Wahoo Fitness RFLKT+ and Cyclemeter App v10.0.4

Cyclemeter iPhone App

Cyclemeter

In my last post, Wahoo RFLKT+ and Wahoo Fitness App v3.5.2, I talked about pairing up and using the RFLKT+ bike computer with the Fitness app on my iPhone. It worked great and solved some of my problems I had while cycling at night. I liked the fact that I no longer need my ANT+ dongle and adapter cable to read my ANT+ compatible sensors. I also liked that I can now read my bike computer when I cycle at night (something that I do often). Check out the write-up for additional information. This time around I’m pairing up the RFLKT+ with the ever popular Cyclemeter App from Abivo.

Everyone has their favorite bike computer app and Cyclemeter seems to be on everyone’s list. It’s a very stable and configurable application that is great for multi-sports. I wanted to try it out since it now supports the RFLKT bike computer system. First thing out of the bag is that the support comes at a price. You see, if you want to use the RFLKT system with Cyclemeter, you will have to do an in-app purchase of $4.99 to enable that feature. Four dollars and ninety-nine cents later I’m checking it out on my iPhone.

Cyclemeter offers the same flexibility in configuring the RFLKT unit as the Wahoo Fitness app does but they take a different approach to it. The Fitness app uses a mixture of screen captures of the RFLKT and menus, cyclemeter just uses menus to do the same thing. The main difference is with cyclemeter you have to fiddle more with font sizes where as the Fitness you didn’t. Other than that you have the same functionality of configuring the number of pages and what to display on them.

You get to the RFLKT pairing and configuration from the More > Sensors. From here you can pair up with the unit (it also where you enable the feature with the in-app purchase) or go to the RFLKT Bike Computer > Settings to configure the unit.

RFLKT_setting_pagesRFLKT_setting_buttonRFLKT_setting_backlightWithin the Settings page you can adjust the number of Pages, the buttons, the Backlight and the RFLKT+Elevation. To add/delete or rearrange the order of the pages click on the Edit button at the top right. There is also a Reset button that will undo everything you’ve done and load the factory default screens. See the screen captures above.

Pages

Page Setup

Page Setup

Main Statistics

Main Statistics

For this app I configured three pages. Page one, the Main Statistics. Here I wanted on separate lines the Distance, Ride Time, Speed and Clock on the same line and finally Battery Level (for the iPhone) as the last line. You can either create a new page or modify an existing one. I modified the one that was there. This screen shows two interesting features. One, you can define individual lines as having one or two sensor read-outs. Two, the screens can be simple text-based or you can have a box with symbols in them.

After setting this up I let it load up the pages to the RFLKT and checked out the screen. You do this by saving your work and backing out to the Sensors page, it will auto load the pages to the unit. At this point you can see if everything looks okay or not. In my case the fonts for the sensor data was too large and I had to go back and adjust the font size. Just fiddle with it until you get it the way you want it to look like.

RFLKT_pane RFLKT_statFrom my page setup screen I clicked on the Speed / Pace, Clock line to bring up the image on the far left. Here you can define the layout of that pane. You can have a box or not, one or two sensors and the size of the pane represented as a percent of the screen.

The second screen is from selecting one of the sensors from the first page. It is from here you will have to adjust the font size. The rest of the options are self-explanatory so I won’t go over them.

With these pages you can easily create the pages you want to display on the RFLKT. It works pretty good.

Buttons

The Button section of the setup page lists all the possible button actions from which button to single press, double press, top and bottom squeeze. All you have to do is pick the button action and set what you want it to correspond to. One note to mention is the squeeze function. Top and Bottom Squeeze refers to squeezing both top button or both bottom buttons at the same time to achieve the desired effect.

Sharing

Like many apps, sharing your ride with others is the social aspect that draws particular users. I’m a big Facebook, Strava, dailymile fan and the app supports, Facebook, Twitter, dailymile and email. With email you can export your ride in various formats like GPX, KML, CSV and TCX.

To me this is the area where Cyclemeter is lacking in. Compared to the Fitness app from Wahoo, it barely has any native support to the on-line training log sites. Sure you can email the ride file to yourself then use your PC to upload it manually but look that’s three extra time-consuming steps! Why do you have to go through the process of downloading ride file from your email, going to training site and uploading ride file when it can be posted directly from the app in the first place!

