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Exactly How Good is the Xplova X5 EVO?

Is the Xplova X5 EVO Actually Any Good?

We unboxed the Xplova X5 EVO and took it on a road trip to the Italian lakes so you can decide for yourself.

Xplova X5 - Just how good is it
The Xplova X5 EVO has a camera at the front

It’s a Revolution!

Cycling computers have had a revolution over the past five years and just when you thought they couldn’t hold any more technology Xplova enter the market with a feature-rich device that goes one step further by incorporating a video camera!

Out of the Box Experience

From the moment the box is in your hand, the product has a premium feel and the packaging adds to the excitement of receiving a new toy. The box materials are similar to a Garmin or a modern smartphone, it opens nicely and has detail on both boxes adding to the anticipation.

The box has a premium feel
The Xplova looks proud in its box

What’s in the Box?

The device comes with a short lanyard that can be used to attach the computer to your bike and stop it from falling off, but that’s very unlikely. The quality of the out front mount that also comes with the product is very good, it’s very well made and has a spacer so it fits most handlebar widths.

You also get an Allen key to fix the mount to your bars and a USB Micro charging cable.

What's included with an Xplova X5
Xplova X5 EVO – What do you get?

Setup

The device is delivered with a full set of English instructions but we didn’t need them for a quick start. It’s self-explanatory and the Xplova set up wizard that launches when you switch on the device for the first time takes you through initial set up.

Setting up the Xplova is easy
The Xplova set up wizard is excellent

Pairing with your wifi, and sensor equipment is easy and the menu is intuitive and easy to flow through.

Installing the mount on the bike is also straightforward and we were up and running, on our first ride within 5 minutes. This included the pairing of a heart rate, power and cadence meter.

Construction

The clever stuff is contained within a rugged and robust casing. Our tester actually dropped the Xplova in Italy on a gravel road descent and it bounced down the hill with nothing but slight cosmetic marks to show for its ordeal.

The side buttons makes using the device easy
The Xplova is tough

It’s waterproof / sealed to  IPX7 standards meaning it can be submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes and has ‘wet weather buttons’ for when big, thick, wet gloves make using the responsive touchscreen difficult.

On the Road

Controls

The X5 EVO’s touchscreen and buttons combine well and make using the device easy. Navigating between the custom rider screens and profiles is not difficult and powering the device up and down is simple using the buttons.

The buttons on the side are helpful
The Xplova is waterproof and hard wearing

Profiles

You can choose from five preloaded profiles, each profile can bet set to have various screens for different activities. We have it on authority from Xplova they intend to enhance this functionality to include custom profiles so you can add to them too.

The data screens are great for ride metrics
The X5 EVO has a series of screens that can be edited

Screens

Each screen for each profile can be modified to include different metrics. There are also very useful graphs for tracking power and all the expected data fields for you to choose from.

The graphs make tacking power output easy
The Xplova graph screen is a great feature – we love it

Maps

The device is supplied preloaded with a great map. As with the rest of the screens, the map screen is easy to use, perhaps easier than the awkward Gamin navigation on the Edge range.

The X5 Map Screen
The X5 EVO’s map screen is easy to use

The Camera

The Xplova Video
The Xplova video can be viewed when riding the bike

In a nutshell – The camera is an exciting addition to how you enjoy riding your bike, it has various recording formats and options including time lapse, dash cam, manual record and auto record, explained in more detail below.

Dash Cam

As with a car dash cam, this is an excellent feature. Basically, the camera records a 20-minute loop, automatically rewriting itself meaning that you will always have the chance of catching that special moment without having to start and stop the recording.
It can also be useful for your commute, giving a continuous video of your ride to and from work.

Manual

It’s very simple – You press record to start the camera and press record to stop the camera.

Auto-record

Triggers can be set to start the camera when custom speed, power, or heart rate thresholds are hit. This means that you can stay focused on your ride and your surroundings without recording becoming a distraction and when you hit 1000 watts in the sprint the camera flicks on.

Time-Lapse

A nice additional feature the time lapse function allows for basic time-lapse photography to be taken compressing a day on the bike into much shorter videos.

File Browser and Playback

The Xplova has a simple file explorer on the device that gives instant access to your recordings and allows for playback when you stop your ride for a break. The rider data such as speed and power can be easily overlayed in the videos using the smartphone companion app.

Companion Apps

Xplova X5 - Just how good is it

Apps exist for both Apple and Android smartphones. There is a connection app that basically acts as Garmin connect.

