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  1. #1
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    Computer for Tandem?

    Looking for a computer to put on our tandem. I would like a computer that displays your current gear. I was looking at Shimano Flight Deck but it does not look like the current model offers the gear display. Would also like GPS, cadence and speed display. Hopefully wireless...

    Is anything currently offered that offers the above.

  2. #2
    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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    Garmin has everything but the current gear. I have a flightdeck on my tandem and don't really ever look at the current gear.

  3. #3
    Member droopayne's Avatar
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    i'm sorry for the hijack, but how does the current gear thingy work on the flightdeck? where does it pick up that info? i have ultegra flight deck levers and would love to have a gear indicator. i have always thought the old analog indicators were useless but on our triple there are times when i'd like to know what gear i'm in but can't look down to figure it out.

    sorry to the OP as i have no helpful info, i've always thought the GPS computers were way overpriced. i like to track rides with GPS, but i just throw a handheld in my handlebar bag or backpack. they're more accurate and have way more battery life...and you can get them cheap.

  4. #4
    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droopayne View Post
    i'm sorry for the hijack, but how does the current gear thingy work on the flightdeck? where does it pick up that info? i have ultegra flight deck levers and would love to have a gear indicator. i have always thought the old analog indicators were useless but on our triple there are times when i'd like to know what gear i'm in but can't look down to figure it out.
    It gets the info from the shifters themselves. The shifters do more than act as buttons for the computer, they tell it what gear you are in.

  5. #5
    Member droopayne's Avatar
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    awesome i so want that! it's hard to get gearing info when you're on a triple and your rear stoker is 8yo and too busy singing made up songs to the tune of Jingle Bells.

  6. #6
    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    It may be hard to find the Flight Deck gear that you want. However, earlier this year Tandem Tom (and some others) posted pictures and accounts on how they added inline gear indicators to their bikes.

    The conversation went a little off topic in places, so you'll have to scroll down a ways to see the results.

    droopayne: If you can sing along with your daughter, you're probably in the right gear
    Last edited by mwandaw; 08-28-12 at 12:48 PM.
    Not slow, not fast, but Half Fast!

  8. #8
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droopayne View Post
    awesome i so want that! it's hard to get gearing info when you're on a triple and your rear stoker is 8yo and too busy singing made up songs to the tune of Jingle Bells.
    When we started tandem riding I tried to count the gears in back and always know where we were without looking. This worked ok but now I just remember the front ring location and shift the rear as needed to maintain our desired cadence range.

    I learned the speed ranges of each front ring. For example our middle ring will normally cover from 10-21 mph using the entire (12-25) cassette. I consider the current speed and front ring being used and then decide if a front ring change is needed for the upcoming terrain. Then as we move forward just shift the back as needed keeping an eye on the speed. When we get up to to 18-20 mph I start thinking about the big ring.
    Last edited by waynesulak; 08-28-12 at 09:36 AM.

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    Thanks for the resonses and the hijack was good as well because I didn't know how the setup worked either!

    I didn't realize it was such a limited selection of computers available that offered gear indication! At this point the indicator would be very helpful not only because we are new to tandeming but also because this is a different setup than our single bikes as well as more gearing since we now have a triple in the front. Tonight will only be our third ride so hopefully the more we ride the less we screw up the shifting. We have quite a few never-ending inclines around here so I'm hoping we improve quickly, messing up near the bottom of an uphill mile = struggle! It also seems that we are shifting frequently. More frequently than the single when riding the same route for sure!

    Thanks for the Gear Indicator link Mwandaw, very helpful!

    The best news of all is that we have had the tandem in our possesion for 5 days now, and LOVE it. That is without a computer so it will only get better from here!!

  10. #10
    Member droopayne's Avatar
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    cool, i was starting to feel guilty about hijack. i like the low tech option, if my shifter cables didn't run the underside of my downtube i would go super low teck and just mark the frame with dots and attach something to the cable. since i just bought a computer for the tandem i am tempted to go with the analog version...but then my mountain bike could use a computer...soooo maybe i could go high tech

    as for the OP, have fun with your tandem!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bent In El Paso's Avatar
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    While deciding what kind of computer to put on your bike, you may also want to consider how many.

