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  1. #1
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Handlebar mount compass?

    The other day I was just riding around and on the way home I took a different route and didnt know where I was going. I knew which direction I wanted to go, but do to a lot of winding side streets soon I didnt know which direction that was. I ended up doing a 5 mile loop out of my way. Not bad and kind of fun, but I am planning on doing some much longer rides over the summer and getting lost might not be cool.

    So, does anyone make a small compass that could be mounted on the handlebars? I could go for a normal compass, but it would be nice to have easily viewable while riding. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    About 10 yrs ago I bought a little compass in a dept store camping section for a couple of $'s. It was a liquid filled ball and had a mounting pin, so you could pin it to your clothes. I pinned it to the top of my bar-bag. It had very little damping so the vibration when moving made it spin like crazy, but it gave a good reading when stopped.

  3. #3
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    I've got a handlebar mount GPS. It's a little more high tech, but does some really neat things. It'll map out your whole route, tell your elevation, speed, odo, heading, how far, and which direction, from waypoints, and more. Check it out.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn Mike
    I've got a handlebar mount GPS. It's a little more high tech, but does some really neat things. It'll map out your whole route, tell your elevation, speed, odo, heading, how far, and which direction, from waypoints, and more. Check it out.
    Yeah, I knew someone would mention it and I would really like one, but it is a bit too expensive and it is overkill. I am a sucker for technology usually, but I would like to keep the bike as somewhat of an escape from it as well. I think this is me trying to rationalize not getting a GPS.

  5. #5
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    that's good thinking... My excuse was "my bike made me buy it". What a great toy, but one could certainly get by without.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn Mike
    What a great toy, but one could certainly get by without.
    Not in Spokane I couldn't - I'd end up in Tri-Cities or worse yet, Boise.

    55/Rad

  7. #7
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I have a bell with a built in compass. It's kind of like a GPS but much less expensive and no color display.

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    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    I have a bell with a built in compass. It's kind of like a GPS but much less expensive and no color display.
    Thats perfect as I was considering getting a bell as well. Do you know who makes it or where I can find it?

  9. #9
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bg4533
    Thats perfect as I was considering getting a bell as well. Do you know who makes it or where I can find it?
    Found it at Nashbar.Link.

    Thanks!

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    i have a small one fixed on my waist bag.

  11. #11
    Nature Worshipper hillyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bg4533
    Found it at Nashbar.Link.

    Thanks!
    I highly recommend Nashbar Compass Bell . My Walmart also has one made by Bell.
    I have a Etrex GPS but it gets knocked out in certain areas and eats batteries.
    In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. John Muir

  12. #12
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    I just bought one of the nashbar bell compasses, just incase I ever needed it. So far, it is working great!
    ~UPBiker

  13. #13
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bg4533
    Found it at Nashbar.Link.

    Thanks!
    Oops, sorry I forgot to post the link. The one I found was from REI but it's 6 bucks. The nashbar one's only 3 bucks but with shipping, you're probably better off going to your LBS. It should be next to the large cheeseburger bell

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    Quote Originally Posted by bg4533
    The other day I was just riding around and on the way home I took a different route and didnt know where I was going. I knew which direction I wanted to go, but do to a lot of winding side streets soon I didnt know which direction that was. I ended up doing a 5 mile loop out of my way. Not bad and kind of fun, but I am planning on doing some much longer rides over the summer and getting lost might not be cool.

    So, does anyone make a small compass that could be mounted on the handlebars? I could go for a normal compass, but it would be nice to have easily viewable while riding. Thanks.
    The problem with the compass is the following:

    1. You need to carry a map in order to use it effectively.
    2. The inexpensive ones have a hard time displaying true north.
    3. If it gets damaged, you can get real lost

    The price of a GPS has dropped dramatically and you can find them on Ebay for less than $50.00! You don't need the fancy ones that have a built in map. The simple ones enable to to plug way points (longititude and latitude) into the system. You can get these way points by using a program like Microsoft Streets and Trips. This program sells real cheap on Ebay. You could also develope your own by setting your home as a "way point" and you'll never get lost. Without a doubt, the GPS really improved my overall riding and I'm no longer afraid to get lost. In fact, I look forward to getting lost because once I turn on the GPS, I'll know exactly where I am. I often find myself taking trains to the middle of nowhere and using the GPS to take me home. Incredible.

    I no longer carry maps anymore. In fact, when I need to find an exact address, I get the Longititude and Lattitude points from Streets and Trips and head to that location without ever getting lost. Try that with a compass. The only thing I regret about the GPS is that I didn't get one sooner.

