Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Wahoo RPM speed and cadence sensors

Saturday, May 18th, 2019 | Video

The Wahoo RPM speed and cadence sensors are easy-to-install bike sensors that provide data by both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity.

They are small and don’t use magnets, which is a massive improvement over the bike sensors that you have to fiddle around with to line up. They are easy to install, too: you take the sensor and insert it into its rubber housing then strap it around your wheel hub (in the case of the speed sensor) or cable tie it around your crank arm (in the case of the cadence sensor).

The battery lasts for ages. I’ve been using them for over six months now, and they still have plenty of battery left in them.

The speed sensor is a bit of a pain to install, though. You have to stretch out the rubber and spend ages trying to get your hands inside the spokes to hook it around the catches that keep it secure. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes, and you only need to take it off when you need to replace the battery.

The data seems mostly reliable, but I have seen some occasional spikes where an unrealistic speed is reported. I found the data slow on Zwift: anywhere from 3-10 seconds behind the power, I was putting down. Outside, it consistently responds within a few seconds on my Garmin head unit, so I think a large part of the problem is Zwift rather than the sensor.

In this video, I’ll show you both of the sensors, and I’ll also show you a close-up of me installing the speed sensor on my back wheel.

Garmin heart rate monitors: HRM-Tri vs HRM-Swim

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 | Video

Garmin produces a range of heart rate monitors for triathletes. In this video, I’ll compare the HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim. I’ll also talk about Garmin’s new models, the HRM-Run and HRM-Dual.

Both the Tri and the Swim come in the Forerunner 935 triathlon bundle. The Tri is the go-to heart rate for everyday training. It has a stretchy strap that is comfortable so makes the perfect choice for running and cycling. It can also be used in the pool for short distances, such as pool-based sprint triathlons. Just make sure to give it a good rinse when done.

The HRM-Swim is specifically for swimming a pool. It has a non-stretchy grippy strap that is less comfortable but means that it won’t slip down when you dive into a pool or kick off from the side. It is also more resilient to corrosion from pool chemicals.

Both can record heart rate data underwater, although you will only be able to download it when you get out of the water. They both transmit over ANT+, so if you’re looking for something that does Bluetooth you need to look at the HRM-Dual instead. Or the Polar H10, which I have also reviewed.

Stages Power L review

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019 | Video

The Stages Power L Shimano 105 is a single-sided power meter that replaces the offside crank arm on your bike. You pull off your existing crank arm and fit the Stages Power drop-in replacement to get some power measuring data.

Stages produce a full range of different versions for each groupset, so you need to match the correct one. In this case, my bike has a Shimano 105 groupset, so I needed that version. As it is the offside crank arm, chainrings are not important, but if you want the dual-sided one, you will need to match your chainring as well.

The beauty of them is that they plug in and go. You don’t need to change your pedals, and if you are comfortable taking it on and off, you could even swap it between bikes (if you had another with the same groupset).

The unit transmits on both Bluetooth and ANT+. In the past, there have been issues with drop-outs between Garmin and Stages. I haven’t experienced any of this; it has worked perfectly with my Edge 1030 and with TrainerRoad on my iPhone. I have had some drop-outs on Zwift, though, but I’ve had a lot of problems with Zwift regardless of setup.

Battery life is reasonable. It takes a 2032 watch battery which has lasted me about six months. The battery is easily accessible so looks simple to change.

Without calibrating it against another power meter, it is difficult to say how accurate it is. But, on the turbo trainer, it has worked like a dream. Outside has mostly been fine, too, although I have occasionally got spikes of power way higher than I would expect.

I’ve also had a bit of squeaking. Whether it is because the crank arm has come loose or because there is an issue with the bottom bracket on my bike is not clear.

Shimano PD-M530 bike pedal review

Thursday, May 9th, 2019 | Video

The Shimano PD-M530 is a dual-sided SPD bike pedal. SPD is Shimano’s two-point mountain bike cleat but is also a favourite for commuting or those who are new to clipless pedals because it is easier to clip in and out of than the road version, SPD-SL.

The M530 has SPD cleats on both sides. This means that you do not need the pedal to the be the correct way up; you can push your foot down, and it doesn’t matter what side it is on.

The pedal comes with the standard dial to make it easier or more difficult to clip in and out of. Being dual-sided, though, means that you have two dials on each pedal which means you have to set the tension to how you like it four times in total.

They are mostly black, which should match standard crank arms. They have a larger surface area than other styles of SPD pedals, such as egg beaters, which makes it easier to find with your foot. You won’t be able to use them as flats, though, as your foot always makes contact with the cleat. And, having a larger surface area, they are heavier than other types.

If you like the look of these pedals, you may also want to consider the Shimano PD-EH500, which is similar but has a flat side as well as an SPD side, allowing you to choose between clipless and flats. In the video, I’m actually demoing the EH500, but only on the SPD side, which is identical to the M530.

Music credits: The Kyoto Connection – Fly

Chris tries to change a bike stem

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 | Video

In this video, I’ll attempt to change the stem on my bike. The stem is the piece that holds your handlebars to your steerer tube. You may want to use a bigger or smaller stem to dial in the perfect amount of reach (the distance your handlebars are to your saddle).

I’m not calling it a tutorial because I have never done it before, so who knows how it will turn out!

I’m using my Voodoo Limba cyclocross bike. I made the rookie mistake of buying a frame that was too big for me and so I needed to reduce the reach. I moved the saddle forward to put it into a racier position, using my race bike to match the geometry. But I also needed to swap out the 90mm FSA stem for a 70mm stem. Luckily, FSA does such a step, so it should just be an easy swap-out swap-in job.

