Wednesday, April 18, 2012

App Review: iLean for iPhone

 Next app up for review is iLean.  Again this app is lean angle oriented, but iLean uses accelerometer data to measure bike lean as you go, which arguably should give a very accurate reading of how far over the bike is getting.

Alas my morning commute is not the ideal time to test an app like this, since I get bogged down in much more traffic on the way in; also due to the time I left this morning the freeway was too congested for me to be able to cut across to Yarra Boulevard, so there were no really tasty twisties for me to give the app a workout and see what it could do.  Nevertheless, trying it out this morning gave me ample opportunity to sample iLean's strengths and weaknesses.

First order of business is to calibrate the app such that it knows which direction represents forward motion.  Since I was "mounting" the phone in the pocket on top of a tank bag again, I was pleased to see that I was able to specify the phone's Y axis as the direction of travel.

Once that is set up, the app gives you a period of time (1 minute, 2 minutes etc) to mount the phone onto your bike before it starts recording the journey.  This is probably a very nice feature if you are mounting the phone somewhere that can't be easily reached from your normal riding position.  Another nice feature of this app is that it claims to be multi-tasking capable - that is, you can run it in the background and it will continue to capture the telemetry of your journey - something that not many of the apps I've seen are capable of.  This would allow you to use the camera of the phone to film your ride while iLean captures the data.

Alas, that's where the good stuff of this app ran out for me.  Having recorded my journey in to work, I found that my review options were limited to an animated simulation of the ride or a map review.

The animated review shows you a clear picture of what your lean might have looked like.  However whereas BikeTrip breaks your journey up into detected "bends", iLean doesn't.
 Instead, iLean gives you a "movie" of the animation, which you can watch in real time or quick time.  Personally I would prefer to be able to jump straight to a certain bend and check out the stats, but that certainly isn't possible from the animation view.

It might be possible from the map view, I simply don't know.  When I tried to access the map view I got a screen with a great big question mark, and that was all I ever saw, whether on 3G or on a full wireless network.  At this point I find myself uninstalling the app; and unless you have the patience of a saint or a zombie, I'd recommend saving yourself the trouble and simply not installing it in the first place.


  1. Ah well, that is a shame. :|

    Still, one good app, one a bit fail. Strike rate 50 atm :)

  2. Yup, and ultimately you only need one good one...