Author Topic: what cycling computer to get?  (Read 7315 times)

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Offline 10speed

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what cycling computer to get?
« on: September 23, 2010, 08:01:47 pm »
So I am putting the finishing touches on my dream touring bike (pics to come) and I know 0 about cycling computers, I think wireless is a must, besides that.... I really don't have clue. I have access to QBP so if it is a brand they carry that's a plus. Otherwise what can you guys recommended?


thanks gang,
Brian
Currently on bike tour as of 12/31/11...
Fort Collins, CO - Key West, FL. Key West, FL - Bar Harbor, ME. Bar Harbor, ME - ??? and going strong...

Offline Tourista829

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 08:29:57 pm »
I have a couple of Cateye Strada Cadence trip computers. I like small, simple and reliable. It is mounted on the stem of my bike. Whether commuting, grocery shopping, or on tour I don't want to worry about someone stealing it.  I haven't had much luck with wireless trip computers. Even with the latest technology, I still got an occassional erroneous reading. This is due to my mobile phone, in the handlebar bag, so I went back to wired. (I listen to music on it) One must make sure that the contact, on the wired trip computer, are periodicallly cleaned, or the speedometer feature may not function properly. I am from the old school and like the cadence feature ;)

Offline DaveB

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 09:36:26 pm »
One word; Cat-Eye.  Any model.  And, why is wireless a "must"?  Wireless has it's share of interference problems and wired computers never do. 

Offline gregg

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 10:21:03 pm »
I'll second DaveB, had great luck with my Cateye computers (all wired), not so good with the others.

Offline bogiesan

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 10:46:54 pm »
There's nothing necessary at all about wireless any more than disk brakes or GPS. We've done quite well without them all for many decades.
All of my computers have been Cateyes but there are probably 100 different models from a dozen mfrs that will suit your needs; double that number if you include wireless options.
What do you think you would like for data? What do you want to spend? Cadence is important to me but not so much for many other riders. Temperature, altitude, and rate of climb are available in many units without going to full blown GPS systems.

REI has a decent comparison chart for their brands.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline whittierider

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 12:04:52 am »
Another vote here for Cateye.  We had a lot of Avocets in this family before, and although the ones made in Taiwan have all been fine, the ones made after they took their production to China all quit.  After doing various repairs on them, I got fed up with Avocet and decided to research things and choose a different brand.  In the owner reviews, I found more dissatisfaction with cycle computers than almost any other bike part.  Cateye was one of the only ones that owners were consistently happy with-- maybe the only one.  Now for the last 5+ years, we've had a bunch of Cateye Mity 8's on our bikes, and they have been great.

As far as wireless goes, I, too, would say no.  There are too many interference problems.  Depending on the type of interference, you might get a 75mph reading when you're stopped at a traffic light, or a 0mph reading when you're going plenty fast, and both get reflected in the displayed distances.  Either one will mess you up if you're depending on the trip odometer to find your next turn or something like that.

Offline DwarvenChef

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010, 03:10:07 am »
I'm also challenged when it comes to these new fangled devices, heck I'm still trying to get used to my new (6 years old) bike...

Keep this thread going so I can learn more :)

So far I have forgotten to ask my LBS about them as I always forget things I haven't a clue on lol...
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 03:35:48 am »
Cateye indeed. And ixnay on the wireless.

But this:
There's nothing necessary at all about wireless any more than disk brakes or GPS. We've done quite well without them all for many decades.
is a spurious argument at best.  Cycling also did quite well without butted tubing, carbon fiber, aramid fiber, and indexing, yet the contribution of these technologies is significant and beneficial.  And I am a wool-wearing, friction-shifting, Carradice-sporting retrogrouch.

Wireless means at least one more battery to maintain.  Disc brakes, on the other hand, mean greater modulation, lower maintenance in inclement conditions, and greater flexibility in tire and wheel selection.
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Online staehpj1

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2010, 06:54:11 am »
So I am putting the finishing touches on my dream touring bike (pics to come) and I know 0 about cycling computers, I think wireless is a must, besides that.... I really don't have clue. I have access to QBP so if it is a brand they carry that's a plus. Otherwise what can you guys recommended?
I agree that the Cateye models are nice, but recommend wired.  I like the MTB model with a heavier duty wire (Enduro 8?).

