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  1. #1
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    Best bike computer?

    I'm looking for a bike computer between $50-120, and here are the requirements:
    - Current Speed (duh)
    - Distance (again, duh)
    - Cadence
    - Temperature
    - Altitude (would really like, but I suppose this is optional)

    I've looked at the Mavic and Cateye brands, but none seem to meet those 5 requirements. The Cateye Adventure has all but cadence, and the Cateye Commuter and Strada have all but altitude. I also like the way Mavics plug into your computer (awesome), but those seem to have less features for the money. Thoughts, reactions, or comments? What works best for you guys, and what do you actually use? I don't think I need a GPS, my phone has an app for that, or is a GPS worth the extra money?
    RIDE ON

  2. #2
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    does anybody else out there actually use cadence for mountain biking? i thought that was a roadie thing.
    if you really do want the cadence though, go with the cateye strada and also track your rides with Strava then you will have all your ride data right on the computer when you are done. with the strada on your bars you can still see all data except for altitude.

    i personally dont even use a computer on my bars, i start the strava app and throw it in my back pack.

    if you go with something like the the garmin edge 500 you have everything on your bars, can include a heart rate monitor, then upload to strava to see all your ride data along with the map of your ride, and compare your times on certain trails/segments with others.

  3. #3
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    I sure don't use cadence. I was under the impression that was more for roadies. Mountain bike riding tends to be more of an intervals workout, and I have problems keeping a steady cadence. Maybe that's just me.

    I'm a fan of the Strada...simple, small and plenty of functionality for the price. Haven't had good luck with the quality of Mavic's computers...I've used a few of the Wintech ones. I know it's out of your price range, but given your requirements, have you considered the possibility of upping the dollar amount and going with a GPS or something similar? If you've got an REI near you, they often sell their returned GPS units in their garage sales. Might be worth looking into.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DudeFace View Post
    I'm looking for a bike computer between $50-120, and here are the requirements:
    - Current Speed (duh)
    - Distance (again, duh)
    - Cadence
    - Temperature
    - Altitude (would really like, but I suppose this is optional)

    I've looked at the Mavic and Cateye brands, but none seem to meet those 5 requirements. The Cateye Adventure has all but cadence, and the Cateye Commuter and Strada have all but altitude. I also like the way Mavics plug into your computer (awesome), but those seem to have less features for the money. Thoughts, reactions, or comments? What works best for you guys, and what do you actually use? I don't think I need a GPS, my phone has an app for that, or is a GPS worth the extra money?
    Actually GPS can be useful for MTB - think about downloading your ride to show the route map, and all the climbing descending.

    Right now you can get Garmin Forerunner 305 under $150, which includes HRM, and of course altitude, with a cadence option, but I don't think they do temperature.
    GPSs aren't super accurate on twisty singletrack, compared to a calibrated wheel sensor though.

  5. #5
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    I was just going to use the cadence option for my 10-mile commute to work when the weather warms up. As for GPS, I really think it's not necessary because my phone can do all that. I don't need the heart rate monitor either. It sounds like the Strada is the best bang for my buck, and I tested my phone app, it also does altitude.

    Quote Originally Posted by lightjunction View Post
    If you've got an REI near you, they often sell their returned GPS units in their garage sales. Might be worth looking into.
    Sorry, nearest REI is a 10-hour drive
    RIDE ON

  6. #6
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    IMO, GPS is the way to go. I have a single Garmin Edge 305 and a mounting bracket on all my bikes (except the DH). No need to mess around with varying wheel size from bike to bike or when you change your tire. I'd never go back to traditional bike computer.

    Also, you should consider the heart rate functionality. I used to think it's not really important, but it's pretty much the thing I check the most while riding now.

    Why do you want the cadence? Especially for AM if you ride technical stuff, your cadence is likely to vary a lot and knowing it at a precise time is probably irrelevant. I also think the cadence may be more suite for road riding.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.P. View Post
    Also, you should consider the heart rate functionality. I used to think it's not really important, but it's pretty much the thing I check the most while riding now.

    Why do you want the cadence? Especially for AM if you ride technical stuff, your cadence is likely to vary a lot and knowing it at a precise time is probably irrelevant. I also think the cadence may be more suite for road riding.
    As stated in the post directly above yours, cadence is just for my commute to work.

    Enlighten me on the use of a heart rate monitor? I'm open to trying one, just never knew the reason to do it.
    RIDE ON

  8. #8
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    Heart Rate monitors can come in handy during races, particularly long ones. On shorter rides and with lots of experience, you can gauge how tired you are and how hard you're pushing yourself well enough on your own, but during endurance events, it can be difficult to know if you're capable of sustaining a given output for the next 5 hours or so.

