Garmin Edge 130 Plus Review

Overview

I recently got a Garmin Edge 130 Plus, a small bike computer with quite a few features! Here are some details.

The Garmin Edge 130 Plus retails for $199.99 USD, which is the cheapest Garmin cycling computer. This is currently one of the best deals for a cycling computer that you can get, and during black Friday, Amazon prime day, and other sales, you can find this cycling computer for under $150.

In the box

Inside the box you will find the usual things you would expect: The Garmin Edge 130 Plus, two quarter turn mounts(standard mounts), a tether, intruction manuals, and a charging cable.

Features

This device uses buttons unlike some higher end bike computers(the Garmin touchscreens I find are not the best). There are three buttons on the Edge 130 plus: The button on the left is used to power on/brighten the screen, the button on the bottom right is used for start/stop, the button on the bottom left is used for going back or lap, the buttons on the right side are used to go up and down(top button for going up, bottom for going down). If you hold down on the top right button it will take you to the menu screen.

The menu screen is where you can find the settings that you can change(ride settings, sensors, system, phone connection, and more). Some of the main features of the Garmin Edge 130 Plus are: Turn by turn navigation, Strava live segments, Climb Pro, Incident detection and livetrack, MTB dynamics, workouts(including an indoor trainer setting where you can pair a trainer and control via your Edge). Unlike the higher end Garmin computers, the Garmin Edge 130 Plus does not have full connect IQ support. The Edge 130 Plus does support data pages but not connect IQ apps.

When you have a route selected, if there are any major climbs on that route you will see a screen that comes up(shown in image below) with a gradient map, distance to go, average grade of the remaining portion of the climb, how much you have climbed, your elevation, and your amount to climb remaining.

The Garmin Edge 130 Plus offers 8 fully customizable data fields, and you can add extra pages with a custom amount of fields if you would like. These include power fields, cadence fields, elevation, speed, distance, time, battery, and more.

When starting a ride, you will have a few different choices: Road, Commuting, Mountain, Gravel, E-bike, Indoor, Cyclocross, E-mountain. All of these profiles will have the same pages, so if you want different data for each, I would recommend making a page for each discipline you do and switch to whichever page you want when doing that discipline. In mountain bike mode you will see additional data such as Grit, Flow, and other MTB dynamics. When you do a jump, the Edge 130 Plus will tell you your hang time, distance, and height.

The Garmin Edge 130 Plus is 1.6 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.5 inches with a 1.8 inch screen. The Edge 130 Plus is very light, weighing in at 33 g. The computer has an advertised battery life of 12 hours, which is three hours less than the Edge 130(There were a lot of complaints about the battery life not living up to expectation for the Edge 130). The unit, like many computers these days is equipped with Bluetooth and Ant +, it is compatible with iOS and Android phones. When paired with a smart phone the Edge 130 Plus can receive smart notifications from your phone and share live-track with friends and family(The Edge 130 Plus also offers weather notifications). In the case of a crash the Edge 130 Plus is also ready with incident detection.

Conclusion

Overall this is an extremely good bike computer, and even better for the price. The device essentially has all the features of the higher end devices(- the navigational features). This device does everything that I need it to do, and it is a perfect size for me.

Wahoo Systm – Is it Better Than Zwift?

For the past week or so I have been testing out the Wahoo Systm training app. Wahoo Systm is pretty similar to competitors such as Trainerroad. Wahoo Systm used to be called Sufferfest, but when Wahoo bought Sufferfest, they eventually changed the name to a Wahoo branded training app.

Getting Started

In order to get started, you can start by creating an account. The account is free for 14 days, then you will have to begin the payment. Wahoo Systm costs $14.99 a month, which is the same cost as Zwift.

Selecting a workout

Selecting a workout is very easy. Once you are in the app, just hit library, the discipline you want(you can choose Cycling, Running, Mental Training, Yoga, Swimming, and Strength. After selecting which discipline you want, there are filters that you can change, or you can just scroll through the sessions that Wahoo offers. Currently they have around 300 workouts that are available to all paying users on demand.

