Battery Life Tests for Apple Watch 3. how long will it last for Workouts?
UPDATE: I have renamed this post to better reflect it’s content. The original heading was as follows but make sure you keep reading to see other battery test scenarios I have tried out and to find how to maximise battery life for long workouts.
OK disclaimers right up front:
How To Use Apple Watch as a Heart Rate Monitor With Any Peloton Device
- That’s 100 miles so long as you can do it under 6hrs 42mins including stops Like this one. Your mileage may vary.
- I didn’t actually ride 100 miles for this test. more like 50, then extrapolated the results.
- You have to turn Mobile Data off.
- You have to use an external Bluetooth Heart Rate sensor (e.g. a Chest Band) rather than the built in optical one.
- You can’t have anything playing through Airpods or any other headphones.
- I used the Apple built-in Workout app and nothing else.
I’ve been testing battery life in various scenarios since I’ve had my Apple Watch series 3 LTE. more on other scenarios below but here’s how this one was set up.
The Set Up
Note that I initially thought that I could get the same benefit as above by simply turning Workout Power Saving Mode on (Settings General Workout on Apple Watch or Settings Workout on the iPhone Watch app) which is supposed to disable the built-in HR and turn off mobile data. should be perfect! However when I tried that on other rides, I was confused to find that it didn’t seem to turn off Mobile Data. Then I re-read the text for this setting, and it clearly states that it is only for walking and running which is strange. There is a distinct bias for running currently in settings. auto-Pause for example is only supported for running and not anything else. it would be very useful for cycling.
With that I started Outdoor Cycling on the workout app and set off for my ride. Here it is:
It was a nice ride on a lovely day and I managed to grab some nice photo’s using my GoPro Hero6 while riding.
And for those of you near Kent, UK the destination was a great pub called The Monument in Canterbury. they let me put my bike round the back in the garden, and they serve an exclusively plant based menu. I met my wife and sister-in-law there, together with her husband who is famous for his love of meat, but everyone really enjoyed the burgers and desserts that were completely meat and dairy free. recommended!
Setting up a custom Multisport Activity on Apple Watch
Since this was not a standard triathlon structure, with a pool swim rather than an open water swim, I needed to create a custom workout for it.
Multisport custom workouts are a little different to other custom workouts (which you can read about here) since they are simply about setting up the sequence of the disciplines you are doing, and how you want to handle transitions; there are no options for interval sections within a sport.
You can set up alerts for each section though, which means that as well as being really useful for races (or simulated races), they are good for a brick training set too.
And you can customise the Workout Views to whatever you want for each sport, which is cool.
Here’s how to create a Custom Workout for the Pool Swim Triathlon:
- Open the Workout app on Apple Watch, scroll to Multisport and tap the three dots… then scroll down and tap Create Workout.
- Tap Add and and select Pool Swim
- Tap Add and select Outdoor Cycle
- Tap Add and select Outdoor Run
- Tap Custom Title and enter “Tri (pool swim)”
- Tap Transitions and select Automatic
That’s it. pretty simple and quick to set up. For this example I did not set up any alerts, or customise any workout views, but you can always do that if you want (see below)
There is an argument that could be made for not having to set up a custom workout at all. if Apple Watch can detect the sport automatically, then why do we need to plan it? This would be really nice for a SwimRun for example when in a race you may have say 6 runs and 5 swims, but if you are training you may easily fancy running down the coast, jumping in for a swim and out for a run whenever you can (this is exactly what I feel like doing while I sit here on a balcony looking over the Aegean Sea while on holiday in Kos, Greece …)
The following are the sports you can include in a multisport activity; pretty much what you would expect really.
If you want to add alerts to your Multisport workout, tap any of the legs for the sport you want and add them. The same alerts are used for all legs of that type, in any Multisport workout that you have!
So if you set a pace alert for the first run in a duathlon (which is Run-Bike-Run) the last leg will have the same pace alert automatically, but also any other Multisport workout you have created (e.g. a Triathlon one) will also have the exact same pace alert for the run.
This is a little strange, though it’s not really a problem, I think, but you need to be aware that once you set an alert in a Multisport workout, it will apply to all Multisport workouts in the same way. So don’t go playing with that right before your race.
