Earlier in the week I finally upgraded my phone from the very good and solid iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6 Plus. In previous postings on this blog I have described how useful a smart phone – whether iPhone or one with Android – can be in terms of providing a biking computer platform for various navigation and exercise planning applications.
There are multiple options for how one can use the previous generations of iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and even iPhone 6 – here are several that I have tried and/or used on my mountain bikes over the last 4-5 years:
Now my new phone posed a larger (literally) challenge – being the iPhone 6 Plus – its size is pretty amazing when seen on the handlebars of the bike….But for that I will provide you with a better visibility over the next couple of days – we are preparing a through review of the Tigra mountain bike case for the phone.
Today, I tested the setup on my Trek bike and was pleased with the overall stability of the case and phone. HOWEVER, I discovered a nuisance – several of the mountain bike computer applications did not change orientation when I turned the iPhone 90 degrees to be in a landscape format on my handlebars. I rode as usual with the Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro application on and to my surprise it stayed in portrait mode even when I turned the phone 90-degrees to landscape. Needless to say – this turned out to be pretty annoying fast.
Then I tried other apps – and surprisingly all of them – BikeBrain, BikeComputer, Cyclemeter, iBike, TheBike – did not change orientation….Strange! To say the least. iBiker was the only one of the bunch – of the ones I tested – that actually automatically adjusted to landscape mode when I turned the phone to be more aligned with my handlebars.
view of the iBiker Dashboard
So, with that in mind, the quest for the ‘perfect application’ needs to continue – this time with iPhone 6 Plus mounted on a mountain bike handlebars in mind! Wish me luck and drop me a comment if you have a recommendation on a good Bike Computer Application. Thanks in advance!
A week ago I decided to pull together a listing of the applications that are available for free for iPhone to make your phone a biking computer / tracking device. Here is the link to that summary posting. Today, I will provide a summary review of several of the applications. I have been using each of the ones I have for a week at least in an effort to assess which one(s) I would like best.
Here we start with a couple of reviews:
- TPCycleLite — available for FREE from the iTunes Applications Store; This is a relatively easy to start application. Clicking on the Go button initiates the tracking software. Here though also lies the problem — the stop button is very tough to find. The other bad aspect of this application was that the dashboard (image 1 below) did not want to stay on — the application kept allowing the iPhone to dim the screen — you go and unlock the iPhone screen with a passcode while you are bikiing on a trail …! Not a fun option!
- Overall rating – marginal – I won't keep it
- The second reviewed application is BikeComputer; Also a FREE application – available from the Apple store for download; Launching the application was easy and contrary to the TPCycleLite application – this one stayed with its dashboard screen running and not allowing the iPhone to "sleep the screen"; So is there something I did not like about the application? Well overall it was very simple – not enough statistics and definitiely not one of the best ones;
- Overall Rating: Easy to use but not enough functions; I will not keep it.
Earlier in the year I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a pretty deficient product which I bought from Amazon.com — I wanted to get a bicycle computer to track my speed, distance etc stats while biking. It was a bad experience for two reasons (1) I got the gadget as a gift for my birthday and (2) I spent a bunch of time trying to fiddle with the setup of the magnetic sensor (which I had to place on a spoke of my front wheel) and the rest of the system. Long story short the computer portion of the overall system did not work – EVER! I went out a couple of times and tried all sort of things and never got any readouts. Needless to say after a conversation with Amazon I returned the product, but still had the unpleasant feeling of having lost my time…..
So then 5 months or so later I thought – surely there must be an application for an iPhone that may be able to do the same – my iPhone has GPS, has mapping capabilities so why not ? Next thing I was checking on the iTunes store and within 30minutes of me thinking about while waiting for a friend after biking to a Starbucks, I had downloaded the application and completed the setup. Then on the way home I start using it. Now, let me give you a quick look of the setup:
Cycle Tracker Pro – download from iTunes; I was able to download for free, but it appears it has gone back up to its normal price of $2.99
After downloading you have to setup your profile:
The configuration and usage of the program is really simple. You enter your personal information: Height, Weight, Age, and email address (if you want to share your results) and you are well on your way.
The only tricks and hickups I found are:
- To Start the tracking for a given session (bike ride) you have to make sure you respond to a few questions – make sure you respond positively to "turn on GPS" (needed for the operation of the tool) and ensure the Start button has been pressed properly (you will get an audible prompt of having started the ride)
- I found that the START and STOP buttons may need to be pressed a few times in a given instance to register the action. So, again you will get an audible prompt of for example completing the ride and pressing STOP.
Other than those the program is easy to use and provide good information for most of us amateur biking enthusiasts.
Enjoy your ride!