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Bike computer vs iPhone

Old 11-20-23, 06:37 PM
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Bike computer vs iPhone

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 donít 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?
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Old 11-20-23, 06:45 PM
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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.
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Old 11-20-23, 07:02 PM
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Phone holders aren't the most reliable and the solid ones are very heavy.

Every time I cycle I don't need to know my speeds or where I've been because I ride for the pure of it.

I know how fast I am going because I know me and I know my bikes.

I know my mileage because I know my city.

Those that need a "computer" to tell them when to stop for drink and rest to eat and congrats them with stickers, really ought to just ride more.
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Old 11-20-23, 07:03 PM
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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.
The one that got my attention was the Cateye Air Gps. It seems to be a basic gps computer and recharges via usb charger. I have no idea how good it is.
Garmin tends to be expensive so I didnít look at them but I honestly havenít researched this very much yet.
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Old 11-20-23, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by soyabean
Phone holders aren't the most reliable and the solid ones are very heavy.

Every time I cycle I don't need to know my speeds or where I've been because I ride for the pure of it.

I know how fast I am going because I know me and I know my bikes.

I know my mileage because I know my city.

Those that need a "computer" to tell them when to stop for drink and rest to eat and congrats them with stickers, really ought to just ride more.
I like to use speed and distance just as a gauge- for reference.
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Old 11-20-23, 07:08 PM
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This well-addressed topic came up in our group recently.
GPS unit recommendation? - Bike Forums
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Old 11-20-23, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by roadcrankr
This well-addressed topic came up in our group recently.
GPS unit recommendation? - Bike Forums
That seems to be a discussion about Garmin computers.
I have no need for gps mapping. I do like the idea of gps for speed and distance eliminating the pickup on the front wheel.
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Old 11-20-23, 07:47 PM
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I currently use my Fitbit to track my ride and have it connected to my Strava account. I ride with my phone in my pocket and can glance at my Fitbit to see basic info on times, speed, distance.

I've also ridden with a phone on the handlebars but having the screen on the whole time does affect battery life. Not a problem for short rides but something to think about before a century or longer.

I no longer obsess about speed as much as I used to and really just ride on perceived effort and check my stats after. If you're training for some event I can understand wanting more data.
​​

Originally Posted by soyabean
Phone holders aren't the most reliable and the solid ones are very heavy.
I've used Quad Lock mounts for my phone on bicycles and motorcycles for the past 4-5 years. They are light and have been rock solid.
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Old 11-20-23, 08:02 PM
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While I’m riding, my phone runs Ride With GPS, and it stays in the saddle bag. I have a Cateye Padrone on my bar to keep track of speed and mileage.
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Old 11-20-23, 08:13 PM
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I use a basic Bryton 320 GPS. I'm sure it has more capability than I use it for, which is just time, speed, and distance. Simple B&W display that is illuminated at night. Battery life is great. I get at least 10 hrs on one charge, and that is with the backlight on. Also seems pretty accurate. I ride the same route all the time, and the distance measured by the Bryton is more consistent than my Apple Watch.

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Old 11-20-23, 08:20 PM
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Strava with a phone in your pocket does speed/distance/time fine. Do you want to know how fast you are in real time, itís kind of unclear from your post. Youíre a pretty good judge of your own speed imo, +- 2 mph
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Old 11-20-23, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by soyabean
Phone holders aren't the most reliable and the solid ones are very heavy.

Every time I cycle I don't need to know my speeds or where I've been because I ride for the pure of it.

I know how fast I am going because I know me and I know my bikes.

I know my mileage because I know my city.

Those that need a "computer" to tell them when to stop for drink and rest to eat and congrats them with stickers, really ought to just ride more.
______________________________________


