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Are there any bicycle computers that allow you to make a phone call?

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Are there any bicycle computers that allow you to make a phone call?

Old 07-04-21, 05:04 AM
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bicycle126312
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Are there any bicycle computers that allow you to make a phone call?

I have the Garmin Edge 830, but even the 1030 doesn't seem capable of making a simple phone call.

Are there any bicycle computers that can do this? I tried googling it but didn't come up with anything, just a bunch of tutorials and tips for "how to use your phone as a bicycle computer", and the like.
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Old 07-04-21, 05:58 AM
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Yes. Any Android or iPhone on the bar running RWGPS, Strava, etc...
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Old 07-04-21, 06:29 AM
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I believe only cellular telephones can make mobile phone calls from a bicycle.
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Old 07-04-21, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bicycle126312 View Post
I have the Garmin Edge 830, but even the 1030 doesn't seem capable of making a simple phone call.

Are there any bicycle computers that can do this? I tried googling it but didn't come up with anything, just a bunch of tutorials and tips for "how to use your phone as a bicycle computer", and the like.
No, and thank goodness they don’t!
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Old 07-04-21, 08:38 AM
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Just use my Apple Watch much safer.
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Old 07-04-21, 10:00 AM
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If there was one that could make a phone call, I would leave it at home. I carry my cell on bike rides, but to ascertain that I am not bothered by it I leave it in airplane mode. I only carry it for emergencies.

I can only think of one reason to put an active sim card on your bike, for a tracking device if the bike is stolen. I think that would make sense for some people.
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Old 07-04-21, 10:34 AM
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Generally, No. Best you get is an on screen notification of a received phone call.
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Old 07-04-21, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bicycle126312 View Post
I have the Garmin Edge 830, but even the 1030 doesn't seem capable of making a simple phone call.

Are there any bicycle computers that can do this? I tried googling it but didn't come up with anything, just a bunch of tutorials and tips for "how to use your phone as a bicycle computer", and the like.
I expect you'll never see one.
  • People already have a phone. Its easy enough to stop and use the phone people already have.
  • A bike computer that was also a stand-alone phone would require a cell plan (making it more expensive every month).
  • It would make the computer more expensive (people think they are already expensive).
  • It would possibly expose the manufacturers to extra liability.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-04-21 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 07-04-21, 01:23 PM
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It is odd that some seem to be able to do everything but make a phone call.

So, for example, some systems are apparently able to do real time tracking, or even emergency alerts.
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Old 07-04-21, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It is odd that some seem to be able to do everything but make a phone call.

So, for example, some systems are apparently able to do real time tracking, or even emergency alerts.
The Hammerhead Karoo 2 likely comes closest as it can use a SIM card to use cell data for LiveTrack, as well as side loaded apps. Its an Andoid device at its core, but I suspect HH is never going to go the phone route.
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Old 07-04-21, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
The Hammerhead Karoo 2 likely comes closest as it can use a SIM card to use cell data for LiveTrack, as well as side loaded apps. Its an Andoid device at its core, but I suspect HH is never going to go the phone route.
Texting? That might help if one is stuck somewhere.
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Old 07-04-21, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It is odd that some seem to be able to do everything but make a phone call.
The Karoo is basically a phone.

There are no other cycling cycling computers that come close (as far as I can tell).

​​​​​​Having long runtimes and something not too big are things many people want in a cycling computer.

The Karoo 2 has marginal battery life (5h, I believe). It's close to being too big. The original Karoo was much larger (I didn't find it too big when I tried one). Hammerhead clearly thought the original was too big (given they went with a shorter runtime).

Some people complained that the Garmin 1000 was too big.

So, you might get a crappier cycle computer to make it a crappy phone.

You make these things a phone and people might expect them to be as good as the phones they already own. If so, then they'd have to compete in a humongous market that like only two companies really make money in.

