Is Apple Watch threatening Polar and Suunto?

Apple Watch was launched yesterday. A friend of mine has been talking about it´s effect on two Finnish companies: Suunto and Polar.

I have written about my challenges with a Polar product here in my blog. Still I want to believe that those products from Finland are something that the sporting world will use in the future.

Today I read a very good blog post about Apple challenging Suunto and Polar with it´s new product. I really hope that this scenario is taken seriously in both of those companies.

Usability is something Apple products have always been good at. I really hope that my next Polar product is going to suprise me with totally new user experience. Something that will keep both Polar and Suunto in the market!

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Another Polar device!

CS500I know I have been a bit unlucky with HRM devices by Polar, but after all I decided to have a go with CS500 – knowing there is some drawbacks with this product.

CS500 is not the latest cycling computer by Polar and it lacks GPS connectivity. That´s not a major issue cause I have the RCX5 with G5 GPS.

Combining exercise data from these two devices to polarpersonaltrainer.com is something I haven´t tried yet. Maybe that´s not even possible.

If I like to have both, location data and altitude data, to the same training result I have to update some of the information manually. I haven´t tried that yet, but hopefully it is possible.

Why did I bought CS500?

  1. I wanted a product with elevation information
  2. There was a killer deal on bike24.com
  3. I already had a compatible cadence sensor attached to my bike

One funny thing there is thou. I started off for a ride from my yard and returned to the same place. My CS500 told me that I had descended some more than ascended. How is that possible?

Customer care via Twitter

Today I got very fast customer response from Polar using Twitter. I have to say ttwiit1hat I´m very pleased on fast answers and to a promise that they will pass on my feedback to their product management.

This case just underlines the fact that a global customer brand, like Polar, cannot underestimate the power of social media as a customer feedback and service channel. Social media is fast, interactive and public channel to have a dialog with customers. In my opinion Polar did good today on Twitter.

This whole episode begun earlier today when I noticed Polar´s status update on FB about new features on their RC3 GPS HRM. It has a GPS based altitude data which cannot be found on RCX5.twiit2

I asked on Twitter if they are planning to do a firmware update for RCX5 (using G5 GPS) to get this altitude information available as well. Of course you can find location based altitude data when you upload your trainings to polarpersonaltrainer.com. But this really isn´t what I need.

Unfortunately the answer was that an update is not in a pipeline.

As a cyclist I want to get cumulative climb data from each ride, per week, per month, per year etc. This is something RCX5 does not provide.

Gadget fever is rising!

One should not read any magazines nor follow news about new gadgets. It´s frustrating cause you simply cannot have them all…

Previously I wrote about my problems with Polar HRM and that I regretted that I didn´t choose Garmin Edge 800. I dont´t regret anymore. There are new Garmins in the market. Edge 510 and 810.

New Garmin seems to have new community options. You can share your ride online to your friends, route planning seems to be easy with your smartphone and more.

What is the difference between a boy and a man?

The price tag on their toys 😀

I need a travel bag!

Since I´m planning to go to the Canaries next month I needed to buy a bike travel bag of my own. It is possible to rent one for 50€ per week from Helsinki. The one I rented in 2011 was a big hard case I was not comfortable with.

I started to look for a soft case with good enough protection for airtraveling. I read a lot of articles and blogs on the Internet. I checked ads from magazines and I talked with my friends. Funny thing is that there are two categories of cyclists: soft case and hard case people 🙂

I have my reasons why I chose to go with a soft case: Ease of handling and lack of storage space.

From what I´ve read and talked with my friends it was quite clear that what I wanted was an EVOC Bike Travel Bag. It´s a soft case, has strong enough protection for air travel, fits to a small space when empty and looks nice.

Back to the world of online shopping!

I know that a good travel bag doesn´t come cheap. The price for a new EVOC was from 340 € to 400 €. The cheapest price was not in an online shop. It was at a local dealer in Espoo (Sellon Pyörä), but they didn´t have any in stock at the moment.

Some serious googling and I ran into an ad in an online marketplace. Somebody was selling the 2011 model of an Evoc only for 100€. It had been in use only twice. It was a bargain – or so I thought.

I have to admit that I was a little suspicious about this second hand case I was about to buy. The seller convinced me that everything was OK, and that I could return the bag if I was not pleased with its condition. When I received my bag via parcel service I was a happy man. There were only a few marks on it that showed it had been in use. For a second hand EVOC it´s mint! Thank you Esa!

I also ordered a road bike adapter from CRC.

I haven´t tried to pack my Rose into the bag yet, but I think I´m going to do it next week.

What I just realized is that I have to unscrew the Di2 battery case from my bike to fit it in the bag.

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Third chance to Polar – is this device going to last?