Starting a training plan

Starting a training plan is extremely simple. First, head to the plans section, then Wahoo will basically guide you through the whole process. Asking for your goal, discipline, terrain, volume, and more. Once Wahoo has the plan all built for you, you can preview it before enrolling in the plan. Once you enroll into the plan, the workouts will be displayed in your workout calendar on the calendar tab. Any additional workouts that you do will also show up there. Here is a preview of what your calendar will look like after enrolling into a plan.

Why it’s better than Zwift

Currently, Zwift does not offer any real training plans that are custom to your goal and the level that you currently ride at. Riders have complained for years that they haven’t actually seen any gains from the Zwift training plans, one of the reasons why I never do workouts on Zwift. One thing I really like about Wahoo Systm is that you can quickly build a training plan based on your goal, how much you ride a week, and discipline. Wahoo Systm currently has an extremely easy to use UI, it’s much more simple than Zwift, and I was able to get started in less than 5 minutes. Wahoo Systm also offers consultation with the coaches at Wahoo. You can schedule a 30 minute call with them and discuss anything you want related to training and Wahoo Systm, it’s pretty neat.

What should be improved

There are a few things I think definitely need to be improved. The first thing is that you cannot really change the end date of your training plan, the plan defaults to around 12 weeks of training, which is quite a bit for me to commit to. This is something that Trainerroad currently offers. I think Wahoo also should add availability dates, when starting a Trainerroad training plan, Trainerroad asks you if there are any days that you cannot workout, Trainerroad will then try to avoid scheduling workouts on those days. Trainerroad also offers a lot more adaptive training. Trainerroad is pricy though, which is one thing that gives Wahoo Systm an edge. Wahoo Systm offers a 4DP power test, which isn’t exactly adaptive training, Wahoo just uses that to set your power values.

My thoughts

I think that I will definitely be using Wahoo Systm for training in the future, the workouts are good workouts, and I have seen some pretty good gains so far. At first, I thought the concept of having video recordings was pretty lame, but after my first few sessions I started to enjoy them, and it is a good change in scenery from Zwift. I think in terms of free riding, socialism, and racing Zwift is much better. Wahoo Systm I think is more for the athletes who don’t care so much about the gamification, and more just there for the training. There are definitely some things that I think Wahoo should improve, but overall it is a great training platform, and I can definitely see myself using it with Zwift.

Speed Hound Recovery Boots Review

Overview

I have recently been doing a ton of riding and a few runs here and there. In between these hard rides I have been using the Speed Hound recovery system to help me recover before the next day of riding. You can use this system while getting some work done(literally writing this article while using the boots), or bing your favorite TV show and recover while your at it! This system is very similar to Normatec and Rapid Reboot, but at a more affordable price.

Details

The system has two modes, A and B. Here is a brief explanation of each setting. Mode A will start from the foot, and make its way up to your thighs, turning off the previous zone once the next zone is fully inflated. Mode B will also start from the foot, but unlike mode A, it will hold keep the zone on until all of the zones are fully inflated. The system will then hold the pressure for a few seconds, then release all zones at the same time. The system can also go up to 200mmHg of pressure(pressure goes up at increments of 20mmHg, starting at 20mmHg). You will also be able to toggle zones on and off(total of 4 zones), and you will have the option of 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Overall this is an awesome system and it is very beneficial to my recovery. For a link to purchase the system, head over here.

Key Features/Details

  • Wide range of pressure settings to suit everyones needs (20mmHg – 200mmHg)
  • On/off toggle for different parts of legs
  • Flush and Massage mode
  • Time settings of 10-30 minutes
  • Carrying case included
  • 2 year warranty
  • 45 day return/exchange policy

Noise Level

This recovery system is fairly quiet, meaning you can still watch TV and not have to turn it up much more than you normally would.

Does it actually help?

I have been using this system for awhile now and I love it; I can really feel the difference in my performance the next day. I highly recommend looking into one of these recovery systems, it really benefits my recovery. Recently after doing the Uber Pretzel on Zwift, I used this system for a good hour, and the next day I wasn’t even sore, which was a huge plus because I had basketball practice the next day. I would recommend it for all types of athletes, runners, triathletes, basketball players, not just for cyclists! Speed Hound also offers hip attachments and arm attachments that are available for purchase seperately.

