Value of a ride 'computer'?



sgnden

New Member
Nov 21, 2004
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Hello:

How do you feel about the use of a ride computer?

That is, I see any number of cool gizmos out there...wondering what would be truly useful for a guy who is just getting back into riding...won't be going too hard for the next 2 months. I need to get a "baseline" fitness level first through my little 8 mile circuit (hillllllly though!).

Do you find your useful? What models are reliable.

Disclaimer: For you experts out there..pardon the abscence of "proper" terminology in decribing as a 'computer' or 'gizmo'...no doubt they range in capability...just wondering what is adequate for me...I would otherwise tend to just look at my watch and ride.

Thanks!
 

dgregory57

New Member
Jul 11, 2005
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If looking at your watch is enough for you, then a computer isn't needed. :)

I would suggest doing a search, as the pros and cons of computers are discussed in depth elsewhere...

Synopsis...

Some people love them, some people hate them, some people don't care.

What is right for you really depends on you.

Most computers include current speed, average speed, time and distance (usually an odometer and one or more trip odometers) This would be the basic.

I have read no consistent arguments concerning durability of one brand over another (but some people do have preferences).

Some have wires, some are wireless. The benefit of wireless is obvious (no wire).

Some include cadence sensors. While cadence is important to cycling, cadence can be easily computed by counting pedal strokes for 10 seconds and multiplying by 6. I personally don't use one on my computer, but would like one because I like gadgets.

Some include heart rate monitors, altimeters and other niceties.

Some mount on the handle bar, some you wear on your wrist...

Each new feature tends to add to the price.

Some want even more information, so they use hand held GPS systems like the Garmin E-Trex (the Vista looks good to me) because of the added functionality. These are mounted to bikes.

I even saw something in a forum (perhaps this one?) where a guy had 2 GPS systems on his bike, along with an air speed indicator, so he would know when he was riding into a head wind...

Others insist that the only way to train is with a PowerTap (see the Power Training forum for lots of information).

The important thing is to ride your bike.

You put on it whatever combination of gadgets you want (or leave them off if you don't want them), just ride. ;)

I have low end computers on both of my bikes because I like knowing how far I have ridden, and how fast I am going.
 

davidd86

New Member
Nov 29, 2004
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Ditto. I must say though, the wireless models have, for me, proved to be more pain than worth, and they need an extra battery which is usually some wierdo type. (Which is odd, because things like wireless HRMs keep on ticking.)

OTOH the cheapo wired units seem to last forever. Just a cheap one is fine; the cadence feature is wildly overrated because of course you can just count your pedal strokes over six seconds and multiply by ten ...







dgregory57 said:
If looking at your watch is enough for you, then a computer isn't needed. :)

I would suggest doing a search, as the pros and cons of computers are discussed in depth elsewhere...

Synopsis...

Some people love them, some people hate them, some people don't care.

What is right for you really depends on you.

Most computers include current speed, average speed, time and distance (usually an odometer and one or more trip odometers) This would be the basic.

I have read no consistent arguments concerning durability of one brand over another (but some people do have preferences).

Some have wires, some are wireless. The benefit of wireless is obvious (no wire).

Some include cadence sensors. While cadence is important to cycling, cadence can be easily computed by counting pedal strokes for 10 seconds and multiplying by 6. I personally don't use one on my computer, but would like one because I like gadgets.

Some include heart rate monitors, altimeters and other niceties.

Some mount on the handle bar, some you wear on your wrist...

Each new feature tends to add to the price.

Some want even more information, so they use hand held GPS systems like the Garmin E-Trex (the Vista looks good to me) because of the added functionality. These are mounted to bikes.

I even saw something in a forum (perhaps this one?) where a guy had 2 GPS systems on his bike, along with an air speed indicator, so he would know when he was riding into a head wind...

Others insist that the only way to train is with a PowerTap (see the Power Training forum for lots of information).

The important thing is to ride your bike.

