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Quality, reliable basic bike computer with cadence?

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Quality, reliable basic bike computer with cadence?

Old 03-17-22, 04:10 PM
  #1  
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Quality, reliable basic bike computer with cadence?

I am looking at getting my girlfriend a better bike computer that has cadence. When I first got in to distance riding I had a Sigma that was wired with the additional cadence sensor. However, after a few thousand miles the cables started giving problems. I upgraded to a Garmin Edge 1000 and that has worked pretty well for a few years since.

However, in this instance I am not wanting a GPS computer. I just want her to be able to track miles and keep tabs on cadence. If we go on longer rides together we have plenty of ways to navigate - Edge 1000 GPS, tablet GPS, and 2 phones, plus paper depending on where we are.

The main 2 things I am looking for are reliability (what is going to last for several years with only battery changes, charging) that shows cadence?

As for mileage - trip and total would be nice. Otherwise, just trip. We can tally miles as time goes.
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Old 03-17-22, 04:44 PM
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Lezyne Macro Easy if you want something from a brand name and a decent rep, though some are not happy with Lezyne; last I looked, they were $80, and cadence sensors were acaiable from cheap to $40. Cateye makes some with cadence, but you don't save much. There are a couple of German brands, but they aren't widely distributed in the US. IGPSport an Xoss are Chinese brands available from Amazon and ebay that have their fans. Other 'zon and 'bay brands with really strange English names are available. GPS chips are so cheap that it's hard to find non-GPSes. The Scosche Rhythm+ does HR and cadence, and they can be connected to smart phones and apps like Wahoo, etc.
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Old 03-18-22, 08:38 AM
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Shouldn't you ask your girl friend what things she'll think will make a good cycling computer for her?
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Old 03-18-22, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Shouldn't you ask your girl friend what things she'll think will make a good cycling computer for her?
She doesn't care. She has an app on her phone that tracks distance, but it doesn't have any sensor input from the bike. We discussed it a while back and she got a basic computer - one that does not do cadence, just speed and distance.

I'm working on some other bike options and I think the scenario deserves to have a better computer available.

From a functionality standpoint - the Sigma I had would be perfect - if it were reliable. Since it is not that is why I am asking here - what is going to be basic like that, show cadence (extra sensor), and be reliable for a few years at least?
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Old 03-18-22, 03:51 PM
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You can get a Wahoo Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor for about $50 and user their phone app (or probably any Strava-type phone app).

Wahoo also has a "dumb" head unit that displays what is on their phone app. I bought it and only used it a couple of times, but I think it would do what you want.
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Old 03-18-22, 03:58 PM
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Then get a Garmin Edge 130.

Out of the couple dozen Garmin's I've either owned or been involved with, they all work except one. A very early Garmin Chart plotter that was on my sailboat when Hurricane Katrina sunk it. The chart plotter was under water for two full weeks before we floated the boat and cleaned everything up. The chart plotter still worked for three years after that sinking.

My Garmin Edge 500 was used for over 10 years and still works. I gave it away when I got my Edge 530. All the Garmin devices my son has work too. And one of his is from 2017. So if reliable in the sense that they last is your objective, then stay away from the cheaper brands.

Don't worry about all the extra features you don't want, because you don't have to use them if you don't need them.
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Old 03-18-22, 04:01 PM
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I have the 130, and for some weird reason it, and the 25, don't let you use external speed and cadence (at least the last time I checked). If you hook them up, it goes automatically into stationary trainer mode.

I think it works fine on the 530, but that is a hefty investment ($300) for someone who is looking for an inexpensive option. (Even the $200 list price for the 130+ is probably not what the OP has in mind.)
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Old 03-19-22, 09:22 AM
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The Garmin units aren't what I'm looking for.

The Sigma BC 16.12 is what I had before - see the link here:
https://www.opticsplanet.com/sigma-b...-computer.html

That has the basic functions that I want. What it does not have is reliability.

What does those functions and is reliable? My concern with wired devices is the wires are easy failure points. However, the only wireless sensors I am familiar with are the ANT+ sensors (I think that is what they are?) that my Garmin Edge 1000 uses. Those - so far - have been reliable, aside from changing batteries (I can get a season on a set of batteries, and then some - with a couple spares in my bar bag so I am not hanging dry on a ride/trip if one goes out). Are the wireless sensors on, say, something like the Sigma BC 16.16 reliable? See link below:
https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Indi...ps%2C75&sr=8-1

If I can get a suitable computer that is reliable and will last for under $100 that would be ideal.
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Old 03-19-22, 11:21 AM
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One issue with GPS units is that you have to charge them more frequently. You can get a basic cycle computer that will last for many months without replacing the battery.