Purchase

Ready to buy the system? Here is a link to purchase: https://thespeedhound.com/products/speed-hound-properformance-recovery-system.

Bkool Vs Zwift

Riding through Makuri Islands

Overview

Bkool, Zwift, and Rouvy are all very good training platforms, they each have different things that stand out about each of them. Bkool and Rouvy are definitely more realistic, while Zwift is more for riders who are looking for gamifications, racing, and socialization. Rouvy and Bkool both have live events that riders can participate in, Bkool and Rouvy have only 1-2 events a day, while Zwift has hundreds. Zwift has a lot of routes, events, races, challenges, and customization for your avatar, but they do not have things like changing weather, custom routes, headwind and tailwinds, and even has night mode, which competitors like Bkool have. In Rouvy, there are hundreds of routes, you can create your own routes, create your own private events. 

Bkool

Bkool

Bkool is a much smaller platform than other training platforms such as Rouvy, RGT, and Zwift. Bkool features video instruction workouts, similar to Peloton workouts, custom route creation, ride videos, and hundreds of different routes from all around the world, that are available whenever you want. The routes include parts of the Paris Roubaix, Vuelta, Giro d’Italia, Velodromes, Tour of California, UCI World Championships. The downside to Bkool is that there are not many riders on each route consistently, this is partly because it isn’t as large of a platform, but also because of how many routes there are. Zwift limits riders to only 3 different worlds a day, and it rotates daily. Bkool, like RGT, also has wind, so some days the wind will be strong, and other days it may not. Bkool does not have many workouts that you can do on demand, there are currently around 20 in the workout section, while Zwift has hundreds. Bkool offers a 30 day free trial, then the price goes back to $9.99/month. This is the same price as RGT. Zwift charges $5 more a month. 

Bkool avatar customization

In Bkool you can also accumulate points and level up, this is similar to Zwift, but in Bkool you can only buy kits. The kits available for purchase are mainly pro team kits(ex, Bora, Canyon, Quickstep). Bkool is definitely more realistic than Zwift in many ways such as, the draft, the avatars, sprinting positions, wind, and routes/courses, so if you are looking for a realistic platform, then Bkool is a great option.

Zwift

Zwift

In Zwift there are thousands of riders on the platform at every hour  of the day, making it fun and engaging, and there is always someone you can draft behind ;). There are group rides and races every hour, different worlds for every day, and if a group ride doesn’t work for your time, just hop on with a Pace Partner, there is almost always a huge group with the bots. Zwift is by far the best out of the three of these gamification wise, you can buy bikes, wheels, unlock new kits, helmets, gloves, socks, shoes, and even glasses! You could sport your dream bike, or pick up the bike you ride IRL in the drop shop!

Zwift drop shop

Zwift has 9 worlds, that may not seem like a lot, but the worlds are very well designed, and have lots of hidden things in them. Zwift supports a ton of smart trainers, power meters, speed/cadence sensors, which makes it pretty easy to get started on the platform. In Zwift, you can chat to all the Zwifter’s around you in the virtual world, create meetups with your friends, and give riders a ride on to keep them going! In Zwift, you can level up, accumulate drops(Zwift’s in game currency, which you can spend on upgrading your ride), participate in races, earn route achievements, and complete challenges. When you go under each banner/arch in Zwift, you will get a power-up, which can help you in various ways, you could get some extra XP, or go invisible, this adds to the gamification and strategy of Zwift racing, which some appreciate, and some dislike. Zwift also has over 1000 workouts that are available for you whenever you’d like. Zwift costs $14.99/month and offers a 7-day free trial.

Tacx Neo 2T review

Nearly a year ago

     Earlier today I got a Tacx Neo 2T and decided to do a review and comparison on it. I will be reviewing it and comparing it to the Wahoo Kickr 16 and the Tacx Vortex. I have only ridden a few miles on my new trainer and so far it has been amazing! I have tried all the different road feel settings and love the setting.

