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Anybody still rocking Flight Deck?

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Anybody still rocking Flight Deck?

Old 08-07-18, 11:15 AM
  #1  
masi61
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Anybody still rocking Flight Deck?

OK, so I may have missed the cutoff for "Classic and Vintage" however I consider Shimano's Flight Deck computer to be a very 1990's, old school type endeavor in today's environment of GPS, Garmin and Strava.

I have it on my 3x9 Dura Ace 7700/7703 drivetrain and I feel like they belong together. To run that bike without if would just feel wrong. I mean having a readout of the gears, the virtual cadence and the ability to toggle between menus on my shift levers - well, to me they are indispensable.

Now I'm retrofitting a Dura Ace 7800 2x10 drivetrain on my used Veritas titanium bike with it. Very clever engineering. I managed to get the left and right wires/covers in place while pulling back my tight new Hudz shift lever covers. So for now I can rewrap my new Ritchey carbon handlebars.

I know many riding friends who are not patient enough to optimize and set up such a system. I suspect the fussiness of it has a lot to do with why few people are using Flight Deck on their compatible road or mountain integrated shifters.

Just curious if my efforts are for naught. Has this technology gone the way of the dodo bird? Please share your experience.

PS: recently my Flight Deck toggles through menus independently at random times without me pushing any button. It may have something to do with me spraying WD-40 then Boeshield into the shifter mechanism earlier this year. My LBS mechanic said that the circuit would eventually dry and normal functioning would return. This is partly true but not completely. Also, I have noted that the system is very sensitive to moisture and every now and then my readout will read "zero" and I loose a small amount of my data. It could be that the wiring harness is getting temperamental but I can't say for sure. Bonus points awarded for any tips to help keep the Flight Deck as reliable and accurate as it is capable of being.....
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Old 08-07-18, 11:27 AM
  #2  
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No experience with Flight Deck, but I'd seriously like to try it on my DA 7700. My shifters are like new and I've seen the harnesses, etc very cheap on eBay.

The idea that I can set up wheels size, cog size, ring size, etc is pretty cool. I'd love to see my data and then find some way to graph it and point out where I should be in a different gear, etc.

Of course, the pro teams have been doing that for years, and then combining it with biometric info to make decisions that, for all intents and purposes, prove themselves on the Gran Tours, etc.

With Bluetooth, teams are experimenting with remote shifting, which is the likely progression, as the rider decisions become less and less independent. It will come down to a few people, well conditioned and trained, and then the last remaining variable: the desire to win at a given time in a given place vs. the ability to suffer.

After missing out on Flight Deck, I'd like to try it, but things have progressed to the point where I'm not sure I want the wiring, if that makes sense.

I assume, perhaps, by the time Di2.9 comes out, the power meter crank arms, RD and FD will be talking to the head unit, which will also have heart rate, speed, and cadence. Out of that will come data we can all use to go faster if we want, farther if we want, etc.

Pretty cool stuff. Given a complete harness, sensors, and head unit, I'd sure give it a whirl, even if to increase my humiliation in the face of data.

Last edited by RobbieTunes; 08-07-18 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 08-07-18, 11:41 AM
  #3  
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Well having data does not mean humiliation for lack of fitness. I got over being obsessed with "average speed" way back in the day of my CatEye solar. It is a nice reward to know your average speed but like todays maniacs that have risked being killed (or actually dying) in search of some unrealistic "KOM" award - none of this is worth it.

If you have clean 7700 shift levers I think you would enjoy setting it up for Flight Deck very much. As I mentioned about the virtual cadence - this feature alone is worth the price of tracking down the parts. It is a little "dumb" at times - for example if you don't set your front derailleur correctly and descent while the unit thinks it is in the big chainring and you are actually in the middle ring while you fly down that steep hill at 40+ mph, well the flight deck will backwards extrapolate your cadence at like 160 rpm. Other times I have gotten 50+ mph maximum speeds when I know for a fact that there was no way I attained that velocity - it makes me wonder if it can somehow capture instantaneous velocities of a fraction of a second.
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Old 08-07-18, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
With Bluetooth, teams are experimenting with remote shifting....
Imagine the hacking rabbit-hole this introduces. Sort of a 21st-Century version of the scene in Breaking Away where the Italian rider reaches over and dumps Dave's shifter on an ascent.

Golly, I'd totally forgotten about Flight Deck. One of those come-and-gone technologies that some of us never even sniffed, like the PDA.
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Old 08-07-18, 12:02 PM
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Had one and used it extensively on my 1998 Cannondale R800 with 105 and then Utlegra brifters but then after replacing one too many sets of Shimano brifters I made the C change to Bar end friction and Steel back in 2009, and have since added DT into the mix and no longer needed or used a flight deck in a decade. I was also a Polar addict and spent more time tunneled on my bike computer than seeing the sights around me as I rode. I think for me, ditching the Polar/Flight Deck made riding fun again. YMMV

If I really need a cyclo computer I use a wireless Cateye or more recently have been using Cyclemeter (free) on my phone. I am not cool enough nor do I ride far or fast enough to worry about Strava.

