Tag Archives: equipment

Garmin 1000 and Windows Phone Tracking

I started this post a while ago earlier this summer, and it looks like I finished it but never hit post. Oh well! I’m posting it now rather than deleting the draft. After several extra months of riding, my assessment of the Garmin 1000 hasn’t changed, except that I am even more impressed with its stability and ability to record ultra long 24 hour+ rides. None of the earlier Garmins could last that long without crashing!

Ride stats 2

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

The positives

  • Large crystal clear display, easy to read in any lighting condition with auto-brightness enabled. In the picture above, compare the Garmin 800 (left) to the Garmin 1000 display (right). Both are displaying 10 pieces of information, but look how much clearer the 1000 is.
  • Di2 integration, no more guessing about whether you are in the 28 or 26 in the back. Plus, being able to see a history of gears used in a KOM effort will be cool to see. Some of the climbs that Mark and I have been trading KOMs on can ultimately come down to using the right gears at the right time. Being able to compare times with the gears used may help optimize KOM efforts.
  • Improved processor speed. The 1000 is much more responsive, able to lookup information on the map much more quickly, and able to calculate turn-by-turn directions for long routes more quickly than the 800. Most importantly, with an improved processor there is presumably less opportunity for deadlock leading to less frozen screens and lost rides. I won’t know this for sure until I get some really long rides done with the 1000. So far my longest ride after the accident has been just over 7 hours. The Garmin 800 was pretty reliable for rides under 8 hours. Once you hit the 8 hour mark, you better not try to do any routing or looking at the map with the 800. You are pretty much guaranteed to have the 800 freeze and possibly lose the entire ride.
  • Improved map detail, plus free maps! Thanks in large part to the OpenStreetMap organization and the USGS, there is some excellent map data that comes standard with the Garmin 1000 instead of having to buy the City Navigator SD card to get good street data. Also, the entire collection of USGS named summits is included in the map data so that you can see a little mountain icon and click on it to see its exact elevation. See screenshot below.
  • The new Personal Records feature is kinda cool, especially if you are coming back from an injury as I am – each time you set a new PR that is especially meaningful.

Garmin 1000, USGS mountain closest to our house.

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

The negatives
Let’s start this off with a video showing you the differences in total ascent between the Garmin 800 (left) and the Garmin 1000 (right). Some things to look for in the video – note the iBike gradient stabilizes much faster based on the accelerometer (not barometric pressure). Even so, the Garmin 800 stabilizes much, much quicker than the Garmin 1000. Also, note when total ascent starts to accumulate on the 800 vs the 1000. Note based on the iBike grade how long you are on the hill before the 1000 starts to read any change in total ascent.

ibike data laurel view lapibike data laurel view lap

  • Lack of Windows Phone support. Yes, I know that windows phones are a small (but growing) share of the market, but for people more interested in the camera (Nokia Lumia) than the phone, the current Windows Phone offerings blow away anything from Apple or Samsung. Also, lack of open API for communication between the Garmin Edge 1000 and the Garmin Connect mobile app prevents writing my own home-brewed windows phone app. I contacted support to let them know I was interested in writing a Windows Phone app to support live tracking from the Garmin 1000, but never received any response back.
  • New location of the barometric pressure sensor behind the quarter-twist mount. While this may protect the sensor from rain, it is the nemesis of anyone who lives in an area with lots of steep rolling hills. The new sensor location causes the unit to respond much more slowly to changes in elevation, which means you miss the bottom of every climb. This is also true in large mountain areas, but since you are only doing a few climbs on a ride in the mountains it doesn’t matter much to lose 20-40 feet on each one. But if you are doing hundreds of hills on a ride, then losing 20 feet on each one adds up pretty quickly.
  • The aggressive total ascent filter. It isn’t just the location of the barometric pressure sensor as it is also the “new and improved” algorithm for accounting total ascent. In the Garmin 800, the filter was placed on the raw elevation change. You had to climb more than 7 feet before the elevation changed, at which point every foot was counted towards the total ascent. Now with the Garmin 1000, you see small 1-2 foot changes in elevation, but these are not counted towards total ascent until some magic variable number (I think it is time based) of feet have been climbed. I think you have to have been climbing for 20-30 seconds before it starts to count total ascent, which means that the raw number of feet climbed differs based on how fast you are climbing rewarding slower descending and slower climbing.
  • Total ascent maxing out at 9,999 feet. The Garmin 1000 cannot currently display total ascent greater than 9,999 feet. The display field goes blank and displays four underscore characters instead. (See screenshot below the next bullet)
  • The elevation graph screen only uses the first three sections of the screen. The fourth section is only used if you are following a course with embedded elevation data. This is similar to a bug for the Garmin 800 which only used half the elevation screen. This bug was fixed in an early release of the Edge 800 firmware. The bug currently remains unfixed in version 2.2 of the Garmin 1000 firmware. What’s even worse with the 1000 is that they introduced an auto-scaling feature that scales as if it were using all four sections, but then only uses three sections and chops off exactly 1/4 of your ride. (See screenshot below)