The first step was to take off the reflector which was blocking access to the bolts holding the stem’s front plate in place. I then loosened these a little at a time to avoid putting too much stress on any bolt. Once the faceplate was off, I let the handlebars dangle down. I had my bike on the turbo, rather than in a stand, so there was no chance the forks would drop out.

Next, I removed the dust cap from the top of the stem and then loosened the bolts holding it onto the top of the fork. Once this was done, it slid off and allowed me to put the new stem on. Then it was merely a case of reversing the procedure.

Getting the new stem in the correct position is a tricky one. The handlebars need to be both in the centre and at the correct angle, and it took me a while to get them just right. After that, I could tighten up all of the bolds, including making sure that the stem lined up with the forks and front wheel.

ROKA SIM Pro II buoyancy shorts review

Friday, April 26th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

In this video, I’ll review the ROKA men’s SIM Pro II buoyancy shorts. It’s the full thing: I’ll take you from the unboxing into a long-term review where I report back on them after a month.

Buoyancy shorts simulate the position in the water that a wetsuit gives you. This means you can practice your open water swimming practice in the pool. This could be a lifesaver for triathletes who don’t have a local lake to swim in and thus only get to practice their open water swimming in triathlon races.

I spoke to ROKA about the difference between the Elite and the more expensive Pro version. They’re very similar but the Pro version is slightly more adjustable and slightly more buoyant, so will give you a slightly better position in the water.

Are they race legal? Not really. They count as a wetsuit. So, you can’t use them in a pool-based triathlon. If it is an open water event and wetsuits are allowed, you could use them. But, in that case, you probably want to go with a full wetsuit instead. So, they’re really intended for training.

They are made of neoprene, which is the same material as a wetsuit. Basically, it feels like they have cut a section out of one and added a drawstring. I was worried about tearing it, but so far, so good.

MUSIC CREDITS

Lostboy & Slashtaq – Elysium
RIVERO & Anna Yvette – Heaven

LBT Brownlee duathlon video

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 | Sport, Video

Yesterday I wrote about the duathlon I took part in at the Brownlee Centre. I recorded the bike section on my action camera and I have overlayed my speed, power and heart rate onto the video. It’s predictably dull, but I have added some commentary over the top to make it less dull lol. In my defence, this isn’t why I bought an action camera.

The hyper smooth video does a good job, although I find it a bit weird. The background stays fixed in position as everything else dances around. It looks a bit unnatural but does produce something that is easy to watch.

Mavic Crossride bike shoes review

Friday, March 8th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

At first glance, you may not realise the Mavic Crossride are bike shoes. They look like trainers. But, hidden beneath the bright yellow sole is an inset SPD cleat (mountain bike cleat) that allows you to ride clipless while wearing a really comfortable shoe.

In this video, I’ll review the shoes and show you what they look like while cycling.

They’re not trainers, as you figure out when you put them on. The rubber sole is big and chunky and takes out a lot of the flex. They suggest you could go hiking in them, and that’s true, but you couldn’t go running in them because the sole is too thick and because the metal cleat does make contact with the ground. It doesn’t leave you walking like a duck but you can hear the clink.

Making them more comfortable and a little more flexible also means that they are not as stiff as road shoes. But that is the standard trade-off with mountain bike shoes.

The upper comes with both laces and a velcro strap. I tend to tie the laces in a single knot and then use the velcro strap to do the final tightening, which is easy to re-do later if it turns out you tied them a little loser than you would like.

GoPro Hero 7 Black unboxing

Thursday, March 7th, 2019 | Video

The Hero 7 Black is the late-2018 offering from GoPro. This little action camera comes with an upgraded stabilisation called “hyper smooth”. Why it doesn’t come with the other cameras is less clear because there is no hardware behind, save perhaps some CPU, as it is all done by the software.

In this video, I’ll unbox the camera and go through the accessories it comes with. Ordering direct from GoPro will get you a beanie hat and an SD card, but is slower and a little more expensive than other retailers such as Amazon.

I’ll also show you the 3.5mm microphone adapter that allows you to plug in an external microphone into your GoPro. This is essential if you want to get good sound quality. On-camera microphones are never great at the best of times, and as the GoPro has been waterproof since the 5, completely sealing the unit has only made it worse.

Finally, I’ll take it outside to show you what the hyper smooth stabilisation looks like when moving around with it on a monopod.

Shimano TR5 review

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The TR5 is a triathlon cycling shoe from Shimano. In this video, I’ll review and it and show you what it looks like while cycling.

What exactly is a triathlon cycling shoe? It’s a lot like a regular bike shoe. But it has some modifications specifically designed for triathlon racing. First, it has a mesh in the bottom to allow water to drain out. They’re also comfier than some bike shoes. This allows you to come straight out of the swim and jump on the bike without having to dry your feet or put socks on.

They come with a loop at the back of the shoe that allows you to rubber band it to the back of the bike, keeping the shoe the correct way up. Finally, the velcro strap opens outwards to allow the shows to remain on the bike without the strap getting caught in the chainring. This does mean the end of the strap can rub against the crank arm so you may have to trim this down once you have worked out how much strap length you need for your foot.

The TR5 is the smaller brother of the high-end TR9. It’s not clear what additional benefits the TR9s provide, though, other than coming in blue. The TR9 is only road cleat compatible, whereas the TR5 supports both road and SPD (mountain bike cleats). They’re not inset, though, so whichever one you choose you will end up walking like a duck. Not a problem if you keep the shoe on the bike in transition, though.

The sole is very stiff, as you would expect from a road-style shoe. There isn’t much weather protection on top, which makes sense given they are built to let water drain out of the bottom. They come with two velcro straps. Once you have the first one dialled in you will probably never need to touch it.