What's Cool In Road Cycling

Gear Break: Navigr8 Cycling App, WAMA Underwear, Shimano 12spd GRX Groupset, ERGON SR Triathlon Saddle, Ferox Carbon Pas Normal Studios x Fizik Gravel Shoe & Fara Cycling Partnership with DotWatcher

What's new on the cycling market?

Gear Break: Navigr8 cycling app, WAMA underwear, introducing SHIMANO GRX mechanical 12-speed components, ERGON SR triathlon men’s saddle as ridden by Jan Frodeno, meet the Ferox Carbon Pas Normal Studios x Fizik gravel shoe and Fara Cycling announces partnership with DotWatcher.


Navigr8 Cycling App

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Navigr8 is an iPhone and Apple Watch app that works like a dedicated hardware bike computer. You can connect it to Bluetooth sensors, use it for GPS navigation, record your rides, and much more. Navigr8 is available for free on the App Store. Some features require a Navigr8 Pro subscription.

  • Navigr8 works on iPhone 8 or later, running iOS 13.6 and above.
  • Navigr8 works on Series 4 Apple Watch or later, running watchOS 8.0 and above.
  • For the best results with Navigr8, we recommend staying current with Apple’s OS updates.
  • You might be able to get Navigr8 to work on older models of Apple Watch or iPhone, but these are unsupported configurations and you may run into performance issues.

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Chuck Peña PEZ sez: Modern cycling computers by the likes of Garmin, Wahoo, and Hammerhead have come a long way from the Avocet cycling computers from my racing days. But as capable as they are, they can’t match the computing power of an iPhone, which — in raw terms — has more computing power than the computer that put a man on the moon. So for those riders who don’t want to spend the $$$ on a dedicated cycling computer, now you can unlock your iPhone’s computing power as a cycling computer with the Navigr8 app. The basic version is FREE, but you’ll have to subscribe to the Pro version ($2.48 for one month or $21.99 for a year) to connect sensors such as power, cadence, speed, and heart rate via Bluetooth LE.

The table below shows all the app’s features (those that require the Pro subscription are noted).

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Needless to say, even the free version of the app is feature laden. PEZ tested the Pro version, so I was able to connect my Wahoo PWRLINK Zero power meter pedals and heart rate monitors (both my Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL watch and Hammerhead chest strap monitor). But not my speed sensor since it’s an older ANT+ model.

I’m not going to provide an in-depth review (in part because the app can do so much), but here are some screenshots to give you a feel for the app.

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These are all the different settings you can configure in the app

Riding with the app is a pretty straightforward affair (not unlike most other cycling-specific computers).

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Open the app on your iPhone and tap the Start icon at the top

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The view while riding: Dashboard at the top; color map on the bottom

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You can choose between Google (left) or Apple (right) for maps

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End the ride by tapping the pause button at the top and then “Stop and Save”

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Various ride data

Navigation/routing is a key feature of Navigr8, especially given the quality of the maps and the real estate of an iPhone screen. That plus you can view the dashboard and the map at the same time (requires changing screens on dedicated bike computers).

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If you know where you want to go, tap the Navigate icon and then type in the address or name of the place you want to go (remember that you’re using the power of either Google or Apple maps)

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Or you can download a route (in this case, from Ride with GPS)

navigr8Some screenshots showing navigation/routing. The thick blue line is the route. The arrow shows the direction of travel.  The thin red line is the breadcrumb trail showing where you rode. And an Off Track notice when I missed a turn.

How does Navigr8 compare to a dedicated cycling computer? While riding, the numbers for speed and distance were very close to my Hammerhead Karoo 2 (but remember that Navigr8 was using GPS and my Karoo 2 was using a sensor). Cadence was pretty much identical (you would expect this since both were pulling data from the same sensor). Power numbers were slightly different because Navigr8 was using a 10 second average and my Karoo 2 was using a 3 second average. Bottom line: Navigr8 performed as well as you would expect a dedicated cycling computer to perform.