On the plus side it does a good job interfacing with dailymile. I use dailymile as my official record of my miles for the year, so if it can auto post to it that is always good.

On the negative side there is no Strava support so I can’t upload my ride from the app. I will have to go with the email option. I also use Strava to share with my friends. Between Facebook, dailymile and Strava, I think I got myself covered with social postings.

Cycling

Wouldn’t you know it as soon as I publish the blog I start having issues with the bike computer and Cyclemeter. Oh well, I needed to add this section anyways.

When testing the unit with Cyclemeter I did several short rides after work of about 15 miles each. I really didn’t have any issues but one. The Hear-Rate (HR) data dropped out once while out on the ride. I normally place the phone in my back right pocket on my jersey and carry my bike pump on the left side and I figured that the phone is having trouble picking up the Bluetooth HR strap so I moved swapped positions of the phone and the bike pump. Every ride since that I now have the phone on the left side of my back jersey and I haven’t had any problems with that issue.

It wasn’t this Sunday when I decided to take advantage of the great weather to go out on a long ride (45 miles) and test out the system. I had one glitch where the ANT+ sensors were not being picked up anymore and that was at about mile fifteen. I stopped, deleted sensors and paired up again. I didn’t know about the reset option on the RFLKT and I’m not sure if that would have resolved the issue.

After cycling for some time I stopped to eat before heading out to meet up with a cycling club for an afternoon ride. When I was ready to take off, I noticed that the RFLKT had turned off. My guess is that if you wonder away from the unit it will lose connection with the phone and auto shut off. Later on, during the club ride, I kept the unit with me when I went inside and did not have that problem anymore.

It wasn’t until near the end of the ride that I started to have problems in both type and frequency. I basically had two types of problems.

One, the unit will turn off while cycling. When I turned on the phone, Cyclemeter wasn’t opened. When I opened it it displayed an error message indicating that another app was trying to use the RFLKT and it stopped recording. No other apps were opened. I ride with just Cyclemeter running. All other apps are forced closed.

Two, the unit kept losing the ANT+ sensor data. My Bluetooth HR data was still working and my other bike computer still showed Speed and Cadence data.

Both of these problems occurred at least three times each! Very frustrating to say the least. It’s hard to tell what was at fault the app or the unit or maybe both. Further experimenting is needed to figure out how to resolve these two issues.

One of the easiest thing to try is moving the phone closer or away from the back of the jersey. The body absorbs a lot of the signal and that may be the issue. I’m going to either have it up front or even try the saddle bag.

After doing a little research on-line, I did find another article from Digital Trends documenting these problems back in September of 2013.

Final Thoughts (revised)

Cyclemeter is an excellent application that many cyclists love and for good reason. It is highly configurable, has great graphs both in the app and on-line, and doesn’t crash. The integration of the RFLKT bike computer is well done and has a solid performance. Ten bucks for both the App and the RFLKT support is minimal and acceptable for me (although the Fitness app is free). It’s easy to configure the pages for the RFLKT, support is great, it’s actively being developed and improved on.

The social sharing aspect is lacking but does have the basics (Facebook and Twitter). You can get the data out of it in various formats via an email. This could be a hit or miss depending on your needs. The best thing to do is to check out their website and get a full picture of what the app can do and decide for yourself.

This was one of the first apps that I used for cycling. I had another but it was too buggy. This one worked as soon as I downloaded it. I used it for a long time before I switched over to the Strava app. As of this writing I’m not sure which app I’ll use with the RFLKT bike computer. It’s a work in progress.

In light of my last ride and the other article that I found describing the same problems, I am reluctant in recommending this to anyone at this point. I sent an email to Abvio (makers of Cyclemeter) and is currently waiting for a response from their technical support. I plan on troubleshooting this further and will update this page. Hopefully, the issues can be resolved.

Drop me a comment if you use this program with the RFLKT, I’d love to hear from you.

[update]

Since my last post, several things have occurred that is worth mentioning.