Now

    Overall the trainer is great, I think that the road feel feature makes indoor training a lot more realistic and I think that it will be a fun feature to ride with. Erg mode on this trainer is amazing, unlike the wahoo trainers, my power stays around the same amount of wattage, only fluctuating within around 5 watts. I noticed that the trainer is super accurate, comparing it to my Powertap P1 pedals, they were only a few watts apart at most, compared to the Tacx Neo 2T .

Unboxing

     We got the trainer at our local sports basement which gives 10% off if you are a member(yay), they carried the trainer and it was 10 percent off. The trainer is super heavy, which I should not have been surprised about. The trainer costed $1,399, which is the most expensive trainer I think. Here is the unboxing/review.

           This side shows what the trainer looks like from above. The trainer also comes with a free 1 month zwift subscription and a tacx training app subscription.

This side of the box hows the details, one of the things that sticks out is the fact that it can go up to 25 percent gradient.  

    This side is nothing that interesting, just the description of the trainer.

    This side shows all the cool features, like the fact that you can ride on it without having it plugged in, also that it is supposed to be the quietest trainer, which is very true. An audio video will be posted soon.

    And this part just shows like all the details that are not that important. I will be posting a video on how to install a cassette and a first ride video with a lot of these details. Onto the unboxing, first of all, even before I looked in the box, I could tell that I was gonna like this trainer! Here are the unboxing pictures.

    The first thing you see when you open the box is a cool cover thing that says, push your limits, which is kinda cool. Here is a picture of all the instructions, parts, and cord. The trainer does not need the cord but when you use the cord it enables the downhill feature keeps the flywheel spinnign to make it more like real life.

    This is the trainer part. The trainer was huge when I first looked at it, but I eventually got used to it. The trainer folds up and to unfold it you simply just push the sides down. I do recommend installing the cassette first before unraveling the trainer because it makes the cassette easier to install.

    This is the instruction manual. The instructions are pretty good compared to other ones, online I could not find anything on how to install the cassette, I know how to install one, I just did not know if it was different on the tacx from the wahoo, turns out it is the same.

Review/comparison

    Our indoor training set up is full of trainers and other workout equipment like weights, a treadmill, and a rower. We have a Tacx Neo 2T, Wahoo Kickr Core, and a Wahoo Kickr Bike. We used to have a Wahoo Kickr Gen 2 and a Tacx Vortex but got rid of them because they were starting to have issues. The Neo is a much better ride feel and accuracy than the Vortex and Kickr Core, but I do really like how easily you can take bikes on and off the Vortex. If I were to compare this to the Wahoo Kickr Bike I would say that the ride feel on the Kickr bike is definitely smoother. For some that may be a good thing, and for others that may make it feel less realistic. For me I feel like the Kickr bike is smooth, but a little bit too smooth. One thing I have noticed is that the Kickr Bike’s power goes up instantly, like from 0 watts, to 400 in around 2 seconds, the Tacx takes a longer time to get up to the amount of watts.

This is just a closer up photo of my bike on the trainer.

    This is just a picture of the trainer itself. It is significantly larger than the wahoo but it does not really bother me. One thing that I had really been looking forward to is taking a closer look at the lights that are below the trainer, the lights are really cool and are super cool in the dark. The lights reflect how hard you are working, the brighter the color, the harder you are pushing.

Wrap up

    Overall I think that this is the best trainer I could get. Even if I had gotten the kickr 2020, I think I would have regretted it. Comparing it to the other Tacx trainer we had, I think that the Vortex is a good trainer and it is very durable, we hadn’t had any problems with it until earlier this year, which is when we ended up getting rid of it and switching it out for a Wahoo Kickr Core. It’s been almost a year and I have yet to have a single issue with the trainer, I have replaced the cassette once so far because the old one was worn. We originally got rid of the kickr because it was vibrating a ton and it was pretty uncomfortable. The Neo 2T is a 10/10 because of all the cool features that it has including Left and Right power, Road Feel, No cord required, and it is incredibly accurate. These are all things that most trainers don’t have that I love. It is a very expensive trainer, but if you ride indoors a lot, I would say that it is worth the money. One thing that you won’t notice by just looking at it is that it can rock side to side slightly, this is especially helpful in sprints or hard efforts. The only downside to this trainer is that it is expensive and it can be hard to take the bike on and off(which is the same for any direct drive trainer). But once you get used to taking the bike on and off, it is a pretty quick process, a few minutes at most. So far I have logged over 10,000 miles on the Tacx Neo 2T, and I plan to log thousands more! Thanks for reading, if you want instant updates on all the latest Zwift news, subscribe to the blog!

