Fitbit Surge Review

“The Ultimate Fitness Super Watch”? Absolutely NOT!

I really wanted this watch to be awesome. I own the Aria (Fitbit scale), Charge, Charge HR and love them and now I own the Surge. I was willing to forgive glaring issues in hopes it would provide me with a GPS option and heart rate feedback without the chest strap, but after more than two months of trying it out and hoping at some point I could give it a positive review, I have to give in and say “do not spend your money on this watch.” It has been a complete disappointment as it fails to do its primary function.

My biggest problem with the surge is the GPS. I have ran and ran and it has yet to be successful in tracking my runs. Today was the first time where it actually succeeded in tracking 50% of my distance. That may be a great percentage for a baseball batting average, but is truly awful for a GPS watch. My actual run was 4 miles in 37 minutes which is a pace of 9:15/mile…as you can see below, the Surge’s metrics are way off.


It actually mapped my run fairly well, at least better than other times.


I have read where people blame altitude as the reason why the watch’s GPS struggles. I live in Salt Lake City which is at a higher altitude than the coast, but even if this is the problem, it is inexcusable as other GPS devices, including other fitness watches (Garmin 405), do not have a problem keeping the signal.

I have begun a discussion with Fitbit’s customer service which so far is about as great as this watch. I will provide the communications with my thoughts below and will update them as they continue.

For the most part the heart rate monitor has worked as advertised. it has typically been within 5-10 beats per minute as compared with other monitoring devices. I really like to see my heart rate when I am sleeping and while doing typical daily activities. During exercise, the heart rate monitoring has worked most of the time. There have been instances while in a spin class with the lights off where the monitor has failed to register my heart rate. This could be due to the position of the watch on my wrist when holding onto the bike’s handlebars. I haven’t quite nailed down the problem, but by the end of the class it has read my heart rate enough to give me an adequate picture of my workout.

The Fitbit app is serviceable. it provides the basic information with a general picture of your fitness throughout the day. It syncs easily enough with the watch. The biggest problem I have with the app is they don’t provide an iPad app. it is a phone only app which means it just sucks on the iPad. For a company that is all about technology, how can you not provide both an iPhone and iPad specific app.

I could go into a lot more about the Surge, but why bother when it doesn’t reliably perform one of the basic functions it is designed to do.


My Initial email:

I don’t have access to my initial email as it was submitted directly on their website, but it basically stated I have never been able to get the GPS to keep the signal through an entire workout.

Fitbit Response 1:

Hello Charles,
We are sorry to hear that you are having issues with your Fitbit Surge tracker to track a run or exercise.
With the Fitbit Surge you can track several types of runs and exercises, see your stats on the device during your workout, and then consult your web or mobile dashboard after syncing your data to review details and totals. This article provides everything you need to know to track a run or other exercise in real time, after which you’ll be able to get started in seconds regardless of activity.
If you still having troubles with your Fitbit Surge tracker please do not hesitate to contact us.
Mario V and the Fitbit Team

My Response 1:

Really? Your reply to my problems is the user guide?  The GPS loses connection on every run I do. It has yet to work. I just got back from a run which I know is 4 miles and it says I barely ran above 2. Is the watch faulty?

(Admittedly, I was a little spiteful with my response. Mario V and the Fitbit Team are just trying to do their job)

Fitbit Response 2:

Hello Charles,
The purpose of sending the related article of “how to log or record a run or an exercise” is for you to be sure that you are activating your device properly prior to these activities.
If you have been trough these steps and your Fitbit still not working properly please let us know in order  to give you further assistance.

Mario V and the Fitbit Team
My Response 2:
I have been through these steps multiple times and it is still not keeping the GPS signal throughout my run. It always loses the signal. It has never kept the GPS signal through any of my workouts during the entire two months I have owned it.
My Response 2.1 (I haven’t heard back from them after response 2):
I have been through these steps and my surge is still not working properly. Again, today the GPS quit working halfway through my run. It has yet to work for a full run in the two months I have owned it.
I’ll keep you updated as more communication occurs, or doesn’t occur.

