Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Sensors, multiple bikes

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Sensors, multiple bikes

Old 01-07-21, 03:09 AM
  #1  
RS5
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sensors, multiple bikes

I'm about to buy my first bike computer together with a cadence and speed sensor. The problem that I find with them is that they are attached to your bike with zip ties.

So I was wondering what people do with their sensors if they own more than just one bike:
  1. Buy an additional set for each bike you would like to use the cadence and speed sensor on, or;
  2. Is there an option out there that I'm overlooking that allows you to switch these sensors between bikes as easily as the bike computer itself?
Option 2 would be ideal, however, I wonder how the speed sensor would work in that case. I can imagine that the settings of the speed sensor need to be adjusted everytime for the wheel diameter it is used on, right?
RS5 is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 04:29 AM
  #2  
stoogehand
Junior Member
 
stoogehand's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 15

Bikes: Giant OCR1, Kilo WT, Trek 2200 Carbon, Supergo Access Comp SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
The bike computer I have utilizes a GPS signal to calculate speed, so I can install a mount on a few bikes and easily swap the computer around with no wheel size adjustments. I have thought about buying more cadence sensors... but so far I have just put it on my favored bike, and occasionally cut off the zip ties and swapped it around as my "favored bike" changes
stoogehand is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 04:51 AM
  #3  
jpescatore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashton, MD USA
Posts: 1,001

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Disc, Jamis Renegade

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 282 Post(s)
Liked 163 Times in 122 Posts
Like stoogehand, I went the GPS bike computer route (Wahoo Roam) which solves that problem - but is expensive. I do put cadence sensors (Wahoo ones that don't require both a sensor and a magnet, just a pod on your crank arm) on each of 2 bikes I ride today.

There are some other solutions:

Back when I used a Cateye bike computer, and before I switched to GPS-based, I bought a wireless Cateye model and 2 extra mounts. I then used Velcro to attach the speed (wheel) and cadence (pedal sensors) across 3 bikes. Worked fine for a few years, then I switched to the GPS way for a number of reasons.
jpescatore is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 04:55 AM
  #4  
jgwilliams
Senior Member
 
jgwilliams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Surrey, UK
Posts: 602

Bikes: Planet X Carbon Pro Evo SRAM Force, custom built 653 and 531 bikes with frames by Barry Witcomb, Giant XTC 4 mountain bike and a Brompton folding bike.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 197 Post(s)
Liked 52 Times in 40 Posts
In my case it was option 1. I've been using a Garmin GPS unit for getting on for ten years now so I've managed to build up a collection of sensors.

The original unit, and Edge 705, was very fussy about what sensors it would talk to. I think it had to be a combined speed/cadence sensor which pretty much meant a GSC-10 and that was it. I bought one new with the unit and managed to pick up a used one a few years later. I now have an Edge 520 Plus which will talk to pretty much anything. A year or so back I picked up a used Giant NEOS computer for my mountain bike which came with speed and cadence sensors and the Edge 520 picks up the signal from that fine.

So, the point of that ramble was that the Garmin sensors are quite expensive but you can get cheaper options which work just fine. You don't say what computer you are planning to buy; are you after one with full GPS or simple computer? I keep the latter on a couple of my bikes simply as an easy way to record the overall mileage as well as using the Garmin for recording my rides. I'm coming to the conclusion, though, that web sites like Strada and RideWithGPS make recording mileage so easy that the basic computer is becoming redundant.

I like Garmin and get a special deal on them through my health insurance provider but a lot of people on this site will extol the praises of Wahoo, which seem to come out a bit cheaper and have a good reputation for reliability.
jgwilliams is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 05:07 AM
  #5  
RS5
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was planning on buying a Wahoo Roam, which has gps since I will be using it mainly for navigation.

So far I have used my phone for navigation and a very simple and cheap bike computer (Ä10) that is wired to my front fork together with a magnet attached to the spoke of my wheel.

I have found that using the gps signal for speed is only about 80% to 90% accurate on my phone if I compare it to that simple bike computer, where I believe the latter is more reliable.

Iím aware of the fact that a dedicated gps unit also has acces to galileo and glonass, which could make it more reliable but I believe that only goes for when you are in the forest or in cities with high buildings.

Therefore I wanted to track my speed with a dedicated sensor designed for it... Ive found some that allow for easy swapping with rubber bands, but I cant find out how the settings work for such a sensor. Do you have to adjust the wheel diameter in the settings everytime you change it to a different bike or how does it determine your speed if it does not use gps?
RS5 is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 06:14 AM
  #6  
stoogehand
Junior Member
 
stoogehand's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 15

Bikes: Giant OCR1, Kilo WT, Trek 2200 Carbon, Supergo Access Comp SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Something like the Wahoo Speed Sensor does not use GPS, but instead it has a sensor that counts revolutions. You can easily swap it between bikes with an elastic band, but you would need to change your tire diameter in the companion app
stoogehand is offline  
Likes For stoogehand:
Old 01-07-21, 06:29 AM
  #7  
Thomas15
I think I know nothing.
 
