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Bike Computers - Are they all junk?

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Bike Computers - Are they all junk?

Old 02-21-19, 09:12 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
Got my Bolt today.

1) Setup was really easy with the app, got my pages set up and I'm sandboxed between the device and the app which will do nicely. Can link and export to virtually any other app if you want.

2) Matches the bike nicely. Glad I picked the red.

3) I'm a little suspicious that the backlight is bright enough. There is no brightness adjustment, just on or off (or on for 5 seconds), and to me it doesn't seem all that bright, but everyone says they have no problem whatsoever reading it in the sun so I'll take their word for it. Screen is easy to read though.

3) I do not see any option to invert the colors like all the promotional images show (black background with white numbers like below):



All I can see/do is white background/black numbers:



The first image above must happen only during lap mode or something. No big deal. The screen is also slightly more pixelated than those promotional images show. Again, no big deal, still pretty nice.

4) I like that it shows a little elevation map on the climbing page.

5) The out front mount is nice, quarter turn mounting is solid and secure. I did initially want to set it so the screen was parallel with the ground, but it was putting too much pressure on the front brake cable, so I eventually relented and set it to match the angle of my stem, which I guess is fine since it's tilted towards me a bit and it's better for the cables. Maybe that makes me a Fred? Probably not anymore so than my stack of spacers, so whatever. Never really thought much about the angle people install their computers at or noticed what other people do.






Overall I'm really happy with it and it seems like a nice piece of equipment. Looking forward to taking a ride with it when the 4 feet of snow in the yard melts in 3-4 months.

Your bike looks pretty nice, have you posted pics of it to this forum?


If so, could you link them or direct me to the thread they are in.


Thanks.
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Old 02-21-19, 09:25 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Your bike looks pretty nice, have you posted pics of it to this forum?


If so, could you link them or direct me to the thread they are in.


Thanks.
Thanks, I've posted in the What Road Bike do you Have sticky in the road forum earlier this summer or fall, but couldn't say what page, and those were pre-fitting pics I think. I'll upload some new ones when I get my new wheels on.
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Old 02-21-19, 09:48 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
I've had a very high fail rate with wireless, no matter how much I've paid for a wireless they all last no longer than 5 years. If you want a reliable computer go wired but you won't win any fashion points. I happen to like Sigma the best of the wired jobs, their buttons don't feel like the contacts are plasticky. The Sigma BC 14.12 has elevation as well.
That sounds like a good life for an electronic device. Particularly one that exists in an environment such as on a bicycle.
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Old 02-21-19, 09:56 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
That sounds like a good life for an electronic device. Particularly one that exists in an environment such as on a bicycle.
Well accept wired ones will last at least 20 years, vs 2 to 5 (from my experience) for wireless, remember I said the longest lasting one I had was 5 years, I had one that didn't make it out of the warranty and the replacement made it 4 months but wasn't warrantied because the a warranty replacement doesn't start the warranty time frame all over it just continues where the old one left off; that one was a Cateye. I then had a Planet Bike wireless and it lasted around 2 years, and the 5 year one was a VDO. I have a Sigma wired one that is about 20 years old and my wife has a 12 year old Sigma wired job, I have wired Cateye that is about 28 years old. I've found on the wireless jobs is that the computer itself is fine, it's the sending unit that quits.
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Old 02-22-19, 08:01 PM
  #30  
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I ended up remounting it tonight. Having it tilted up and above the front derailleur/brake cables was still putting a bit of unnatural downward stress on both cables and creating a pain point where the cables come out of the bar tape as they were being pushed out against the bar tape.

I then saw someone online route their cables over the mount, which for some reason I didn't think of. Tried doing that which would allow the unit to be parallel to the ground (I mean hey it's the only aero unit out there so may as well take advantage if you can no matter how small the advantage), but that put too much stress on the derailleur cable and I was getting binding turning the front wheel lock to lock.

Ultimately realized that the best setup for my bike was to split it and have the derailleur cable under the mount, and the brake cable over the mount, with the unit parallel to the ground. This gave the derailleur cable enough room to breathe and more or less took all the stress off it since it didn't also have the brake cable pushing down on it, and the brake cable running over the top of the mount is just a little taut but not too bad and everything is working nice. I ended up taping the cables with electrical tape at rub points.

So now the unit is parallel to the ground (aero), and the cables are in the most natural position of the three ways I tried mounting it, so it's a win-win. Also helps keep the unit protected during a crash or even just keeps it from hitting the ground when the bike is upside down during a road side repair if I forget to remove it.








Exciting stuff...........
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Old 02-22-19, 09:58 PM
  #31  
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On my MTB I have the bigger Elemnt mounted unconventional and facing the other side to prevent it from getting whacked around, the Bolt is smaller and would fit nice there too but I wouldn't think it getting banged around would be an issue on a road bike.

