to T1 a fair way away.

The bike course is on public roads but the organisers have the permission to stop traffic. Consequently, other than a puncture and a wee, I never had to stop. The course is not flat. Anywhere. It’s either up or down. Going down is quick, going up is not. Most people will be spending AT LEAST 3 hours cycling, some considerably more. Consequently pacing is key. I paced fairly well, I thought, I could have gone faster (kinda the point of pacing) but probably hit the sweetspot near enough. A power meter definitely helps as does a granny gear at the front if you like spinning (I didn’t have one). Even with a PM, pacing is difficult, there are some fairly long a tasty downhills where you can effectively not pedal and probably go faster (power=0) and on the many hills it is super-easy to hit Zone 5 levels and burn up your cycling matches very quickly (bad).

HeverCastleTRI_SUN_0050

There are two well organised fuelling stations with water/high5/banana/gels and you can grab a bottle of high5 without stopping having first discarded your own.

Even today, in September, it was hot. Salt replenishment is an issue as well as the more obvious refuelling/hydration issues. For a HIM-type race then caffeine supplementation is required DURING the race.

HeverCastleTRI_SUN_0074

The run is mostly a trail run with some roads. There’s nothing too steep in the grand scheme of ‘fells’ but, nevertheless, VERY MANY people have difficulty after a hard bike. For some of the hills the majority of people I saw were walking up them – even someone in a GB tri-suit..tut tut (that’s why you don’t wear them at home races). There’s lakes and old houses and villages and the Kent scenery to admire as you run. Nice. It really is.

Promo Video:

GADGET: In a recent post I dithered about which kit to use. In the end I went for this inspired choice

  • Garmin Edge 820 – worked perfectly (new firmware)
  • Garmin 920XT – doh! forgot to set the tri sports properly in the triathlon profile. worked perfectly
  • Garmin HRM-TRI – always works perfectly
  • Garmin footpod – yeah! I can see how fast I’m running
  • ROTOR INPOWER 3D+ and MAS – left side PM crank – perfecto.
  • ROTOR QARBON Q-RINGS – awesome oval chain rings.
  • Adamo ISM something saddle –
  • A newly serviced bike that ACTUALLY CHANGES GEAR – great. That helped today.

Fuel, etc: beetroot juice, salt tabs, caffeine tabs, high5 as provided, lucozde sport, curranz.

Sorry. Very boring. All the watch features I used are available on many other brands.

Post Race: sporttracks (analysis and training load), firstbeat athlete (training load), golden cheetah (power analysis). And I had to use fit file tools to fix the 920XT’s FIT file for some reason. I think I pushed my CP curve up in places…nice.

Suunto’s SPARTAN ULTRA and SPORT :: Menus, Buttons, Functions – A walkthrough

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Suunto Spartan Sport (+Ultra)

Left: Sport (metal bezel), Right ULTRA

Suunto’s two current SPARTAN models are the ULTRA and the SPORT. They’re near-identically featured at the moment other than the ULTRA is a bit thicker to accommodate a larger battery with longer battery-life and it has a barometric GPS.

Consequently the menus are nearly identical.

As time progresses and new features are added, this post may become outdated. HOWEVER it gives you a flavour of the UI and <here> is a link to the manual.

Note: This is not a review/opinion piece – that’s for another day. It’s a mostly factual run through of the menus WITH THE AID OF IMAGES and what is there in firmware v1.1.30. If you already have one you will know all this! If not, the two watches help give an idea of the menu flow.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sportMenu Layout and Navigation (image, right)

The watch/time face is the ‘home’ screen. Navigation is by the touchscreen and/or buttons. You really can use either and I do use both. But I would say I use the buttons 80% of the time.

Simplistically: The up and down buttons have the same functionality as swipe up and swipe down.

The middle ‘Go’ button either moves you on to the next step or scrolls through versions of the current screen – eg shows more laps or toggles some data fields.

Swipe left/right does what it says.

Each menu list contains a top menu option to go “back”…this enables the buttons to be used on their own more easily.

From the ‘Home’ screen, going DOWN will show you: training activity; basic steps-like activity; and recovery.

Going ‘Up’ takes you to the sport stuff, navigation, stopwatch, logbook (history) and settings.