Garmin actually made a phone hiking GPS thing. It wasn't successful. I think the problem is they ended up with a crappy phone that was too expensive.

People already think the cycle computers are too expensive. Garmin and Karoo (a much smaller company) have enough work to make a good cycling computer without making it a phone too.

Plus, it's another bill every month.
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
So, for example, some systems are apparently able to do real time tracking, or even emergency alerts.
The Garmin use your phone for this. The real time track sucks battery life, from what I've seen.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Texting? That might help if one is stuck somewhere.
Texting uses the voice network, which the Karoo doesn't support.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-04-21 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 07-04-21, 03:20 PM
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I am genuinely curious what problem would be solved by having a bike computer that functions as a phone. I saw on bicycles.stackexchange.com someone asking if any bike computers have music players, which made me wonder the same thing.

Is the added weight of carrying a phone such a burden? Is it something else?

In the days before smartphones took off, Nokia made a handheld game console that was also a phone, although you looked ridiculous using it as a phone because of the way the speaker and mic were laid out. This question reminds me of that.

Sidetalking on the Nokia N-gage
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Old 07-04-21, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
The Karoo is basically a phone.

There are no other cycling cycling computers that come close (as far as I can tell).

​​​​​​Having long runtimes and something not too big are things many people want in a cycling computer.

The Karoo 2 has marginal battery life (5h, I believe).

.
Hammerhead states "Karoo 2 is estimated to achieve between 7 and 14+ hours of battery life depending on the features employed during usage"

My experience after a month of use has been 8% hr., or 12 hours. I always use a speed sensor, 1/2 time a Di2 connection. It does a little worse if navigating. I've been paying attention to this and have 21 rides on the Karoo 2.

My experience with Live Track on a Garmin is it neither runs the battery life down, nor runs the phone battery down, to any extent I could determine. I was enabling it every ride. I was pretty much always getting 5% hr. usage on my 1030 (except when using navigation), which is the stated 20 hrs. Thats not to say LT was reliable, I'd say about 60% reliable at reporting my location. The Karoo 2 uses either a SIM card or a phone with hotspot enabled to use its LiveTrack feature. I did one ride with LT and hotspot and didnt really notice any unusual phone or device battery drain, I need to play with it more often though.

Garmins (at least my 1030) I believe can have a number of preset text replies ready to go - "I'll call you back", " got your text and will call you", etc.... ready as a one button push.

Last edited by Steve B.; 07-04-21 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 07-04-21, 05:15 PM
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In order for a handlebar mounted cycling computer to operate as a phone, I would need to use either BT or wired headphones, or I'd have to remove the device from its mount, clear the tether and hold up to my ear. I'm sure as hell not wearing headphones and its far easier to use a top tube bag to hold my phone, taking it out if I get a call. There's zero point to combining the two devices as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 07-04-21, 05:21 PM
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I think it’s technologically possible without much trouble. Given that I can make calls from my iPad when it’s on the same wifi network as my phone, and that the iPad doesn’t have a SIM, it seems like it should be possible for a wifi capable GPS head unit to make calls if it’s on the same wifi network as the phone.

I just think it’s a bad idea; as if distracted drivers aren’t bad enough!
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Old 07-04-21, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I

I just think it’s a bad idea; as if distracted drivers aren’t bad enough!
Agree. Theres a really good case to be made for not talking on a phone call while cycling in traffic.
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Old 07-04-21, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I think it’s technologically possible without much trouble. Given that I can make calls from my iPad when it’s on the same wifi network as my phone, and that the iPad doesn’t have a SIM, it seems like it should be possible for a wifi capable GPS head unit to make calls if it’s on the same wifi network as the phone.
You don’t have WiFi when you are riding.

People can use a regular phone as a cycling computer. So, it’s obviously “technologically possible” (no one was suggesting it wasn’t).

The problem is people won’t want to spend extra for that (especially, since they already have a phone).