OGIO Rides Deeper Into the Professional Cycling Circuit

The following is a press release from OGIO. They make my favorite bags and I recently bought the Ogio Endurance 9.0 bag. I’ll be reviewing it soon. I think it is cool they are venturing more into endurance athletes, as early on they were huge into extreme athletes (motocross and the like)…but we all know the real “extreme” athletes are those who aspire for Ironman glory, century rides and marathons.

OGIO Rides Deeper Into the Professional Cycling Circuit

Designer of golf bags, apparel, and accessories reports their newest sponsorship with the Jamis Hagens Bermen Professional Cycling Team

SALT LAKE CITY (June 5, 2013) – OGIO International, innovator of uniquely intelligent bags for endurance athletes, is pleased to announce its new sponsorship agreement with the Jamis Hagens Bermen US Professional Cycling Team for 2013. Active as of May 12, 2013—the commencement of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California—the agreement precedes overwhelming performance success for the team. Thanks to the likes of Colombian rider, Janier Acevedo, the team captured a stage 2 victory and a 2nd place finish on stage 7.

“We initially built relations with the Jamis Hagens Bermen Team through Laura Moen, OGIO’s Northwest Sales Representative,” said Mark Talarico, OGIO’s Global Vice President for Endurance Sports.

Continuous communication allowed OGIO to ensure the team received product prior to the start of the Tour.

“The guys love the Endurance 9.0 bags,” said Jamis Hagen Berman’s Director Sportif, Sebastian Alexandre. “We are always searching for the best equipment for our athletes and OGIO products fit that criterion.”
New Jersey-based Jamis Hagens Berman joins Netherland-based Argos-Shimano Race Team in OGIO’s cycling portfolio of brand ambassadors with OGIO indicating intent for further expansion.

“Other team interest and inquires have ensued since receiving positive exposure through our partnership with Argos-Shimano,” said Talarico. “In fact, we have recently been approached by 6 other major international race teams and are currently evaluating those opportunities. We love being a part of the professional cycling circuit and view the engagement as a cornerstone to our endurance division.”

Both parties (OGIO and the Jamis Hagens Berman Cycling Team) look forward to continuing their partnership in the coming years.

About OGIO
OGIO International was born 25 years ago with the invention of the Locker Bag, the first innovative “fit to gym locker bag” designed to keep fitness enthusiasts on the go and organized. That heritage evolved over the years as OGIO continued to design uniquely styled sports performance bags. OGIO’s current Endurance collection was specifically designed for triathletes, runners, cyclist and fitness enthusiasts and combines the ultimate in light weight yet durable materials with intelligent designs that offer the perfect combination of protection, comfort and organization. As a result of the innovative designs of the Endurance collection, OGIO is the official bag of choice for professional cycling team, Team Argos Shimano, and is the official bag of Iron Man, the highly acclaimed organizer of events for triathletes.


Skins A400 Compression Calf Tights MX Review

Keep Your Calves Cozy

Skins Compression Calf Tight A400When the compression rage first started to hit endurance sports about two years ago, most athletes turned towards compression for mainly recovery applications.  Slowly, compression has started to make its way into active performance apparel for use during events.  You can hardly go to any athletic event without seeing multiple athletes with compression on – especially the very popular calf compression sleeves.

I must state up-front, that I was very resistant to this idea.  It seemed to me that compression in such a small area would not be that beneficial.  Additionally, I had never thought my calf muscles would really benefit all that much from compression.

