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Cycle Computer For Luddite

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Cycle Computer For Luddite

Old 01-16-20, 10:52 AM
  #1  
Paul Barnard
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Cycle Computer For Luddite

I have used basic 8 function wired computers for several decades. I'd get about 5 years of service out of a 10 dollar computer and was happy with that. Lately the wired computers I have purchased have been defective right out of the box or have died after a year or so. With 3 bikes in the fleet, I am ready to try something different.

I am highly technologically challenged. I have done some reading on phone apps and have decided for several reasons that option is off the table. My search has led me to a Lezyne Macro Easy GPS. It's not wired. It's not dependent upon anything external of the base unit. It gives me the basic functions I want and can be moved from bike to bike very easily. Battery life is good for 8-10 of my typical rides.

Reviews are hard to come by on this unit. Conceptually it fits the bill. The price is about what I'd pay for 3 modern wired computers. Are any of you using this unit? Is there anything that competes with it in size, cost, function and simplicity?

Last edited by Paul Barnard; 01-16-20 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 01-16-20, 11:03 AM
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Stem Captain has a series of one function Cycle Computers for Luddites.

Before you ride you decide if you need the clock function, the temperature function, or the compass function. The one function inserts are easy to move from bike to bike.

Mapping function is provided by a folding piece of paper in your back pocket, available separately.

-mr. bill
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Old 01-16-20, 11:47 AM
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While I don't have a Lezyne computer, I do have a lot of their other products. Very happy customer, I find their designs well done and the quality quite high.
As a basic function computer, the Specialized Speedzone Wireless has been flawless. While I like to keep these things simple, the wireless connectivity really makes sense.
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Old 01-17-20, 08:18 AM
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What features do you need? If you don't need cadence, I would seriously consider buying a GPS watch. I own a Garmin Forerunner 35. It gives me speed, distance, heart rate and step counter. Super simple to operate. My bike computer has been sitting in a drawer since I bought it. Price was $150. I wear it all the time and I'm a guy who never regularly wore a wristwatch.

If you want navigation, you can get even more sophisticated watches with mapping functions. They get expensive though.
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Old 01-17-20, 08:31 AM
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I've been liking the Bryton Rider 10. With over 10,000 miles on the thing, it still holds a charge and measures speed, distance, and elevation about as accurately as the expensive computers. It's ~$60, and compatible with cadence and heart rate sensors if you ever wanted to go that route. It's pretty simple to move between bikes.

Has anybody tried the Wahoo ELEMNT Mini? That looks like an interesting option as well, for ~$50 on Amazon.
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Old 01-17-20, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Mapping function is provided by a folding piece of paper in your back pocket, available separately.
That's still my favorite mapping function

Directions on a piece of paper put in a Ziploc (tm) bag and attached to the top tube also work nicely.
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Old 01-17-20, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
I've been liking the Bryton Rider 10. With over 10,000 miles on the thing, it still holds a charge and measures speed, distance, and elevation about as accurately as the expensive computers. It's ~$60, and compatible with cadence and heart rate sensors if you ever wanted to go that route. It's pretty simple to move between bikes.

Has anybody tried the Wahoo ELEMNT Mini? That looks like an interesting option as well, for ~$50 on Amazon.
Yes. Works fine, but requires a smart phone to pair for GPS functions. Which makes it a nogo for the OP?

And no mapping. (Or breadcrumbs.) Can't tell if that's important, or not.

Coincell battery (Versus rechargable), but good for a couple hundred hours though.

And no backlight. (Versus no backlight.)

But comes with one speed sensor. (Versus none.)

And no power, which for most people is fine, and was for me until PT wanted me to use power on the stand while I was recovering, so "upgraded" to an ELEMNT Bolt. (I haven't used power since I stopped doing the PT sessions on the stand.) Which doesn't require pairing, but is out of price range?

Two last finallies.

One, the low-end wireless bike computers and the low-end wired bike computers generally share the works great until they don't problem. I wouldn't expect a low-end wireless bike computer to last longer than a low-end wired bike computers.

Two, there's a whole subforum Electronics, Lighting, and Gadgets. Which not only has an Oxford comma, but might even have people there who have specific experience with the Lezyne Macro Easy GPS.

