Author Topic: Bike Computer  (Read 2975 times)

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Offline maggie1g

Bike Computer
« on: November 07, 2017, 03:40:33 pm »
Hello,,,I am attempting the transam trail next june of 2018 and i just want a simple device (not my iPhone) that can track my mileage and that has a battery life that can't last the 3 months or so I will be on the tour...Any advice would be great.. THANKS

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2017, 05:05:45 pm »
Just about any bike computer should last you the full trip.  That's assuming it costs less than about $50, paradoxically, more expensive computers use GPS or have whizz bang feature which mean you'll have to recharge them more frequently.

My preference is something like the wired Cateye Strada with Cadence.  It's virtually waterproof, and if you get some dielectric grease from an auto parts store to put on the mounting contacts, it'll last 10 years with a battery change every 2 years or so.  I like the cadence feature because if I'm not spinning, my knees tell me about it -- especially through the Virginia/Kentucky/Missouri mountains.

Offline maggie1g

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2017, 05:45:21 pm »
Thanks...how often would I have to charge it?   

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 05:53:42 pm »
Most bike computers (without GPS) run off of button batteries that last for years. No charging necessary (or possible).
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 05:59:36 pm by John Nelson »

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 06:37:50 pm »
To follow up on what the others said.  Get a wired Cateye computer.  A somewhat basic one that has speed, distance, time.  Not wireless with a separate transmitter at the fork and another receiver on the bars.  Two batteries needed and maybe bad talking to each other.  As mentioned, a coin, watch type battery powers the computer.  It lasts five years or more easily.  All my Cateyes do fine in the rain.  And if for some reason they should stop, they will dry out pretty quickly and work fine again.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 09:39:19 am »
+1 on the wired plain (non-GPS) Cat-Eye's.  They are light, easy to use and take cheap, readily available CR2032 batteries that last for years in daily use.   Like Russ, I'm a fan of the wired units since they only have one battery and no outside signals can interfere with the readings.

All of them provide current speed, trip distance (some have two trip distance readings), odometer for total distance, maximum speed, ride time and time-of-day.  Some also measure cadence if that's useful to you. Installation is simple and if you calibrate them properly to your tire size (a table of recommended calibration value for all common tire sizes is in the owner's manual) they are very accurate. 

Mine have been boringly reliable and, as Pat Lamb recommended, a film of dielectric grease on the contacts makes them almost completely rain proof. 

Offline GrnMtns

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 11:47:39 am »
Just an alternate point of view:  I've found the cheap Cateye wireless computers easy to install and use, and reliable.  The last one went for 3 years before the battery failed and the sensor on that one is still going after 4.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 08:32:48 am »
Just an alternate point of view:  I've found the cheap Cateye wireless computers easy to install and use, and reliable.  The last one went for 3 years before the battery failed and the sensor on that one is still going after 4.
No question that current wireless bike computers can be reliable and have good battery life and many riders are very happy with them.  It's just that wired computers require only one battery, are less fussy about set up and alignment are usually less expensive.  Their only down side is the wire itself which some riders find a bit unsightly.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 01:31:16 pm »
Their only down side is the wire itself which some riders find a bit unsightly.

I use cellophane tape to tape the wire to the back, inside edge of the fork.  Its pretty close to invisible there.  The wire does hang out in space above the fork crown before going beside the front brake cable.  So there is a wire.  But the wireless folks forget that the front sensor on the wireless units is 2-3 times bigger than the front sensor on the wired units.  Has to hold the battery and the wireless transmitting parts.  So wireless has a "Sight" issue too.  Big, Fat, Huge, Chunky sensor on the fork!  Compared to a light, svelte, slim, trim sensor on the wired units!

