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After being a gadget freak for the last few decades, I seem to be turning a corner.

I remember fondly the days when we had a small clicky counter thing on the forks. It didn't need batteries nor calibration. We rode around and compared at the end of the ride. I've had many computers, (some good, some bad,) until the Cateye Mitty 2 did what I wanted and still does on one bike. Meanwhile technology marched onto Flightdecks, Garmin GPS, Strava loaded mobiles..... Here I sit swearing as yet another battery goes down and the bloody thing has to be reprogrammed, scanned, synched, paired or whatever. I start to think, when did I last use the heart monitor thingy, what was that other function that involve pressing buttons like a teenager about to win Streetfighter?

So, what functions do you actually need to enjoy a ride; distance, current speed, time pedalled, clock? Are you a slave to cadence or like me squeeze in that extra climb to boost the altimeter. Do you enjoy being bleeped at by the heart monitor?

How about functions you'd like to see. Instead of a calorie counter, something that tells you how many Big Macs you've burnt off? How about a back light that goes disco when you reach a target?

18 comments

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pjay [249 posts] 2 years ago
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If you need a computer to enjoy a ride there's something very wrong, but I get lost easily so I like to have my Garmin 800 with a route programmed into it. A map would do the same job.

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 2 years ago
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No computer, no gears, no Strava.

Just ride the thing and enjoy the feeling!

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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I use the 800. It's nice to put the ride into Strava etc. But the main thing for me is that I don't have to stop every two miles to check that I'm on the right route. It opens up a lot for me.

Knowing my top speed, HR, average speed are all good things. And in fact using the biketoaster I can see the gradient/hill top finish on it and so I know how deep I should dig.

Also 'Miles to destination' can be useful if you've pressed stop and haven't restarted the gizmo.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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some people like to have lots of stats, some ride happier without any. go for what suits you. there is no right or wrong answer, really. personally i like to keep a track of my rides with a GPS unit and on a big ride i find it helpful to have a route loaded - less faffing at junctions means more riding.

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700c [905 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd love a garmin but they're still quite pricey, even the old 800.  2

In the meantime my Cateye velo wireless suits me really well, all basic functions,.easy installation,.reliable, £25.

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cidermart [489 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd like to see a little ambulance pop up on the screen if you go over your max heart rate  4

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BBB [409 posts] 2 years ago
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I use a stopwatch to time my rides and fingers to calculate" the hourage  3

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Kim Chee [33 posts] 2 years ago
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My Cateye Mity 2 lasted until last year! Amazing for electronic put through horrid vibrations, temp swings, feet of rain and hail...but really just used it for route finding in guidebooks. I am the proud owner of a stack of MTB guidebooks about 20" high that I rode before settling down! Not wise to get lost (or have mech. problem) while out alone with a near freezing night coming! Altimeter nice but only to supplement navigation, not bragging rights.

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sm [382 posts] 2 years ago
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I too am one of the old school romantics who likes to ride on 'feel'. And then look at the gps when I get home. Agree with others, maps on the 800 - wow, what did I do before them? That's right, stop at every junction to look at a map! Best investment ever.

When I get home it's nice to average cadence, HR, speed and a little part of me (insert joke here) likes to look at the temperature so I can reassure myself how hard I've been in the middle winter.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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I like my VDO C08C - a very basic cycle computer, but one with a "C", for cadence. Knowing what 90, 100, 110 rpm feels like is really useful.

Did try riding with a heart rate monitor, but it never suited me - it turns out the quick bursts of max effort that i like to do, put me over the pre-defined "max hr" - so it beeps at me!

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Simon E [2723 posts] 2 years ago
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Never had a cadence computer, I think that's more info than I need.

Currently ride without any pooter at all. I would prefer to see the total distance and riding time when I finish a ride, but only because I like the info, no real purpose. I don't want to follow a GPS while on my bike or use Strava.

For time trials I have one on the stem mainly so I don't miss my start time (I don't wear a watch). During the race I set it to show average speed as I find that helps with motivation.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Wired is better than wireless, IMHO, too. Does anyone else feel the same?

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Yorkshie Whippet [530 posts] 2 years ago
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PJ McNally wrote:

Wired is better than wireless, IMHO, too. Does anyone else feel the same?

For mtbs I would never go back to wired. For road and the way I feel, I agree totally especially when the transmitter battery goes flat. Unfortunately I've grown up on gear indicators and have become a litle reliant on them hence the use of the Flightdeck.

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Simon E [2723 posts] 2 years ago
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Wired is likely to be more reliable. I have read plenty of stories of signal drop. I had issues with a VDO C1DS, took it back to the shop, a replacement was the same.
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The wired model I bought instead has always worked perfectly.

Wireless requires you to replace the battery in the transmitter periodically; not a hassle until you forget and it goes dead. Wireless can often be run off the rear wheel, which is useful for turbo sessions.

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joemmo [1164 posts] 2 years ago
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very pleased with the garmin 500, it has a myriad of readout options and although I have a few screens configured for different scenarios but they mainly just use speed, avg speed, lap speed, distance, clock time, elapsed time and HR zone.

I wouldn't say I'm a slave to it or that I spend a lot of time analysing the data but I do like GPS recording and the fact that it's self contained and wireless, just from a practicality point of view. Previously I had various cateye computers but they always seemed to give up the ghost eventually or leave the handlebars suddenly and unnoticed. So far the garmin has stayed put.

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 2 years ago
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PJ McNally wrote:

I like my VDO C08C - a very basic cycle computer, but one with a "C", for cadence. Knowing what 90, 100, 110 rpm feels like is really useful.

Did try riding with a heart rate monitor, but it never suited me - it turns out the quick bursts of max effort that i like to do, put me over the pre-defined "max hr" - so it beeps at me!

You should be able to change that in the settings to something suitable. They usually use the 220 - age formula, which is not that good for someone older who's fit. I've got mine up to 185 but I'm 55. I have to admit I don't use it that much though as it doesn't communicate with my Bryton, it is a cheap one from Aldi and works well but it would be much better if it did communicate though!

I used to use the clicker on the forks when I was a teenager and did TTs and wanted to know how well my training was going.

Nowadays I always have my wireless cateye, which is very good and use a Bryton for longer more serious rides or when I want a route. I have to put my rides on Strava now as they pulled their support for Bryton's website so I discovered segments. Not a good thing for a competitive old so-and-so!

Got a KOM by accident and trying to get a proper uphill one on a little climb I go up a lot, 4th so far. It's taking over from fantasy cycling now!

If I want a fun ride or go out with my wife or daughter I just leave the Bryton at home so I get the best of both worlds.

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dunnoh [198 posts] 2 years ago
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My Garmin 800 gives me the freedom to go as far as I can within my ability. I actually ride further and faster knowing exactly how long I have left to get home.

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big mick [183 posts] 2 years ago
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Garmin 800 all the way.You will wonder how you managed without it simple as