Polar H9 Heart Rate Monitor Review

Back in February 2021 I got my first heart rate monitor that was compatible with Zwift. I had previously been using my dads Garmin heart rate monitor but it wasn’t compatible with Zwift. I had to use our concept 2 rower as an Ant+ bridge. I used an app called RowedBiker to connect the rower, then that app connected to Zwift. It was a pain and I was starting to get more into Zwift racing. With the Zwift Racing League series heart rate monitors were required to use.

After doing some research I found that the Polar H9 could go down pretty small which is what I needed. The Garmin ones always slipped down and I had to tie parts together to get it to fit properly. I got the size XXS which another kid that I knew had and he said it fit pretty well. I think that heart rate monitors are a very good training tool to have and they can be very useful, especially if you are someone who enjoys racing on Zwift, many races often require heart rate data as a way to verify that you are not cheating.

The accuracy on this heart rate monitor is far more accurate than my Fitbit Charge 2 that had a built in optical sensor. The data wasn’t consistent and it didn’t pair to Zwift. Overall the Polar H9 is an amazing heart rate monitor. So far I have not had any issues with accuracy or pairing. It will pair to my garmin almost instantly along with Zwift. The Polar H9 can pair to one bluetooth device at a time but it can do unlimited connections through Ant+ which is what most bike computers connect to. I mainly use this for indoor rides but I will occasionally use it on an outdoor ride. Here is a data sample from one of my races recently.

    As you can see, the heart rate monitor performed as expected, as my power went up, so did my heart rate. The heart rate monitors costs $59.99 USD. I think that if you are looking for a heart rate monitor this is a great option, it is accurate, comfortable, and pretty affordable.

Zwift Running Vs Peloton Running

Here is a comparison of the Peloton tread running workouts with the video instructions vs the Zwift running. For Peloton running we have the Peloton Tread +. For Zwift running we use the Peloton tread with a Zwift run pod. Here are my thoughts on which platform is better.

If you are looking for more structured workouts and you don’t know what kind of workout you want to do. I think I would do the Peloton workouts because they have a wide variety of different workouts, instructors, and levels of intensity. Rather than Zwift you just select a workout and it tells you what to do. For runners who are more of the just run, not anything structured, I would choose Zwift over Peloton. The Peloton free run are just staring at a Peloton logo and you stats. Peloton does have scenic runs but I find them kind of dizzying. If you are using a run sensor, then Zwift will also display your cadence, when Peloton will not.

I think that for running Peloton is definitely more interactive because you have an instructor telling you what to do, a leaderboard to chase, and all your stats on a very clean interface. I think that if you are looking more to just run or do a structured workout that you already have planned out and you know what pace and the interval times, Zwift is great for that. Also if you just get bored on the treadmill Zwift kinda combines the video game feel with sports to make it more interesting. In Zwift you will be able to participate in live group runs, customize your avatar, and level up. I think Peloton running is definitely more developed, there are thousands of classes that you can choose from, and there are a few daily. In Zwift there are some group runs but they have a fraction of the amount of runners in the event that Peloton gets.

One thing that I find very annoying is that if you want to keep running after a Peloton run, you will have to have two different activities if you are doing a class. This is especially annoying if you are a Strava person and don’t want an activity that is X.9 miles/km long. In Zwift you can do a workout, then keep going after until you get to a specific amount of time or distance.

    Both are definitely great options as they are both much better than just running and seeing your speed in the corner of the treadmill interface. The Peloton workouts I find very motivating and they make me actually want to run sometimes (I prefer to ride). I would personally choose a Peloton run because I can just hop on the treadmill and start a class. This is a pretty brief comparison but it will give you a quick overview of the two and what each are best for. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions leave a comment below and I will be sure to reply!