Polar has been in close partnership with top pro cycling teams for more than ten years and are celebrating the 98th Tour de France by launching a limited edition of the CS500 cycling computer.
Polar have aimed this unit at the Cycling market, but I was keen to try it out as a multisport athlete. I have been using the Polar RS800CX Â product for a while, and while this has served as my cycling computer it does have the down side that I will not attach it to my bike during competitions as I want to use the unit for the other legs as well. Glancing at your wrist regularly to check speed and cadence during a race is possible, but probably not that safe, and consequently I felt I would benefit from a permanently mounted bike computer as well.
When you open the box you are immediately struck by the size of the unit, the unique diamond design, and the stylish Tour de France logo and yellow colouring on the back of the unit. While it is obvious that the size of the unit is going to make the display very easy to read while on the move, I did have concern as a triathlete as to whether the unit would fit comfortably onto the front stem of the bike, where it has to compete for space with aerobars. However this turned out not to be an issue at all, with the unit fitting very comfortably between the aerobar mounts. I also wondered whether it would squeeze my fingers when I held onto the arm rest portion of the aerobars on long uphill sections, but again no problem at all.
One of the stand out features of this unit is I believe just how easy it is to set up and attach to the bike. I dread the fitting of these units and often spend the best part of an evening getting the unit set up, however to my surprise and delight I had the unit out of the box, mounted and ready to use in less than 10 minutes. I did have the advantage of already having the cadence and speed sensors attached to the bike which I use with my current unit, but was impressed with how easy it was to attach the main unit and enter all the required information about the user (wheel size, personal data etc.)
The unit is supplied with a heart rate strap, speed and cadence sensors, all of which have been aligned with the unit so you do not need to do any set up. I already had all of these accessories and so had to ‘teach’ the unit to recognise my existing devices, but again this was super easy and only took a few seconds per accessory.
So after a few minutes I was ready to test the unit on the road. Once on the road again the theme was ‘ease of use’. The display is huge and easy to read. You scroll between different functions just by rocking the unit to the right, and it shows everything you could want to know about your ride: speed, distance, heart rate, temperature, cadence, ascent, descent (all in averages and maximum) calories, training load (which gives an indication of over/under training). All of this you can then download to your computer wirelessly after the ride so you can analyse performance and progress.
Of particular interest is that Polar have teamed up with Look to develop the Polar Look Keo Power system. Training with data on power output as well as heart rate information has long been proven to enable athletes to make step improvements in their performance (see this sites articles on training with power), but cost of the power meters has been a prohibitive factor for amatuer athletes until now.
The Polar Look Keo Power system will be the first pedal based power meter to the market place and will be compatible with CS500 and CS600. Cofidis and Quickstep have bothÂ conducted extensive field testing of the new power system with good reports, and claim it is as accurate as SRM power meters. While price is yet to be confirmed it is expected to be significantly cheaper than other power meters options on the market, and it can be fitted, calibrated and moved between bikes in seconds. This accessory was not available to be tested by me yet, but it is hoped that it will be available in December/January. They are running aÂ competition during the Tour to be able to win the system.
The Limited Edition Polar CS500 looks great, it helps you get in the spirit of le Tour, and above all is easy: easy to fit, easy to use, and easy to get all of the data you can possibly need. The addition of the Polar Look Keo Power system has the potential make this a category killer, but even without this it is a great unit for cyclists and triathletes to get now and get on board with le Tour!
Extended Memory Capacity
CS500 Tour de France comes with extended memory capacity which has been
doubled compared to the previous version of the CS500. If the product is used with
a Polar Power Output Sensor W.I.N.D. or Polar LOOK KÃ©o Power pedals, the memory
recording rate is automatically set to 1 second to ensure adequate accuracy of the
The oversized display guarantees visibility of your training data in all conditions,
improving your safety. Bigger size allows more data on the screen and ensures better
display readability while the fl at lens minimizes disturbing refl ections in direct
With a 2-way rocker switch, it’s quick and safe to control your cycling computer even
at high speeds. You can operate your cycling computer simply by gently touching the
left or right side of the handlebar unit. The advanced double pivot gives an extremely
light and sensible button feel.