Note the blank “total ascent” field. Also note that the Garmin 800 recorded 12,271 feet of climbing, but the Garmin 1000 only recorded 10,629 feet of climbing. If I had mounted the Garmin 1000 in a normal fashion instead of using the out-front mount with the Garmin angled up at a 60 degree angle to expose the barometric sensor then the elevation difference would have been much, much larger. My lap tests showed a difference of over 40% in total ascent when the Garmin 1000 is mounted in a flat or slightly angled position. Also, note that the elevation graph doesn’t use all four sections no matter how much you zoom in or out. The PR feature is really cool, though, and fortunately it does show you your total ascent – but this is only after you end your ride and only if you actually set a new PR for total ascent. Otherwise, you are not able to see how much you have climbed if you climbed more than 9,999 feet.

Conclusions
Most of my issues with the new Garmin are related to elevation. Other people in the Garmin forums have mentioned random screen locks and dropped bluetooth connections as problems. I haven’t seen either of these problems in the first 500 miles of usage because I am unable to use bluetooth at all. Perhaps the random screen locks are related to bluetooth, which means the lack of Windows Phone support is a blessing in disguise. Overall, I’m happy with the improvements made to the Garmin 1000 and once the elevation readings are sorted out – I’m planning on gluing something to the bottom of the Garmin to funnel air around the mount into the pressure sensor – plus hopefully a new release of the Garmin 1000 firmware will not have such an aggressive total ascent filter.

Windows Phone Tracking

Unable to use the live tracking feature on my Garmin 1000, I decided to write my own for Windows Phone. Without a published API from Garmin, there is no way for me to pull the data coming from the 1000, but I can track position, time, and speed on the phone itself. As I dug further into this, I found an already existing app that looks perfect and works on Windows Phone: locatoweb.com.

LocaToWeb - Laurel View tracking testLocaToWeb – Laurel View tracking test

Equipment update: iBike Dash Power Meter, wheels and tires galore

Before I go into the equipment meltdowns I had a couple weeks ago, I want to give a huge shout out to John and the rest of the mechanics at Bob’s Bikes who have kept me up and running even when I put extreme loads on all of my equipment to the breaking point. They get me back up and running again every time!!!

Also, I’m reviewing an iBike sports product below. I believe these guys have put together a product, the iBike Dash plus Power, that gives data junkies like me everything they could ever want to know about their rides and their training! Here is a review of my initial experience with the iBike Dash plus Power after a couple weeks usage and the essential features that I am using day in and day out. First, let me point you to this Velonews article which has much better pictures of the iBike. Here are my pictures: (yes, my bike is filthy, but it is supposed to rain tomorrow and what point would there be in cleaning it up before it rains!!!)

The iBike Dash plus Power phone booth setup (click to zoom in)

The wheel speed sensor mounted on the front fork.

The cadence sensor mounted on the non-drive side chainstay.

Initial review
Setup was super easy. You simply slide the iphone into the phone booth, and the iphone automatically connects to the Apple appstore to download the free app which is the display for the power meter. Make sure you either have a phone signal or are connected to a wireless network before inserting the iphone.

You can customize each of the training screens, but I primarily keep mine on the power gauge screen shown above. This has the most important statistics for me: power, average power, speed, slope, max slope, cadence, and heartrate. Note that power and heartrate are both color-coded based on user-configuable Functional Threshold Power and Maximum Heartrate. Also, note that these statistics are completely customizable in very much the same manner as any of the Garmin bike computers.

Downloading and analyzing the data is accomplished via email. Click on Options, click on Send Ride Files, and then click Send next to the ride file you want to send. The iBike stores the email address so you don’t have to type it in each time. Once you receive the data file, save it to your computer, fire up the iBike software, and then click open. Browse for the .ibd file that you just downloaded from your email. iBike automatically reads in the file and saves it to a .csv file compatible with Trainingpeaks. Or you can analyze the ride file from within the iBike software. I personally think that the iBike software has the best graph layout of any software on the market! Here is a screenshot of a typical ride file:

iBike software ride view from top to bottom (power, speed/wind, elevation, slope)

Comparison with iBike Generation III
Prior to switching to the iBike Dash plus Power, I was using the iBike Generation III power meter. The Generation III meter is smaller, less expensive, and lighter than the iBike Dash plus Power. The larger size of the iBike Dash enables it to have more accurate wind sensor readings. Also, it allows the iBike Dash to have a beautiful large easy to read user interface. The older Generation III had an acceptable user interface, but there was no backlight so you couldn’t read it after dark.