Thomas15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NE PA
Posts: 655
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 218 Post(s)
Liked 267 Times in 188 Posts
I'm using a Garmin Edge 530 and have speed and cadence sensors on each bike (and Garmin mounts) that I normally ride just makes it a lot easier.
Thomas15 is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 06:54 AM
  #8  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3,067
Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2206 Post(s)
Liked 2,827 Times in 1,275 Posts
Some of the more basic GPS computers are so inexpensive that it makes no sense to buy a non-GPS unit.

Speed sensor is not essential - I get perfectly accurate data without one. And a cadence sensor can go on your shoe.

Last edited by Koyote; 01-07-21 at 08:14 AM.
Koyote is online now  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 01-07-21, 08:04 AM
  #9  
jadocs
Senior Member
 
jadocs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 2,127

Bikes: Ti, Mn Cr Ni Mo Nb, Al, C

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 906 Post(s)
Liked 496 Times in 333 Posts
Speed you will have to swap, no way around it unless you just use GPS. Cadence sensor can be attached to your shoe not the bike (as long as it is wireless).
jadocs is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 08:32 AM
  #10  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 564

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 257 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 202 Posts
Originally Posted by RS5 View Post
  1. Is there an option out there that I'm overlooking that allows you to switch these sensors between bikes as easily as the bike computer itself?
You could probably get some self-adhesive Velcro strips and use that to attach the sensor, instead of the zip ties.

I have considered doing exactly that, for those occasions when the bike I want to ride has a dead battery in the sensor.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 08:50 AM
  #11  
rosefarts
With a mighty wind
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1,627
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 632 Post(s)
Liked 330 Times in 196 Posts
Garmin watch on my wrist.

I do have a cadence sensor that attaches with a rubber band.
rosefarts is online now  
Old 01-07-21, 09:19 AM
  #12  
Pop N Wood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 901

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 412 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 216 Posts
Cateye sells wheel sensor units separately. I put a wheel sensor on each bike than swap the single head unit across bikes. The head units always have an A and B wheel size.

Now I have an old GPS unit, I only care about speed, distance and time.
Pop N Wood is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 09:23 AM
  #13  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 6,507

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1438 Post(s)
Liked 559 Times in 374 Posts
Old school. I have wired computers (with cadence and speed sensors). Funny thing is one of those per bike costs less than the combined speed and cadence sensor package for each bike to hook up to a GPS.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 01:35 PM
  #14  
msu2001la
Senior Member
 
msu2001la's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,041
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 398 Post(s)
Liked 240 Times in 171 Posts
Have you thought of just buying sensors that don't require zip-ties? Most speed and cadence sensors I'm familiar with use rubber straps/bands that are simple to remove/reinstall. It only takes a few seconds to move from one bike to another. If you have a GPS head-unit, it'll (likely) automatically calibrate the speed sensor.


msu2001la is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 01:46 PM
  #15  
GlennR
On Your Left
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 7,717

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2551 Post(s)
Liked 1,674 Times in 859 Posts
Originally Posted by RS5 View Post
Buy an additional set for each bike you would like to use the cadence and speed sensor on,
That's what I did... Garmin 530.
GlennR is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 02:31 PM
  #16  
surak
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,263

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 524 Post(s)
Liked 313 Times in 184 Posts
The Wahoo RPM cadence sensor is just a pod that you can attach to your shoe or even stuff inside it. Speed sensors, it's easier to just have multiple, or not use at all.
surak is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 02:42 PM
  #17  
cloud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
You could probably get some self-adhesive Velcro strips and use that to attach the sensor, instead of the zip ties.

I have considered doing exactly that, for those occasions when the bike I want to ride has a dead battery in the sensor.
I would still use at least 1 zip tie.I don't trust the self-adhesive . I have a couple bikes and run the sigma bc1900 on all of them. I am sure there was a cheaper way to do it. But for me it was easier than always changing out the sensors.
cloud is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 03:40 PM
  #18  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 564

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 257 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 202 Posts
Originally Posted by cloud View Post
I would still use at least 1 zip tie.I don't trust the self-adhesive .
Maybe a twist-tie from a loaf of bread. Easy on and off without any tools.

I think the only ones I worry about are those stretchy O-rings which secure the bracket to the stem. Especially since it gets stretched SO tightly (especially on my beefy Bianchi stem). But if that snaps while I am riding, at least there's a reasonable chance I will notice pretty quickly and can go back and look for it.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 03:52 PM
  #19  
cloud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
Maybe a twist-tie from a loaf of bread. Easy on and off without any tools.