The reliable 2.4 GHz W.I.N.D. technology guarantees disturbance-free data
communication. Its coded heart rate transmission prevents cross-talk between cycling
computers, so you can be sure you’ll get your heart rate and not your training buddy’s.
W.I.N.D. technology also gives longer range for the cycling computer and its sensors,
making it the ideal solution for cycling.
Add something extra to your ride by recording your training online. There’s a range of
training programs designed to guide and motivate you to a better workout.
- Create personalized training programs
- Follow your improvement with the training diary
- Transfer your training data wirelessly
- Challenge and get advice from other members
Training Load and Recovery Time
Training Load tells the user conveniently at a glance on polarpersonaltrainer.com
the cumulative training load for every day with color codes in the weekday headers.
In addition, the cumulative training load can now be viewed as a graph, illustrating
the time needed to recover to a certain level. The graph will also predict how the
cumulative training load will develop based on the user’s training plan, helping the
user optimize timing for training sessions.
Dual Lock Bike Mount
The Dual Lock Bike Mount is the most advanced bike mount on the market. It’s easy
to install and can be mounted on the stem or handlebar. Bike mount’s precise metal
parts guarantee firm attachment for the cycling computer, allowing even cross-country
Review: SunGod PaceBreaker sunglasses – Look Cool While Dropping Watt Bombs
SunGod sunglasses are a relatively new player to the market, a successful, UK based, crowd-funded business who’s appeal is focused on the ability to customise the glasses online at an affordable price.
SunGod was founded in 2013 and developed from a frustration that to get quality lenses that would be able to withstand a sports/adventure lifestyle.
They launched their first product, SunGod Classic, as their first complete custom online build, with polycarbonate polarised lenses and TR90 memory polymer frames. This campaign exploded, with SunGods being shipped to 93 countries and making 10x the initial funding target and becoming the largest crowdfunded project of its kind in the UK.
Jumping on to the website is simple enough, and you get to choose from a variety of frames and styles. The Classics and Renegades focus more on traditional streetwear, extreme sports etc., while the Revolts are focused on snow sports. All of the range bears the funky looking Limited editions, are fully customizable. As triathletes wouldn’t be seen dead wearing non-race specific gear, we’re going to focus the review on the PaceBreakers – wraparounds focused on riding and running (swimming not tested!)
What design do you ask?
I was lucky enough to get to design a pair of sunglasses via the simple to understand interface. Simple enough in fact that my five-year-old daughter created my first pair below.
Going through the interface, you get to choose the frame colour, lens type (4KO Polarised or not – more on that later), icons on the side and ear sock colour (the tips of your glasses). If your creativity is failing you, you can also choose from a set series of best sellers.
The whole process takes around 30 seconds of effort with 20 minutes of procrastination around the right colours to match with your complexion and handbag.
My second pair was a much more straightforward affair focusing on the traditional grey look.
The glasses ship from the UK and for me, turned up in 3 days, a surprising and welcome change.
What’s in the box?
SunGod indeed go above and beyond with the packaging and its contents
As you would expect you get a box with the sunglasses included, but you also get a spare nose clip, a case which also doubles as a cleaning rag and a truckload of stickers to stick around the place. Its quite a few freebies given the low cost of the product.
4KO pace lens with triple scratch resistance
SunGod claims that the polarised lens is both triple scratch resistant and will enhance both visibility and field of view in both low light and bright conditions. We obviously couldn’t test them in a lab with serious equipment, but we took the glasses out on a treacherous, wet and windy early morning Melbourne ride around the Dandenong mountains in peak hour traffic.
Compared to my Jawbreakers I certainly felt that their visibility in early morning sun up (6am) conditions was improved. The lens also survived being bounced along the road at high speed when I forgot to put them back on during a decent, with no scratches if I may add. So science aside, these sunglasses certainly did the job during a challenging day out.
