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Freelap Review - RM Article for Monday, Nov 10.

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
Racers of every type are continuously looking for every advantage they can get. From equipment, to training techniques to psychologists, they are willing to try it all to shed an extra 1/100th of a second. Downhill racing and MTB racing in general is one of the harder sports to quantify exactly how much time one is making or losing with these changes due to the many variables and sometimes unforgiving terrain.

One of the biggest advantages for serious MTB racers that has come along in recent memory is a simple timing system called Freelap.

http://content.ridemonkey.com/blogs/blog/20081110/freelap_timing_system_review-117.html

 

monkeyfcuker

Monkey
May 26, 2008
903
2
UK, Carlisle
Nice review. Just a quick question. How reliable are they, did you ever have any "missed runs" despite being sure you were close enough to the poles? It looks like a nice simple system and I was looking into them a while back but just couldn't justify the cost against a DMC moto trainer when I was just buying it for myself.
 

Jase76

Monkey
Aug 10, 2007
177
0
Australia
I've been using Freelap for about 12 months myself and I cant think of a bad word to say about the system. Probably the only minus is the initial cost, but if you are part of a crew or team then the cost for the poles can be split among the other riders.

It really makes every ride a race, which is awesome, but at the same time can be as frustrating as hell.:biggrin:
 

rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
Nice review. Just a quick question. How reliable are they, did you ever have any "missed runs" despite being sure you were close enough to the poles? It looks like a nice simple system and I was looking into them a while back but just couldn't justify the cost against a DMC moto trainer when I was just buying it for myself.
only thing that screws with times is radio waves... such as car radio's or walkie talkie's. its also really accurate for such a cheap system; tested it against a brower timing system(like a $3000 system with lasers and such) and times were always within a few tenths.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
Haven't had any interference issues. Freelap works on magnetic impulses, not radio waves. The possibility for interference is tiny from these devices. I used them next to pocket wizards all the time and they are extremely powerful (1600' range).
 

davep

Turbo Monkey
Jan 7, 2005
3,278
0
seattle
Not to be condescending, but radio waves are magnetic impulses and vice versa....

there are certain frequencies that are set aside for the multiple different offical uses, but all wireless communication requires variation in electro-magnetic field...

Simple solution is simply to find a frequency not used by similar equipment and/or to use some sort of encoder/decoder.
 
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- seb

Turbo Monkey
Apr 10, 2002
2,924
1
UK
My question is this: the freelap guys claim the poles can be used up to 6.5km apart. WTF? I'm certain there's no communication between the poles, why can't they be as far apart as you want? I know it's not a limitation as you'd rarely want them any further apart, but why do they state that distance?
 

- seb

Turbo Monkey
Apr 10, 2002
2,924
1
UK
only thing that screws with times is radio waves... such as car radio's or walkie talkie's. its also really accurate for such a cheap system; tested it against a brower timing system(like a $3000 system with lasers and such) and times were always within a few tenths.
A few TENTHS? Sorry but that's ****, I hope your testing was flawed. Freelap claim 0.02 seconds (dependent on the speed you're travelling when you pass the poles, I think that's about right for 20mph IIRC).
 

rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
A few TENTHS? Sorry but that's ****, I hope your testing was flawed. Freelap claim 0.02 seconds (dependent on the speed you're travelling when you pass the poles, I think that's about right for 20mph IIRC).
it all depends on were you enter the zone... you could enter it to the far left or straight on... the system we were testing it against was a very expensive laser system with the lasers there's only one spot to stop the time, and thats breaking the beam, the freelap has more variables of time stopage because the zone is a circle. for 1/8th the price of the system we were testing against the freelap is accurate enough for me.


oh and the radio thing is it basically gives you another split time but if it happens within 3 second of your finish line you time will be off by up to 3 seconds.
 
Feb 7, 2007
323
0
Vernon, New Jersey
We've been testing the Freelap system extensively this past season and have achieved much greater accuracy. In fact, an independent, renowned track and field coach is currently testing the Freelap system versus the MicroGate system and he is reporting that Freelap is accurate to .00 - .04.

He has been testing the Freelap JuniorTX Transmitters at a short 20m distance with a 10meter "fly-in". In some scenarios, Freelap was actually reported to be more accurate since the beam systems can be variable due to athlete 'arm-swing' where as the freelap stopwatch, on a handlebar remains constant. His findings have also suggested that the speed of the athlete has no affect on accuracy and times were consistent. If your testing the Freelap system against a traditional system and reporting a variance range in the tenths, then something is flawed with the test method, probably due to transmitter placement. The independent test results will be published in the coming weeks.
 
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rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
We've been testing the Freelap system extensively this past season and have achieved much greater accuracy. In fact, an independent, renowned track and field coach is currently testing the Freelap system versus the MicroGate system and he is reporting that Freelap is accurate to .00 - .04.