I have tried a variety of wireless in a variety of brands and found them all to be prone to interference.  Too often you come out of a diner to see that your bike parked by the neon sign thinks it went 60 miles while you were eating.  Then there are the times when it thinks it is going 80 mph while sitting under a power line or electric fence.  I gave up an only use wired ones.

Offline rvklassen

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2010, 09:21:29 am »
So I am putting the finishing touches on my dream touring bike (pics to come) and I know 0 about cycling computers, I think wireless is a must, besides that.... I really don't have clue. I have access to QBP so if it is a brand they carry that's a plus.
If you have no experience with cycling computers, then there are really only two things to look for:
- reliability [which generally means wired with heavier duty wires than some come with]
- simplicity.

Simplicity means finding something with relatively few functions.  Any function you don't plan to use is extra clutter in the user interface.  The computer I got last year is long on durability but I managed to change the language to French, and without going to the user manual I have no idea how to change it back. 

For touring:
1) Speed [they all have it]
2) Trip distance [reset it every morning or at key locations on the map]
3) Trip time [just how long have you been in the saddle today?]
---
The rest is optional:
4) Odometer [hard to find one without - can tell you how long since you replaced a chain if you keep records]
5) Cadence [if you want to pay attention to it]
6) Average speed

----
What you probably DON'T want is the ability to switch it between bikes.  That increases the number of functions it has to manage, and the price.

And yes, wireless means twice as many batteries, and they sometimes don't register even with good batteries, esp. in cold weather or if there's RF interference about, which can include phones, power lines, dynamo hubs, ... 

And the weight of the extra battery and circuitry in the sending unit is more than the weight of the wire you've saved.


The only reason I can see for going wireless is if you have a coupled bike and would need to take the computer wire harness off to pack the bike in its case.

Offline mcparsons

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2010, 09:52:24 am »
I bought the cheapest Strada (BC506) a few years ago for $15 and it has been great.  My daughter has Cateye Strada and we have had to replace the cabling once but it has a few more features I wouldn't mind having.  One thing about cadence: it means a lot more wire and an extra magnet. I'd skip it unless you are going to use that feature.  And another thought on Cateye: they are popular with thieves. A friend lost two in three days, once when he was a few steps from his bike. No one wants my Sigma.  ;)

Offline 10speed

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Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2010, 01:11:10 pm »
So it seems like the "nays" have it hands down, no to wireless.

What I hear is almost everyone agrees on a basic wired Cat Eye. Sounds fine with me, I was ready to blow $100 on computer but it sounds like I should get by on much less. That's great news.
 Any specific models of Cat Eye stick out?

Things I will def want:

     Speed
     Av Speed
     Distance     
     Clock
     
     Cadence? not really something I have ever cared about personally, could take or leave it.   
     Two Bikes? no, a feature I do not want. Would prob end in me getting way confused.

Thanks for all the good info... I can't believe how much useful input this forum offers vs. certain other cycling forums I'm a part of. I do appreciate it.
Currently on bike tour as of 12/31/11...
Fort Collins, CO - Key West, FL. Key West, FL - Bar Harbor, ME. Bar Harbor, ME - ??? and going strong...

Offline 10speed

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Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2010, 01:47:00 pm »
after 5 minutes on the Cateye website, armed with all the input you guys provided I think the Enduro 8 or Strada will be best for me. They have the same functions but the Enduro 8 is marketed to be more durable. I do think temp would have been a useful/novelty function but only comes on the crazy computers. Either way I'll figure it out.

Thanks Guys.

Currently on bike tour as of 12/31/11...
Fort Collins, CO - Key West, FL. Key West, FL - Bar Harbor, ME. Bar Harbor, ME - ??? and going strong...

Offline whittierider

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2010, 02:45:41 pm »
Quote
And another thought on Cateye: they are popular with thieves.  A friend lost two in three days, once when he was a few steps from his bike.
We always take the computer with us.  It slides out of the cradle in an instant (which is why it's so easy to steal).

10speed, you can get what you need for less than a third of the amount you had budgeted.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: what cycling computer to get?
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2010, 05:20:18 pm »
     Cadence? not really something I have ever cared about personally, could take or leave it.   
     Two Bikes? no, a feature I do not want. Would prob end in me getting way confused.

At some point in your life you are going to want have cadence.  Cadence is your guide to when you are cranking in an efficient zone.  A cadence of less than 80 and you are abusing your knees.  A cadence of more than 99, and you probably need to change gears.  When you are young, you probably don't care what kind of abuse you subject your knees to, but at some point you will care.
Danno