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View Full Version : Seeking advice on cyclocomputers


lazlo
09-13-2007, 04:15 PM
I'm considering buying a cyclocomputer, but am bewildered by the options available. Any feedback from those of you with experience would be helpful.

tao
09-13-2007, 04:54 PM
It will help if you stated your budget, what kind of functions your are looking for, what will you used it for.

The major cycle computer functions include (not limited to): speed, cadence, elevation, heart rate monitor, power output ... etc.

I started out with the simplest one that only records the speed (min, max, and average), distance, exercise time. Later on, I want to know my cadence so I can pedal more efficiently. Soon enough, I want one that has heart rate monitor so I know my effort. Now I am itching to know the gradient of those killer hills... As the result, I spent more money than I have to and more cycle computers than I need.

There is also wired and wireless configuration. The wired ones has more accurate read out. Its wires need to be neatly arranged on the bike to avoid accident. It takes longer to setup. The wireless one take less time to setup and it looks better without the wires. However, cross talk between cyclecomputers and sensors can be an issue though this has never happen to me.

Currently, I use Polar CS200 and love it. Cateye Astrale is another one I used before and highly recommended it.

Have fun with your search and don't make the mistake I made.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
09-13-2007, 09:01 PM
It will help if you stated your budget, what kind of functions your are looking for, what will you used it for.

The major cycle computer functions include (not limited to): speed, cadence, elevation, heart rate monitor, power output ... etc.

I started out with the simplest one that only records the speed (min, max, and average), distance, exercise time. Later on, I want to know my cadence so I can pedal more efficiently. Soon enough, I want one that has heart rate monitor so I know my effort. Now I am itching to know the gradient of those killer hills... As the result, I spent more money than I have to and more cycle computers than I need.

There is also wired and wireless configuration. The wired ones has more accurate read out. Its wires need to be neatly arranged on the bike to avoid accident. It takes longer to setup. The wireless one take less time to setup and it looks better without the wires. However, cross talk between cyclecomputers and sensors can be an issue though this has never happen to me.

Currently, I use Polar CS200 and love it. Cateye Astrale is another one I used before and highly recommended it.

Have fun with your search and don't make the mistake I made.

Here are a couple of related questions:

Can't you get the same or similar type of data from plotting your route on mapping software and timing yourself? I've used that method to calculate average speed, elevation gain, and distance. And if you really want to, you can stop at a regular interval and take your pulse.

How is cadence measured? Is this a measure of efficiency?

lazlo
09-14-2007, 12:38 PM
[QUOTE=tao;6374]It will help if you stated your budget, what kind of functions your are looking for, what will you used it for.QUOTE]

Looking to spend $100 or less. Want to track speed, distance, time, elevation, cadence. Don't care about a heart rate monitor, I've trained with them enough to know it by feel. Interested in opinions on wired vs wireless; I've used devices on my canoes which have some trouble with em interference, like from power lines.

tao
09-14-2007, 03:15 PM
Here are a couple of related questions:
How is cadence measured? Is this a measure of efficiency?

Cadence means the number of revolutions per minute of the pedal stroke.

For me I use the cadence to decide whether I need to shift to different gears. 85 - 95 rpm is the most comfortable range for me. Different people will have different range.

I read some articles in past, most of them mentioned 90rpm is the most efficient pedal stroke. Sorry that I don't remember the source or how they measure the efficiency.

I agree the cadence is not the sole factor to decide pedaling efficiency. When my cadence is above my comfort zone, my body will rock from side to side. In this case, less of my power goes to the pedaling. When my cadence drop way below my comfort zone, it means I am using a gear that is too hard for me. In this case, my pedal stroke is not smooth thus less efficient.

Again, I am not an expert on this topic, this is just something that I read and it make sense to me. You should be able to find something on the Internet that explains this in more details and scientifically.

tao
09-14-2007, 03:52 PM
Looking to spend $100 or less. Want to track speed, distance, time, elevation, cadence.

With the requirement of elevation, it probably will exceed your $100 budget. As mentioned in my previous post, I am itching for one that shows the elevation/gradient. However, I do know Vetta V100A (http://www.vetta.com/Product_Computer_V100A.htm) series has what you want. XXCycle.com has one (http://www.xxcycle.com/php/boutique/page.php?nom=PRODUITpp&key=3459) that is under $100.

I have heard good things about the Vetta. However, I have never owned one nor have I dealt with XXCycle.com before. Treat this as a reference. With more research, you should be able to find a better deal or the one you like.

Happy pedaling

bikerinNE
09-14-2007, 03:53 PM
I'm considering buying a cyclocomputer, but am bewildered by the options available. Any feedback from those of you with experience would be helpful.

My experience, I've had three of them. And at one point in time, (with all three) I've left them on my bike while at the store, and they got lifted. So, I stopped buying them. They are to expensive to keep replacing, and what good is the computer, without the sensor, so why people take them, i don't know?

DJoos
09-17-2007, 09:52 PM
In regards to wireless; cross talk is only an issue when riding in a tight pack (the transmitters have a short range). If that type of riding comes up frequently and you prefer the clean look of wireless, digital computers are now available. They use an individual frequency so cross talk is eliminated, they cost quite a bit more on its own and to hurt your pocket more I have only seen them in the super blingy models, but hey they are pretty cool.

Haven_kd7yct
09-18-2007, 09:21 AM
My Sig Op has wireless computers on both his Treks. The only problem we've had is with some wireless hotspots at various coffee shops... but we're usually moving along fas enough that it's a momentary, "hey look, it says I'm going 242 mph" that we can laugh at.

Cadence: my natural cadence is about 88 (figured it out by counting revolutions in one minute while on the trainer last winter). I can tell when I get above or below that. Don't need a computer telling me that.

Elevation: I've seen some people with altimeters (that's the one that measure elevation, right?) that are basically a really small level attached to the stem. I think the folks at Adventure Cycling have them, cheap.

My $20 Cateye velo5 tracks speed, has a trip odo and overall odo, max speed, and a clock. It's easy to figure out elapsed time, and I'm good enough at the calcs to figure out my average speed once I get to my end point.

Like the rest of these knowledgeable folks say, you'll probably end up spending more than $100 to get all the options you think you'll need... my advice is to start off small, decide if you like it, then upgrade. :)

lazlo
09-18-2007, 04:09 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll just use my gps for now, even though it's a bit bulky.

knary
09-19-2007, 08:14 AM
It's the desire for elevation information that makes your request difficult. That limits it a fair amount. The best bet for those, IMHO, is a GPS such as the Garmin Edge 205 or 305. The 305 is markedly more accurate, but you're probably going to spend at least $300 for one new.

If, on the other hand, you just want a computer, I'm a fan of the Cateye Astrale series. I have an Astrale 8 that's been beaten on for thousands of miles without any problems. Speed, cadence, etc. They're regularly only $30 when on sale. I prefer wired as they tend to be a bit more durable, don't eat batteries, and are markedly cheaper.

As to using software to calculate your speed after timing yourself, that seems like a lot of work with a lot of inaccuracies compared to buying even the cheapest little computer.

mike_khad1
09-21-2007, 07:12 AM
I have the Shimano Flight Deck. It doesn't do elevation and it will set you back a bit more than 100 but I like it. It is complicated to set up and it only works if you have STI shifters that say Flight Deck on it.