Computer w/altimeter

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by John, Feb 17, 2003.

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  1. John

    John Guest

    I would like suggestions on a bike computer with an altimeter. This will be for a road bike in a
    very hilly area. I would like a wireless and looked at the advertisements for the CicloSport, but
    haven't talked to anyone that's used it. Cateye makes one, but it's not wireless. I think I'd like
    accuracy more that wireless if that makes a big difference. Thanks for any help. John

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  2. Bill

    Bill Guest

    "John" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I would like suggestions on a bike computer with an altimeter. This will
    be
    > for a road bike in a very hilly area. I would like a wireless and looked
    at
    > the advertisements for the CicloSport, but haven't talked to anyone that's used it. Cateye makes
    > one, but it's not wireless. I think I'd like accuracy more that wireless if that makes a big
    > difference. Thanks for
    any
    > help. John
    >
    I've had a Specialized Speedzone Pro for two years and been very happy with
    it. Altitude accumulates in increments of I believe 7 feet. I'll remember which when the snow
    stops. Neat feature is the inclinometer, reads in % grade and seems to be quite accurate.
    http://www.specialized.com/SBCEqProduct.jsp?section=12979&browselevel=top&JS
    ervSessionIdroot=662ctdi1pq.j27005

    I also have an Avocet 50 on my touring bike that still works. To bad they didn't get the bugs out
    and keep making it. The 50 takes a 30 ft gain to increment. Not an issue in the mountains but you
    sure feel cheated when it's rolling. Bill Brannon
     
  3. Peter Buchas

    Peter Buchas Guest

    "John" <[email protected]> schrieb im Newsbeitrag news:[email protected]...
    > I would like suggestions on a bike computer with an altimeter. This will
    be
    > for a road bike in a very hilly area. I would like a wireless and looked
    at
    > the advertisements for the CicloSport, but haven't talked to anyone that's used it. Cateye makes
    > one, but it's not wireless. I think I'd like accuracy more that wireless if that makes a big
    > difference. Thanks for
    any
    > help. John

    Hello John,

    I am going with a ciclomaster 414 m for a year, and it's going quite well. The altimeter performs
    precisely enough (in steps of 1m) and reacts fast. It comes with an inclinometer, a display for the
    rate of climbing/sinking (don't know, what's it called), and there is an algorithm for the
    approximate performance (in W), which seems too be quite accurate when climbing, whereas on flats of
    course it can't get a value too precise. the memory function is of some use and interest in order to
    record and evaluate your rides. It's wireless (there is no difference in accuracy to a wired model),
    but when you decide to use the cadence monitor, it's by wire again. One point you should consider,
    is that there is no heart rate monitor on this model. Speaking for myself, it would be a great
    enhancement to the data on the pc if there was the heart rate available. So perhaps, you'd rather
    choose for instance a hac4 which isn't more expensive by now. I'd advice you not to take a polar
    (s710,...) as the battery of the transmitter can't be changed, and if training regularly, you can
    spend a lot every 1, 2 years on a new emitter, which by the way is more expensive than a comparable
    whole set (sigma,...).

    Greetings, Peter
     
  4. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Peter Buchas wrote:

    > I'd advice you not to take a polar (s710,...) as the battery of the transmitter can't be changed,
    > and if training regularly, you can spend a lot every 1, 2 years on a new emitter,

    Are you referring to the chest strap transmitter? They are rated for 2000 hours, and you can find a
    new strap for about $35. That's a little over two years for me, and I'm ready to replace it by then.
    It gets a little ratty with daily use over two years.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  5. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    I like the plain old bottom-of-the-line $99 Garmin eTrex GPS, which reads altitude if you want. Get
    the handlebar mount too. It's endless entertainment even on the most regular commute.