He has been testing the Freelap JuniorTX Transmitters at a short 20m distance with a 10meter "fly-in". In some scenarios, Freelap was actually reported to be more accurate since the beam systems can be variable due to athlete 'arm-swing' where as the freelap stopwatch, on a handlebar remains constant. His findings have also suggested that the speed of the athlete has no affect on accuracy and times were consistent. If your testing the Freelap system against a traditional system and reporting a variance range in the tenths, then something is flawed with the test method, probably due to transmitter placement. The independent test results will be published in the coming weeks.
the system we were using is very similar to the micro gate system, we had the watch on the bars and the poles next to the gate at the start and the laser at the bottom, either way the system is impressivly accurate for such a low price but Im going to trust the accuracy of the $3000 brower timing system more than that of the $400 freelap system.

here is the system we tested it against http://www.browertiming.com/ski_snowboard/index.htm ( click more for all of the info and such)
 

- seb

Turbo Monkey
Apr 10, 2002
2,924
1
UK
I'm not questioning the accuracy of the laser-system, I'm questioning your ability to do a fair comparison.

I believe that what you MEAN to say is that each time you did was a few tenths off of the laser time, which one would expect. How it came across is that you were saying that the freelap has an /error/ of a few tenths. But in fact I'm guessing that the freelap was always pretty much exactly the same amount of time quicker than the laser, e.g. always 0.24 seconds quicker etc.

The reasoning being that if you put the poles in line with the laser, then yes, it starts timing later, and finishes timing sooner. But so long as it's /consistent/ that's all that matters.
 

rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
I'm not questioning the accuracy of the laser-system, I'm questioning your ability to do a fair comparison.

I believe that what you MEAN to say is that each time you did was a few tenths off of the laser time, which one would expect. How it came across is that you were saying that the freelap has an /error/ of a few tenths. But in fact I'm guessing that the freelap was always pretty much exactly the same amount of time quicker than the laser, e.g. always 0.24 seconds quicker etc.

The reasoning being that if you put the poles in line with the laser, then yes, it starts timing later, and finishes timing sooner. But so long as it's /consistent/ that's all that matters.
the times were not off by the same amount each time, it varied some ti e it was 1/100th off and then the next time it was 2-3/10th off +/-. but for the pricing of the system its awsome it gives you an idea of weather a line is better or not and its a hell of alot of fun and after all it is a training system not a racing system. its also impressive that they can get that kind of accuracy out of a system for that little $; its very hard to find any timing system under $3000... trust me I've looked!
 

- seb

Turbo Monkey
Apr 10, 2002
2,924
1
UK
the times were not off by the same amount each time, it varied some ti e it was 1/100th off and then the next time it was 2-3/10th off +/-. but for the pricing of the system its awsome it gives you an idea of weather a line is better or not and its a hell of alot of fun and after all it is a training system not a racing system. its also impressive that they can get that kind of accuracy out of a system for that little $; its very hard to find any timing system under $3000... trust me I've looked!
I find your findings unsettling, but I'm going to put them down to your test rider not caring about freelap and as such not entering the zone at the same place/angle each time :)
 
Feb 7, 2007
323
0
Vernon, New Jersey
we had the watch on the bars and the poles next to the gate at the start and the laser at the bottom
This is more than likely the issue for the variance between the Freelap system and the Brower system during your tests. The TX Junior transmitters need to be placed 80cm after the the Brower beams, not next to them. Placing the TX transmitter directly next to, or inline with, will produce times that are innacurate and quick. This is as directed by manufacturer specs and this accounts for the detection range of the TXJunior.

What transmitters were you using during your test?
Where exactly was the transmitters placed in relation to the the Brower gates?
 
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rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
I find your findings unsettling, but I'm going to put them down to your test rider not caring about freelap and as such not entering the zone at the same place/angle each time :)

I actually really like like the freelap and will be most likely buying one myself! the variences in accuracy are due to were you exit and enter the start and stop zones... your never going to enter or exit in the exact same spot so the difference in accuracy is more than likely due to rider error, if you are able to control exactly were you enter and exit than accuracy should be top notch but the laser system takes out the rider error variable as there is only one place to start and stop the time. quite frankly I dont care about the small variences in time when im timing myself because im usually trying to get to the next second rather than the next tenth. :biggrin:
 

- seb

Turbo Monkey
Apr 10, 2002
2,924
1
UK
Freelap's claim is 0.02s at 20mph IIRC. If you work that out, that correlates to 18cm at that speed, which is about how much they reckon the field varies across the lane.

To be getting variations of +/- a couple of tenths makes no sense, that suggests that the timer stops with a sspatial difference of about 2metres!