There used to be a few computers that didn't have GPS but used ANT+ sensors. I have a Bontrager one from a long while ago. It was kind of expensive but it worked really well.

I think the problem is that the ANT+ basic computers can't be made cheap enough to compete with the cheaper GPS computers or be sold for enough over cheap non-ANT+ computers to make it worth while to sell.

That is, these sorts of computers got crushed between more basic computers and computers with GPS.

=====================

This is $75 and doesn't include the sensor (might be able to get a decent one for $16).

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...olorCode=black

$31 for two sensors (one for cadence; one for speed). I think people have had pretty-good luck with these (I haven't tried them). These also support BT. Note that you'd be able to use these sensors (any ANT+ sensor) with another ANT+ head unit. You'd even be able to use both head units at the same time).

https://www.amazon.com/Magene-Cadenc...s%2C77&sr=8-15

I'm not sure if it's universally true, but it might be that the pairing of ANT+ sensors is very similar between different computers (it was with the Bontrager computer I had). One problem with computers that use proprietary sensors is that they use different (and, sometimes, fussy) paring procedures (which can be inconvenient when you change batteries).

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Old 03-19-22, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
The Garmin units aren't what I'm looking for.

The Sigma BC 16.12 is what I had before - see the link here:
https://www.opticsplanet.com/sigma-b...-computer.html

That has the basic functions that I want. What it does not have is reliability.

What does those functions and is reliable? My concern with wired devices is the wires are easy failure points. However, the only wireless sensors I am familiar with are the ANT+ sensors (I think that is what they are?) that my Garmin Edge 1000 uses. Those - so far - have been reliable, aside from changing batteries (I can get a season on a set of batteries, and then some - with a couple spares in my bar bag so I am not hanging dry on a ride/trip if one goes out). Are the wireless sensors on, say, something like the Sigma BC 16.16 reliable? See link below:
https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Indi...ps%2C75&sr=8-1

If I can get a suitable computer that is reliable and will last for under $100 that would be ideal.
Sigma has been around for a long while. Their stuff should be reliable.

I'd probably go with the Bontrager unit I linked to before. It uses ANT+, which means you'll be able to use the sensors you get with a more-advanced head unit (you'd even be able to use both head units at the same time).

The Sigma unit you linked to uses a magnet-pickup sensor. Those can be fussy to set up and you often have to realign them. The newer ANT+ sensors don't use a separate magnet (so it's install and forget about them).
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Old 03-19-22, 12:15 PM
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Is she happy with the phone app otherwise? If so, the free Wahoo app and the Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor are all you need. (Looks like it is now $60, but you can probably find it on sale).

https://www.wahoofitness.com/devices...cadence-sensor


The Wahoo BlueSC speed and cadence sensor transforms your phone into a powerful cycling computer. Using Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ technology, it tracks cycling speed, cadence, and distance which can be paired with your favorite cycling app including Wahoo SYSTM and Zwift, or paired to your bike computer. It's weatherproof, small with a low drag profile, and comes with a rubber band and zip tie mounts.
Note that it also has ANT+ so you can use it with most conventional head units if she should get tired of using the phone.


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Old 03-19-22, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Is she happy with the phone app otherwise? If so, the free Wahoo app and the Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor are all you need. (Looks like it is now $60, but you can probably find it on sale).
You'd generally need to mount your phone to be able to watch your cadence. That means you'd have to buy a mount for your $500-1000 phone (some are cheap but some are not).

Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
https://www.wahoofitness.com/devices...cadence-sensor

Note that it also has ANT+ so you can use it with most conventional head units if she should get tired of using the phone.
I wouldn't suggest that sensor. It's a magnet type, which can be a bit fussy to set up and go out of alignment fairly regularly.

Most of the current ANT+ sensors (even the cheap ones I linked to) support BT too.
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Old 03-19-22, 01:47 PM
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They make both types.

The main thing (from the earlier post) is that the "Wahoo RFLKT Bike Computer" for about $45 allow(ed) display of what was on the phone, even when safely tucked in a pocket.

It looks like they don't make it any more. (I got it in 2016). It would have been the perfect cost-effective solution.
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Old 03-19-22, 06:40 PM
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I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but I'm really liking the little 130 that could. It's an excellent balance between capability and simplicity.

Not wanting to charge it regularly changes the equation, but for me the question would be how much you have to spend to get something she'll be happy with, and then how much $ difference is there between that and something that can do the basics in an easy way but can do more if desired.

I have a screen on the 130 with just 2 fields. It's nice to have that info at a glance, and at the same time it's all I usually need and nothing else is in the way. But it can do turn by turn when I want that.

