Updated: The Garmin Outage is a Bigger Deal Than Many Realize
Is your cycling computer too connected?
By: Troy Templin
For some time now the possibility of instances like this Garmin failure have worried me. So many of today’s cycling products are more reliant on the ability to connect that when the company’s system fails, your system fails too. These are the things I think of when purchasing new tech because they’re out of my control.
Have you ever had an app on your phone that wouldn’t load or is no longer compatible? Sure, things evolve and the people behind the app need to evolve too but it’s not always possible. As I bring this back to the cycling world a few platforms worry me. Sure, Garmin is dealing with their outage at the moment but you can still manually modify your data fields, pair sensors, manually connect via USB to the device to extract/upload ride files and for the most part continue using your device.
Platforms like my Wahoo Roam are ones that would be truly compromised by an outage or incompatibility issues. The device would function fine and can manually connect to recover ride files but there would be some serious limitations beyond that. Since the Wahoo platform relies on the Wahoo Elemnt app to modify pages and data fields as well as pretty much the rest of the ecosystem, an outage would cripple the experience.
Update: I want to be clear here and say that while Wahoo is a perfect example of “what could happen”, their system remains 100% functional. Wahoo has become a leader in connectivity, rather than the disrupter in the market it was years ago, thanks to this app-based system. I am a Wahoo user for the most part and this will not change. The simplicity of their device once set up is refreshing, but if you’re like me and switch data fields around often then you are bound by connecting the app and having your phone available to do so.
CYCLING HEAD UNIT GUIDE
The next time you are shopping for a new device remember the balance between manual and app base controls can be important. Devices from Bryton, Garmin, Lezyne, and Stages all maintain a level of on device based modifications. This means that while it might not be the easiest or most efficient way to change and update data fields or inputs information, it can be done on the device.
Pioneer is also a computer that has this ability but at the moment their status in the cycling industry seems to be in limbo. For this reason I would be reluctant to recommend the new CA600 computer unless you are a Pioneer power meter user. I really like this computer but the unknown status could leave you with no app support in the near future.
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