What differentiates SunGod from the competition
SunGod has a few key differentiated points.
Firstly is the price. For around $110 – $130 dollars you get a solid pair of high-performance sunglasses with features to match and outperform glasses twice their price.
The glasses come with a lifetime warranty so if they break they will replace them free of charge. A lofty claim that I haven’t tested but certainly a welcome one – which some of the major players struggle to offer.
The glasses are made from adventure proof flexible rubber which allows the frames to be flexed, and as above bounced along the road, without damage. Which as a clumsy guy is a great feature.
Simply put, SunGod makes a great pair of sunglasses, both comfortable and high performing, you cannot beat them for value. The customisation feature is excellent and has got my triathlon team all lining up to get the team colours shipped over. I didn’t have anything negative to say about them, to the point where I’m replacing my tried and trusted jawbreakers with these for both racing and training.
Here is a link to the PaceBreakers
Simply a great set of sunglasses and are packed with features and value.
- Well priced
- Great feature set
- Carbon (Triathlete staple) look frame appears out of stock
- Were clutching at straws to find anything wrong aren't we!
A Wearable RFID Fitness & Calorie Tracker that Mounts to Your Teeth
Fitness and calorie monitoring technology is getting interesting. Researchers at the Tufts University Biomedical Engineering Department are experimenting with wearable trackers that mount to your teeth. The tiny monitors use Radio Frequency ID (RFID) technology to track calories, alcohol consumption, multiple types of sugar, and the foods you eat. The researchers also speculate about developing the devices to monitor stress levels from saliva.
The trackers use a square tooth-mounted sensor that is either 4 X 4 or 2 X 2 millimetres. They’re made of titanium and gold and feature detector layers made of either water-based gel or silk fibres.
When testing for the trackers’ ability to detect alcohol and sugar, researchers instructed subjects to swish various liquids. The trackers sent accurate information to tablets and cellphones, distinguishing between liquids such as saliva, water, and alcohols, as well as different types of sugars and their concentrations. Using water-based gel sensors, they were able to track varying temperatures and acidity levels.
These trackers could be a new breakthrough in calorie and fitness tracking. They are not yet available commercially because the researchers are still working out a few kinks and discovering more uses for them.
The Tufts study will be published in the journal, Advanced Materials. For now, you can read it in the Wiley Library below. The paper goes into detail about all the possible uses and the chemicals and nutrients these trackers will likely be able to detect.
Shimano Introduces Chain Stabilising Rear Derailleur for Road Bikes
As road bike riding diversifies towards multiple road surfaces such as adventure and off-road riding Shimano introduces Ultegra RX, an off-shoot of Ultegra, with a rear clutch derailleur (RD-RX800/RX805) for mechanical and Di2 drivetrains.
Riders have been pushing the limits of what a road bike is capable of riding for many years, evolving the sport from racing to encompass greater adventure. In recent years we’ve seen a broader definition of what a drop handlebar bike can look like; road wheels followed that by accommodating wider tyres. Now in a natural evolutionary step, it’s time for drivetrains to evolve too.
The new RX800/805 rear derailleurs share many characteristics with the Ultegra R8000/R8050 derailleur, such as precise accurate shifting and SHIMANO SHADOW RD derailleur positioning, but with the added chain stabilizing switch (known as SHIMANO SHADOW RD+ technology) to control the drivetrain over rough/uneven ground or off-road surfaces. Much like Shimano’s MTB derailleurs, the On/Off switch can be found next to the upper pulley. When activated the rear derailleur pivot takes a firm hold to reduce excessive movement, noise and general ‘chain chatter’.
The RX800/RX805 rear derailleurs are compatible with road dual control levers (mechanical or Di2) and will accommodate cassettes with low gears from 28T to 34T, making them a very necessary addition for all types of adventure and off-road riding including cyclocross and compact styles with 46T-36T up to 50T-34T chainrings.