Here we have a pretty bar of each sport type on the screen. A nice enough glanced overview for the wearer. The detail is on MOVESCOUNT.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

Training Activity – Hours or Distance

A token nod for basic activity metrics like steps and calories. I don’t think it needs much more than this.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

Steps or Calories

So, selecting ROUTES gives me an option to go and see my bike mechanic and other routes including the mysterious “K to R” which I found on a MOVESCOUNT heat map. Moves are created in MOVESCOUNT and, to be used, you must select a sport and then, effectively, add the route to the sport. A route CAN be replaced/added mid-sport.

Had I chosen the bike mechanic route it would show me a blue line route with my current position and a compass heading. But I would not be able to do anything with that Route here other than use the middle button to zoom-in and -out.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

On first-time use, the compass requires calibration. This is the point where you wave it around for ages. Instructions at the end of the post on the easiest way to do this.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

You can recalibrate the compass and further increase accuracy and enter your declination (difference from magnetic to true North).

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

So with your calibrated compass and a GPS fix and a route selected you get something like this showing you where you are facing and where due North is. You have a blue line as the course and you are in the middle. A concentric circle shows the scale of the zoom on the route. the dots are the route’s gigital breadcrumb trail.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

The logbook is quite a nice way to look at your history.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

And you can drill down into a bit more historical detail. Personally I do little more than glance at this stuff, preferring to go online for more detail and more analysis. You probably have a life, so this may well be more useful to you than to me🙂

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

General settings cover the settings of the general stuff. Kind of as you would expect. Well, I did. I wasn’t disappointed. You CAN change the backlight intensity from NOT A LOT to QUITE A LOT.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

Again all this stuff doesn’t warrant reams of explanation. I’m sure all of you know the broad way to pair BTLE sensors. You can have more than one type of each sensor eg 2x HRMs. The STRYD pod DOES work for running power if paired only as a simple HRM. The 4iiii Viiiiva V100 ANT+ to BTLE bridge only seems to currently pair as a HRM without the passthrough of ANT+ signals from my bike PMs. Grrrr (although I can’t update the 4iiii firmware, which might be the problem).

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

Suunto call them PODs. You know what they are.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

So that’s all the peripheral stuff. That just leaves activating a sports profile and getting going. Here we’ve chosen the triathlon profile (of course!) and then when START appears you can see a directional arrow (GPS) , a HR icon and, indeed, one for each paired pod type. These AND ALL pod icons need to be solid to show they are properly connected. In some instances I found that, whilst exercising, the SPARTAN would not pick up a pod/sensor that it did not have fully connected at the start.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

The options you have at the moment are for: setting a TIME-only target; choosing a route for your sport profile; and, further below, setting the GPS accuracy.

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

GPS Accuracy. For my usage I will only ever have BEST mode enabled. GPS Accuracy, targets and COURSE can all be changed in-exercise by pressing and holding the middle button.

It is not clear to me at the moment if BEST mode includes GLONASS. The specs say it does but forum reports contradict this. My GPS tests so far have been generally good for the SPARTAN (test1, test2, test3):

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

Every good thing comes to an end so, after you have finished your session, there is the resume/save option.

A great thing with the SPARTAN is how it handles MULTISPORT, pressing and HOLDING the top button enters transition. Whereas a single press of the BOTTOM button introduces a lap. so we can get manual laps in MULTISPORT – cool!

suunto-spartan-menu-ultra-sport

The last image is the most contentious as:

  1. Sport Profiles (5 metrics per screen, as shown) will be customisable imminently.
  2. It is not yet possible to discard a session, it must be deleted in MOVESCOUNT.

Reviews and opinions to follow later. A quick one for now:

If you want a good longterm buy then either SPARTAN looks promising. Presumably so will be the 3rd, VALENCELL-based oHR version in a month or so’s time.

Interesting Factettes:

  1. The SPORT model seems to be slightly faster at displaying and moving through menus than the ULTRA.
  2. Calibrating the compass is easier and quicker if you give it to someone else to do.
  3. Whilst the watch face always looks great ‘face-to-face’, EVERY SINGLE TIME you take a picture a fingerprint will magically appear. Sometimes, if you have just REALLY cleaned it, TWO fingerprints will appear. Welcome to my world🙂

Xert / Baron Biosystems / Cadence Optimizer on the Garmin Edge 820

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xert baronbiosys baron biosystems cadence optimiserThis is an interesting one that falls under the ‘certainly can’t hurt’ category AND it may well help.

You’ll need a PM+Cadence Sensor and a CIQ-enabled Garmin.

