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An underutilized, but very useful Strava feature: component mileage tracking.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

April
16
2013
The Strava "Add Bike" entry dialog box.

The Strava “Add Bike” entry dialog box.

Most users of Strava are aware that they can add the bikes they currently own to their profiles (“My Gear” -> “Add Bike”). Entering your bikes’ details on Strava isn’t just for informational purposes, it’s functional. If you don’t have a power meter and wish to take advantage of Strava’s power estimates, it’s vitally important to add your bikes and their weights in this section for accurate power results. You’ll also need to enter your body weight under “My Profile”.

Your bike weight and your body weight should be entered “as ridden”. In other words, your bike weight should include anything you have mounted to the frame when you ride, including water bottles. Your body weight should include clothes, shoes, helmet, CamelBak, etc.

The third and final piece of the estimated power puzzle is accurate elevation data. If you use a device with a built-in barometric altimeter, then that’s the best way to go (otherwise Strava falls back on various elevation databases, which can be out of date and inaccurate). Most Garmin devices (I use the Garmin Edge 500 Premium Red Edition) have altimeters, as do most smart phones. I’ve found smartphones to be extremely inaccurate for elevation (we won’t even get into their relatively poor/coarse Strava GPS performance), so if you’re serious about Strava then strongly consider a dedicated device such as a Garmin.

Like I said, most Strava users already know all of this, and if you didn’t then you just learned something!

What I want to talk about today is a feature on Strava that goes deeper than merely entering your basic bike information and weight: listing each component on your bike. I see very few people take advantage of this cool, but somewhat hidden feature.

Strava's "New Component" entry screen.

Strava’s “New Component” entry screen.

Once you create your bike (or, hopefully, bikes :)) then you’ll see them listed in the lower right-hand column of your Strava profile page. If you click on any of the bikes listed, this will take you to the bike detail page. Here you can add a photo of the bike, and also enter pretty much every single individual component of the bike. This may sound like a pain, but the interface makes entering each component fast and easy: you simply select the component type from a drop-down list, enter the brand, model, weight (if desired), when the component was installed and any notes.

So why would you want to take the time to do this? Because if you track all your rides on Strava, you now have a fully automatic means of tracking the millage on each and every component on your bike. Want to know how many miles you got out of your chain before your chain wear indicator said it was time to replace it? It’s there. Bottom bracket? Tires? Cassette? Cables? Brake pads? The information is a click away. When you replace a component you simply “retire” the old one, and add the new one along with the date it was installed. It’s super easy after the initial setup, and an excellent means of determining how long your components are lasting.

When you enter a new component you can manually specify the date it was installed. This is great, because if you enter a date in the past Strava will go back, match all the appropriate rides and then apply those miles retroactively.

I think the ability to automatically track millage on individual components is a very useful feature of Strava, and I don’t understand why more people are not taking advantage of it. It’s a free feature, so even non-premium members can use it. Take a few minutes today and check it out!

John Stone Fitness Comments

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