Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Fizik Saddle Bracket with Cateye Rapid 3 Rear Light

The Canyon Endurace came with a Fizik Aliante R3 saddle, which is the first Fizik saddle that I ever had. What is special about some Fizik saddles is that it has an integrated rear light mount under the saddle. This means that some compatible rear lights can be installed under the saddle neatly.

Fizik saddle, with a plastic cover taking the place of the saddle bracket that is needed to mount a rear light.

With the plastic cover removed, the saddle is now ready to accept the saddle bracket that can be used to mount a rear light.

Depending on which rear light you want to use, you need to get the correct bracket to fix the rear light to the saddle. For me, I will be using a Cateye rear light, and so I got the Cateye saddle bracket.

Cateye saddle bracket that is used to mount a Cateye rear light to a Fizik saddle.

It comes with two different sized brackets as different rear lights and saddle will require different bracket lengths to work.

Short bracket on the left, long bracket on the right.

Cateye Rapid 3 rear light. I would have preferred a USB rechargeable rear light, but I could not find a suitable one.

Battery life of up to 80 hours in flashing mode, which is excellent.

Battery run time for the different lighting modes.

Although the light works well, there are some areas on the light where the build or design quality is poor. It used to be better, until cost cutting measures came in and some quality was sacrificed to achieve lower costs...

Edges of the Cateye badge sticking out, which looks really poor.

This is because there is only one snap fit in the middle, with the edges free to deform.

Uses 1 x AA battery. The rubber seal at the edge of the housing also comes off easily.

Lighting quality is good, with the two smaller LEDs at the side...

...and one big LED in the middle.

Together with the small bracket, the light and bracket weighs 56 grams.

The rear light slides onto the bracket...

...which is then inserted into the saddle mount.

Sticks out quite a bit from the saddle. Still leaves sufficient space for a saddle bag.

View from the rear. Depending on your saddle angle, the light angle will vary.

Advantages:
1) Compact as it does not take up space on the saddle rail.
2) Integrated look.
3) Another light can be mounted on the saddle bag or seatpost.

Disadvantages:
1) When moving your bike, most people will lift the rear saddle. In this case, they will end up pulling the light, causing it to drop out from the bracket.
2) Light angle is linked to the saddle angle.
3) Limited choice of rear lights.

What I feel is that if you already have a Fizik saddle, this is an option for mounting a secondary rear light. However, if you are thinking of getting a Fizik saddle just to mount a rear light on the saddle, you should reconsider as I don't think it is worth it. Good to have but not a strong enough reason to switch saddles.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Cycliq Duo Mount - For Garmin + Fly12

When I ordered the Cycliq Fly 6 CE, I received a free Cycliq Duo Mount as I was one of those who made the pre-order. It was a nice surprise as I did not know that when I placed the order. Also, the mount is apparently quite expensive so it was a good offset from the price of the Fly 6 CE.

The funny thing is that this Cycliq Duo Mount was shipped separately from the Fly 6 CE, and it actually arrived before the Fly 6 CE! When I first received it, it looked just like any other ordinary combination mount, which I already have a few.

Almost all combination mounts have an interface on top for a Garmin cycle computer, while the bottom side has a GoPro type of mounting for your camera. This is good enough if you are using a Garmin on top and a GoPro or similar camera. However, what happens if you are using a Cateye cycle computer instead?

I found that there are actually a few different adapters for the top mount, so that you can install different cycle computers on it. Other than the most common Garmin type, it also has those less popular types such as Cateye, Polar, Wahoo, etc.

The only bike where I have a chance to use this mount would be the Avanti Inc 3, but it already has a REC Mount which allows me to install a Cateye cycle computer on top and the Cycliq Fly 12 front camera/light at the bottom.

One problem I had with the REC Mount is that the mount itself prevents me from accessing the Fly 12 charging port easily. Since I already have this new Cycliq Duo Mount, I might as well give it a try to see if it is better.

Packaging for Cycliq Duo Mount, with the other adapters visible. 

As stated, it comes with optional mounting disks (adapters) to make it compatible to a wide range of cycle computers. 

Weighs 43 grams without any adapters installed. It feels strong and rigid as it is designed to withstand the weight of the Fly 12. 

With the Cateye adapter and the fixing bolt at the bottom, the weight comes up to 59 grams. 

Installing the Cateye adapter was an interesting process. The adapter uses two countersunk bolts to attach the adapter to the aluminium mount. However, the Cateye adapter layout is such that the design gets in the way of the second bolt (refer to picture below).

