Are you a racer or just a rider? Do you train to ride or just ride to train? I’ll admit that, as of late, the majority of my time on a bike has been without a starting gate, but every once in a while I’ll be inspired to prove my worth against other non-pro 30-somethings (yeah, I know…a real challenge). When the mental commitment finally settles in that there will be hard evidence of my mediocrity measured against other riders with unfulfilled dreams of the big time, I tend to kick things up a notch. No, I’m not saying that I add cayenne pepper my gas tank (although I might be onto something there), I’m talking about focusing my efforts both Read More »
Are you a racer or just a rider? Do you train to ride or just ride to train? I’ll admit that, as of late, the majority of my time on a bike has been without a starting gate, but every once in a while I’ll be inspired to prove my worth against other non-pro 30-somethings (yeah, I know…a real challenge). When the mental commitment finally settles in that there will be hard evidence of my mediocrity measured against other riders with unfulfilled dreams of the big time, I tend to kick things up a notch. No, I’m not saying that I add cayenne pepper my gas tank (although I might be onto something there), I’m talking about focusing my efforts both mentally and physically on the task at hand. In other words: real training. In motocross, training isn’t just about putting up 260lbs. on the bench press and hammering out laps. Hard preparation is good, but smart preparation is better. The MXD Labs Moto App and Click Mount are all about the latter.
The Moto App was designed to help you keep a personal record of all of the laps, lap times, motos, etc. that come out of riding on a regular basis. Okay, so you have a sweet app for keeping track of all of your MX data, but where the heck do you put your oh-so-precious iPhone? In your pocket…umm, wait a minute, most MX pants don’t have those. I’ve got it…how about in your boots? Hmm…probably not a great idea either. Fortunately for you and your iPhone, MXD Labs was fully aware of the importance of not only gathering moto data, but also protecting the one item that people have an increasingly Gollum-esque attachment and what truly is a lifeline. The solution is the Click Mount.
While the Moto App is a mere $1.99 in the Apple App store, all of it’s cool features are practically for naught without the Click Mount, which essentially mounts in the same manner as most racing transponders. Yes, I was definitely skeptical about how well the Click Mount could hold and protect my iPhone while riding, but those worries were quickly put to rest.
Thanks to the many safety feature built into the Click Mount, the case is protected against virtually all elements, including gravity (I did some pressure washing with the case on the bike, and it’s not completely water proof but only a few drops got inside). On the inside of the case itself is a soft, gel-like rubber with a molded honeycomb pattern (for increased shock absorption) that completely encases the phone when the case is closed. The case, a hard plastic, is securely closed by to opposing plastic clasps.
The piece attached to your machines mounts with three zip ties and some hard rubber tubing (to prevent slippage) at the top of the left fork, between the triple clamps, and behind the front number plate. Once secured, just slide the case into the hard plastic mount and it will click into place…hence the Click Mount. But wait, there’s more! As an extra security measure, MXD Labs also includes a thick rubber band (it’s really more of an O-ring) that helps keep the two semi flexible tabs, which secure the case, in place.
Nobody wants to damage their iPhone in anyway shape or form and MXD Labs was fully aware of this when designing the Click Mount. After hundreds of laps spun with the device in place, the Click Mount never moved out of place, nor did any of the security elements fail. In fact, I can honestly say that after my first few motos with the Click Mount, I never even thought about the safety of my iPhone while riding. Now that’s security!
“What about the app?” you ask. I will admit that, since discovering the kickass cycling app, Strava, to track my disappointing pedal progress (follow me…Bayo Olukotun, and feel free to tell me how much I suck) I had been hoping for some type of motocross specific data acquisition app for a while, and MXD was the first to the draw. With the proliferation of smartphones, it was a logical step. The issue was where to put the phone itself while on the bike, and they got that figured out, so onto the meat...err, ones and zeros.
The Moto App is multidimensional, as it logs your data while in motion and tracks your path via GPS, keeps track of all of your motos, laps, average speed, best lap, saves all of the tracks you have created, and can even be shared on Facebook.
When the Moto App starts up, you are brought to the main screen with a big “Start” button. Hit that and the next page pops up to select a track or start a new one. However, this is a little confusing as this falls under the “Logging” category at the bottom of the screen. You cannot actually create a new track in this section, you can only choose from a track that you have already ridden.
To create a new track from scratch, head over to the “Track” segment at the bottom and select “New” in the upper right hand corner. This will bring you to a map with your current location and fields to enter the name, description, and comments of the new track. For example you could say, “Lake Elsinore” with description “Midday ride, brah.” and comment, “Track was totes blown out…fer sherrr.” The next step is to tap on the map, which brings you to a larger map where you can drag and drop your “Start” point (it doubles as the finish line). Tap and hold the pin for a second or so and it will lift off of the map, then drag the pin to wherever you want. Since the Moto App picks up your signal in a radius of either 35ft. or 50ft., it is best to choose your starting point as segment of the track that is a good distance from any other; somewhere along a straightaway is usually a good choice, versus a tight corner.
Once you have properly set up your track, go back over to the “Logging” screen, hit “Start”, and then select the track you have just created (If you already have the track saved that you are riding that day, select that instead. However, if the track layout has changed, my preference would be to create it as a new track since the lap times and tracking will be different.). The next screen will bring you to another page with a map showing your pinned start point. Hit the Start button in the upper right hand corner and the Moto App will start tracking your progress at which point it’s time to lock your screen, throw the phone into the Click Mount, and beginning throwing down laps.
The Moto App will not start clicking off any laps until you first cross your starting point, at which point all of your data begins to be collected. If you are in a more remote area, occasionally the Moto App will have trouble locking down a signal, but this only occurred a handful of times for me. While at Zaca Station, a place notorious for its complete lack of a cell phone signal, I actually loaded the track ahead of time where there was a solid 3G connection. Once I got to the track, picking up the GPS signal was not a problem and just to better the chances of everything working properly, I set my Start/Finish point near the top of the hill where there was a hint of a 3G signal.
At first I thought the Moto App automatically recognized that when the bike was not in motion meant it was the end of a moto. However, this is not the case and the user must manually stop the tracking progress, which means removing the phone from the Click Mount after each moto…not a big deal but the fit behind the number plate can be a little tight on some bikes, so removing the case can be a little tricky if you don’t have small carny hands.
So, away from all of the technical aspects of how to simply use the Moto App, the big question is…does it work. The answer: yes. Quite well.
The ability to not only keep track of your individual motos, but also to store them for later reference is an excellent training tool. You can see your individual laps, the number of motos you completed, laps per moto, overall time, average speed, etc. While there are a few aspects that need some refinement, for $1.99, a rider couldn’t ask for more. Basically if you have an iPhone, you already have a great MX training tool in your pocket.
Hopefully MXD Labs continues to grow, along with the Moto App and users will have even more options in a future version. One thing that I think could only improve the experience would be a community within the Moto App along the same lines as Strava where you can track other users’ activities, compare lap times, follow your friends, and so on. For right now, you can only share your activities on Facebook, but for some this might be all that is needed for motivation.
Why four stars? I think that both the Moto App and Click Mount are excellent products that just need some refinement. The app itself is very well thought out and is great for a first time effort but just needs a few bugs worked out. Still, for $1.99, you really can't complain. The Click Mount is an excellent execution, and although the case can be a little tricky to remove after riding is a positive in almost every way save for the fact that you need to remove it every time in order to stop your recording session.
For more information and to download the Moto App, visit www.mxdlabs.com.