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Could VeloPal ride tracking app be a Strava & Garmin killer?

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VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_running-app_s

There are plenty of mobile apps out there for ride tracking and social sharing, not the least of which is Strava’s own smartphone app. But where most mobile phone based trackers fail is in delivering the data recording accuracy of a dedicated GPS-enabled cycling computer like Garmin’s popular Edge series. Of course the other big downfall of most tracking apps is power drain. VeloPal claims to be efficient in its use of your battery power, but still warns against GPS continually running in the background. Let’s take a closer look and see what they do offer and if it will be good enough to keep you from buying a new Garmin…

VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_StopWatch_Activity_screens

The creators of VeloPal (and its companion RunPal) loved the idea of being able to use the powerful smartphone that most athletes are already carrying in their pockets, but just couldn’t accept the poor tracking accuracy. So they worked with the existing tech in modern smartphones and developed a newer and better tracking algorithm to form the backbone of their app that is said to deliver accuracy on par with the best GPS cycling computers out there.

Plus working with the far superior displays found in most phones, their app presents a far crisper and easier to see readout. The fully customizable interface shows 8 data fields, using simple color and graphics to make the data easy to understand while riding. We’ve even tried the stopwatch/data field screen with inverted colors for a high contrast/low power consumption view.

VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_Activity-Feed-Screen VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_Section-Power-leaderboard VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_Calendar

VeloPal also builds-in a nice feature that lets you create ride Sections (read: segments) on the go. The app includes several other group ride social features, like the ability to see yourself on a leaderboard based on your power output, see how much time you spent pulling the pack, and at the end of the ride it can rank who was the most powerful on the ride as a whole or just on specific sections.

Their advanced analytics pair with their site to also let you compare your peak power outputs, and even let you graphically compare your power outputs along the same route over multiple days to better visualize your training improvements. The app also includes a color-coded and easy-to-read training calendar to keep you on track for the goals you set.

VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_Power-Peak-comparison-on-the-same-route,-Graph-overlay

VeloPal (and RunPal) say that you can plan and create custom routes for your rides from the app. Of course once you are out on a ride, as an app on your smartphone, it can run in the background allowing you to multitask as you go (although that doesn’t sound so safe), but that just means you can stop and take a call or photo, check your email, or even listen to tunes while you ride.

VeloPal lets you connect whatever external sensors you have that are compatible with your phone (typically limited to Bluetooth), like heartrate monitors and power meters. The app also lets you link photos with your rides, and at the end of a ride has a place to add notes about weather, details about the ride, and how you felt, all before it automatically uploads/syncs to VeloPal.com

VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_AppleWatch1 VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_AppleWatch2 VeloPal_smartphone-ride-tracking-app_AppleWatch3

On top of that, VeloPal is a free app for either iOS or Android phones, plus for the Apple Watch. It isn’t even ad-supported. How do they plan to make money? For now we are guessing that they are looking to build a user base and collect data, and their web interface does appear to be include some ads. They do also have a premium Elite membership for the foundation site that provides some additional functionality (and security).

For now though it looks like an alternative app worth trying out. It promises a blend of the improved accuracy of a dedicated GPS backed up with a majority of the social and training features of something like Strava Premium. So far playing around with it, we’ve certainly seen it best several other app based trackers for accuracy, but maybe not quite match a dedicated GPS yet…

VeloPal.com

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paquo
paquo
6 years ago

any ap that doesn’t let people post poached trails at hypersonic speed is better than scummy unethical strava

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago
Reply to  paquo

So strava is unethical, not those poaching trails and “cheating” like the 16 yr olds they probably are? Okay.
Do you think car makers are unethical as they all make cars that can easily go way beyond the speed limit?

paquo
paquo
6 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

yes it’s unethical to poach and its unethical for a company to use its platform to publish this.

the biz
the biz
6 years ago
Reply to  paquo

isnt poaching trails kind of unethical to begin with

jeffle
jeffle
6 years ago
Reply to  paquo

Ain’t nothin to it, Strava made me do it!

moscher
moscher
6 years ago

Offline Maps were a fine feature… but i will try it.

DJ
DJ
6 years ago

Not a Strava/Garmin killer. How many riders have Bluetooth only sensors? The article indicates it tracks your location, yet to turn off the phone’s GPS function so not to drain the battery.

Keyboard commando
Keyboard commando
6 years ago

According to the gif up top, I’m doing 16.2 MPH average in my office chair. I like it!

