Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 02-05-08, 09:12 PM   #1
savethekudzu
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: North Carolina
Bikes:
Posts: 575
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Choosing a cycle computer?

I'm thinking about getting a cycle computer. What should I look for?

I commute 6 miles each way, about 3 days a week, mostly on a paved MUP. Starting to venture off-trail a little bit for errands. My bike: a 700c Trek 7000 hybrid.

A friend gave me a used CatEye, but the plastic that forms its mounts had grown brittle with time and snapped apart before I could install it. Can't really use it unless I can rig up a dependable mounting system, which I don't think will be likely.

I've never used a cycle computer. What features have you found helpful? What doesn't matter, or what should I avoid? I do commute after dark this time of year, and I understand backlights may be hard to find.

How do you use your computer?
savethekudzu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-08, 09:26 PM   #2
SweetLou
Senior Member
 
SweetLou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 2,114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just get a new mount. Performance sells a couple of different kinds, heavy duty, extra long, stem, etc.
Here is the page for the Extral Long Mount
I just use mine to know how fast I'm going, how far I traveled, average speed and what time it is. Really, I only use it as a clock on the commute, the other features, I use when I am out on a fitness ride.
SweetLou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-08, 09:45 PM   #3
CastIron
Sensible shoes.
 
CastIron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: St. Paul,MN
Bikes: A few.
Posts: 8,799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For commuting? I just wear a watch. I found my computer utterly useless for commuting. One more thing on the bike, too.
__________________
Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
Why am I in your signature.
CastIron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-08, 10:01 PM   #4
hopperja
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 892
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I personally like the Sigma BC1606. Why?
1- I was able to get an extra rear wheel mount to use the same computer on my trainer (it has an auto bike 1/bike 2 feature)
2- It has all the standard features of most bike computers
3- It has an LED backlight
4- It comes on automatically
hopperja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-08, 10:10 PM   #5
CliftonGK1
Senior Member
 
CliftonGK1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Bikes: '08 Surly Cross-Check, 2011 Redline Conquest Pro, 2012 Spesh FSR Comp EVO, 2015 Trek Domane 6.2 disc
Posts: 11,380
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like my PB Protege 9.0

2 bike memory
current speed
avg speed
max speed
trip distance
odometer (2 bike memory and total)
temperature (not accurate at all. More of a joke than anything.)
clock

I use it to keep track of what time it is, my daily and total mileage, and I like to know my current and average speed because I compare myself day-to-day on the same sections of my commute.
__________________
"I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
- Mandi M.
CliftonGK1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-08, 10:13 PM   #6
martianone
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern VT
Bikes: recumbent & upright
Posts: 1,876
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I always get a basic model- 5 functions.
Just want to know how fast i'm going,
how far i've been and what time of day
it is. Plus a total distance odometer.

Have used several Sigma 500 series units,
the last one was 504 or 505, put it
on my wife's bike. The more recent
models are much more difficult to adjust
wheel size and adjust time, etc than
previous models. Too difficult to
fiddle with.
Earlier this week Installed a Cateye velo 5
to replace a Sigma unit that i broke. it was
easier to adjust than the Sigma, but I could
not set the odometer to an already traveled
distance (as one can with the Sigma). Not
sure if I like it yet, or not. The Cateye speed
digit appears larger than the Sigma unit,
not sure they are any easier to read. Clock
and odometer digits are smaller on the Cateye.
Both units were less than $20.
martianone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 06:02 AM   #7
DataJunkie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 14,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Go to cateye's small parts page and order a new mount. Maybe $7 ish.

I use a garmin 305 for all my bikes. Each one has a mount on it. It is a wee bit expensive but I like it.
My other computer sitting on my work bench in a cat eye astrale 8. Very affordable and has many features.
DataJunkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 06:33 AM   #8
savethekudzu
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: North Carolina
Bikes:
Posts: 575
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
Go to cateye's small parts page and order a new mount. Maybe $7 ish.
Good idea; I didn't realize this was an option. Are mounts interchangeable across brands and models, btw? I would guess not.
savethekudzu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 06:57 AM   #9
knobster
.
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Comp, Soma ES
Posts: 3,979
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
For commuting? I just wear a watch. I found my computer utterly useless for commuting. One more thing on the bike, too.
I agree. I ended up taking mine off. I don't care how fast I'm going and the rest of the stuff is not necessary. I have a clock that is a stem cap so I use that to determine if I'm ok on time. My regular road bike has a computer, but I use that for different purposes.
knobster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 07:45 AM   #10
aubinmg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ottawa
Bikes: Stevens Strada 600
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by knobster View Post
I agree. I ended up taking mine off. I don't care how fast I'm going and the rest of the stuff is not necessary. I have a clock that is a stem cap so I use that to determine if I'm ok on time. My regular road bike has a computer, but I use that for different purposes.
I don't like to wear a watch when I'm riding but I do want to know the time. Could you tell me more about the stem cap clock you use?
TIA
aubinmg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 07:46 AM   #11
RonH
Life is good
 
