iBike POWERHOUSE and iBike Dash+Power: A Complete Cycling Fitness System

Have you reached the goals in your training that you expected to hit at this point? That’s a harsh but very real question we should ask ourselves. Since we’re committed to getting lean, fit and fast, we must be willing to analyze our progress. If you are somewhat less than satisfied with where you’re at then I’d suggest taking a serious look at your plan.

Bike Training – Volume, Intensity, and Frequency

Consider the fundamentals of training. There’s a general proven progression for optimal success. It involves 3 workout components: Volume, Intensity, and Frequency. Volume is the quantity of miles you ride per month, intensity is how fast or hard you work during those miles, and frequency is how often you ride per day, week or month.

Those who are hell bent on designing their own training; there are some excellent books to help you put a plan together. A few authors I like are Chris Carmichael and Hunter Allen. Each coach has a slightly different adaptation but the progression is similar, in that they each focus on building and aerobic base, followed by strength, then speed. If your goal is weight loss, the system will vary further still, to maximize caloric burn and fat loss.

A Complete Cycling Fitness System

If you’ve come to the conclusion that it may be easier to lean on a professional for developing a successful plan then you may want to check out the iBike POWERHOUSE. The POWERHOUSE, coupled with the iBike Dash+Power, turns your iPhone into a complete power meter and bike fitness system. The combination gives us a coach in a box and a way to measure our progress. The POWERHOUSE combines everything we need in one condensed package; a measuring device and most important a proven plan! (Written by Hunter Allen). iBike power meters also have a built in fitness test protocol to guide you through setting up a baseline.

The Best Tip I Ever Learned from NASA

We’re nearing the end of January. Are you where you want to be?

That’s a good question to ask ourselves throughout our training. Sometimes, simply charging through our plan with our heads down can lead us in a completely different direction than we originally planned or injured. Think about the way the autopilot function worked in the space shuttle Discovery. There were literally thousands of small course corrections in a given flight. The autopilot wasn’t a passive system at all! It actively compensated for all sorts of variables like; wind, airspeed, weight, and fuel, to get us to our destinations in the most efficient way possible. We could learn something from the way Discovery operated.

The first step is to dedicate some time and stop to assess our progress. This is a bit like taking inventory. Am I healthy? Am I still motivated? Am I closer to where I want to be then I was before I started? If I continue down this path will I achieve my goal by the assigned date?

The “Inventory or Assessment” phase is a good time to review your iBike ride files with iBike Isaac ride analysis software. It’s also a good time to check the odometer on your iBike Newton power meter or iBike Dash+Power power meter and jump on the scale. Are we logging the miles we committed to? Are they the type of miles we need to ride in this phase of training? How is your heart rate, both on the rides and waking? Elevated waking heart rate is a sign of overtraining. Is my wattage where I want it to be on these rides and is it progressing the way I want it to?

After we’ve assessed our progress to date, it may be time to reevaluate our goal. I’ve been guilty of biting off way more than I can chew in the past by setting extremely lofty goals then killing myself to achieve them. Is it worth it? That’s up to us as individuals to decide. If you’ve put in 30 days of training and aren’t where you wanted to be it’s important to consider whether you’ll be able to make the needed changes in your life to hit your goal by race day. Is the goal still attainable or do we need to make a plan B? I like to start with my race date and work backwards to the current date to determine if I have enough time to salvage the race. If I have time goals and am trying to set a personal record, then I make sure to build in 6-8 weeks for speed / super threshold work during the last 6-8 weeks of my program.

Reality can really suck sometimes. It has no feelings and no remorse. It doesn’t care how much stress we’ve been under or that we’ve been sick for the last two weeks. It works with its evil partner time to keep us suppressed. The only way to defeat the duo is to consistently measure and assess our progress so we’re not negatively surprised on race day. If we know where we’re at we can take action to course correct if we need to.

Cycling Training: Adjusting the Feedback on Your Power Meter

Have you noticed a delay in your power numbers when you get out of the saddle for a spring or quick burst with your iBike power meter?

I’ve received a few e-mail about this and have investigated the mystery. Here’s the explanation.

If you’re not quite sure what I’m referring to, here’s the scenario: you’re riding along with your power meter at a steady pace. The speed and power numbers appear on your consistently, as always. The road pitches up to a short steep bump and you decide to pop out of the saddle and give it all you’ve got for 10 or 20 seconds. As you look down to amaze yourself with the raw horsepower you’re able to generate, you notice a stagnant power display number. The iBike power meter reading isn’t changing. Then, after about 3 seconds it starts to show higher power readings. Huh? Is there something wrong with the power meter?