NOTE about my iBike Dash plus Power setup: I am using my wife’s old iPhone 3G with no cellphone account activated on it, but it still works great recording all the GPS information and transferring files when connected via wireless network. But one of the big complaints against the old iPhone 3G is its slow processor, and you do notice that when running the iBike app. I would definitely recommend using an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, which have much better processors than the old 3G. Having said that, I am using the iPhone 3G and can put up with the slow response time especially when switching between windows.

Summary If you are a data junkie or looking for a more affordable way to measure power, the iBike Dash plus Power is the way to go. You get a sleek user interface, a handy carrying case for your iPhone, and all the data you could ever want. Contact me if you have any questions about the iBike Dash or shoot me an email to setup a ride with me where you can see it in action.

AND NOW ONTO THE EQUIPMENT WOES…

Broken spoke #1
Broken spoke #2
Extra wheel tied to backpack, mid 90s Spinergy, iBike and Garmin mounted together

Here is a bulletted list for what didn’t make it into the picture:

  • Sunday 4/3 – Broken front derailleur – I was climbing a steep grade and all of a sudden I hear a clunk/ping. I continue the climb but notice that my chain is rubbing on the front derailleur. On closer inspection at the top of the climb, I notice that there is a rivet missing from the front derailleur and so the whole derailleur is essentially split into two halves with the bottom part rubbing on not only the chain but also the front chainrings. I rode home very slowly trying not to ruin the chainrings. I ended up swapping out bikes and riding my old Trek after a little bit of work on it to make it rideable again and ended up just doing tons of climbing near my house – http://app.strava.com/rides/387911
  • Monday 4/4 – Double flat – I was enjoying a slow, easy, wandering commute home with a ton of climbing when I started down the descent of Hackberry. I hit a small rock and heard the hissing sound of leaking air. Well, it turns out that it was a pinch flat (probably from not having pumped up the wheel in a week). I patched the tube and pumped it up to as high a pressure as I could with my frame pump (maybe 80psi?). I continued on my way home and then at the steepest part of the descent, which I was doing slowly, the tire went flat again. I was only a couple miles from home so I called Kristine to come pick me up, and she and Josiah came to my “rescue” a few minutes later! http://app.strava.com/rides/390412
  • Tuesday 4/5 – Broken spoke – I was riding an old Cane Creek wheel because my Mavic training wheel was in desperate need of an internal hub cleaning to the point that it was no longer safe to descend at above 40mph without pedaling fast enough to keep the freewheel from spinning. The Cane Creek wheel was in pretty bad shape to begin with, but held together well on my Monday ride. Tuesday, though, I broke a spoke at the farthest out point of my ride. The rest of the wheel still had enough tension for me to ride home slowly. http://app.strava.com/rides/393157
  • Wednesday and Thursday passed without incident.
  • Friday 4/8 – Another flat tire – This was a puncture flat from a 10 week old tire with about 3600 miles on it. This was a rear tire which hadn’t worn through to the threads yet so I was surprised to puncture. I patched the tire up and made it home with no problems. http://app.strava.com/rides/401319
  • Tuesday 4/12 – Another broken spoke – I was climbing up a hill in Mountain Brook and as I pulled over to a shady spot to pull out a powerbar from my backpack, I heard the familiar sound of a spoke breaking. I looked down and sure enough, I had another broken spoke. This one really put the wheel out of true, and I had to ride very slowly home to keep the tire from rubbing the frame. Definitely time to say good-bye to the Cane Creek wheel. $5 or best offer. Needs new spoke. Other spokes are frozen in place if you are looking to part out the hub you may need to cut the spokes off. http://app.strava.com/rides/419270
  • Wednesday 4/13 – Extra wheel ride – All of this brings us to me riding home with my Mavic training wheel strapped to my back (photo above). And hopefully my run of bad luck / equipment breakdown is over for a while! http://app.strava.com/rides/424389

After hearing about all my equipment woes from the previous week, Roger hooked me up with these sweet Michelin racing tires, which I used for Dothan and Mississippi Gran Prix. Next up for these tires is Barbers this weekend and then USA Crits Speedweek (Athens, Roswell, Spartanburg, Dilworth, Sandy Springs). Also in this pic are the Rudy Project strydon sunglasses that I won from the January KOM climbing competition on Strava.

So that about sums up things, and randomly, here is my 4 year old mountain biking through the woods in our neighborhood. Check out those skills and no training wheels!