RonH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. 🚴🏻
Bikes: My beloved 2001 Litespeed Tuscany and my 2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod
Posts: 16,280
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 81 Post(s)
For 6 miles every other day you really don't need a computer unless you're interested in tracking useless data.
If you start riding more days and miles for fitness and recreation, then look at a low cost bare bones computer that gives you trip distance, max speed, average speed, ride time, etc. You should be able to find one for under $20.
__________________


The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. - Psalm 103:8
RonH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 08:05 AM   #12
savethekudzu
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: North Carolina
Bikes:
Posts: 575
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonH View Post
For 6 miles every other day you really don't need a computer unless you're interested in tracking useless data.
I guess I'm just curious. From timing my trip, I know that start to finish I average somewhere around 10-12 mph (including time spent stopped at lights, etc). But I know that can vary a lot; I don't know data like cadence, and I don't know my actual speed while in motion.

I'm not going for high performance, but I figured knowing some of this useless data might be useful in learning how to be more efficient (technique, etc). I don't trust my "sense" of speed, etc.
savethekudzu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 09:35 AM   #13
Pig_Chaser
Senior Member
 
Pig_Chaser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Edmonton, AB
Bikes: '07 Giant OCR3
Posts: 1,144
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You just gotta go with what you want, and if it's useless information that you want, then so be it. Personally i'd hate to ride without all that useless information and i enjoy trying to beat max and avg speeds. It adds some fun to the commute. You might look into a new mount though, it's good to get a cheap unit until you know what you want in a computer.
Pig_Chaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 09:36 AM   #14
Hydrated
Reeks of aged cotton duck
 
Hydrated's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Middle Georgia, USA
Bikes: 2008 Kogswell PR mkII, 1976 Raleigh Professional, 1996 Serotta Atlanta, 1984 Trek 520, 1979 Raleigh Comp GS, 1995 Trek 950, 1979 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist
Posts: 1,175
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Pretty much the only thing that I use the computer for on my commuter is to monitor my cadence. It keeps me from falling into the knee-trashing habit of mashing...
Hydrated is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 10:01 AM   #15
DataJunkie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 14,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by savethekudzu View Post
Good idea; I didn't realize this was an option. Are mounts interchangeable across brands and models, btw? I would guess not.
They are not interchangeable.
DataJunkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 10:32 AM   #16
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Bikes:
Posts: 8,050
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
General Features I like:

Big Numbers
Backlight
Big, Easy to hit buttons

The above are kind of universal good features. The ones below are more particular to my situation:

Cadence
Two bike mounts
Settable Odometer
tjspiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 10:37 AM   #17
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: Surly World Troller, Dahon Boardwalk, Raleigh 20, and the frame of a Surly Longhaul Trucker
Posts: 1,954
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonH View Post
For 6 miles every other day you really don't need a computer unless you're interested in tracking useless data.
I guess it depends on what you consider useless. Sound like the opinion is that if you're not training or going on fitness rides, the data isn't valuable, but that really depends on what you use the data for. I like knowing how many miles are on my bike, and, more specifically, on certain components. Knowing how fast your tires wear may help you decide which tire to use. Knowing how far you've gone on a given chain may remind you to check for stretch before you've damaged your cassette. And depending on how fast and where you ride, you may find that a speedometer will help you remain in compliance with the speed limit.

But that does bring up the question of what you want the computer for. Even the cheapest will do the basics, and I'm not aware of anyone saying that they've had a computer that doesn't measure properly, which would seem to be the biggest deciding factor. I'd love GPS route-tracking and other fancy stuff, but I'm not ready to plunk down the cash, so I find that my Topeak computer does all the other basic stuff. Mostly I use the total miles traveled, the current speed, the time, and the miles traveled today. Get an idea of what you want to know, and that'll help you figure out which computer you need, although they're all very similar at the lower end. I have considered going wireless, though. It might be useful if someone discussed the pros and cons of that. I'm guessing that it creates an extra battery to change, but other than that, I don't know if there are any downsides other than being more expensive.
Rob_E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 10:41 AM   #18
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: Surly World Troller, Dahon Boardwalk, Raleigh 20, and the frame of a Surly Longhaul Trucker
Posts: 1,954
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
General Features I like:

Big Numbers
Backlight
Big, Easy to hit buttons
These are all good points. My speedometer is useless after dark if I want any information while I'm on my bike. Sometimes it'd be nice to be able to read it after dark, especially the time.
Rob_E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 10:44 AM   #19
Psydotek
Body By Nintendo
 
Psydotek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Videogames ruined my life. Good thing i have 2 extra lives.
Bikes: Giant TCR2, Giant TCX, IRO BFSSFG SE, Salsa Casseroll, IRO Rob Roy.
Posts: 3,187
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
I like my PB Protege 9.0

2 bike memory
current speed
avg speed
max speed
trip distance
odometer (2 bike memory and total)
temperature (not accurate at all. More of a joke than anything.)
clock

I use it to keep track of what time it is, my daily and total mileage, and I like to know my current and average speed because I compare myself day-to-day on the same sections of my commute.