The answer is no, there’s nothing wrong with your power meter. It’s operating as it was designed. Here’s how it works. . .

The iBike Newton power meter is an amazingly precise measurement device. It analyzes a ton of information that comprises the power measurement figure we see on our screen. This includes hill slope, wind speed, pedaling efficiency, and a bunch of other things, all at once.

Maybe you don’t realize it but our riding environment is constantly changing. The wind, road surface, and road slope change. Along with environmental forces, our pedaling force is never distributed evenly around the circular stroke. For a sneak peek about pedaling efficiency, check out PowerStroke. It’s pretty incredible! There are dead spots and surges no matter how hard we try to turn perfect circles. As well, our cadence (the speed at which you rotate the pedals) changes constantly. So there are a lot of changes going on as you ride that transfer to your power meter.

As I mentioned above, the iBike Newton power meter is a pretty amazing device. It collects all of the various inputs and takes multiple readings per second. It receives a staggering amount of information. When we think about it, if it displayed power at each instant it would just be a blur of unreadable, unusable numbers.

Instead of presenting a spastic strobe, it displays power over a meaningful period time, providing a comprehensible and useful number. For iBike power meters, the display period can be set to reflect readings from 0 seconds (think raw streaming data), 2, 3, 5, 10, and 30 second intervals. So, if the default is 3 second intervals, when you stomp on the pedals, you are not going to see the effect of that burst until three seconds later, as an average of the power you put out over that three second interval. Regardless of your personal selection, the iBike Newton records the ride file data without any filtering and the highest sensitivity do you can play with the data in Isaac free ride analysis software.

How is this useful? Well, if you race crits, you may want to see more immediately responsive data, so you’d select 0 or 2 second filtering. If however, you’re racing a 40k time trial, you may choose to set your filter at 10 or 30 second intervals to provide smooth readings. At the end of the day, the choice is yours and that’s what makes it so cool.

Thank you for your submitting your questions and blog topic requests. Many of us have the same questions but do not ask. Thank you for letting your voice be heard.

Cycling Training: Fall Riding- Getting Ready For The Rain

If you want to continue your cycling training then you better get ready! The fall is here and with it comes the rain. Our friends in Colorado can confirm that and so can us Portlandians!. . .I know, I don’t want to think about it either but ignoring it won’t make it go away. Instead, we need to prepare and embrace it. (Well, at least prepare.)
After growing up in San Diego where rain is a rare occurrence, I get fired up while riding in the rain. That’s still true after three and a half years of living up here in Portland, Oregon. An old friend of mine used to say “if it ‘aint rainin’, you ‘aint trainin’.” I think that sums it up for me. I believe I’m getting a psychological advantage on my “competition” when I’m out getting it done on those nasty days. I visualize people being warm and cozy by the fire while eating donuts and getting soft, making them easy pickings when it comes time to ride hard. It’s a little mental game I play to stay motivated. Maybe something like that will help you too.

On those days when you’re braving the storm, it’s important to have the right gear. Being cold and wet can make for a horrible experience. The most critical piece is a dependable and breathable jacket. These brands are well respected and proven; Showers Pass, Gore and Castelli.

Keep in mind that good rain gear is not cheap. But you do get what you pay for. Along with a good jacket you may want to consider; thermal tights, helmet cover, full finger gloves, booties, and blinking lights for your bike. Sometimes, visibility through the windshield is poor so we mind as well plan to be super visible. Also, If you’re riding with others you should pick up some fenders. That’s something new I learned about out here in the Pac Northwest. Your friends will thank you.

The right gear also includes an iBike power meter. I’m confident that my iBike Newton will hold up to anything Mother Nature can throw at you. I’ve experienced how sturdy these devices are first hand after a few years up here in Portland, OR, through snow, crazy hard rain, and hail.

The season is once again approaching, where we must fix our fenders and steal our minds to stay motivated and fit. If it helps to get you through the ride, know that these are the days that character and tenacity is built. It will all pay off in the spring!