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 01-17-20 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-17-20, 10:44 AM
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You are not a Luddite if you have a bike computer. A Luddite wouldn't have bike computer. I might be considered a Luddite because I don't have a bike computer, nor do I use a GPS to find my way around. Paper maps are fine.
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Old 01-17-20, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25 View Post
What features do you need? If you don't need cadence, I would seriously consider buying a GPS watch. I own a Garmin Forerunner 35. It gives me speed, distance, heart rate and step counter. Super simple to operate. My bike computer has been sitting in a drawer since I bought it. Price was $150. I wear it all the time and I'm a guy who never regularly wore a wristwatch.

If you want navigation, you can get even more sophisticated watches with mapping functions. They get expensive though.

Just need basic functions. Time, speed, trip distance, average speed, total distance, ride time. I really appreciate you ringing in, but I am not a watch kind of person at all.
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Old 01-17-20, 10:58 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
I've been liking the Bryton Rider 10. With over 10,000 miles on the thing, it still holds a charge and measures speed, distance, and elevation about as accurately as the expensive computers. It's ~$60, and compatible with cadence and heart rate sensors if you ever wanted to go that route. It's pretty simple to move between bikes.

Has anybody tried the Wahoo ELEMNT Mini? That looks like an interesting option as well, for ~$50 on Amazon.
How many hours do you get out of your Bryton.

Funny (maybe creepy story) A few days ago I was getting my bike set up for a ride. I was in my living room. When I realized my computer had died, I may have rattled off some expletives about bicycle computers. We have an Alexa in our house. I rode sans computer. Later that evening I was surfing Facebook and lo and behold a bicycle computer ad showed up. I hadn't done any online bicycle part searching in weeks. The ad was for the Wahoo Mini.

Conceptually it checked all the boxes. My search for information led me to REI reviews. There are 74 reviews, 35 of which are 1 or 2. In reading the comments I opted out. That's what set me on the course that steered me to the Lezyne.
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Old 01-17-20, 10:59 AM
  #11  
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I've been using a Cateye strada for the past few years. It's a basic GPS unit that I can switch from bike to bike, you just have to have a mount for each bike, sold separately. It does require you to use Cateye software to load rides to Strava, but it's an easy process once you do it once or twice. And it's rechargeable so you don't have to worry about batteries dying mid ride.
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Old 01-17-20, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
That's still my favorite mapping function

Directions on a piece of paper put in a Ziploc (tm) bag and attached to the top tube also work nicely.

I have a crap memory, but for some reason or another I can review a map and retain most of what I see. If there is an area I think I might not remember, I take a pic with my phone so that I can pull it out and review it if needed. Not an issue if I am out of cell range (which is pretty easy to accomplish with T Mobile)
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Old 01-17-20, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Just need basic functions. Time, speed, trip distance, average speed, total distance, ride time. I really appreciate you ringing in, but I am not a watch kind of person at all.
Note that GPS-only speed isn't that accurate (and sometimes distance is inaccurate too), so with the Lezyne you may need bluetooth speed sensors too?

Without using a phone with the Wahoo ELEMNT Mini you'll get only the functions you want. You'll also get one speed sensor in the box.

(p.s. Most of the negative reviews about Wahoo ELEMNT Mini are pairing with phone problems. Since you don't care about phones, why care?)

-mr. bill

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Old 01-17-20, 11:05 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
You are not a Luddite if you have a bike computer. A Luddite wouldn't have bike computer. I might be considered a Luddite because I don't have a bike computer, nor do I use a GPS to find my way around. Paper maps are fine.
Point well made and taken! I am without question technologically challenged and as a consequence tend to favor simplicity.
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Old 01-17-20, 11:36 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Has anybody tried the Wahoo ELEMNT Mini? That looks like an interesting option as well, for ~$50 on Amazon.
I recently bought a Wahoo Mini (couldn't pass it up at $50), and have added HR and cadence sensors. So far, it's been great. I use it for both rides and trainer sessions. Setup is super easy through the Wahoo app, and the amount of customization is remarkable for such a small and low-budget unit. I have mine set up to upload ride data to Strava at the end of the ride, and email a "live track" link to my wife at the start of the ride, both of which are also super easy to do through the Wahoo app. It's missing a couple of features of the bigger units (power meter and turn-by-turn directions being the biggest ones), but that's not a significant concern for me. I found a lot of excellent in-depth information about it by searching "wahoo mini review".

