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Phone Connected Computers?

Old 07-18-19, 07:56 AM
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dmanthree
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Phone Connected Computers?

Are there any cycling computers that simply connect to your smartphone and use the GPS and display stats, speed, etc? Any that work well?
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Old 07-18-19, 08:49 AM
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1) Yes.
2) Depends.
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Old 07-18-19, 08:53 AM
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The cycling stats are already given by the bike computer itself. The same things can usually be gotten from your phone via an app and without the need of a bike computer.

So what exactly are you wanting one to provide the other?
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Old 07-18-19, 08:54 AM
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Wahoo (I have no experience with Garmin) has its own GPS unit and tracks speed, cadence, and whatever you have a sensor for. It connects to your phone via BT to upload the data...so it is not using your phones resources during the ride.
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Old 07-18-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
1) Yes.
2) Depends.
A less than helpful answer. I mean why bother typing at all ?
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Old 07-18-19, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
Are there any cycling computers that simply connect to your smartphone and use the GPS and display stats, speed, etc? Any that work well?
I think what you're asking is a computer that just mirrors that data from your phone; phone does all the work.

The Wahoo Mini does this.

No idea if it works well, although I have several Wahoo products and I'm mostly happy with them.
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Old 07-18-19, 09:04 AM
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Wahoo Mini. About $99

Comes with a speed sensor (wheel mounted) that will allow the unit to function as a basic bike computer without needing a smartphone connection to be present and running during a ride.

But note that as Wahoo requires the companion app be installed on a smartphone to do an initial setup, that app can then be used to connect to the Mini and accesses the phone GPS receiver. That then gets you a position map and GPS track that can be uploaded to Strava, RWGPS, if you use them as fitness trackers. It does not, as far as I can determine, allow you to generate a route from a 3rd party such as RWGPS to have a pre-planned navigable route to follow. The Bolt, Elemnt, Elemnt Roam and assorted Garmins, Lezyne and Polars do all this but are more expensive.
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Old 07-18-19, 10:56 AM
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This

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The cycling stats are already given by the bike computer itself. The same things can usually be gotten from your phone via an app and without the need of a bike computer.

So what exactly are you wanting one to provide the other?
I'm looking for a head unit to simply reflect what's on the phone. Why bother with two computers when you already have a pretty powerful one in your pocket?
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Old 07-18-19, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
I'm looking for a head unit to simply reflect what's on the phone. Why bother with two computers when you already have a pretty powerful one in your pocket?
Sounds like a Quad Lock is what you are looking for.

If you're asking for opinions of why a computer over a phone: 1. Battery limitations, 2. Ensuring phone is available for emergencies and not dead because it's been tracking a ride.
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Old 07-18-19, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
Sounds like a Quad Lock is what you are looking for.

If you're asking for opinions of why a computer over a phone: 1. Battery limitations, 2. Ensuring phone is available for emergencies and not dead because it's been tracking a ride.
Definitely not looking for a mount for the phone, for the very reason you mentioned. Looking for a connected head unit to use the phone's tracking features without having to keep the phone "live" for the entire ride.
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Old 07-18-19, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
Looking for a connected head unit to use the phone's tracking features without having to keep the phone "live" for the entire ride.
While not a dedicated bike computer, an Apple watch will connect with an iPhone. The Apple Watch app from ridewithgps.com will show you ride metrics and turn-by-turn directions.




ridewithgps: Apple Watch
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Old 07-18-19, 11:57 AM
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Yup. I use an older model Wahoo sensor set with my iPhone 4s on my old steel road bike for indoor trainer. There are still plenty of unsold new/old stock Wahoo Fitness Bike Pack kits for iPhone 3 to 4 models that include:
  • ANT+ adapter in a weather resistant case
  • Speed sensor (for rear wheel where it's most useful if we use our bikes on rollers or Cycleops type trainers)
  • Cadence sensor

Costs a whopping $15. Retail was $150 when this kit was new in 2012. Still works fine. But it's heavy and bulky so I only use it on the indoor trainer.