Download the BIOSHIFT from the CIQ store and you’ll get a data field something like the image on the right. Replace your normal cadence field with the Bioshift one and you are good to go.

What is YOUR correct pedalling cadence?

89rpm? 93rpm? 97rpm?

What is YOUR correct pedalling cadence at any given power level?

I suspect most of us mostly believe that we should pedal faster. Partly that helps technique and partly it makes life a little easier for the legs.

I had a year or so of training around 100rpm with mostly good results but it never quite felt right for me and I seem to have slipped back to the 87-93rpm range.

Anyway, once you’ve installed the data field you will get a screen something like the following one. I’ll probably use this in my next race:

xert baronbiosys baron biosystems cadence optimiserSo what you cleverly get is your good old cadence figure BUT ALONGSIDE THAT is a slider/gauge. The gauge slides up or down and changes colour depending on whether or not your cadence is the right one for the current power level.

Most of the time ‘at sensible levels’ it did indeed tell me what I probably thought I already knew ie low 90’s rpm was about right. HOWEVER at Z2 levels it was recommending a lower cadence say 87rpm but was also agreeing with my increased cadence >100rpm as I got up to Z4/Z5 levels.

I’m not quite sure how this works, I suspect it is a generic optimal cadence for  a specific power level rather than unique to you.

I had half-heartedly once tried to look into correlating 30-sec lagged HR with power-duration PBs and cadence – searching for a single optimal cadence. I didn’t get very far before I realised that I left my maths skills back in school.

HOWEVER it DOES, to me, SEEM to be suggesting something that my body agrees with.

If it messes up my 50-odd miles of hilly racing this weekend, you’ll be the first to know on Monday. I’m confident enough in what I’ve seen so far to try the data field in the race profile. Even if I start to disbelieve it then I still have the good old cadence figure there to fall back on.

Baron Biosystems / BIOSHIFT / XERT – do a few other data fields that actually look useful. I report back on those later.

CIQ Download link – <here>

 

 

Garmin Edge 820 get a welcome firmware boost

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Garmin Edge 820 Varia RTL 500 HRM-RUN

A few annoying little feubles on the Garmin Edge 820 have been squashed with the latest v3.20 firmware.

My wifi software update kept getting stuck on the home page – not any more. Sometimes it was tricky navigating back onto a course – not any more. Panic at home as I DIDN’T have an accident – not any more.

You get the picture, here’s the list:

  • Improved grade calculation.
  • Improved interaction with Varia Vision.
  • Improved Incident Detection to decrease false reports and fixed an issue causing it to be re-enabled unexpectedly.
  • Added support for routing back to a Course after leaving it.
  • Added Distance and Time Ahead/Behind as configurable data fields.
  • Made improvements to the FTP Test.
  • Added Saved Locations to Course Creator and Round Trip Course menus.
  • Added the ability to navigate to a Segment.
  • Fixed an issue preventing software updates from the About page.

ESSENTIAL READING: Garmin Edge 820 Review

Details: <here>

adidas quits GPS Watches: Leaving TomTom Runner 3/Spark 3 as one of a kind…for now

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adidas just announced that it will not be following up the optical HR enabled miCoach SMART Run GPS watch (2013). Essentially it has pulled out of that part of the hardware market.

Note: adidas bought Runtastic and its 70million users for about GBP200m last year!

It was/is a nice enough watch with music, colour screen and a good online coaching platform. In VERY many ways it was ahead of its time.

Being good clearly doesn’t always help.

adidas had a good PR push last year on this product but I guess that wasn’t enough.

Anyway. It’s good news for TomTom with the Runner 3 / Spark 3. That’s one less competitor offering a ‘proper’ sports watch that stores music. Whilst the adidas did have good optical HR and music, it certainly didn’t have the navigation on the Runner 3 / Spark 3. Now, at least for TomTom, there is the pesky question of the Polar M600 Android Wear watch – that’s available just about now and chomping at their GPS heels.

miCoach exit info via: Wareable

ROTOR rolls out cool stuff – aero crank and more…

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Gutted!! My 2INpower has now been superseded by an Aero version. Grrrr!! I don’t mind really, it’s technology. things improve. Nice one ROTOR!! Actually their MAS spider and INPOWER solution are well worth a look if you are considering oval chainrings (I swear by them and swear they boost my power output).

Their carbon based oval chainrings (Qarbon) have also been updated to better support Shimano stuff.