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Navigr8 ride data (left and center) vs Strava ride data (from Hammerhead Karoo 2)

I know I haven’t touched on everything, but have hopefully provided enough to give you an idea of what the Navigr8 app can do (much more than I can cover here).

NOTE: Navigr8 also runs on Apple Watch (I have one), but I didn’t try/test it out. In part, because I don’t want to have to look at my wrist to see my ride data. But I can see how this convenience would appeal to certain riders.

As capable as the Navigr8 app is, I can think of a few reasons why I personally wouldn’t use it:

  • I prefer to keep my iPhone protected (I use a Muc Off Rainproof Essentials Case stowed in my rear jersey pocket) and wouldn’t want to expose it to the elements (or even my sweat).
  • Extended exposure to the sun on a hot summer day could damage the screen, the internal components (including the possibility of data loss/corruption), and/or the battery.
  • Potential damage aside, running Navigr8 would probably run my battery down faster than I would otherwise want (if you look at my ride data screenshots, you’ll see that a 25 mile ride with a total elapsed time of 1 hour and 53 minutes resulted in 21% battery loss). NOTE: The Dimmer and Low Power Mode features can help extend battery life.
  • Aesthetically, I just don’t want something as big as my iPhone mounted on my bike handlebars (but if you’re going to go this route, I highly recommend something like the Quad Lock Out Front Mount or Peak Design Case and Out Front Mount).

But that’s just me and others might have different preferences. So who do I think are some likely users of the Navigr8 app?

  • The most obvious are more casual/recreational cyclists who use their phones to record rides and don’t want to spend the $$$ on an expensive cycle computer
  • Commuters and city riders for whom a bike is just transportation from point A to point B
  • The segment of the population that just can’t live without their iPhone and use it for everything and want ready access to their phone (but — just like driving a car — I wouldn’t recommend texting or doing anything else on your phone while riding)
  • Anyone whose eyesight is such that even a “large screen” bike computer, e.g., Garmin Edge 1030 Plus (3.5″ diagonal screen), still isn’t big enough to easily read
  • Data geeks will appreciate a lot of the data that Navigr8 makes available for free

When I reviewed the Hammerhead Karoo 2, I said “it’s a smartphone pretending to be a bicycle computer.” Form factor aside, Navigr8 is something more than that … it’s using the computing power of a smartphone as a bicycle computer.

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Want to know how fast you rode based on direction?

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My iPhone is HUGE compared to my Hammerhead Karoo 2


WAMA Underwear

PEZ SEz: Occasionally we’ll get an email from a not-cycling specific brand about a product that I just want to try out because, well it might be useful in other parts of my life, and if I like it I’ll share it with you readers.

Not wanting to cross over that ever so fine line known as “#TMI”… I’ll reveal that I do have full underwear drawer.  Crammed much like my cycling kit drawer(s), my preference for variety in style, comfort, fit, and fashion carries over to the rest of my wardrobe as well.  So I figured the Organic Cotton & Hemp Underwear from WAMA would be worth checking out.

They offer a bunch of styles for men & women, most of what I’d say fall into the useful for everyday category.  The kicker here is that fabric is a hemp (53%), organic cotton (44%), spandex (3%) blend, which has a really soft feel to it, making it a great combo for underwear – that is if you like ’em to feel good.

I haven’t worn mine enough to really test he durability, but they do suggest to wash it inside out to minimize chaffing with other items in the laundry, and, on lower temps to prevent fading.  Makes sense and this is kinda how I cared for my cycling kit or other items I want to keep looking great.

I ordered a pair of the Briefs (US$28), which I like for summer, and the Trunks (US$28) which I prefer for fall & winter.  The waistband is about 1.25 inches think which makes for a secure and comfy hold as well.  Breathability felt pretty good to – in my subjective opinion – I did feel less sweaty than I’ve noticed with regular cotton briefs.

