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Old 02-06-13, 10:28 AM   #1
onehandman
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which cycle computer

There are a ton of cycle computers out there, Which one to get is the million dollar question. I've been looking at the garmin 500 are they worth the 350 dollars? What other cycle computers are out there that are nice . I have to at least have cadence. This is for a road bike....
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Old 02-06-13, 10:54 AM   #2
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The main benefit the Garmin offers is recording your track so you can upload it to your computer or a website and see where you've been, your speeds, cadence and HR at various points along the ride, as well as the elevation profile along your ride. Non-GPS computers can't record your track, but some do record your speed, cadence and HR as function of distance or time. Most only tell you your current parameters and the average for the past ride.

Another feature of the Garmin 500 is you can download a route to it which can be depicted on the screen as a breadcrumb track that you can follow, though it won't show any roads. You can also set up a virtual training partner which you race against, training workouts, etc.

Most if not all this functionality is available on smartphones with appropriate apps and accessories. Smartphones also will have maps, where the 500 will not. You will need to go to a 705, 800, or 810 to get maps on a Garmin Edge.
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Old 02-06-13, 11:44 AM   #3
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Best cycle computer I have (and I have a few) is my iPhone! Cyclemeter App!
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Old 02-06-13, 01:27 PM   #4
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well i have an i-phone 5. and cycle meter which i like but i dont have any of the cadence on it or speed on it. I wouldn't know where to began to get bluetooth stuff for it.
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Old 02-06-13, 01:29 PM   #5
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I am not opposed to using my iphone as a cycle computer. But i would like to have a good mount for it and so on.
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Old 02-06-13, 04:30 PM   #6
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well i have an i-phone 5. and cycle meter which i like but i dont have any of the cadence on it or speed on it. I wouldn't know where to began to get bluetooth stuff for it.
wahoo fitness
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Old 02-06-13, 08:14 PM   #7
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I got thinking though on average how long does the i phone run using cycle meter, when i go on a 3 hour bike ride its almost dead. Will it be able to handle a century plus?
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Old 02-07-13, 04:36 AM   #8
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You maximize battery life on an iPhone by turning off WiFi and display, there are other tricks too. In that state, running Cyclemeter, I find my 4S battery will last 6 hours or a bit more. That isn't enough for a century, since you don't want to get stuck with 5% battery trying to make an emergency call. You can get external batteries to recharge the iPhone, anything from 1 charge from something the size of a pack of chewing gum to 5+ charges from something the size of two decks of cards. On long rides (100 miles) I carry one of those in the saddlebag.

What's the battery life of a Garmin with GPS? I don't know. EDIT: looks like it can be up to 10 hours if you don't use backlight or map display. Per posts I found.

Of course, the Garmin sits right on your handlebar and you can look at speed, distance, etc as you ride. The iPhone can be mounted on the bar, but having the display on will shorten battery life. There is a product coming, the Wahoo RFLKT, that is a bar-mounted remote display/control for an iPhone tucked safely in your jersey pocket.

Last edited by jyl; 02-07-13 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 02-07-13, 05:16 AM   #9
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jyl,

Thats exactly what worried me about using my i phone have to make a call and battery dead. Typically i listen to music also when i ride and that really seems to suck down the juice. Also i really like to see my speed and cadence when i'm riding, that way when i'm slacking I can push myself. I just don't know what to do. I need a new cycle computer all my buttons are stuck in. Do i really wanna spend the 349.00, or do i want to get the wahoo fitness package price i don't know. Then not be 100 percent happy. That is my dilema i don't know if i'll be happy with using my i phone, i wish i could test drive it.
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Old 02-07-13, 10:47 AM   #10
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When I was using my iPhone 3hrs was about it. I'd turn off Wifi and Bluetooth but leave the screen on at low illumination as I wanted to see the route, speed, etc.. With an aux battery and bluetooth sensors it would probably be fine. It's only recently that Bluetooth "Smart" has been introduced and there are sensors using it. BT Smart is much less power hungry/wasteful than original BT and makes BT sensors practical. Check to make sure you're phone supports BT Smart...
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Old 02-07-13, 11:16 AM   #11
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Garmin 500 is not worth $350. 500 and 800 are being phased out in favor of new 510 and 810 (which are basically the same except that 510 has a bigger screen than 500, and both have bluetooth connectivity.) Older models can be had for a substantial discount off MSRP.

