German fitness technology O-Synce has been making gadgets for the European and Asian markets for some time, but has only recently been introduced in the US. I spotted their stuff at a booth at Interbike last year and was very impressed with what I saw. I took delivery of their flagship computer, the navi2coach, a few days ago and am pleased to present a brief review.
It arrived fully charged, which is nice. The mounts are very simple, not terribly sturdy, but have so far performed well on bumpy road terrain. It’s an ANT+ compatible device so it paired instantly with my Garmin GSC-10 speed/cadence sensor and Garmin heart rate strap with a few button pushes through the menus. There are 4 bike profiles, called Sport Profiles, each with it’s own batch of sensors, wheel sizes and display pages. And, wowza there are a ton of display pages. All manner of HR, cadence, power (each leg is available), speed, and timings are available for display in one of up to 8 windows across 5 pages. Despite the lack of English documentation I was able to get the bike profiles setup and the displays customized to show ride total averages, lap averages, and more in just a few minutes. Here’s a link to the English documentation, courtesy of O-Synce.
There’s a real altimeter, compass and thermometer in here. It knows when it gets dark out and adjusts the back-light accordingly. The time, GPS connection, battery life, and sensor connections are displayed atop the screen at all times during use. There’s also an optional wireless remote control that can sit near the shifters for easy access.
While riding, your current track shows up as a line on a navigation page that is always one button press away from your customized display pages. Routes as .gpx or .fit files are able to be imported into the device to be used as a cue sheet. Turn-by-turn directions appear as a breadcrumb style line map. Satellite connection takes about 30 seconds here in the Philly metro area and has managed to stay locked while riding. It’s actually GPS locked here inside my house as I write this.
In addition to cue sheets, workouts created in their TrainingLab PC software can also be sent to the device. It took me seconds to download and install the software, create a simple pyramid interval workout, send it to the device and start “playing” it back. This is a feature on an old Polar HR watch I had that I really liked but has been missing from the recent cycle computers by Garmin and CycleOps I’ve been using. I’ll be creating a batch of interval workouts, warm ups, and testing routines to store on the device for easy repeatability. This feature is especially nice if you’re working with a coach. A coach can email (or place on their TrainingPeaks calendar) a .fit workout file to clients. No more writing on an index card and taping it to the top tube (I’m not the only one that does that, am I?).
The device feels good, it’s a sturdy plastic build with a tight fitting rubber seal over the micro-USB port that’s used for charging and syncing. The screen looks great in the sun and the back light is plenty bright. The 6 buttons are all useful and have an excellent feel to them. There’s also a removable battery behind a little door surrounded by a rubber gasket. It’s a small cell phone battery. I actually have spares from an old Nokia phone, though I haven’t tried them out yet. Physically it’s a little wider taller than the Garmin Edge 500 but smaller than the Edge 800.
It generates .FIT files that easily import into TrainingPeaks and Strava complete with workout and GPS data. Getting data on and off the navi2coach is easy via the USB port, as it shows up as a mass storage device and charges when connected to a computer.
In summary the O-Synce (pronounced “oh science”) navi2coach gets a lot right. It’s open to TrainingPeaks and Strava, is fully ANT+ compatible, has multiple bike profiles, a strong battery powering a large screen and a very accurate GPS. It does cue sheets and pre-programmed workouts and shows up as a mass storage device when connected via USB to a computer. If I could change anything, it would be the mounts, they sit high off of the bike making for a tall device that could look more aerodynamic with a slight re-design. Other than that, this is a lot of sharp design and smart technology for the money. Feel free to email any questions or leave them in the comments.