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Cheap bike computer?

Old 01-15-23, 12:51 PM
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Cheap bike computer?

I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death, so please forgive me.

I've decided to try mounting a computer on one of my bikes and I'm looking for input. I've done a little shopping on Amazon so far but there are so many options available I'm having a hard time wading through all the noise. First and foremost, I'm looking for a stand-alone computer. I don't ride with my phone and I don't need GPS, and absolutely nothing requiring a subscription. I'm really only looking for speed and total distance ridden. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake.

Since I'm not looking for a lot of features, I am hoping to keep cost reasonable. I'm more concerned with reliability than a bunch of features I won't use. The only other feature that might be a bonus might be music, but I have dedicated MP3 players specifically for my work outs, so not really anything I particularly want or need. It would just be a nice addition. And since I'm looking at stand alone units, I'm all for older models that aren't the latest and greatest.
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Old 01-15-23, 02:22 PM
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It sounds like something from Cat-Eye may be what you need. I had a wired one years ago and have bought a couple of bikes with Cat-Eyes on them. And though they seemed to be working, I toss them out because they are inexpensive enough I don't think I could ask enough for one to make it worth selling.

https://www.cateyeamerica.com/cycle-...oCrZUQAvD_BwE#
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Old 01-15-23, 02:31 PM
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It the device does not use GPS, it will require a sensor mounted on the wheel that tells the head unit of wheel rotations. Thats the most common method to determine speed. The Cateyes Chuck mentioned are common, I think they run $30 or more, there are others. Or use a free app on a smartphone. RideWithGPS as example, uses the phones GPS chip, displays speed, distance and a number of other pieces of data. Free app, there are others as well.
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Old 01-15-23, 02:59 PM
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Old 01-15-23, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M
It sounds like something from Cat-Eye may be what you need. I had a wired one years ago and have bought a couple of bikes with Cat-Eyes on them. And though they seemed to be working, I toss them out because they are inexpensive enough I don't think I could ask enough for one to make it worth selling.

https://www.cateyeamerica.com/cycle-...oCrZUQAvD_BwE#
Thanks. That looks pretty much like what I'm looking for. I'm looking at the Velo 9 in white. Looks like it will actually do more than what I care to do, and the price is pretty much spot on what I want to pay.
Originally Posted by Steve B.
It the device does not use GPS, it will require a sensor mounted on the wheel that tells the head unit of wheel rotations. Thats the most common method to determine speed. The Cateyes Chuck mentioned are common, I think they run $30 or more, there are others. Or use a free app on a smartphone. RideWithGPS as example, uses the phones GPS chip, displays speed, distance and a number of other pieces of data. Free app, there are others as well.
No phone, no GPS.
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Old 01-16-23, 08:55 AM
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cheap & old?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/28498625294...Bk9SR_i4kbG3YQ
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Old 01-16-23, 09:03 AM
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I'm surprised that you wish to give up the GPS. Having a recorded track that you can later review after your ride will let you see what you actually did instead of just believing the tales you might want to believe about your ride.

I find them very valuable so I can look at certain segments of every ride and see if I improved or not from the other times. It's not easy to look at your watch and get tenths of a second at that bottom of a hill and then again when you are cresting the top and do the mental math while continuing to ride.
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Old 01-16-23, 09:10 AM
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This looks interesting. Advantage to a GPS tracker is a bit easier not needing to mount the wheel sensor, and replace that battery on occasion.

https://www.amazon.com/CYCPLUS-Water...63374805&psc=1
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Old 01-16-23, 10:00 AM
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I have Cateye wireless on all my bikes and they work fine. Some of mine are pretty old but they seem to just keep working. The reason I have one on each different bike is because you program it for your wheel size, and I measure the actual rollout to give more accurate readings. (Different tires even of the same size will measure differently.)
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Old 01-16-23, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
I'm surprised that you wish to give up the GPS. Having a recorded track that you can later review after your ride will let you see what you actually did instead of just believing the tales you might want to believe about your ride.

