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Bike computer vs iPhone

Old 11-21-23, 05:25 AM
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I see the Edge 530 on sale for $199, $270 with the full sensor pack.

I don't know about you, but for me - baby steps in a hobby always lead me to get more into the hobby. But the baby steps end up costing money, and I end up with the more expensive option in the end.

$199 isn't a very big leap in the cycling world.

And that unit allows you to add on just about anything you may decide to get into in the future. Long rides/centuries - the GPS is built in and you can download ride maps. Want to get on Strava - it will do it. Want to add a power meter, it will read it. It will communicate a crash to your phone and send emergency texts. It will receive texts from your phone. Want to start training - it can help with that.

Pretty big bang for the buck.
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Old 11-21-23, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
I see the Edge 530 on sale for $199, $270 with the full sensor pack.

I don't know about you, but for me - baby steps in a hobby always lead me to get more into the hobby. But the baby steps end up costing money, and I end up with the more expensive option in the end.

$199 isn't a very big leap in the cycling world.

And that unit allows you to add on just about anything you may decide to get into in the future. Long rides/centuries - the GPS is built in and you can download ride maps. Want to get on Strava - it will do it. Want to add a power meter, it will read it. It will communicate a crash to your phone and send emergency texts. It will receive texts from your phone. Want to start training - it can help with that.

Pretty big bang for the buck.
I run mine all the time. It is very nice to keep track of just about everything. The motivation factor is worth it for me. I'm still riding this year to get to 5000 miles. When I get back home I just click on the save button. It loads all the info into the main system. Useless info- maybe for an old guy like me. But I didn't hit the couch for the winter yet.

If mine breaks, I will definitely order another. However, I've been running mine for 2 years without a glitch. The radar is also a very valuable safety feature as well.
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Old 11-21-23, 06:21 AM
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Garmin Edge 130 is their entry level GPS. That would easily cover your display needs and basic GPS nav. But it doesn't have mapping like the more expensive units.
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Old 11-21-23, 06:27 AM
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Just get a new bike computer. If you're already using your iPhone to track your ride, I don't see the utility of spending hundreds of dollars to get gps computer. You can get a new non-gps bike computer for under $100.
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Old 11-21-23, 06:37 AM
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Garmin 245 watch... usually don't look at it much during rides. But along with app and smartphone, get all he info I need. Phone stys tucked away in pocket or bag.
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Old 11-21-23, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BobsPoprad
Garmin 245 watch... usually don't look at it much during rides. But along with app and smartphone, get all he info I need. Phone stys tucked away in pocket or bag.
This. Lots of choices out there.
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Old 11-21-23, 07:14 AM
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The Cateye Velo 7 speedometer is the basic wired model. The Velo 9 adds calories and CO2 - not needed IMO. The Urban Wireless model eliminates the wire without going bigger and bulkier, but you have to wake it from sleep mode, or it won't record your ride. The wired models wake automatically, but do not zero-out without holding the button. Either are more accurate than a phone GPS, provided you set the size of the wheel accurately in the setup routine.
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Old 11-21-23, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Whatever holds the sensor to the fork (usually zip ties) can come loose, causing the sensor to swivel out of range from things like vibration. It can also slip down out of range. Also check the alignment of the magnet on the spoke.
I will be doing that later this morning.
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Old 11-21-23, 09:01 AM
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Save and spend the money to get a Garmin or Wahoo. I still have most all my Garmin's for cycling, auto, marine and other sports activities. Well over a dozen now. and they all still work. Some from 2005. The only Garmin I have that quit was a early chart plotter that was underwater on a sailboat that sunk during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that was underwater for two week. However after refloating the boat and drying out the chart plotter, it worked for four more years. My original Edge 500 I bought circa 2010 still works, though I've since replaced it with a newer Garmin in 2020.

Phone apps might work for you. But I'd think that longer trips you might find them just draining your battery. And maybe a issue if in areas of bad cell service and using maps.

Last edited by Iride01; 11-21-23 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 11-21-23, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76
The Cateye Velo 7 speedometer is the basic wired model. The Velo 9 adds calories and CO2 - not needed IMO. The Urban Wireless model eliminates the wire without going bigger and bulkier, but you have to wake it from sleep mode, or it won't record your ride. The wired models wake automatically, but do not zero-out without holding the button. Either are more accurate than a phone GPS, provided you set the size of the wheel accurately in the setup routine.
Yeah, I have those on everything - the 7 that is. I've used them since Cateye were the newest greatest thing. The 7 has everything in it that I have any interest in and they're dirt cheap so if it gets lost no BFD.

Of course I'm just out for a ride. I'm old fat and stupid and my bikes are old and simple. Works for me. YMMV
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Old 11-21-23, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
Just get a new bike computer. If you're already using your iPhone to track your ride, I don't see the utility of spending hundreds of dollars to get gps computer. You can get a new non-gps bike computer for under $100.
This makes sense if you don't need/want GPS tracking/navigation.
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Old 11-21-23, 09:54 AM
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Are the computers that track speed and distance using gps less accurate than one using a wheel sensor?
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Old 11-21-23, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
Are the computers that track speed and distance using gps less accurate than one using a wheel sensor?
IMO, there's not enough difference to matter to most people. Does it matter to you if your computer says 13.2 or 13.3 miles at the end of your ride? For my Wahoo, I can choose to manually input a wheel size (when I'm on a bike that has a wheel sensor), or I can have speed/distance calculated by GPS. I assume Garmin has the same option.
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Old 11-21-23, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
Are the computers that track speed and distance using gps less accurate than one using a wheel sensor?
GPS distance is very accurate, but real-time speed lags quite significantly. If you want a more accurate speed display while riding you can pair them with a wireless speed sensor, but I don't bother. I rarely look at my speed whilst riding.
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Old 11-21-23, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
Are the computers that track speed and distance using gps less accurate than one using a wheel sensor?
I just recently took my old speed sensor off my bike. I noticed that my speed readout while riding the bike without the speed sensor seemed to lag sometimes. As far as affecting the resulting data for later review, it didn't seem to be an issue. My distances measured for the same route were pretty much the same with and without.