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-04-21 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 07-04-21, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
Is the added weight of carrying a phone such a burden? Is it something else?
My Garmin is a lot more water proof than my phone, and it used to rain in Seattle.
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Old 07-04-21, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Agree. Theres a really good case to be made for not talking on a phone call while cycling in traffic.
It is often very easy to pull to the side of the road while riding a bicycle.

I don't really like taking calls on my bike, but the ability to do an emergency call may not be bad.
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Old 07-04-21, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
In order for a handlebar mounted cycling computer to operate as a phone, I would need to use either BT or wired headphones, or I'd have to remove the device from its mount, clear the tether and hold up to my ear. I'm sure as hell not wearing headphones and its far easier to use a top tube bag to hold my phone, taking it out if I get a call. There's zero point to combining the two devices as far as I'm concerned.
just picture someone yelling at their bike computer on the bars can you hear me now?
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Old 07-05-21, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You don’t have WiFi when you are riding.

People can use a regular phone as a cycling computer. So, it’s obviously “technologically possible” (no one was suggesting it wasn’t).

The problem is people won’t want to spend extra for that (especially, since they already have a phone).
yes, we can have wifi when riding. Most phones can generate a wifi hotspot, or we could use another wifi hotspot, either standalone or the GPS head unit could generate it; I don’t think the tech is either uncommon or insurmountable.
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Old 07-05-21, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
yes, we can have wifi when riding. Most phones can generate a wifi hotspot, or we could use another wifi hotspot, either standalone or the GPS head unit could generate it; I don’t think the tech is either uncommon or insurmountable.
Sure. I've even done it to download routes.

But, if you need another phone to use your cycle computer as a (crappier) phone, why not just use the other phone?

To do what you are suggesting, you'd need a more-expensive cycle computer, a second cell phone plan, and still be stuck needing to carry the other cell phone. That's certainly possible but it makes little sense.

Also, you need a good data connection, which isn't always available. Voice-only connections are still much-more available. Plus, VOIP (which is what you are talking about) requires a fairly fast computer (which would increase the price of the cycle computer). The WiFi cycle computers support doesn't need to be particularly fast. VOIP requires a fast connection.

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Old 07-05-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Sure. I've even done it to download routes.

But, if you need another phone to use your cycle computer as a (crappier) phone, why not just use the other phone?

To do what you are suggesting, you'd need a more-expensive cycle computer, a second cell phone plan, and still be stuck needing to carry the other cell phone. That's certainly possible but it makes little sense.

Also, you need a good data connection, which isn't always available. Voice-only connections are still much-more available. Plus, VOIP (which is what you are talking about) requires a fairly fast computer (which would increase the price of the cycle computer). The WiFi cycle computers support doesn't need to be particularly fast. VOIP requires a fast connection.
I’m not sure I follow what you’re talking about, but I am certain I am not suggesting anyone do anything. I was merely pointing out that getting phone service on a GPS head unit does not necessarily require another SIM card, and that the technology is present and functioning in millions of iPads and MacBooks across the globe.

It sounds like you are unfamiliar with that, so I’ll say again: if someone’s iPhone is on the same wifi network as their iPad (or Macbook), they can answer incoming and make outgoing calls using the mobile phone service. I’m almost positive it is not VOIP, as I recall it works when the iPad is tethered to the mobile phone hotspot when the phone is on cell data. It does not require a second cell phone plan.

In any case, as I stated plainly upthread, I think having phone on the GPS is a bad idea. I don’t care whether it adds cost, whether you can afford it, or that the service may be crappy, I just really don’t want people riding around, yapping distractedly on the phone any more than they do now. My group rides are already abuzz with phone call alerts and text alert, which I find irksome enough.
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Old 07-05-21, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
My Garmin is a lot more water proof than my phone, and it used to rain in Seattle.
Waterproofing is a pretty common feature on phones these days. I use my phone as my bike computer in all conditions, without a waterproofing case.
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