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Old 02-22-19, 11:16 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
Well accept wired ones will last at least 20 years, vs 2 to 5 (from my experience) for wireless, remember I said the longest lasting one I had was 5 years, I had one that didn't make it out of the warranty and the replacement made it 4 months but wasn't warrantied because the a warranty replacement doesn't start the warranty time frame all over it just continues where the old one left off; that one was a Cateye. I then had a Planet Bike wireless and it lasted around 2 years, and the 5 year one was a VDO. I have a Sigma wired one that is about 20 years old and my wife has a 12 year old Sigma wired job, I have wired Cateye that is about 28 years old. I've found on the wireless jobs is that the computer itself is fine, it's the sending unit that quits.
I had a Garmin for just shy of ten years before it and the bike we'r stolen.
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Old 02-23-19, 01:08 PM
  #33  
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I've had my Elemnt Bolt for a couple of months now, plus the speed and cadence sensors. Pretty happy with it. I think you'll be fine. I have mine paired with Strava and RideWithGPS. Always fun to go over the numbers once I'm home. And it uploads the data easily without any issue for me. I always go in later on my laptop and add photos into Strava from the ride.

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Old 02-24-19, 03:31 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by puma1552
.... 3) I do not see any option to invert the colors like all the promotional images show (black background with white numbers like below): ....
The Elemnt and Bolt will only show reversed background on three metrics - speed, power and heart rate. Since you do not have any sensors, you can only have the reversed background on speed. Go to the Settings page, in the phone app, and select "LEDs and Sound." At the top of the page you will see an image of flashing LEDs on the top of a computer. Above the image is a bar that has the options of Off, Speed, Power and HR. Select the Speed option and it will reverse the background for your speed pane on the Bolt.

BTW, I like your C-RS. I have a white one and absolutely love it.
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Old 02-25-19, 01:02 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
The Elemnt and Bolt will only show reversed background on three metrics - speed, power and heart rate. Since you do not have any sensors, you can only have the reversed background on speed. Go to the Settings page, in the phone app, and select "LEDs and Sound." At the top of the page you will see an image of flashing LEDs on the top of a computer. Above the image is a bar that has the options of Off, Speed, Power and HR. Select the Speed option and it will reverse the background for your speed pane on the Bolt.

BTW, I like your C-RS. I have a white one and absolutely love it.
Notifications and navigation Turn-By-Turn display as well. White lettering on black background. I found the navigation TBT text impossible to read while wearing sunglasses, the Garmin color TBT page is much easier to read, IMO.
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Old 02-25-19, 11:49 PM
  #36  
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You have the same requirements as I. I chose the garmin edge 130. So far, so good.
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Old 02-26-19, 08:34 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Notifications and navigation Turn-By-Turn display as well. White lettering on black background. I found the navigation TBT text impossible to read while wearing sunglasses, the Garmin color TBT page is much easier to read, IMO.
This is very true but I was responding to the OP's question on " I do not see any option to invert the colors like all the promotional images show."

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Old 02-26-19, 05:25 PM
  #38  
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I think they're unnecessary accessory just clunter up your handlebar.

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Old 02-27-19, 12:23 PM
  #39  
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I've looked into getting a modern bike computer but they all seem like a *lot* of money for what they do. So I just use an old smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S5) that has no service, and run OsmAnd on that. That gets me mapping, and those other statistics (speed, elevation, etc., over the course of the ride, plus a saved GPS track of where I went). I have a metal bracket from AliExpress on the handlebars for it. Basically, this was free since the phone was old and I don't use it as a phone any more. The bracket was $13 on AliExpress.
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Old 02-27-19, 04:40 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by dwolsten View Post
I've looked into getting a modern bike computer but they all seem like a *lot* of money for what they do. So I just use an old smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S5) that has no service, and run OsmAnd on that. That gets me mapping, and those other statistics (speed, elevation, etc., over the course of the ride, plus a saved GPS track of where I went). I have a metal bracket from AliExpress on the handlebars for it. Basically, this was free since the phone was old and I don't use it as a phone any more. The bracket was $13 on AliExpress.
That's where I think I'm heading towards my cell phone as well. I looked into the Garmin units for touring and read a lot of reports and a lot of users had all sorts of issues from wrong directions, to sometimes taking a long time to update position, to taking a long time to acquire sats; and again I hear a lot of uses complaining theirs only lasted an average of 3 years, that's not acceptable for a $400 unit to be having that kind of fail rate, plus when touring I don't want some unreliable unit that might fail at any given time. So I'm seriously thinking about staying away from any sort of stand alone GPS.

