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Looking for the longest battery life & inexpensive bike computer. Not fancy...

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Looking for the longest battery life & inexpensive bike computer. Not fancy...

Old 02-24-21, 07:41 AM
  #1  
PetePetePete
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Looking for the longest battery life & inexpensive bike computer. Not fancy...

Any suggestions for a simple bike computer to measure distance and speed? Prefer GPS so I don't need a sensor on the wheel, etc. Can be simple LCD, don't need fancy. But MUST have very long battery life.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 02-24-21, 08:12 AM
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I bought a couple on Ebay for 6 bucks each and they're fine. The type with what looks like a red domed jewel between the buttons below the screen.
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Old 02-24-21, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
I bought a couple on Ebay for 6 bucks each and they're fine. The type with what looks like a red domed jewel between the buttons below the screen.
Batteries need to be Changed every year
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Old 02-24-21, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
I bought a couple on Ebay for 6 bucks each and they're fine. The type with what looks like a red domed jewel between the buttons below the screen.
You got a GPS-equipped computer for $6?
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Old 02-24-21, 08:40 AM
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What does very long battery life mean to you? I don't do multi-day rides where I don't have a chance to charge in between them, so even an 8 hour capacity will be "long" to me.

The "simple" want for only distance and speed probably won't get you as good a device. A device that will be very inexpensive and have just speed, distance and a few other features will be made on the cheap with respect that they are probably made with little mean time between failure concerns.

Stick to Garmin, Wahoo or Lezyne if you want a decent GPS device that gives you speed and distance along with a good smattering of other features. Maps and navigation do add complication, but Garmin has Edge devices with no maps. They'll still give you a lot even without maps.
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Old 02-24-21, 08:49 AM
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A decent wired-sensor LCD odometer (I'm running a Bell 150 at the moment, but have had cheaper ecommerce ones too) should get you thousands of miles on its coin cell. (My reason for replacing them is that particular frame/handlebar details meant I break the wire or mount a few times, and it's near impossible to solder that tiny enamled stuff)

Wanting GPS is where you start to run into battery issues; GPS takes quite a bit of power, especially if run continuously enough to even try to capture cycling movement. Do that and you're into something that needs to be recharged for every distance ride.

GPS is also less accurate; I have my simple sensor intentionally tuned to where it reads a century at about a .8 mile below the map distance, so I know anything it says, I actually did. GPS will overestimate the same ride by around 3%; at one point last spring Strava was bouncing all over the place and adding 20-30%, so I finally gave up and switched to ridewithgps - that's nice for keeping track of where I've been, but the wheel sensor is what I fully believe.
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Old 02-24-21, 08:59 AM
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You are way out of the "simple computer" category when it is based on GPS readings instead of using a wheel magnet. The description given by mdarnton is for the Sunding wired computer which is available for under $10 from numerous sellers. I've given away several of these as gifts. They are accurate as long as you correctly enter the wheel circumference and will go for at least a year without changing batteries even with daily riding. It would be a minor miracle to find anything that cheap that does not use a magnetic sensor.

Here's the red dot mentioned above.

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Old 02-24-21, 09:15 AM
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Polar M460 is fairly cheap for a GPS, and the battery life is enough for a 12+ hour ride with enough to spare which was my rationale for going with it.
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Old 02-24-21, 09:38 AM
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[QUOTE=VegasTriker;21939324]You are way out of the "simple computer" category when it is based on GPS readings instead of using a wheel magnet. The description given by mdarnton is for the Sunding wired computer which is available for under $10 from numerous sellers. I've given away several of these as gifts. They are accurate as long as you correctly enter the wheel circumference and will go for at least a year without changing batteries even with daily riding. It would be a minor miracle to find anything that cheap that does not use a magnetic sensor.

Here's the red dot mentioned above.




Thanks guys... Since I don't want yet another thing to charge, etc. on the Mickelson, I'm going to go with this unit. Between the phone and the trail cam... I am way above where I want to be on crap mounted on my bike. This will fit the bill nicely.

Pete
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Old 02-24-21, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
Thanks guys... Since I don't want yet another thing to charge, etc. on the Mickelson, I'm going to go with this unit. Between the phone and the trail cam... I am way above where I want to be on crap mounted on my bike. This will fit the bill nicely.

Pete
Have you ridden the Mickelson Trail before? Unless things have changed since I rode it in '15, other than for photos, you won't need your phone in a good number of places. It's a great ride, but be prepared for slower going than you might imagine due to grade and surface condition. Also be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially during thunderstorm season.
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Old 02-24-21, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Have you ridden the Mickelson Trail before? Unless things have changed since I rode it in '15, other than for photos, you won't need your phone in a good number of places. It's a great ride, but be prepared for slower going than you might imagine due to grade and surface condition. Also be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially during thunderstorm season.
I have not ridden the Mick before. My desire for the phone is for GPS/mapping/speed, etc. I don't need (or want) to talk to anyone. LOL. (Wife may want us to bring our inReach... not sure yet)