Cycling Training: Recover Faster with an Ice Bath

Cycling training is hard work and your body needs help recovering. If you stop and listen to your body, I’m sure you’ll hear your muscles screaming, especially after those extra long ride or intense workouts that leave you feeling shredded afterwards. We’ve discussed recovery nutrition in previous posts and how it helps rebuild shredded muscles. Today, we’ll cover the next best things you can do for body; ice baths.

If you’ve followed your cycling training plan and just knocked out a 2.5 hour ride with your power meter, which included 6 X 1 minute max effort intervals, followed by 2 x 10 minute extended intervals, just above FTP, your body is ready for repair. An ice bath may be just what your muscles need.

Yes, I’ve heard all about the lack of hard clinical evidence supporting ice baths. As with most everything there are passionate people on both sides of the fence. However, world champion marathon runner, Paula Radcliffe, swears by them, as do countless other athletes, ranging from power lifters and gymnasts to professional cyclists. I’m in this camp. After years of long runs and hard rides, nothing seems to help quicker than a good recovery shake and an ice bath.

Despite the controversy, there are lots of theories out there as to how ice baths work and why they’re affective. Some say ice baths help muscles recover faster after intense activity by constricting blood vessels and pulling blood from your legs and along with it, toxins released during the intense effort. Others claim that it reduces swelling and muscle tissue breakdown. Regardless of the fact that there’s no medical claim to support its effectiveness, I’m a believer and have been soaking after hard or long efforts for the past several years.

After your next hard effort (2.5+ hour ride), try it for yourself: Fill your bathtub with cold water up the point where you can cover your entire extended legs and feet. Just before getting in, empty one 7 lb bag of ice cubes into the tub of cold water. Have a stop watch handy so you can time yourself for a 10-15 minute submersion. The studies that have been completed show that longer submersions, past 15 minutes, are counterproductive and rush blood back into the areas. So to get the maximal benefit, keep it under 15 minutes.

After your plunge, please reply with feedback from your experience! I’m running a bit of an experiment to see what people think.

Main Cycling Routes

Cycling is popular in Spain, cycling with panniers not so much… yet. Still, the movement is starting and there are some very well developed routes with some infrastructure that will allow you to explore the country for a Mountain Bike Holiday in Spain. Here is some information about them:

Way of Saint Jacques / Camino de Santiago

Under the generic name of “Camino de Santiago” you can find several routes that will lead your way from the border of Spain and France to the mytical city of Saint Jacques of Compostel, where, according to the legend, the Apostol Saint Jacques the Young is buried. Truth be told, this very popular cycle and walking path is no longer used exclusively by pilgrims but also, and maybe more often, by sport addicts and tourists wishing to see the country under a different light. If you choose this path you will be entitled to a great experience full of encounters, culture, beautiful landscapes and of course, some serious workouts. Not to worry, the road is apt for anybody with a minimum trainning and skill. Under the name of “Camino de Santiago” you can find several different routes:

Across the Pyrenees // Transpirenaica

If your thing is to emulate the cycling heros of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, you may consider this route. 500kms from coast to coast, climbing some 20 high mountain pass on the process. There is a MTB version and a roadbike version, both spectacular and worthy. The MTB one though, is advised only for experienced, tought riders. This route is not marked although there are some quite good guides and in summer is easy to find other cyclist doing it.


Trasándalus is an ongoing project that will allow you to do a tour around Andalusia only on dirt roads and paths. For the moment the only way to do it properly is using a GPS, since the road is not marked. If you have time and experience it’s really a very nice route although beware that you will need a MTB and that some parts are marked as hard, which means you will probably have to carry your bike on your shoulder every once in a while.

Cid’s way / Camino del Cid

XI century and Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (also known as Cid) has to make his way from the city of Burgos, in the middle of the Central Plateau, to the coastal Valencia, where he will fight and eventually win a battle against the Muslims, back them the roulers of the Peninsula. This historical tale is the evocative plot that now gives way to a 600kms cycling route that crosses the country from NW to SE. Following small roads and sometimes old raiwailway lines, if you choose this path you will find yourself inmerse in one of the least known, more traditional parts of the country. Castilla is a land where winters are rough and summers hot and short, people quite and landscapes sober.

Green ways / Vías verdes

Old railways no longer in use have been stripped of their equipment and transformed into cyclepaths. Sounds good, hum? It IS good, and moreover, sometimes quite convenient. The downside of this project is that many of this cycle paths are not connected so eventually you will have to combine them up with small roads to do a long-distance itinerary.