However, there is one on the market made by Garmin, of all people, called the Etrex 30, but I can't find enough touring cyclists information to know how well it works for route planning and address to address navigation, but the reliability is very high from what I've read.
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Old 02-28-19, 12:29 PM
  #41  
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I'm another smartphone user. I bought a used Garmin Edge 200, and it might have been defective. It worked but not reliably. My smartphone isn't perfect, but nothing is. I use an external battery when running ridewithgps, and when I'm done with the ride, my internal battery is higher than when the ride began. Sometimes I set the phone to keep the screen on so I can watch it. One drawback is that it's very hard to use the touch screen while riding.
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Old 02-28-19, 01:51 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
That's where I think I'm heading towards my cell phone as well. I looked into the Garmin units for touring and read a lot of reports and a lot of users had all sorts of issues from wrong directions, to sometimes taking a long time to update position, to taking a long time to acquire sats; and again I hear a lot of uses complaining theirs only lasted an average of 3 years, that's not acceptable for a $400 unit to be having that kind of fail rate, plus when touring I don't want some unreliable unit that might fail at any given time. So I'm seriously thinking about staying away from any sort of stand alone GPS.

However, there is one on the market made by Garmin, of all people, called the Etrex 30, but I can't find enough touring cyclists information to know how well it works for route planning and address to address navigation, but the reliability is very high from what I've read.
Any electronics can fail at any time. Seriously, bugs crash operating systems, batteries die, charging ports fail, any number of things can and sometimes do go wrong. No matter what system you use, it's smart to have some kind of backup.

By the way, the etrex units are darlings of the hiking community. Fenix watches are just as reliable. My Edge lasted ten years, it's probably serving a bike thief well today. I think when people say something only lasts so long what they often mean is that want something newer and shinier.


​​​​
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Old 02-28-19, 04:26 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Any electronics can fail at any time. Seriously, bugs crash operating systems, batteries die, charging ports fail, any number of things can and sometimes do go wrong. No matter what system you use, it's smart to have some kind of backup.

By the way, the etrex units are darlings of the hiking community. Fenix watches are just as reliable. My Edge lasted ten years, it's probably serving a bike thief well today. I think when people say something only lasts so long what they often mean is that want something newer and shinier.


​​​​
Of course electronics can fail at anytime so can human beings, the point was that to spend $500 or so for a computer and to have it last an average of 3 years sounds crazy to me, maybe that's acceptable to you, but it isn't acceptable to me,

Since you seem to know something about Etrex have you used one? and what did you think of it? I now they're a heck of lot more robust than the Garmin stuff for bikes which confuses me as to why Garmin chose not to make the bike ones just as rugged as the Etrex.
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Old 02-28-19, 05:11 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
... again I hear a lot of uses complaining theirs only lasted an average of 3 years,...
What's "lots"? What about the unknown number of other people you haven't heard from?
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Old 02-28-19, 05:57 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
What's "lots"? What about the unknown number of other people you haven't heard from?
This.

I've recently been watching a lot of YouTube videos of mt. biking on Long Island as well as New Mexico. One thing that struck me was nearly EVERY h-bar seemed to have some sort of large bike computer thing, most likely a Garmin, maybe one of the others. I know what a cell phone looks like, those are much larger than a GPS unit and these were not cell phones. Thus I pondered that there are decent sales of these things, even with the mt. bike community. I wondered about that as GPS navigation for trails is still not that far along (getting there with TrailForks and others) so I assume the mt. bikers use them for tracking, as well as the maps. My experience with GPS units for on road navigation is pretty decent and I would have no issues taking one on a long tour.
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Old 02-28-19, 06:09 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
Of course electronics can fail at anytime so can human beings, the point was that to spend $500 or so for a computer and to have it last an average of 3 years sounds crazy to me, maybe that's acceptable to you, but it isn't acceptable to me,

Since you seem to know something about Etrex have you used one? and what did you think of it? I now they're a heck of lot more robust than the Garmin stuff for bikes which confuses me as to why Garmin chose not to make the bike ones just as rugged as the Etrex.
​​​​​​That sounds crazy to me too. Luckily, it's not the reality for me, or anybody I know (in the face to face world). I would be howling mad if that happened to me, and I'd avail myself of every opportunity to right the situation. My Fenix watch is still going 4 (?) years later, my Edge 800 lasted a decade before it was stolen, and was still perfectly functional. Garmin earned themselves a bad reputation but the internet has amplified it to a level where the hyperbole just isn't realistic anymore.

Personally, I found the etrex too klunky. It was better than not having a GPS but 6 preferred the Oregon series, and honestly, a GPS watch is all that and a bag of chips for me. But this is highly personal, I didn't like it because the way you interact with it just doesn't feel natural to me, not because there was anything inherently wrong with it. A lot of hikers think it's the best thing Garmin ever made.