Alongside the Ultegra RX rear derailleur comes a new wider rim 700c, E-Thru axle, tubeless-ready, disc-specific, WH-RS370-TL aluminium wheelset for 28-38c tyres (weight 1900/pair).
You can expect the new components to be available in stores from mid-June 2018 onwards.
Shimano 105 R7000 Offers Race-inspired Performance for Greater Riding Styles
Today’s road riders demand much more than pure on-the-rivet speed. They expect comfort, control and versatility from their bikes, and enjoyment and goal achievement to boot. 105 level riders expect the latest pro-level features but they also want to do more with their bike than racing and training. So step forward the new 105 R7000 generation with customizable disc or rim brakes and wider cassette options to help you remain in comfort and control wherever you’re riding.
Coming with the high-end aesthetic and race characteristics of its Dura-Ace and Ultegra big brothers, the new 105 series also considers that most riders will use their bikes for purposes other than competitive racing. 105 is Shimano’s first level 11-speed groupset for those who are seriously committed to road bike riding, but that definition now becomes broader with the inclusion of superior handling and adaptable control to master different riding situations.
The biggest news for new 105 is the addition of disc brakes to the series line up. New flat-mount BR-R7070 callipers are compatible with ICE TECHNOLOGIES pads and UCI-compliant non-90 degree SM-RT70 rotors (including a new 140mm size) to offer greater cooling efficiencies. Brake operation is handled by new ergonomically shaped Hydraulic dual control levers (ST-R7020), matching the design of Ultegra ST-R8020 levers with a greater range of reach adjustment for different hand sizes. To provide even greater customisability, 105 R7000 offers a version of the dual control brake/gear lever (ST-R7025) to better suit smaller hands by being angled closer to the bar and taking more of an outboard position for better connection and to avoid interference with the handlebar drop during lever operation.
Whether from the rim brake (ST-R7000) or disc brake (ST-R7020/25) lever, gear shifts have been redesigned to offer faster and lighter shifts with a shorter stroke compared to the 105 5800 series. The front derailleur has a compact toggle (pivot) design, better tyre clearance and an integrated cable tension adjustment port (2-mm hex key) removing the need for an in-cable barrel adjuster. The optional long cage rear derailleur (RD-R7000-GS) can accommodate up to an 11-34T cassette and is designed with a low profile SHIMANO SHADOW RD style to tuck it below the cassette and chainstay.
Updates within the drivetrain include a new mid-compact 52-36T crankset, to add to the 50-34T and 53-39T cranksets, and new 11-30 (CS-R7000) and 10-speed compatible 11-34 cassette (CS-HG700-11) options to better suit gravel, adventure or CX riding. Together with this, the inner crank ring has been positioned to reduce the effects of cross chaining or chain drop, better suiting bikes with disc brake criterium racing bikes.
Tim Gerrits, product manager at Shimano Europe said;
“Increased control and reaction were two points we concentrated developments on, combined with what people have always expected from 105, great versatility and value for riders. With 105’s suitability for a large portion of today’s diverse road bike styles we hope to unlock the potential of where and what it’s possible to ride on a road bike.”
New Shimano 105 R7000 items will be available on the market around June and will be available in an appealing dual tone black colourway and an additional silver option for more classic bike styles.
Ventum is expanding its line of cutting-edge triathlon racing bicycles
Built around the company’s patented Z-shaped frame design, which eliminates the downtube and seat stays while integrating the water bottle into the frame, the expanded Ventum Z line was developed to allow more triathletes to enjoy the aerodynamic advantages of Ventum technology.
“We designed our flagship triathlon bike, the Ventum One, for the toughest races in the sport,” Ventum co-founder Diaa Nour said, “and we based the new Ventum Z models on feedback from triathletes, who told us they want access to the same technology developed for the Ventum One, but with more flexibility to customize the bicycle to fit their needs.”