Last edited by ryansu; 08-07-18 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 08-07-18, 03:05 PM
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I still have it on my Mercian which is running 2x10 Ultegra. Pros: calculated cadence, gear indicator, battery has lasted for years. Cons: changes to the display and start/stop recording is easily triggered by my hand position, so it's not reliable for distance etc. Redundant to Ride With GPS on my phone/watch. Next time I wrap my bars I'll probably disconnect it and put the head unit on display next to my Avocet 30, Casio BOSS, Palm Pilot, Blackerry and eight-inch floppy discs.

....any moment now, someone will mention their Multito...
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Old 08-07-18, 04:01 PM
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My 9v FD outlasted my DA shifters. Went to 10v and had to get a new one... which died a few months ago. I liked it a lot, still getting used to my new Garmin thing. And looking back at my cassette for gear checks.
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Old 08-07-18, 04:02 PM
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I still have a Campy Ergo Brain unit around... I got it for my wife when i was teaching her how to shift... I thought it would be easier than looking at the crank and cassette to see where she was gear wise. it was nice, and I really liked the control blips that were built right into the brifter hoods.
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Old 02-25-19, 03:27 PM
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Before I go to the Swap and Trade sticky thread, I thought I'd post this here since I'm a little confused about Flight Deck component version compatibility.

I'm replacing a right DA 7801 STI control lever on a friend's rarely used back-up bike.
He has a nice Flight Deck attached that he said used to work, but hasn't worked all that well since the original display head broke and he replaced it with a new one.
He said he thinks all the functions work, but he couldn't say that about the gear selection features.
Either way, he said he didn't want the Flight Deck anymore anyway as he uses Garmin and his phone exclusively now.

Anyway, his Flight Deck system consisted of a SC-6501 display head attached to a SM-SC70 mounting bracket/wire harness. The wires going to 7801 STI levers.
From what I can see in Shimano tech docs:

1. The 10s Flight Deck display head (SC-6502) only works with the SM-SC70 bracket/sensor unit and 7800 STI control levers.
2. The 9s Flight Deck display head (SC-6501) requires a SM-6501 bracket/sensor unit, but works well with numerous STI controls none of which are 10s.

Well, I think component compatibility is the culprit for the Flight Deck not working now. I think he should have purchased the 10s SC-6502 display head instead of the 9s SC-6501.
On the bench, the STI lever buttons don't affect the display screen. I checked continuity of the harness wires between circuit boards at the levers and metal contacts on the brackets, so there is no break in the wires.
If your experience with Flight Deck suggests I missed something, please let me know.
Either way, I know I need replacement waterproof caps on the STI lever bodies since I don't want to cut wires from the Flight Deck caps.
I'll look to swap one or more of the Flight Deck components I took off my friend's bike for these caps, plus maybe some cash.
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Old 02-25-19, 06:02 PM
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I had no idea what that meant on my Shimano 105 levers which came on my Bianchi Axis. Confused by the wires coming out of the hoods and running under the tape. So I cut them off... I sleep well at night.
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Old 02-25-19, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
I had no idea what that meant on my Shimano 105 levers which came on my Bianchi Axis. Confused by the wires coming out of the hoods and running under the tape. So I cut them off... I sleep well at night.
When in doubt, cut it out?
I'll have to admit to doing it on a few bikes over the years and seeing it done on just as many. I didn't lose any sleep either.
But now that I know that some folks like the Flight Deck and look for replacement parts, I'm not inclined to cut the caps off the wires.
I'll post it in a day or two in the C & V sticky thread "ISO and for trade thread part 5" to see if I can get the standard caps in trade.
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Old 02-27-19, 11:04 PM
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Have Flight Deck on my tandem. It's awesome! Can see what gear I'm on without taking my eyes off the road. That cassette is a long way back! Hope it lasts forever.....
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Old 02-28-19, 12:11 AM
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Probably late but use deoxit to keep it functioning well. Its not cheap but a small can will last you for years. Use it on all your electrical connections to baslty expand the lifespand and clean up exactly what you describe with faults.

If you can get in there also dialectric grease after the deoxit does the cleaning.
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Old 02-28-19, 06:00 AM
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I miss my Flight Deck. It came with my 2003 Litespeed. I loved being able to change the display without taking my hands off the handlebars. I also liked knowing what gear I was in. But my unit started to randomly flake out last summer and then finally gave up responding at all. Tried a new battery but that didn't make any difference. Mechanic fiddled with the wiring, but nope, it wasn't going to work any more. Now I have a basic Cateye Velo 7.
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Old 02-28-19, 07:11 AM
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I liked the flight deck concept, especially the virtual cadence. In races, in a tight pack and on the rivet, I would wonder why I couldn’t shift and stealing a glance at the rear cluster would see I was on the big big or small small combo. Flight Deck was a nice way to avoid that.
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Old 02-28-19, 07:25 AM
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You all have me curious now. I have DA 7700 in pristine condition on my secondary bike.
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Old 02-28-19, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
I liked the flight deck concept, especially the virtual cadence.
That was a neat idea, but in all my flight deck years, I never did get the menu scrolling figured out. You had one button on each hood, and two buttons at the head that you couldn't see and were hard to push and sometimes I'd wind up with some screen I didn't want and had a hard time getting the one I did back up.