Offline fladpisser

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 05:08:24 am »
Why not wireless computer? What is better when using a cable?  8)

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2017, 06:55:24 am »
Why not wireless computer? What is better when using a cable?  8)
On our coast to coast tour my companions with wireless had issues with bogus readings.  These were in the form of interference usually when parked close to a neon sign outside a general store or diner.  Sometimes they acted up around electric fences or high voltage power lines where we'd see crazy high speed readings.  The computer would log miles while it was sitting still outside the diner.  It typically wasn't enough to be a big deal on the total mileage for the trip, but was enough to throw off calculations about where an upcoming turn or stop was.  They never noticed this problem around town at home but it was a constant source of annoyance on our long tour.

Battery life was not a problem for wireless models that I have used.  They all lasted at least a year or two.

Some wireless models used to need to be turned on at the beginning of the day or after longish stops.  I don't know if any current models are like that but if so I'd avoid those models.  It is just too easy to forget.

On my mountain bike I tend to shred cables so I run wireless on it.  I typically used wired models on my road bikes.

Offline litespeed

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 03:57:11 pm »
I've logged about 50,000 bicycle miles - about half of that touring. I've never used anything but Cateye Mity wired bicycle computers. Except for occasionally having to scrape the contacts with my penknife and quitting in heavy rain (easy to wipe dry) they have been very reliable and all I need.

I've heard stories of people coming back to their bicycle after a meal stop and seeing the wireless computer reading something like 62 mph. I wouldn't trust them.

Offline canalligators

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 10:32:42 pm »
Another opinion.  I detest the clumsy operability of almost all speedometers.  (Another pet peeve, they're not computers, ferchrissakes.)  Exception: the Planet Bike protege series.  And the cheap Bell units from WalMart were said to be simple, though I haven't checked.

The last time I looked at a CatEye, their products had two buttons and  you had to do a litany of presses to change the display.  And initial programming was far worse, including missed steps in the instructions.  The PB Protege 5 units have four lines displayed and only one alternate line when you press the button.

Simple operation beats unused features, in my book.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2018, 08:13:20 am »
The last time I looked at a CatEye, their products had two buttons and  you had to do a litany of presses to change the display.  And initial programming was far worse, including missed steps in the instructions. 
The wired Cat-Eyes I have do have two buttons.  One toggles through the display (trip distance-->odometer-->ride time-->max speed).  If it is held down it chooses a second trip distance reading so you can monitor both a daily ride and, say, a longer trip.   The other, pushed simultaneously with the first, is used to reset the displays to zero between rides.  The two trip distances can be reset independently.  So that's the "litany of presses".

Initial programing consists of setting the miles/km choice and the wheel circumference value from a table included with the cyclometer or a roll-out measurement.  If you are not intimidated by this very complex procedure so far you can set the clock too.  If you miss a set-up step going back is very easy.  Typically set-up only has to be done once on a new cyclometer and repeated only after several years following a battery change.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bike Computer
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 08:36:39 am »
The last time I looked at a CatEye, their products had two buttons and  you had to do a litany of presses to change the display.  And initial programming was far worse, including missed steps in the instructions. 
The wired Cat-Eyes I have do have two buttons.  One toggles through the display (trip distance-->odometer-->ride time-->max speed).  If it is held down it chooses a second trip distance reading so you can monitor both a daily ride and, say, a longer trip.   The other, pushed simultaneously with the first, is used to reset the displays to zero between rides.  The two trip distances can be reset independently.  So that's the "litany of presses".

Initial programing consists of setting the miles/km choice and the wheel circumference value from a table included with the cyclometer or a roll-out measurement.  If you are not intimidated by this very complex procedure so far you can set the clock too.  If you miss a set-up step going back is very easy.  Typically set-up only has to be done once on a new cyclometer and repeated only after several years following a battery change.
Yes they are pretty straight forward.  It might not be obvious at first glance, but once through the instructions and I was set.  I have found it a bit annoying that different brands/models have different  set up, reset, and mode change options, but none that I have tried were hard to get used to.  Still it would be nice if there was more consistency across brands and models.

I have generally used wired Cateye models over the years too, but in recent years have come to like the Planet Bike models.  As I get older I like the larger display.  Also I like the temperature reading, which is surprisingly accurate as long as you are either moving or in the shade.