My old speed sensor was a 10 plus year old GSC-10. It was big and somewhat ugly sitting on the stay. So I decided to get rid of it. When I became annoyed enough with the speed readout not seeming to be accurate, I got the newer Garmin Speed Sensor 2 that fits on the wheel hub and is less noticeable.
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Old 11-21-23, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
GPS distance is very accurate....
Sometimes I wonder about how accurate it really is. There have been multiple times when riding with friends where we all end up with different distances and elevation gains, even though we started and finished our rides at pretty close times and locations, and are all using GPS-sourced distance calculations. The differences aren't gigantic, but more than would happen in our variations in start and stop times/locations.
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Old 11-21-23, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
In addition to the battery drain of having the phone screen on all the time, I don't want my phone that exposed in case of a crash. I carry my phone in my jersey pocket.

The most commonly used GPS bike computers are Garmin and Wahoo. Garmin has a wider product range. My personal choice is the Wahoo Bolt. I'm not familiar with Cateye's options, or how they compare with other brands.
you don't really think that thin layer of lycra will help it do you?
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Old 11-21-23, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
My bike computer is having problems. I only use it for current speed, time and distance. I use Map My Ride on my Iphone to keep track but not for real time info.
Can smart phones replace a bike computer? The one advantage I can think of is it is on until I am finished. My Iphone goes dark after a couple of minutes to save the battery so I don’t get real time speed without draining the battery.
I was looking at a gps bike computer, I think a Cat Eye. Do these havecany downside?
The big upside for dedicated computers/head units is battery life. I used to run Strava on my phone (with the phone in my jersey pocket - handlebar-mounted phone is just too dorky) but I found that it hammered the battery. Running it to provide real-time info would be even worse. Yes, a phone can do the job, but even a basic head unit does a better job, IMO.
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Old 11-21-23, 11:12 AM
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Sounds like a simple $10. dollar sensor and computer is all he needs or wants. I have a drawer full of them since switching up. They work just fine for speed and distance.
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Old 11-21-23, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Zero times have I lost GPS data due to clouds or trees, including riding in pretty significant conditions of both at the same time. How long are the tunnels you ride that GPS can’t extrapolate your route with reasonable accuracy?
You may not "lose" GPS during a ride, but its accuracy fluctuates greatly. If you've ever looked at a raw plot of GPS points from a ride, it looks like it was drawn by an alcoholic in withdrawal.

A speed sensor on the wheel can help alleviate the GPS drop outs. Your head unit may not know where you are for a while, but by using the speed sensor, it at least knows how far you have gone. A ride buddy of mine doesn't have a speed sensor, and when we're climbing in the redwoods, his GPS signal is bad, and his climbing rate (VAM) reading goes crazy.
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Old 11-21-23, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
Are the computers that track speed and distance using gps less accurate than one using a wheel sensor?
They can be by a small amount. The GPS tracking on a dedicate cycling type unit records bread crumb like points. If you are riding an extremally twisted course, such as mt. bike single track and are in a deeply wooded area, the mileage measurement can be off a bit. Riding in heavily wooded area's can cause the GPS signal to get scattered a bit which can throw off accuracy. Many riders add a speed sensor on a wheel hub, which sends a signal to the GPS unit and which overrides the GPS signal. The sensor provides much better accuracy.
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Old 11-21-23, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by spelger
you don't really think that thin layer of lycra will help it do you?
It's about the location. I'm not under the belief that being in my jersey pocket is the same as some sort of protective case, but it's much less exposed and prone to damage than being on my handlebars, especially since a good portion of my riding is in the dirt (MTB or gravel bike)
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Old 11-21-23, 12:10 PM
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It's not what the cycle computer does or what the smart phone does that is the true attraction. That lies in the simple using of an electronic device and the fascination of translating experience into numbers. Think back to the days before we had all this stuff. Cycling was just as much fun. I suppose there is no harm in using these devices, but they are really unnecessary. I have a simple computer on my road bikes but nothing on my mountain bike. The only difference between riding one and the other is that on my road bike I know how fast I am going and how far I went. If I am cycling to a destination on my road bike, I know how far I have to go. I pretty much know the same things on my mountain but not with precision. As Marshall Mc Cluan pointed out with regards to T.V., "the medium is the message." But no harm done if you like this sort of thing.
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Old 11-21-23, 12:17 PM
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I may not have said but this is a road bike.
I just like being able to check speed and distance quickly, especially when I am doing laps through town fir exercise.
I will find another simple computer.
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Old 11-21-23, 12:58 PM
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If all you are interested in is real time speed and distance, there are some cheap GPS "computers" available. I have one of these, which is very simple, doesn't have a lot of functions, but works fine. Right now it's only $25 on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/CYCPLUS-Compu...34&sr=8-3&th=1
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