    There's one with a barometer but probably it doesn't work any better than the straight calculation
    that a GPS does.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  6. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    I have a Specialized Speedzone Pro right now and it performs pretty well . The inclinometer is
    handy. Oftentimes I also have a Garmin GPS on bike and when calibrated correctly the Specialized
    Speedzone Pro and GPS agree remarkably well regarding elevation. Before the Specialized I had a
    Cateye, but after 2 years of use was convinced that it reported accumulated climbing about 10% too
    high. The Specialized Speedzone Pro, I think, is more accurate and precise. I did like the
    ergonomics and menu set-up more on the Cateye. The Specialized requires a lot of button pushing to
    cycle through the displays. The orientation and setup of the sensor and wheel magnet on the wireless
    Specialized seem to be alot more sensitive. Also my Specialized completely failed on a 3 week loaded
    tour last September, but it was 9 months into the one-year warranty. The mode button stopped
    working, and I suspected it was due to all the button pushing required to operate it. The bike shop
    where I bought it gave me a complete new kit as a replacement so I ended up with a new system after
    using old one 3/4 of a year. The new one is working fine.

    "John" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I would like suggestions on a bike computer with an altimeter. This will
    be
    > for a road bike in a very hilly area. I would like a wireless and looked
    at
    > the advertisements for the CicloSport, but haven't talked to anyone that's used it. Cateye makes
    > one, but it's not wireless. I think I'd like accuracy more that wireless if that makes a big
    > difference. Thanks for
    any
    > help. John
    >
    >
    >
    >
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  7. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Ron Hardin wrote:

    > I like the plain old bottom-of-the-line $99 Garmin eTrex GPS, which reads altitude if you want.
    > Get the handlebar mount too. It's endless entertainment even on the most regular commute.
    >
    > There's one with a barometer but probably it doesn't work any better than the straight calculation
    > that a GPS does.

    I have the Garmin Summit, with the barometric altimeter. It's not temperature compensated, so it
    tends to drift as the temperature changes. I've seen it drift as much as 40 feet in a day. That's
    still more accurate than the GPS altitude reading, which is often off by 200 feet or more.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  8. Danny Callen

    Danny Callen Guest

    "John" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I would like suggestions on a bike computer with an altimeter. This will
    be
    > for a road bike in a very hilly area. I would like a wireless and looked
    at
    > the advertisements for the CicloSport, but haven't talked to anyone that's used it. Cateye makes
    > one, but it's not wireless. I think I'd like accuracy more that wireless if that makes a big
    > difference. Thanks for
    any
    > help. John
    >
    >
    >
    >
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    Polar S710. Wireless, robust and altitude can be graphed on the computer later.

    Danny Callen
     
  9. Ian S

    Ian S Guest

    "John" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I would like suggestions on a bike computer with an altimeter. This will
    be
    > for a road bike in a very hilly area. I would like a wireless and looked
    at
    > the advertisements for the CicloSport, but haven't talked to anyone that's used it. Cateye makes
    > one, but it's not wireless. I think I'd like accuracy more that wireless if that makes a big
    > difference. Thanks for
    any
    > help. John

    I have the Cateye and it works pretty well. It has temperature compensation but since it is based on
    barometric pressure, the difference between high and low pressure systems is significant. Still,
    that usually has limited effect within one ride even if that is a century.
     
  10. John

    John Guest

    "John" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I would like suggestions on a bike computer with an altimeter. This will
    be
    > for a road bike in a very hilly area. I would like a wireless and looked
    at
    > the advertisements for the CicloSport, but haven't talked to anyone that's used it. Cateye makes
    > one, but it's not wireless. I think I'd like accuracy more that wireless if that makes a big
    > difference. Thanks for
    any
    > help. John
    >
    >
    >
    >
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    ==----------
    > http://www.newsfeed.com The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
    > -----= Over 100,000 Newsgroups - Unlimited Fast Downloads - 19 Servers
    =-----

    Thanks to all who responded. I've got some good ideas. I wasn't aware of the Specialized computer.
    It looks pretty good for what I want, but I'm going to look at all of the suggestions. Thanks again

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  11. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >I also have an Avocet 50 on my touring bike that still works. To bad they didn't get the bugs out
    >and keep making it. The 50 takes a 30 ft gain to increment. Not an issue in the mountains but you
    >sure feel cheated when it's rolling.

    Actually I believe that 30 feet is part of the reason why the Avocet 50 is able to keep reasonable
    track of your accumulated climbing distance. Others such as the Cateye are optimistic in this regard
    because Avocet holds the patent on the Algorithm.

    jon isaacs
     
  12. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Jon Isaacs writes:

    >> I also have an Avocet 50 on my touring bike that still works. To bad they didn't get the bugs out
    >> and keep making it. The 50 takes a 30 ft gain to increment. Not an issue in the mountains but you
    >> sure feel cheated when it's rolling.

