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by Matt Wikstrom
March 24, 2016
Photography by Matt Wikstrom
TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
The second day of Campagnolo’s recent press camp in Gran Canaria was devoted to getting to know the company’s new app, called My Campy. The software expands the functionality of Campagnolo’s EPS V3 groupset while providing users a handy way to track the service life of each part of their bike. However, the most powerful aspect of My Campy is in the way it brings together multiple data streams to add a new dimension to cycling metrics.
The story behind My Campy started with the announcement of EPS V3 in August last year. At face value, EPS V3 appeared unremarkable since it only comprised a slimmer battery and a new DTI (digital tech intelligence) unit, however the latter was something of a game-changer because it added wireless connectivity to the groupset.
Prior to V3, EPS owners had to settle with factory settings for every aspect of the groupset’s operation with no option for customisation. EPS V3 changes that by providing owners the means to communicate with the system. Rather than requiring a secondary interface like Di2, owners need only download My Campy to their phone to get access to the inner workings of EPS.
EPS V3 not only adds wireless communication, it relocates the battery charging port to the DTI unit.
While EPS V3 hardware has been available for a few months, work on My Campy has been ongoing. At present, riders can make use of a web-based version or download My Campy for Android-equipped devices. Other versions are set to follow to suit iOS (May 1 is set as the launch date) and Windows (to be announced) and all will be free-of-charge.
There is more to My Campy though, as it offers two complimentary functions: first, there is My Garage, which tracks the service life of your bike; and second, there is My Sessions, which integrates ride data with data on gear use by EPS V3.
While My Campy has the most to offer to owners of EPS V3, any rider that is currently recording ride data can use the app, including those using non-Campagnolo components, but the range of functions will be limited.
As mentioned above, Campagnolo is promising multiple versions of My Campy, so any rider that owns a computer, phone or tablet will be able to use this freeware. Users must provide their details to Campagnolo though, either by creating an account with the company, or by using an existing Google, Strava or Facebook account.
My Campy’s home screen: pick a function to start using the app.
Once My Campy is running, the home screen offers users a choice of three discrete yet complimentary functions: My Garage, My Sessions, and My EPS. As the user makes use of each function, the data collected by each starts to inform the other functions, increasing the utility of the app.
Most of the data is viewed in the context of the user’s bike, so the first step is to create a bike in My Garage. The user is able to select the brand and model for the frameset then add in specific details for the wheels, groupset, chain, sprockets and cranks. The user also enters how many kilometres (an estimate is okay) each part has travelled, so that My Garage can start tracking the service life of each part of the bike. Importantly, My Garage only tracks wheels and components from Campagnolo’s catalogue at the moment, but hopefully that will change as the app is updated.
My Garage recognises that there are some parts, like wheels and sprockets, which will get swapped around for different rides/events. The owner is able to enter all of the options, then as they start recording ride data, they can toggle between the parts that will be used for any given ride. The same applies for additional bikes, allowing owners to populate My Garage with all the bikes (and parts thereof) they will ever use.
Demo bikes supplied for the ride on day two of the press camp were fitted with EPS V3. The Garmin 520 offered a live display of where the derailleurs were located as broadcast by the system using ANT+.
My Garage keeps a tally of how many kilometres each bike and its parts has travelled, and then starts flagging them when they might be due for a service. Campagnolo didn’t provide any details on the schedule for these alerts but they don’t see them as prescriptive, just simple reminders.
At present, there is no option for users to define when a service alert is issued so there is a risk that unnecessary alerts may frustrate some. Ultimately, it will be up to the user whether to decide on the timeliness for any given alert. For those users that perform their own servicing, this will be a simple matter; for those that do not, they will have to seek feedback from their mechanic.
So how does My Garage keep a tally on distances travelled by each bike and its parts? My Campy’s second major function, My Sessions, is designed to collect all of the user’s ride data, either directly or indirectly, so that the distances can be added automatically the totals in My Garage.
My Sessions can be used on a smartphone to directly record ride data just like any other GPS device. Once a session is started, the user selects a bike and parts from My Garage and once moving, the app will display all of the typical ride data (speed, distance, altitude, average speed etc). At the end of the ride, the user saves the session, and My Campy will update My Garage.
All of the demo bikes were custom painted Sartos with attractive stripes.
For those users that prefer to use another device to collect ride data, then they can upload the results to My Sessions at the end of the ride. As above, the user must select a bike and parts from My Garage. For those riders that use Garmin Connect, that can automate data upload in the same way that is done for Strava (i.e. they give Garmin Connect permission to send the data to My Campy).
Campagnolo didn’t spend a lot of time detailing the functions My Sessions but this function essentially resembles Strava (and any number of other apps) by providing the user with a variety of tools to visualise and analyse their ride data.
However, Campagnolo doesn’t view My Campy as a competitor for Strava, but rather as a means of making better use of the data broadcast by EPS V3. EPS V3 only sends information on where the derailleurs are located (i.e. chainring 1 (small) or 2 (big); cogs 1-11 (largest-smallest)), which is somewhat useful for live display, but Campagnolo wanted to take it one step further by adding in the size of the cogs and chainrings were in use.
My Campy takes the crank and sprockets specifications for the bike as catalogued by My Garage and uses it to inform the ride data collected by My Sessions. As a consequence, My Sessions not only displays when and where gearshifts were made, but also what gearing combinations (e.g. 39 x 17) were in use throughout the entire ride.
My Campy takes the position of the derailleurs, as broadcast by EPS V3, and combines it with the specifications for the bike in My Garage to provide a live display of current gearing in My EPS.