    When I decided on the type of computer to put on our bike, unbeknownst to my stoker, I ordered two. While she insisted she did not want a computer on the back, I think she just didn't want to spend the $$. Now that she has it, she loves it. She likes being able to monitor speed, incline, elevation, cadence, temperature, etc... on her own. It makes her feel less of being a sightseer and more involved in monitoring our performance on the bike.
    Fred

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  12. #12
    Member droopayne's Avatar
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    i was going to hijack further to ask about a stoker speedo, but opted not too. now that fred has brought it up tho

    fred is your stoker speedo wired? we want a stoker speedo as well, but not sure the wireless will make it that far and around my arse. mounting a rear wheel sensor doesn't really help in our case either since the bike is a triple. i want to add one, but not fond of the wired option.

    i am going to try it with the one i bought but curious what others have set up.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bent In El Paso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droopayne View Post
    i was going to hijack further to ask about a stoker speedo, but opted not too. now that fred has brought it up tho

    fred is your stoker speedo wired? we want a stoker speedo as well, but not sure the wireless will make it that far and around my arse. mounting a rear wheel sensor doesn't really help in our case either since the bike is a triple. i want to add one, but not fond of the wired option.
    We are currently using the Garmin Edge 500 for both the captain and stoker. These are both paired up with one wheel and cadence sensor. Since they are ANT devices, the distance from the rear chainstay to the computers is not a problem. Before the Garmins, we were using VDO computers linked to one speed sensor on the front fork without any issues.

    In general, distance from the sensor to the computer(s) is less of a factor when the sensor transmits a digital signal.
    Fred

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  14. #14
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggie View Post
    Garmin has everything but the current gear. I have a flightdeck on my tandem and don't really ever look at the current gear.
    The info a Garmin provides has proven more useful for more cyclists than what cassette cog you are in, thus there hasn't been further development of gear indicators. This is especially true of power, which has had a big influence, and makes the current gear seem trivial.

    Also, electronic shifting has built in means of knowing current gear, and displays might be more likely in the future for Di2 or EPS than for mechanical gears.

    The OP might want to check out what is going to be in the Garmin Edge 900, the release of which can be gauged by what is presented at Eurobike and Interbike.

    According to this preview, the 900 will have features such as Bluetooth, which will make uploads easier (This preview looks a little suspect, however).

  15. #15
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    The info a Garmin provides has proven more useful for more cyclists than what cassette cog you are in, thus there hasn't been further development of gear indicators. This is especially true of power, which has had a big influence, and makes the current gear seem trivial. ......

    Power display is great if there was a good way to measure the power (not everyone wants to use LOOK style pedals).

  16. #16
    Senior Member diabloridr's Avatar
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    We use a Garmin 500, which will do everything except the gear display.

    I handle that task with a simple Shimano in-line gear indicator (less than $10 IIRC). I only run the indicator for the rear cassette, I rarely get sufficiently brain-dead to forget which chainring we're in.

  17. #17
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    I'm running a Flight Deck up front, and my wife has a Cateye Double Wireless. To add to what others have pointed out, the FD computes inferred speed and cadence, based on the front wheel rpm, chain ring-, and cassette selections. The Flight Deck computer with a gear display are limited to the Shimano 6500- and 6600 brifters. While I can't comment to what Ritterview says with regard to the Garmin, one can always map out gear-inch and apply it to what Wayne stated about speed ranges. For me, my upstairs processor doesn't compute that fast. In addition to the Shimano Flight Deck, IIRC Campy had their Ergobrain (I don't think it's still in production).
    Jeff

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bent In El Paso View Post
    While deciding what kind of computer to put on your bike, you may also want to consider how many.
    This.

    By far the most common trouble spot for folks new to tandems is disagreement about what the cadence should be. If you put a computer *with cadence* at both positions, then captain and stoker can have an informed discussion about cadence. Without computers, you're both guessing, particularly if one or both of you are inexperienced cyclists that haven't ridden enough to have a sense of what cadence is.

    Another benefit is that once you agree about what the cadence should be, the stoker will see on the computer that you are keeping the cadence in the agreed-upon range. This addresses the issue where when your legs are tired, the same numerical cadence feels faster than it did when your legs were fresh.

  19. #19
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheelsNT View Post
    This.