    If you know your max sustainable heart rate, you can program that into the computer and it will notify you when you're going too hard. In essence, the heart rate monitor function prevents you from "blowing up". It's not for everyone, but I enjoy how it allows me to race more mindlessly. Since I don't have to focus on that as much, I can clear my head and just pedal. If I start going to hard, it beeps at me and I slow down.
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  9. #9
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    Wow, that's awesome! I might want to look into one now. How does it gauge your heartrate?
    RIDE ON

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Juicen View Post
    does anybody else out there actually use cadence for mountain biking? i thought that was a roadie thing.
    if you really do want the cadence though, go with the cateye strada and also track your rides with Strava then you will have all your ride data right on the computer when you are done. with the strada on your bars you can still see all data except for altitude.

    i personally dont even use a computer on my bars, i start the strava app and throw it in my back pack.

    if you go with something like the the garmin edge 500 you have everything on your bars, can include a heart rate monitor, then upload to strava to see all your ride data along with the map of your ride, and compare your times on certain trails/segments with others.
    Yes, on long climbs. You (or at least myself) will last longer at 80-90 rpm than at 60-70. It balances the stress on your heart and lungs, vs you leg muscles.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DudeFace View Post
    As stated in the post directly above yours, cadence is just for my commute to work.

    Enlighten me on the use of a heart rate monitor? I'm open to trying one, just never knew the reason to do it.
    If i could only pick 2 things on a computer to have, it would be cadence and heart rate. The rest is nice, but when going DH, the speed isn't as important as making it fun.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  12. #12
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    Sorry about the cadence stuff...I somehow missed that part of the previous post.

    Lightjunction did a pretty good job of describing the utility of the HRM. "In essence, the heart rate monitor function prevents you from "blowing up""
    It's exactly that!...or at least it tells you in advance you're about to blow up! I like having it, for example, when you know an uphill section is coming and you want to slow down your HR a bit to make sure you can make it to the top. Another thing is that I often ride alone and I have a tendency to ride at an unsustainable pace and take more frequent short pauses than I would when riding with other people (like just the time to get the HR down from like 185 to 155BPM). I guess that's just a (bad?) habit from mostly riding DH in the last few years. The HRM is helpful to gauge when is the right time to get back on the bike.

  13. #13
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    I have the forerunner 305 and love it. I use it for any of my bikes and running. I love the heartrate graph as well. I was using a Polar HRM but it is nice to see what your heartrate did on a certain climb or part of the track instead of just an average.

    I got the cadence sensor for the garmin for my road bike and it is pretty meh. I ride my bike at a cadence of about 80. If I pedal faster I ride at 90, if I am grinding a little I will go to 70. Had I known this beforehand I wouldn't have bought it as it is mostly just a flat line telling me what I already know. However, it was helpful to give me an idea of what an 80 cadence feels like.

    The garmin also makes it easy to keep track on if you are improving or not when compared to other tracks.

    It's probably the best investment I have made.

  14. #14
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    I like a pretty basic (inexpensive) Planet Bike 9.0 unit combined with a good phone app. I like being able to look at speed, max speed, time, distance, and temperature on the bike, and then get more data from the phone at breaks or after the ride. I find the mileage the most useful on the computer if I am in areas I don't know so I can tell when I am coming up on trail heads. Hard to do that with the computer in the backpack.

  15. #15
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    Get a Garmin! I've been very satisfied with the Edge 800, the best parts are the interface/menu setup, and of course, the GPS data you upload to Garmin Connect, which aren't too dissimilar on the other Garmin models you might find in your price range.

    More importantly, I've used a variety of bike computers and always had minor issues or annoyances with 'pairing' them and keeping them paired... the Garmin unit picks up the speed/cadance sensor, and heart rate sensor INSTANTLY once I turn it on, well worth every $ !

  16. #16
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    +1 for Garmin

    I have a Edge 500, while not as flashy as the 700 or 800 series, it tracks all the data you wanted, and has a HRM option.

  17. #17
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    I used to ride with a computer back when I raced XC.
    I am so glad to be rid of that junk.
    My bike, Slayer 70

  18. #18
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    I ride with a Bontrager Trip 5W... Wireless is key - $50

    Speed, max speed, odo, trip, timer, clock and temp. Suits me great, I like knowing how far we go...

  19. #19
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    Bontrager Trip 4W. Takes seconds to set up and we sell the absolute **** out of them at the shop. I recommend them to everyone looking at computers.
    Quote Originally Posted by anthonys
    Its still just the push of a button away...
    I am no longer a hardtailkid. 2012 Trek Remedy 9!

  20. #20
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    Droid phone + Zephr Bluetooth HRM ($100) + Sporttracklive.com app($9) = pretty reliable functional tracking tool. I keep the phone in my pocket and have it setup to announce some stats every 1/2 mile or 10minutes..tons of configuration options....battery life not an issue on 3-4hr rides

    Consumer HxM « Zephyr

    SportsTrackLive - share, train and compete in your sport

    Sports Track is also compatible with Polars BT HRM - Amazon.com: Polar Wearlink+ Transmitter With Bluetooth: Sports & Outdoors

  21. #21
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    Is there anyway you can do this with a iPod touch and a bluetooth device?

  22. #22
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    I use Garmin Edge 500 and I really like it. I use both the HR and Cadence options. The cadence also measures speed. In case I lose GPS signal, it keeps recording distance and speed. The actual cadence number I only look at it when doing long steady climbs and I try to keep it high 85 - 95 to strain the leg muscles a bit less.

