Understanding the Stages Dash cycling computer

Head unit designed to seamlessly interface with new Link training service

Gear Interbike
The new GPS-equipped unit has connectivity via Bluetooth and ANT+, works in landscape or portrait orientation, and is packed with power-based functions and metrics.

The new GPS-equipped unit has connectivity via Bluetooth and ANT+, works in landscape or portrait orientation, and is packed with power-based functions and metrics.

How complicated is Dash?
For riders new to power, Stages Dash is completely plug and play with your essential data instantly visible, but advanced users will also find it incredibly customizable.

Does Dash work with other brand power meters?
Yes, Dash has compatibility with 3rd party ANT+ and Bluetooth power meters as well as heart rate monitors, speed/cadence, bio-sensors, and trainer control.

Do I have to use Stages Link with Dash?
No, Dash is compatible with 3rd party analysis programs such as Today’s Plan, TrainingPeaks, Strava, MapMyRide etc. Stages Link is also a perfect complement to other 3rd party head units for data curation and analysis, but you won’t have the coaching and education focused features that Stages Dash provides.

Does Stages Dash have Turn-by-Turn Navigation?
You can use Stages Link to load course files on to Dash, which will plot as an overlay on the breadcrumb trail, which also tracks your ride. We have plans to add push notifications from a Bluetooth enabled smart phone to support turn-by-turn navigations on Dash.

How do I ride a workout on Dash?
On Stages Link you can set your preferences to sync upcoming workouts to Dash automatically. To ride a workout, the user can navigate to any workout on Dash and select it to view a description and begin a ride that references that workout file. Depending on the lap the user is currently on, Dash references the workout file and displays target metrics for the current interval, displaying them like any other customizable metric on the ride screen. Dash also writes the current target metric to the .stages ride data file which allows Stages Link to display workout targets vs. actual in real time. The user navigates from one lap to the next using the lap button, and to the previous lap by pressing the lap button for 2 seconds.

What is an Activity Profile?
An activity profile is a customizable collection of data page layouts, settings, alerts, and sensors that are called upon when the user elects to ride that profile. This allows the most flexibility when trying to allow every user the ability to set up their computer the way they like the most. This allows users to set up specific bikes, specific types of riding, or both.

The Dash can display all the usual key metrics, and the user has the ability to customize the screen to their personal needs.

The Dash can display all the usual key metrics, and the user has the ability to customize the screen to their personal needs.

Does Dash have Bike Profiles?
Activity profiles can easily be made into bike profiles by saving all associated sensors for a particular bike to one activity profile, and naming the profile after the bike. If a rider wants to do this, but have multiple screen setups and settings, activity profiles can be copied so all sensors and settings are saved, and the user can change what they want to be different between the two profiles. For example, a user with a profile called “Felt Road Train” could copy the profile and save it as “Felt Indoor” and change GPS, Backlight, data page layouts, and add a trainer to accommodate their indoor training preferences.

How do I pair a sensor to Dash?
The user navigates to “Find Sensors” on the main menu, which initiates a search for any enabled and transmitting sensor in the area. If the device finds a sensor, it automatically pairs to that sensor, otherwise the user can navigate through the found sensors by signal strength and other identifier information, or manually enter an ANT ID. Once a sensor is paired to an activity profile, it will always show up in the search even if not present to make pairing the same sensor to multiple activity profiles easier. All associated sensors are saved to the configuration file and can be managed on the user’s Stages Link account.

What kinds of Sensors does Dash Support?
Currently, Dash is projected to communicate with ANT and BLE enabled Power, Cadence, Speed, Speed/Cadence, SMO2, Glucose, Heart Rate, Di2, SRAM eTap, and Trainers by initial release. Dash can also connect to a phone via BLE which will allow future additions to the Dash feature set.

Does Dash use GLONASS in addition to GPS?
Yes. GLONASS is Russia’s version of the Navstar GPS satellite network operated by the United States.

Does Dash have Auto-Pause?
Stages Dash allows the user to choose from a few different recording logic loops. The first is a continuous recording of data from the press of the start button to the press of the stop button. The second is continuous recording with GPS disabled, excellent for indoor riding. The third is a normal GPS based auto-pause which, when a stop of movement is detected, data totaling and averaging is paused and not taken into account in the display to the user.

Price is $399 with availability set for early 2017.

Price is $399 with availability set for early 2017.

What kind of Screen is this?
The screen is a 2.7in LCD display designed to be highly visible in extreme light situations (low light/bright conditions). Its 240×400 resolution allows great text display, and its black and white only display keeps battery consumption to a minimum.

Does the screen have a backlight?
Yes. It is programmable by the user and has an ambient light sensor to trigger it to automatically turn on in low light.

