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Old 02-24-09, 03:07 AM   #1
Rob_K
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Bike Computers

How reliant are you on them and what would you look for in a new 'puter?
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Old 02-24-09, 04:36 AM   #2
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What do you want from the computer?

If all you want is current speed and a track of milage ridden, then a basic inexpensive computer is great. For this limited purpose, I would stay with a wired unit.....they are basic, relatively trouble free (untill the wire breaks) and inexpensive.

Once you step up from that level you enter the world of features that you want vs cost and complexity.

Wireless......nice if you are one who breaks wires a lot. not nice if you suffer from interference from local sources such a power lines or even other riders in your group.

Cadence.....nice if you are training or are particularly interested in improving your performance.

Heart monitor....nice if you are training or are particularlyt interested in improving your performance. Also nice if you have had some heart problems and are interested in staying under a limit.

Altimeter....nice if you want to brag about how much climbing you do. Also nice if you are just a data junkie for fun.

GPS...nice!
but expensive.

No computer at all......nice and peaceful.

See what I mean? You have to decide what sort of information you want to acquire during your rides and plan for a computer that will get it for you.

My own choices: 1. Last year, a wired Cateye Strada (white naturally to match the bike) for basic speed/distance info. 2. This year, a wireless Sette FX3 with barometric altimeter ($35 american) just because it has some play info on total altitude gained during a ride and some info (derived) on instantaneous slope. (it has so many data screens that it may prove to be more of a detriment to a peaceful ride than its worth.) 3. My all time favorite, no longer made was the original Topeak Panoram because it displayed speed, distance and ride time all on one screen that was big enough to read from across the room (much nicer for old eyes)
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Old 02-24-09, 06:44 AM   #3
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Reliant? Depends on what you mean. I use mine to monitor HR and cadence to make sure my light workout days truly are light. I tend to want to settle into a sweet spot otherwise.

I have a Garmin 305 which has a ton of features. The ones I consistently use are: HR (current and time spent in each zone), speed, distance, cadence, time. The other "feature" that I really, really like is the ability to plug in a USB cable and upload to my PC.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:35 AM   #4
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Back in the day, I used to have to log car trips for mileage reimbursement. I went a step further and logged all fuel and maintenance. A few times it turned out to my benefit to have such a service and usage record.

Despite a complete lifestyle change in the last 15 years, that habit has stuck with me. I log all bike trips and maintenance. (I don't log bike fuel, however.)

It helps me answer questions about my riding--both my own and those from others. (Most common questions all have to do with how far and how fast.)

In-ride, most of the time I pay little if any attention to the thing. The exceptions are when I'm training, as I did for last year's Colorado trip, and when I'm just plain curious. I don't wear my HRM strap most of the time, but when I do it's so I can monitor heart rate in-ride. When I first started out, I found the cadence readout helpful in learning to spin faster.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:12 AM   #5
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Never leave home without it. I always reset my Incite before every ride just to check my average. I have a Garmon that does not have the HR feature but it is fun to use just to see the graph of certain rides. Here is a view of a couple of my regular routes.

http://www.littlesallie.com/bike.html
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Old 02-24-09, 08:25 AM   #6
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I found them to be a distraction, constantly checking my speed, cadence etc. I have found enlightenment Grasshopper, I now enjoy my rides sans electronic devices.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:57 AM   #7
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LOL, I seem to enjoy mine, it's only a $20 Bell wireless but it's kinda fun to note the Max speed/Avg speed but I don't like the function that tells me I'm "WHIMPING OUT" riding below my avg. So ya I enjoy mine, use mainly the Odometer Function to let me see how FEW miles I've ridden Still I'd love to find a computer with REALLY LARGE View Screen as I can't see hardly anything without my reading glasses and that started WAY before 50+
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Old 02-24-09, 09:03 AM   #8
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I carry my Dell laptop in my saddle bags.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:29 AM   #9
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I moved to a Garmin Edge because it helps we keep track of information I want. I find that I rarely look at the screen while riding. I do, however, keep track of the time or miles depending on the kind of ride I'm on. My life is such that having unlimited time to ride is not currently possible. Hence, whenever I leave the house I know how long or how far I intend to ride. The other useful thing about the Garmin is that it allows me to put data behind what I perceive to be hard climbs.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:40 AM   #10
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LOL, I seem to enjoy mine, it's only a $20 Bell wireless but it's kinda fun to note the Max speed/Avg speed but I don't like the function that tells me I'm "WHIMPING OUT" riding below my avg. So ya I enjoy mine, use mainly the Odometer Function to let me see how FEW miles I've ridden Still I'd love to find a computer with REALLY LARGE View Screen as I can't see hardly anything without my reading glasses and that started WAY before 50+
That's one feature where not wearing my reading glasses on a ride is a positive. Maybe the only positive.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:51 AM   #11
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FYI I have a garmin nuvi, its like the cheapo 200 model, hundred bucks or so. And it has an available handlebar mount from gramin, decent battery life, and a pedestrian mode. I know some of you are probably driving around with one already... Haven't tested mine on a ride yet, so we'll see how good the pedestrian mode really is...
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Old 02-24-09, 09:53 AM   #12
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That's one feature where not wearing my reading glasses on a ride is a positive.
I can still see the Incite, but the Garmon info is way too blurry to see during the ride. I just plug it up to the computer when I get back and check out the info.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:02 AM   #13
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I can still see the Incite, but the Garmon info is way too blurry to see during the ride. I just plug it up to the computer when I get back and check out the info.
I have the Timex GPS units (bar mounted display, stem mounted GPS, and recording device) on one side of the stem and a Cateye with cadence on the other side. On most rides the screens are on cadence and HR/stopwatch. Speed/distance/average etc... are viewed on the computer later.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:03 AM   #14
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One would think with all the current electronics, it might be possible to buy a computer with a display right in your sunglasses lens!
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Old 02-24-09, 10:05 AM   #15
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The computers are as reliable as the math you do for it. Make sure the dimensions are right and you understand all of the functions. My next computer will definitely have an altimeter, but other than that my blackburn does everything.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:25 AM   #16
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Since most of my rides are solo rides, perhaps I can rig up a computer that will speak and respond to spoken commands. For example, next august I can ask how hot is it? and get the response "damn hot"....
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Old 02-24-09, 12:14 PM   #17
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Well I want my computer to give me the weather report, location in latitude and longitude, elevation, feet climbed, distance travelled, average speed, cadence, barametric pressure, heart rate, percent grade, coefficient of friction of the road surface, current speed, max speed and psi of my tires.

