good computer that knows what an odometer really is- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    good computer that knows what an odometer really is

    Hi,

    I have a Garmin 820 on my MTB and a Garmin 520 on my neighborhood bike. Both work OK but only record miles if you "start" a ride and save it afterwords. That's OK for tracking rides but I also want to track total miles period, no start ride, no stop ride, no save ride. A real ODO that tracks whenever the bike is moving, no action required.

    I have not looked in a while, but does such a thing exist?

    For the MTB, I like the Garmin connect feature where I can go look at my past rides. I would not care if it was local to my computer and not an online feature.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks
    Joel

  2. #2
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    I had that ~ 55 years ago. A pin fastened to a spoke and incremented a toothed wheel on a counter that mounted to the fork leg. Each revolution of the wheel incremented the counter by 1. Multiplied by the circumference of the wheel and appropriately scaled (by long hand or slide rule as no calculators yet) it provided my distance.

    Nowadays, there are basic bike cyclometer that do all that electronically. Unlike Garmins, they even allow setting an initial mileage. CatEye and others make them.
    What, me worry?

  3. #3
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    LOL, I had many Cateyes over the decades. I like some of the "modern" features though. Too bad Garmin and others can't think things through. How basic is an ODO, really....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_l View Post
    LOL, I had many Cateyes over the decades. I like some of the "modern" features though. Too bad Garmin and others can't think things through. How basic is an ODO, really....
    Maybe you're the one that needs to rethink what an odometer can be.

    Use the Garmin. Press start and stop, let the ride go to Garmin Connect. On Connect, you can slice and dice your numbers a whole bunch of different ways via software. You can track miles per bike using only one computer. You can track miles on certain parts, track service intervals, all sorts of things.

    I can't think of a single reason to have my cumulative mileage displaying on the bike, but, guess what, you can see that on your Garmin, too! You just have to push start and stop for the recording to work (that said, there's also auto start functionality - I just don't like it).

    Don't like that? Buy a Cateye.

  5. #5
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    I had a wireless cateye on my road bike. It was cateye Micro something something.
    It offered a selection to display the odometer on the screen.
    So much cheaper than the nearly thousand dollars you've wasted on those stupid bike computer things.

    One thing I do not remember about it is if I had to wake it up first. Or maybe I had it set to not automatically wake up. That may be a deal breaker for you if you have to initiate the wakeup of the unit.

  6. #6
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    A trip is a trip ( ride ) an ODO is an ODO. ODO should be the total accumulation of miles ridden. I do use the ride function, but I don't always start, stop, and save a ride, nor should I have to. Total distance should automatically accumulate independent of whether or not you start, stop, save a ride. That function should be for tracking an individual ride if you want to.

    Tracking a true ODO in the background should not be an issue.

    Saying just get a Cateye is not productive. I have already stated that I like the other features involved, but there should still be an unrelated true ODO. It shouldn't be difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Maybe you're the one that needs to rethink what an odometer can be.

    Use the Garmin. Press start and stop, let the ride go to Garmin Connect. On Connect, you can slice and dice your numbers a whole bunch of different ways via software. You can track miles per bike using only one computer. You can track miles on certain parts, track service intervals, all sorts of things.

    I can't think of a single reason to have my cumulative mileage displaying on the bike, but, guess what, you can see that on your Garmin, too! You just have to push start and stop for the recording to work (that said, there's also auto start functionality - I just don't like it).

    Don't like that? Buy a Cateye.

  7. #7
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_l View Post
    A trip is a trip ( ride ) an ODO is an ODO. ODO should be the total accumulation of miles ridden. I do use the ride function, but I don't always start, stop, and save a ride, nor should I have to. Total distance should automatically accumulate independent of whether or not you start, stop, save a ride. That function should be for tracking an individual ride if you want to.

    Tracking a true ODO in the background should not be an issue.

    Saying just get a Cateye is not productive. I have already stated that I like the other features involved, but there should still be an unrelated true ODO. It shouldn't be difficult.
    It's not difficult. There's a million different possible data displays you can choose to add to your screen.