Although the Connect app has the added feature of creating routes on the fly that can then be synced to the device at the side of the road which is a very nice feature.

The route planning in the app is greatThe connect app is also used for syncing rides, training plans and courses to the device from Strava and your own Xplova profile

The video app syncs videos to your phone where you can cut, edit, crop and paste to your heart’s content. You can also overlay your ride data such as heart rate and power meter readings over the footage and even add music.

The apps are genuinely easy to use. They feel intuitive and straightforward.

Extra, Extra!

The X5 EVO has loads of tech that we will cover in more detail over the coming months but to add to what has been discussed already the companion apps also have professional training plans incorporated into them, community shared routes and other functions not covered here. We’re only really looking at the tip of the iceberg

Summary

This review really only touches the surface of the features available. The Xplova is an outstanding, easy to use, feature-rich cycling computer, that is priced similarly to other options with a similar bank of features.

Add in the camera functionality and the device is a real contender if you’re in the market for a new cycling computer.

 

See for yourself! We’re offering a free heart rate monitor and cadence sensor for a limited time, that’s a saving of over £109! – Shop for Xplova Now

Want to keep riding this winter? Check out our tips for staying warm here!

Full Tech Specs

Display 3-inch, Trans-reflective type, with 240×400 pixels
Water Rating IPX7 (Max.1m underwater for 30 mins)
Video Camera/Spec. 120-degree wide-angle camera with HD 720P@30fps
Internet Connection Wi-Fi; BLE
GPS High sensitivity GPS/GLONASS dual system
Memory 512MRAM/8G flash
Recording Modes Support data-linked auto recording, time-lapse recording, loop recording and manual recording
Map Support OSM maps/Xplova’s website provides route planning and downloading services
Size and Weight 110 x 62 x 23 mm, 120g
Battery Rechargeable Lithium Battery/1500 mah/ approximately 12 hours (Wi-Fi/Backlight off; GPS 3D-Fixed)
Input 5V Micro-USB
Languages English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Thai, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Built-in Sensors Temperature, Barometric Altimeter, Ambient Light
Support ANT+ HRM Chest Belt, Speed Sensor, Cadence Sensor, Combo (speed & cadence) Sensor XA-CS2, Power Meter
Xplova Connect /Video App Andorid 5.0 or above; iOS 10 or above; BT4.0 with BLE
Package Xplova X5 Evo, Extended Holder, Micro-USB Cable, Quick Start Guide, Warranty Card, Strap

7 Tips on Enjoying the Winter Weather

 

Riding a Bike in the Cold

We have pulled together seven top winter tips to help you enjoy riding your Ribble in the depths of the cold season. Afterall there should be no reason not to ride this winter.

1. Ride the Right Bike

It might seem like it goes without saying but don’t ride your best bike through the winter months. Riding a winter-specific bike will not only protect your pride and joy from the wintery road conditions (think salt and water) but it will also keep you comfortable and allow you to set up a winter bike to match the winter conditions.
It might be the North Western weather but Ribble have always been proud of their winter bikes and we have a selection of bikes designed for use throughout the year.

The CGR has mudguard and pannier mounts and disc brakes for a sure-footed winter workhorse.

The Ribble CGR
The CGR is an excellent do it all road bike.

The Ribble CGR

The Winter Audax 7005 is an iconic winter training bike, it’s one of the most recognised bikes on UK winter club runs.

The Ribble 7005 Winter Bike
The Ribble 7005 is an iconic winter bike

The Ribble 7005 Winter Training Bike

The RIBBLE REYNOLDS 525 STEEL offers the best in Reynolds Steel Tubing and frame design for a year-round workhorse.

The Ribble 525
Ribble design and Reynolds tubing.

The Ribble Reynolds 525 Winter Training Bike

 

2. Ride Hard Stay Warm

When the temperature has dropped close to freezing point consider changing up your training plan to a harder ride. One of the by-products of physical exertion is heat, so increasing the intensity of your ride will increase your body temperature and make the ride more bearable. It will reduce the amount of time you can spend on the bike but you will get in a good work out.

A heart rate monitor and cycling computer are a great way to track the level of effort you’re putting into the ride. We have a great range of cycling computers and accessories that can make all the difference when getting your winter training right.

