general reliability of cycling computers...

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by WKB, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    I had a Cateye Astrale 8 cycle computer and was very happy with it at first. After only a few months, the computer stopped reading the speed, but picked up cadence just fine. I think there was some problem with the wire that led back to the sensor, but never figured out what it was.

    I've taken it off and am looking to buy another cycling computer, but am getting conflicting advice about which route is best: one alternative is to buy another Cateye Astrale 8. I'm familiar with it and can install it easily.

    Another route is to go wireless, which one mechanic told me is a little more reliable because you don't have problems with the wires leading to the sensor (I guess this is where the term "wireless" came from). Others have told me the exact opposite: the wireless units don't always pick up the signals or pick up signals from neighboring bikes....

    So... here are my questions: Are wireless computers generally more reliable than wired computers? Can you recommend any specific units which have a general reputation for reliability? Thanks, Keefe.
     
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  2. Retro Grouch

    Retro Grouch New Member

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    In general I've found cycling computers to be very, very reliable.

    1. By far the most common problem is the position of the pick up vs. the wheel magnet. Besides being as close as you can manage, Cateye's, for example, have a line on the pick up to indicate where the magnet should pass.

    2. The second most common problem is poor contact between the head and it's "nest". Often, cleaning the contacts fixes it.

    3. With a wired unit you're usually aware of a dead battery because it won't make a display. The pick up battery on wireless units can die without telling you.

    4. very rarely you'll get an open circuit in the harness wire. If that happens, you need to buy a replacement wire harness.

    5. I don't have any experience with rear wheel wireless units. Front wheel wireless computers have very limited range. If you have a large bike frame and are at the edge of their range, you'll get "iffy" performance. When I set one up I install the wheel magnet and sensor first. Then I spin the wheel to get a MPH display and experiment with various mounting locations to be sure that I still get a strong signal.

    If all that you're interested in is the basic functions, I'm partial to the Cateye Enduro because it's easy to install and has a more durable wire harness so it's arguably the most trouble free bike computer.
     
  3. bobbyOCR

    bobbyOCR New Member

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    Sigma wired computers. BC1606L w/cadence. It doesn't die in the rain, never loses transmission, bloody accurate, long battery life, separate memory chip to save info, cannot get better.
     
  4. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    The Cateye reed switch sensor are what go bad. I have replaced 2 wire harnesses so far. If one goes bad I note which sensor goes bad. Then if my current one goes bad I can use a soldering iron and change the bad switch to a good one from another bad unit.

    I had a Trek Radar get destroyed by rain.
     
  5. strummer_fan

    strummer_fan New Member

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    Stick w/ Cateye, and don't replace your current unit, just but a new wiring harness. Cateye is one of the few companies who makes it easy and deals their spare parts direct. see:

    http://www.cateye.com/store/parts.php?cid=1_41

    I have ridden my cateye through rain, snow, and just about anything else you can think of with no problems and no complaints.

    cheers!
     
  6. 1id10t

    1id10t New Member

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    I have a [size=-1]Cateye Micro Wireless (CC-MC100W) which has performed flawlessly in all manner of conditions. Couldn't be happier with it.
    Used to have an Echowell W2 which was a pain to set and started behaving erratically after just one year of use.
    I'll most likely stick with Cateye although I had been eyeing off the Sigma model bobbyOCR mentioned in his post. Since the Echowell died I've not yet replaced it on the bike to which it was attached.
    [/size]
     
  7. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    All electronic equipments have an early failure rate. It's the luck of the draw even with brands with the best QC.

    I wouldn't write off wireless units on account of reliability. For a digital wireless unit (differentiated from analogue), there should not be interferrence issues unless you are in a powerful magnetic field. Further, because there are no wires, there's fewer mechanical solder/crimps that can go wrong, and definitely no ripped wires during a crash or other accidents.

    The only downside for me with wireless units is their need for additional batteries on the remote sensors.
     
  8. kspangler

    kspangler New Member

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    I have been extremely happy with SIGMA and their products - 1200 BC and 1600 w/cadence. Both products were wireless. The newer models - which include the 1600 and 1700 series - have some nice features - like "battery low" notification and a backup power supply so when you change batteries you don't loose all of your info. Probably the thing I like most about SIGMA is the customer service. I had great experiences with them. They have replaced parts for free, answered questions and gave tips via email and by phone and they are fast and reliable. That's been my experience; I'd hope that is the norm vs the exception. Good luck.
     
  9. Eastway82

    Eastway82 New Member

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    I've found Sigma wired units extremely reliable. Easy to get spare harnesses/mounting kits too. But their wireless mounting kits are pants - have had three fail completely, and even when working they eat batteries, and they're a lot heavier than wired units.

