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bathedinshadow 06-17-10 03:00 AM

First Bike Computer
I'm looking to get my first bike computer and I'm not sure exactly which way to go. I was hoping I could get some suggestions. I know there are other threads on this topic, but I have some specifics that I wanted and they didn't touch on it.

Some things that I don't really care if I have:
1. Backlight (I never ride at night).
2. HRM (I have one already if I really want to monitor that).

Would be nice, but not necessary:
1. Cadence (Though I wouldn't mind having it, I think this is something my body can gauge and at this point it isn't NEEDED. Though like I said, I wouldn't mind).
2. GPS (Again, I wouldn't mind having it, but I know where I'm going and I know where I've been. haha).

Things that I would like:
1. Wireless (I've read the pros and cons, but I just don't want the wire).
2. The standard odometer/speedometer
3. Altimeter (Only if it's accurate, otherwise it's completely pointless).
4. Light and small (computer and sensor combined)
5. Accurate!

I realize without needing GPS or Cadence that I'm not really asking for a whole lot here. But I was curious about how the Garmin computers hooked up and how they read the speed and whatnot, via GPS? I looked at a couple manuals and it seems there are different options. I was also considering the Cateye Double Wireless Strada. I wouldn't bother with the Cadence, but since it's one piece, might as well. However, there is no altimeter. And then I looked at the Cateye Adventurer, which does have the altimeter, but it's quite a bit bigger and heavier. If it's true that the Garmin products can read speed/distance via GPS, how accurate is that? Are there other products that are reliable that do the same? I guess the idea is to have as little on my bike as possible. But it would be pointless if it wasn't accurate and reliable.

Any suggestions on which way to go? Experience with either of the Cateye products I mentioned? Suggestions on possible sensorless (but accurate) computers? Also, price isn't really an issue. I've noticed a bit of a fan base for the Garmin 705, so I'm sure many would say "no price limit, go with that," but I also wouldn't just buy the best thing out there because I can and then not use it to it's full potential. So it would be more accurate to say that I'm willing to pay what I need to pay to get what I want, but I'd like to save money just the same.

Thanks in advance, I know this was wordy. My questions always seem to be.

furballi 06-17-10 08:19 AM

Wireless can be buggy, especially if your ride close to others with similar device. A wired computer is 100% reliable and very accurate when properly adjusted. My $5 unit is accurate to +0.6%. Also you don't have to worry about theft with a cheap computer.

dorkypants 06-17-10 06:07 PM

Cheap wireless is unreliable as it's affected by stray emissions from all sorts of sources, including other nearby wireless devices and cell transmission towers. Reliable wireless is expensive. You also need more batteries: at least one in the readout unit and one in the pickup unit. I even once saw a totally absurd design that had 3 parts to it, EACH needing its own battery!

I have a wireless Sette FX-3, which mostly works OK but has several annoying features: Useless readouts like calories burned and fat calories burned, which are inaccurate and meaningless and just get in the way when you're cycling through the displays. The altimeter can't be zeroed out. It has auto-power-off but not auto-power-on; i.e., if it's idle for a while it'll turn off, but when you get rolling again, YOU have to remember to turn it on! Max speed all too often reads way high because I went past some cell tower. Other people report that their FX-3 is totally wonky out of the box, so their QA apparently sucks and I'm lucky to have gotten one that seems to mostly work correctly. If you can find it on sale for about $30 and want to take a chance, you might be lucky too. Oh, it doesn't have cadence.

Otherwise, the discontinued (wired) Ciclomaster CM-215A has altimeter (but no cadence, which I never found useful when I had it) and works well. I think there's some seller on eBay who has them at $15 or so.

bathedinshadow 06-17-10 08:05 PM

Well thanks for the responses, but I do want wireless. I'm aware wired is more accurate, but for one, I ride along mostly. And if I do ride with friends, they are either using nothing, or a wired device. So that won't be an issue. As well, I didn't say that I wanted to go cheap. I just said I didn't want to pay $700 for something just because I could. Like I mentioned, I want something that is as accurate as possible in a wireless, and I'm willing to pay what I need to. I just don't want to pay what I don't need to. Theft wouldn't be an issue because I would never leave my bike unattended. I live in Vancouver, bike theft is very high here.

bathedinshadow 06-18-10 03:58 AM

I've been looking around at some more computers and found the Specialized Elite Altitude Computer It has pretty much what I'm looking for without all the stuff I'm not looking for. I was wondering if anybody has used this? If so, is it pretty accurate? Does it have more or less interference than a good wireless? Would it be worth paying twice as much for the ANT+ version Or perhaps the cateye products are better?

Thanks again.

bathedinshadow 06-18-10 03:59 AM


mcgreivey 06-21-10 03:08 PM

I have a Stada Cadence, which I'm happy with, and it wasn't expensive. No altimeter, though.

I had problems with the mount breaking when I first got it. Cateye replaced the mount twice. The third mount was an improved version, and I've had no further problems with it. Their customer service through the ordeal was great.

bathedinshadow 06-23-10 12:37 AM

That's good to know their customer service is great. Truly, it makes just a difference. I wish more companies would pay more attention to it.

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