Cycling Plus - - CONTENTS -

Stages Dash com­puter; Flaer Revo Via au­to­matic chain lube kit; six rear lights; Vi­sion’s Metron 4D bar; swish shoes from Vit­to­ria, PRO’s Stealth short-style sad­dle and more

IN WHAT WAS MORE AMBLE than dash, Stages’ first head unit ar­rives five years af­ter the launch of its crank-based power me­ter.

Cy­clists look­ing for nav­i­ga­tion and Strava Live should head else­where - Dash isn’t that prod­uct, right now any­way (an Oc­to­ber up­date will add nav­i­ga­tion). Rather, it’s a tun­nel-vi­sioned train­ing tool. It has an alu­minium/ plas­tic body with pro­tec­tive rub­ber cas­ing, five but­tons and a no-touch, black and white, largely graphic-free screen. It can sit in ei­ther por­trait or land­scape on your bar, it op­er­ates more ef­fec­tively in the lat­ter, and comes with Stages’ own ro­bust mount. The screen dis­plays five pages of be­tween one and 16 data fields - just about ev­ery train­ing met­ric you can imag­ine - and the size of each can be ma­nip­u­lated.

Free of bells and whis­tles, and still evolv­ing as a prod­uct, where Dash comes into its own right now is as a pint-sized coach. Dash’s cor­re­spond­ing on­line train­ing plat­form Link is a tweaked ver­sion of the To­day’s Plan soft­ware - you buy train­ing plans (£15 a month/£149 a year, af­ter a two-month trial). Based around your FTP (Func­tional Thresh­old Power), plans are spe­cific to time or a race. Once sent to the Dash, it’s left to you to fol­low what this un­usu­ally placid coach tells you. Link, and Dash, might prove a rab­bit hole of info at first, but you can tai­lor the dis­plays to go as deep into power as you want.

When it comes to the text in­struc­tions of in­ter­vals, the box needs to be large enough to fit them in, as you, or it, can’t scroll along the page. For some the screen might be a case of in­for­ma­tion over­load, and the size of the small­est 1/16th box means it’s hard to quickly know what each re­lates to. So it’s clearer to go with six boxes on each screen, with all met­rics re­lated to each other, for ex­am­ple all in­ter­val data on one screen. Box sizes can be ad­justed on the road, but it’s eas­ier to set ahead of time on Link. The lack of a touch screen is a neg­a­tive, par­tic­u­larly given the chunky but­tons aren’t es­pe­cially re­spon­sive. Bat­tery life is claimed to be be­tween 25-30 hours, ex­trap­o­lated from the length of rides we did, that’s ac­cu­rate. With­out nav­i­ga­tion, a no­to­ri­ous bat­tery-eater in Garmin prod­ucts, the Dash sur­vives longer (will added nav­i­ga­tion have an ef­fect?). It has ANT+ and Blue­tooth for data trans­fer (you can move work­outs from the Dash to Link through a phone app), but lacks Wi-Fi. Cru­cially, for users of other power me­ters, both Dash and Link are com­pat­i­ble.

WE SAY Where it comes into its own is as a pint-sized coach

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