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In the last few days, I have been thinking about triangles, as they relate to both my project, and bikes in general.

Lets start general and then work more specific. A while back now I came to realise that when it comes to bikes, the holy trinity is something like this –

Essentially, the premise is that you can have 2 of the above, but not 3. I think you could probably substitute fast for a few other things – part of me wants to put Unique – but I think you can follow my thinking.

Why am I talking about this? Because I think it’s worth thinking about. Of course you want all three, or as close as you can. Everyone has their budget, and their design spec. Unfortunately I will be pottering around the bottom of the above triangle for the most part, with the occasionally foray towards fast/unique/maybe even sexy – after all, I have to make the bike my own.

Now to triangles of a completely different type! More after the jump.

Great Find – MotoGadget

Historically, I have felt that my Internet research skills have been pretty good – and a pretty big part of how I earn a living is being able to find and analyse information.

As such I have relished the challenge of finding some of the more obscure parts and accessories for my project. It seems, as in many projects and artistic endeavours, the artisans involved have a variety of approaches – some are very open and willing to share, whilst others are very protective of their methods and suppliers.

I also get the impression that some of the more successful builders get a large number of enquiries from amateur builders like me, asking for advice and information, and probably don’t have time to respond, despite best intentions.

So how do we overcome this? By improving our attention to detail. I picked up a brand on a gauge from a photo of a Wrenchmonkees bike…and although this is a long story for a short link, it’s a good one – http://www.motogadget.com/us/frameset.html

Really nice all in one gauges, mini gauges, mirror gauges, and very neat switches and disc brakes. Some are expensive, but I think I can see the value, and to me they are neater and more stylish than the other solution I was contemplating – Acewell Gauges.

Suomy Spec 1R Helmet

The Suomy Spec 1R Pitt helmet is the motorcycle helmet I had my eyes set on for about a month before I bough my R6. I work for an online power sports retailer so I knew that I could get one for a really good deal. I also new not to make a squid move and buy a new sportbike helmet just for the looks. I already pulled a squid move the first time I bought a dirt bike helmet. The thing was an HJC and it was all nice and shiny and cost me a couple hundred bucks. After I went down the first time that new HJC didn’t look so good and my head didn’t feel that great either. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice so I took so careful consideration looking into Shoei, Arai, Suomy and AGV. I knew they were all the most expensive but I’m willing to pay the money for a new helmet if the helmet is the total package. In the end I went with the Suomy Spec 1R because the Arai didn’t fit well, the Shoei felt bulky and the AGV was uncomfortable to me.

The Suomy Spec 1R helmet is very light, weighing in at just about 2lbs, 13oz. Suomy helmets are made with three different shell designs so that depending on your helmet size you can get the correct fitting. The inner shell is formed with an ultra light Kevlar/fiberglass weave.

As far as safety standards go, Suomy likes to use the phrase, “When Snell just isn’t enough” because Suomy helmets are the only helmets to offer both DOT approval and B.S.I 6658 Type A. Suomy went with the British Safety Institute for its safety ratings. B.S.I. 6658 Type A standard is based on voluntary participation, the approval also guarantees a universally race-approved helmet.

Suomy offers 10 different shields including 3 race shields with posts. The shield that comes with the helmet lasted me for about 3 months until I got sick of it and went to a light smoke shield. The stock clear shield really works well but I just wanted something to dim the sun during the day. The Suomy Spec 1R is equipped with the sure lock visor mechanism that locks the visor into place. Suomy does provide a special tool for shield removal and side plate removal. When I got my light smoke shield I was able to put it on the helmet in minute or so, very straight forward. All Suomy shields claim to be anti-fog and scratch resistant. So far so good with both of the shields I have.

I didn’t have any ear plugs the first time I rode with the Spec 1R, and still the wind noise wasn’t bad at all. I like my helmets to be very tight fit but even with the visor up wind noise isn’t a big problem. One thing that is really nice is the inner liner that comes with the helmet, it’s adjustable, removable and washable, so for those of you who ride everyday you can wash those smells out. Cheek pads are removable and washable as well.

The only thing that I was skeptical about was the clear coat on the beautiful design. To my surprise the Spec 1R’s paint job is still as shiny as the day I bough it, over 6 months ago. One thing to be careful about is always clean the helmet. When cleaning try to lightly buff the clear coat with a polishing cloth. I used the helmet bag that came with the helmet along with a diaper soft cloth and that has kept the Spec 1R looking really nice.

