Bike computer 101- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    Bike computer 101

    I'm eager to get a very basic computer for my bike, something I can use to track how far I ride, how fast I ride, how long I ride. That's about it. No heart-rate thingy. Nothing super-fancy, just your basic run-of-the-mill computer. Thing is, I'm one to always research something to death first before I buy something. So I thought I'd ask the crew here how these computers work and what sort of features I should be looking for (or be wary of).

    At Supergo, I came across a rather inexpensive wireless one that seems to do what I want it to do. I found another wired one for about $15 on Price Point. What's the deal with wireless vs. wired? Is one better than the other or does that come down to personal preference? How do these computers work, and what's involved with their installation? I assume they don't interfere with the ride?

    Can someone help? Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    What's the deal with wireless vs. wired? Is one better than the other or does that come down to personal preference?
    Wired and wireless "function" the same, however, wired are usually cheaper, as there's only one battery. The wireless have two batteries, one in the fork mounted transmitter, and one in the handlebar mounted reciever. Hence, with the technology involved, the wireless will be more expensive. If you're going to be riding anything remotely serious off road, I'd suggest wireless, beings as it's possible to snag the wire on something and have it rip (you can probably order another transmitter/wire for most models, but it's a hassle). Wireless, I MHO, is the way to go (I've destroyed a couple wired ones in the past, been wireless for years, now...using an older Cateye 2, works great, just the basics - current speed, average speed, max speed, distance, stopwatch, clock) It's more preference than performance differences (depends on how much you want to spend, whether you think you might be ruining wires on snags, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    How do these computers work, and what's involved with their installation? I assume they don't interfere with the ride?
    Installation's easy, wireless being easiest (don't have to wrap wire aound and up fork and making sure it is tight enough to stay out of harms way)...just clamp the sensor on the fork, clamp the magnet on the spoke , aligned with the sensor, and clamp the cyclocomp bracket on the handlebar, and calibrate it. The sensor detects the magnet passing with each wheel revolution and sends this to the handlebar unit, which calculates and displays the info (the difference being that the wireless is sending a small radio signal from the sensor to the unit....it's remotely possible that "interference" from other nearby wireless units may cause false readings sometimes, but I've yet to see that happen)
    The only way they interfere with the ride is if you decide to check the readout and get distracted while you should be paying attention to the technical terrain you're ridin' on....heh

  3. #3
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Basic and inexpensive

    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    I'm eager to get a very basic computer for my bike, something I can use to track how far I ride, how fast I ride, how long I ride. That's about it. No heart-rate thingy. Nothing super-fancy, just your basic run-of-the-mill computer. Thing is, I'm one to always research something to death first before I buy something. So I thought I'd ask the crew here how these computers work and what sort of features I should be looking for (or be wary of).

    At Supergo, I came across a rather inexpensive wireless one that seems to do what I want it to do. I found another wired one for about $15 on Price Point. What's the deal with wireless vs. wired? Is one better than the other or does that come down to personal preference? How do these computers work, and what's involved with their installation? I assume they don't interfere with the ride?

    Can someone help? Cheers!
    Cateye Mity 3 - a wired computer, typically on sale for about $12 to $18. Of the 7 bikes in our house, 5 have this computer. Get the Cateye Enduro if you can find it cheap - it's the same as the Mity 3 with a sturdier wire harness.

    I tried wireless, but the sender unit and head units are bulkier, and now you have 2 batteries to replace.

    If you're careful about running the wire on a wired unit, you will have no problems with reliability. Don't pinch the wire with too-tight zip ties, run it along the front brake housing, coiling around it until you get to the handlebar.

    A computer works by sensing the front wheel rotation. You fix a small magnet to 1 spoke, and the sensor unit (hall effect sensor) just closes a switch every time the magnet goes by it. The signal goes up the wire to the computer which calculates speed and distance based on the number of times the switch gets closed, and the rate (closures/minute).

    All you have to do is program in the wheel size. All the instructions will be included. Usually takes no more than 5 minutes to install a bike computer.

    Wireless units just send an RF pulse from the sensor to the computer. Still need a magnet.

    I'd recommend looking through the gallery to see how most MTBers mount theirs.

    Good luck - JMJ

  4. #4
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    Strong second on the Cateye Enduro 2, if you can still find it. I have one on both my MTB bikes. had the Mity 3 and broke a few cables, so I really like the stronger harness.

    A nice perk to either of these is that you can program two wheel sizes in, so you can switch easily between two bikes.

    I tried wireless and found it unreliable. If you install the wired unit correctly, there are no issues with snagging a wire, just be sure to leave enough slack to turn the bars, compress your fork and perform the occasional endo and you'll be fine.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmateo
    Strong second on the Cateye Enduro 2, if you can still find it. I have one on both my MTB bikes. had the Mity 3 and broke a few cables, so I really like the stronger harness.

    A nice perk to either of these is that you can program two wheel sizes in, so you can switch easily between two bikes.

    I tried wireless and found it unreliable. If you install the wired unit correctly, there are no issues with snagging a wire, just be sure to leave enough slack to turn the bars, compress your fork and perform the occasional endo and you'll be fine.
    I agree for offroad, the Cateye Enduro is the way to go. It'll take a beating and keep on ticking and it's only few dollars more then the Mity.

