In a time where GPS computers and Strava are dominating the ride-logging market, the humble magnetic cycle computer is often overlooked. Indeed B'Twin's Count 8 is the first magnetic one I have used in a very long time.
The Count 8 sits in the middle of B'Twin's three-strong Count computer range. It benefits from displaying slightly more data than its lower counterpart, the Count 4, but also slightly less than that available from the top end Count 14.
As it stands, the Count 8 offers — startlingly, considering its name — eight different functions: instant/average/maximum speeds, an odometer and a trip distance, a clock, stopwatch, and bar that allows speed comparison with the overall ride average.
The Count 8 is wireless which I prefer; I have always found cycle computer wires a bit of an eyesore. As with most computers, measurements are taken using a magnet attached to one of your spokes and a receiver attached to your fork leg or chain stay. I used the front wheel as B'Twin suggested in the instructions. In hindsight I think the receiver would have been more aesthetically pleasing if I could have tucked it away on the chain stay somewhere but the user guide suggested that there might have been wireless range issues with it that far away.
Setting up the computer was a doddle, attaching the head unit to my stem with a rubber clip akin, making it easy to remove if you lock your bike up in a dodgy place and want to take your computer with you. It can be attached to either the stem or the bars as the mount accepts the unit in two positions at right angles to each other. I found to look a bit neater on the stem. The receiver for the magnet is attached with a similar rubber strap, and then can be further secured with a couple of zip ties, something I found I needed to do to make sure that the receiver stayed in place over bumpier roads.
There is a menu within the head unit to ensure that the correct wheel size for you bike is logged. Unlike some computers, it uses a user definable input for the circumference of the bike wheel, useful if you are running a particularly unusual wheel/tyre combo. B'Twin provide a chart in their instructions for all the conventional combinations of wheels and tyres in order to save you having to get the tape measure and chalk out on your bike in order to get the circumference of your wheels.
In use, I found the Count 8 to be a simple and dependable little unit. Granted it won't provide you with the enormous array of data and online Strava bragging rights but I was never left particularly wanting for anything on my rides during the last month. It had all the key measures (well maybe apart from total ascent) that tell me if a ride is easy or hard.
Battery life is unsurprisingly excellent, I didn't have to even consider replacing the button battery in the testing period, and there were no glitches or oddities to worry about.
The unit is operated by three buttons: one on the top of the unit to power it up, and then two below the screen to cycle back and forth between available data fields on the screen - which sit below a large readout of your instantaneous speed. It was nice to have a forward and back button to cycle through the data fields as I find it frustrating when you can only have one button on a computer, and then miss the data set you were trying to find and have to go back through all the screens again. While we're on the screen, I found it to be very easy to read but bear in mind there is no backlight if you are planning on riding in the dark.
The conventional cycle computer gets a lot less attention with the advent of GPS computers, but if you are looking for a very cheap and simple way to measure your speed and distance, they are still a great shout. The Count 8 is an excellent example, offering just enough to satisfy a usual Stravantie like me - and for a penny under 20 quid I couldn't really ask for much more on my commuter bike. B'Twin also offer you a two year warranty in the unlikely event that something does go wrong with the Count 8.
Cheap, dependable and easy to set up computer that still offers enough basic data fields to be useful
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Make and model: BTwin Count 8 Counter - Wireless Cycle Computer
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From B'Twin's site:
"Designed for regular cyclists seeking a wireless counter with 8 functions that is quick and easy to set-up and simple to use."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Again from B'Twin:
EASE OF USE
Intuitive, simplified programming, large ergonomic buttons.
Inst speed + av + max/inst +total distance/clock/stopwatch/speed comparison
EASY ASSEMBLY / DISMANTLING
Extremely quick and easy tool-free fitting on the stem or handlebar. Wireless.
Colour holders available as accessories to personalise your bike computer.
Large display and numbers for quick and easy reading.
Watertight assembly, durable case.
Buttons work well and are easy to come to terms with even on a bumpy road.
Did the job as I expected it to for 20 quid.
Lighter than most GPS units by quite a way.
Good functionality for a low price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The back and forth buttons for cycling through the data fields, and the ease of setting the unit up. Oh and the fact that it was wireless.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I think the reciever mounts could have been a bit more sturdy for attaching to the chainstay/fork leg.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably for a winter bike - although I mostly use GPS nowadays.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,