I already have a HR sensor and a cadence sensor, and I just got a new 800, the GPS unit only, for $325. 500 is OK too, but 800 has mapping (which I do occasionally use) and a much bigger screen. As far as I know, 500 can display 8 data fields, 800 supports up to 10.
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Old 02-07-13, 12:15 PM   #12
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I have a Bontrager Node 2.1 (ANT+ based). The list price is about $200 (computer + speed/cadence transmitter + HRM). I got it for significantly less than that from Summit in California.

It's fairly expensive for a non-GPS computer but, for me, it was worth it. One big advantage is that you don't have to worry about recharging it every day or so (the battery life of this computer is excellent). While basic GPS (non mapping) computers aren't much more money, they don't really do that much more (and you have to recharge them frequently).

Anyway...

It used to be that ANT+ was the only "fancy" wireless option available. With the BTLE stuff, that's no longer the case.

I suspect that ANT+ won't be as important in the future. But things are complicated with there being a mix of ANT+ and BTLE stuff that people might want to use.

If the Node 2.1 was BTLE, I could use the transmitter for the phone too. (I'm leaning towards using the phone + external battery instead of getting a Garmin 8xx.) But, if you have a computer, you really don't need the phone for that.

There is a HRM ($100) that will recieve ANT+ signals and retransmit them as BTLE.

This site does a good job at looking at this stort of stuff.

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/
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Old 02-07-13, 05:19 PM   #13
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I have a Bontrager Node 2.1 (ANT+ based). The list price is about $200 (computer + speed/cadence transmitter + HRM). I got it for significantly less than that from Summit in California.
I went with Node 2.1 as well. Great computer and I use my iPhone for GPS when needed. For me I decide this was the best way to go and have had no regrets.
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Old 02-07-13, 05:28 PM   #14
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I went with Node 2.1 as well. Great computer and I use my iPhone for GPS when needed. For me I decide this was the best way to go and have had no regrets.
It ain't perfect!

I think the speed number is too big and the distance traveled number is too small (especially, the tenths digit).

The distance traveled is more useful (to me) because it's what you use to keep track of cue-sheet distances.

Last edited by njkayaker; 02-07-13 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 02-07-13, 08:03 PM   #15
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i know the i phone 5 has the newer blue tooth capabilities on it, sorry i dont understand the wireless stuff, i thought blue tooth was blue tooth. Which cadence sensors are the new updated blue tooth? oh and heart rate monitor, sorry if i'm asking simple questions but if i decide to use my phone as the way i want to go i want to make sure i get the correct stuff.
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Old 02-07-13, 08:16 PM   #16
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sorry for the simple questions again either way i go its alot of money to spend. I haven't found a good case for the i phone 5 yet that is water proof, either to put in my jersey or mount on my bike...
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Old 02-09-13, 07:26 AM   #17
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i know the i phone 5 has the newer blue tooth capabilities on it, sorry i dont understand the wireless stuff, i thought blue tooth was blue tooth.
No, there's different kinds of bluetooth.

The iPhone supports BT 4, which includes the low energy stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_low_energy

Later versions of BT support earlier versions (eg, BT 4 will work with BT 3 and BT 2 devices).

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Which cadence sensors are the new updated blue tooth? oh and heart rate monitor, sorry if i'm asking simple questions but if i decide to use my phone as the way i want to go i want to make sure i get the correct stuff.
See post # 4. Look for stuff compatible with the iPhone 5.

Last edited by njkayaker; 02-09-13 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 02-12-13, 06:07 PM   #18
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While expensive, I really enjoy my edge 810. What I like about it the most..... customization of the info displayed, the large touch screen (for a bike computer), the perfect out-front mounts available, wireless uploading of your workouts/travels, and of course pre-planning trips and courses/gps mapping. Again, it is pricey but worth it if you like to keep track of your info for training and like to be able to just headout and wing it if need be.
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