First, I shot off a support email to Abvio about my experience with Cyclemeter crashing. They have been terrific in helping me figure out why it was crashing. After some error logs and crash reports being emailed to them, they determined that the current version of Cyclemeter has an older version of some libraries from Wahoo. These libraries are used to control the RFLKT units and the ones with Cyclemeter 10.0.4 are outdated. They did mention that Runmeter has the updated libraries and does not exhibit the problem I was having.

They do plan on updating Cyclemeter to include the new libraries in version 10.2 and that I could wait a few weeks or they offered transfer all my existing Cyclemeter data to Runmeter (Runmeter has the same functionality as Cyclemeter) if I choose to use that app. I opted to stay with Cyclemeter, I can wait.

The other item worth mentioning is that although I had only two rides this week (crummy weather and other things keeping me off the rode), I did have a 48 mile ride over the weekend with NO issues. It all worked perfectly 100% of the time. What did I do different? After some research, I found someone that fixed his problem by deleting the RFLKT from the sensors and paired it up again. Another tip that I found on the Wahoo site was to place your phone in a location where there is a direct line-of-site between the phone and the RFLKT unit. For me, I moved the phone from the back pocket of my jersey to the saddle bag.

Additional riding is needed to see if the phone placement and repairing the RFLKT actually fixed the problem or at least diminished the likely hood of dead ANT+ sensor data. Retesting is also in order when the new version of Cyclemeter comes out and I’ll update this posting.

So far so good, keep fingers crossed and hopefully I can get out there and do some cycling.

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT+ and Wahoo Fitness App v3.5.2

RFLKT_Box

Wahoo Fitness RFLKT+ Bike Computer

I’m always looking for solutions to my cycling problems. The solutions can be a simple paperclip to new gear, as long as it works. One of the problems that I have is that I cycle at night with my iBike Newton that doesn’t have a back-light. No back-light means no display to check things out. This makes it hard to see what my power levels are or what cadence I’m spinning at. Without that information good intervals are out the window and the ride turns into either an endurance pace or a leisurely ride. Nothing terribly wrong with that mind you but doing intervals helps mix things up. Since I do a lot of my rides after work, that also means night-time riding at some point. I need a way to view the screen while cycling so that I can be more productive. I believe the Wahoo Fitness RFLKT+ Bike Computer will help solve that issue.

My other problem that I have is that I like to upload my rides to Strava and dailymile. I use my iPhone along with an ANT+ dongle from Wahoo Fitness to pair up with all the sensors (Heart-Rate, Speed/Cadence, and Power from the Newton). It works great except for the days when I leave the cable adapter and dongle at home. Arg!!

That’s my other problem. That darn little adapter. I rely on that it to read the sensors and without it, I’m SOL. I could switch my sensors to the Bluetooth type and pair then up directly to the iPhone, but my Newton isn’t Bluetooth compatible (only ANT+). I use the Newton to actively see whats going on and I tuck the iPhone in my back pocket to record and publish the ride. I also need the Newton because it’s also my power meter.

I’ve seen the Wahoo Fitness RFLKT system and thought it was a neat idea, but it still wouldn’t solve my problem. It was a total Bluetooth system. Then they came out the RFLKT+ system with the ANT+ bridge. Bingo! That’s what I was looking for. After confirming that it has a back-light, I placed my order.

The basic RFLKT is a device that acts as the display for your iPhone. You pair it up with your iPhone, via Bluetooth, and the phone transmits the data to the unit. This works fine if you have no sensors or your sensors are all Bluetooth compatible. All the sensors will pair up with your phone and your phone will send the data to the RFLKT (see Figure 1).

20140113-090056.jpg

Figure 1 – RFLKT

For those that still have the ANT+ sensors this doesn’t work unless you have that ANT+ dongle. The RFLKT+ solves that by incorporating the ANT+ dongle into the unit. Once you make the connection between the phone and the RFLKT+, you can now use your phone to pair up your ANT+ sensors as you normally would as if you had the ANT+ dongle plugged in (see Figure 2).

20140113-090040.jpg

Figure 2 – RFLKT+

The RFLKT and the Plus version can be control with several different cycling apps such as the Fitness App from Wahoo, Cyclemeter, Strava, and iMobleIntervals. There are probably others, but these I know. In this write-up I’ll be looking at the Fitness app from Wahoo.

