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The 4iiii Sportiiii is an innovative way to display your training zones for anything you track using an ANT+ sensor. It's simple to use, though perhaps could be a little lighter. The bundle on test is actually called the 4iiii Climb, which combines the Sportiiii 'data feed' display unit with the Viiiiva heart rate monitor/ANT+ bridge. I tested the Viiiiva recently, so here I'm concentrating on the Sportiiii element.
Just about everything we do today can be tracked, from our power through to the metres climbed during a ride. This is normally displayed on a bike computer, but several companies are trying to bring it closer to home, including 4iiii with the Sportiiii.
The Sportiiii is a device that connects to any ANT+ device to show you, through seven LED lights, what training zone you're in. Essentially, it's a simple and convenient way to show you without you having to work it out on the fly or glance down at your computer.
The unit fits to your glasses using either a mount that slides onto the arm of the glasses or another that you can cable-tie on. It's really simple to fit, and I found that when the arms were too wide for the slide-on mount, the cable-tie mounts fitted well.
The unit is made up of a small box with a USB charging port, multi-function button and speaker, and a bendable arm that houses the LEDs. Once connected, the unit tells you your heart rate, cadence, power or speed, depending on which sensor you have paired. This is clearly audible, even in loud conditions. It does also mean that others around you can hear too, although I think this is worth it over needing to wear an earpiece. To get an announcement you can either set it to automatically say something when you hit a certain point or you can tap on the side of the unit.
It isn't a particularly subtle unit and I wouldn't necessarily say it's good looking. (But we enjoy wearing Lycra, so who are we to really judge?) It reminds me of the Bluetooth headsets that people used to wear five or ten years ago for hands-free mobile use.
As I've said, there are seven LEDs to indicate where you are in terms of your zones, with blue, red, orange and green lights moving from either left to right or vice versa (this is customisable, so left or right can show high/low). It is quick to update the information in front of you and when I was tracking against the heart rate zone shown on my computer it matched up nicely.
They are also easy to see and, most importantly, not distracting. You can also set the brightness from your phone or laptop, so if you are riding in darker conditions you can turn them down so they don't flare. The flexibility of the arm and customisation of the LEDs also means you can wear the unit on either your left or right side, so you can use it exactly how you want to.
Customisation is done through apps either on your phone or computer. I managed to get it paired with both, although I needed to try for a while to get it working on my phone, so I did most of it on the computer.
You can set it to 'run' or 'cycle' mode on the app, but you can also change it on the unit itself by holding the multifunction button (which also acts as the on/off switch). You can set the different zones within heart rate, speed, cadence and power within this app to make sure it is totally personalised. It means that you can set it to stay on green for when you are in a fat burning zone, cardio or sprint, depending on what you are training for and your own personal numbers and thresholds.
The app itself is simple to use and very intuitive, and I can't imagine that many people would struggle with it, as long as you are unaware of the zones you are trying to operate in to achieve your aims.
Connecting to ANT+ sensors on the device is also a simple process. I needed to hold down the multifunction button until I heard 'pairing', then just needed to make sure I was within range of the sensor that I wanted to pair with. You choose which unit you are measuring (and therefore which sensor you need to pair with) through the phone app or on the computer beforehand. It would be nice to be able to switch between units measured without needing to do this, in much the same way that you can easily switch between bike mode and run mode.
It weighs 60g, and to be honest you can feel it on the side of your glasses. I tested it on a number of glasses and it had more of an impact on some than others, more or less dependent on how much grip your glasses have. On my Oakley Racing Jackets there was very little movement, but testing it on a cheaper set with less grip there was some slight movement.
As I said, the Cliiiimb unit I tested combines the Sportiiii and Viiiiva, and comes with an RRP of £199.99. This is a high price, but given that this is pretty much the only one of its kind in the marketplace, it is difficult to say how good or bad value that is. The Sportiiii on its own is £149.99, the Viiiiva £79.99.
Overall I liked the Sportiiii. It brings a simple fix to what could be a complicated job, which to my mind is what always makes a strong technological product. It's easy to pair with different sensors, the display is clear, and the use of audio alongside visual prompts is particularly useful.
It would have been nice to be able to easily switch between units measured during a ride, but that doesn't take away from a well-thought-out and well-executed piece of tech.
Innovative and unique technology that is highly customisable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 4iiii Cliiiimb
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It is a training device designed to keep you working in the desired heart rate, speed, cadence or power zones.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Be safe – keep your eyes on the road, not your bike computer or watch
* Bright multi-colored LEDs and verbal prompts guide you to target zones
* LED brightness is monitored by a built-in ambient light sensor
* Battery lasts up to 17 hrs between charges
* Independent profiles for Run and Bike
* Compatible with ANT+ devices
* Attaches to virtually any glasses and weighs less than 10g
* Mac/PC configuration app
* Add Viiiiva HRM for on-the-go configuration using your iPhone
* Clip adjusts to any type of sunglass model
Well thought out design, especially with the large amount of customisation available. Everything is sturdy and well made and it kept working regardless of the conditions.
Performed very well throughout the review, I could clearly see which zones I was operating in and it was simple to use.
Well made and relatively waterproof, but as a piece of tech it is hard to say how long it will last, though 4iiii is well known for updating existing hardware rather than bringing out new models, so unlikely to become outdated any time soon.
It is quite heavy at 60g, especially compared to the weight of the glasses it sits on.
Although you notice it's there, it's not uncomfortable and it was fine riding for hours with it on.
This is hard to say. It is pretty much the only one of its kind, so it has nothing to accurately compare against.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It worked well, zones were clearly marked out, customisation was simple and it was easy to fit and wear.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The customisation was a real highlight, it meant you could make it your own.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The weight was a slight issue with some glasses.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
An innovative and customisable piece of kit. It won't be for everyone, but for those looking to train hard and with specific goals in mind, it works very well.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.