Last edited by Eric F; 01-17-20 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 01-17-20, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I recently bought a Wahoo Mini (couldn't pass it up at $50), and have added HR and cadence sensors. So far, it's been great. I use it for both rides and trainer sessions. Setup is super easy through the Wahoo app, and the amount of customization is remarkable for such a small and low-budget unit. I have mine set up to upload ride data to Strava at the end of the ride, and email a "live track" link to my wife at the start of the ride, both of which are also super easy to do through the Wahoo app. It's missing a couple of features of the bigger units (power meter being the biggest one), but that's not a significant concern for me. I found a lot of excellent in-depth information about it by searching "wahoo mini review".
Is it dependent upon an app to function or will it give speed, and mileage right out of the box?
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Old 01-17-20, 03:25 PM
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Check out the XOSS bike computers, especially the relatively less expensive G+. These offer an interesting compromise between the "dumb" bike computers for around $10-$25 that record basic info, other than GPS, but don't include any way to share data to our phones or computers for spreadsheets, or to Strava or other fitness apps; and the more full featured sub-$100 models from Lezyne, Bryton and others.

Just a word of caution: While the XOSS G+ seems pretty good (I bought two within the past couple of weeks, including one for half price when a one-hour flash sale appeared on Amazon), the app still needs work. I went ahead and bought two based on prompt replies from XOSS in response to customer questions and feedback on the private Facebook community for XOSS. The company seems anxious to improve the app and has made a few updates since late last year when the G+ was introduced as a lower price alternative to the XOSS Sprint launched a year or so ago after a successful kickstarter campaign. Consider it a work in progress.

And while the XOSS reliably records my rides and routes, it offers *no* navigation aids. None. No maps, compass, visual or audio prompts. That's not what it's for. It's just for recording a route, and basic relevant data such as speed determine from a sensor rather than GPS tracking, cadence, heart rate, etc. It has a barometer to estimate elevation apart from the usual map data added by Strava and other apps.

Folks who prefer navigation aids in the sub-$100 range should consider the Bryton Rider 15 and Lezyne Macro Easy. Those appear to be specifically aimed at folks who want navigation aids on the bike without resorting to their phones (or leaving the phones at home). But those aren't full featured fitness-oriented devices for hardcore roadies or fitness buffs. They record all the basic sensor info, but appear to be Bluetooth only, which leaves out my ANT+ sensors.

I was also considering the Bryton Rider 10 and 15 (very different models and features), Lezyne Macro Easy and a couple older model Lezynes for basic bike computer functions with the addition of GPS tracking and post-ride uploading to Strava.

But I wanted something that combined my favorite features of the Wahoo Fitness app for my older iPhone 4s and newer Android phone, along with better navigation:
  • Compatibility with Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors. I use both. My Android phone is Bluetooth only. I have an older 2011-2012 era Wahoo Bike Pack for my iPhone 4s, a kludge by today's standards but pretty clever for that era: a protective case that adds ANT+ capability, and includes a combo magnet type speed/cadence sensor. I bought it new/old stock a couple of years ago for $15 (about 10% of the original MSRP back in 2012), and with the exception of a fragile USB port and short battery life, it's been satisfactory. In fact it was such a good deal I just bought another NOS Wahoo Bike Pack for $10, just for the ANT+ speed/cadence sensor.
  • More reliable GPS tracking. For folks who are serious about friendly competitions for KOMs, or snagging new PRs, minor GPS variations matter. A common gripe about Strava is losing GPS sync and losing part or all of a ride. For that reason I began running two or more fitness apps simultaneously, often on two phones (to Apple's credit, they still sorta support my old iPhone 4s and offered an iOS update last year to improve GPS reliability and fix a bug). While this is generally related to the phone device rather than the app, Strava seems more prone to sync errors than Wahoo Fitness and Cyclemeter. I suspect the difference is in how the app reconstructs the most likely route after a GPS sync error. Strava tends to draw straight lines between the point where sync was lost and reacquired, often resulting in improbable ventures across fences, through open fields and buildings, etc. Wahoo Fitness and Cyclemeter seem to reconstruct our most likely route with remarkable accuracy. My friends and I have experienced Strava GPS sync errors about once a month. With Wahoo Fitness and Cyclemeter it was once or twice a year. Again, the difference appears to be in how the apps interpolate available GPS data and reconstruct our most likely routes. And while Strava customer support often seems opaque and unresponsive, Cyclemeter is very customer oriented. Wahoo is somewhere between the two.
  • And I wanted to save my phone battery, which often drained over the course of long day/night rides. Shifting ride recording to a lightweight computer on the handlebar/stem would eliminate the need to carry a heavy spare USB battery and cable to recharge my phone. The older iPhone 4s in particular never lasted a full 50 mile ride, and I'd sometimes lose an entire log if the battery drained around the 40 mile mark. So now I use the iPhone/Wahoo ANT+ case only on the indoor trainer.
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Old 01-17-20, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
You are not a Luddite if you have a bike computer. A Luddite wouldn't have bike computer. I might be considered a Luddite because I don't have a bike computer, nor do I use a GPS to find my way around. Paper maps are fine.