Cycling Computers and Heart Rate Monitors

 

3. Ride the Right Course

One of the girls in the office lives at the top of a hill and her ride always starts with a short but sharp descent “you’re freezing before you have even started” she remarks, but it raises an interesting point – when it’s already cold outside the last thing you should to do is get even colder by rolling down the road not exerting any effort in to a cold, bone-chilling wind, especially after a hot and sweaty 5 minute climb.
Mapping your ride out with a good cycling GPS will help you to plan rides on flat roads. You should also consider riding loops closer to home in case the weather really does turn and you end up needing to end the ride earlier than anticipated.

We offer some great deals on Garmins and the fantastic Xplova device is in stock now!

Garmin cycling computer
Adding a Garmin to your cockpit will help your riding in so many ways.

Cycling Computers

 

4. Dress with Layers

The overall goal of layering is to capture a layer of air (insulation) between each layer of clothing before finalising your fetching ensemble with either a windproof or waterproof layer to regulate your body temperature whilst keeping you dry at the same time.

Base layers are designed to start of this process. A base layer is a layer that sits against the skin, they must trap a small layer of air between your skin and the garment that stays warm but they must also wick away moisture to stop you getting cold and damp.

Ribble bib tights and base layer
A good base layer will make all the difference keeping you warm and dry

Base Layers at Ribble

Mid layers are worn over the top of the base layer, they trap an additional layer of warm air between the base layer and the mid layer and must be breathable. Sometimes a good mid layer like a good soft shell will be your final outer layer.

Ribble have a great range of cycling jackets
Outer layers keep the wind and rain out

Mid Layers at Ribble

Outer layers in cycling are usually waterproof. A good waterproof jacket will be breathable, waterproof and windproof protecting you from the rain and wind keeping you warm and dry.

Outer Layers at Ribble

 

5. Wear Gloves & Overshoes

Cold hands and feet are probably the most frustrating part of being cold, nothing is as bad as feet and hands so cold they hurt but with the right gloves and overshoes, shoes and socks it can be quite easy to overcome.

Gloves As with clothing, warm hands rely on a combination of technical features. A good winter glove must keep the wind out and have a thermal inner to retain the heat. Check out our range of gloves for more inspiration.

Gloves at Ribble

Overshoes – An item of clothing limited to the cycling fraternity the overshoe or over sock is an additional layer of fabric that protects your feet. Put simply, they are a requirement for winter riding.

Over Shoes at Ribble

 

6. Find a Good Coffee Shop… But Keep Warm When You Stop

We can’t help with finding a good coffee shop but on long and lonely winter rides, sometimes the only way to stay upright and #keeppedalling is to stop and get warm with a hot drink and a slice of cake. However, it’s important to stay warm so consider taking an extra base layer in a waterproof bag in your jersey pocket to change in to.

7. Light The Way

Winter is dark. The clocks go back and having lights on the bike to be seen with and to see with is essential.
There is a legal requirement to ride with both a white front light and a red rear light but its just common sense. Ride with lights and have a spare in just in case.

Bike Lights at Ribble

What Do You Think?

Add your winter tips below!

GUIDE: Gym versus outdoor cycling – which is better?

Which is a better workout, an exercise bike in the gym, or an outdoor ride on a proper bike? For us at Ribble, there’s no contest – getting out in the elements on your favourite route beats quite literally going nowhere on a trainer bike every time!

Sure, the weather or darker winter months may force you to cycle indoors, or you could use an indoor trainer for specific interval training, but our preference is nearly always to get outdoors.

Is there any science behind the idea that outdoor cycling is better for you? We’ve taken a look:

Outdoor cycling uses a wider range of muscles

One factor people tend to forget is that when you’re riding a bike on the road, you’re not just using your legs to pump the pedals – you’re also using your whole body to keep the bike balanced, particularly when you’re going fast.

Core muscles like the stomach, back and abdominal muscle groups get a greater workout when you’re keeping a bike balanced, and if you stand, lean or duck while you’re negotiating hills, your shoulders and upper body are taking the strain too.

While you might get some degree of the same workout on a fixed-down exercise bike, you don’t have the same impetus to do so – i.e., keeping yourself upright! So you’re less likely to use as many muscles as you do on the road at the gym.

Riding outdoors pushes you harder

Some argue that you’ll train harder in a gym setting, inspired by the other people around you, than if you were out on the road on your tod – however, at least one study suggests the opposite’s true.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha asked 12 keen cyclists to ride 40km on two separate days: one indoors on a training bike, the other outdoors on flat roads. Although they were asked to put the same amount of effort into both, researchers found they exerted up to 30% more power and worked up higher heart rates on the outdoor ride.

