A bike computer is an important tool for cyclists, for time-efficient training and also a tool to navigate ride and routes. The new VDO MC 2.0 Wireless Cycle Computer is a German-made wireless computer and from opening the box through to installation and using, the MC 2.0 is a well thought-out piece of kit.
A simple process of putting the speed sensor and mount on my bike saw the computer quickly installed. I did refer to the manual for the initial set up to make sure that the initial data input was correct. The manual is clear and this process, other than finding out the altitude of my house, was very quick.
Yes you read correctly; altitude. One of the key features of the MC 2.0 is that it comes with an altimeter working from air pressure. On the read-out of the computer you get a current altitude, total climbed, percentage of climb or descent, average percentage. These are all handy tools but should be used with caution.
I often found that the altitude reading was a few metres out of what the roads in the mountains were telling me. As with all computers it should be used as a reference tool only.
When comparing it with other computers with altimeters the readings will somewhat differ. Another thing to note with this pressure-based altimeter is that your base reading will change with weather pressure. This means an annoying process of re-calibrating your computer before each ride and also the risk that a change in weather will affect the accuracy of readings.
I found the same with the percentage gradient function on the computer. On one ride just outside Geneva, an out-and-back on the same climb, going up the percentage was reading 7% to 9%, whilst when descending it was reading 13% to 15%. A friend riding with me had a GPS which was reading somewhere in the middle, 10% to 12%. This was a little disappointing considering the high retail price of the computer, but when compared to the price of a GPS unit it can perhaps be overlooked.
The other, more standard functions of the computer were pleasing. Speed, time, distance were all quick to navigate between with the large button and clear to see on the large display.
The MC 2.0 also has a heart rate and cadence feature, with the heart rate monitor belt or cadence sensor purchased separately. The model tested came with the cadence sensor which was as simple to install as the rest of the computer. It was a great aid to training.
A limiting factor with the MC 2.0 is that you cannot view both your heart rate and cadence at the same time; it is one or the other. As add-on features it would then make sense to buy whichever one you thought was most suitable for your riding.
Overall the MC 2.0 is a well-built, well thought-out and easy to use computer.
Light, quick to install and set up, it is a great training tool. It was disappointing to see the lack of accuracy in the altimeter function, as well as the fact that you cannot download data. Only being able to see heart rate or cadence function is also limiting.
Coming in only a little cheaper than you can get a bottom of the line Garmin and the same price as you can get the recently reviewed Bryton Rider 20 some might want to spend a little bit more money for increased accuracy, downloadable function and the ability to train in the world of Strava.
Simple to use computer with a clear display, but some might find it lacking in features.
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Make and model: VDO MC 2.0 Wireless Cycle Computer
Size tested: n/a
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?
For those wanting more than a bog-standard computer, but not having the budget for a full blown GPS. Coming in a little cheaper than a low end GPS some might want to stretch their budget to join the world of Strava.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Large buttons. Clear display. Heart rate and cadence compatible. Altimeter.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
An easy to use computer with clear functions. Though the air pressure based altimeter is questionable in its accuracy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Clear display. Simple to scroll between functions. A basic altimeter which gives you a rough idea on height for less than a GPS.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Unable to use heart rate and cadence functions at the same time.
Accuracy of altimeter and percentage grade given.
Not able to download training.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
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