    Also got Polar CS200CAD. Unit is great, sensors are variable - lots of reports of dead sensors out of the box, and of the two speed and sensor kits I've got, one speed and one cad sensor are significantly weaker than the other pair.
     
  10. daniels

    daniels New Member

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    I'll add to the Sigma recommendations. Great computers, nice big display and big buttons as well and a very simple interface.
     
  11. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    ==========================================================
    Get another ASTRALE 8:)

    I've them on my bikes for over 2 years with no problems. I also import and sell them. I've sold over 40 and never had a complaint - that is through 2 winters too.:)

    About 3 years ago I bought a Sigma Cadence computer for my bike - it wasn't even designed to fit properly - tried it on two of my bikes.:eek:

    As others have said - wired are more reliable(that would depend to some extent on brand etc).
    They can be made to look cool if tape the same colour as the bike is used to secure the wire to the bike too.
     
  12. Rockslayer

    Rockslayer New Member

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    I use the same Cateye MC100w wireless on my MTB with the sensor on the front suspension fork. My mate has the same setup neither of us have had any problems with sensors etc while thrashing it offroad.
    I use an Avocet with cadence on my roadie which is about 12 years old. It may be outdated but still runs fine. [​IMG] only had a slight wiring problem with sensor was loose but no big.
     
  13. John M

    John M New Member

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    One of the best posts that I have ever read on this forum.
     
  14. Tapeworm

    Tapeworm New Member

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    I use the Polar 725 with HR, cadance and speed wireless modules. No problems with any of it, easy to set up, works well, lots of features, water resistant. Been using it solid for over a year and haven't needed to change any batteries yet.

    No Mac software though. :(
     
  15. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    With a Intel cored Mac, it's no longer a problem. Parallels Desktop is just wonderful for these pesky Windows software.
     
  16. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    I'm grateful for all replies. At the moment, I'm inclined to give the Cateye another try by just buying a replacement harness. Most who use them seem to be happy with them. If that fails, I'm inclined at the moment to go with the Sigma. I own the Polar S150, which has been a reliable watch and heart rate monitor. I like the flexibility of using the Polar while I run, so I really don't want the heart rate monitor built into the bicycle computer.

    Thanks again for all replies. It would appear that most have had pretty good luck with their units, so mine must have been an anomally.


    I'm sure I'll think of other equipment-related questions in the coming weeks.

    Best regards, Keefe.
     
  17. bing181

    bing181 New Member

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    Just to reply to the original post, I have (had) two computers with HR. The first, a VDO HC12.6 died after about 18 months when one of the buttons started not working .. or more to the point, working even when I wasn't touching it. I "upgraded" to a HAC 4, which after 9 months stopped working at all .. till I opened it up, poked a few bits and pieces, and now it works again. Further to that, I ride alongside railways lines quite a bit, and the HR display varies from "a bit off" to "pretty useless" (in the case of the HAC 4). In fact, the HR display on the HAC 4 regularly shows zero, no matter where/how I'm riding.

    For support, I'd give both companies a bit of a zero, as neither of them replied to my enquiries.

    B
     
  18. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    For those so interested.....iBike, makers of a $400 power meter that calculates power from environmental conditions (aero drag, rolling resistance, incline, and etc) instead of BB axle flex, will be releasing in the next few months iBike power meters w/ cadence and with HR options, too. I am going to be anteing up for one of those.

    Tests have shown that the iBike is essentially as accurate as SRM, Ergomo, and PowerTap power meters. The one weakness of the iBike has been roads that cause a certain frequency of vibration. However, a recent firmware upgrade that modulates the signal out of the accelerometer has fixed this issue. Magazine reviews have seemed to be favorable for iBike. A local rider has used one and found that it compared--in direct comparison, i.e., with one on the bike--well to PowerTap (or maybe it was SRM...I can't remember).

    Given its price, it's an interesting product development, if nothing else.
     
  19. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Very interesting. Like the fact it's portable and compatible with existing components. Looks like it's already commercially available for $399.
     
  20. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Yup, it is currently available, but without cadence and HRM capabilities. AND it comes with software that works with Macs and Gates' Crates. And yes, it is doubly nice that to use it, you don't have to buy a specific crank or use a particular hub. The theory behind it is solid. It doesn't hurt that it's hundreds to thousdands of dollars cheaper than the other units available. Ergomo is roughly $1800; PowerTap is roughly $1500; SRM is $3400; and Polar's flavor of power meter is $678 (Polar 725 watch/computer + Polar power unit).
     
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