,,,except the Quad Lock that's super minimalist, and never fails.
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Old 11-20-23, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
Strava with a phone in your pocket does speed/distance/time fine. Do you want to know how fast you are in real time, itís kind of unclear from your post. Youíre a pretty good judge of your own speed imo, +- 2 mph
I do want real time speed, for now. I am using it as a gauge but it really isnít necessary.
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Old 11-20-23, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Wileyrat
While Iím riding, my phone runs Ride With GPS, and it stays in the saddle bag. I have a Cateye Padrone on my bar to keep track of speed and mileage.
I have this exact set-up on my Airborne, and it works well... as long as I don't forget to start Ride With GPS(!).
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Old 11-20-23, 08:51 PM
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Maybe get a new computer, or check the batteries, or adjust the sensors?
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Old 11-20-23, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
That seems to be a discussion about Garmin computers.
I have no need for gps mapping. I do like the idea of gps for speed and distance eliminating the pickup on the front wheel.
Did you at least notice my post within that thread?
I illustrated how to utilize my iPhone with a Quad Lock and battery feed.
Today, for instance, I rode for three hours with the screen on the entire time. Kept it 100% charged.
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Old 11-20-23, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by roadcrankr
Did you at least notice my post within that thread?
I illustrated how to utilize my iPhone with a Quad Lock and battery feed.
Today, for instance, I rode for three hours with the screen on the entire time. Kept it 100% charged.
I missed your post. I will read it again.
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Old 11-20-23, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Maybe get a new computer, or check the batteries, or adjust the sensors?
I am going to check the battery I replaced in the lower piece. I installed a new 2032 battery but I am wondering if it has a plastic protector I failed to remove.
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Old 11-20-23, 09:39 PM
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You can use the Strava, free or paid, app on a smart phone to record ride data. You don't have to have it mounted on a display mount if you don't want to unless you want to see the data, miles, etc. as you ride. Just start the 'record' function and pop it into your pocket then shut it off at the end of the ride and you can see the data on your smart phone or on a home computer.
I use it when hiking, snow shoeing, etc. because I don't care to see the data until later on and then just for the fun of it.
I use a Garmin Edge 830 and have been for several years. It works great, offers lots of data options, is not too large or heavy and isn't as costly as its big brothers...whew they can get quite pricey.
The 840 is the latest version and is also very nice...perhaps a bit nicer than the 830 but not a lot...different user interface that is a bit more refined and cooler looking and the 'climb' function works on all climbs as you're riding, not just the climbs you've already done in the past and a route on the device that you are following...I do find that a very cool function over what is on my 830 and 'almost' makes me want to buy one.
I've friends that use the Wahoo, etc. and they really like them as well.
I've also used my 830 for hiking just to see what it would do and it worked quite well...it was fun to see the data.
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Old 11-20-23, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters
You can use the Strava, free or paid, app on a smart phone to record ride data. You don't have to have it mounted on a display mount if you don't want to unless you want to see the data, miles, etc. as you ride. Just start the 'record' function and pop it into your pocket then shut it off at the end of the ride and you can see the data on your smart phone or on a home computer.
I use it when hiking, snow shoeing, etc. because I don't care to see the data until later on and then just for the fun of it.
I use a Garmin Edge 830 and have been for several years. It works great, offers lots of data options, is not too large or heavy and isn't as costly as its big brothers...whew they can get quite pricey.
The 840 is the latest version and is also very nice...perhaps a bit nicer than the 830 but not a lot...different user interface that is a bit more refined and cooler looking and the 'climb' function works on all climbs as you're riding, not just the climbs you've already done in the past and a route on the device that you are following...I do find that a very cool function over what is on my 830 and 'almost' makes me want to buy one.
I've friends that use the Wahoo, etc. and they really like them as well.
I've also used my 830 for hiking just to see what it would do and it worked quite well...it was fun to see the data.
I do want to see realtime speed and distance.
I have map my ride on my phone. I just want a simple real-time display.

Last edited by pepperbelly; 11-21-23 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 11-21-23, 12:13 AM
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If you have an old no-longer used phone, and if the available phone battery life is okay for your usage, and if you either don't ride in the rain or your old phone is reasonably waterproof, then that's a decent option. Keep your current phone safe and sound in a pocket, and let the old one hang out in the elements exposed to risk of damage/theft. RWGPS and/or Strava, occasional wifi connections, and you're good.

If that doesn't work out, for just speed and distance, I think it's a tossup between a low end GPS and an old-school cyclocomputer, with each having its strengths.

If you're not going to upload ride data or download routes, then the battery life difference between the two might be the deciding factor because it's, uh, hours with GPS vs months with cyclocomputer.

The cyclocomputer is fiddly to install, and has to be configured for wheel size.

The GPS is more likely to be stolen, will lose data in heavy cloud cover/tree cover/tunnnels, and they do occasionally crash.
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Old 11-21-23, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
That seems to be a discussion about Garmin computers.
I have no need for gps mapping. I do like the idea of gps for speed and distance eliminating the pickup on the front wheel.
I started with the same ďI donít need muchĒ opinion. I got over that pretty quickly. I only rarely use my Wahoo Bolt for turn-by-turn mapping, but how I use it has expanded with my desire for more info. I can also move it from bike to bike, and it recognizes whatever sensors are active near it for that ride, and I can customize the screen to show what I want, in whatever order I want it - HR, power, and time of day are my most important pieces of data, but like we are accustomed to in a car, current speed is typically at the top of the screen. I can easily access a multitude of other data, as well.
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Old 11-21-23, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
The GPS is more likely to be stolen, will lose data in heavy cloud cover/tree cover/tunnnels, and they do occasionally crash.
Modern quarter-turn mounts make taking your GPS device with you in high-theft situations really easy.

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?
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Old 11-21-23, 04:15 AM
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An iPhone is massive overkill for a simple real time display of speed/time/distance. Might as well just use an old-school Cateye for that and keep your iPhone in a pocket for GPS tracking.

Or get a base level Garmin Edge GPS head unit and use that for both display and mapping. I use a Garmin Edge 530 and keep my phone in a jersey pocket. I find the turn-by-turn satnav and climb pro (shows where you are on climbs) useful and the battery lasts all day.
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Old 11-21-23, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I am going to check the battery I replaced in the lower piece. I installed a new 2032 battery but I am wondering if it has a plastic protector I failed to remove.
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.
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