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Old 07-20-13, 12:48 PM   #1
gooseman1992
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Question Another bike computer question

I have a question about bike computers. My inexpensive computer (Bell wireless, ~$20) died recently after 4 years, and I'm looking to replace it.

I've done some research, and the one question I have is, why should I choose a more expensive computer over another Bell, for me? Meaning that I understand why others would want a more full-featured model. But I'm not sure I need it. So I'm asking what will I get for the extra.


First, a bit about me: I started riding 4 years ago when I bought a cheap big-box store mountain bike to ride with my daughter. Turns out, I decided that I liked riding! Soon, though, my cheap bike started showing it's flaws: it got to the point where I either had to pour money into it to fix stuff, or get a 'real' bike - so I bought a Kona Dew hybrid. Riding a road bike is hard on my back, but the hybridis a nice compromise - much lighter than my first bike, with smoother tires and a good riding position for me. I also ride paths a lot, as opposed to the road, but I find that I'm out on the rode more and more.

My rides are also not terribly long. The longest I've ridden is 40 miles. Normally they are between 20 and 30 miles. According to Strada on my phone, my pace is usually between 13 and 14 MPH.

So I'm not a 'serious' biker, although I've improved over the years. I enjoy it, and I'm trying to get better - but I also don't have the time to really GET serious. I'm also not the kind of person to really spend a LOT of money on things unless I really need to. Which brings me back to the computer. My old Bell was ok; there was interference from an outside source a handful times. And I had to replace the battery once. Up until it stopped working, I didn't have any issues with it.

I think I'd like to stay wireless; I've heard a couple issues with the wires breaking easily when putting a bike in a car, for example. I will be doing that for sure.

In looking online, I see several choices. The ones that catch my eye are the Sigma 1609 STS w/ Cadence, and the Sigma 16.12 with Cadence. But I'm not sure if I need cadence. I saw a post on here where the advice is 'if your legs are limiting you, your cadence is too low. If your breathing is limiting you, your cadence is too high'. If I follow that advice, it might appear that I don't need cadence. what's the best reason to choose to get cadence? And if I don't need cadence, then what does a Sigma or Cateye get me over the Bell, for at least twice the price?

For those of you that love your Garmins, I get it: I like technology too. But, knowing me, there's no way I'm going to by a bike computer that costs almost as much as (if not more than) my bike! :-)

So, what does a Sigma or Cateye get me over something like the Bell?



Thanks in advance!
Phil
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Old 07-20-13, 07:05 PM   #2
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I have had cadence and it only provides you with a target rpm to stay in a certain training zone. Use to hear about cadence alot watching pro cycling but I hardly hear it mentioned much anymore. It is just another small feature that aids but on my low totem pole of things I need.

I do like having a HRM so I can tangibly see my cardio progress however. But to each their own in this sport. Good luck.
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Old 07-20-13, 07:07 PM   #3
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Oh yeah.................Sigma vs. Cateye. I have had both and I just like Cateye better for some reason over Sigma units. Just a personal preference. That said I have 2 Cateye's on my mtn. bikes and a Garmin on the road bike.
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Old 07-21-13, 10:23 AM   #4
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I was you a few years ago, seeing no reason to spend more than $20 on a bike co. Then I got a used Garmin Edge for $100, and it was a good investment. Here's why:

1. You only have to put one thing on your bike. No wires, no spoke thing, no fork thing, etc.

2. You will enjoy getting more data from your ride, and you may end up riding more because of it. You will have an automatic record of all your riding, and you can set goals and see how you do in relation to them. The heart rate thing is fun, too.

Any investment that gets you riding more and enjoying it more is a good one.

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Old 07-21-13, 10:30 AM   #5
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I switched to a Sigma 1609 once a few years back when a friend convinced me that if I wasn't paying attention to my cadence then I was, I dunno, weak, a bad person, a poseur, whatever. I put it on, found out that I already was spinning at pretty much the exact right cadence anyway just because that's what felt right. I sold the comp again after a few weeks.

I use a Planet Bike Protege 9 on one bike, because the temp is kind of neat sometimes. But on my new bike, a decent road bike, I honestly just went to ebay and bought a cheap Chinese bike comp for $6 shipped. It works just fine.

I don't like wireless. I guess if you're going to go wireless you probably have to go with better comps to avoid interference from lights, bluetooth and other such things.

I actually only even have a bike comp because it's a clock that I can see while riding, and I kind of like to keep track of when I've ridden another 1000 miles, and to keep track of maintenance. I never actually look at it when riding (other than the clock sometimes), or even after riding on a consistent basis. I just look at it once every week or two to see if I'm coming up on another 1000 mile point.
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Old 07-21-13, 10:56 AM   #6
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There are only three reasons I'd want a more expensive bike computer over a cheap bell unit. They've already been covered here I'm sure, but I'll point out that if none of these are important you might as well get the cheapest ones. They are: GPS functions, download ride data files, and peripheral monitoring such as cadence, heart rate etc.
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Old 07-21-13, 08:23 PM   #7
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I've always been leery about buying used electronics, but you make some good points. At this time, though, Performance Bike had a 1609 on sale for less than $60. So I'm going to try it and see how it does. If I'm already doing cadence well, I'll probably take it back or sell it (similar to ItsJustMe, below). Their return policy is pretty liberal - they said I can bring it back if I don't like it. Thanks, everyone, for your feedback!
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Old 07-22-13, 06:14 AM   #8
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Just buy an inexpensive basic computer.
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Old 08-08-13, 08:49 AM   #9
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I haven't tried the inexpensive wireless units, but I've been thoroughly satisfied with the inexpensive wired ones.
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Old 08-08-13, 01:18 PM   #10
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I'm in somewhat similar territory regarding bike computers. I'm looking to getting a fairly cheap wireless Cateye and a basic Polar FT4 HRM. I like the look and price of the Strada for $45 on Amazon. I want to be able to use the HRM for other exercises as well. My question is, will there be a problem with interference between the Polar and Cateye? Does anyone have any experience or guidance in this area?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-08-13, 01:45 PM   #11
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I use the inexpensive wired unit as well. The Cateye Velo 7 is working well for me and I picked it up for less than 20 bucks.
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Old 08-08-13, 07:08 PM   #12
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Oh, I'm talking about the really cheap no-name ones for like $7 each. I've bought them from those Chinese web sites that send stuff by mail and it takes a month or two for the stuff to get here. Free shipping, too.
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