    But the CORE way that Garmins work is that they record where you've been. This requires that they know when you start and when you finish, otherwise the memory will run over. Compare your Edge device to a hiking handheld. You can set those up to keep the tracklog running as long as the device is on. They run out of memory and you have to decide what to do about it (either archive chunks of it, which makes putting them back together into a coherent activity a bit of a pain, or just delete it, which doesn't work if you care about what happened then). There's a stopwatch function built into the way all Edge and Forerunner computers work (as well as other fitness GPS computers from other companies). Don't like it? Tough cookies. You won't get exactly the kind of odometer you want with a GPS computer. YOU WILL HAVE TO PRESS START/STOP.

    The only way you'll get an odometer without start/stop buttons is to buy a basic cyclocomputer. That is a core way of how those function.

    You're the one being difficult. I'm telling you how these devices work. It's not my fault that you don't like it.

  8. #8
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    The OP wants a GPS tracking device that can read his mind. This way the device knows that this stop for a pee break isnít really the end of the ride.

    I must state that Iím completely puzzled as to owning both a 520 and an 820 and using them on 2 different bikes. Most folks own one and swap them bike to bike. If nothing else all your cycling mileage is on one device.

    And as note that you can configure both devices to self start - I.E. start a track recording when it senses you are riding. Mine is set to that in case I forget to press Start. But I would want to tell it when Iím finished, especially if Iíve driven someplace for a ride and donít want the device recording my drive home (done that too).

  9. #9
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    WOW, I asked a simple question for a feature I would like to have, it would not be difficult. If no one is doing it fine, but if someone is doing it, I'm interested in it.

    What a bunch of piss poor responses.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_l View Post
    WOW, I asked a simple question for a feature I would like to have, it would not be difficult. If no one is doing it fine, but if someone is doing it, I'm interested in it.

    What a bunch of piss poor responses.
    You got a simple, straightforward response from the beginning and you criticized Lone Rager because you didn't like his answer. He was right. The tone of the thread declined after that because you got snippy about it. Like I said, maybe you're the one who needs to reset their expectations. You think it's not hard to implement, but I guarantee it's harder than you think.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_l View Post
    WOW, I asked a simple question for a feature I would like to have, it would not be difficult. If no one is doing it fine, but if someone is doing it, I'm interested in it.

    What a bunch of piss poor responses.
    Well, it did get snippy, I agree with that. Problem is you want a feature on a computer that gives you a boatload of other functions than a good old regular Cateye. At the same time those capabilities require the full blown GPS tracker to have its system powered off so as to save the battery. That doesnít need to happen on a Cateye, which doesnít use a whole lot of power to begin with, but then it does nothing except tell you the speed and time, with distance a side product of those 2 pieces of information. So once you power down the more sophisticated GPS unit you face the issue of whatever ride you just did needing to be saved. Itís like 2 button pushes.

    Iím curious what features of that $300 Edge 820 besides odometer do you use ?

  12. #12
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    As someone noted above the problem occurs when you put the bike on your car and drive it somewhere. You don't want it to record those miles. I guess companies could code the headunit to require the detection of a wheel senor before it starts recording but then that would just irritate a different crop of people who use a GPS because they don't want to be bothered by having to use a wheel senor like and old school Cateye.

    I do not use autostart but when i get on my bike and start pedaling my Wahoo detects the movement and I get prompted by a message asking if I want to start the ride. All I have to do is push the Yes or No button. To each their own but I don't think having to hit one button is too much to ask especially when the unit is smart enough to remind you to do so.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_l View Post
    WOW, I asked a simple question for a feature I would like to have, it would not be difficult. If no one is doing it fine, but if someone is doing it, I'm interested in it.

    What a bunch of piss poor responses.


    I think I get what your original question was. Juts a simple odometer. Sure, they still exist. Cheap too.

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=bike+odom...f=nb_sb_noss_2

    Yeah, these have some other functionality, but most have basic, full time active, odometers. I consider a dedicated ODO from time to time for tracking maintenance intervals because I do not log all of my rides on my phone app. Maybe only half.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredcook View Post


    I think I get what your original question was. Juts a simple odometer. Sure, they still exist. Cheap too.

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=bike+odom...f=nb_sb_noss_2

    Yeah, these have some other functionality, but most have basic, full time active, odometers. I consider a dedicated ODO from time to time for tracking maintenance intervals because I do not log all of my rides on my phone app. Maybe only half.
    but that's not a productive recommendation

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    but that's not a productive recommendation
    Agree, but I think that's what the OP was looking for for. Basic, simple odometer that doesn't require interaction.