Here are the alerts you can have:
Using Komoot to navigate with the Apple Watch
The Apple Watch would be the ultimate all-in-one solution for cyclists if you could navigate with it properly. Although Komoot offer a navigation function, it is rudimentary at best. The directional instructions are limited to left and right arrows and the distance until the next turn. At intersections with more than two options, it’s impossible to know which path is the right one. A simple outline of a map as we know it from the earliest days of GPS bike computers would be enough for the Apple Watch to overshadow all other cycle computers. The navigation problem should, in theory, have been settled with the implementation of the compass. We would also like to be able to start and record routes directly on the Apple
In an emergency
As mentioned earlier, the Apple Watch Series 5 has sensors that can help to detect if you’ve crashed. If you crash hard, you have 60 seconds to tell the watch that everything is ok. If you don’t respond, it will automatically make an emergency call. The emergency call services have recently been expanded to over 80 countries. If you aren’t responsive after an accident, doctors can access important information such as underlying conditions, blood type, medical records, allergies and intolerances, as well as prescribed medications. Your stored emergency contacts can also be notified. It may seem a little ghoulish, but in the worst case, paramedics can even see if you’re an organ donor.
The longer you consider the Apple Watch the bigger the possibilities seem. Be it the previously mentioned navigation, anti-theft and GPS tracking of bicycles, selecting support levels for e-bikes or playfully structured training. The future possibilities for health, safety and entertainment all in a single device seem limitless.
At first glance, the € 580 price appears bold. However, once you start to recognise the functions and possibilities of the Apple Watch, the price moves more and more into the background and gives way to excitement. As soon as developers start getting to grips with the navigation function, there are very few arguments against using the Apple Watch as both a training device and a useful gadget in everyday life. But even without looking to the future, we can recommend the watch to outdoor enthusiasts and tech nerds alike.
Seat Cover. Optional
This one is completely optional, as bike seats are personal preference. I like a firmer saddle, however since I am not the only one using the bike, I decided that a medium squishy seat cover would be a nice option that we could slide on and off. Similar to the tablet holders, there are hundreds of seat covers to choose from. One that I know fits the Sunny bike is the 20 Zacro Gel Seat Cover that I purchased.
I do like this seat cover as you can slide it on and off really easily and I am not minding the squishiness :). You can always add this later, so feel free to save 20 and try the built in seat first.
Peloton Apple Fitness (or others) Subscription
Now that the bike is all finished with accessories installed, it is time to get an app to spin to! There are a lot out there to investigate depending on what type of classes you want to take, including iFit, Zwift, Peloton, Echelon, Apple Fitness, and more. Since I am really into spin classes and already had a Peloton instructor that I liked from the past, I knew I would start there.
Peloton by far is the standard when it comes to indoor spin classes and anyone can sign up for their digital subscription for 13. You get about all the features of the main app that Peloton bike owners get except the leaderboards and integrated resistance and other metrics. You can still connect your cadence sensor and heart rate monitor directly to the app and it works great. I can say I have no complaints with the experience, and you get the reward that you can do other activities including yoga, running, bootcamps, and more. The biggest downside is that the subscription is per-person 🙁 There is not family option in the digital subscription.
I got the bike before Apple Fitness was released, but I have been eagerly awaiting the service’s arrival. The day finally came this week, as Apple finally put out updates to all of its devices and updated the Apple Fitness app. The big advantage of Apple Fitness is that it offers nearly all of the same exercises as Peloton, but it integrates with the Apple Watch (which is required) to show you all your stats directly on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Additionally, it is only 9.99 a month (or 79.99 a year), and it includes five family members in that membership! The only downside is that Apple Fitness does not have live classes like Peloton offers and it focuses solely on on-demand classes.
Monday came, and I eagerly updated my devices and gave Apple Fitness a go with my new Sunny Bike setup and my 1-month free trial membership! As you could imagine, Apple Fitness and Peloton are similar. There are only so many ways to create a fitness app and do workouts. The integration with the Apple Watch is extremely impressive, as it synchronizes in real time with your phone/TV/tablet to show you your heart rate, rings, calorie count, and something new that they call a burn bar. This is supposed to tell you how you are doing compared to others, but mine is always maxed out? Maybe I need to pedal slower? teheheh :).