    > Actually I believe that 30 feet is part of the reason why the Avocet 50 is able to keep reasonable
    > track of your accumulated climbing distance. Others such as the Cateye are optimistic in this
    > regard because Avocet holds the patent on the Algorithm.

    That is correct. The AVO50 has a hysteresis selectivity that locks out accumulation of undulating
    terrain with rises less than 10m. When climbing, a 9m drop on the way up the mountain is ignored.
    Accumulation continues from the last highest elevation... unless the drop is 10m or greater. Then a
    new datum is set from which further elevation gain is accumulated. Instruments without this feature
    record as much as 100m gain for flat rides in the valley from continual insignificant undulations,
    not to mention RR underpasses.

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  13. > Others such as the Cateye are optimistic in this regard

    Uh? If I climb 3 feet, I climb 3 feet and I expend energy so to do. Measuring that accurately isn't
    "optimistic", it's a statement of fact.

    OK, I grant you there has to be some lower threshold, otherwise we would be measuring every ripple
    in the pavement, but 10m is excessive in my view. The resolution on most of these instruments is
    generally a small (single digit) number of feet (so they don't detect rollers smaller than that),
    and that seems to work tolerably well.

    The real problem is jitter (where the reading is near the boundary between one increment and the
    next and very small undulations or perturbations in air pressure can cause measured elevation
    changes of several feet). Certainly a good algorithm would ignore changes of less than a single
    increment (but perhaps Avocet's dubious patent prevents other makers from so doing - if so, thank
    you Avocet). More annoying still are those instruments that have an over-long sampling interval (20
    seconds) and perform cumulative calculations based upon those snapshots - you can go down and back
    up quite a long way in 20 seconds.

    If your complaint is that the accumulated climb is not equal to the difference between the
    elevations at the top and bottom of a climb, I think you are being unrealistic - a climb such as
    our beloved Page Mill road here in the SF peninsula undulates quite a bit, and you certainly have
    to work to regain the losses. FWIW, my Suunto has a "stopwatch" mode that can measure the
    difference between the start elevation and the current elevation, in addition to the accumulated
    elevation change.

    The bottom line is that these instruments are plenty accurate enough for their purpose; expecting
    perfection (even if you can define what that is in this instance) is foolish. The fact that one
    maker's device may give a slightly different result than another's is not significant.

    PS: Don't imagine that USGS contour lines are accurate. Those big spot height "X"s you see painted
    on the road are reasonably accurate, but even then you have to read the fine print on your map
    to get the error margin.
     
  14. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Peter Headland <[email protected]> writes:

    >> Others such as the Cateye are optimistic in this regard

    > Uh? If I climb 3 feet, I climb 3 feet and I expend energy so to do. Measuring that accurately
    > isn't "optimistic", it's a statement of fact.

    Oh you don't say. So if I ride from my house to San Jose, both at elevation 60ft and no hills in
    between, you want to register the more than 100ft of 0.25% grades along the route as elevation
    climbed. That's only the more apparent problem but atmospheric variations usually cause more than
    that in pressure fluctuations even though the barometer at the start and finish of such a ride is
    also unchanged.

    > OK, I grant you there has to be some lower threshold, otherwise we would be measuring every ripple
    > in the pavement, but 10m is excessive in my view. The resolution on most of these instruments is
    > generally a small (single digit) number of feet (so they don't detect rollers smaller than that),
    > and that seems to work tolerably well.

    The 10 meter threshold was chosen because it eliminates RR underpasses or overpasses, something most
    athletically inclined people take as not a climb, all of it being an optionally anaerobic effort.
    For folks who don't ride mountains, this may seem a Draconian theft of accomplishment but these
    folks don't need an altimeter anyway. The instrument is designed to give an accurate representation
    of climbing over a mountainous route and it does that with greater accuracy than others.