You put on it whatever combination of gadgets you want (or leave them off if you don't want them), just ride. ;)

I have low end computers on both of my bikes because I like knowing how far I have ridden, and how fast I am going.
 

mtbnewbie

New Member
Aug 3, 2005
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I would agree with gregory, use what you feel would be best. I have just begun riding, I used to ride more when I was a teenager but that was just booting around for fun. I was never into it that much but I am trying now, mostly to improve my fitness and to try and loose a few pounds.

I bought a MTB since I like a bit of off road stuff and my road bike it a bit old and beat up. I got a basic trip computer, it gives me current speed, trip ride time, trip distance and overall ride time and distance. I got it as a way to motivate myself and to gauge how I am doing. Its a Sigma Sport BC800, and it has helped in motivating me to get out on the bike.

I usually go for anywhere between 40 min to an hour each morning. I have been pretty happy with my performance so far.

I manage to keep an average pace of 20 to 21 km/h or 12 - 13 MPH. For myself I set the computer to just show me ride time and current speed. I just look at my distance at the end of the ride, and figure out my average speed from that. I am keeping a log of my runs to see how I do over time.
 

sgnden

New Member
Nov 21, 2004
30
0
0
dgregory57 said:
If looking at your watch is enough for you, then a computer isn't needed. :)

I would suggest doing a search, as the pros and cons of computers are discussed in depth elsewhere...

Synopsis...

Some people love them, some people hate them, some people don't care.

What is right for you really depends on you.

Most computers include current speed, average speed, time and distance (usually an odometer and one or more trip odometers) This would be the basic.

I have read no consistent arguments concerning durability of one brand over another (but some people do have preferences).

Some have wires, some are wireless. The benefit of wireless is obvious (no wire).

Some include cadence sensors. While cadence is important to cycling, cadence can be easily computed by counting pedal strokes for 10 seconds and multiplying by 6. I personally don't use one on my computer, but would like one because I like gadgets.

Some include heart rate monitors, altimeters and other niceties.

Some mount on the handle bar, some you wear on your wrist...

Each new feature tends to add to the price.

Some want even more information, so they use hand held GPS systems like the Garmin E-Trex (the Vista looks good to me) because of the added functionality. These are mounted to bikes.

I even saw something in a forum (perhaps this one?) where a guy had 2 GPS systems on his bike, along with an air speed indicator, so he would know when he was riding into a head wind...

Others insist that the only way to train is with a PowerTap (see the Power Training forum for lots of information).

The important thing is to ride your bike.

You put on it whatever combination of gadgets you want (or leave them off if you don't want them), just ride. ;)

I have low end computers on both of my bikes because I like knowing how far I have ridden, and how fast I am going.
Thanks for the reply! I guess I can put away my needle-nosed pliers I had at the ready to bend the little aluminum drive that pokes out of the cable at the end of the speedometer I was envisioning! (remember those things?) Maybe I'll just ride holding-up a weather vane in one hand and strap an aeronautical climatometer to my arm...now we're talking.

Seriously - you make the best point...ride. I'll get something basic so I can measure improvement...nothing fancy....and it won't interfere with the playing card and clothes pin either!

Regards, SG
 

Dweezle

New Member
Mar 4, 2005
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I find them useful in this way.... I'm going along, thinking I'm getting my excercise in, and then I look down to see the actual speed, (or lack thereof) I'm going and think, "Oh, you're dogging it, pick up the pace." or some variation on that.

It gives me an objective measure of what I'm doing.

A heart rate monitor serves the same purpose.

I've had bad luck with heart rate monitors built into bicycle computers. So I got the thing that lets me strap the heart rate monitor on the handlebar next to the computer.
 

crb189

New Member
Aug 3, 2005
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I have a simple 8 function cyclometer (odometer, tripometer, cur. spd, ave. spd, time, and 3 other functions I either forgot or don't use) on my bike and I don't know what I would do w/o it (Cateye Mity 8).

