Today I went on a bike ride with the purpose of both getting back on the trails as well as reviewing a couple of biking applications for IOS / iPhone. The two applications are Bike+ and Runtastic Pro Mountain Bike; The second one – Runtastic – has been on my phone and in use for about a year now. About a year or so ago I reviewed the Free version and now in this posting I will give you a view of the paid for PRO version.
Before we get to that one, lets first take a summary view of the Bike+ app. I just downloaded it about a week ago, and today decided to give it a try. It came with a lot of promises – apparently Bike+ was developed by bike pros and is supposed to address many of the needs of the biking enthusiast.
The application offers quite a few capabilities among which are the ability to give you real time assessment of the climbing conditions you are experiencing as well as the usual speed, distance, time duration; Also interestingly, the application allows you to enter tags for hazards you may encounter on the trail / road and via the application share with other users. The application allows also integration with the Pebble Smart Watch – but NO Apple Watch integration that I know of (or being planned).
Now about the negatives that I observed: (1) the Grade reading and update should be happening more frequently hence with higher precision. I noticed that I was climbing for several minutes before the field on the front panel updated. You tend to miss some of the real time feedback – may be the software captures it and it is just that you do not see the real situation; I am guessing this could be addressed easily by way of doing more frequent reads of the GPS by the application code; (2) By default the front panel / screen is not locked in and as a result only 5 minutes into my ride the screen was turned off – I had to manually turn the screen on – after the ride I found the option in the Settings allowing me to lock the screen in display mode – but that should have been the default state rather than auto turn off. So not big issues – I will give it another try or two to experience it fully;
Now about Runtastic PRO Mountain Bike:
I bought the PRO version more than a year ago. It is actually a very useful little program.
Runtastic allows you to view a whole bunch of statistics as well – and be able to measure the distance, calories burnt, time on the track, speed, elevation climbed, etc. All in all a fairly useful set of statistics for amateur biking enthusiasts like me.
In terms of some deficiencies – about the only one I have experienced is when I bike with my iPhone 6 Plus and the phone is mounted on my bike via a case that aligns it in a landscape view on the screen. Unfortunately, Runtastic Pro does not re-orient itself in landscape mode – it remains in portrait and as a result tough to read.
All in all, I will test the Bike+ a bit longer and see which one I like better – Runtastic PRO or Bike+
Enjoy your rides!