It’s unclear why this is – maybe riding outdoors, with the scenery rolling by, cycling harder doesn’t feel like as much work as it does in the gym, where you’re more focused on your energy levels. Either way, it’s another point in favour of the great outdoors.

You’ll feel the benefit in cold weather

Most gyms maintain the same air-conditioned temperature all year round, but Mother Nature isn’t quite so forgiving. But do you actually burn more calories in cold weather training?

There’s no clear consensus on this. We know the basal metabolic rate (the calories you burn while doing nothing) increases slightly in the cold, but this is hardly likely to make a noticeable difference. It’s also thought that people have more “beige fat” (which burns more easily) in the winter months than in summer.

However, researcher and endurance athlete Michael Joyner MD says cold conditions help your body regulate its temperature better, enabling you to exercise longer and harder than you would otherwise. So while the cold might not do the work for you, it can help you push yourself further.

Finally, it seems intuitive that exercising in the freezing cold outdoors helps develop greater resilience and mental toughness than pedalling away in a climate-controlled gym… but we might be biased.

Best bikes for your improved workout

So hopefully we’ve made our case for why you should ditch the gym membership and get out on the open road for your daily workout or commute to work. With that in mind, here are some of Ribble’s recommended bikes for fitness training and getting out there out on the road:

Evo Pro


Ribble Evo Pro carbon road bike

The Ribble Evo Pro (pictured above) is our popular entry-level carbon sportive road bike. This model has often been a first step into the world of cycling or maybe a cyclist’s first experience of the lightweight responsiveness of a carbon bike so we have acknowledged that by increasing the head tube for a more upright and comfortable position. The Evo Pro is the perfect weekend bike but could also be used for fast commuting and riding sportives and challenge rides.

Ribble CGR

Ribble CGR bike

The Ribble CGR is a light yet robust 7005 aluminium bike with disc brakes and clearance to take 35mm tyres. The key to to the CGR (above) is it’s versatility as a road commuter and all-round bike capable of everything from winter riding to summer trips along the towpath. This cleverly designed frame could easily become the key do-it-all bike that you are looking for.

large (3)

Ribble 7005 Winter Audax bike

This is a design classic we’re rightly proud of. The Ribble 7005 Winter Audax (above) is the bike that thousands of UK club racers turn to for their training sessions. With a 7005 aluminium frame and carbon bladed fork, together with mudguard and rear pannier mounts, it’s also a popular choice with commuters and tourers.

 

GUIDE: The Crossing – A Multi-day Fuelling Plan

When taking on multistage events, your nutrition and fuelling plan becomes even more important. For a one day event you may be able to just ‘wing it’ but when riding back to back, a bad day on the nutrition front can seriously catch up with you the next day. When taking on such a challenging event, preparation is key.

Studying the event information is always a must before getting to start line. The Crossing, for instance, is three days of off-road fun. The days are long and lumpy and to be able to keep going, paying attention to your nutrition before, during and after is going to be very important if you want to see the finish line in Scarborough and get that well-earned ice cream

To get the best understanding of the diet needed to succeed, Ribble Cycles spoke to Annie Simpson, an expert nutritionist from OTE Sports, to find out what is needed to take on this feat.

Before the event

Your start each day can take place from 7am. Nutritionist Annie Simpson would strongly advise not skipping breakfast despite the early start. Having a meal three hours before you start exercising is the ideal, but in this case it just won’t be practical. Annie advises having breakfast at 6am at the latest as this will allow it time to settle before you set off. Something like a big bowl of porridge is ideal as it is high in slow release carbohydrates to fuel the first part of your day.

1

Fuelling during the event

Each day on The Crossing you will have one pit stop during the day to top up those energy supplies.

Simpson explains that there will be a whole host of snacks and drinks on offer, but having extra food with you is going to be important too. “Did you know that when cycling our body tends to use our carbohydrate supplies, especially when the going is tough. The only problem with this is out supplies are limited, so if we want to be able to keep to a good pace and not ‘hit the wall’ we need to make sure we keep replenishing these carbohydrates stores.”

“How you do this is up to you. Whether it is a banana, an OTE Anytime Flapjack Bar or an OTE Energy Drink, it doesn’t matter. Just as long as you are giving your body the energy it needs” she adds.

Annie confirms that you need to take on board 60g of carbohydrates per hour of moderate to intense riding. Here are Annie’s ideas of what 60g of carbohydrates could look like:

“Work out how long you expect to be riding for and make sure you are carrying the means to get through this or at least have some money to stop and refuel with. Remember you will have your Pit Stop to help and there are also unmanned water stations along the way to top-up your bottle.”