The size Mediums I ordered fit on par with North American sizing, but slightly larger than a European fit.

For Mrs. Pez I ordered the Triangle Bralette, (US$44) and a thong (US$24).  She reported that both are very comfortable, and while the bra isn’t built for support, its minimal structure makes it ideal for summer casual wear.  The fit for her was very good, and she commented that they could sub as a bathing suit in a pinch.

Again, sizing for her was as expected and consistent with what the website promises.


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ERGON SR Triathlon Men’s Saddle, As Ridden by Jan Frodeno

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ERGON the global leader in bicycle ergonomics is proud to announce its first triathlon-specific saddle, the SR Triathlon Men. Designed over two years in collaboration with multi-time World Champion Jan Frodeno, the SR Triathlon is highly-optimized to allow riders to comfortably generate greater watts on the bike, while putting less stress on muscle groups needed for running, thereby allowing athletes to arrive at transition ready to run with greater power.

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The SR Triathlon Series will be widely available in Spring 2024. Initially, the SR Triathlon Men saddle will be available on a select bike model.

“For both men and women, alleviating pressure is of the greatest importance because the aero position decreases the riders’ total sitting area, while also multiplying the amount of pressure on sensitive areas”, offers Simon Schumacher, head of ERGON’s ergonomics. “We have designed the SR Triathlon with a flattened nose to give the rider the opportunity to make small movements, varying the pressure distribution over a long duration. Ultimately, muscle fatigue is reduced and the rider can stay in the aero position for longer without pain.”

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Like an F1 car is set up specific to the driver, the SR Triathlon Men was designed specifically for Frodeno with ERGON’s proven approach to product design through ergonomics. Over years of research and testing, ERGON’s team of egonomics experts identified that Frodeno comfortably produces his best, sustainable power with this SR Triathlon Men saddle.

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“Throughout my career, it has been particularly important to me to optimize all the components on my bike, down to the last detail,” offers Frodeno. “Sitting was one of the last imperfect points. My collaboration with ERGON over the last two years has now alleviated any discomfort on the saddle. Thanks to the Ergon SR Triathlon Men saddle, I can consistently push harder in the aero position, while minimizing fatigue so that I have a better transition to running.”

Frodeno’s performance off the bike at the PTO US Open – where he made his move inside of the first 2km of the run, opening a lead he would hold to the finish – is a perfect example of the ergonomic advantages the SR Triathlon Men presents. Over a full Ironman, the benefits of the SR Triathlon Men should be greater still.

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Utilizing a narrower nose, to give the rider more freedom of movement, the SR Triathlon considers all of the comfort issues typically associated with long-distance triathlon. A carefully-formed relief channel in the center of the sit area alleviates pressure and improves comfort so that riders can stay in the aero position and arrive to transition two without over-taxing muscle groups needed in the run.

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The proven design of the SR Triathlon have surpassed the demands of decorated ERGON athletes and has seen success with multiple podiums and wins from ERGON’s athletes including Frodeno, Laura Philipp and Immogen Simmonds.

ERGON SR Triathlon Men

  • Shell: Carbon Composite o Rails: TiNox
  • Gender: Men Specific
  • Length: 232mm
  • Width at nose: 47mm o Weight: 212g
  • More info at: www.ergonbike.com.

Meet the Ferox Carbon Pas Normal Studios x Fizik Gravel Shoe

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Introducing a new Scandinavian spin on our leading gravel shoe.
From the outside, the identities of Pas Normal Studios and Fizik are each singularly unique. Yet despite our different backgrounds, we share many commonalities with our friends in Copenhagen: a passion for pushing the limits of performance, a desire to do more with less, and a focus on perfecting the details of design that elevate each ride.

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Introducing the first step in our new collaborative series: the Ferox Carbon Pas Normal Studios x Fizik. Blending pure Fizik performance with Pas Normal’s signature minimalist Danish sensibilities, our competition-leading gravel shoe adopts a new aesthetic that perfectly encapsulates our ongoing creative partnership. Learn more now through the link below.


