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