I was researching wired vs. wireless, and I found that some people had problems with the transmissions between the sensor and the head unit, so I decided to go with a wired one, and I've been very happy with it. I just decided I didn't want the potential headache of dealing with problems with the wireless transmission, and obviously, the wired ones are usually cheaper.

Cadence is extremely important to cyclists, but as someone mentioned, that is something you can do in your head (but it is a pain).
 

romana

New Member
May 12, 2005
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i loved my sigma, and was getting good data on my distance ride, avg speed, that kind if thing...

until some mongrel stole that and my lights in the twenty mins i was in the shopping centre...and obviously tried to remove my bike lock:(
idiots left the sensor though, nfi what they were doing, just opportunists id guess....

hates them, i do:(

so now i need to reconsider what seemed a neat solution, and go for easily removable stuff, (they obviously thought my existing stuff was easy!). its really made me feel down:(
 

artmichalek

New Member
Sep 15, 2004
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davidd86 said:
OTOH the cheapo wired units seem to last forever. Just a cheap one is fine; the cadence feature is wildly overrated because of course you can just count your pedal strokes over six seconds and multiply by ten ...
Eventually you can tell just by feel. I use a Planet Bike Protege. It's all screen with no buttons, so it's stupid easy to use.
 

JohnO

New Member
Jul 5, 2003
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Cateye cdw300.

Positive: Cadence is very nice to have. Single sensor sits on the chainstay, no wires. Good sized display, easy to read.

Negative: expensive, and the user interface is as obtuse as a 30 year old COBOL program.

I've gone riding a couple of times when I changed wheelsets and forgot to move the magnet - the computer does add to the ride. I want to know distance and average speed when I finish up - did I do better than last time?
 

moppet

New Member
May 23, 2005
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For basic fitness on a bike I would start with a heart rate monitor. You can add effort or distance and see how your body reacts, with just a HR monitor your focus will be on fitness and you will be surprised after 8 weeks if you add a bike computer how fast you can go. Good luck let us know what you decide.
cheers

sgnden said:
Hello:

How do you feel about the use of a ride computer?

That is, I see any number of cool gizmos out there...wondering what would be truly useful for a guy who is just getting back into riding...won't be going too hard for the next 2 months. I need to get a "baseline" fitness level first through my little 8 mile circuit (hillllllly though!).

Do you find your useful? What models are reliable.

Disclaimer: For you experts out there..pardon the abscence of "proper" terminology in decribing as a 'computer' or 'gizmo'...no doubt they range in capability...just wondering what is adequate for me...I would otherwise tend to just look at my watch and ride.

Thanks!
 

Tommy66

New Member
Jul 16, 2005
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0
I have a $16 unit I bought at Target, seems to be quite reliable. I've been riding less than a month, but find it intriguing to see the distance I've covered, and always am looking to up my trip average speed when I go out on rides. It's amazing how much effort it takes to up my cruising speed by .5 mph over the course of a 15 mile ride.

So I am basically for them, though I can see how easy it would be to become transfixed by the numbers on the screen. If I ever see it becoming an issue, I will fashion a cover for mine, and start reviewing the data post-ride.
 

huhenio

New Member
Jul 19, 2005
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romana said:
i loved my sigma, and was getting good data on my distance ride, avg speed, that kind if thing...
My Sigma can be removed with just a twist. Easier for thieves IF I forget to remove it ... ;)

I dont know how could I do without a Bike Puter. I love to know my current speed and all the other fine little functions. It has proven to be great for keeping track of progress.

I also have a timex heart monitor that wifey is using right now and it helps her to improve too.

She will be getting a puter with a cadence sensor too. I want her to concentrate on her cadence at a given heart rate and a given speed on a given tract of her 15 mile ... soon to be 20 up and downtrip.

It is just one of those handy things to have to MEASURE MEASURE MEASURE!!!:D



I dont have cadence but wifey will get one with cadence.