    I like to upload my rides to Garmin Connect and Strava. It is fun to compete against other guy that you normally don't ride with. KOMs become DH times.

    I would advice you against the Mavic computers. I had one of the first models that had the altimeter and temperature... It was never accurate and it stopped working in about a year (it was not the battery). It was not very friendly to use.

    I was a huge fan of Cateye products. I've had many of their products from the Enduro, Strada Wireless, and others. My wife uses Strada double wireless on her roadbike... it is very accurate and has been going strong for a long time. But for some reason they are falling behind with altimeters, temperature, GPS, etc. I think the Stealth 50 will be a good product.

  23. #23
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    I've recently purchased a Garmin Edge 800. Very happy with it. Decided to go the gps option because we've been doing a few more roadtrips riding a lot of new trails for the first time lately, and i like knowing that if we get lost we can get back to the car. Had a couple times we took wrong turns at t-sections and ended up heading the wrong way for a fair while, iphones weren't a help because there was very little if any mobile reception in the area. The heartrate and cadence functions on the 800 are nice to have but I dont really bother with them, maybe I will in the future.

  24. #24
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    I labored over this decision and settled on the SIGMA SPORT® online - BC 2209 MHR - The mountain specialist. You should be able to find one in your price range. It's a really good dashboard - HR, MPH and toggle between distance and time. Everyone I know uses the wheel sensor on GPS units for accuracy. The GPS itself is useful for finding where you are and where you've been, Phone apps are pretty good for that - just short battery life.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  25. #25
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    Just for clarity - the Sigma 2209 is not GPS.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  26. #26
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  27. #27
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    I don't compete, so I decided all I wanted was a simple one with mph, odometer, resettable tripmeter, clock. Anything else I probably wouldn't use. I bought a WCI unit for $10.00 from Amazon and installed it today. Works great and the head is locked very secure to the mount. I was suprised that I am going faster than I thought I was. I do mostly street riding anyway. Besides, my bike is a very low end mountain bike that I was given, but everything works as it should and it gets me around and keeps my 59 year old ticker working.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dawgman25 View Post
    I like a pretty basic (inexpensive) Planet Bike 9.0 unit combined with a good phone app. I like being able to look at speed, max speed, time, distance, and temperature on the bike, and then get more data from the phone at breaks or after the ride. I find the mileage the most useful on the computer if I am in areas I don't know so I can tell when I am coming up on trail heads. Hard to do that with the computer in the backpack.
    same here.

  29. #29
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    Hands down Garmin Edge 205. GPS is nice to have and if your thinking your phones GPS is fine, your foolin yourself.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 08Rover View Post
    Hands down Garmin Edge 205. GPS is nice to have and if your thinking your phones GPS is fine, your foolin yourself.
    I have noticed a pretty big difference especially in the feet climbed, from my iphone to a garmin....

    any other computers work with strava besides the Garmin?

  31. #31
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    I may go for the Wahoo kit

    The Wahoo kit for the iPhone includes a weatherproof phone case that incorporates an ANT+ transceiver, a speed and cadence sensor and an iOS fitness app - transforming the smartphone into a bike computer. I may get this one. Only concern is I will need a new one once I upgrade to iPhone 5 :-(

  32. #32
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    I just downloaded the App Runtastic Pro MTB for Mountain Bikers. I love the App and the GPS. It does so much BUT like said above, There are limitations and the reason I want a GPS now is because I would love to know where to turn on these single trails that have numerous ways to go. I heard so many good things about the Garmin 7 and 8 series. Will have to buy one soon.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    If i could only pick 2 things on a computer to have, it would be cadence and heart rate. The rest is nice, but when going DH, the speed isn't as important as making it fun.
    Hm, I would think if you're going DH, you don't have time to look at any functions of a computer. Now, if you want to record your data and review it at a later time, then go for it.

    IMHO, all that data is great if you are trying to maximize your efforts for improving your riding.

    If you're just out to have fun, it might be nice just to see your current, avg speed and elapsed time. Maybe max speed for giggles....

    For me, just having something that is waterproof, something with a big display is key. If I want more data than that, I bring my friend with his fancy GPS computer. I've had moderately good luck with Mapmyride app on my iphone. I like using a HR monitor as a training tool when I'm trying to maximize my workout and also to monitor my efforts on longer rides so that I don't over-exert myself and poop out early.
    Just get out and ride!

  34. #34
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    I've been using a Garmin Oregon 450. It's used it each and every time I ride. Highly configurable. Displays a satellite image (google earth) your location, with an over lay of speed, elevation, distance and heading. On top of that it records your rides, which can then be viewed in detail or shared online with friends. Here is a ride I did a few days ago: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap...ar-1315_42.gpx . It also works with heart rate monitors.

  35. #35
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    i prefer my Garmin (or similar) watch, you can also get the bike mount if you prefer the handlebar view(it can be dicey when checking your stats on certain trails), cool thing is that it has many functions heart rate,google map view when logged in after ride, altitude etc, i used the cadance unti mounted to the pedal, after three rides it broke off due to sticks etc, i looked into purchase of a point that mounts to your MTB shoe lace. newer models have this beacuase runners use them as well.

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