I find them very valuable so I can look at certain segments of every ride and see if I improved or not from the other times. It's not easy to look at your watch and get tenths of a second at that bottom of a hill and then again when you are cresting the top and do the mental math while continuing to ride.
I'm not giving up anything. I don't ride with GPS now. Not going to start. Don't need it. I live in a small community and there are only so many roads. I ride the same three or four routes over and over again.
Originally Posted by Steve B.
This looks interesting. Advantage to a GPS tracker is a bit easier not needing to mount the wheel sensor, and replace that battery on occasion.

https://www.amazon.com/CYCPLUS-Water...63374805&psc=1
It does look nice but GPS is a non-starter for me.
Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
I have Cateye wireless on all my bikes and they work fine. Some of mine are pretty old but they seem to just keep working. The reason I have one on each different bike is because you program it for your wheel size, and I measure the actual rollout to give more accurate readings. (Different tires even of the same size will measure differently.)
Thanks for the report. I'm still strongly leaning towards the Cateye posted above. Like you, I have several bikes so will likely order two or three.
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Old 01-16-23, 10:19 AM
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Puzzled by the seemed hate and desire to not go GPS. As per the device I linked, its about the same price as a Cateye, is simpler to setup. All GPS gets you is just a different method to determine speed. Instead of counting wheel rotations, its just tracking position and using ride time to determine speed. You are not obligated to use any additional features (if it has any) such as uploading completed ride data or whatever. Another advantage is if you ride on multiple bikes, you can buy additional mounting brackets (usually) and swap the unit over. It doesn't care about wheel size so works instantly and well on a 2nd or 3rd bike. Cateyes are as BTW a PITA to figure out the operating instructions and swapping between bikes with differing wheel sizes was always a mystery to me.
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Old 01-16-23, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeLite
I am puzzled that you cannot respect OP's wish to not have a GPS. Leave him alone about it!
Possibly the OP or anyone else reading, might not be aware of any potential advantage. I was in no way rude or overbearing and my reply was to point out possible choices.
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Old 01-16-23, 05:16 PM
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I don't carry my phone with me. I don't have GPS on my phone. I don't subscribe to services. I'm a bit of a technophobe and resist the invasion of technology in every facet of life. One of the reasons I ride is to GTF away from a phone.
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Old 01-16-23, 07:47 PM
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I like the old standard bike speedometers in part because I don't have to remember to charge the battery. And a wired cyclocomputer has half as many to change as wireless.
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Old 01-16-23, 08:53 PM
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Hi Jen. I have several cheap wireless (under $10.) units from Chinese mfg.s that are more than adequate for what you need and they're surprisingly accurate. I use them only on the trainers since you have to be moving to use GPS. I do a lot of geocaching so using GPS is second nature to me. (There is no subscription for GPS-it's free for everyone) The major drawback to the cheap wireless units is you have 2 batteries to contend with (1 on the wheel unit and 1 in the computer) and you have to mount the sending unit within 20" of the computer. On the bikes I use on the trainers I mounted the sending units on the rear (front whl never goes anywhere) which meant mounting the computers on the top bar just in front of the saddle. Constantly looking down to see my distance and speed . I have a Garmin mount on every one of my bikes for the GPS unit. I never look at where I've been, but it gives me speed in large letters, total miles in smaller letters, and the time of day plus how long I've been riding so I know when it's time to change the batteries in the flashing light I use up front. There are lots of used GPS units out there-just a thought. Good luck and let us know what you decide on. Smokey
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Old 01-16-23, 11:10 PM
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If you do want the Best of the ancient, old type, "DUMB COMPUTER" that does not do GPS, and does not upload any data, then there is none better than the INBIKE model IC-321 (WIRELESS) .

It has a LARGE, easily read SPEEDO display. You also have ODOMETER (total odometer like a car...not the trip odometer) at top RIGHT.....CLOCK at top LEFT...
----GREAT UNIT--- these are UNDER $16 including FREE SHIPPING from US SOURCES.........you can get them for approx $12 total direct from CHINESE SOURCES.


*****HERE IS THE OWNERS INSTRUCTIONS MANUAL ON pdf****
https://www.kupkolo.cz/data/files/ma...0-11_21-22.pdf


Here is just one quality USA vendor with 99.6% rating that has this INBIKE IC-321 WIRELESS speedometer (avail in your choice of white or green backlighting)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/401470121204

Here is just one random Chinese vendor
https://www.ebay.com/itm/384458815239

Here are two more random USA vendors with lower 98% ratings
https://www.ebay.com/itm/394281816309
https://www.ebay.com/itm/383036631546

See YOUTUBE also as there are videos that cover the operating instructions and demonstration and reviews of the INBIKE IC-321 WIRELESS speedo.
Search Ebay for INBIKE.

These are outstanding units, Yes, they are very much essentially the same as a bicycle speedometer from 1982 (more than forty years ago) except that they have a larger better display and that they take CR-2032 BUTTON BATTERIES............one CR-2032 in the speedo HEAD UNIT & one CR-2032 in the SENSOR that the spoke magnet revolves near.