The Unit

RFLKT_PlusUpon opening the box, I discovered that the kit comes with the RFLKT+, three different mounting kits, slips of papers with a QR Code for the instructions online. The unit itself is about the size of standard bike computer from Cateye or Sigma. It’s small and light weight with four buttons, two on each side. The unit snaps into the base plate with a release tab on top. Just push down on the tab and the unit pops out.

One item I discovered is that there is no charging port. It uses one of those CR batteries so that’s cool with me. That’s one less thing to worry about. I’m anticipating that it will be a long time before I would have to open up the unit and replace the battery.

To help improve the battery life, the unit automatically shuts off if it loses connection to the app that is controlling it. Basically, if you close the app the unit will automatically shut off, so there are no worries of accidentally leaving it on.

Pairing Up

Wahoo Fitness App - Pairing Sensors

Wahoo Fitness App – Pairing Sensors

Pairing up your phone with the RFLKT+ unit is simple, make sure that your phone has Bluetooth turned on, open up the Fitness app, and then press any button on the RFLKT+ unit to wake it up. The unit will then search and attempt to pair up. Press the indicated button on the RFLKT+ to confirm the connection.

Once connected you can then pair up your sensors on the iPhone app. For the Fitness app, that is the icon at the top left of the screen. Clicking the icon will open a slide down window listing the types of sensors you can connect as well as indicate if you have ANT+ or Bluetooth receivers up and running. You can connect with the following types of devices:

  • GPS
  • HR
  • Stride
  • Spd|Cad
  • Pwr|KICKR
  • Watch|Display

The last item on the list is where you will connect the RFLKT unit. The icon at the top left indicates how many devices are connected minus GPS. GPS doesn’t count for some reason. For me it should show 4 items (HR, Spd|Cad, Pwr|KICKR and Watch|Display). It will vary depending on what you are connecting.

Display Screens

One of the great features of the RFLKT is the ability to customize the screens you want to see. You can have several different screens to scroll though or just one screen. It’s all up to you. You can choose from a set of predefined templates or create your own page. Within each screen, you have a very granular control over what the screen will look like. Anywhere from the text to the number of sensors data to display can be configured to your liking. I love the flexibility the Fitness app provides!

You configure it all with in the Fitness app and push the pages to the RFLKT once configured. The RFLKT will store the pages for you to cycle through with the buttons and during the ride, only data is transmitted to the unit. Just remember that not all apps provide this amount of flexibility in the screen configurations. I will do write-ups on other applications in the following months.

I’ll walk through setting up a screen and some of the many options available. Open the Fitness app and click on the Settings button a the bottom left. From there, navigate to Workout Settings > Biking > Display Options > RFLKT.

On this page you have four tabs at the bottom to choose from. The default is the Pages screen where you define the screens, the Triggers tab to define triggers, Buttons tab to define the four buttons and finally the Settings tab for a few items to configure.

Pages

Pages

Pages screen – click to view full image

The Pages screen is where you configure the number and the content of the pages that you want on the RFLKT. You add pages by selecting the “+” icon at the top right of the screen. From there you can choose predefined templates or choose blank layout templates. Either one will work as you can change later. Back at the Pages screen you can scroll through the list of pages you have selected or delete the ones you don’t want by selecting the “X” on the top left of the screen page.

Customizing the screens is pretty easy. From the Pages tab, select the page that you want to change and then tap on the sensor data that you want to change. You will then be given a list of Cell Values to choose from. Just drill down to get the type of data you want to display. The Fitness app gives you many options for you to choose from and certainly way too many to list out here.

Triggers

Triggers

Triggers screen – click to view full image

Triggers allows you to bring up a specific page when a trigger or event occurs. Triggers are certain events and defined as Lap button pressed, Workout State Changed (such as pausing the ride), and new Song Started. When those events happens, you can have a specific page popup on the RFLKT. It’s simple to configure, tap on the label with the yellow warning sign and select the trigger type (Lap, Workout or New song) then configure the display to how you want it to look. Not much to it. I left mine alone.

buttons

Buttons

Buttons screen – click to view full image

This screen lets you define how the four buttons work. It is also the default settings for the buttons. I didn’t change my settings but you can. The Fitness app gives you full control as to how they behave. You can over-ride this setup by tapping on one of the buttons to bring up the following selections for you to choose from:

  • None
  • Previous page
  • Next page
  • Start / Pause / Resume Workout
  • Lap
  • Backlight On/Off
  • Music
    • Play / Pause
    • Next Track
    • Previous Track
    • Volume Up
    • Volume Down

The image above shows the default layout and I didn’t change it on my setup. The only thing a little odd is that even though back-light was not defined it still works if I press the top right button to turn it on and the top left button to turn it off.