    > The real problem is jitter (where the reading is near the boundary between one increment and the
    > next and very small undulations or perturbations in air pressure can cause measured elevation
    > changes of several feet). Certainly a good algorithm would ignore changes of less than a single
    > increment (but perhaps Avocet's dubious patent prevents other makers from so doing - if so, thank
    > you Avocet). More annoying still are those instruments that have an over-long sampling interval
    > (20 seconds) and perform cumulative calculations based upon those snapshots - you can go down and
    > back up quite a long way in 20 seconds.

    Are you basically opposed to Intellectual Property (IP) protected by copyright and patents? That is
    a discussion subject that is widely discussed in appropriate forums. When I proposed the 10m
    threshold in the design, others did not understood why that might be valuable, indicating to me that
    the feature should be patented since it was not obvious to others involved in designing the
    barometric accumulator. This feature also allows the Vertech wristwatch to count ski runs, an
    equally patentable application.

    http://www.avocet.com/vertechpages/vertechski.html

    > If your complaint is that the accumulated climb is not equal to the difference between the
    > elevations at the top and bottom of a climb, I think you are being unrealistic - a climb such as
    > our beloved Page Mill road here in the SF peninsula undulates quite a bit, and you certainly have
    > to work to regain the losses. FWIW, my Suunto has a "stopwatch" mode that can measure the
    > difference between the start elevation and the current elevation, in addition to the accumulated
    > elevation change.

    I should turn your comment around because insignificant barometric and elevation dithers are not
    what most healthy bicyclist wants to record when characterizing a route. In fact, without rejection
    software, other instruments record significantly greater elevation gains even on monotonic climbs
    with level sections.

    > The bottom line is that these instruments are plenty accurate enough for their purpose; expecting
    > perfection (even if you can define what that is in this instance) is foolish. The fact that one
    > maker's device may give a slightly different result than another's is not significant.

    So why are you making a fuss over it?

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  15. Bill

    Bill Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]... <snip>
    > Are you basically opposed to Intellectual Property (IP) protected by copyright and patents? That
    > is a discussion subject that is widely discussed in appropriate forums. When I proposed the 10m
    > threshold in the design, others did not understood why that might be valuable, indicating to me
    > that the feature should be patented since it was not obvious to others involved in designing the
    > barometric accumulator.
    <snip>
    > Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA

    It would have been nice if Avocet had managed to put the same quality of thought into reliability.
    I like my Avocet 50 but it took three of them to find one that was good for more than a year. I
    encounter lots of folks that see mine and say they really liked theirs until it broke. Was it
    discontinued because Avocet couldn't solve the manufacturing or design problems? There is
    obviously a market.

    The cycling community is really well served by Avocet's intellectual property. It is great food for
    thought as we ride with other manufacturer's inferior available product. Bill Brannon
     
  16. > Oh you don't say. So if I ride from my house to San Jose, both at elevation 60ft and no hills in
    > between, you want to register the more than 100ft of 0.25% grades along the route as elevation
    > climbed.

    Personally, I don't care - 100' isn't worth talking about. I simply don't need an altimeter to lie
    to me by registering that as 0', I can filter it out all by myself.

    > greater accuracy than others.

    Since there is no useful universally-agreed definition of "accuracy" here (sorry, Jobst, what you
    personally happen to believe does not constitute universal truth), your statement is meaningless.

    > Are you basically opposed to Intellectual Property (IP) protected by copyright and patents?

    Ah, the "straw man" rears his head. It is perfectly obvious I never suggested any such thing.

    I am opposed to obvious well-understood techniques (low-pass filter of noisy data) being patented as
    somehow novel (the US patent office being peculiarly uninterested in enforcing the "prior art" and
    "obvious to one versed in the art" criteria) and used (via the threat of costly litigation
    regardless of validity) as an obstacle to others entering a market. As you have described it thus
    far, Avocet's patent appears to fail the obviousness test.

    > When I proposed the 10m threshold in the design, others did not understood why that might be
    > valuable, indicating to me that the feature should be patented since it was not obvious to others
    > involved in designing the barometric accumulator.

    Oh really? I would suggest that applying some form of filtering should be totally obvious to anyone
    who has ever been engaged in the design of instrumentation.

    Note that my only objection to the Avocet's filtering is that the threshold strikes me as excessive;
    as previously stated, I think other instruments would benefit by filtering out changes at the limit
    of their resolution.

    > This feature also allows the Vertech wristwatch to count ski runs, an equally patentable
    > application.