    By far the most common trouble spot for folks new to tandems is disagreement about what the cadence should be. If you put a computer *with cadence* at both positions, then captain and stoker can have an informed discussion about cadence. Without computers, you're both guessing, particularly if one or both of you are inexperienced cyclists that haven't ridden enough to have a sense of what cadence is.

    Another benefit is that once you agree about what the cadence should be, the stoker will see on the computer that you are keeping the cadence in the agreed-upon range. This addresses the issue where when your legs are tired, the same numerical cadence feels faster than it did when your legs were fresh.
    That is a good point. When we began riding the tandem my stoker liked to monitor our cadence to insure that I was staying in the agreed upon range. With all the work involved in constantly shifting I liked the idea that she can see the result. Now she rarely displays the cadence as she has confidence in my gear choices.

    It has also helped that we got her bike fit, crank length, and flexibility to a point where we more easily agree on cadence.

  20. #20
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    We are one of the teams using a Shimano in-line gear indicator. It is simple to install, but from my experience (mostly from my single bike) it is best to securely support the cable at both ends of the indicator, as these plastic devices will crack when stressed sideways.

    see this pic of my install for the basic idea :
    P1010481 (Large).JPG

    As for computers, we are running dual Edge 800s with one speed/cad sensor on the rear non-drive chainstay. The Ant+ range has a huge distance ability, so signal pickup is never a problem.

    For mounting the 800s, we use the following from FSA (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o04_s00_i00) which I feel provide the best universal solution (stable and strong with dual clamps). I have it on the front bars to extend the visibilty further forward, rather than looking down to see it (not so much an issue on my single), though I installed it upside down in order to not interfer with cable routing on the bars. The mount gives great rear facing handlebar-mount orientation flexibility for setup of the Edge 800 in the stoker area.

    41Rl9VVdiML__SS500_.jpg

    It is such a strong mount, that I have no concern of breaking it and it adds some protection for the Garmin too.

    Final looks like this...

    P1010754 (Large).jpgP1010755 (Large).jpgP1010756 (Large).jpgP1010753 (Large).jpg
    Last edited by twocicle; 09-02-12 at 01:00 AM.

  21. #21
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post

    For mounting the 800s, we use the following from FSA...
    Garmin is at last making a computer mount specific for the 500 and 800. This looks better (and cheaper) than the Bar Fly, as the arm is mounted under rather than over the bar, and the Garmin will be level with the stem instead of elevated above the stem. It probably has a more definite engagement, whereas the Bar Fly is mushy.

    Out-front Bike Mount

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiggle
    This handy bike handlebar mount allows you to place either your Garmin Edge 200, 500 or 800 infront of your bars. This puts the Edge in a position optimised for easier viewing and increased safety.

    • Puts the Edge in a position optimized for easier viewing and increased safety
    • Mount material: Plastic
    • Dimensions 113mm x 52mm x 39mm
    • Weight: 26g
    • Compatible devices: Edge 200, 500, 800, Forerunner 310XT, 910XT (with Quick Release Kit)



  22. #22
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Typical for recumbent bikes, our Screamer has twist shifters with gear indicators. Not recommending this for those not interested in flat bars or twisters.
    My two single 'bents have trigger shifters - one with and one without indicators. On the one without, it would be nice to always be sure exactly which cog the chain is on.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  23. #23
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    Garmin is at last making a computer mount specific for the 500 and 800. This looks better (and cheaper) than the Bar Fly, as the arm is mounted under rather than over the bar, and the Garmin will be level with the stem instead of elevated above the stem. It probably has a more definite engagement, whereas the Bar Fly is mushy.

    Out-front Bike Mount
    I do like that both the Bar Fly and the new Garmin mount eliminate the default rubber band mount.

    However, the biggest problems I have with both mounts are:
    1) the lack of adjustment for changing the view angle of the Edge while riding (ambient light changes sometimes require the display to be re-angled to see it).
    2) how they limit the mount height (especially for the stoker position).
    3) while it looks cools, the under bar design interfers with cable routing. I resolved this issue by flipping the FSA units upside down on all my front bars (see photos above in post #20). The FSA mount has the same type of offset mount, but using it in the normal orientation places the extension right where all cables exit from under the bar tape.
    4) that the single arm mounts tend to vibrate with the bigger Edge units - makes reading the display more difficult.
    Last edited by twocicle; 09-07-12 at 12:20 AM.

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