The MBA wrecking crew does the majority of its testing on
regular trail rides. That’s because mountain biking is not a
race. Many times a bike, wheelset or suspension setup might
not be the “fastest” way down a trail, but it may be the most
enjoyable. In other words, the fastest way from point A to
point B may not be the best way.
Still, there are times when curiosity gets the best of us, and
quantitative measurements are a good way to supplement—
but not replace—our normal testing. We have done this with
radar guns, tape measures and stopwatches. Then we discovered the $499 Freelap MTB Junior kit, a complete lap and
interval timing system in a bag.
Tech features: The Freelap MTB Junior kit comes in a
nylon carrying bag that includes a stopwatch with bike
mount, two transmitter posts, two transmitter post bases and
a user guide. The kit can be ordered directly from Freelap’s
FREELAP TIMING SYSTEM
;;;;; Delivers above-average value and performance
;;;;; Recommended for intended application
;;;;; Shows potential but has drawbacks
;;;;; Save your hard-earned bucks
MBA FIELD TEST RATING
website, or you can call them at (800) 634-5990.
Field test results: The MTB Junior kit is so intuitive
that you don’t need to spend all that much time with the
owner’s manual. In the simplest setup, attach the stopwatch to your handlebar. Place one of the transmitters at
the start/finish point of your loop, set the stopwatch and
start riding laps. Every time you pass the transmitter, it
records your time. That’s it. The Freelap system does all
the work for you. When finished with your laps, you can
review your lap times, save the information, or download
the numbers to a computer.
Since the kit comes with two transmitters, you can have
a lot more fun by using the second transmitter as a split-time measurement of your laps, or as a way to measure the
elapsed time from point to point (like on a downhill, 4-
Cross or enduro stage).
Who needs the Freelap? Every time we used the Freelap,
the mood of the wrecking crew turned a lot more serious.
Just hearing the beep as you pass by the transmitter is
enough to make you dig a little deeper. This is an indispensable tool for coaches looking to get the most effort out
of riders during intensity training. If you have motivational
issues when it comes to riding intervals (and who
doesn’t?), the Freelap system won’t make them fun, but it
will push you to push yourself.
If the Freelap was a hassle to use, it would collect dust in
our garage; instead, its simplicity makes it a tool we will
use often. It will add valuable data to our tests. ;
The clock doesn’t lie
The brain: While the Freelap
MTB Junior kit comes with a handlebar mount for the stopwatch,
the beauty of the system is that
you never have to look at the
stopwatch or access it while riding. It does all the work (except
pedaling) for you.
Magic wand: Set the transmitter
post at the start/finish line, turn on
your stopwatch and do your laps.
The Freelap keeps track of everything for your review later. The kit
comes with a second transmitter
for splits or timed downhilling.