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  1. #1
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Handlebar mounted compass

    Has anyone any experience of small bar mounted compasses? I'm assuming you must be able to but them (I'm not after accuracy beyond NNE SSW etc.)?

    Anybody seen them for sale (UK mail order would be ideal)?

    Are they vaguely useful?

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  2. #2
    Slow Moving Vehicle Jean Beetham Smith's Avatar
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    Who cares if they are useful, compasses are neat things. There are small compasses built on top of handlebar "incredi-bells", I think Performance or Nashbar carries them. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone. That way you can pull out a map, find North & figure out which is right and left without looking at your derailleurs.

  3. #3
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Jean Beetham Smith
    Who cares if they are useful, compasses are neat things. There are small compasses built on top of handlebar "incredi-bells", I think Performance or Nashbar carries them. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone. That way you can pull out a map, find North & figure out which is right and left without looking at your derailleurs.
    I've tried Nashbar & Performance, as well as most of the UK internet mail order companies I know of without success. Anyone know whether they're still made?

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  4. #4
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    Will the bike metal bias the reading ? The vibration wont do it much good either.
    I use a Silva inside a map bag on a Carradice bar bag, or a button compass. usually, when I need a compass, I need a map as well.

  5. #5
    It's only a hill. Weasel's Avatar
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    Yes they are still being made and are available over here for about 4-5 Euros. They are built onto the top of a small bell.
    If you want spectacular results, you have to know how to treat your bike badly.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Ya, I got a whole bunch of them on sale. Believe it or not, I got them for $0.50 each. I soon learned why there was a big blowout on them. They don't work with steel handlebars.

    These were liquid filled globe compasses with a tiny bell ringer on it.

    They don't work at all with steel handlebars. Period.
    Mike

  7. #7
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Well I seem to have a natural sense of direction, and I never find the need for one. The only thing I worry about is where a particular road turns off of whatever. For that, I just stop, get out my map and have a good look at it.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  8. #8
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Chris L
    Well I seem to have a natural sense of direction, and I never find the need for one. The only thing I worry about is where a particular road turns off of whatever. For that, I just stop, get out my map and have a good look at it.
    I, also, have this same "6th sense." I never need to ask for directions! Ask my wife: no matter how long it takes, I can get my family to any destination without help, no matter how long it takes!

    No worries

  9. #9
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    I too have a good sense of direction, but always turn to my compas in fog when Im navigating in a strange city , or on trails.
    If nothing else, I use it to orient the map.

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    Originally posted by Pete Clark

    I, also, have this same "6th sense." I never need to ask for directions! Ask my wife: no matter how long it takes, I can get my family to any destination without help, no matter how long it takes!

    Well, I think ANYONE can get to the destination eventually without help.. that's typically a man's thing to refuse help from outside..
    To me, that adds to the fun, though I've learnt to ask 3 times.. as people give contradicting replies.

    It's funny but I find compasses most useful inside cities where you can easily get confused because of the layout of streets.
    Outside cities there's less to get confused about.
    I'm the lucky owner of an Ortlieb bar bag, on top is a map holder with velcro straps..
    In the past I've used clear Silva compasses but I lost one 2 many and decided to get an 'el cheapo' compass at about 1/5th the cost.. it's a very simple compass globe on a small metal chain.
    I attached it to the plastic clip ends at the bar bag (which holds the bar bag strap) and have used it frequently..

    It's not good enough for orienteering of course, but there's no need for that..

    Ivana, who checked out a few web sites on orienteering to help a US friend who failed an orienteering test in the US army.. seemed like a fun hobby (orienteering that is)!
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  11. #11
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    In the UK we have bike orienteering events. The Polaris Challenege is the hardest. A full weekend, camping with mandatory minimunm survival kit, on wet foggy mountains. Some people take it deadly seriously, but there have been teams "competing" on unicycles.

  12. #12
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    I had a cheap one with a safety pin on the back. I pinned it to the top of the handle bar bag. I worked OK when I stopped to check the map, but the vibration made it spin like crazy while I was riding.

    When I lost it, I didnt miss it enough to try and find another one.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bjlaw's Avatar
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    Long story I won't go into now but I went 30 miles out of my way on a 62.5 mile charity ride once. Almost did my first century because of it. It was overcast and the roads were wiinding and I too thought I was great natural navigator.

    Since then I carry a small compass just to be "sure" when in doubt.
    BJ

    When victory in battle is assured, time to tighten helmet strap.

  14. #14
    Von
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    I have a compass on my mountain bike and on our tandem. The compass fits on a wrist watchban. Easy to modify for bike handle bars.(www.ems.com) they ship their products world wide. If I remember right the compass was under $10.

  15. #15
    Member Old Dan's Avatar
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    For the type of touring that I do, I've got both a compass and a GPS unit.

    Handlebars do effect the readings, but a short extension bar made from pvc can move it out and away from the bars......
    Stop wasting space....live on the edge

  16. #16
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Thanks for everyone's advice.

    I've just upgraded the handlebars to aluminium, so hopefully they won't cause any problem. I've found a UK supplier of ping bells with compass atop but they're pretty pricy (four time the cost of a plain bell), so I might get a watch strap fitting one (I've seen them for equiv. of 3 $ in the local army surplus shop.

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  17. #17
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    Is a GPS a waste of money or useful? I'm living in bike-apartheid-country where a vast amt of separate bike paths exist which do not show up on many maps, unless you have the most detailed maps in existance.. this is a real PITA as it inhibits me from travelling as much by bike as I would like..
    Instead I opt for taking a train and ride the rest with a bike folder (Brompton)...

    An example, lost my bearings approx. 10 times between the Dutch border and Amsterdam on a non-stop Paris-Amsterdam ride...

    the signage for bike paths is a night mare!

    Just last Sunday I had a very straightforward ride.. but if I had followed the signs I would have been side-tracked 3 times.. thanks to an extremely detailed map I did just fine, so I ignored the signs..

    Ivana
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  18. #18
    Member Old Dan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by fietser_ivana

    Is a GPS a waste of money or useful?

    Ivana
    I've never biked in Europe, so I don't know if one will be useful for you or not. The reason I use one is two folds...first, when working as a mountain bike guide it's just as valuable as a cell phone in getting help in the event of an accident or medical emergency. The other, is that over the years I've been obsessed with developing an asphalt free transam as far as possible. Besides a compass on the bike, I also carry a mirror sighting compass along with the appropriate topographical maps (USGS 7.5's or the small scale De Lorme's) for route finding........
    Stop wasting space....live on the edge

  19. #19
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Finally tracked down a compass bell. The compass works okay when stationary (globe type) but takes quite a while to settle. Road vibration makes judging direction beyond the four main points pointless (and even then the accuracy is dubious). The bell works well, and to be fair to the compass I haven't got lost yet

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  20. #20
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    Richard

    Ware did you get it from ?

    I need a bell, so may as well get one with a compass

  21. #21
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Brains
    Richard

    Ware did you get it from ?

    I need a bell, so may as well get one with a compass
    www.gearshift.co.uk
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

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