Campagnolo promised there would be tools for isolating segments to study the gears that were in use. Users can also opt to view all segments where a specific gear combination was in use.
Campagnolo sees enormous potential for this data and I have to agree, especially when it is combined with heartrate and/or power data. Up until now, it’s a dimension that has been missing from ride data, and it makes a lot of sense for a component manufacturer to introduce it.
Throughout the course of the presentation, Campagnolo was open to suggestions, so it seems very likely that My Campy and My Sessions is set to evolve once it’s released. One future function that was discussed had the app making suggestions for better gear combinations based on how the rider was using their current gears.
Perhaps the most compelling reason for any rider to start using My Campy is to get access to EPS so they can customise the system’s settings. As mentioned above, this is only possible for EPS V3 because the new DTI unit is equipped with Bluetooth and ANT+ for wireless communication.
Four buttons lead the user to control panels for EPS.
In order to start communicating with EPS, the system must be paired (via Bluetooth) with a phone or tablet running My Campy. My Campy directs the pairing process via My EPS, however the bike must be nearby (within 100m) and one of the mode buttons must be pressed on the levers of the bike for the process to move forwards.
Pairing was a simple process when there was just one EPS V3 groupset in the vicinity. It was much more difficult at Campagnolo’s press camp when there was a conference room full of compatible bikes and several journalists trying to carry out the process at the same time.
Each DTI has a unique device number so a specific system can be selected during pairing but there was no security to safeguard access to any given groupset. I was told that only one device could communicate with a groupset at a time though.
Once paired, My EPS displays information on the level of charge in the battery, current gear selection, and the number of shifts that have been performed by the system. Below this display are four buttons — Styles, Multishifting, Shift Assist, and Shifting Settings — that advance the user to simple control panels for modifying the functions of the groupset.
The Styles control panel offers preset settings for the system.
Styles: There are three preset styles — Race, Sport and Comfort — that provide different combinations of the system’s various settings. For example, the Race style employs the fastest shift settings with ten-gear multishifting; by contrast, the Comfort style offers slower shifting and no multishifting. Users elect one of these styles for their system, or they can create a custom style.
Multishifting: Campagnolo was the first company to include multishifting as part of the programming for its electronic groupset, whereby the rear derailleur continues up- or down-shifting according to how long the button/lever is held. My EPS allows the user to specify the maximum number of gears (1-10) for a multishift along with the amount of lag (0-0.6s) before a multishift is initiated.
Shift Assist: This is a new function for EPS that has been introduced with My Campy, demonstrating how the app can be used to program the groupset. The aim of Shift Assist is to preserve the rider’s cadence as they shift between the chainrings, so it automatically operates the rear derailleur every time the front derailleur is used. Thus, when a rider shifts from the small ring to the large, Shift Assist directs the rear derailleur to shift to a larger cog. Likewise, Shift Assist instructs the rear derailleur to shift to a smaller cog when the rider shifts to the small ring. My EPS allows the rider to choose how many cogs (0-3) the rear derailleur will shift during this process.
Shift Settings: There are three control panels for Shift Settings, one for each derailleur and another for the shifters. Users have a choice of three modes of operation for each derailleur — hard/normal/soft — that vary according to how much power is supplied by the system. Thus, hard mode uses 100% power compared to 80% for normal mode and 60% for soft. Users are also able to change the function of the shifter controls, with a choice of six modes:
There are six options for designating the function of each shifter lever and button.
While there were some initial difficulties with pairing a smartphone running My Campy with any given bike (see above), it worked flawlessly once the connection was made. The touchscreen of the phone made navigation between the various menus very simple, and once any changes were made, it only took a couple of seconds for the update to be applied to the system.
I explored all of the settings in My EPS while riding in circles in a carpark and using a workstand. Swapping between Styles was the simplest way to vary the overall feel of the groupset but it didn’t take much effort to navigate to an individual menu to hone a specific function.
Changing the operation mode for the derailleurs from hard to soft produced a change in sound as the motors took longer to execute a shift (it was most obvious for the front derailleur). I couldn’t find much value in setting up Shift Assist (I’d rather make my own gearing choices) but I got a kick out of swapping around the lever controls (and wondering at the value of pranking somebody with it).
Once My Campy is running and the phone is paired with an EPS V3 groupset, it’s a simple matter to access the control panels for all of the various functions.
As I indulged my curiosity and tested all of the options, I felt as if I was engaging with EPS in a new way, and that My Campy had worked to unlock the potential of the system. I expect most users will settle on their preferred settings pretty quickly and there will be very little temptation for further experimentation.
In this regard, EPS resembles my phone and computer; once set, all of the other options seem superfluous, but I’d never surrender the ability to make those changes.
My Campy has a lot to offer riders that own EPS V3, and if they have an Android device, they can start making immediate use of the app as I’ve described above. Other users (iOS and Windows) will have to wait for Campagnolo to release compatible versions in the coming months, which may create some frustration. Nevertheless, there is the promise of unlocking the capabilities of EPS V3. By contrast, the present web-based version of My Campy has much less to offer users, especially if they aren’t using Campagnolo wheels and components.
While more time is required to develop My Campy, I think this app is giving us a look at the future, where the bike will provide more data for riders to consider. It will be up to the individual to decide how useful any of My Campy’s features are, but by providing more data on wheel and component use, I think it offers riders a fresh way to engage with their equipment.
I see the new information on gear use as particularly powerful because it will demonstrate to riders how they are actually using their gears, which in turn, can be used to inform their training, racing and equipment choices.