I presume the end of your track was a fairly high speed section? However, the start isn't, if you're starting "in the bubble" let's say you're doing 3mph when you exit the bubble, that 18cm variation suddenly equals 0.13 seconds. Add to that a bit of tugging on the bars (maybe one end was up first time, down the second time) etc and I think we may have our answer.

If I were using a freelap system I wouldn't start in a bubble, I'd start before the first pole, build a decent amount of speed before passing pole 1, and at the end look at the split time between the two poles rather than the overall time (which will include the time from you pressing the button to you passing pole 1).

I see the sprinters have this taken care of by having a press-button for their first timer. When in their blocks they have their hands on the ground pressing a button on the floor, as soon as their out of the blocks and the hands come up the timer starts.

All makes sense I think.
 

big-ted

Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.
Sep 27, 2005
1,403
46
Vancouver, BC
Seb, I'm impressed to see you putting your Physics degree to good use, however, what I think is being said here is this:

The laser timing sstem is triggered when the rider cuts a straight line (the laser beam) drawn between the led and photodiode at the finish gate. The freelap system is triggered when a rider moves within some distance (x, say) of the pole. Therefore if a pole is placed at the (left, say) side of the track, the rider triggers the Freelap system sooner if he cuts the laser beam at the left hand edge of the track, hence the discrepancy. Depending on which line a rider takes at the finish line, he can shave precious tenths off his time! ;)
 

rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
Seb, I'm impressed to see you putting your Physics degree to good use, however, what I think is being said here is this:

The laser timing sstem is triggered when the rider cuts a straight line (the laser beam) drawn between the led and photodiode at the finish gate. The freelap system is triggered when a rider moves within some distance (x, say) of the pole. Therefore if a pole is placed at the (left, say) side of the track, the rider triggers the Freelap system sooner if he cuts the laser beam at the left hand edge of the track, hence the discrepancy. Depending on which line a rider takes at the finish line, he can shave precious tenths off his time! ;)
exactly what im trying to get at... with the zone being a circle if you enter right at the front your time stops 1 meter from the pole if you were to trigger at the back 1 meter behind the pole, theoretically making the finish line with freelap 2m deep and the possibility of the watch stopping anywere within that bubble; with the laser the finish it 1mm or so wide and stops as soon as your wheel disrupts the beam.
 
Feb 7, 2007
323
0
Vernon, New Jersey
theoretically making the finish line with freelap 2m deep and the possibility of the watch stopping anywere within that bubble; with the laser the finish it 1mm or so wide and stops as soon as your wheel disrupts the beam.
This is not necessarily acurate..The Freelap Watch is triggered the instant it hits the detection zone, not anywhere within the zone. Again, simply placing the transmitter 80cm (manufacturer recommendations) beyond the finish line will produce .02 time variances. The JuniorTX Transmitter has a very narrow and acute detection field, and as such, you basically either hit the zone or you dont. There really isn't much room for rider manipulation and different lines.
 
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- seb

Turbo Monkey
Apr 10, 2002
2,924
1
UK
exactly what im trying to get at... with the zone being a circle if you enter right at the front your time stops 1 meter from the pole if you were to trigger at the back 1 meter behind the pole
How exactly are you going to get to the back of the circle without having gone through the circle and thus having triggered at the front of it :poster_oops:
 

rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
How exactly are you going to get to the back of the circle without having gone through the circle and thus having triggered at the front of it :poster_oops:
wasent expecting it to happen but anything can happen... would most licky be a fluke (jump the transmitter and land behind it :shocked:).
 

rowlands

Monkey
Nov 26, 2006
159
0
This is not necessarily acurate..The Freelap Watch is triggered the instant it hits the detection zone, not anywhere within the zone. Again, simply placing the transmitter 80cm (manufacturer recommendations) beyond the finish line will produce .02 time variances. The JuniorTX Transmitter has a very narrow and acute detection field, and as such, you basically either hit the zone or you dont. There really isn't much room for rider manipulation and different lines.

That makes scene. I didn't have a manual as the system was not mine it was a test sample for an interested friend from the distributor. the only reason we tested it against the other system is because a lot of people were doubting the accuracy (as in differences of multiple seconds) of the system.
 

- seb

Turbo Monkey
Apr 10, 2002
2,924
1
UK
What? How does that "make sense" suddenly, that's exactly what I was saying in one of my earlier posts and you said that that wasn't the case! :p Make up your mind dude :)
 

vinny4130

Monkey
Jun 11, 2007
361
136
albuquerque
if you get one hide the poles. one here got lifted while doing runs in a remote area. they do kinda look like some fireworks and someone may have thought they were doing a good deed and took it. ether way who ever removed the pole can go F them selves.