 
First bolt for Cateye adapter installed easily. How do I install the second bolt? Can I do without it?

I tried using the adapter with only one bolt installed. The adapter is not loose, however the Cateye button does not work. For those who have used Cateye cycle computers before, the bottom of the Cateye screen is actually the "button". Pressing that area will cause a bump on the adapter to push the actual button located at the back of the Cateye cycle computer.

However, on this adapter, as the bump which is located on the plastic tab is not supported from below (refer to picture above), the Cateye button cannot be activated. I realised that the only way to make it work was to install the second bolt UNDER the bump on the Cateye adapter. Therefore I had to bend the tab on the adapter by almost 90 degrees so that I can slip the second bolt underneath and tighten it, all the while praying that the tab does not snap off. This is quite a strange design as it can fail easily, but I could not see any other way around it.

After installing the second bolt under the tab with the bump, the Cateye cycle computer can be activated! Luckily the thin plastic did not break off. 

With the Fly 12 also installed underneath the mount. Looks to be a much cleaner and tidier arrangement as compared to using the REC mount. 

The clamp for the mount is located on the left side of the stem, which is good as it does not interfere with the Alfine Di2 Digital Display which is mounted on the right side.

With this Cycliq Duo Mount, the one-armed mount construction no longer obstructs access to the charging port of the Fly 12. Also, everything just looks neater, compared to the utilitarian design of the REC mount. Overall, I am pleased with the Cycliq Duo Mount as it is a better mount. Best of all, it came free of charge!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cycliq Fly6 CE - Rear Camera + Rear Light

If you don't already know, Cycliq makes the Fly 6, which is a rear camera plus rear light for bicycles. I have been using it since the second generation Fly 6 came out, which is more than 3 years ago. It is so popular because it is easy to use. Turning on the rear light also turns on the rear camera, and the video recording overwrites the earliest data when the memory card is full, similar to a car camera. This removes the need to manually delete the footage on the memory card when it is full. The only time you need to remove the Fly 6 from the bike is when you need to charge it, or when you are using it on another bike.

Recently, the Fly 6 was updated again, to Fly 6 CE, which stands for Connected Edition. It can now be linked to the Garmin cycle computer, so that you can control the recording or the light modes from the computer. Not that I need it, as I don't think I need to change the mode on the go. However, what attracted me to the latest version is the upgraded video quality.

The previous versions had a video quality of HD, which is 720p. However, under less ideal lighting conditions, the video footage will become grainy and low quality. The new Fly 6 CE has increased the resolution to Full HD, 1920x1280p at 60 frames per second! This is excellent and it is my main reason to upgrade to the Fly 6 CE. For examples of video quality, just check out Youtube.

New all black design makes the light looks more sleek and less obtrusive.

New packaging

Similar layout, with the big camera lens on top and the LEDs below. The casing is now all black instead of red to blend in with the bike.

Power/mode button on the side

Brightness selection button on the other side. 

The charging port (USB-C) is on top, right beside the Micro SD card slot. Covered by a rubber flap for rain resistance.

Instead of strapping the whole unit to the seatpost, it now attaches to a bracket via a twist type mount, similar to the Garmin type. The bracket remains on the bike.

Weighs 112 grams without the mounting hardware

Comes with a whole bunch of rubber shims, velcro strap and bracket to match almost any kind of seatpost.

Weighs 127 grams with one set of mounting.

Taking a closer look at the bracket, I found that it only works in one direction, as there is a stopper. No wonder I could only twist it in one direction instead of both directions like on the Garmin.

Installing and removing the fly 6 CE is easy, just twist it off like the Garmin.

Comparing the size to the previous version, the Fly 6 [v]. Much smaller in size as the mount is not part of the unit.

Much bigger lens on the new version!

Ring of red light around the lens, a signature design of the Fly 6.

The LEDs are really bright, and I find that using the low or medium brightness mode is sufficient.

For full HD recording at high FPS, a high performance micro SD card is necessary. This one is on Cycliq's list of recommended micro SD cards.

The camera and lights work well, and can be configured on the phone by downloading the app. However, the PC app does not work no matter what I try, luckily it works on the phone app.

Another issue is the poor quality of the velcro strap. It has a rubber coating for improved grip with the seatpost, but this layer of rubber peels off easily. Not a big issue as it can be solved by some DIY, just a little bit annoying that this is happening when it is new.