A real Luddite would walk or ride a horse.
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Old 01-17-20, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Is it dependent upon an app to function or will it give speed, and mileage right out of the box?
The Mini will function just fine without the app. The computer comes with the speed sensor, and will function like any other basic "non-smart" computer. You can add cadence and HR sensors as you see fit to improve it's functionality, and still not have to use the app. It uses the app to leverage GPS tracking, record ride history, and link to 3rd party apps (Strava, etc.).

The Mini requires using Wahoo's sensors, which is a bummer for people who already have other manufacturer's sensors, but Wahoo's sensors will work with other computers if you decide to upgrade later. If you're diving in for the first time, there's no significant downside to this issue, as far as I can tell.

I highly suggest looking up the review videos on YouTube. They offer a lot of in-depth info, as well as pros and cons. For me, the cons weren't an issue considering where I'm coming from (getting back into it after being away for 15 years). At some point I can see myself upgrading to the Bolt, but I'm pretty pleased with the Mini for now.

Last edited by Eric F; 01-17-20 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 01-17-20, 05:17 PM
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Can you do math in your head? Memorize a gear chart? Mount a stopwatch on your 'bar. Count pedal revolutions. If you know pedal rpm and gearing you can calculate speed. Basically gear inches times 0.3 gives speed in mph at 100rpm, varies with exact tire size. This was how it was done before such a thing as a 'cycle computer' existed. I am a Luddite and proud of it and still do exactly this. A computer would look all wrong mounted on handlebar of a 1950 Bates.

GPS? I have seen riders crash into parked cars while involved in GPS.
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Old 01-17-20, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
GPS? I have seen riders crash into parked cars while involved in GPS.
Iíve seen people crash while counting.

-mr. bill
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Old 01-17-20, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Can you do math in your head? Memorize a gear chart? Mount a stopwatch on your 'bar. Count pedal revolutions.
Ha! Would definitely not satisfy my geek side.
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Old 01-17-20, 06:29 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
GPS? I have seen riders crash into parked cars while involved in GPS.
GPS capability is more than just turn-by-turn directions.
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Old 01-17-20, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Note that GPS-only speed isn't that accurate (and sometimes distance is inaccurate too), so with the Lezyne you may need bluetooth speed sensors too?
-mr. bill
Speed and distance likely accurate enough for the OP though.

Speed isnít so much inaccurate as laggy, as the computer waits for the unit to figure out itís current and ever changing position. Distance accuracy can be off if the unit is tracking a very twisty course, such as single track in the woods. As well GPS units (all of them, cycling specific, watches, hiking) have issues in heavily wooded areas with a lot of leaf coverage do to the GPS satellite signal being weak and prone to path errors.

Speed sensors fix both these issues. Roadies doing paceline group rides benefit from a sensor to get a better and more timely speed readout which is useful to be able to maintain a steady pace. Riding roads that have gentle turns, not super twisty and the distance wonít be off by much as compared to a calibrated bike computer. My initial measurements showed my Garmin 810 was off by about a mile in 100 as compared to a Cateye computer, on the roads I rode which tend to straight. I use speed sensors for bikes I use on group rides and the bikes I take in the woods.
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Old 01-17-20, 06:55 PM
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  1. Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
    Iíve seen people crash while counting.
Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
-mr. bill
One time, I almost got into a head-on with a rider who was screaming at a crew team on the Charles. Nothing to do with bike computers but if we're going to talk about distracted riders...
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