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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Who makes a good computer with Altimeter

    Just starting to shop for a better computer than what I have now. Has any one tried the Vetta VL110A HD Altimeter SmartLite Cycling Computer? Any reviews? Amazon only showed one person who reviewed it. The VDO seems to get high marks. Thanks.

    Mark

  2. #2
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    I've used the VDO MC1.0 for several years, and really like it. It seems accurate, and it's definitely durable (still ticking despite many hours-long torrential downpours.)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    You can't win until you're not afraid to lose.

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    I used a Cateye one for years without any problems and was accurate. I would have preferred one which provided a gradient function but they were too pricey.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    What model CatEye is that?

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    Senior Member Neil G.'s Avatar
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    I'll put in another vote for the VDO MC1.0 (the wired version). I've used it for 3 years and ~10,000 miles and haven't had a single problem with it. On top of that, it's awesome, it does exactly what I want it to do. The only con I would give it is that it doesn't have a backlight like my old Specialized one did. But overall I like the VDO more than the Specialized (which also had altimeter/grade functions). Since the altimeter is based on air pressure, it will vary with the weather, but in terms of of relative altitude within a day's ride it's remarkably accurate (correlated with DeLorme Topo altitudes and GPS readings)

    I don't think I'd be able to do a tour without altimeter/grade functions, I've basically become addicted to tracking that information. So I love my VDO, it's one of my favorite pieces of cycling equipment.

    Neil

  6. #6
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    Cateye AT100. Pressure altimeter very accurate for relative altitude over a short time period. Large figures in the display. The backlight only worked when the battery was new.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I just put the Vetta 110A on my touring bike (last Friday) because I thought an altimeter would be nice. I've only tried it on a 50 mile ride last weekend and was not really familiar with its operation. I did not turn on the altimeter correctly and can't give you much feedback on that feature. It seemed to work OK on my street which rises 20-30 feet. I think it might be OK once I get used to it. There are three things that I did not like: 1) the dispay is not as bright as some of the others I've owned; 2) whenever I go under the powerline in front of my house the speed jumped from 10 mph to 25-40 mph, affecting max speed reading as well as being irritating; 3) the thermometer reads high, by about 10 degrees F.

    If the accuracy of the speed, the altimeter and the temperature are questionable; I'm not sure if it is something I want on my bike. It seems like a lot to pay for features that supply unreliable information! There does not seem to be any way to calibrate the thermometer. I must have gone under a powerline Saturday that affected the computer, because my max. speed was 47 mph. I know that is wrong even though there were some pretty nice downhill sections.

    On the other hand, I still have my $15.95, 12 year old Vetta C-15 on my every day ride and it still is ticking away.

    I'd really like to hear others' opinions on this component.

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    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Just so you know what everyone is calling "relative elevation change". That means, unless you have a known elevation to calibrate it to each day, you won't know the actual elevation, just the change in elevation. If a weather front comes through during the day it will throw off your numbers base on the size of barometric change with the weather front. On an average day, the elevation change, ex. total climb for the day will be pretty accurate. If a big strom front comes through that day, all bets are off.

    For me it was a novelty for a while and then I never looked at it again, but that's just me.

  9. #9
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    I have owned one computer that had a temperature sensor, and it was reasonably accurate on cloudy days, but not when it was sunny. I doubt very much that it is possible to make those temperature functions robustly accurate, because they have to be contained in a small black plastic box that is frequently exposed to full sunlight.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Well from what I've read and studied, I think I'll be going with the VDO MC1.0 wired unit. The wireless one actually costs less on Amazon but I think I'd prefer to pay a little more for the wired one. Thanks a lot guys for the info.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Neil G.'s Avatar
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    I got mine from http://www.excelsports.com/ and they're currently selling it for $99.95, which is less than Amazon. Only downside is that then they'll send you catalogs chock full of crazy racing (and thus totally non-touring-related) gear!

    Neil

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    Keep in mind that an altimeter needs constant calibration to give any sort of accurate measurement. A bad thunderstorm comes in and suddenly you've gained 300 feet without moving an inch.

  13. #13
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw View Post
    Just so you know what everyone is calling "relative elevation change". That means, unless you have a known elevation to calibrate it to each day, you won't know the actual elevation, just the change in elevation. If a weather front comes through during the day it will throw off your numbers base on the size of barometric change with the weather front. On an average day, the elevation change, ex. total climb for the day will be pretty accurate. If a big strom front comes through that day, all bets are off.

    For me it was a novelty for a while and then I never looked at it again, but that's just me.
    http://www.zonums.com/gmaps/maptool.html
    ^^^
    Find where you live, and you can get the elevation from that website.
    Or if you have access to a gps.

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    +2 for the VDO MC1.0 wired. NOT the wireless MC1.0+ which is analog and unreliable. And also NOT their newer digital.

    The MC1.0 has temperature, barametric altimeter, and gradient functions. Very reliable and the battery seems to last a long time...I have no idea how long the battery lasts but I change it in mine every two years. Can be used on two bikes.

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    I have the VDO MC1.0 wireless, and haven't had any problems with it. The one thing I really wish it did was tell you the total feet descended. My old Ciclosport CM 434 (?) did that, but you can't get that anymore.
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I have the VDO MC1.0 wireless, and haven't had any problems with it. The one thing I really wish it did was tell you the total feet descended. My old Ciclosport CM 434 (?) did that, but you can't get that anymore.
    I still have my wireless MC1.0+ on my mountain bike because of the suspension. I noticed many discrepancies with it from the beginning. Then one day I was standing drinking an orange juice out in some remote rest stop that had wireless internet and looked down to see the MC1.0+ reading 50 mph! Since I plan and do a lot of "scripted" rides with mileage sheets this is just not reliable enough.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    After rereading all these posts and doing some more research I think I'm opting for the Vetta VL110A HD Altimeter SmartLite. I like the idea of the back light and it's quite a bit cheaper than the VDO. Amazon has it for $82, the cheapest I've found so far. But I've got a while before my tour next year so I have time to change my mind again if need be. Thanks for all the imput guys. It's been a big help.

    Mark

  18. #18
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Coming to this party late...sorry.

    I'm surprised that no one mentioned Garmin 205/305/605/705. I am not a fan of barometric pressure based altimeters for the reasons mentioned. Used a Garmin 305 on a transam and it was great- tracks normal bike computer stuff, but also a host opf altitude related things like current Altitude, total ascent, total descent, % grade, etc.

    Only problem is battery life- maybe 10-12 hours and then you need a full recharge.

  19. #19
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    i got a ciclosport computer (i forget the model) wired computer with altimeter from one of those sale sites (either bonktown or chainlove.) it pretty much does the basic stuff (instataneous speed, average, distance, max, etc) and has elev, gained, and lost. what i like about is is it stays on (i dunno how the battery lasts, but it does) and is like 20 or 30 bucks when on sale

  20. #20
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    Keep in mind that an altimeter needs constant calibration to give any sort of accurate measurement. A bad thunderstorm comes in and suddenly you've gained 300 feet without moving an inch.
    It is based on the barometer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barometer

    It would be nice if you could dial this in. Like a plane.
    that is why all airports have this reading.
    Punch in your airport and boom Phoenix
    airport US starts with K >>>KPHX 292351Z (date and time in zulu) 24010G16KT 10SM FEW110 SCT250 18c/M10c Alt.2989 http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/metar.shtml

    I made it a little easier to read.

  21. #21
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    The garmins have a barometric altimeter and has the same problems

  22. #22
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    To answer your question there are quite a few good computers with and altimeter. But there are no computers with a good altimeter. not at to price that you are paying and not made for a bike.

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