Black rubber layer peeling off the back of the velcro strap.

How it looks as mounted on the bike! All black look matches the bike well.

New bracket has a lower profile, which is good as it ensures that the VCLS seatpost can work properly without being constrained by the velcro strap.

For a super detailed review, refer to the one by DC Rainmaker, which is the benchmark for a good reviews with technical details and unbiased comments.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Canyon Endurace: 4iiii Precision Power Meter on Dura-Ace R9100 Crankarm

In recent months, I decided to get a powermeter to use on my bike, in order to gauge my effort numerically. Although I can generally feel the resistance, and roughly tell whether it is a "strong headwind" or me having an off-form day, it is more accurate to have a powermeter to show the actual wattage used during the ride.

The speedometer can tell you the actual speed, but it cannot indicate how much effort is used to travel at that speed. When you are moving fast, it can be due to you pedaling hard, or it is just the benefit of having a good tailwind. On the other hand, when you feel that you are moving slowly even though you are putting in considerable effort, it can be due to tiredness or something else (such as slight uphill, slight headwind or rubbing brakes, for example).

With a powermeter, it will be easy to tell the power required to sustain a certain speed. Most people use powermeters for training purposes, so that they can gauge their effort and stick to their training plan. However, I only intend to use it to collect some data, not for training.

There are many brands and types of powermeters available, such as pedal type, chainring type, rear hub type, crank arm type, etc. I decided to get a simple one-sided powermeter, as I don't need the accuracy of a dual-sided powermeter.

For one sided power meter, Stages and 4iiii are the more popular ones available, with a similar cost. Stages came out with the left crank arm powermeter first, but they have been having some quality issues from what I heard. Therefore I decided to get the 4iiii power meter which is also a left crank arm type.

Installation is as straightforward as it can be, as you basically just replace your existing left crank arm with the one from the 4iiii factory, which has already been fitted and calibrated with the strain gauges on the left crank arm. It is also possible to send in your existing left crank arm for them to install the power meter, but that may be too much trouble especially if you are located halfway around the world.

4iiii Powermeter, which claims to be the lightest left side powermeter.

Set up instructions are printed on the inside of the box.

As I plan to install the powermeter on the Canyon Endurace road bike, I got a crankarm that matches the groupset. As already done earlier, the Dura-Ace R9100/9170 groupset has already been installed on the bike, therefore I need to get the model that uses the Dura-Ace R9100 left side crankarm.

When I ordered the powermeter, the crankarm was not in stock, so I had to wait about a month before I received it. Here it is!

Dura-Ace R9100 left side crankarm

Super glossy surface finishing as seen here

4iiii sensor glued to the back of the crankarm. Most of the bulk is actually taken up by the coin type battery.

Relatively low profile, should clear most chainstays, unless your bike has a special chainstay profile.

165mm length to match the right side crankarm

Battery cover taken off to show the battery. Easily replaceable when it runs out of power.

Weighs 182 grams including the sensor! The regular crankarm without the sensor weighs 173 grams, so the sensor weighs just 9 grams. Super lightweight powermeter indeed.

Sufficient clearance between the sensor and the chainstay. 

Installation is easy, just use this crankarm with powermeter instead of the normal one that comes with the crankset. After that, link it to your cycle computer via ANT+, then calibrate and zero the powermeter as per the instructions.

From the data, I can see that it takes roughly 130 watts to pedal at 30km/h on the Canyon Endurace, on flat ground and no wind, and without drafting. To go at 40km/h will require about twice the power! I can only sustain this power over a short stretch.

Pro cyclists regularly cycle at over 40km/h, which means that their power output will normally be 200 watts or more. This is already accounting for the drafting effect when riding in a group.

In a way, having this data helps you judge your pedaling effort and how much more you need to go faster. For example, if I want to sustain 35km/h instead of 30km/h, I will need to raise my power output from 130 watts to 180 watts! That is a big jump and it will take a lot of training to sustain this power for a meaningful amount of time.

However, if you are drafting, you can save about 30% of your energy if you do it correctly. Therefore, if you are drafting behind somebody, you can go at 35km/h while using about 130 watts. In other words, if you can output 130 watts, you can ride at 30km/h solo, or 35km/h when drafting.

The best part about this powermeter is that it is super low maintenance and fuss free. The battery lasts a long time, and there is no need to calibrate or pair it every time you ride. It is also very lightweight and small sized, and is hardly visible on the bike.