I also have the Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor. I wore it constantly for a month but now only wear it on workouts. It pretty much confirmed what I already knew. However in the couple of months I've worn it I have noticed a slight uptick in my maximum ticker rate, so it wasn't a complete waste of money. But pricey at $50. The older Wahoo HR monitor would have been a better buy for my old iPhone.

I don't bother with this stuff on outdoor rides for various reasons. I just use the Wahoo Fitness and Strava apps. The phone is in my pocket, not on the handlebar:
  • My cadence is like clockwork, 90 rpm once I'm warmed up. I don't need a device to remind me.
  • Speed? Meh, don't really care. My training routes are on windy rolling prairie. The wind can affect my speed differently every day. I just go by perceived effort. And in group rides I ride the group pace, so I don't need to know my speed. Can I keep up with the group or my riding buddy? I'm fast enough.

I do have a good cheap bike computer, wireless, no interaction with my smartphones or GPS. Cost about $12. Weighs next to nothing. I might put it on my carbon bike. Mostly it's helpful to confirm my average speed, distance, etc., in case there's a GPS sync glitch with my phone and/or fitness apps. When I used the bike computer on the handlebar it usually matched my GPS data, within a few nths -- close enough for my purposes.

If I got serious about training for time trials I might consider a power meter, but it's difficult to justify the cost. My bikes don't even cost more than $200, so I can't justify $500 for a power meter. I already know I'm on the low performance rung among guys my age. If I improve to where I can keep up with other serious amateur 60somethings, then I might be ready to finesse my training. But I'd rather rent one or work out in a gym with a cycling coach.
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Old 07-19-19, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
Are there any cycling computers that simply connect to your smartphone and use the GPS and display stats, speed, etc? Any that work well?
Wahoo made a unit a few years ago called the Wahoo RFLKT and RFLKT+. It did exactly what you are asking and displayed the data from certain phone apps. It did not show any maps, just data. I used one for several years and loved it. Unfortunately, Wahoo discontinued them when they introduced the Elemnt bike computer. Amazon is showing one left for $54.99 but it's used. At the moment, the only cycling apps that I know of that still supports the RFLKT is Cyclemeter and the Wahoo Fitness app. Both apps allow you to customize the RFLKT's screen layout to your liking but Cyclemeter gives better customization. Cyclemeter is $10,00/year, Wahoo Fitness is FREE.
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Old 07-19-19, 11:10 AM
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Don't you have an old smartphone that you can put something like a quad lock on?

Old phones sitting in your drawer are still usuable as wifi only devices and you can load whatever cycling app floats your boat.
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Old 07-19-19, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
I'm looking for a head unit to simply reflect what's on the phone. Why bother with two computers when you already have a pretty powerful one in your pocket?
Best option here is to just use an older smartphone as a dedicated bike computer.

Even the models from 3-4 years ago are massively overpowered to handle any kind of biking related app. GPS tracking, music, dashboard odometer, etc. You can even set up up with free offline mapping.

Full color. Big screen. Totally customizable for your specific needs. $50 on Craigslist for a model that's a few years old. (Free if you have 6 of them sitting around the house like the rest of us) Just need to make sure the screen is okay, the wifi works (so you can install your apps at home without a SIM card) and the GPS works. I'm still running Android 5.1 on my bike computer. Crappy and massively outdated version of Android....still runs anything I need for the bike just fine.
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Old 07-19-19, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
I'm looking for a head unit to simply reflect what's on the phone. Why bother with two computers when you already have a pretty powerful one in your pocket?
Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
The Wahoo Mini does this.
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Wahoo Mini. About $99
Hey has anyone mentioned the Wahoo Mini
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Old 07-19-19, 02:42 PM
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No phone

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Don't you have an old smartphone that you can put something like a quad lock on?