There are two important metrics when indoor cycling that you need. First is the resistance of how heavy the ride is. Second is the cadence, which tells you how fast to spin. Apple has two recommended Schwinn bikes that are 1200 and 3000 that they use in the studio, but the classes are made to be generic and work with any bike. This is good and bad. The spin instructors don’t ever announce a given resistance number and instead just say light, medium, and heavy. This is fine and even with Peloton I have no way of aligning numbers, it is more of a feeling. The cadence on the other hand is super important. With Peloton, you just synchronize up a sensor and you are good to-go, but not with Apple Fitness. There is no way to do this at all and rarely does the instructor call out a number, they often just say match my speed, or slow down, or speed up. I get that it was made for everyone and every bike, but cadence is a minimum requirement in my opinion. I guess I could hook up my phone side-by-side my iPad to see it, but this seems horrible. For now, I have to just feel it out.
Now, with that said, if you have your bike in front of your Apple TV, then things will work great. You can use your iPhone or iPad as a big cadence sensor and just watch on the TV. Unfortunately for me, I have it in the garage. there is no TV out there. So, I do what I always do in this situation and develop and app! I just launched My Cadence for iOS Android that enables you to connect your cadence sensor to your device and get realtime readings 🙂
I do love the stats and the burn bar, especially at the end of a ride. It really gives great data and compared to the peloton app it includes both active and total calories in the ride, as you can see below.
So, we will see how much I use Apple Fitness on my bike or if I will just stick with Peloton for now. I have a month with the free trial to wait and see if Apple updates the app.
Want to see how it all really works? Checkout my full video breakdown that you can watch here:
Days, 15 Rides Review
I am now almost at the two-week mark of owning my Sunny Bike with this full setup and I can say that I am extremely happy with my decision.
While the bike doesn’t have all the fancy gadgets and sensors built-in, I have found that I don’t really need them. Unless you are using a Peloton bike with the Peloton app, you will never truly be able to get the resistance 100% accurate, as all bikes have different scales. Since the Sunny bike has no way of knowing what the resistance is, I just sort of feel it out based on what the instructors say. I crank the resistance up and down based on if they request as flat road, medium climb, or heavy climb and it all works well.
Riding the bike is a joy and the flywheel has serious weight behind it, which I really enjoy. The combination of bike, cadence sensor, and tablet are exactly what I need to get a great workout.
I have noticed a few things about the bike. First is that I have had a few oil drops from the leather pad which was unexpected. They recommended adding oil every month, but I was surprised to see it dripping out of the box. Luckily, I have the bike in the garage, but if you have this inside make sure you have it on a mat. Second is that you will get a little smell when doing high resistance from the leather pad. It isn’t anything bad but be aware that you have a huge flywheel rubbing against leather at high speeds.
I have not had any issues with crank arms, flywheel, or the belt, and everything just seems to work. I have since picked up a little bit of 3-in-1 oil and a brush (~8 at Home Depot) to do monthly maintenance on the leather resistance pad as recommended.
Beyond that, I go out, hop on the bike, and ride! If anything changes in the future, I will be sure to update the blog! Feel free to reach out to me on @JamesMontemagno with questions or Комментарии и мнения владельцев.
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Riding the Climb Again, on an E-bike
The next day, I borrowed the hard tail mountain e-bike. The guy in charge of the bikes at the hotel showed me how to use it, and demonstrated how there were four levels of assist, as well as an option for no assist at all. The bike was very heavy. I’d estimate it was somewhere between 60 and 75 pounds.
Riding an e-bike is a little bit like having the bionic power of the Six Million Dollar Man. You can almost imagine that sound in your head as you accelerate. It’s weird and fun. This bike was set with a maximum assist speed of 25 kph, which is around 16 mph.
One of the first things I noticed is that the e-bike rode like a brick when I had the power turned off. It felt very “dead” and sluggish. It wasn’t enjoyable, and it would be a pain to ride it very far if the battery died.
