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.

Cycling with an iPhone

As many may have figured out, I’ve been using my iPhone as a bike computer since I’ve had my 3GS phone and now my iPhone 4. I choose to use it while I’m cycling for several reasons, mainly I find it a lot more flexible compared to a dedicated unit. I now have upgraded the iOS to version 5 and look forward to see how the new features affect various cycling apps that I have used in the past.

Part of the problem I’ve had with iOS4 was the notification system and the affect it had on the bike computer apps. Usually it would cause havoc with the app such as stop recording or exiting the app. All are bad while you are riding as you end up fiddling with the phone and not paying attention to the road. In iOS 5, the notification system is a passive system and should allow the apps to keep on running.

What I plan to do is to go back and build a comparison chart all the bike computer apps I have tried in the past. This is the list of Apps that I plan to do the comparisons on:

  • iMapMyRide
  • CycleMeter
  • LiveCycling
  • Wahoo Fitness

I selected these apps because they support ANT+ sensors and I already have them installed on my iPhone. So, if there is a specific app that you would like me to add to the list drop me a note and I’ll see about including it. Keep an eye out for the new posting on this sometime this weekend.

Keep pedaling !

My Take on Cyclemeter 6.0

Anyone that reads my blog should know that I use my iPhone as a bike computer and my favorite app that I use is LiveCycling 1.12. That app is a solid bike computer but it does have a few shortcomings that CycleMeter 6.0 addresses. For me, LiveCycling has a major flaw, it is extremely hard to read the ride time and the distance because they are located on the task bar on top and the bottom. Using that area of the phone causes the data to be too small to read, especially during the day when the screen gets washed out.

In the field of ANT+ compatible bike computer software, LiveCycling is king in my humble opinion. There are others in the field such as iMapMyRide and Wahoo Fisica Fitness, but to me, LiveCycling stands out above them both. That is, until now. CycleMeter has been around as a GPS only bike computer, but in version 6.0 CycleMeter now includes ANT+ sensor support. Included with the support for ANT+ sensors are the necessary screens to pair with the sensors and the screens to configure your wheel size.

What I really like about CycleMeter is that you can configure the main screen with the data you want to see. With six quadrants to customize, that provides a lot of flexibility. This is where CycleMeter out shines LiveCycling. I can configure the app to display the Ride Time as well as the Distance. Yes! Gone are the days of squinting to see how far I have gone. It is a simple concept, allow the user to customize the screen to their liking and you have a winning product.

Besides the problem of not being able to see the Ride Time and Distance on LiveCycling, the app is a battery drain. One way to combat this is to turn off the biggest drain on the battery, the screen, If I do that then it has a problem with the distance and time. From the moment the screen was turned off to the time it was turned back on, it messes up the average miles per hour (mph) as it now sees a new GPS location and calculates a new super high mph. This is not the only app that has this problem, iMapMyRide and Wahoo Fisica Fitness also exhibited the same problem.

CycleMeter doesn’t have this problem and as a result, battery life is excellent. I kill all background apps except for the bike computer, shut off wireless, bluetooth, notifications, data along with auto turn off display set at 30 minutes it enables me to go on long rides without worry of running out of battery juice. I did a 23 mile round trip  CU ride along as 1.5 hrs where I paused the timer while we looked around and got something to eat. At the end I still had 75% left on my battery after a total time of about 3 – 3.5 hrs of use.

ANT+ support is not the only enhancement that was made to CycleMeter. Here is a rundown of all the changes:

  • ANT+ support
  • Interval Training
  • Target Announcements
  • Zones
  • Lap Button
  • Splits

I like the idea of the announcements combined with the zones you can configure. I haven’t used those features, but monitoring my heart rate and staying in a certain zone would be useful. This is something I need to explore and figure out how to take advantage of it. Other than that, I really like this App and highly recommend it to others. I recommended it when it was a GPS only bike computer as it was excellent at that, but the addition of the ANT+ support makes this my over all favorite bike computer.

I’ve used many bike computer Apps for my iPhone, but I would like to hear from you. What’s your favorite program and why? Do you agree with my take on CycleMeter?

Additional Photos

Do you know your VO2Max?