And I had to get out the owner's manual every time the clocks changed for DST.
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Old 02-28-19, 05:47 PM
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Hate to say it, but for a long time I didn't even know what Flight Deck meant. I wondered if they had a marketing campaign for aircraft carriers, or likening bikes to planes or something.

It only took me years to get used to my Garmin Edge 500, and sometimes I just put it in my jersey pocket and forget it until after the ride (and sometimes, it clocks the car the entire 3-hour drive back from Thunder Ridge-imagine Average speed of 40 mph with a top of 72....)

Now, with all this Bluetooth stuff, they tell me my Edge 500 is obsolete.... I have to (gasp) plug it in to upload the data to a site, as the Training Center software I used to mask my lack of training is not Win10, whatever that means.

I will be switching to a "newer" Garmin, I think, as my Varia headlight is supposed to communicate with some models and alter the lighting based on speed and time of day, etc. I've not gone to the rear-facing "radar," yet, but I once rode in a pack that had 3-4 of them on at the same time, and I got very tired of hearing "car back." I always ride as if there's a car back, assume there is and give it all the room I can.

Of course, then I moved here, and for some reason, they want to double-file everything and create enemies. Unsure why, perhaps being a visible target before impact with an angry driver or something....

I have noticed, my spin cycle is a real PITA compared to road riding. Just not fun, despite the screen where I watch myself on the TdF, in Cambodia, etc.
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Old 01-04-21, 10:01 PM
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Got a FD Sc-6501/Sc-M500 in 2003 on a Klein Q-Carbon Race w/ 105 brifters and Ultegra derailleurs. Still riding the Klein, still using the FD but in combo with a Garmin Forerunner 245 watch and HR strap. I'm impressed with how close the speed/distance info between the FD and the gps watch are. I still like the FD visual picture of which chainring/cog I'm in and refer to it often. It helps me avoid that sinking feeling when pulling a hill and trying to shift to a lower gear only to discover I was already there. I like the variety of screens, but I ride most in the one with Cadence in large at the top with speed smaller at bottom. Not racing, just using the bike for fun and fitness, I rely on keeping cadence between 75-85 and shift to keep that range unless I want to do some sprints. Big fan of the FD. Just got a a $20 cadence ANT sensor for crankarm which pairs with the Garmin watch and gives me cadence readouts on the watch. I'm impressed with how closely matched the FD cadence readout is with the hi-tek gps readouts (except the FD shows a cadence when freewheeling). Thought about a Garmin Edge, but I like the brifter button controls on the 105 handles, so I'm staying with the FD as long as it's working, and it still is after all these years.
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Old 01-05-21, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
.

It only took me years to get used to my Garmin Edge 500, and sometimes I just put it in my jersey pocket and forget it until after the ride (and sometimes, it clocks the car the entire 3-hour drive back from Thunder Ridge-imagine Average speed of 40 mph with a top of 72....)
Can't even count the times I've done this........

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Old 01-06-21, 10:11 PM
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Old 01-06-21, 11:31 PM
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Man, what a blast from the past! I was actually using a Multito on my Schwinn Speedster when FlightDeck came out. If you'd told me then, that one day I'd think it was retro-cool, I'd have laughed all the way to the Rivendell Reader. Now, with implanted chips and mind-uploads seemingly around the corner, it all seems so quaint. And, to make one feel really old, merely think about how the Multito was roughly as old in 1999 as the FlightDeck is now.

I still think of anything after 2000 as the actual present, which means a 2000 and up car is still New. And it's crazy that coding geeks are the new finance bros, and crazier that they act just like the old finance bros. What is the world coming to?
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Old 01-07-21, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Man, what a blast from the past!

I still think of anything after 2000 as the actual present, which means a 2000 and up car is still New. And it's crazy that coding geeks are the new finance bros, and crazier that they act just like the old finance bros. What is the world coming to?
I was watching The OA, and there’s a funny tinder date, in one of the dimensions, where a San Francisco couple meet, and she’s saying, “They’re all either tech or finance, and he says “or tech finance.”

Once smart trainers know your gearing, and that you shifted, it will be full circle.
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Old 05-04-21, 11:40 AM
  #24  
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On a related note, would anyone happen to have the original Flight Deck Manager software CD? Or a copy thereof? I have a new SC-7900 head unit to go with a 7970 build, and have scoured the interwebs with zilch to show for the effort. If anyone has a download link or would be willing to dropbox or torrent a copy of their original CD I would be forever grateful. And would be happy to torrent the iso file for any future folks in the same situation.

Thanks! And fingers crossed...
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Old 05-08-21, 07:37 AM
  #25  
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Flight Deck on my Paramount.
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