    I think someone already mentioned those old mechanical odometers that mounted on the forks near the hub. That would be perfect. It doesn't get in the way, doesn't require any interaction, and you can still use (or not use) whatever other tracking device or app you already use with no additional effort.

    Like this one...
    Name:  retro odo.jpg
Views: 85
Size:  19.0 KB

    Honestly, if I could find one, and get it to work on today's forks and wheel sizes, I'd probably use one. I like the idea of tracking mileage on the bike and not concern myself with fiddling with an app or device every time I jump on the bike. Heck, I don't log more than half my rides as it is because I don't always want to mess with apps/devices. I love the simplicity. I like to just Get on your bikes and ride! (Fat Bottom Girls - Queen)
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  16. #16
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    Wanting to track my annual distances ridden is the primary reason I use a computer right now. I'd rather push a few buttons to get that done, do a couple little things on the desktop computer occasionally to manage that (mostly ensuring that my rides have the correct bike assigned to them, so that the bikes and associated parts get the correct mileages attached), and keep the device charged up. It's a whole lot less hassle than putting that stuff into a spreadsheet for the same purposes.

    And yeah, it does mean that I need to use the Garmin on the majority of my rides. Not really that big of a deal. The only time I don't use the Garmin is if I'm messing in the yard or teaching a skills clinic where my bike is mostly not being ridden, anyway.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    but that's not a productive recommendation


    Why not? A basic cycle computer/odometer seems exactly like what the op is looking for.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Why not? A basic cycle computer/odometer seems exactly like what the op is looking for.
    He was being sarcastic

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Why not? A basic cycle computer/odometer seems exactly like what the op is looking for.
    OP himself said that it's an unproductive suggestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_l View Post
    Saying just get a Cateye is not productive.

  20. #20
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    Since I log all rides on Strava (sorry) and sort them by bike, I can get my per-bike totals on a monthly or yearly basis.

    I use an Edge520+ that I switch from bike to bike, and occasionally a garmin watch when something goes wrong with the 520+ (which is not often, but also not never).

    Garmin connect might be doing the same thing somewhere in their maze of menus, but I'm not sure it would know which bike was which, because I never bother to tell it, and I don't think it can auto-select a bike based on which cadence/speed/power sensor it auto-detects, although I could be wrong about that. And I guess some people might swap those things too.

    Even still, given I am still paying Strava money every month (!), the performance of their bike odometer functionality is so-so at best. It sort of works for determining wear on chains, and definitely works for rationalizing new bike purchases based on the old bike $/km. But it doesn't have any method to allow for commonly-swapped on/of parts like wheelsets or winter tires. All you can do is retire parts and install new ones.

    There has to be a way for Strava to set up component profiles and drag-and-drop to the bike profile. It's a lot to ask, but I mean.... I have been paying these guys for a friggen' decade now...

    For the OP..... I dunno, could you just grab an old cateye or vetta from a parts bin and hide the head unit under the fork or seat or something? (i.e. making a digital version of that old-school one that was posted). It would let you use the garmin start-stop whenever. I see what you;re asking for, but I think not many people have dedicated garmin head units for each bike, so it's probably not a high-demand feature... and as others have noted, would be prone to a lot of possible errors if it wasn't constantly synced to a wheel sensor.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    .Even still, given I am still paying Strava money every month (!), the performance of their bike odometer functionality is so-so at best. It sort of works for determining wear on chains, and definitely works for rationalizing new bike purchases based on the old bike $/km. But it doesn't have any method to allow for commonly-swapped on/of parts like wheelsets or winter tires. All you can do is retire parts and install new ones.

    There has to be a way for Strava to set up component profiles and drag-and-drop to the bike profile. It's a lot to ask, but I mean.... I have been paying these guys for a friggen' decade now...
    Until Strava does, ProBikeGarage will do it for you.

  22. #22
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    Reading the marketing jargon for the Garmin Bike Speed 2 Sensor indicates that it has an odometer function to help track mileage for things like bike maintenance. This might be the feature the OP was looking for, but since I donít own one I canít verify how it works.


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.baker.142 View Post
    Reading the marketing jargon for the Garmin Bike Speed 2 Sensor indicates that it has an odometer function to help track mileage for things like bike maintenance. This might be the feature the OP was looking for, but since I donít own one I canít verify how it works.