ROTOR INPOWER 3D+ REVIEW Q-RING OCP OCA

ROTOR INPOWER 3D+ With Qarbon Q-RING

————-Press Release Below———–

LAS VEGAS – (September 21, 2016) Today ROTOR Bike Components advanced its oval chainring offerings by introducing Direct Mount rings for SRAM and Race Face cranks, plus adjustable Direct Mount rings for ROTOR’s new Hawk and Raptor modular all-mountain/enduro cranks. In addition to biomechanical performance, there was one more important factor when designing Direct Mount oval chainrings: compatibility. The new Q-Rings offer an upgrade to oval for SRAM GXP®, SRAM BB30, and Race Face Cinch cranksets. Direct Mount QX rings can be dialed in to take advantage of the most-powerful part of your pedal stroke to give you faster acceleration and better traction when you need it most.

Hawk and Raptor land in Vegas Earlier this week ROTOR Bike Components launched its new all-mountain/enduro cranks from its Madrid headquarters to arrive at Interbike. Both the Hawk and Raptor check all the standard boxes for an all-mountain/enduro crank. Like ROTOR’s REX cranks, both models are a work of engineering built on the principles of lightweight and rigid, but a modular concept offers compatibility that meets – and even exceeds – current trends in mountain bike technology. Crank arms will be available independent of an axle and chainrings; there’s no longer a factory-assembled arm+axle, both crank arms can be removed from the axle. This way both the Hawk and Raptor can be mounted to standard, boost, and downhill axles.
Rubber bumpers protect crank arms against wear, and can be customized with a choice of seven colors: black, blue, green, yellow, red, pink, or orange.
The new Direct Mount chainrings for both Hawk and Raptor feature ROTOR’s patented Optimum Chainring Position (OCP) system to optimize your pedal stroke. Swapping out chainrings on the fly becomes incredibly easy with just an 8mm allen key.

2INpower AeroIn the war against wind resistance, cyclists need every available ally. 2INpower Aero provides the same features as 2INpower but with a closed aero spider to shrug off bullying wind. In addition to both ANT+™ and Bluetooth® Smart compatibility, and a rechargeable Li-ion battery, the aero spider also brings MAS (Micros Adjust Spider) technology to help you micro adjust the orientation of your oval Q-Rings by approximately 2.5 degrees to fine-tune your pedal performance.

Oval Qarbon Shimano and round chainringsIn addition to a lighter, stiffer oval chainring, there was one more important factor when designing Qarbon Q-Rings: compatibility. No need to swap out your Shimano cranks to accommodate our Qarbon Q-Rings, ROTOR has crafted Q-Rings Qarbon Shimano 110×4 just for you. A 3K woven, high-modulus carbon sheet is bonded to the outside of a Q-Ring to reinforce the Q-Ring´s structure. Carbon fiber´s structural properties allow for a more aggressively-machined aluminum section to yield a chainring that’s 8% lighter with 20% increased stiffness. Choose from 3 Optimum Chainring Positions (OCP) to fine-tune your improved riding experience and go farther and faster with less fatigue.   To complement its Qarbon range, ROTOR has crafted round Qarbon noQ rings for your compact cranks. Qarbon noQ offer the same performance benefits inherent in traditional round rings, yet lighter and stiffer thanks to high-modulus carbon fiber.   All Qarbon chainrings are available in 50, 52, and 53t in BCD110.

1 Minute Review: Kinematix Tune running footstrike analysis insoles

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KINEMATIX TUNE Insoles and APP Running Analysis

clickable

Portugese startup, KINEMATIX, has a neat little device for measuring some elements of running form and suggesting ways to improve it through specific drills.

What is it?

The TUNE product consists of 2 removable insoles. Attached to each is a white, removable/USB-chargeable pod.

The insole has sensors built into it and you can buy additional insoles for other pairs of shoes.

There is a companion app for your iOS/Android smartphone. TUNE uses Bluetooth to link to your app but TUNE won’t YET communicate to your smartwatch or sports’ watch.

The app has some neat, new running metrics such as Heel Contact Time (HCT) and Heel Striking Steps (HST). All metrics are calculated for each foot separately. The resulting Symmetry/Asymetry is analysed over segments of your runs.

The app also prompts you to do drills/exercises before each session. Over time these drills/exercise progress from generic to specific – based on your form. Exercises seems to be generated generically for the first 10 uses after which more specific exercise are given.

KINEMATIX TUNE Insoles and APP Running Analysis

Is it any good?

