The VDO MC1.0+ is a feature heavy computer that'll give you a wealth of information about your ride. It takes a little while to get to know all the functions, but once you do it's a great ride companion.
Getting the computer on your bike is a simple enough process: the sensor and computer mount attach with two zip ties each (though oddly ours only came with three zip ties) and the magnet tightens with a thumb screw, so no tools are needed at all. The range of the sensor is okay, it didn't work reliably on the rear wheel so it's not a good choice for turbo heads. The twist-in mount is one of our favourites, the design meaning that there's no way the computer can shake loose.
Put the batteries in, set the language and it's time to, erm, read the manual. Not that you can't use the MC1.0+ straight away, but the setting up process and changing of counters is not an intuitive operation. There are three buttons (which are relatively glove-friendly), each of which accesses a range of functions: left for basic trip stuff, middle for altimeter and right for other bits and bobs. you always get your speed in big numbers, your altitude, current gradient and current temperature; everything else can be displayed in the bottom right hand corner.
Re-setting counters, setting the clock, changing the wheel sizes and so on requires a combination of selecting the right readout and clicking the right buttons in the right order. Once you've got the hang of it all of this kind of makes sense, but it takes a bit of learning.
So what of the functions? Well, you get the normal trip bits, including an actual/average comparison arrow which is always welcome, and the MC1.0+ can store two wheel sizes, so it's a breeze to swap between bikes if you buy another mounting kit. There's a programmable trip counter which is great if you're following a route: if you miss a turn, or your computer doesn't tally with the guide, you can just set the numbers to match the book, rather than having to do mental arithmetic at each junction.
The altimeter works on barometric pressure and proved to be fairly accurate out on the road, giving climbing figures that were pretty close to GPS readouts on the same climb. Obviously changing pressure affects the readout but I found that it didn't tend to change the start/finish altitude by more than about 10-20m on a ride, and the gradient information and changing altitude out on the road are useful: if you're struggling on what you think is a flat section it's easy to find out if it really is flat. You can manually adjust the altitude at any time (say at the top of a col when you know how high up you are) and set a home altitude. The MC1.0+ counts every metre you climb, giving you a tally for each ride and a cumulative total. The thermometer isn't bad, though it's less useful as you'll have already checked what the weather's going to be like before you set out...
Overall the VDO scores well for functionality, a bit less well for usability, though once you get the hang of it things start to get easier. You get lots of numbers to bandy about at the end of a ride, many of which are useful. If you like ride stats the MC1.0+ is a good, and not overly expensive, way to garner them.
1 actual speed
2 trip counter
3 odometer WS1
4 odometer WS2
5 odometer total
6 ride timer
8 average speed
9 maximum speed
11 comparison of actual speed and average speed
12 Second programmable trip counter
13 2 wheel sizes
4 altitude gain on trip
5 maximum altitude reached on trip
6 average gradient on trip
7 maximum gradient on trip
8 total altitude gain on all trips, separate for wheel size
9 maximum altitude reached on all trips, separate for wheel size
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Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.