    Another issue with wireless (although it's not that big when it come mtn biking) is interferance with power line. One of my road buddies has a Shimano Flight Deck (really high end wireless computer) and everytime we ride under power like his computer goes haywire and like more doubles his speed. At one time it told him he was 112 mph coming down hill (it was more like 32 mph).

  6. #6

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    Cateye Enduro 2 --It's great, reliable, durable (nm)

    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    I'm eager to get a very basic computer for my bike, something I can use to track how far I ride, how fast I ride, how long I ride. That's about it. No heart-rate thingy. Nothing super-fancy, just your basic run-of-the-mill computer. Thing is, I'm one to always research something to death first before I buy something. So I thought I'd ask the crew here how these computers work and what sort of features I should be looking for (or be wary of).

    At Supergo, I came across a rather inexpensive wireless one that seems to do what I want it to do. I found another wired one for about $15 on Price Point. What's the deal with wireless vs. wired? Is one better than the other or does that come down to personal preference? How do these computers work, and what's involved with their installation? I assume they don't interfere with the ride?

    Can someone help? Cheers!
    This computer is great...check the reviews

  7. #7
    R.I.P. DogFriend
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    The Enduro 2 has been discontinued. The heavy duty Cateye is now called the Enduro 8 and the wireless version is the Cordless 7.

    I have an Enduro 2 that I found and it is basically the same as the Enduro 8 and even works in the same harness. I have two Enduro 8ís also. I especially like the large numbers on the Cateyes as some computers have small numbers that are hard to see.

    I have a wireless and a wired Specialized too (I have nine bikes at the house and have computers on most of them). The wireless is fine and makes for a clean installation, but the fork-mounted sensor is considerably bulkier than the sensors found on wired computers. I have had good luck with the Specialized computers and do not have anything bad to say about them.

    I recently ordered a harness for the Enduro 2 directly from Cateye over the phone. It arrived in less than a week and was a painless experience so I would have to give their CS a thumbs-up too.

    You can find cycling computers that will work fine for as little as $10 to $15 and up to about $60 for some wireless models, but if you are as you say you are and have to research everything to death (presumably to find the best computer and a good value), my guess is that youíll end up with a Cateye Enduro and youíll like it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    The Enduro 2 has been discontinued. The heavy duty Cateye is now called the Enduro 8 and the wireless version is the Cordless 7..
    True, but I think you can still find them at Performance et. al. for under $20. It is really good info to know that it will fit in the new mount though, thanks.

    I also give Cateye a 10 on CS. My computer stoped working, I called them to ask questions, and they sent me a new one in a couple days, no questions....

    The wireless I had was a performance house brand, and it was a POS. Might have something to do with the brand, and the "get what you pay for" syndrome....

    I also have an Astale on my road bike and like it too. Cadence and everything else for under $20.

  9. #9

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    I just bought a sigma sport from REI. It was 18 bucks and we have a local paved trail with mile markers and it seemed pretty accurate. It was .03 of a mile off what the markers said. So i think if u just want something simple i would get one of those. I think the most important part is to set the sucker up right

  10. #10
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    I use a cateye mighty 3 with an enduro wire and harness. The cateye wire and harness broke pretty quick, and it was slightly cheaper to just buy the new wire and harness than a whole new system, and the LBS guy told me the enduro would work. It did. But if starting over, I would probably just buy the enduro.

    I also bought another computer on sale once, and it does not work on a bicycle with shocks because the magne mounts near the rim instead of near the hub, so it does not get close enought to the sensor. It could probably be spaced out a bit, but I just use it on my commuter which is rigid.

  11. #11
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    Specialized

    I've used the cat-eye happily in the past. When I bought my new Enduro, they threw in a Specialized computer for free. It's wired. The nice (and odd) thing about it is that it looks sort of like an analog speedometer (made out of an LCD display). The good thing is you can easily see your speed (the "needle"), max speed (a mark stays at that point on the dial) and the average speed (a flashing needle). At the bottom is your trip distance, and there's even the current time in the center. You can still scroll through all the regular modes that other computers have, but it's nice to see it all at once. And you can read the analog-ish dials faster than reading digits, so you can get your eyes back on the trail quicker.

    The only downside is that's a tad larger than the cat-eyes.


    Bill

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuruAtma
    I've used the cat-eye happily in the past. When I bought my new Enduro, they threw in a Specialized computer for free. It's wired. The nice (and odd) thing about it is that it looks sort of like an analog speedometer (made out of an LCD display). The good thing is you can easily see your speed (the "needle"), max speed (a mark stays at that point on the dial) and the average speed (a flashing needle). At the bottom is your trip distance, and there's even the current time in the center. You can still scroll through all the regular modes that other computers have, but it's nice to see it all at once. And you can read the analog-ish dials faster than reading digits, so you can get your eyes back on the trail quicker.

    The only downside is that's a tad larger than the cat-eyes.


    Bill
    Why would they throw in a another computer when you buy one? Kind of odd.
    Last edited by wraith; 05-19-2004 at 04:43 PM.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by wraith
    Why would the throw in a another computer when you one? Kind of odd.
    Forget about the my last silly statement. I just dqwn on me that you weren't talking about a Cateye Endro(the computer) but the Specialized Endro (the bike). I guess I had computers on the brain.

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