I must admit that I was wrong.  I recently had the opportunity to test the Skins A400 Compression Calf Tights MX, and I must admit that I was impressed.  I utilized these compression sleeves on several runs – with my longest being a 13-miler.  Overall, I really liked how “fresh” they kept my legs.  I had always assumed that calf compression sleeves would be for individuals that struggled with cramps in their calves.  This has never happened to me, so I pretty much assumed that I would never use them.  When I was doing the Wildflower Triathlon this year, however, I spoke with another athlete who had these.  I asked him about cramps and he explained to me that the compression sleeves actually helped to keep the blood moving through his legs (i.e. helped return blood to heart), not actually prevent cramps at all.  This was a new thought for me.

The Skins A400 Compression Calf Tights are a great quality pair of sleeves on the market today.  They come in black and white.  I got the white pair, and I must admit that I wish I would have gone with black.  I thought getting white would be better for temperature control, but in my test this wasn’t an issue.  Additionally, the white gets dirty easily, and I think they just look kind of funny compared to the black.

The sizing is very accurate.  Their sizing chart recommended that I get a size S.  The fit is very tight, and they can be a little tricky to get on over your feet.  It should be a obvious, but make sure you don’t try to put them on while you’re wearing your running shoes.

As for the actual effect of compression, I really enjoyed the feeling on my lower leg muscles.  I felt like I didn’t get nearly as fatigued as I have on past runs, my soreness level was much lower the next day, and I just felt like my legs remained fresher overall.  Granted this could be partial mental, but again, if it gives you an edge then it’s worthwhile.

In terms of overall design, the A400s Calf Tights look good on, and have a simple, elegant design.  They have few seams and I didn’t experience any chaffing or irritation while using them.

The Bottom Line ~

If you are looking for a high-quality pair of calf compression sleeves, I don’t think you can go wrong with Skins A400 Compression Calf Tights MX.  Skins is a high-quality company with research and strong design, but you will pay a premium.  The quality is top-notch and the sizing is accurate.  The sleeves are very comfortable and I noticed a real difference in my longer runs.  I would make sure to stay away from the white color.  Overall this a great product, from a great company.

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Skins C400 Compression Bib Shorts Review

A Second Skin that Delivers

Skins C400 Compression Bib Shorts Product ShotIt seems like you can’t go to any event or pick up a magazine that isn’t talking about compression.  The compression craze dominates right now.  While I have tried many products in triathlon and running that have compression, I had never tried a cycling short that was compression specific.  Skins C400 Compression Bib Short is a very comfortable, high-quality compression bib short that any cyclist would love.  If you are looking to add compression to your cycling experience look no further than Skins.

First and foremost, the C400 bib short is very comfortable.  It literally fits like a second skin – and is that comfy.  There was no odd pulling or pinching anywhere to be found.  Even the straps felt good.  The fabric is super soft, and the chamois is spot-on.  Some bike shorts can feel like you’re wearing a diaper, and others feel like there is no support at all.  I think that Skins nailed the chamois – which can be the most difficult, yet most important, element.

Skins’ sizing is based off of height and weight.  Instead of your regular S, M, L, XL, there sizing has a range.  Make sure you look at this chart.  It recommended a medium for me, and it seemed like the right size.

Overall, I really enjoyed wearing compression shorts during cycling.  I decided to test these shorts on a nice flat ride and on a monster climb up the local canyon.  I loved the support and feel of these shorts throughout the experience.  One of the biggest things that I noticed was that the compression seemed to limit the vibration, or at least the perceived vibration, in my quadricep muscles.  I feel like this ultimately helped reduce fatigue and let more of my muscle energy be used for biking.

While this is by no means scientific, I felt like they made a difference and were comfortable.  They also have a distinctly different feel from any of my other cycling shorts.  They were much more supportive, and seemed to “hold” my muscles more, or massage them just a little.  It’s hard to describe in words.