Couple of weeks ago I wrote about problems I have had with my Polar RCX5. I have to say that I was getting very frustrated and really thought that I´ll change my HRM brand.

Polar customer service contacted me and asked me to send Websync`s log file and soft boot my HRM. After soft boot there was no difference on the HRM´s function so Polar sent me another RCX5 to replace the broken one.

The new one works just fine. It paired with my G5 GPS and there is no problems with Websync. I also made new profiles for Bodypump and Spinning and customized my cycling view. So at the moment I´m quite happy with my HRM.

It took about a week from Polar to reply to my message and altogether about two weeks to get the broken RCX5 replaced with another one. This is something I think Polar should be faster in. Two weeks is not a long time but this wasn´t the first time in my case. Within a year I have been without my HRM for about 6-7 weeks.

I give all the points to the customercare representative (Jaana) who was in contact with me. She was very helpful and everything went smoothly after she took my case.

This may sound odd but hopefully I don´t have to contact her again 🙂

What to say about Polar?

No connection between RCX5 and G5 GPS sensor.

A year ago I needed a new heart rate monitor. Polar introduced a new interesting productand and I instantly knew that´s the HRM I wanted. I bought Polar RCX5 and I was happy with my purchase.

I made my decision between RCX5 and Garmin Edge 800. They are not competing products, but I thought that RCX5 paired with G5 GPS would be more flexible choice for my purposes. I needed a wrist top computer rather than a bike mounted navigator. I´m doing a lot of other exercises than cycling, and that in mind I chose Polar.

I started to use my RCX5 with WearLink + Hybrid transmitter issued within the package. I was happy with the product and I told everybody how good it was. After a month or two I bought a G5 GPS sensor to track my runs. That was great, because I really wanted to know my speed and the exact distance I was running.

After three months of intensive use the problems started. My measured heart rate was bouncing from zero to 220. Sometimes I didn´t get any connection from the Hybrid transmitter. I tried to change the battery with no help.

RCX5 with WearLink + Hybrid transmitter was sent to Polar for maintenance. After a week I got it back with a brand new WearLink and everything was great. The problem was “corrosion” in the transmitter electrodes.

Intensive training for another three months and there was this same problem again. Now Polar sent me a new model of WearLink and new instructions to keep it clean. With the new WearLink you only have to rinse it and hang it to dry after use. You are not aloud to wash it in a washing machine anymore.

Everything has been good after receiving the new Wearlink. I also bought CS Cadence sensor (W.I.N.D) to gain more data of my cycling exercises and summer rides were just fantastic this year.

Couple of weeks ago my RCX5 needed a battery change. I went to an authorized Polar dealer in Helsinki to get battery change done professionally. After a couple of minutes I was told that my RCX5 has to be shipped to Polar. Again? That´s the third time! I was getting frustrated.

It took more than a week before I got my HRM back. And what I got was a brand new RCX5. Polar had replaced my old one because of some software problems and broken battery lid. OK, I thought, now I only have to do some reprogramming and I´m good to go!

How wrong I was 😦

First I couldn´t pair the new RCX5 with my G5 GPS. Now I´m unable to sync with polarpersonaltrainer.com with WebSync (Yes, I´ve uninstalled WebSync and reinstalled it). I Haven´t tried does this RCX5 link with my cadence sensor but that´s really not an issue…

It´s a pity, since as a Finn I like to support Finnish companies and buy Finnish products. I have also been interested in purchasing Polar CS500+ because I would like to have elevation information as well.

I don´t know what to do anymore. If I could rethink my purchase, I think I would buy a basic HRM for my exercises and Garmin Edge 800 for cycling purposes. Now I only have this RCX5 which is not performing like it is supposed to: Can´t upload my training data and can´t use the GPS…

Yesterday and today I sent email to Polar customer service and I have been Tweeting about this problem of mine. Let´s see if anything happens…

The machine: Rose Xeon RS (2012)

I´m riding the Rose Xeon RS roadbike. It´s my first road machine and it has proven to be one fast and agile bike.

It´s equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2 compact drive. Xeon RS is an aluminum frame bike, which is a little odd in this carbon era. But it has proved many critics this year. The bike is very light, only 7,4 kg without pedals. That´s pretty amazing for a aluminium frame bike. Xyrium Elite wheelset is also a top pick for less than 2,4k€ bike.

There has not been any problems with the bike. Only downside is the matt white paintjob. It´s challenging to keep it clean, and you can imagine how it looks after that rainy ride :/

You cannot buy Rose bikes from any dealer. They can only be bought from Rose Bikeworld in Bocholt Germany or from their online-shop. You can by a bike from their list or use online configurator to build your own dreambike. All bikes are made for customers needs, so don´t be afraid to customize your own!

This is the machine I´m going to use for my challenge.