​​​​​
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Old 02-28-19, 06:17 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
This.

I've recently been watching a lot of YouTube videos of mt. biking on Long Island as well as New Mexico. One thing that struck me was nearly EVERY h-bar seemed to have some sort of large bike computer thing, most likely a Garmin, maybe one of the others. I know what a cell phone looks like, those are much larger than a GPS unit and these were not cell phones. Thus I pondered that there are decent sales of these things, even with the mt. bike community. I wondered about that as GPS navigation for trails is still not that far along (getting there with TrailForks and others) so I assume the mt. bikers use them for tracking, as well as the maps. My experience with GPS units for on road navigation is pretty decent and I would have no issues taking one on a long tour.
I use my Garmin watch to navigate on trails sometimes. It has all the trails I've hiked in the North Cascades. I'm delighted that you can put in a destination (a lake, a peak) and it can give you trail miles not as the crow flies miles, and tell you when you've left the trail, like if you walk off a switchback.

A buddy of mine found a Garmin Edge 810 one day hiking on a trail that gets shared use with MTBers. He said its owner was thrilled to get it back.
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Old 02-28-19, 06:41 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
What's "lots"? What about the unknown number of other people you haven't heard from?
No, I read that on a forum discussing dynamos some time back when I was researching them, like I said though, that 3 year 3,000 mile a year thing was for the low end Shimano units, I couldn't find at the time how long the high end dynos lasted. That 3 year 3000 mile thing seemed low to me but I guess they had issues with the internals, now that was about 5 years ago when I looked into this stuff, Shimano may have improved the designed since then. Because of your question I went and looked on the internet and found one guy saying his Shimano dynamo was 6 or 7 years old. Also it appears that the Son hub has a bit less drag and less weight plus will run a Edelux light at a brighter level at slower speeds then the Shimano, anyway you read that stuff on this forum: https://singletrackworld.com/forum/t...d-reliability/

WOW, just as I was about to hit the submit reply I found this, not the same discussion I read 5 years ago about Shimano but similar: https://www.bikeforums.net/long-dist...ring-life.html

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Old 02-28-19, 06:59 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​​​That sounds crazy to me too. Luckily, it's not the reality for me, or anybody I know (in the face to face world). I would be howling mad if that happened to me, and I'd avail myself of every opportunity to right the situation. My Fenix watch is still going 4 (?) years later, my Edge 800 lasted a decade before it was stolen, and was still perfectly functional. Garmin earned themselves a bad reputation but the internet has amplified it to a level where the hyperbole just isn't realistic anymore.

Personally, I found the etrex too klunky. It was better than not having a GPS but 6 preferred the Oregon series, and honestly, a GPS watch is all that and a bag of chips for me. But this is highly personal, I didn't like it because the way you interact with it just doesn't feel natural to me, not because there was anything inherently wrong with it. A lot of hikers think it's the best thing Garmin ever made.

​​​​​
Why did you like the Oregon one? Does it do point to point and address to address navigation with turn by turn directions?

When I said lots of people, I mentioned earlier that I tour, so I have opportunity to see people using those things, and some that had used them but will no longer use them. Some of those that used them claimed they were on their second or third Garmin and that they didn't last long but they didn't care if they had to replace them, like some of you here eluded to, but those people also had high incomes so money was no object. The people more like me who had them at one time only to have a unit break went to their phones and maps instead of buying a new Garmin and chance it not lasting long. I ran into a couple of people that used the Etrex and they really liked it. So I may go that route, but would like to hear your thoughts on that vs the Oregon in more detail if you don't mind.

Apparently the Oregon is made by Garmin, I thought they were different companies!, but I am interested in the Oregon due to it's touchscreen; see:

Last edited by greatscott; 02-28-19 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 02-28-19, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
No, I read that on a forum discussing dynamos some time back when I was researching them, like I said though, that 3 year 3,000 mile a year thing was for the low end Shimano units, I couldn't find at the time how long the high end dynos lasted. That 3 year 3000 mile thing seemed low to me but I guess they had issues with the internals, now that was about 5 years ago when I looked into this stuff, Shimano may have improved the designed since then. Because of your question I went and looked on the internet and found one guy saying his Shimano dynamo was 6 or 7 years old. Also it appears that the Son hub has a bit less drag and less weight plus will run a Edelux light at a brighter level at slower speeds then the Shimano, anyway you read that stuff on this forum: https://singletrackworld.com/forum/t...d-reliability/

WOW, just as I was about to hit the submit reply I found this, not the same discussion I read 5 years ago about Shimano but similar: https://www.bikeforums.net/long-dist...ring-life.html
I thought the discussion was about Garmin GPS units?

There are still many using the Garmin Edge 500, Edge 800 and Edge 810 (including me) who are satisfied with them.
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