Do the "TWO PIE ARE" to determine the wheel circumference....................obviously you have to input that wheel circumference as stated in millimeters (mm).
You can also measure one REVOLUTION of your wheel on your hardwood dining room floor, etc, to get precise starting point and ending point from which to measure.
****************REMEMBER, YOU CAN MEASURE IN INCHES, AND THEN PRECISELY CONVERT THAT MEASUREMENT IN INCHES TO MILLIMETERS************
remember that because most of you Americans will likely have more tape measures and yardsticks with inches........and you are probably more familiar with that unit of measure unless you studied science or/and you have a college degree.

Don't let the fact that those INBIKE IC-321 wireless Speedometers are so inexpensive at $16 total.
They are GREAT "DUMB SPEEDOMETERS".
Yes, that pdf instruction owners manual is the INBIKE IC-321 model, those instructions are from czechoslovakian branded version of the EXACT same unit.
Those instructions there are in English.
Note: VINTAGE SCHWINN says that the easiest way to ZERO OUT or START OVER when trying to input the wheel circumference, time of day PM or AM, choose MPH or KM, start odometer reading at ZERO or whatever mileage that you wish to start with..............IF YOU SCREW UP & NEED TO START OVER, THE EASIEST WAY TO START OVER-ZERO EVERYTHING OUT is to simply REMOVE THE BATTERY FROM THE Speedo HEAD UNIT, and then RE-INSERT IT.
*****Remember that, because the battery typically lasts between 15 months to 18 months, sometimes longer, perhaps there is a chance you'll get only slightly more than a year................REMEMBER what YOUR ballpark or close to exact total ODOMETER reading, and what you did input for WHEEL CIRCUMFERENCE in mm BECAUSE IF/WHEN THE CR-2032 BUTTON BATTERY DOES BECOME TOTALLY DEAD, those numbers will not be saved (they will be lost and YOU WILL HAVE TO RE-INPUT THE INFORMATION JUST AS YOU DID WHEN YOU GOT THE NEW SPEEDO, OUT OF THE BOX.
They are great units. Compare the display size of the INBIKE IC-321 to other name brand cateye and other respected old type "DUMB COMPUTER" speedos of the past, and you will find that the INBIKE IC-321 is second to none!!!! It is an old fashioned, simple DUMB COMPUTER that is great at what it does do, just like the best ones from 1982.
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Old 01-17-23, 05:11 PM
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A good cheap bike speedometer is the Cateye Velo 7, but the buttons feel plasticky cheap.

The best ones that I know of are made by Sigma, they make wired or wireless, the buttons use to have a solid feel to them, not sure if the new ones maintained that level of quality, but they are German made...well at least my wife's was, not sure if they moved production to some other country. My wife has one that is 18 years old and still works fine, but it is not wireless.

Wired speedometers will last a lot longer, at least 3 times longer than a wireless will. The weak point in wireless is the sending unit, for some reason those things fry about every 5 to 8 years which has been my experience with several different manufacturers, the longest lasting one I bought was a VDO, that one lasted me 15 years, all the others failed right around the 6 1/2 year mark.
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Old 01-17-23, 07:22 PM
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Thanks everybody. It's really looking like that Cateye is the one I want. I appreciate the feedback, even from those of you pushing for the phone/GPS route. I know I'm a total mystery to some of you, but I just really don't want the tech involved. I prefer to keep it simple and cheap.
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Old 01-17-23, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
Thanks everybody. It's really looking like that Cateye is the one I want. I appreciate the feedback, even from those of you pushing for the phone/GPS route. I know I'm a total mystery to some of you, but I just really don't want the tech involved. I prefer to keep it simple and cheap.

Does this mean you've no interest in electronic shifting ? (Just teasing 'ya).
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Old 01-17-23, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Does this mean you've no interest in electronic shifting ? (Just teasing 'ya).
Ya think?
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Old 01-18-23, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
Ya think?
You're not alone, I'm with you too on that!
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Old 01-18-23, 01:12 PM
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I'm really only looking for speed and total distance ridden...I just really don't want the tech involved. I prefer to keep it simple and cheap.
On one of my bikes, I have a Huret Multito odometer. For average velocity, I divide the distance by the time △ captured by the chronograph function on my watch.
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Old 01-18-23, 01:30 PM
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The Bontrager RIDEtime Elite is in many ways like an old-school digital cyclocomputer, but it works with modern ANT+ wireless sensors. I run speed and cadence sensors all the time, and sometimes a heart rate monitor as well.

Regular retails price is ~$75, but I have bought some new or gently-used ones on eBay for significantly less.

It's not really saving money compared to, say, a XOSS G+. It's about a different look/feel/experience that some people might prefer.
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