Altimeter Cyclocomputer recommendations



leebm

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
30
0
0
I'm looking for an cyclocomputer with altimeter functions and am interested in hearing about experiences with various ones. The Ciclosport CM, Specialized Turbo Pro, VDO MC in particular. I like Cateye cyclocomputers and think it's a shame they didn't throw an altimeter into the double-wireless series. The AT-100 is a bit outdated. I'm also not a big fan of Vetta's so the 100A is out. I'm not interested using a GPS unit.
 

garagedog

New Member
Aug 5, 2004
55
1
0
52
I'm in the same boat. Anyone have suggestions? Any GPS users? I've heard some altimeters are not very accurate.... hum?
 

Tonto

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
394
0
0
I've got a brand new Specialized Turbo Pro sitting here on my desk. It just arrived today. I'll be using it this weekend and I'll let you know how it went.

As with any other altimeter it needs to be recalilbrated regularly. Luckily for me I work right beside the sea and can stand on the sea shore to reset it. Otherwise you might be relying on maps to try and figure out the altitude of your house or something like that....
 

Tonto

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
394
0
0
garagedog said:
How did it go?

Well......I had a few glasses of wine on Saturday night and when the alarm went on Sunday morning and I looked out the snow....so the road test will have to wait :D
 

Tonto

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
394
0
0
garagedog said:
How did it go?

Hi garagedog,
Well I finally got to try out my Specialised Turbo Pro this morning.
Basics first, it's easy to set up, including the optional cadence sensor. The display uses big, clear characters. It's also easy to scroll through the various displays, even with gloves on.
The bread and butter stuff like the speed, cadence, tripmeter, trip time and various average and max functions all worked fine.
So to the alitimeter. It works on barometric pressure, so you have to allow a certain margin for variance as weather conditions change (in Ireland the weather changes every 20 mins :D ). Also, I wasn't expecting 100% accuracy given that it's not a specialist alitmeter.
When I left home I reset the alititude to 54 meters. When I got back 2 and a bit hours later after 55km's my house was at 52 meters (sudsidence? :D ), but I think that's acceptable.
The highest point of my spin was listed as 254 meters on the computer and I've checked on the map and that hill is listed there as 255 meters. So that's pretty good I think.
The only bad point would seem to be the inclinometer. I only used it on that one hill and it would appear as 4%, then 0%, then 6%, then 0% then 10% then 8%....all in the space of a couple of hundred meters on a pretty steady climb (put it this way, I was in the same gear all doing the same cadence most of the way up). I know that it computes the gradient by distance travelled and change in altitude every 4 seconds, so a certain delay in reflecting changes in gradient is to be expected, but I still found this very disappointing. The inclinometer was one of the things that swung me towards buying this over some other cheaper models. So, I'm going to mail Specialized to ask them to explain it. I'll post any feedback I get on here.

A couple of other things that I liked were the alititude gain function and the temperature function. Was nice to know that I climbed just under 400m in what I always considered a 'flat' route and it made me feel very virtuous having set off in a crisp 2 degrees celsius.

All the best,
Tonto.
 

mdplayer

New Member
Feb 16, 2005
34
0
0
Tonto said:
The only bad point would seem to be the inclinometer. I only used it on that one hill and it would appear as 4%, then 0%, then 6%, then 0% then 10% then 8%....all in the space of a couple of hundred meters on a pretty steady climb (put it this way, I was in the same gear all doing the same cadence most of the way up). I know that it computes the gradient by distance travelled and change in altitude every 4 seconds, so a certain delay in reflecting changes in gradient is to be expected, but I still found this very disappointing. The inclinometer was one of the things that swung me towards buying this over some other cheaper models. So, I'm going to mail Specialized to ask them to explain it. I'll post any feedback I get on here.

A couple of other things that I liked were the alititude gain function and the temperature function. Was nice to know that I climbed just under 400m in what I always considered a 'flat' route and it made me feel very virtuous having set off in a crisp 2 degrees celsius.

All the best,
Tonto.
I must agree that the inclinometer isn't the best out there. On an average hill here in Maine, my roommates meter said -12...Way off....It was more like -3 or so (we were going downhill). It also switched rather quickly between %'s....On that same hill it went anywhere from 3 - 15, and I know for a fact there isn't anything that is 15%.

Also the total elevation gained certainly was a neat feature. Just like Tonto said, it was interesting to learn the amount of climbing done on what seemed to be a "flat ride"

Mike
 

garagedog

New Member
Aug 5, 2004
55
1
0
52
Thanks guys. :) The total altitude gain is the feature I'm looking for. From what you posted Tonto, sounds pretty accurate. Now if you do that 55k ride again next weekend, I wonder close it will be.

Don't you have calibrate before each ride? How simple is that to do? Is the manual easy enough to follow?

-gd
 

Tonto

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
394
0
0
garagedog said:
Thanks guys. :) The total altitude gain is the feature I'm looking for. From what you posted Tonto, sounds pretty accurate. Now if you do that 55k ride again next weekend, I wonder close it will be.

Don't you have calibrate before each ride? How simple is that to do? Is the manual easy enough to follow?

