It’s easy to say it’s a departure, but Stages’ move to make a bike computer is actually a compliment to its crankarm-based power meter.
Why? Computers that communicate and relay fun data—Strava segments, turn-by-turn directions, dynamic mapping screens—are now all around us. Stages instead ditches that stuff (for now). Instead it’s about real data. All the data. As much as you want.
How much? Upwards of 16 fields (as seen below), and totally customizable, either through the app or direct on the unit. Further, the head unit has two bracket slats, allowing for either vertical or horizontal install on the bars (or between the aerobars).
With all that at your fingertips, what to do with that much data? To that end, Stages partnered with Australian-based Today’s Plan, an online training platform, in parsing data in its own Stages Link site. In Stages Link, users can engage a coach (a’la Training Peaks), with workouts uploaded to your head unit, literally reading you your coach’s uploaded workout on your screen once rolling out for you ride.
No coach? Stages Link uses your data to build a macro-cycle training plan that you can follow, that program created using an algorithm created by Today’s Plan.
And once done with your day’s session, you can overlay the prescribed workout (say, 8 x 2 minutes at threshold heart rate at high cadence, 2 minutes recovery) versus what you actually did during the workout, with coaches able to drill down to analyze right down to each individual interval effort or recovery.
XLAB Torpedo Kompact 500
When it launched a year or so ago, we were certain the Xlab Torpedo Kompact would be a success. With the often limited real estate on some bikes between the aerobars for a BTA hydration/computer mount, some setups were hampered by their sheer size and length. too big, and some bottles and brackets couldn’t even be set up, particularly on aerobar setups with short extensions. The Torpedo Kompact solved for this with a small aluminum baseplate, which allowed for a bit more fore/aft adjust, even in small cockpits.
But the inevitable question came, as it generally does in tri: “when ya gonna do it in carbon?”
XLAB debuts the Torpedo Kompact 500, with a carbon fiber mount plate, as well as a new high-grip carbon cage XLAB calls the Raptor. The design keeps the Torpedo’s Garmin computer bracket isolated from the carbon cage itself, which reduces the chance of the computer popping off (a feature our staff can appreciate as we are still wondering what happened to our Garmin Edge 500 during a race in Solana Bach two years ago).
For style points, XLAB adds what it calls replaceable “talons” (or bases and neck clips) in different colors, allowing you to color-match (within red, white orange or black) your BTA system.
The Torpedo Kompact 500 with carbon mount and cage and an included insulated Cool Shot bottle prices at $85, while the while the Raptor cage on its own is $40.
When Techlace debuted at Eurobike a month ago, we looked at it and thought “even for a road shoe, that miiiight make a nice tri shoe.” We finally got a look at it today during the show and despite not yet riding it, we’re still quite convinced: this will make a nice tri shoe. Even if it’s not marketed to triathletes.
And while the Techlace system (an elastic lace that can be custom adjusted to create a lace-like fit with quick Velcro adjustability) is the hook the new two-direction Boa dial is the reason we love it for tri. In our humble opinion, Boa is the best thing to happen to cycling shoes; not only do you get a nice, even pull across the instep, you also get a shoe mouth that flays open super wide when the spool is released to open it. That means in and out of transition, the mouth to get your foot in is wide open.
We’ve used Boa road shoes in the past for triathlon, and have seen pro triathletes do the same thing. Over a long ride, comfort often trumps the time it takes to cinch it down. Techlace interests us with that. Just stitch a heel loop on that sucker, give it a tri name and they may have a top-shelf tri shoe on their hands…