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  1. #1
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    Altimeter-equpped computers worth it???

    Hey all,

    Wondering what you Ontario-based riders have to say with regards to bike computers that have altimeters as one of the functions...how much use would they really get in our relatively flat locale?

    I'm in need of a new computer for this year, and am interested in a computer w/said functionality, but wondering how accurate they are....and making it worth the extra expense? I like the idea of the added gadget to play with, but don't know how much it would sense elevation changes, esp. in and around Hamilton, which is where I usually ride.

    Thanks to all for any input that you can give!

    Tim

  2. #2
    bi-winning
    Reputation: rkj__'s Avatar
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    Bottom line, it is not a function you need. Whether it is worth it or not may depend on what kind of discounts you can find. For a lot of riding, the data may be uninteresting, but in some places i.e. dundas valley, you can go through quite a bit of elevation change in one ride.

    Personally, i don't have a computer on my MTB. I had one, it broke, and i don't miss it very much.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  3. #3
    veldrijder
    Reputation: jmoote's Avatar
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    Check out my GPS data from a ride in this thread.

    I'm in agreement that you really don't need it (as much as things like heart rate, avg speed and on the road a power meter if you can afford it). I find for training and racing heart rate is all that really matters, but it's nice to have some idea how the amount of climbing for a given ride relates to the rest of your data. When looking forward to an event where you know the length of the course and how much climbing, it's nice to compare to rides you've already done with similar features.

    On the road especially, I like to know the grade for a given climb. Knowing that a certain hill is say a 10% grade for 1 km is more meaningful than simply knowing how many vertical feet or metres the climb is.

  4. #4
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    Sorry, I don't know if I was terribly clear in what I was asking for re: the usefulness of an altimeter on a bike computer. I'm not planning on using it as a training tool, I was more asking how sensitive they were, and if they would register the types of "minimal" elevation changes like we have in Ontario. Looking at your track, it looks like it would show smaller variations in altitude, so might be what I'm looking for.

    Basically, I like gadgets, and I just think it would be neat to see the elevation changes on a given ride that I had done. I've seen what some look like...but that is for places where you can have several thousand feet of elevation changes in a ride...which is usually difficult to have in Ontario. So just how accurate is the elevation track? Will it chart minor variations in altitude change?

    Tim

  5. #5
    veldrijder
    Reputation: jmoote's Avatar
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    Well, you saw the route I posted - for how flat it is I feel there is a significant amount of data there. That was with a Garmin 305 set to "Smart record" for more data storage. If I told it to save data every second it would be even more precise. GPS alone isn't terribly precise for altitude, but the Garmin (and most similar units) is barometrically corrected which gives quite an accurate profile.

    I too like that feature more because I like gadgets than for training. Like I said, there are many parameters that are more useful when it comes to training. I got the GPS over a conventional cyclocomputer because in addition to the training tools I needed it has fun features that I enjoy.

    Hopefully that helps

  6. #6
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    I have this feature on my 503 Garmin Edge and to be honest I don't think it's a vaulable tool in Southern Ontario. I find from time to time it shows me riding below sea level when I know I'm well above it.

    That being said, I take my bike on vaction with me to Europe where there is a great use of that type of info and it is bang on. The data alone is neat to see but I like to use it to prepare for some of the big climbs / decents on area that I've done maybe once or twice.

    As for Ontario riding, go ahead and buy it if you like tech stuff. For the most part, if you are buying something with HR and all the other "good to have" stuff then the alitim. is normally part of it.

    Bottom line, not overly useful in Southern Ontario, relatively accurate (for the most part), cool feature, works very well and is very useful if you find yourself somewhere mountainous with your bike. (can even be that "push" for you to travel with your bike )

    Almost forgot. far more accurate and useful on my road bike.
    There are no "mistakes"; only learning curves.

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