Wrapping up the Suomy Spec 1R package is a nice little helmet bag that also doubles as a cleaning cloth if you turn it inside out. To sum up this review, if your serious about having excellent protection with good features than I would definitely suggest the Suomy Spec 1R.

Undertail Exhaust, Pretty But No Performance!

It seems the trend of taking MotoGP inspired bodywork and styling has become more and more obvious in the past few years. Now almost all of the sportbike manufacturers are taking some aspect of MotoGP and incorporating it into their production sportbikes. It’s pretty nice to see that the big four of sportbike manufacturers are taking notice that we, the sportbike rider, are eager to get our hands on anything that is race inspired. For instance Honda and its new breed of CBR-RR models all come equipped with undertail exhausts and the marketing ads shown in magazines like Sportrider and Road Racer X have tag lines pointing out the new features. The ads run a main heading saying: “DNA DONOR: RC211V, RECIPIENT: CBR600RR” Honda has lead the charge to bring MotoGP inspired performance accessories over to the new CBR-RR’s, but they aren’t the only ones. Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati have added underseat exhausts to a select few sportbikes in their respective lineups. The only motorcycle manufacturer not going in the trend of a stock undertail exhaust is Suzuki, which obviously doesn’t seem to be a problem for motorcycle buyers as the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was the sportbike of choice for the serious racer and certainly hasn’t hurt their road race effort, just ask Matt Mladin.

Personally I think anything that can make a sportbike more race inspired is cool. It cuts back on aftermarket needs and saves money for gas and track days. Undertail exhausts are a tough one though because after reading the May 2016 Sportrider where Kent Kunitsugu rips on underseat exhausts trend for being more fashionable than performance enhancing, I may have to change my thinking. Here is a quick run down of the main points of the article. First off an underseat exhaust doesn’t seem to be saving any weight. These undertail exhausts usually only add five or six pounds but that’s till some additional weight that has to be accounted for. With the increasing number of inline-four-cylinder sportbikes coming equipped with undertail exhausts, motorcycle manufacturers are trying to find other ways to shave off weight, which may mean more titanium, which is great, but since titanium means equals expensive it’s kind of a double edged sword.

The article goes on to explain that in this new millennium of mass-centralization designed engines and chassis it seems odd that these new undertail exhausts are being run. It is a fact that by placing these new sportbike exhausts higher and farther away from the motorcycle’s roll axis the manufacturers ideas are running counter to the engine and chassis design.

The last and most important part of this underseat exhaust article is that these underseat pipes have less power potential than a traditional under engine exhaust. Two undisclosed European motorcycle exhaust manufacturers said that in the particular case of inline-four-cylinder motorcycles running underseat exhausts are at a disadvantage versus traditional under-engine exhausts. An under engine exhaust has two main advantages over undertail exhaust:

  1. Midpipe – The section that connects the four head pipes to the muffler must be routed differently so that it may travel far enough to reach the exhaust muffler. The mid pipe is also bent in certain places to allow for clearance. These bends restrict exhaust flow and volume which is critical in power output.
  2. On traditional sportbikes the exhaust canister is much larger which allows for some baffling to take place and reduce noise without hurting power. Underseat exhaust have the opposite problem, the exhaust canisters have to be smaller to fit under the seat while still having to account for noise. The internal baffling within the muffler on an already small exhaust canister means even less exhaust flow which in turn hurts performance.

I think racing inspired designs are what make sportbikes so appealing to motorcyclists. Since every other race team except for a MotoGP race team has to use some stock parts it seems that the race teams are influencing motorcycle engineering more than the consumer desires. I think it’s great we as enthusiast and consumers just get the benefits in the new sportbikes every year. The only problem I see is when these new additions make the price tag increase and we don’t see any real benefit in the sportbike. Don’t get me wrong, if the new 2017 Yamaha R6 comes out with an undertail exhaust it won’t make me want one any less, it will just make me spend money on a better aftermarket exhaust to try and save weight and increase performance. For now I’m fine with my traditional under engine exhaust and besides I know my girlfriend wouldn’t want to ride on my bike if here ass is being cooked every time we ride. Earlier I said that I think race inspired sportbikes are cool but I don’t think it’s worth it if you have to go out and spend $400-$2100 on an after market exhaust just to make them as functional as last years traditional under-engine sportbike.

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