Old phones sitting in your drawer are still usuable as wifi only devices and you can load whatever cycling app floats your boat.
Two issues with phones: battery life and overheating. I'd rather use a bike computer.
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Old 07-19-19, 02:43 PM
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Shoot

Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Wahoo made a unit a few years ago called the Wahoo RFLKT and RFLKT+. It did exactly what you are asking and displayed the data from certain phone apps. It did not show any maps, just data. I used one for several years and loved it. Unfortunately, Wahoo discontinued them when they introduced the Elemnt bike computer. Amazon is showing one left for $54.99 but it's used. At the moment, the only cycling apps that I know of that still supports the RFLKT is Cyclemeter and the Wahoo Fitness app. Both apps allow you to customize the RFLKT's screen layout to your liking but Cyclemeter gives better customization. Cyclemeter is $10,00/year, Wahoo Fitness is FREE.
Damn, that sounds like what I'm looking for. I'll take a look to see if one will work for me.
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Old 07-19-19, 02:46 PM
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Two issues

Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Best option here is to just use an older smartphone as a dedicated bike computer.

Even the models from 3-4 years ago are massively overpowered to handle any kind of biking related app. GPS tracking, music, dashboard odometer, etc. You can even set up up with free offline mapping.

Full color. Big screen. Totally customizable for your specific needs. $50 on Craigslist for a model that's a few years old. (Free if you have 6 of them sitting around the house like the rest of us) Just need to make sure the screen is okay, the wifi works (so you can install your apps at home without a SIM card) and the GPS works. I'm still running Android 5.1 on my bike computer. Crappy and massively outdated version of Android....still runs anything I need for the bike just fine.
All true, but when you have a phone in some sort of protection with the screen live for the whole ride, well, it dies too soon and overheats, as well. I have an iPhone 8 and even that didn't work for me on longer rides.

BTW, I'm one of the exceptions who only has one phone, provided by my company. And they take the old ones back...
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Old 07-19-19, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
All true, but when you have a phone in some sort of protection with the screen live for the whole ride, well, it dies too soon and overheats, as well. I have an iPhone 8 and even that didn't work for me on longer rides.

BTW, I'm one of the exceptions who only has one phone, provided by my company. And they take the old ones back...
Well you don't have to leave the screen on the whole time. Many phones have a feature where you tap the screen to turn it on. Use one of those and keep the screen off and just tap it to see the display. It'll last you for a week. And it'll record your route just fine with the screen off. The one I use lasts about 3 hours with the screen on constantly, and literally a week with the screen off.

Also you want to pick a phone with a good size battery in good working condition. Some phones have tiny batteries. Some phones have huge ones.

So any phone will work. But some phones work a little better than others depending on what you want to do.
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Old 07-19-19, 07:47 PM
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An old phone may not be compatible with newer bike 'puter apps, and visibility was intermittent with the phones I tried; that's aside from battery issues. Lezyne Macro and Mini are usually available for $80 new from ebay sellers. Bryton and IGPSport start lower. I really tried to like using my phone; I'm really glad I finally got a computer.
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Old 07-20-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Wahoo made a unit a few years ago called the Wahoo RFLKT and RFLKT+. It did exactly what you are asking and displayed the data from certain phone apps. It did not show any maps, just data. I used one for several years and loved it. Unfortunately, Wahoo discontinued them when they introduced the Elemnt bike computer. Amazon is showing one left for $54.99 but it's used. At the moment, the only cycling apps that I know of that still supports the RFLKT is Cyclemeter and the Wahoo Fitness app. Both apps allow you to customize the RFLKT's screen layout to your liking but Cyclemeter gives better customization. Cyclemeter is $10,00/year, Wahoo Fitness is FREE.
Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
Damn, that sounds like what I'm looking for. I'll take a look to see if one will work for me.
I happily used a RFLKT+ for years with my iPhone 5 until Wahoo screwed up the Fitness App earlier this year. It went from being very reliable for 6 years, losing only a handful of workouts over those years, to losing 7 out of 8 workouts after the "upgrade." I quit using it, picked up a Garmin Edge 130, and couldn't be happier.