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    The sensor doesn't do those things by itself. It requires a head unit to calibrate itself for accurate distance measurements. And because it requires a head unit, it requires that you press start and stop.

    Garmin's marketing language is really only addressing WHY you might want such a thing, but they stop short of saying directly that GPS-based distance measurements won't give you accurate distance for mountain bike rides on twisty trails. Instead, they approach the issue obtusely, and people are surprised and disappointed that their GPS distances are off.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    The sensor doesn't do those things by itself. It requires a head unit to calibrate itself for accurate distance measurements. And because it requires a head unit, it requires that you press start and stop.
    According to the review I read, it does not require a head unit. You can pair it to the phone app and set the wheel circumference there. Maybe it won't be as accurate as a GPS calibrated circumference, but it'll be accurate to within a percentage or so which is probably good enough. And certainly just as accurate as old style cycle computers.

    According to the review, the speed sensor will start a new session when you start pedalling and end it (and go to sleep) if you stop longer than a few minutes. And if course, then you have to bring your phone near it while it's awake, after the wheel has rotated, so it'll usually lag by at least one session if you don't spin the wheel to wake it up a few minutes after you're done.

    It can also be configured to work with a GPS like a regular speed sensor. I didn't read the review well enough to know whether it would work in both modes: speed sensor when the head unit is nearby and standalone when it isn't, but I would hope so.

  25. #25
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    Edit: Well Ill be blowed over! That is exactly what it does! Look sliek the new speed snensor does indeed cache data for uplaod later on, kinda like the garmin watches do when you go for a walk or whatever, that's actaully kinda nifty. So ignore all what i said below, that for all the older sensors since the dawn of time.


    As Harold said the speed sensor doesn't "Do" anything except go around in circles and and ping out a result that it did, it needs a head unit to actually recieve and do anything with it, that can be a garmin, or a phone that it can pick up it's signal, then it is all down to that unit to actually figure out what information it is giving. That is how all garmin sensors work (HRM, speed, cadence, temp, pedometer etc - I have all of them). They wake up when they sense movement, then send out what they are mesuring, then turn off when they haven't detected movement for a time period, thats it that's all they do.

    Thing is, without a "head unit" recording what is coming in, then nothing gets recorded.


    OP could pososible sell one of the Garmin head units and pick up a pair of old style cateye or similar... Or jsut push start every time he started, and stop when finished.

    If the garmins actually did what he wanted, they would need some ginormous battery .
    All the gear and no idea.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yeah, right View Post
    According to the review I read, it does not require a head unit. You can pair it to the phone app and set the wheel circumference there. Maybe it won't be as accurate as a GPS calibrated circumference, but it'll be accurate to within a percentage or so which is probably good enough. And certainly just as accurate as old style cycle computers.

    According to the review, the speed sensor will start a new session when you start pedalling and end it (and go to sleep) if you stop longer than a few minutes. And if course, then you have to bring your phone near it while it's awake, after the wheel has rotated, so it'll usually lag by at least one session if you don't spin the wheel to wake it up a few minutes after you're done.

    It can also be configured to work with a GPS like a regular speed sensor. I didn't read the review well enough to know whether it would work in both modes: speed sensor when the head unit is nearby and standalone when it isn't, but I would hope so.
    Cool, I didn't know the new one could do the caching. Garmin's product website really doesn't address that at all for that sensor. I actually looked at it before I commented on your post because while I knew the sensors had been updated awhile ago, I'd not really bothered looking deeper at them.

    I will say, though, that the device still requires a head unit. If you're using the caching mode and BTLE, your phone with the Connect app is the head unit. That's how you set the calibration and access your data after riding. I agree with DC Rainmaker's review that this functionality is awesome for commuting where you don't need (or necessarily even want) the full GPS tracking of your daily activities. All it tracks is speed and distance when it's not connected to a GPS computer, so it really cuts down on privacy and security issues with uploaded data, that's for sure.

    Of course, used this way, there's a lot of stuff you don't get. If you want a GPS computer with activity-focused functionality (bike, run, etc), you're going to have a start/stop button. Even this sensor works that way. Connect it to an Edge, and it works the same as Garmin's older sensor. It's a function of GPS computers (battery life and data storage/memory capacity in particular), and not the sensor.

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