+1

I have the Protoge on my commuter (Cateye Astrale 8 on my other two bikes). I use it mainly to keep track of my annual mileage though all the other functions are great to have (at least for me). The thermometer is useless in direct sun mostly because it reads anywhere from 5-10 degrees higher than the actual air tempertaure, but it's accurate in the morning/cloudy days. I find it most useful on cold days to gauge how many layers of clothing i need to wear (well, not for that moment but for future reference. did i feel too hot/cold with this many layers at this temperature?)
__________________

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
A girl once asked me to give her twelve inches and make it hurt. I had to make love to her 3 times and then punch her in the nose.
Psydotek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 12:49 PM   #20
greenstork
Senior Member
 
greenstork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Bikes:
Posts: 584
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
I personally like the Sigma BC1606. Why?
1- I was able to get an extra rear wheel mount to use the same computer on my trainer (it has an auto bike 1/bike 2 feature)
2- It has all the standard features of most bike computers
3- It has an LED backlight
4- It comes on automatically
To clarify, the computer lights up anytime that it's dark out or do you have to press a button to light it up and it cycles off after a few seconds? I'd love to be able to actually see my computer in the dark, but my backlit computer light turns off after a few seconds.
greenstork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 01:05 PM   #21
knobster
.
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Comp, Soma ES
Posts: 3,979
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by aubinmg View Post
I don't like to wear a watch when I'm riding but I do want to know the time. Could you tell me more about the stem cap clock you use?
TIA
Well, I've looked around on Google and can't find it. I bought mine at my LBS. It's pretty cool. Instead of a stem cap, there is a little white faced clock. Works great.
knobster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 01:11 PM   #22
CliftonGK1
Senior Member
 
CliftonGK1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Bikes: '08 Surly Cross-Check, 2011 Redline Conquest Pro, 2012 Spesh FSR Comp EVO, 2015 Trek Domane 6.2 disc
Posts: 11,380
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psydotek View Post
+1

I have the Protoge on my commuter (Cateye Astrale 8 on my other two bikes). I use it mainly to keep track of my annual mileage though all the other functions are great to have (at least for me). The thermometer is useless in direct sun mostly because it reads anywhere from 5-10 degrees higher than the actual air tempertaure, but it's accurate in the morning/cloudy days. I find it most useful on cold days to gauge how many layers of clothing i need to wear (well, not for that moment but for future reference. did i feel too hot/cold with this many layers at this temperature?)
I've got a big thermometer mounted outside on my patio and I look out the sliding door before I take my dog out in the morning.
I do think it's funny in the summer when I leave my bike in the sun and I come back and the computer says it's 115*F (when maybe it's high 80s or low 90s).
__________________
"I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
- Mandi M.
CliftonGK1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 01:13 PM   #23
noisebeam
Al
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
Posts: 14,109
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
For a commute like that I think tracking basic data is motivating.

I'd suggest:
-trip distance to hundredths of mile (i.e. 0.00)
-auto timer mode to only record moving time
-clock
-odometer
-ability to set wheel circumference to four digit accuracy

It will be hard to find one that doesn't also calculate and display average speed and records top speed, however these are less useful or can be calculated.

A backlite is nice, but not a must. I don't watch stats while riding, but only look after trip is over.

Al
noisebeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 06:21 PM   #24
mijome07
Senior Member
 
mijome07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: So Cal
Bikes:
Posts: 1,552
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a Sigma BC1606L Wireless Computer and it works great. With shipping, I paid below $60. I've never had any problems. It also has a backlight which is similar to Timex Indiglo [my watch]. Check out the link below and try the demo. It's really cool.

Sigma BC1606L
mijome07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-08, 06:47 PM   #25
unixpro
Laid back bent rider
 
unixpro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Burien, WA
Bikes: Bacchetta Giro 20
Posts: 1,134
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Personally, I like my Topeak Comp 140. It didn't cost very much, but it has cadence, which I really like. I'm trying to improve my cadence, so I keep that displayed. It also does speed, distance, average speed, average cadence, etc.

I really like going down a hill and glancing to the speedo to see it tracking at 29 or 30 MPH .

The only thing it lacks, IMHO, is a backlight. However, I wear a helmet light, so I just shine that on the display when I want to check things after dark.

I've had it on my bars for over 1.5 years and haven't had a problem. Rain, shine, snow, ice, whatever. My bike lives outside, and I don't take the 'puter off when I go in. Tough little device.
unixpro is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:13 PM.