The Edge 130 just works, like the old Wahoo Fitness App/RFLKT+ combo did. Yeah, it was more money, but I've found it to be much more accurate than the GPS in the iPhone, and the display is much clearer than the RFLKT+, something these old eyes really appreciate. It is the same size as the RFLKT+ with the same mount, and works with either ANT+ or BLE sensors, so I can use it on all my bikes with all my existing sensors and mounts. I'm still riding with the iPhone, but now have it in a much more secure pocket in my jersey.

About the only downsides are that I now need to get a new phone in order to get the Garmin Connect app to work on the iPhone (nbd, I need a new phone anyways,) and I need something to track my running & skiing.
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Old 07-20-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
I happily used a RFLKT+ for years with my iPhone 5 until Wahoo screwed up the Fitness App earlier this year. .....
I used a RFLKT+ for about 4-5 years with an iPhone 5c and 6 SE. I bought one for me and one for my wife. I would still be using the RFLKT+ today if it didn't start dropping connections to the phone. It got to the point where it had difficulties connecting at all. That's when it got tossed and the I got the Bolt, since the RFLKT was no longer available. My wife is still using her RFLKT+ and is not having any connection issues. Both of us used Cyclemeter as the phone app. Both had a Wahoo TICKR, and Wahoo speed and RPM sensors connected to the phones. The phones were optimized for battery life using some hacks I read about on the web and we only had Cyclemeter running while riding. Doing that, I was able to ride century rides and not run out of battery life on the iPhone and still had enough battery life left to make several phone calls, if needed. I'm looking at the Wahoo Mini, for the wife, if her RFLKT ever dies but at this point, I'm still hearing a lot of major issues among its users on the support forum.
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Old 07-20-19, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
I used a RFLKT+ for about 4-5 years with an iPhone 5c and 6 SE. I bought one for me and one for my wife. I would still be using the RFLKT+ today if it didn't start dropping connections to the phone. It got to the point where it had difficulties connecting at all. That's when it got tossed and the I got the Bolt, since the RFLKT was no longer available. My wife is still using her RFLKT+ and is not having any connection issues. Both of us used Cyclemeter as the phone app. Both had a Wahoo TICKR, and Wahoo speed and RPM sensors connected to the phones. The phones were optimized for battery life using some hacks I read about on the web and we only had Cyclemeter running while riding. Doing that, I was able to ride century rides and not run out of battery life on the iPhone and still had enough battery life left to make several phone calls, if needed. I'm looking at the Wahoo Mini, for the wife, if her RFLKT ever dies but at this point, I'm still hearing a lot of major issues among its users on the support forum.
Delete the RFLKT+ from the iOS Bluetooth, then pair to it again. It should fix the dropping issue. FWIW, from what I've heard from our mobile app developers, this is an Apple/iOS issue, not a Wahoo issue. iOS sometimes gets confused with BLE devices, having it pair again seems to fix the issue.
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Old 07-21-19, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
Delete the RFLKT+ from the iOS Bluetooth, then pair to it again. It should fix the dropping issue. FWIW, from what I've heard from our mobile app developers, this is an Apple/iOS issue, not a Wahoo issue. iOS sometimes gets confused with BLE devices, having it pair again seems to fix the issue.
Yep! Done that! Also deleted the RFLKT as a device in Cyclemeter when it was unpaired from the phone, done hard and soft resets and it still kept dropping connections. I don't think it's the phone because on the rare occasions that I ride my wife's recumbent trike, her RFLKT connects to my phone without a problem and doesn't drop connections. I think the BT radio in my RFLKT is gone.I wish it would connect and stay connected as it would be a backup to my Bolt.
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