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Old 02-26-06, 06:22 PM   #1
toolba
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Cyclocomputers: What do I need to know?

(Sorry if this has been covered before.) I've always thought of myself as somewhat of a tech-geek, but I don't know much about cyclocomputers.

1. Are they used much on MTB?

2. What will they do for me?

3. What's the price range for a decent one?

4. If I buy wireless, will it interfere with my heart rate monitor?

5. Are they durable enough for MTBing.

6. Do you use one?

Thanks!
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Old 02-26-06, 06:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toolba
(Sorry if this has been covered before.) I've always thought of myself as somewhat of a tech-geek, but I don't know much about cyclocomputers.

1. Are they used much on MTB?

2. What will they do for me?

3. What's the price range for a decent one?

4. If I buy wireless, will it interfere with my heart rate monitor?

5. Are they durable enough for MTBing.

6. Do you use one?

Thanks!
If you're doing real mountain biking, they are pretty worthless. Most people like them so they will know how far and how fast they've gone. Mountain biking trail conditions vary so much that information is all but meaningless.

Cadence, and sometimes trip distance, are features that can be useful while you are riding. Pretty much everything else is just for bragging and for those who feel compelled to keep meticulous records of their rides.

Prices start in the teens and go up to whatever you're willing to pay.

Most wireless computers don't have enough power and range to interfere with anything. If you want a computer that will tell when you're at sea level, they're available but you're going to pay.

Most computers are plenty robust enough for mountain biking.

I have 5 bikes that I ride. Two of them (both road bikes) have computers. I've made a conscious decision not to install computers on the others.
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Old 02-26-06, 08:54 PM   #3
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Like Retro Grouch, I have cyclocomputers on the bikes I ride on the road and one on an old MTB I ride on Multi-use-paths. I don't have one on my MTB that I use on trails because, as Retro Grouch said, they're of no added value on a trail.
With regard to price, my first cyclocomputer was purchased from a X-Mart store. It is not as reliable as the two Cateye units I picked up later. If I had it to do over, I would spend a couple extra bucks and stay with an LBS supplied brand.
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Old 02-26-06, 09:36 PM   #4
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1. dunno
2. to me, distance & time spent riding are important. Speed doesn't mean as much on a mtn bike. You can get pretty close on time, if you're wearing an HRM.
3. I've tried a bunch and like simple 3 function, wired cateyes. You ought to be able to land one for <$20.
4. I've heard varying stories, like that cat-eye wireless interferes w/Polar. The other drawback w/wireless is that sometimes other stuff interferes w/it. I've got a specialized wireless that has never had interference problems (but I still don't like it).
5. dunno. Cateye makes (made?) an Enduro line that was like the road computers, but had heavier wiring.
6. Not on the mtn bike, but probably will mount one sometime.
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Old 02-27-06, 02:18 PM   #5
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If you're over 50, you may not need to know anything a computer tells you. Regular rides that result in a good sweaty workout will do the job. Who cares about miles, speed, elapsed time &c? Go beyond statistics and pay attention to what your body is telling you. It knows. bk
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Old 02-27-06, 10:25 PM   #6
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I have a computer on my MTB and use it primarily to track miles between waypoints (trailheads, lake, trail junction, big rock, etc.) and total miles. One suggestion: most wired computers use very thin wires between the sensor and the unit. It is easy to damage the wire with the more aggressive use that a mountain bike tends to get (ask me how I know). Unless you go wireless, I found Sigma's "Targa" has much heavier wire that will be less prone to inadvertent "trail damage".
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Old 02-28-06, 11:35 AM   #7
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I have a Cateye Brand Cordless 7. I love it primarily because I can keep track of the distances I travel and my average speed. I can tell if I am improving and also it has help me be able to predict the time I need to alot to get certain places. I ride a hybrid and have watched my 30 mile rides increase from 10 mph average to 14.
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Old 02-28-06, 12:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by foxden
I have a Cateye Brand Cordless 7. I love it primarily because I can keep track of the distances I travel and my average speed. I can tell if I am improving and also it has help me be able to predict the time I need to alot to get certain places. I ride a hybrid and have watched my 30 mile rides increase from 10 mph average to 14.
I ride an MTB and use the Cateye wireless on both of them. Used to find it invaluable, but since the battereies ran out- I no longer do. Funnily enough- I am the opposite to some and, WHEN IT IS WORKING, I find it useful as training aid. First of all the total milage. Then the top speed for bragging. Then the Average for the ride, Then the speed I am currently at.

Total milage is obvious as offroad a 20miler on a rough day can feel like 50 on the road. I want to know if the particular ride I am on is a 20, 30, 40, or 106.8 miles- Only have to measure once then If I want to do a 30 miler I know which route to take. This will also relate to Time taken for a ride so that a 4 hour ride will not be too short. Top speed is only for bragging but Is worth it. Average for the ride will give me an indication of how fit I am. And then the current speed- coupled to how the legs and lungs feel will tell me if I am pushing it too hard. Surprising how 1mph off the top speed will put you in the Comfort Zone.

As a necessity- a computer is way down the list of money to spend on a bike- But as a training aid and toy- they are invaluable. Just a bit higher up the list is the Heart Monitor- so if you can combine the two in one unit. Then you have even more data to digest- brag about and then discard.
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Old 02-28-06, 02:43 PM   #9
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speed and distance travelled is all you'll probably ever use. get wireless if you can afford it.
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