    Interestingly, that is a feature that is found on all such instruments these days (maybe the makers
    pay Avocet royalties). I accept the notion that an instrument that can count ski runs based upon
    altitude measurements was a patentable novelty at the time, BTW.

    > So why are you making a fuss over it?

    I am not excersied abot altimeters. I *am* annoyed when people make spurious claims about brand x
    being "more accurate" than brand, without any definition of what "accurate" means. It seems to me
    that RBT is plagued by didactic folks who cannot distinguish between their personal preferences and
    universal truth.
     
  17. Ron Hardin wrote:

    > I like the plain old bottom-of-the-line $99 Garmin eTrex GPS, which reads altitude if you want.
    > Get the handlebar mount too. It's endless entertainment even on the most regular commute.
    >
    > There's one with a barometer but probably it doesn't work any better than the straight calculation
    > that a GPS does.

    I have the eTrex Vista, which has the barometric altimeter. The barometric altimeter is usually more
    accurate than the GPS altitude, which this model can only display in a dialog box, not continuously.
    GPS altitude accuracy is highly dependent on the current satellite geometry and is usually good to
    only +/- 50 feet. It's great for calibrating the barometric altimeter when in an area where you
    don't know the true altitude.

    The altitude accumulation feature always reads too high. I have an Avocet 50 on the same bike and
    the Vista can read up to several thousand feet more than the 50.

    It does have a neat altitude plotting feature, however. It draws a graph of altitude vs. distance or
    time in real-time and is quite interesting to watch on an unknown climb.

    --
    Jerry Gardner [email protected]
     
  18. Jobst wrote:
    > Are you basically opposed to Intellectual Property (IP) protected by copyright and patents? That
    > is a discussion subject that is widely discussed in appropriate forums. When I proposed the 10m
    > threshold in the design, others did not understood why that might be valuable, indicating to me
    > that the feature should be patented since it was not obvious to others involved in designing the
    > barometric accumulator. This feature also allows the Vertech wristwatch to count ski runs, an
    > equally patentable application.

    If Avocet found the technology valuable enough to patent, then why have they stopped making a cycle
    computer that incorporates the patent? As far as I know, the 50 hasn't been made for a number of
    years now.

    I can see the usefulness of patents to protect technology that a company uses, but to sit on a
    patent and not use it, or to merely prevent someone else from using it goes against the spirit of
    the patent laws.

    --
    Jerry Gardner [email protected]
     
  19. Bill wrote:

    > It would have been nice if Avocet had managed to put the same quality of thought into reliability.
    > I like my Avocet 50 but it took three of them to find one that was good for more than a year. I
    > encounter lots of folks that see mine and say they really liked theirs until it broke. Was it
    > discontinued because Avocet couldn't solve the manufacturing or design problems? There is
    > obviously a market.

    I've had mine for ten years now and it's been through hell and back and hasn't malfunctioned. The
    only problem I've had with it in all that time is the fragility of the battery compartment covers.

    --
    Jerry Gardner [email protected]
     
  20. Bill

    Bill Guest

    Though yours may be reliable and my third one has held up for 6 or so years that can't be said of
    the product in general. If they were dependable they would still be making them and putting money in
    the bank because all the development costs would have been recovered long ago. Two years ago I saw
    them for sale at a couple shops in Italy. Nothing here. Not good enough for us or less likely to
    come back and bite them?

    Your right about the battery covers but at least you can buy them. They are so poorly designed they
    should just toss them in an envelope when you call instead of making you buy them and a pair of
    batteries. Bill Brannon

    "Jerry Gardner" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Bill wrote:
    >
    > > It would have been nice if Avocet had managed to put the same quality of thought into
    > > reliability. I like my Avocet 50 but it took three of them to find one that was good for more
    > > than a year. I encounter lots of folks that see mine and say they really liked theirs until it
    > > broke. Was it discontinued because Avocet couldn't solve the manufacturing or design problems?
    > > There is obviously a market.
    >
    > I've had mine for ten years now and it's been through hell and back and hasn't malfunctioned. The
    > only problem I've had with it in all that time
    is
    > the fragility of the battery compartment covers.
    >
    > --
    > Jerry Gardner [email protected] of ma
     
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