Another strange thing about riding it on the road was that when you hit the 16 mph limit, the assist turned off. So the bike suddenly went from feeling great to feeling like you were pedaling a steamroller. There were hardly any flat stretches on the ride, so it fortunately didn’t happen very often.
When you pedal backwards on the Rotwild e-bike, the chain doesn’t turn backwards — it just stops like you’re coasting. The cranks in front are specially designed to work with the electric motor.
When you stop pedaling, the power stops immediately. On a steep uphill, that means that bike slows down dramatically and comes to almost an immediate stop. If you try to coast on a long climb to change your bike position or shift around on the saddle to get more comfortable, you have to do it quickly.
I started the e-bike ride with the same three mile descent from the day before, which felt a little scary at first as I got used to the reduced braking power. On downhills it handled fine, but you could clearly feel that the disc brakes do not slow down a heavy e-bike nearly as easily as they do a regular bike.
When I started the climb itself, it was completely different experience than riding it on a regular bike. This time around, I had a feel for how long the climb was in general, and knew the route that was coming ahead. I had also taken a lot of photos the day before, so I didn’t feel the need to stop as much.
With the electric motor assisting, the entire Category 1 climb that had taken me an hour and 16 minutes only took me 26 minutes on the e-bike.
The climb was still steep enough that I couldn’t hit the 16 mph limit in most parts. My average for the entire climb was still only 10 mph. It only assists, and doesn’t work like motorcycle. So I could still go anaerobic and blow up on it, even while getting assistance from the motor. Having an e-bike doesn’t prevent you from riding hard.
From the point of view of a tourist, the assistance made the climb very enjoyable. I was still pedaling at an aerobic pace by my own choice, but I could look around and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Alps.
I think that a non-athlete, non-cyclist would have also been able to ride up the entire climb with the motor assisting at the highest level. In fact, I saw a local lady in her 60s descending on an e-bike with a rear basket from her house into town, wearing her regular clothes. I imagine that buying a bike with an electric motor was a game changer for her in making it reasonable to ride somewhere instead of taking a car.
I finished the same loop from the day before in about an hour with the e-bike, compared to two hours on the regular bike. I didn’t feel very tired and the ride didn’t feel long enough, so I kept going, taking it off the road and onto the bike trails for another hour. It added up to an extra 10 miles over the same two hour period. (E-bikes were allowed on these trails, and I rode it very cautiously and politely.)
On really steep stuff in the dirt, you could stay seated and easily keep traction with your weight over the back wheel, allowing you to pedal up sections that are technically a lot more challenging on a regular bike.
Uh Oh, I Polluted Strava by Accident!
I was using Strava on an Apple Watch on both rides, which automatically uploads with the default settings when it connects to Wi-Fi. So a few hours after my e-bike ride I made the awkward discovery that I had inadvertently set several KOMs and annoyed several local German cyclists who ride the climb for real.
Setting it to “followers only” took it off the Leaderboard, even though they already had rightly flagged it. I had named the ride Ebike test ride, so it was no secret. Still, pretty embarrassing to annoy the locals.
After taking one on an extended ride, my impression was that riding an e-bike was a fun experience, but not something that I need to do more than once. I ended up borrowing the regular bike the other days I was at the hotel. I ride for fun and for fitness, so the challenge of riding uphill unassisted is something that I enjoy.
Even though it wasn’t for me, I now recognize the potential of being able to ride with family members who are not into cycling. Suddenly a 10 mile ride or a hilly ride is reasonable to a non-cyclist on an e-bike. It opens up more possibilities than cruising a few blocks around the neighborhood.
A quick Internet search revealed that there are even guided European bicycle tours right now that offer e-bikes as an option. It’s now possible to go a tour with someone who isn’t a hard core roadie, which seems very intriguing to me.
I also read in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев on Dr. Mirkin’s article about how e-bikes have allowed some cyclists to continue riding on group rides without constantly getting dropped, or forcing the other riders to slow down for them. That’s also a clear win to me.
Actually riding an e-bike made me decide that they are indeed still bicycles, and that there are plenty of valid reasons why someone might want one.