Again, I get the sense the OP's girlfriend just wants something like a Cateye that works solidly, I'm posting to share experience for anybody else who has the same question and wants to consider options.
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Old 03-19-22, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
They make both types.
​​​​​​He shouldn't get the one you linked to (and I made why clear).

Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
The main thing (from the earlier post) is that the "Wahoo RFLKT Bike Computer" for about $45 allow(ed) display of what was on the phone, even when safely tucked in a pocket.

It looks like they don't make it any more. (I got it in 2016). It would have been the perfect cost-effective solution.
For a little more money, you can get a computer that doesn't need your phone. Doesn't seem very perfect at all.
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Old 03-19-22, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but I'm really liking the little 130 that could. It's an excellent balance between capability and simplicity..
I agree. The one complication is that if you pair it with a cadence and/or speed sensor, it defaults into trainer mode. At least that was the case when I got the thing. It is possible they changed that (truly annoying) "feature" in a firmware update.
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Old 03-19-22, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
I agree. The one complication is that if you pair it with a cadence and/or speed sensor, it defaults into trainer mode. At least that was the case when I got the thing. It is possible they changed that (truly annoying) "feature" in a firmware update.
Not sure what happened in you case, but I don't think it was a general problem.
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Old 03-19-22, 10:24 PM
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Read the product spec.
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Old 03-19-22, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Read the product spec.
Yeah, I did that. And?

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Old 03-20-22, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
I think the problem is that the ANT+ basic computers can't be made cheap enough to compete with the cheaper GPS computers or be sold for enough over cheap non-ANT+ computers to make it worth while to sell.

That is, these sorts of computers got crushed between more basic computers and computers with GPS.
I did a search on Amazon to see some more options of what was out there with ANT+ sensors and came up with the iGPSPORT brand, among others.

Here are two units - one $36 and the other $70. They are both GPS with ANT+ sensor compatibility, but do not include sensors. So from the earlier link provided - a pair of sensors is about $31. So with sensors the higher end model would be about $100. That may still work. Not sure on the quality/reliability of these units though.

Any thoughts on these?

https://www.amazon.com/iGPSPORT-Spee...NsaWNrPXRydWU=

https://www.amazon.com/iGPSPORT-Comp...dDbGljaz10cnVl
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Old 03-20-22, 08:20 AM
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I don’t know anything about them. Some places you can buy them from might be easier to return than others.

You'll have to recharge them fairly regularly.
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Old 03-21-22, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You'd generally need to mount your phone to be able to watch your cadence. That means you'd have to buy a mount for your $500-1000 phone (some are cheap but some are not).



I wouldn't suggest that sensor. It's a magnet type, which can be a bit fussy to set up and go out of alignment fairly regularly.

Most of the current ANT+ sensors (even the cheap ones I linked to) support BT too.
is there a better sensor you recommend to use with an iPhone to watch cadence and HR?
Alex
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Old 03-21-22, 10:27 PM
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I've had decent luck with the cheapo sensors but haven't tried one of the GPS units yet. I've been running a Coospo heart rate monitor for 2 or 3 years and have 3 Tusy(goes by a bunch of names) speed/cadence sensors that seem to work fine. The rubber o-rings are a little crappy, just had to replace the one I use on my road bike.
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Old 03-21-22, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by AlBaron View Post
is there a better sensor you recommend to use with an iPhone to watch cadence and HR?
Alex
Here is what njkayaker is talking about. Cadence sensors can work in 2 different ways. Ones of those is you put a magnet on the crank arm and another on the frame and the computer counts how many times those magnets come near each other. If one gets moved slightly, it doesn't work as well. The newer sensors use a different technology, some use motion sensors and some use a magnet to know how they're oriented against Earth's magnetic field and use that to count rotations. Any of these newer sensors don't need you to set them up and keep them aligned. I don't have an opinion on the matter, but he's saying you'll have better results with the newer ones because the older style can be too finicky.

Garmin, Wahoo, and even off brands (CooSpo on Amazon) make newer sensors and many use BT. Just look for ones that don't rely on a pair of magnets if you think this might be an issue.
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Old 03-22-22, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by AlBaron View Post
is there a better sensor you recommend to use with an iPhone to watch cadence and HR?
Alex
There are two separate properties of sensors.

One is how the sensor communicates with the "head unit" (your cycle computer or phone). Phones usually use BT. Head units usually use ANT+. Most current sensors support both BT and ANT+. Get one that supports both.

Two is how the sensor reacts-to/measures what ever it's being used for. Some sensors need a separate magnet (which the sensor has to be close to). Some newer units don't need the separate magnet (so there is no need to align anything).

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