Annie stresses the importance of not neglecting hydration. “Did you know: As little as a 2% loss in body weight through sweating has been shown to reduce performance, so don’t compromise your training by forgetting to drink.

“Approximately 500ml per hour should be sufficient or try and stay just ahead of the feeling of thirst. Using products such as OTE energy drink makes for a much more palatable, lighter on the stomach and enjoyable drink, whilst providing carbohydrates and electrolytes too. Dehydration can not only lead to loss of performance but concentration too, and for 3 days of off road riding, concentration is going to be important for riding safe.”

After the event

Simpson stresses that when riding back to back days, nutrition for recovery or re-fuelling is very important.

“As soon as you finish riding each day, don’t switch off, think recovery! Within 30 minutes of finishing exercising the best way to kick start recovery is to consume a recovery drink. This supplies protein to help with muscle soreness, carbohydrates to replenish the fuel stores you have used and fluid to help you get back on top of hydration. Then resume your usual meal pattern as soon as possible. Each meal needs to be high in carbohydrate (aim for around 50% of your plate) and have a portion of protein if you really want to maximise your recovery.”

Annie continues: “Try having a high protein snack before you go to bed, something like an OTE Protein Bar would be great. This can help with reducing muscle soreness overnight and getting you ready for the next day.

“Then it is just a case of repeating this for three days, until you reach the finish line. Start your preparation and planning now to make sure you get the most out of yourself during The Crossing.”

Good luck in your next challenge!

Team Astana and Limar at the Giro d’Italia

Limar provide helmets to the Astana professional cycling team who during May competed in the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia. The team use Limar Ultralight+ helmets and also have the option of 007 Superlight Aero helmets (below) for time trial stages. Feedback from the world’s top cyclists help Limar develop and improve their innovative helmets.

Limar 007 Aero

Stage ten of the Giro was the first of two individual time trials and Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez impressed taking fourth place wearing the 007 Superlight Aero which helped him average 46kph (28.59 mph) for the 40km stage.

The eventful queen stage of the Giro was stage 16 (Rovetta to Bormio) featuring a double ascent of the Stelvio. Early in the stage the famous Passo del Mortirolo had been named as the “Cima Scarponi” and it was Sanchez who crossed the summit first and moved into second place in the King of the Mountains classification.

Giro Limar

Respecting Scarponi

Team Astana’s Giro d’Italia was tinged with sadness after the team tragically lost their colourful road captain Michele Scarponi, who was set to lead the team, in a road traffic accident two weeks before the tour started. Astana raced with eight riders and as a mark of respect to Scarponi, they did not name a ninth rider replacement for him.

After winning the “Cima Scarponi”, Luis Leon Sanchez said, “I’m honored to receive this special prize in honour of a team mate, a friend and a great person. I took to the podium but I think it is well deserved by the entire team. Each one of us gave 100% and more to honour Michele.”

Astana Giro team

The Astana team fought hard throughout the three-week Giro to honour Michele Scarponi and for the young, promising Kazakh rider Zhandos Bizhigitov, in his first Grand Tour, it was extremely hard.

Zhandos finished the queen stage a long time after the winner having raced for over 7 hours: “I’m destroyed, really, really tired!” said the Kazakh. “At the moment I’m just focused on rest and recovery, but it has been an important experience for my future. I’m happy that Luis Leon was able to win the award on the Scarponi climb, it is a very good thing for our team,” he concluded.

Sanchez was perhaps Astana’s stand out rider in the Giro – alongside Dario Cataldo – and for much of the three-week race he was in second place in the Mountains classification, but unfortunately couldn’t catch Sky’s Mikel Landa.

Giro2

Countdown to the Tour de France

Astana, led by Oscar Gatto, also joined Limar’s other professional team Direct Energie racing at the Tour of Belgium. Direct Energie’s Bryan Coquard won the opening stage sprint wearing an Ultralight+ helmet (below) whilst Sylvain Chavanel narrowly missed out on winning the individual time trial using the 007 Superlight Aero helmet.

Both teams now start their final preparation races ahead of the Tour de France in July. Astana are hoping that their Grand Tour leader Fabio Aru is fully recovered from the injury, which prevented him from racing the Giro, and he can challenge for the top honours in Le Tour alongside team mate Jakob Fuglsang. The countdown begins!

Limar DE Ultralight

Limar Helmets