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Bike compass?

Old 07-12-19, 12:41 PM
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3940dxer
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Bike compass?

Has anyone come across a simple bike compass that works well? I'm looking for something to attach to the handlebars to help in navigating unfamiliar areas. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by 3940dxer; 07-13-19 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 07-12-19, 03:45 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/StemCAPtain-H.../dp/B00BO5882C

I know there are flat ones too, and I would prefer flat over a bubble. But if you can't find anything else, there's an option.
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Old 07-12-19, 03:56 PM
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I found that the stem bolts had enough steel that my compass was off by quite a bit. Steerer tube and star nut are also steel.

I carry a hand held compass that I can pull out of my handlebar bag and use if I left my GPS at home.
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Old 07-12-19, 08:07 PM
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I'm not sure if any magnetic compass one could consider using attached to the bicycle would generally work (not talking about "working well").

There would need to be some way of eliminating the confounding affect of ferromagnetic metal.

GPS can indicate heading if you are moving. There are cheap GPS units available.

Most people would not find direction/heading, by itself, very useful.

A GPS that also displays a map might be more useful.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-12-19 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 07-12-19, 09:30 PM
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Phones have a compass app. If the sun’s out it’s pretty easy to keep track of direction by looking at shadows.
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Old 07-13-19, 01:28 AM
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I just used a cheap ball in liquid compass combined with a bell on one of my bikes. Off the bike it matched my good orienteering compacss.

But even on my aluminum bike there was enough steel to throw off the accuracy of a conventional compass. I would have needed to switch to non-steel bolts, lockrings on the headsets, etc., to get better accuracy. Not worth the trouble.

That's one reason why I stopped relying on older tech -- compasses and maps -- and finally switched to smartphones for navigation. If I was touring in unfamiliar areas, sure, I'd carry older orienteering gear as a backup. But for most of what I do a smartphone is better. And there are other specialized GPS devices as well.
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Old 07-13-19, 12:59 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. This is for the bike I keep in Thailand. I do keep a phone mounted to the handlebars and it does have a compass app, but it has a 5 minute timeout to save battery, and can be hard to see in bright sunlight, and I thought it would be nice to have compass headings at a glance. Some of the rural roads can be confusing over there, and a lot of the smaller ones aren't on Google at all, even paved ones. (And during the seasons I'm there, it's often very overcast or cloudy with no direct sunlight.) But sounds like this just might not be a good idea due to steel parts, as you all pointed out. Thanks again.

Last edited by 3940dxer; 07-13-19 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 07-13-19, 01:17 PM
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To make a compass work I found that I needed to put it on a nonmagnetic mount that was sticking out very far away from handlebars. Even then the readings could not be fully trusted. One way out is to use a compass on a wristwatch strap, particularly on the side of the watch and take the hand off the handlebars for a reading.
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Old 07-13-19, 01:40 PM
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I carry a backpacking compass in my fanny pack. The lanyard's long enough I can throw it around my neck and use it that way.

I've only needed it twice. The second time I needed it I had it.
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Old 07-14-19, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 3940dxer View Post
..., and I thought it would be nice to have compass headings at a glance.....
I do not know if you wear a wrist watch or not, but if you do there are small little compasses that can be attached to some watch bands.

There are also compasses available with a wrist band if you wanted to wear just the compass on your wrist.
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Old 07-14-19, 03:20 PM
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Great ideas, @Tourist in MSN.
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