2013 Saris CycleOps Virtual Trainer Software lets you train with GPS route and video using the Power Beam trainer

Saris’ new CycleOps Virtual Trainer software is compatible with their Power Beam Pro or trainer cycle and lets you upload video and GPS data captured on the ride and recreate it on screen.

An online counterpart lets you pick from other folk’s uploaded routes or upload your own, including the video. Or, you can create your own routes on Google Maps or Google Earth and put that GPS data into VT. It’ll then add the proper elevation info and match the resistance. This lets you plot in an upcoming race and (virtually) train on the actual course.

2013 Saris CycleOps Virtual Trainer Software lets you train with GPS route and video using the Power Beam trainer

On screen, you can watch it in Google maps mode or video mode, and all speed, power and other data is displayed on screen.

Video is broken down as frames per second and paces itself with how fast you’re riding on the trainer. Video and route data are stored in the desktop app on your computer, so you’ll have to run a video out to your big screen if you want to totally immerse yourself in the moment.

Software is synced with your Power Beam trainer via an ANT+ USB dongle. The software will merge GPS data and video in its own editor, or it can pull combined data from GPS-equipped cameras.

The software will retail at $349 if you already have a Power Beam. It’s available this fall, and starting then all Power Beam trainers and their 400 Pro Indoor Cycle will ship with the software. Prices for that start at $1,299, and they’ll have a bundle with the trainer, software and Joule GPS for $1,599 with HR strap. PC only at launch, Mac to follow.

They’re looking at online virtual races against a friend in real time, but there are some licensing and other issues holding that up at the moment.

2013 Saris CycleOps Joule GPS cycling computers with heart rate base power meter measurement

New Joule computers are offered in two models. The smaller one measures power and other basic metrics (17 functions). The larger Joule GPS adds location tracking and things like ascent and other location based goodies, pedal balance and more power metrics (35 functions). Prices are $169 and $269 and includes a stem/bar mount and an out front mount that puts it in front of the stem. Screens are customizable, and the Joule GPS upgrades to a dot matrix screen with more custom options and a rechargeable battery.

The data from the computer can be uploaded into their Power Agent software (free download, PC or Mac) and exported into an all important Strava friendly format (GPX). They’re working on getting it to send data directly to Strava, and Training Peaks and MapMyRide, too. They’re looking to have that worked out by the time the devices launch in September.

The new PowerCal uses a chest strap HR monitor to deduce power based on their years of tracking power. While its more accurate in the controlled environment of an indoor trainer, they’ve developed algorithms to come close in the varying conditions of real riding. It’s not as accurate as their PowerTap hubs, but it’s only $99. It communicates power and HR data via ANT+ and has an optional speed sensor ($139 for the complete set) for the bike if you’re not using it with a GPS cycling computer. It’s aimed at the entry level power user that’s more curious about training with it but doesn’t want to commit to more expensive parts for the bike. Because it’s ANT+, it’ll sync up with other brand computers and watches that read power.

They actually showed this last year, but the original version would have required a calibration session at shops. Dealer feedback said that wouldn’t fly with consumers, so they worked with their data more and now it requires no set up whatsoever. You put it on and go, no need to enter height, weight, gender or anything. We’ve got one of these to test.


  1. @J Charles – agree totally. I was really hoping the early production shots would give way to something a little nicer – especially after the delay in bringing these to market… it’s sort of like they had all of these surplus screens from their original yellow computers laying around and decided to save a few bucks.

  2. I have powertap wheel, and have had both the original yellow head unit and the Joule 2.0. The original head unit was fine in its day, and the Joule 2.0 was, and still is, a great computer (although 2x the price it should be). I switched to an Edge 500 this spring mostly for GPS to record mtb rides without sensors, but also because the latest joule firmware often reset my mileage during rides (Or went to 9999 miles) and was COMPLETELY incompatible with 64 bit windows 7.

    I saw the pre-release info on the Joule GPS and was excited to see it at Interbike. I was amazed, and not in a good way.

    The new Joules are giant, clunky, and cheap looking/feeling. The GPS version at least has the same screen type as the Joule 2.0, but the screen on the cheaper one is cringe inducing. The plastic bodies scream cheap and fragile.

    Ever heard the steve jobs story where he drops the ipod prototype in the fish tank and air bubbles come out to show there was still empty space in it to make it smaller? I’m pretty sure fish could live inside the Joule GPS it feels so empty and light. The first picture is the only one to kind of show the thickness of it, the ones at interbike were nearly an inch thick/tall.

    After the delays from the original late fall/ early spring release kept getting pushed back, I was sure they were retooling from feedback and going another direction. Sad to see that this wasn’t the case. This might have flown 5 years ago but there are WAY too many great products/companies that are evolving cycling computers in the smartphone age.

    Glad to see they went another way on the hrm/power strap. I had the same conversation with them about how a shop realistically wouldn’t buy a demo powertap wheel and loan it out to a customer for initial and monthly testing for a $100 hrm.

  3. Jeremy: That looks like Lizard Skins DSP 1.8mm. It is their thinish super lightweight tape. I’ve got some in black on my bike. Still more comfortable than most other tapes out there… but also SUPER lightweight and grippy. As well as pricey, MSRP is $48 I believe.

  4. One a side note.. while I was interested and intrigued in the programmable PowerCal… the new calibration free model sounds… silly. Without being programmed into my body, how would it know for instance that my max heart rate is much higher than others, that my LT is high as a percent of max heart rate. While with the former, a team could have owned 1 powertap wheel and calibrated as necessary for those who couldn’t afford a full fledged powermeter…. this sounds like basically just an HR strap. Sure it can tell spikes and such based on how quickly HR rises, but how is it going to know is 150 bpm is 100 watts or 250?

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