-gd

Yep, you need to recalibrate every time you use it. Once you know the alititude for where you live (or where you set out from on your spins) then it's very easy to reset. The manual is fine, no problems with it and the computer itself is easy to use. It doesn't go into much detail for the fitting of the sensors but then again it's pretty intuitive.
 

garagedog

New Member
Aug 5, 2004
55
1
0
52
I found a review at bike.com The review is from 4/2004.


*Specialized SpeedZone Turbo Pro

VDO 1.0

Vetta 100A

CicloMaster 434M

* Note- not the one Tonto bought.





There is a review of the Specialized Turbo Pro at cyclingnews.com (2/2004)

My LBS guy says Specialized has a 100% satisfaction guarantee so if you don't like it, then bring it back for something else.
 

JCK

New Member
Mar 21, 2004
9
0
0
Some of the Polar Heart Rate Monitors have great altimeters. I have the 720 and love it. I use it for hiking, biking, and xc-skiing. The data is stored, and can be downloaded to a computer, this adds to the Geekness factor, what can I say.
 

Tonto

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
394
0
0
garagedog said:
Thanks guys. :) The total altitude gain is the feature I'm looking for. From what you posted Tonto, sounds pretty accurate. Now if you do that 55k ride again next weekend, I wonder close it will be.


-gd

Hi gd,
just thought I'd let you know that I did the same route again this weekend and the total alititude gain was 382 this time. That's just under 3% variance. Not too bad, although I wonder what it would be like comparing a 100km ride instead of a 55km one. The inclinomter behaved a bit better this time too. I didn't get any crazy readings like last time and on the hill I used it on it varied from 4% up to 6% which seems much more likely.
Did you get one in the end?
 

garagedog

New Member
Aug 5, 2004
55
1
0
52
I got the Specialized turbo pro last week. The incline % jumps around a lot for me too. My buddy has a fancy GPS device. We did a 75 mile/7000' loop on Saturday and his gain was more than mine by 300'. I recalibrated at every elevation sign and often with his settings when we stopped. We stayed pretty close until the long fast decents. His would pick up the short up hills, mine didn't. His records much more often than our so he gets all the little rollers.
 

spacefuzz

New Member
Jun 11, 2004
197
0
0
I have a specialized Pro. It works fine as long as I recalibrate it before rides. After using it for several months I would say a 3%-5% variance in the altitutes is what to expect. My inclometer works fine on longer hills, but isnt sensative enough for the smaller ones. I like it a lot, its just nice to know how much you climbed every day.
 

garagedog

New Member
Aug 5, 2004
55
1
0
52
My buddy and I did a 6000' ride yesterday. We calibrated at before we began. I decided not to do any adjustments during the ride. We stayed pretty close during the 5 hour ride. The temperature changed from 45 - 70 degrees too. At the end, his gain was 80' more than mine. That is less than 2% difference. Not bad at all! I've read up on altimeters and those that work off barameter pressure will never be exact. Even airplane pilots and those that jump out of them have instruments that are not perfect and need to be recalibrated at the airport.
 

Tonto

New Member
Nov 3, 2003
394
0
0
Wanted to resurrect this thread because I have a problem with my Specialized Turbo Pro.
The cadence feature is optional so the cable from the computer to the chainstay sensor can be detached from the bracket holding the computer. The thing is that although I've always kept it in and have treated it carefully, the pins on the plug are very flimsy and now just falls out all the time. This means that the cadence feature no longer works for more than 20 seconds on a ride. Anyone else have this issue? It's very annoying especially for a 4 month old, €80 computer.
 

Norgi

New Member
Jan 17, 2005
5
0
0
Tonto said:
Wanted to resurrect this thread because I have a problem with my Specialized Turbo Pro.
The cadence feature is optional so the cable from the computer to the chainstay sensor can be detached from the bracket holding the computer. The thing is that although I've always kept it in and have treated it carefully, the pins on the plug are very flimsy and now just falls out all the time. This means that the cadence feature no longer works for more than 20 seconds on a ride. Anyone else have this issue? It's very annoying especially for a 4 month old, €80 computer.
I had the same issue with my Turbo Comp (where the cord went to the front wheel) in exactly the same way, eventually it broke and I had to replace the cord. It was fairly expensive to replace (I think $27). :(

The owner of my LBS, as I was upgrading to the Turbo Pro a few weeks ago, suggested I let them install the computer to prevent this problem from occuring with the cadence sensor. They fixed the cord immediately next to the mounting bracket on the handlebars with one of the black band straps, which prevents small tugs on the cord from applying pressure at the attachment point. So far after about 200 miles and lots of climbing, putting the bike on the car rack, etc., the cord has not popped out once.:)
 

mdplayer

New Member
Feb 16, 2005
34
0
0
to be completely honest, that cord is worst design I have ever seen. I work for a shop and we have sent probably about 20 cords back. They are aweful. My shop has actually sent the entire computer stock that we had back to specialized because of how flimsy they are. good luck to anyone out there who has one and if considering buying one, I would heavily suggest againts it.