I think the only ones I worry about are those stretchy O-rings which secure the bracket to the stem. Especially since it gets stretched SO tightly (especially on my beefy Bianchi stem). But if that snaps while I am riding, at least there's a reasonable chance I will notice pretty quickly and can go back and look for it.
That's pretty clever .Never thought of twist-tie.
cloud is offline  
Old 01-07-21, 10:44 PM
  #20  
stoogehand
Junior Member
 
stoogehand's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 15

Bikes: Giant OCR1, Kilo WT, Trek 2200 Carbon, Supergo Access Comp SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by RS5 View Post
Iím aware of the fact that a dedicated gps unit also has acces to galileo and glonass, which could make it more reliable but I believe that only goes for when you are in the forest or in cities with high buildings.

Therefore I wanted to track my speed with a dedicated sensor designed for it... Ive found some that allow for easy swapping with rubber bands, but I cant find out how the settings work for such a sensor. Do you have to adjust the wheel diameter in the settings everytime you change it to a different bike or how does it determine your speed if it does not use gps?
For the most part, I have a high tolerance for error in my speed. If it passes the gut check, I'm good with it.

My Bolt head unit does a pretty good job of passing the gut test, but as I was thinking about how to answer your question, I realized that the GPS does have its limitations. The terrain around here is pretty flat and open. However, you will occasionally happen upon some corridors of tall and thick trees. When going in to such a corridor, my Bolt may go from reading 18 mph to 12 mph, which is a significant difference, and as I am riding, it does not pass the gut test. So if you frequently ride in areas with structures that block GPS signal, you may well want a wireless speed sensor.

Your question got me curious, so I busted out my Wahoo Speed Sensor (the one piece of the ELEMT Bolt bundle that I never used) and I played around with the settings. Turns out, you can set it to automatically calculate your wheel circumference. Don't ask me how it does it, or if it is as accurate as manually setting it, but there it is. Or, as others have mentioned, you can buy a sensor for each bike$$
stoogehand is offline  
Old 01-08-21, 11:40 AM
  #21  
force10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Lehigh Valley
Posts: 57
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
A little off topic

If a speed sensor is paired with a GPS computer, which speed reading shows on the display?
force10 is offline  
Old 01-08-21, 12:01 PM
  #22  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,773

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1816 Post(s)
Liked 532 Times in 351 Posts
Originally Posted by force10 View Post
If a speed sensor is paired with a GPS computer, which speed reading shows on the display?
On a Garmin, if there's an active speed sensor, the device will use that data instead of the GPS data.

As comment about using and needing speed sensors. I have a Garmin 1030, have had a 1000 and 810. I have 4 speed sensors on assorted wheels. I use them on my mt. bike, my gravel bike on 2 sets of wheels and on my road bike. The mt. bike so as to reduce errors when riding in wooded cover. Ditto the gravel bike. On my road bike it's to give me a more accurate speed at that moment, as there's always a few seconds delay of the speed generated with GPS only and that can be less then useful when trying to maintain a steady speed in a road paceline.

On my touring bike that I use to commute, I don't use a speed sensor as I really don't need accurate speed and I've found that the GPS only track is accurate as to location and overall distance, as compared to a track whose speed and distance were from a wheel with a speed sensor. In typical conditions, GPS units (IME) are as accurate as to distance as when using a speed sensor. When you get into heavy leaf coverage, canyons in Utah or NYC, or such, is when a speed sensor is useful.

Last edited by Steve B.; 01-08-21 at 12:09 PM.
Steve B. is offline  
Likes For Steve B.:
Old 01-08-21, 12:03 PM
  #23  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 32,928

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 342 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15406 Post(s)
Liked 4,270 Times in 2,248 Posts
Speed sensors are really only beneficial if you want an accurate reading at any given moment while you're actually riding. Without a speed sensor, your indicated speed may fluctuate a little as you go in and out of cover but, over the course of the ride, your average speed reading will be more than accurate enough.

As far as the directly answering the question, I'd recommend getting dedicated sensors for each bike. As a bonus, the Wahoo should be able to log each bike ride to the proper bike by way of the ID of the sensors being used.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 01-08-21, 12:06 PM
  #24  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 32,928

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 342 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15406 Post(s)
Liked 4,270 Times in 2,248 Posts
Originally Posted by RS5 View Post
I have found that using the gps signal for speed is only about 80% to 90% accurate on my phone if I compare it to that simple bike computer, where I believe the latter is more reliable.
The difference here is likely down to how the speed is being calculated. Some default to average speed, from start to finish, while others display average *moving* speed. IOW, stop lights aren't being held against you.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 01-08-21, 03:41 PM
  #25  
genejockey
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 3,895

Bikes: Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1700 Post(s)
Liked 1,575 Times in 844 Posts
Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Have you thought of just buying sensors that don't require zip-ties? Most speed and cadence sensors I'm familiar with use rubber straps/bands that are simple to remove/reinstall. It only takes a few seconds to move from one bike to another. If you have a GPS head-unit, it'll (likely) automatically calibrate the speed sensor.


I have those AND I have a set for each bike. Swapping cadence sensors, especially with the modern fat crank arms, is a PITA.
genejockey is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.