I dont have a roadbike but still, cadence, speed
 

sooray02

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Mar 15, 2004
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I don't have a computer. You pretty much know how fast you are going. It's nice to have one. But I think I can live without one. Oh.. I just use HR monitor.. wish I had a power meter, but the damn thing is too expansive.

I've noticed that I look down constantly to see how fast I was going or cadance and what not. Not having one helps me to concentrate whatever workout I need to do.
 

klangers

New Member
Aug 8, 2005
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sgnden said:
Hello:

How do you feel about the use of a ride computer?

That is, I see any number of cool gizmos out there...wondering what would be truly useful for a guy who is just getting back into riding...won't be going too hard for the next 2 months. I need to get a "baseline" fitness level first through my little 8 mile circuit (hillllllly though!).

Do you find your useful? What models are reliable.

Disclaimer: For you experts out there..pardon the abscence of "proper" terminology in decribing as a 'computer' or 'gizmo'...no doubt they range in capability...just wondering what is adequate for me...I would otherwise tend to just look at my watch and ride.

Thanks!
I sound a lot like you. I'm slowly getting back into riding after about 2 years. I do own a Sigma Targa computer, which has the basic features. I found it great for starting out just to see how far & how fast I went. I agree with most others that it will be more useful than not over time. For fitness a HRM would also be good, and I think this will be my next purchase as I too chase improved fitness. My suggestion, save up and get one that will last as you increase for fitness and motivation for riding.

Cheers
klangers
 

Doctor Morbius

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Mar 15, 2004
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sgnden said:
Hello:

How do you feel about the use of a ride computer?
I use them along with RPE (rate of perceived effort) to gauge interval sessions as heart rate is not a good metric for this type of training.

I use heart rate for recovery, aerobic & Tempo rides.

I don't own a power meter.
 

li rider

New Member
Oct 11, 2004
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I use 2 gizmos

a heart rate monitor, which I bought originally for use in the gym, which is a strap accross the chest and a watch. i always keep it on % of max and it is a good gauge of how hard you are really working, and how fast you can recover. also useful as you train to see the same challenge, such as a long hill, and how it effects your heart rate after a period of training.

I also have a computer which I use to (a) keep track of mileage (b) monitor my cadence (there is no way I could count seconds and multiply, the numbers whould bever be right) both to guage effort and to improve pedalling -- its a challenge still for me to stay at exactly 92 rpm over a prolonged period and (c) monitor my speed, again to be sure I am riding at the level I want.

there are computers which will read the heart rate as well, saving you 1 gizmo.




sgnden said:
Hello:

How do you feel about the use of a ride computer?

That is, I see any number of cool gizmos out there...wondering what would be truly useful for a guy who is just getting back into riding...won't be going too hard for the next 2 months. I need to get a "baseline" fitness level first through my little 8 mile circuit (hillllllly though!).

Do you find your useful? What models are reliable.

Disclaimer: For you experts out there..pardon the abscence of "proper" terminology in decribing as a 'computer' or 'gizmo'...no doubt they range in capability...just wondering what is adequate for me...I would otherwise tend to just look at my watch and ride.

Thanks!
 

Stevedvg

New Member
Jan 12, 2004
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sgnden said:
Hello:

How do you feel about the use of a ride computer?

Well my computer crapped out yesterday after 2-years of cycling. I dropped the bloody thing and to my horror it just died and has so far it has resisted all attempts at resuscitation. :(

This morning's ride was the first in a long time where I just cycled on how I felt not worrying about ave. speed, time, cadence, number of bugs eaten etc. When I felt good I pushed harder and when I felt less good I backed off. All I can say is I really enjoyed myself. Stats are cool but I think sometimes we can become slaves to them. Cycling is meant to be enjoyed too.

I'm definately going to get another computer but I think every now and again I'll leave it at home and just ride for the fun of it. :D