Category Archives: Cycling Reviews

Reviews of cycling related technology from a non-professional, but avid, cyclist.

None of the reviews posted here are compensated. Everything reviewed here has been purchased, and used by myself, at some point in the past.

Some posts may link to amazon.com with an affiliate link … in which case I may get a commission if a purchase is made.

Wahoo Headwind

The Wahoo Headwind is a ‘smart’ fan specifically designed for cycling.

When I first heard about this product, I was quite dubious. First, and foremost, it’s expensive. $250 for a fan is pretty high. Also, for some reason, my initial though twas that they were trying to reproduce the experience of a headwind while cycling.

Well, cost aside, most of the reviews of the fan I saw were pretty positive. With the holidays upon us, this is what I decided I wanted

Continue reading

4iiii Viiva Heart Rate monitor revisited

Some time ago I posted about my general dissatisfaction with the 4iiii Viiva heart rate monitor.

In a nutshell, in addition to being a ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) heart rate monitor, it also acts as a bridge between ANT+ devices that don’t offer BTLE functionality. In my original review of the Viiva, I complained because few software offerings provided support for it and the data is sent to apps wasn’t accurate.

Well, I need to revise my opinion of the Viiva … it has gained adoption and now appears to be quite useful.

Those who use training programs (such as Zwift) with Apple TV have already learned that the Apple TV only supports 3 total BTLE devices connected. One of those devices slots is already taken by the remote control. That leaves only 2 more slots.

If you’re using a training program, you’ll need at least 3 devices connected (possibly more) …

  • Cadence sensor
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Trainer
  • Speed sensor (depending on the trainer)
  • Power meter (depending on the trainer)

In my case, I need a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, and Kickr smart trainer (which acts as both a smart trainer and power meter).

You can use the Zwift companion app to gate the BTLE sensors, through the phone, to Zwift … but I find that to be somewhat twitchy (see my post on Zwift, which I will create later and link).

With the Viiva HRM, I’m able to pair my cadence sensor (which broadcasts in both ANT+ and BTLE) to it and feed both it and the heart rate data to the Apple TV without needing an extra BTLE connection slot.

So far it’s working well … the only issue I’ve had is that sometimes it takes a little while for Zwift to pick up the Viiva heart rate monitor.

Another option to accomplish the same thing is to use the North Pole Engineering (NPE) CABLE ANT+ to BTLE gateway. I tried using that but had problems with the hardware. It was probably defective. Getting support for the device, from the manufacturer, was pretty difficult. I ended up giving up, returning the device, and using the Viiva (since I already had it).

Garmin RTL-510 Radar

Review of the Garmin Varia RTL-510 Radar

Standard disclaimer:

Being into technology, I’ve accumulated a fair bit of bike tech also.  As such, I’m going to try doing thumbnail reviews of some of the bike tech that I current, or used to, use.

These aren’t going to be super technical reviews.  For that kind of thing I suggest you head over to
DCRainmaker‘s blog or GPLama‘s YouTube channel.

These are going to be my impressions of the product … what I like, what I don’t like, what could be better, and some things that should be left just the way they are.

All the items I’m going to review have been purchased outright by me and I don’t get any compensation for the reviews (unless I provide an Amazon link, in which case I get a small commission).

A few years ago I decided I could try bike commuting to work. The office I work in has a bike rack and (lucky for my co-workers) a locker room with showers.

I figured I could leave earlier than I normally would, ride the 20 miles to the office, lock my bike up, shower, and start work about an hour after I normally would. I would leave a change of clothes, toiletries, and fresh cycling kit for the ride home.

A few years ago a 20 mile ride to work would have seemed impossible, but now it’s really not a big deal. Takes about 90 minutes.

Continue reading

Garmin Edge 1030

OK, I’m going to try something new.

As you are probably aware, I’m an avid cyclist.  I really like cycling.  Some may say it’s an addiction (albeit on the healthy side).

Standard disclaimer:

Being into technology, I’ve accumulated a fair bit of bike tech also.  As such, I’m going to try doing thumbnail reviews of some of the bike tech that I current, or used to, use.

These aren’t going to be super technical reviews.  For that kind of thing I suggest you head over to
DCRainmaker‘s blog or GPLama‘s YouTube channel.

These are going to be my impressions of the product … what I like, what I don’t like, what could be better, and some things that should be left just the way they are.

All the items I’m going to review have been purchased outright by me and I don’t get any compensation for the reviews (unless I provide an Amazon link, in which case I get a small commission).

Continue reading

Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor

One of the things I like to do when I’m cycling, is keep track of various statistics related to my ride.

This includes things like speed, cadence (how fast I’m peddling), and heart rate.

To do this, I have a number of sensors that connect to my bike computer (Garmin Edge 810).  The sensors communicate with the bike computer using a low power communication mechanism called ANT+.

There are, however, some advantages of being able to track the sensor data on my iPhone in the various fitness apps (Strava, Endomondo, iBiker, etc).  The problem is that the iPhone needs an adapter to receive the ANT+ signal.  It’s not a big adapter, roughly the size of a charging cable connector.  In addition, the adapter is currently only available for iPhone 4S’s and earlier … it uses the 30 pin connector.  There are no ANT+ adapters for iPhone 5’s & newer (which use the lightning connector).

iPhone 4S’s & newer do have a variation of Bluetooth called “Bluetooth Smart” … also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE).  SOME fitness sensors support BTLE, but very few support both BTLE and ANT+.

This is where the 4iiii Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor comes in.  It functions as a heart rate monitor with both ANT+ and BTLE communication.  In addition, it can act as a BRIDGE between other ANT+ sensors and feed the data via BTLE.

Continue reading