My understanding is that cell service has improved a bit -- but again, don't care. I want to carry the least possible crap. LOL. It'll be 6-7 days... so carrying crap is my chief concern at the moment.
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Old 02-24-21, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
I have not ridden the Mick before. My desire for the phone is for GPS/mapping/speed, etc. I don't need (or want) to talk to anyone. LOL. (Wife may want us to bring our inReach... not sure yet)

My understanding is that cell service has improved a bit -- but again, don't care. I want to carry the least possible crap. LOL. It'll be 6-7 days... so carrying crap is my chief concern at the moment.
Mapping & GPS? You worried about getting lost on a rail-trail? The simple computer pictured above will be sufficient (assuming you calibrate it correctly) and won't need charging or a new battery any time soon. Put the phone in the pocket so it doesn't fall off when you hit one of many potential bumps in the trail.

And 6-7 days? You must be going both directions, no?
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Old 02-24-21, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Mapping & GPS? You worried about getting lost on a rail-trail? The simple computer pictured above will be sufficient (assuming you calibrate it correctly) and won't need charging or a new battery any time soon. Put the phone in the pocket so it doesn't fall off when you hit one of many potential bumps in the trail.

And 6-7 days? You must be going both directions, no?
Yes sir. Both directions with several stops along the way...
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Old 02-24-21, 12:57 PM
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I've been using a Planet Bike wireless for 7 or 8 years. It needs 2 batteries twice a year. Previously I had something else that was unsatisfactory. https://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-P...a-568872520249
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Old 02-24-21, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The "simple" want for only distance and speed probably won't get you as good a device. A device that will be very inexpensive and have just speed, distance and a few other features will be made on the cheap with respect that they are probably made with little mean time between failure concerns.
The Cateye Velo 7 is a simple wired computer that doesn't "feel like junk" to me.

The only reason I replaced mine was because I wanted to move to something that could also display cadence.
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Old 02-24-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by John Valuk View Post
The Cateye Velo 7 is a simple wired computer that doesn't "feel like junk" to me.

The only reason I replaced mine was because I wanted to move to something that could also display cadence.
Did I imply it was?

The OP was asking about GPS devices. I consider the very cheap devices with GPS as lower quality. I wasn't making any judgement of non-GPS devices.
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Old 02-24-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Did I imply it was?
No, you didn't say anything about the Cateye Velo 7. I'm sorry if you got the impression that I was lighting into you by quoting your post; that was not my intention.

What I was trying to get at was that the "wish for simple" could lead to something that felt like decent quality - but by completely departing the GPS world, and by not buying the absolutely cheapest computer on offer.

I agree with you 100% that, if one wants to go the GPS route, the safe bet is to go with something tried and true from one of the big players.
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Old 02-24-21, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You got a GPS-equipped computer for $6?
The quest was for simple, time, speed, distance; GPS was an option, not an essential. For six bux you get simple.

My red dot model has proven to be accurate and reliable at what it is designed to do, which is basically count wheel revs and calculate them into other things. This isn't really a difficult problem to accomplish cheaply and reliably, just as $3 Casio watches used to be able to do with time. As far as GPS, well, my thousand dollar cell phones have not done this job as well as my $6 computer tracks my distance (I stopped messing with the calibration when I got it to better than 1%, but I could have kept going if I'd wished).

Last edited by mdarnton; 02-24-21 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 02-24-21, 05:35 PM
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I assume you guys would avoid the wireless SunDing and go with the wired one?
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Old 02-24-21, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
I assume you guys would avoid the wireless SunDing and go with the wired one?
I would probably avoid Sunding. If you go wired or wireless, Cateye has always been a decent product.

John
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Old 02-24-21, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
The quest was for simple, time, speed, distance; GPS was an option, not an essential. For six bux you get simple.
But you didnít note that your suggestion doesnít satisfy the OPís preference for something without a wheel sensor, so it was not clear what you were suggesting.
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Old 02-24-21, 06:44 PM
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Cat eye wireless... decent battery life?
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Old 02-24-21, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I would probably avoid Sunding. If you go wired or wireless, Cateye has always been a decent product.

John
Yep. Iíve had the same CatEye wireless (makes it easier to box and ship) on my touring/commuter for years. Iíve changed the transmitter and unit batteries once or twice. Iíve done fully loaded touring with it over surfaces that nearly rattled out some fillings.

In fact, my first computer from the 80s was a CatEye. You could see the unit from outer space.
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Old 02-24-21, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
My desire for the phone is for GPS/mapping/speed, etc. I don't need (or want) to talk to anyone. LOL..
Oh, one of those! Till you need help from a fellow cyclist. I've seen it many many times over the last 25 years.
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Old 02-24-21, 09:04 PM
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Not the very cheapest, but both my bikes have a Sigma BC 7.16 wired computer. They claim 1000 riding hours (which is about three years for me) for a single battery so we will see.

I like the feature that both the sensor and computer unit are designed to be attached by O-ring rather than zip tie, so itís easy to attach and remove if need be. Also that means itís less destructively mounted if something causes a bit of pull on the connecting wire.

Otto
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