TUNE KinematixIt seems to deliver the metrics well and certainly spotted my recent injury-induced asymmetry. The colour coding clearly highlights what KINEMATIX see as good, bad or indifferent.

After using the product on and off for several weeks I am still to see the benefits of the effects of the more personalised drills – fair enough. It takes the body a while to adapt.

Positives

  • Easy to install and switch between shoes (goes under your existing insole)
  • USB rechargeable
  • PODs go on the outside of each shoe and do not interfere with running at all.
  • Very lightweight at about 30g per foot and 1-2mm thick. You can’t tell that you are wearing them.
  • It is probably more accurate than a HRM-based pod measuring similar metrics.
  • Whilst a little unusual at first, the app’s display does help identify performance averages for intervals much better than some other online tools which seem to provide too much detail (data) and not enough analysis/information/insight. I only ever looked at the app display at the end of my exercise.

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Negatives

  • Requires a smartphone app to be carried for both the GPS-derived pace and the data storage on the app. Ideally for me TUNE would not require a smartphone app, perhaps instead using Garmin’s Connect IQ as a collection mechanism for a web dashboard as well as the GPS-speed (or footpod speed) from a Garmin sports watch.
  • The pods do not cache any data.
  • A smartwatch app is planned by KINEMATIX to counter the need for carrying a smartphone but I am unsure as to what percentage of their target market will use a smartwatch.
  • Carrying a smartphone is just plain difficult for me on faster intervals. I can and did manage it on longer runs.
  • I worry about the robustness of the wires that connect the sole to the pod they can be twisted as the pod is unattached from the shoe.
  • I had issues getting and maintaining a connection to my Android phone, sometimes no data was collected. This could have been linked to GPS signal strength/quality on MY phone and/or the persistence of the Bluetooth connection.

Comments

I’ve done over 100km wearing these whilst running. Mostly at easy/endurance/moderate pace levels and with typically medium-weight shoes.

Readings varied, as might be expected, with different shoes. Most notably and ‘obviously’ with shoes of different weight and shoes with differing heel heights/drops.

I’d just finished my testing when the app v1.38.12 arrived. Hopefully that brings BT connection improvements.

Alternatives

Some of the alternatives are ZOI, SHFT.RUN, RunScribe and Garmin’s two tranches of Running Dynamics.

Thoughts

The design and usage seem broadly fine to me. It all seems like it all can and does work. My reticism would be:

  1. Longevity of the sole and attaching wires
  2. Reliability of BT connection
  3. How accurate is YOUR phone’s GPS?
  4. I need more convincing that the second phase of exercises are really based on the results of my earlier runs and I want to know ‘what is wrong with my form’.
  5. I am sure that the device is capable of recording/analysing more varied footstrike data. I would like to see that AND I would then like to REALLY understand how a bit of data exposes a poor element of my technique AND THEN I want to really understand which precise exercises/measures are being proposed to counter EACH fault. As a coach I would want to be able to understand the analysis and recommendations made by the app, as a runner I would want to trust the recommendation it makes.
  6. This hardware MUST be capable of more and I understand more metrics are planned for TUNE. The sole-based sensors must be at an advantage over the footpods of SHFTrun and ZOI RUN in the ‘CORRECT AND DETAILED’ measurement of footstrike. SHFTrun and ZOI RUN though have strengths in other areas of running form with their monitoring of body movement.
  7. Carrying a smartphone is not for me. Another mechanism is needed to capture data.
  8. I would imagine that a large part of the target market would be Garmin owners. I would have made the device broadcast ANT+ and write to a FIT file via a CIQ Data Field (or CIQ APP) – although that is easy to say now when that option has only been available since about July 2016! TUNE was conceived long before that.

I’m probably coming across a little negative. I don’t mean to. With a few weeks’ work on your technique you could probably get a few %age points faster. That’s MUCH easier to achieve for many people compared to trying to get faster by training hard. Of course you can do both!

But exactly how else would you propose to do technique work? More advanced lab-based 3d-analyses that I have done are superb but not really accessible to most people because they are relatively hard to find and expensive even for a one-off session.

Maybe you can join a running club or get a personal coach. Again, getting one-to-one advice is going to be expensive and not necessarily right in any case.

Who might be interested?

  1. Me. I want to improve.
  2. Higher level coaches might consider these for their protegees.
  3. Self-trainers might see this as a great digital personal run trainer.

Price/Availability

Eu200 direct from kinematix.pt.