Stages Dash L50 Out Now
By Tom Ballard – 16 September 2019
The Stages Dash L50 has now landed at Saddleback, giving UK riders the option of the Dash range’s biggest screen and most advanced features.
Since launching its first power meter back in 2012, Stages has been all about enabling any rider to get the most from training with power. The Dash L50 certainly continues this ethos, giving access to the basics of GPS speed and distance, enhanced features including mapping and turn-by-turn navigation and power-based performance features that remain intuitive and easy to grasp.
Screen, battery life and mounting
The Dash L50 is the big brother of the M50 and shares its stablemate’s key features but with the benefit of a larger 2.75” screen (compared to 2.25” on the M50), making it ideal for riders who want maximum visibility of data, interval graphs and gauges and mapping.
The extra real estate of the L50’s display opens up access to a maximum of 16 data fields per screen – four more than the M50 – reducing the mid-ride swiping or button pressing of other brands for data-hungry riders who like to keep tabs on their real-time performance metrics.
Everything is shown with incredible fidelity thanks to the exclusive Everbrite LCD. Also seen on the M50 – the display is incredibly crisp with superb contrast yet doesn’t cause a compromise on battery life. At 30% brightness level – clearly visible in daylight – the L50 boasts 14 hours of real-world run time, enough for any sun-chasing gravel adventure, mountain-bound road epic or day-long trip to the trails.
With four different mounts – all metal with a very secure grip – and the ability to position the L50 in landscape or portrait modes, finding a setup that works for you and your bike is simple whether putting it front-and-centre or bridging between aerobars.
Mapping and navigation
That big, high-res screen really shows off the built-in, and totally free, Open Street Map base maps. Given their open-source nature, the cycling-specific maps are regularly updated and show cycleways, dirt tracks, hazards and whatever other points of interest are added by the global cycling community. European mapping comes pre-loaded, but there’s 16gb of space on board if you want to add more of the world to explore.
You can create routes using your favourite sites such as RideWithGPS or Strava and exporting in GPX, TCX or FIT formats or use Stages’ own Link app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Turn-by-turn navigation is simple and clear with on-screen notifications and audio alerts to help you along your route. You can also view a colour-coded route elevation profile on the same screen to prepare you for the most challenging parts of your route as well as keeping two data fields visible so you can keep an eye on key metrics.
It’s no secret that a power meter is the most useful training tool in a cyclist’s arsenal, but it’s how you use your power meter that makes all the difference. Dash’s clever training features allow you to simplify sessions so that you can easily follow them and reap the results in terms of fitness.
Colour is used to great effect here, allowing an at-a-glance view of whether you’re in the right heart rate or power zones as well as a graph showing your progress through intervals. The zone-range gauge presents you with a dial and a pointer showing where you are on the scale from blue to green, yellow, orange, red or purple. This is particularly good for when you’re just trying to stay in the right range without getting stressed by a constantly-changing wattage figure.
The Dash L50 comes pre-loaded with a selection of workouts and your own sessions can be added via Stages Link, the US-brand’s online platform from the people behind the pro-tested Today’s Plan or use third party sites such as Training Peaks.
In line with Stages wanting to keep power training accessible, the Dash can adapt your zones automatically as your form changes by using rolling data collection from your training. This means less reliance on rigorous FTP testing while giving you the chance to get the most benefit from each session.
Connectivity and compatibility
With Bluetooth and ANT+, the Dash L50 can talk to pretty much every power meter, smart trainer or cycling training device on the market. Plus, thanks to the Stages Link app, your session data will automatically pair with your smartphone and be ready and waiting to view either in the app or on the website.
Speaking of the Link App, it’s the ideal place to keep tabs on upcoming training and review sessions you’ve already completed with all the data you need to keep your fitness on track.
Advanced connectivity features of the L50 also include the ability to control your smart trainer or integrate with SRAM and Shimano electronic drivetrains.
Stages isn’t showing any signs of slowing down when it comes to adding features to the Dash. The team has been hard at work adding extra features since launch to future proof the range in the quickly-changing bike tech market.
One cool update due soon is the ability to customise the Dash’s data fields right from the app. There’s also plenty more that we can’t talk about yet, but it all adds up to improving the value of Dash over time.
L50 or M50 – Which To Choose?
Both the Dash L50 and M50 offer the same features in slightly different form factors. If you want maximum data fields, battery life and map visibility the L50 will deliver. Meanwhile, the M50 is ideal for tighter cockpit spacing – such as on a TT bike – or for those who prefer a compact look.