The new Ventum Z includes Ventum’s patented Z frame plus a proprietary carbon-fibre Z fork and is available for purchase as a standalone frameset for $2,850. The Ventum Z is also available as a complete bicycle with a mechanical component group featuring a combination of Dura Ace, Ultegra, and other Shimano components for $3,500, and as a complete bicycle with Shimano’s electronic Ultegra Di2 component group for $5,500.
“We wind-tunnel and road-tested every component of every version of the Ventum Z to find the perfect balance between aerodynamics, comfort, and cost. Our goal in reimagining the Ventum Z was to make a more affordable ‘superbike’, and to keep it cutting-edge without cutting corners,” Nour said. “To do that, we developed our new, proprietary Z fork, we included a custom set of 3T Vola aero bars for easy positioning and adjustment, and we are offering a choice of carbon-fibre or alloy wheels that are optimal for the bike.”
Ventum was co-founded in 2014 by Diaa Nour and former professional triathlete Jimmy Seear, to build the world’s fastest racing bicycles. Inspired by fighter jets and Formula One race cars, the company’s triathlon bicycles feature a revolutionary frame design that maximizes aerodynamic performance in non-draft-legal races such as IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlons. Ventum also served as the Official Bike Sponsor of the 2016 and 2017 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Based in Miami Beach, Florida, Ventum bicycles are available worldwide through the company’s dealer network and from the Ventum online store.
DeFeet to Use Blockchain Technology to Stop Counterfeit Products, Improve Customer Experience
DeFeet International, a manufacturer of socks and other apparel for cycling, running, and outdoors activities, has partnered with blockchain solutions provider, LuxTag.io.
The new technology will accomplish a few goals that help both the company and the customer. When you receive a DeFeet product that is in a blockchain, you’ll be able to scan it with your phone.
Scanning your DeFeet product will:
- Ensure the product is not counterfeit
- Add it to your customer profile
- Help DeFeet suggest products relevant to your individual behavior & taste
- Take some hassle out of the warranty & repair process
- Determine appropriate loyalty rewards
- Help determine distribution logistics
The overall result is a better and safer customer experience.
The first roll out will cover the company’s Barnstormer line. They’re focusing on matching their Adventure Cycling Club members with relevant products and promotions based on past purchases and other data. Current promotions reward members who complete missions. They’ll expand the practice to more product lines over time.
What is Blockchain Technology?
If you don’t know what blockchain technology is, you may have some trouble comprehending what DeFeet’s new changes mean for customers. Pay attention here, because you’ll be seeing and hearing the term a lot from now on.
The anonymously-invented technology was created in 2008 for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency. It ensures the authenticity of transactions by decentralizing the locations of documents. This helps people verify the transactions publicly and prevents hacking and counterfeit.
The block in blockchain is a record that shows:
- Medical info from your doctor
- The location of your cryptocurrency
- You voted in an election & who received the vote
- You bought or sold Bitcoin or a pair of athletic socks & the transaction value
- You made a bank-free transfer of money or received one
Think Google Docs. Multiple actors can create a document together, and the document is not stored on anyone’s individual computer. In the old days of document collaboration, you had to save it to your computer, edit it, and then email it to another editor. The other editor then had to make edits or comments and send it back to you. In Google Docs, if someone makes an edit, all editors can verify that in real time and even look at the change records. You can set the document to be visible only to certain people, and to allow only one person at a time to edit it.
DeFeet Leads the Way for Retailers Considering Blockchain
Certain sectors of the business world have recently taken an interest in blockchain solutions. Digital ad companies want to distinguish ad views by humans vs bots. Manufacturers want to trace problematic product parts to their sources. Cryptocurrencies want to authenticate transactions and trace the whereabouts of the currencies. Wire money transfer companies want to cut down on costs and pass the savings to users. Voters want to know their votes have been counted.
Retailers have been slow to jump on the blockchain bandwagon. Expect more retailers to follow Defeet’s lead.
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