What I get is a computer that gives me mileage, current speed, max speed, and avg speed. I am too frugal to pay for the rest of the stuff.
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Old 02-24-09, 02:44 PM   #18
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I just wanted the basic stuff in wireless format, and got a cateye vectra for $40 with shipping and tax. However, the one thing this lacks is average speed. That would be nice to have.
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Old 02-24-09, 03:18 PM   #19
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Use a sigma basic model, about $25. Does what I need, time distance avg speed, max speed and cumulative mieage. whatch out, you can get obsessed with these gadgets. I like the fact that it only records " in the saddle" time, so if I am out for 5 hours, I can tell what portion of that time I spent actually pedalling.
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Old 02-24-09, 03:40 PM   #20
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The Cateye Strada computers have pretty big numbers on the display. Makes it easier for my eyes.

My Stratda replaced a computer that had too much data -- and wasn't easy for my eyes.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:07 PM   #21
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Use a sigma basic model, about $25. Does what I need, time distance avg speed, max speed and cumulative mieage. whatch out, you can get obsessed with these gadgets. I like the fact that it only records " in the saddle" time, so if I am out for 5 hours, I can tell what portion of that time I spent actually pedalling.
I'll second the Sigma. The basic model also has a cumulative peddling time function and it's easy to read the current speed and any one of the other functions you choose to display. It's wired, but that's no problem. It fits my stem perfectly and seems pretty durable so far. If I had to do it again, I probably would opt for the cadence thing and a backlight would be handy this summer when I'll probably be doing a lot more riding at night. But for less than $25 it's one of my better decisions. I keep the trip distance and current speed display on all the time and monitor the avg. speed from time to time, which I'm trying to improve on since I'm sooooo slow.
Are you saying that some other puters don't record just actual pedalling time? That would bite and make me very unhappy since I do stop fairly frequently at this point and a puter like that would be nearly useless to me.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:25 AM   #22
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My wish list: a computer without any kind of sensor device that has to be attached to the spokes, the crank arm, the chain stay, the fork. Some GPS like the Garmin can do some of it, but not all of it. Garmin still has sensors if you want for instance cadence. And when you go in a tunnel, the sensor for speed is also required.

Second, heart monitors: a system that does not require a rider to wear that silly strap.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:04 PM   #23
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I have the Avocet 50 on all four of my bikes.....they're all that I need.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:19 PM   #24
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I always start out the year without one. When I start thinking about touring I realise I need one to help find my way and track my training.

So I get a cheap one. I never like them. Well, the Planet Bike ones aren't bad, but they don't last.

After the big tour in August I want simpler and rip it off. Or when Fall comes and I need the room for my lights I rip it off.

If I ever get a good one that I like, I'll have to come up with some other arrangement.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:20 PM   #25
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The Cateye Strada computers have pretty big numbers on the display. Makes it easier for my eyes.

My Stratda replaced a computer that had too much data -- and wasn't easy for my eyes.
Used one last year.... I found the numbers on the Strada way too small. And I didn't like bending over until my nose was a few inches from the computer. It's gone.
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