Ciclosport HAC 4 Plus Computers

HAC 4 Plus

The ultimate data acquisition system. Bundled package includes:

  • HAC 4
  • Cadence kit
  • PC download hardware
  • HACtronic software
  • CicloTRAINER software
  • CicloTOUR software

  • User Reviews (21)

    Showing 1-10 of 21  
    Michael   [Apr 08, 2015]
    Strength:

    Many functions, good price, compact

    Weakness:

    Pretty everything, above all the very poor quality and the over-complicated usage.

    Don't buy it at no circumstances. After this I have never bought a Ciclosport product again.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    2
    Thomas   Recreational Rider [Jul 29, 2010]
    Strength:

    I have used the HR function the most as a training tool. It has worked well. I often then take the information and download to the PC. On the mountain bike I use the Altimeter function a great deal as I climb normally 5000 to 6000 feet in a ride. It has held up for 8 years.

    Weakness:

    Instruction booklet is very poor. After 8 years it is still confusing to use and there are a number of functions I do not use because of this. Concentrating on pushing button while riding is not good. Cadence never worked well and so I took that off. Battery life is ok. I do not have the problems others mentioned here but the life is not that long and there are three separate batteries to change. Best to just change all at the same time. Only two lines of information; it would be nice to have more info on the main screen. Very poor mounting bracket.

    I have used this device for about 8 years with thousands of miles on it. It works and I have been generally happy with it both on my road bike and mountain bike. I use it in conjunction with a Shimano Flight Deck mounted next to it so I get information from both. The unit works and provides valuable information.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    Kevin   Recreational Rider [Jul 24, 2009]
    Strength:

    None. May double as a paperweight.

    Weakness:

    Total waste of money. None of the features worked as advertised.

    My best suggestion to anyone considering buying this product is to take $400 and burn it and then tape a roll of quarters to account for the weight of the computer. The installation guide did not match the actual models I ordered or received so installation was a bear. The interface with the computer did not work. The computer would not work even after numerous battery replacements. No customer support was available from the company. In all this was a complete disappointment. I switched back to my $20 Cateye which worked every time.

    Similar Products Used: $20 Cateye.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    Roger   Triathlete [Mar 12, 2007]
    Strength:

    Temp & altitude & grade

    Weakness:

    battery replacement could cause troubles!

    I'm not sure if this product is worth the cost. I found the watts to be total useless. Everything else was great. It was a bit heavy and big. The biggest was when I replaced the battery the first time (by the way it eats batteries) it worked great for a month then quit, I mean blank. Replaced the batteries to be sure but nothing. So now I'm trying to see if its fixable. Which so far know one knows where to send it. I wouldn't waste my money.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    beer geek   Recreational Rider [Dec 26, 2006]
    Strength:

    Allows a rider to track fitness and keep a training journal in a way that would be difficult to achieve without the data the unit provides. Some people may even find that the feedback inspires them to ride more.

    The recorded data automatically drops zero points, so your lunch break won't impact your final stats. That isn't the case if you stand within range of the heart rate transmitter, but you can eliminate zero points manually at your PC.

    Weakness:

    -It uses old technology (small memory, analog HR transmitter).
    -The manual is poor.
    -The mounting hardware is laughable.
    -The cadence unit is unreliable.
    -Display of data is limited.
    -Buttons can be difficult to operate.
    -Device not useful as an odometer.
    -Battery issues
    -Interference with HR transmitter
    -Second bike unit is expensive.

    Overall, this computer is a very useful training tool. The extensive data allow one to track fitness and also provides a rather cool diary of one's rides. The altimeter (barometer) records pressure, so one can look back at the thunderstorms encountered during the season as well as some surprisingly accurate elevation profiles.

    The HAC4's real power is within the PC software. It is difficult to learn to use, but worth the investment of time and energy. It is only available for Windows OS.

    Unfortunately for the biking world, this device is far from perfect.

    The unit only records data every 20 seconds, which is most irritating. If you enjoy doing short sprints in your workouts, you will be aggravated to see that your true top speed and heart rate are virtually never recorded, nor can you see acceleration. HAC4 files for an all day century ride are about 40 *kilo*bytes. Memory is both small and cheap enough in 2006 to enable recording MUCH more frequently (every second would be nice).

    The manual is poor, especially with regards to the software. A friend of mine had already mastered the HAC4 and was able to help me. That really expedited the learning process. Their website was not very helpful, either (and I speak some German).