FreeBeer
FreeBeer
6 years ago

Unless it hacks your Bluetooth to enable Ant+, there’s a lot of phones that will need to use a separate Ant+ dongle. BLE may be the future, but there’s a lot of power meters and sensors that aren’t.

Abe Churning
Abe Churning
6 years ago

For what it’s worth, VeloPal is able to use the ANT+ radio in my Galaxy S7 to connect my power meter, HRM, etc.

Jack
Jack
6 years ago

I have an iPhone 6S. Not the biggest device available but big enough for me. Also kind of heavy, bulky, in a way fragile as I already cracked the glass once and as far as I “thought” I knew, it is a ….. phone first and foremost.
I still do not understand why I would want to mount it on my handlebar !!! I have an older Garmin Edge 800 bike computer that gives me more information I will ever need. It is much smaller, robust as I dropped it many times and it is still working perfectly, battery last all day (tip: keep it charged at all times), accurate, it doesn’t annoy me with phone calls, txt or emails while I am cycling, it will take me back to the starting point if I am lost but more so than anything it WORKS !!
IN my eyes, all these app for iPhone or others are nothing but a waste of time and money. They drain the battery no matter what they say, their accuracy is questionable and with thier constant updates it becomes almost a daily task to check if you need the one or not.
I am not here bashing people that comes out with another and “new” glass of warm water, but come on …………. really ???? Do we need another tracking app since we do not have any already ?????????
Often I read about safety. So then why we allow ourself to be endlessly connected to distracting apps that wants us to concentrate on the wrong things (txt, email, phone call …. ) instead of pedaling and paying attention to the surroundings, nature, the ever dangerous traffic ??
Absurd and completely unnecessary ……….

fib
fib
6 years ago
Reply to  Jack

You nailed it!

Allan
Allan
6 years ago
Reply to  Jack

Never understood putting the phone on the bar… Even a smaller smartphone these days is still pretty huge, and I just don’t like the idea of all the rattling and road buzz the phone would be subjected to, mounted to a handlebar of a stiff road bike. I have an Edge 500, and I much prefer the “hard” buttons on it for things like cycling. It’s actually pretty hard to manipulate a touch screen while riding (at least for me), takes more concentration from the road. Hard buttons I can feel for, and get tactile feedback when I press them. I would never ever mount my phone to my bike, it stays tucked away in my jersey where it is much safer, less distracting, and out of the way.

myke2241
myke2241
6 years ago

I always say this and will never change. If your using your phone for a bike computer your a pure idiot. You crash break your phone, maybe you hit a branch what ever. your phone could be completely disabled. Kind of a problem if you’re seriously hurt.

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
6 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Wait, you’re saying your an idiot if you bike with your phone…because you could break or disable the phone…preventing you from calling for help if you’re seriously hurt? How does that work?

I bike with my phone, have for many years. Not only do I use it for tracking, but I listen to music—in both ears! I’ve crashed plenty of times, even shattered my face miles from the nearest road. Phone is still ok with not a single crack. I can’t afford an additional gadget for my bike, financially or time wise. My iPhone, paired with my watch, gives me all the info I need, plus music, plus alerts if my family needs me, plus a phone for help. Most recently, I was biking with my dad and fortunately had my phone on me to call for help as he was immobile and in a great deal of pain.

myke2241
myke2241
6 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Yes I am (when mounted to your bar) You have a family. Hanging your life line on your bars is low fruit. Riding with ear buds only compound matters (but is another discussion altogether). You have simply gotten lucky. When your luck runs out have fun.

Btw ask your wife (or partner) what they think.

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
6 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Ahhh, “on the bars” was missing from your rant. No, I don’t keep my phone on the bars…I’m not an idiot. 😉

And regarding the music, I ride directional singletrack and rarely come across anyone on the trail. I have yet to ever not hear somebody.

bob
bob
6 years ago

Good phone mount, battery, ant+ and waterproofness are required.

Software cannot solve any of this no matter how good.

I like the wahoo rflkt idea better since it allows the phone to stay protected and saves a lot of battery, while not costing a lot of money. Wish they kept improving it though.

In the meantime garmin style device are still king for a good set of reasons and there will be no killing.

AI
AI
6 years ago

Thanks all for helpful comments. I will simply add that there are some of us who need the bigger display a smartphone can provide. Hell, I’d probably mount an iPad to my handlebars if I could figure out how.

When you hit middle age you will understand. #farsighted

KMason
KMason
5 years ago

The app doesn’t even work. Once you sign out of it, you can’t sign back into it. Always says the host server is not available.

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