Settings

This page has only three options to toggle on or off. They are Backlight Always On, Auto Scroll pages and Invert Colors.

Mounting

The RFLKT comes with a mounting kit that includes three options to choose from. A stem mount, handlebar mount, and a base to attach it to a mount used by Garmin. I really don’t know what those kinds of mounts are called. I see it called K-Edge, SRAM mount, and Bar Fly. Take your pick or drop me a note and educate me. Either way you got options. I opted for the stem mount version due to my current setup.It comes with two rubber bands that look pretty durable. I struggled to get the band to wrap across the stem and hook into the latch. Once on, the base stayed put. The unit itself snaps into the base and can be easily taken off if the situation arises.

I hope to use the handlebar mount as soon as a part arrives from Amazon, but for now, this setup will work.

Cycling

I did two rides with the RFLKT+ and my iPhone 5. The first time around there were a few bumps. I had a little trouble pairing up the ANT+ Speed and Cadence sensors while everything else paired up just fine (all sensors were ANT+ type). The Fitness app did bomb out while pairing, but I restarted it and finished the pairing. I was a little worried that the app would bomb out while riding but that never happened.

The screen is easily readable during the day and the back-light works just fine. That’s a huge plus for me and my night rides. The unit is also waterproof and that was tested on my second ride when I got stuck riding in the rain just after cleaning my bike that same day!

My first ride, I didn’t set the Fitness app to record the GPS so I got no route info but everything else was there. I figured out the correct settings in the app and my second ride had all the data including the route taken.

Sharing

Like many of us, we like to post our rides to our favorite place and the Fitness app has many options to post to. As of this writing, version 3.5.2 can post up to fourteen different sites! The two that I use is Strava and dailymile. There is no Facebook posting though. You also don’t have any choice to name the ride before posting. You will have to go to the sites and manually adjust it there. It’s one of those “Would be nice” features, but I’m okay with just getting the data there.

Here is a complete list of the Sharing options in this version of Fitness from Wahoo:

  1. E-mail
  2. Strava
  3. Runkeeper
  4. MyFitnessPal
  5. Garmin Connect
  6. MapMyFitness
  7. Training Peaks
  8. Nike+
  9. Magellan Active
  10. Ride with GPS
  11. Dropbox
  12. dailymile
  13. 2PEAK
  14. MapMyTracks

I gotta say, Wahoo does a great job in including so many different sites to share your rides. I wish certain other apps that I use had that flexibility

Final Thoughts

I think I’m going to really like the RFLKT+. I do a lot of night riding and this will really help me out on that. I can also leave the ANT+ dongle and cable home as it is no longer needed. Hurray! The combination of the unit and the Fitness app gives me a lot of flexibility in the setup. The extra mount kit will come in handy to mount the unit on my second bike which is super cool for me. I don’t listen to music while out riding, but for those that do then unit can help out with that too.

This is what I feel are the benefits of the RFLKT(+) system along with the Fitness app:

  • highly configurable screens (via the Fitness app)
  • less fiddling with the iPhone
  • water-resistant
  • long battery life
  • back-light for night riding :)
  • supports ANT+ sensors (RFLKT+ only)
  • multiple mounts to choose from
  • do away with my ANT+ dongle and cable (RFLKT+ only)
  • can pop out the unit and take it with you as needed
  • can control music on iPhone

Would I recommend this to others? Yes, in fact I recommended the base model, RFLKT, to a friend of mine. She is going to get Bluetooth sensors along with it and she’ll be good to go with some more advance training.

I’m looking forward to using another app for doing intervals while I’m out riding. Should be interesting. I’ll do a write-up using that combo in a few months.

Any thoughts or questions, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll get to you as soon as I can.