    The mounting hardware is pathetic; basically a rubber band and some tape. While you can engineer your own using pull ties, you shouldn’t need to for a unit costing $300.

    I have tried two separate cadence units: one was DOA, the other worked for approximately 0.2 miles. I'll try a third, but am losing patience.

    The data display is limited in two ways. First, displayed velocity is *truncated* to the ones place (ie, 15.8 = 15); the recorded velocity is not truncated.

    Second, the user has to scroll through many different data displays to reach the one of interest. This is potentially dangerous; I want to be watching the road, not the computer!

    I’ve solved these problems by mounting a cheap, but very reliable, CatEye computer on the bike, too. This way I don’t have to change screens on anything.

    Related to the display issue is the button issue. The unit requires pressing two buttons simultaneously for certain operations. This can be challenging while riding, and is very difficult while wearing winter gloves. When the user muffs a double press, the data display will change (because you’ve succeeded in hitting one of the buttons), forcing you to scroll back through myriad screens to get where you started.

    The HAC4 is not useful as an odometer, only as a "tripometer". It only tracks mileage when it is in recording mode, and you have to actively put it in recording mode. If you are commuting to work or going shopping, the mileage won’t be counted unless you record the ride and then download it to the PC. The CatEye I’ve got mounted along with the HAC4 covers this for me.

    Expect battery life to be short on the main unit. Even worse is that it will fail with no warning, so you might be 10 miles into a century when it dies on you. Existing data will not be lost, but you will be riding the old-fashioned way for the rest of the day.

    Changing the battery of the computer is not easy, nor is it at all intuitive. The manual is not very clear. You have to expose the guts of the computer and move a delicate plastic film out of the way to replace the battery.

    The HR transmitter does get blocked by interference a lot in urban settings. More modern digital transmitters do not suffer from this issue (I own one).

    One last thing that I consider a weakness: the radio receiver is separate from the computer and mounts to the bike. This makes it inconvenient to use the unit for multiple bikes, and second bike units are not cheap.

    Even with the above weaknesses, the unit can be a valuable training tool, depending upon your training style. If you could find a more modern device that has all the bike functions you want and is downloadable to a PC, get it even if it costs a bit more.

    Similar Products Used: CatEye Enduro 8
    Timex digital transmission HR monitor
    OVERALL
    RATING
    2
    VALUE
    RATING
    2
    Argentius   Road Racer [Aug 18, 2006]
    Strength:

    Stores a LOT of data; don't have to download daily
    Tracks every feature imaginable.
    Altimeter!
    Downloads to your computer

    Weakness:

    Mounting bracket is garbage.
    20-second sampling too broad for some applications.
    No tenths display on unit
    Poor English in documentation

    You don't know how much you want an altimeter on your rides until you have one. This is a great computer, with one glaring weakness: the mount that connects it to the handlebars is total junk, and the design of it means you can't just fabricate something with zipties.

    Other concerns: Instruction manual is poorly translated German-to-English, full of "All your Base" type sentences, but it tells you what you need to know to get it going. The "power" feature is pretty much silly -- It's not a power meter, it just kind of calculates it. It's decent enough up a steady climb, but useless on flats and rapidly changing terrain. Best to pretend that feature's not there. Because the sampling interval is 20-seconds, the display on the screen isn't very accurate with some of the features like gradient, "power," etc, but it smooths out in the software.

    It does everything -- barometric altitude, but you can override it with a known start point for more accuracy. Speed, cadence, heart rate, even temperature. Has auto start-and-stop, but not for the recording feature, you need to do that manually. The software is pretty good once you figure it out, but the documentation is a little poor. Reliability of the heart rate and speed transmission is GREAT. Still vulnerable to high-transmission powerlines, etc, but compared to the weak signals Cateye and generic brands, it's a big improvement.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    batsonjay   Road Racer [Jul 24, 2006]
    Strength:

    - Combined HRM / bike computer;
    - Computer upload of trips; Mac software available via 3rd party (hac4osx - see http://www.tv-apathy.de/hac4osx/ )
    - Easily detachable, so can use for both cycling & running (using provided velcro wrist band)
    - Large LCD numbers for primary display items
    - Remembers multiple rides (records up to 64 hours)
    - Reasonable approximation of power level (in watts) without the expense of a PowerTap hub
    - Rich quantity of settings & variety of info available for display
    - Altimeter (great for hill ride analysis)
    - Data file format for raw data samples during rides is available by scouring the net. (Couldn't find the same for alternate products. If necessary to have a better cycle computer, I'd be happy to write Mac software to handle another product if this were available.)
    - HRM pickup works the best I've ever used. No interference, immediate transmit (without needing to be wet)

    Weakness:

    - Must be manually started, and stopped at trip beginning / end. This has proven to be problematic; it is easy to forget either one. It should be auto.
    - Primary items like speed (current, average) are only in whole MPH. VERY IRRITATING. (PC display at end can be accurate, but it's nice to know during the ride.)
    - Must cycle "forwards" through 10 displayed items to see the same one again (in lower display); can't go forward/back.
    - Very complex to operate; manual seems like it's written by a german electrical engineer and translated to english. It's ok, but not great.

    I bought this for several reasons:
    - I had a CicloSport 434, and was pretty happy;
    - I wanted something combining HRM & computer-download.
    - I'm a Mac user, and (though via 3rd party) there was Mac support. (CatEye, etc., didn't have this.)

    All in all, this isn't a bad product. It's not perfect for me. If I had to guess, the person who had to the primary design isn't a road cyclist; they were taking direction from one, but got a few aggravating little details wrong.

    Like having to manually start/stop it to "record" a ride for upload to the computer. Who remembers to do this? Not me. Or like having to cycle through 10 items to get back to the one you started on. Or like only showing speed (current/average) in *whole MPH!!!!" Doh!

    To their credit, they got a bunch of things right:
    - USB connection to computer instead of RS-232 (though their drivers were incomplete and buggy on XP, locking up my Windows!)
    - Large display numbers for the ones that count. (Us 50-year olds can't see small things close up anymore.)
    - Altimeter is the BEST thing about it. It's not quite a GPS, but very helpful in post-ride analysis.
    - etc.

    One significant weaknesses is that the cable connector from the cadence pickup to the handlebar mount SUCKS. For the first month, this cable kept coming out of its plug-in point, and I'd lose cadence in the middle of a ride. And it's sufficiently tiny I couldn't put it back in without my glasses (which I don't carry). Finally, I used electrical tape to hold it on, which works. But the design simply needs improved.

    Based on the alternatives available, I'd still buy this even with my complaints. But if another product solved all my issues, I'm not so loyal to the Hac4 that I wouldn't change.

    Similar Products Used: Ciclosport CM434 cycle computer
    Speedo HRM
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    ftrgray   Road Racer [May 31, 2006]
    Strength:

    Lots a functions when the computer works.

    Weakness:

    Poor customer service, short battery life, and the power function is not accurate at all.

    DON'T BUY!!! Computer worked for three months, then stoped. Tried replacing the batteries several times with no luck. Sent the computer to Ciclosport over a month ago with several e-mails but have not heard any reply. For the amount of money you'll spend, save a little longer and buy a Power Tap or SRM.

    Similar Products Used: Power Tap, and road a friends bike with a SRM.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    telam   Road Racer [May 17, 2006]
    Strength:

    Feature Set

    Weakness:

    Bad User Interface
    Low Reliability
    Poor Accuracy

    Horrible product. Bad user interface design. Not accurate or reliable. Needs new batteries every 6 months. After less than two years, the product has failed - speedometer does not work, heart rate monitor is intermittent...

    Similar Products Used: Cateye
    Polar
    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    tdkozlyk   Road Racer [Sep 03, 2005]
    Strength:

    cheap

    Weakness:

    Current weakness is using Specialized Elite. Erratic readings, stops registering speed at about 25 kms. Tried everything from battery to setup position on fork. Another "quality" Specialized product. OK for the sedentary cyclist who wants to see sporadic numbers.

    Need reviews for the Ciclosport CM436M computer. None here. I just purchased one & awaiting delivery. Thru long & difficult selection, I opted for this one over the HAC4 after reading/hearing several mixed performance reviews on the HAC4. Polar has nice ones, BUT did not want expensive power sensor & chain speed sensor (all wired) dangling all over the bike. Don't necessarily want accurate absolute metrics, just repeatable numbers (such as power measurement).

    Similar Products Used: Specialized SpeedZone Elite
    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    Showing 1-10 of 21  

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