  15. #15
    Nature Worshipper hillyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    The problem with the compass is the following:

    3. If it gets damaged, you can get real lost
    In fact, I look forward to getting lost because once I turn on the GPS, I'll know exactly where I am. I often find myself taking trains to the middle of nowhere and using the GPS to take me home.

    I no longer carry maps anymore.
    Boy are you looking for trouble You think a GPS can't malfunction?
    I tried Trading my Etrex on something or another at a pawn shop and they wouldn't even look at it.
    The said they bought and sold too many GPS units that went wacky. A GPS is alright don't get me wrong but is a piece of electronics. Sounds like fun what your doing but I would take a map and compass also to be on the safe side.
    In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. John Muir

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawdaddy
    Boy are you looking for trouble You think a GPS can't malfunction?
    I tried Trading my Etrex on something or another at a pawn shop and they wouldn't even look at it.
    The said they bought and sold too many GPS units that went wacky. A GPS is alright don't get me wrong but is a piece of electronics. Sounds like fun what your doing but I would take a map and compass also to be on the safe side.
    You have a point. The GPS is a close approximate. I can get within 100 feet of my final destination before the device starts to give incorrect readings. Furthermore, if your location is covered by trees, the device gets lost.

    That said, I don't need 100 accuracy. The pawn shop owner probably took the device ouside and tried to get directions. This is a mistake. A way point will show you the direction but will not bring you within 2 feet of your final destination. I accept and live with the limitations any day.

    I doubt the original poster can use a compass correctly and is probably not going into the jungle.

  17. #17
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    A GPS is great until you run out of batteries, or it gets wet or dropped and ruined. A compass (or two - just incase) takes up little room, and if cared for properly they should never get ruined. A laminated map is nice too. Also, if you get too lost and you have a compass with or without a map - good for you. If you know how to use and store a compass properly, there shouldn't be much of a problem.

    I carry a GPS and a compass. I don't use the GPS on the bike because I have never needed it with the compass.
    ~UPBiker

  18. #18
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Not to mention a GPS will not find a good route cross country for you if you are backpacking or mountain biking way out in the wild. You must have some good map skills (and a topo map) or the gps could lead you into a dangerous situation if there are a lot of canyons or mountains in the area you are in. The safest route between 2 points is rarely a straight line in the places I go to. That being said some of the more expensive GPS's have topo maps on them I think. Still, nothing beats a GOOD compass for dependability.
    Sunrise saturday,
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    lost in the moment.

  19. #19
    Reynolds 853 Select zapper's Avatar
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    I use my casio "pathfinder" it has a compass, barometer and altimeter...Alright, the altimeter is a little overkill but one can be had for about $140 bucks...even less on ebay. p.s. Don't get the solar model..had one and it sucked!

  20. #20
    Reynolds 853 Select zapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zapper
    I use my casio "pathfinder" it has a compass, barometer and altimeter...Alright, the altimeter is a little overkill but one can be had for about $140 bucks...even less on ebay. p.s. Don't get the solar model..had one and it sucked!
    oops forgot the pic....

  21. #21
    Bike Happy DanFromDetroit's Avatar
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    I have a very small compass attached to the sternum strap of my backpack. I think it cost about $2.00 at Dunhams.

    You should be able to find something like it at any sporting goods store.

    Dan
    There is nothing homlier than the face on your last dime.
    --John Wildcat, Greenback Friend

  22. #22
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Well, I got the compass bell yesterday... Despite the fact that Nashbar says it "fits every handlebar ever made" the clamp on it is far too small to mount on my 31.8mm clamp handlebars. I can't really mount the compass in its stock form anywhere on the bike. I think I might just pick up a compass at an outdoor store and throw it in my saddlebag.

  23. #23
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Wow that sucks, 31.8mm seems pretty thick, I measured the bell I have and it's around 28mm inside. How about jamming it on and then securing it with a zip tie?

  24. #24
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    Wow that sucks, 31.8mm seems pretty thick, I measured the bell I have and it's around 28mm inside. How about jamming it on and then securing it with a zip tie?
    Thats an option. I considered mounting it on my frame by the stem as well, but something seems to be interfering with the compass then.

  25. #25
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Sorry I couldn't get to you sooner, the compass bell's been sitting in my desk for 6 months. I bought one of those ones that makes the cool "ching ching!" sound instead of the "ding".
    Does your bar also taper? You could mount it farther away from the center. Or on the seat stay

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