What is Split Screen?
An activity profile’s data pages can be set up to either be full pages, or half pages when customizing data fields. The idea of split screen is that we all have a few metrics we always want to see, so split screen keeps the first page always visible, while scrolling through all the other half size pages when the user presses forward or backward.

Does the orientation change with motion? Can I change orientation back and forth in the same Activity Profile?
No, it is pre-set through the main menu. Since biking is a very intense activity where the handlebars experience all different kinds of forces, it would make a rider crazy to have their computer switch back and forth all the time from Landscape to Portrait while they are riding. The thinking behind orientation is that typically a rider would choose one orientation for a specific application, and therefore would likely have different settings and page layouts for each application, which includes orientation.

How long does it last on one charge?
Currently Dash is designed to last between 25-30h on a full charge. We recommend that you fully charge the device (approximately 3 hours) before use to get the best battery performance.

Here's what an activity will look like in Stages new cloud-based Link training platform.

Here’s what an activity will look like in Stages new cloud-based Link training platform.

What kind of charger?
Any Micro-USB works to charge Dash. A full charge should take less than 4 hours.

What if I don’t want to use Stages Link to upload my data? Does the Stages formatted ride data file work on other data analysis sites like Strava?
Stages created its own ride file to enable more in-depth functionality like High Speed Mode and Workout Target into the ride file. Dash can, however, also export a standard .fit ride file that can be uploaded to any site that supports .fit. It is possible to set up auto-uploading on the Stages Link app or download the Stages Sync device agent from Stages Link to automatically upload ride data to supported 3rd party sites, like Strava.

Does Dash support Strava Live Segments?
Stages is focused on creating the most powerful data based training tool on the market, integrating workouts into ride files, allowing the user simple device customization on Stages Link, and implementing the latest connection technology on the market to provide the most consistent data set of any cycling computer. Strava Live segments are on our future firmware release calendar.

Why isn’t Dash a Touchscreen?
We wanted to create the best cycling tool on the market, and so far nobody has been happy with any of the touch screen options currently on the market. We spent a significant amount of time designing a simple user interface with minimal menu screens. This allows us to save battery life, improve consistency of user input commands actually resulting in device feedback, ensure Dash can be used in all conditions, and that your sweat will not be a nightmare to clean off in the middle of a ride without stopping.

Does Dash push notifications from my Phone?
Currently on our future firmware release calendar. We intend on allowing the user to decide which notifications can be pushed to Dash from the Stages Link App. Notifications will show up as a centered overlay that can easily be dismissed by a button push. Notifications will require Dash to be connected via BLE to the user’s smartphone before the ride, and the app will need to be running in the background.

The unit comes with a mounting bracket, but Stages is also encouraging 3rd party mount makers to come up with solutions of their own.

The unit comes with a mounting bracket, but Stages is also encouraging 3rd party mount makers to come up with solutions of their own.

How does Dash sync all rides, workouts, settings, sensors, courses, and user data?
When Dash makes a connection to either a smartphone running the Stages Link App or connected to a USB and a computer running the device manager for Stages Link, Dash can send and receive all files that have been updated since the last sync. This includes any changes made to activity profiles, new workouts, new rides, firmware updates, and any other data pertinent to updating Stages Link. This feature is what allows Dash to be the easiest and most customizable head unit.

What does “Building a Custom Metric” mean?
To avoid having endless lists of all the different combinations of metrics, averages, maximums, totals, and time spans for each, we came up with a way to allow users ultimate control in the data displayed during rides. Data fields can be characterized with any sensor or Dash PCB metric, like power, heart rate, distance, speed, ride time, temperature, altitude, Dash battery level, etc. Where applicable, the user can then apply the time span they are concerned with (Instant, 3s, 10s, 1min, 10min, 20min, 1hour, lap, last lap, ride) as well as the operation they want the computer to display (average, max, total, per, or workout target). This way, the user has the most control over what metrics are displayed, the information they provide, and the size and location of each.

Does anyone else make a mount for it?
Not yet, but we will be contacting 3rd party mounts and providing a modular design that can be integrated into the myriad of mounting options they have become experts in creating.

Does Dash work with Training Peaks?
Yes. By selecting the “Export to .fit” option in the main menu settings, Dash will write .fit files to a USB Mass Storage location that can be found using a USB connection. Alternatively, with a Stages Link account a user can set up data brokering services to automatically upload ride data to Training Peaks, Strava, and any other available 3rd party site with a data API we can integrate with. Dash will display NP, TSS and IF as well.

What’s the deal with the .stages file format?
The goals of Stages Dash and Stages Link are to complement the Stages Power meter and to offer a complete Stages ecosystem for training with power. In doing this we wanted to use each component of this new ecosystem to it’s fullest capacity. By creating the .stages file format we are able to capture and fully use device information, that allows industry-first features like zero offset management for power meters and writing workout plan data to a activity file.