Fara Cycling Announces Partnership With DotWatcher
An investment in long distance cycling through support for DotWatcher and an updated roster of supported athletes.

  • Norwegian D2C bike brand unveils support of leading ultra cycling resource
  • Partnership aims to increase visibility and participation in long distance cycling
  • Fara has also signed up recent winner of The Rift – Simen Nordahl Svendsen and TCR pairs winners Sherry Cardona and Gereon Tewes

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Fara Cycling, the Norwegian direct-to-consumer adventure cycling specialist has today announced a new partnership with DotWatcher, the world’s leading resource for long distance cycling race coverage, insight and analysis.

Long distance cycling has always been a key part of the Fara story, with founder Jeff Webb a former elite rider turned ultra cyclist, lining up at storied adventure races such as Badlands, Race Across Italy and Paris-Brest-Paris. This passion for ultra cycling helped to shape the Fara range, with both the F/All-Road and F/Gravel designed to be comfortable yet capable over long distance, technical mixed surface rides.

For fans of ultra and adventure cycling, DotWatcher needs no introduction, widely known as the most accessible source for coverage and analysis of the world’s greatest long distance bike races. Updates and knowledgeable commentary contributed by the DotWatcher community are matched with live tracking data that gives unrivalled access to the latest developments in everything from continent wide road races to epic, remote mountain biking adventure races.

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Few brands have been as instrumental as DotWatcher in bringing a wider audience to the compelling yet historically inaccessible world of long distance cycling, offering visitors an easy method of following races while also telling the stories that encourage people not just to DotWatch but take the leap into taking part and competing.

It was this shared passion for increasing participation that prompted Fara to partner with DotWatcher, becoming the official bike partner of the site. With the team at Fara having benefited from the long distance cycling scene they felt it was time to give back and support the organisation that has done so much to grow the discipline.

As official bike partner, Fara will help to support DotWatcher continue to grow the number of races they cover, contributing to the site and also creating content at some select events throughout the year. Starting with Badlands, the Fara team will be on the ground chronicling the race while they will have four supported athletes looking to make their mark on the races including founder Jeff Webb, Simen Nordahl Svendsen, Gereon Tewes and Marie Rydne.

Jeff Webb said of the partnership “We’ve always been admirers of what DotWatcher has done for the long distance cycling community, providing a focal point for fans, racers and event organisers that has undoubtedly helped the sport grow. When we discussed the possibility of working together I knew they were exactly the kind of organisation we could get behind to help continue that growth”

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Kitty Dennis, Managing Editor of DotWatcher said “As DotWatcher continues to grow we’re excited to work with Fara Cycling, a brand that understands the needs of ultra-cyclists. Jeff’s experience, and their roster of athletes, make the brand a natural fit for DotWatcher and the ultra-cycling community. We hope our new partnership with Fara inspires more individuals to embark on their ultra-cycling journey and allows us to share their stories.”

Alongside its support for DotWatcher, Fara has also announced investment into its athlete program, securing the signature of up and coming gravel racing talent Simen Nordahl Svendsen. Svendsen, who recently announced his arrival on the world’s gravel stage with victory at The Rift Gravel, will have the Fara F/Gravel as his race weapon of choice.

According to Svensden “The possibility to work with a Norwegian brand that is local to me is very unique. Fara is a smaller brand that’s striving to grow globally with big ambitions, just like me. In terms of riding, I like races of attrition. Those long, hard races where you just have to survive as long as possible – the F/Gravel has some really cool features which will help us excel together.”

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Fara has also further strengthened its field of long distance cyclists with the addition of ultra racer and content creator Sherry Cardona and her partner Gereon Tewes. Both impressive ultra riders in their own right, Sherry and Gereon recently came first in the TCR pairs category.


 

Note: PEZCyclingNews ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products you see here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper / safe use, handling, maintenance and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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