I’m a huge fan of e-bikes! On a recent trip to Italy my wife and I did a 7 day bike tour in the Abruzzo region. Beautiful scenery, old towns, green rolling hills, etc. I had my road bike and my wife hired an e-bike. That meant we could ride the whole week together and my wife was able to enjoy the riding as much as me.
Yes, but there’s a chance it still might not have been slow enough. And there’s also a chance that the slower overall time would make it very unappealing to a non-cyclist because it would end up as too much time on the bike. Although a non-cyclist might enjoy a three hour ride on an e-bike at a particular pace, they might not want to ride six hours with no motor, even if it is at the same non-athlete pace.
Interesting article. Pretty much my impression of riding a few different e-bikes. How much of your regular bike ride time in the hour and 16 session was actually riding to more accurately compare to the ebike? You imply that you may have stopped using the ebike as well. Also next time you photo bikes turn them around so the drive train components are showing.
I stopped to take photos when I was riding both bikes. I stopped probably three or four times to take photos on the regular bike, and only once or twice on the e-bike. I guess I’d probably estimate 2 to 3 minutes worth of stopped time on the e-bike, versus 10 to 12 minutes worth of stopped time on the regular bike. Excellent point! I didn’t even think about which way the bike was facing when I snapped photos and ended up snapping them both exactly facing the wrong way.
I doubt the E bike weighed 60-75 lbs. I have basically the same bike and it weighs around 55 lbs. But it is a brick on any kind of uphill grade.
Thanks for the feedback! You’re probably right. I was guesstimating based on how heavy it felt when I lifted it to carry out of the garage area.
There’s always going to be nah sayers when something new comes out. I remember when 29 inch mtn. bike first came out. Everybody rode 26 inch bike. The first time I rode a 29er I new I wanted one and immediately bought one. Everybody was saying it’s just a fad and wouldn’t last. 29ers have certainly changed a lot since the first ones came but now almost everyone rides a 29er. E-bike are here to stay and will only get better. I’ll bet a lot of the nah sayers now will some day be riding an e-bike especially as they get older. To each his own. Ride what you want and don’t cast your opinion on people who do. There’s enough road out there for all of us. Bravo e-bikes. Ride On.
Ebikes and regular bikes are apples and oranges. An ebike has much greater range and speed, and that’s what it is for. Ebikes are great for commuting and touring and carrying a load. Regular bikes are great for exercising. They are not really comparable.
I bought a Focus E Mt bike in Utah and enjoyed keeping up with my buddy Sean on technical climbs to near 10K feet. I love mt biking but now at 79 yrs old it’s tough to keep up with my sons and 50yr. old friends. Not any more. Blocking E bikes from trails is a selfish act and other excuses for this limitation are questionable at best.
Are Apple Watch Calories Accurate? (explained)
At age 80 and having enjoyed a heart attack and a stroke not so long ago biking had become nigh impossible for me. Bu E-bike rolled to the rescue. On the flats use of the lowest power setting makes a ride similar to that of a light weight all-pedal steed. At next setting a 10 percent grade requires some muscle. The other two settings are unnecessary because they consume too much battery juice. I’m in Seattle; many hills but downward coasting offsets battery draw on climbs, thus, 60 miles per full 3-hour charge. Unlike a motorcycle the E-bike is quiet and when riding it on a woodland country road I still can hear the baby birds sing.
I have a 25km commute(each way) to work and with our idiotic city laying off most of the transit workers due to ‘rona, bussing to work became around 75% unreliable(bus would just not show up most of the time and disappear from the schedule) Our transit system was already horribly understaffed and unreliable before the pandemic and they thought laying off a ton of works right as we began to open back up was a good idea… Anywho, I took the 1000/yr I waste on my transit pass and invested in a 2000 cruiser e-bike instead. Best decision I’ve ever made! It cut 30-45 minutes off my commute, it’s a lot more fun, and I’m getting a pretty good workout even with the assist. I’ve been riding regular bikes my whole life but the thought of riding 25km to work and then doing it again after a long day sounds like a nightmare without the assist.
The other option for riding with a partner is a tandem. Then you can talk any time, stop and start at agreed points and you both get to work as hard or as little as you want. They also attract attention much more than ordinary bikes and motorists seem to be more courteous around you.