You can also manage your Dash head unit and monitor your Stages power meter using Link.

You can also manage your Dash head unit and monitor your Stages power meter using Link.

Does Stages Link support multisport activities at this time?
Not at launch, but including archive and analysis functionality for running and swimming are high on the development list for Stages Link.

Does it have Mapping?
You can use Stages Link to load course files on to Dash, which will plot as an overlay on the breadcrumb trail, which also tracks your ride. We also have planned developed pathways to offer turn-by-turn directions via push notification in the future.

Does it come in custom colors?
No, at this time black will be the only option.

How much memory does it have?
2 gigabit memory (8 bits = 1 byte, so 250kB or the equivalent to 300 4 hour rides). Memory management on the device will also depend on user settings. It is also not recommended to save both .stages ride files AND .fit files.

What added features does it have with Stages Power Meters?
Can activate High Speed mode and record every data message from the Stages Meter. Push Stages Power firmware upgrades from Dash to the power meter.

Does it work on a L/R PM?
Yes, as far as the ANT Device Profile defines Left Right power data, the Dash meets all protocol.

How do you mount it?
Dash will come with an out-front mount. Since you can mount from 2 sides of Dash, the mounting options will be quite diverse. From over the stem to Time Trial, we will be able to provide the user with any mounting options needed by including 3rd party mount manufacturers in on the process.

How do you update the Firmware?
Via Stages Link App and BLE or Stages Sync Desktop Agent and USB connection.

Does it work with Mac and PC?
Yes.

Can you configure the screen on your phone?
Yes, but not through the app. At this time you will need to access the Stages Link website from your phone or computer to edit pages.

How do you configure your screen on Stages Link?
From the Dash manager tab, once you have connected Dash to your Stages Link account, you will be able to view all current screen configurations, settings, associated sensors, and data files on Dash. Within the manager, you can select the activity profile that you want to edit and view all settings and screens on the same page. Click on the page you want to edit, add a page, or delete a page, and save your changes. The next time Dash makes a connection to the Stages Link server via BLE or USB, it will be updated.

Can my coach configure screens for me and share them with me?
Yes. Stages Dash has a config file that can be shared across Stages Link.

Why did you guys make Stages Link?
We partnered with Today’s Plan in order to offer a high-powered and integrated coaching and analysis package for riders. By curating the Stages Link analysis platform, we are able to offer additional features and functionality for those riders with Stages Dash or the Stages Power meter ; for those riders with the entire Stages ecosystem the experience of training will be easier and more effective than ever before.

Will Stages Link actually coach me?
Yes. Stages Link offers a training plan builder that takes into account a rider’s goals and time available for training while building custom workouts that help meet his or her goals. Stages Link will build multi-week/month or even yearly plans populated with daily workouts. If used with Stages Dash, the rider will be able to take these custom workouts with them.

Stages Link is also tool of choice for setting up your Dash.

Stages Link is also tool of choice for setting up your Dash.

How will my experience be different with Stages Link and Dash together?
The whole Stages experience will allow for full use of the customization built into the performance platform of the head unit and training analytics. You will be able to make updates to either Dash or Link and have the whole system update. You will also have the ability to track the health of your Stages Power meter through the Power Meter Management tool, to track battery life, zero resets and firmware updates.

Is there a fee for Link?
At this time we are still working out the cost for Stages Link, but each Stages customer will receive 2 months of complimentary service that will offer access to the full suite of analytics, analysis and training that Link has to offer.

Will I be able to import all my data from another service into Link?
Yes, the system is designed to be able to bring in data files from other services to allow you to have everything from your athletic history and future in one location.

If I upload a ride to Link will it upload to Strava?
Yes, you can set up auto-upload so that your files upload to a 3rd party analytic service, like Strava.

Will the Power Meter Management in Link support other power meters?
Yes, but the system will only be able to track the info that the manufacturer includes in the .fit file. You will get the cleanest and most robust data when Stages Power and Stages Dash are paired with Stages Link.

Are the settings saved when you change them on Dash?
Yes. All changes are saved in the configuration file. If you make changes in both locations (Stages Link and Dash) before connecting Dash to the server, the most recent changes will take precedent.

Can you turn GPS off?
Yes.

Will Stages have a heart rate monitor? Speed sensor? Speed/Cadence sensor?
Yes. They will be available for purchase on the Stages Website or through a dealer.

This article is part of RoadBikeReview’s coverage of the 2016 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. For more from Interbike CLICK HERE.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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  • Damien says:

    Only sucky thing is stages wants 200$ a year for stages link that’s more than training peaks software that it’s based on. With that service only costing 119 a year

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