There were a few things I didn’t like about this short.  First, I did not like the leg bands.  Most high-quality shorts seem to be moving from narrow bands to a larger compression fabric band.  These shorts use a narrow compression band.  While it may be just aesthetics, it didn’t feel as substantial as some other shorts I’ve used.  Also, I found on my climbing ride that I sweat a lot in these shorts, and the sweat really showed.  Now granted I have the grey and white short (which I wouldn’t recommend), but I did wonder about the breath ability. I haven’t sweat that much in any other shorts I have used – even on steep climbs.

Finally, my only other complaint is that for the price of these shorts, they don’t have a cool, high-end, designer look.  While they are comfortable, you don’t look anything like a pro, or even like a sleek cyclist for that matter.  One last note – there website is incredibly slow, so be patient!

The Bottom Line ~

The Skin’s C400 Compression Bib Shorts are a comfortable, high-quality bib short that incorporates compression for the serious cyclist.  While the shorts are a pricey $300, the quality is great and comes from a company that stands behind their products.  I’m not crazy about the narrow compression bands on the legs of the short, the breathability, and the look of the design.  However, I feel like these shorts kept my legs fresh during my ride, and that they definitely deliver on the compression promise.

Do you have an experience or comment about this product?
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Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Tri Speed Suit Review

Feels Like I’m Wearing Nothing at All

Anyone who has done a triathlon, knows how much of a difference your clothing choice can make.  It can make your race an absolute dream or a cruel nightmare.  The highest compliment I can think of when it comes to triathlon clothing, is that when you wear it it feels like you are racing naked – something you probably would like to do, but can’t for obvious reasons.

I’ll be honest, I was more than a little skeptical about a one-piece triathlon suit.  It seems a bit pretentious, and I didn’t think it would fit comfortably – especially if you don’t wear the same size on top as you do on bottom.  One thing I love about the 2XU tri-clothing I bought was that you can get a customized fit for the top and bottom.  So, when I bought this tri-suit I was concerned that it wouldn’t fit me like I wanted it to.

I can’t believe how wrong I was.  The Pearl Izumi P.R.O. fabric is incredible.  It fits like a glove.  In fact, probably a little too good.  I purchased a medium and I have say the sizing was spot on.  I really like the more “tank-top” cut of the top of this suit.  I didn’t feel like it was tight around my neck or shoulders like some triathlon tops can be.

The P.R.O. tri-suit features IN-R-Cool technology that provides optimal cooling and sun protection.  It’s something proprietary that Pearl Izumi developed, and I have to say that this fabric kept me noticeably cooler.  I also loved not having to worry if i would get a sun burn on my lower back – you know the section of your back that gets exposed during the bike when you wear a two piece tri suit?  I’ve heard some horror stories of bad sun burns on the lower back.

The chamois in this tri-suit is awesomely thin.  It feels like it isn’t even there during the run, but provided plenty of comfort on the bike, and dried out perfectly after the swim. I did the 2012 Wildflower Triathlon in this suit and loved every minute – at least from a clothing perspective.  I never once felt like I had a diaper on, and didn’t get any rashes or chaffing from the suit.

Another feature I love about the single piece suit is the option to go topless, during the run for extra ventilation.  I didn’t have to struggle to get my top off, over my head, and I never had to worry about dropping my top along the route.  During the Wildflower Triathlon, the run was HOT – to say the least.  I loved being able to quickly, and easily slip down the top of my tri-suit and get a little extra ventilation as well as work on my awesome tan.

The Bottom Line ~

This is an incredible tri suit that you won’t regret buying.  The unique fabric fits great and feels good on your body.  The In-R-Cool Technology helps beat the heat.  The legs don’t have any tight elastic bands either, thankfully eliminates sausage legs.  The design is sleek and classy.  The best way to sum up this suit is that it feels like you are wearing nothing at all – and that is awesome.  Note that this was a 2011 suit, because it was on clearance.  These things are super-expensive.  I’d love to try the new suit, but will have to wait until I save up the money or Pearl Izumi decides to send me one to test.

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I got an email of this awesome video that Pearl Izumi recently made about the technology of their triathlon clothing – very cool stuff!

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