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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All!

So when looking at a cycling computer what do I need for racing and riding? I assume cadence for efficiency. I would also like to track how many miles I put on my bike and components etc. What else should I look for and what should i be looking to spend?
 

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In my experience, a cadence sensor is completely useless, and is just another number to clutter your mind. It's not hard to tell if you're spinning or if you're mashing. Efficiency is more about the pedal stroke itself rather than the cadence.

If you just want basic stuff like you mentioned, don't spend more than $60. Here's what I use:
http://www.coloradocyclist.com/product/item/CATQAWAY
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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I agree completely with oroy38. Vetta makes a nice computer for ~ $15. You can find it at Performance. I used them for years. Right now I have Cateye Mity on my bikes. If you look around on line you can sometimes find them for ~ $20. You'll find all computers have pretty much the same basic features. Accuracy between different brands &/or models isn't an issue.

When I shop for a computer I look for several features:
1. It has to be wired - not wireless. Wireless is less reliable. (go ahead guys-start flaming)
2. Large numbers that are easy to read on the fly.
3. Something easy to set up
4. A reasonably small case that doesn't take up too much space on the handlebar.
5. Price
 

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Another vote for the uselessness of a cadence display. Cadence is what it is—some riders find happiness at lower crank rpms, some at higher ones. As to efficiency: in a race, you don't want it. You want speed, regardless of the metabolic cost. :)
 

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I use a sigma I picked up about 8 years ago. It was a 2 bike cycling computer wireless/wired. The wireless went out about 7 years ago and I have been using the wired feature without fail.
 

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I've got a Bontrager Node 1 (which you won't want because it integrates with Trek). I mention it because the reason I like it a ton better than my Cateye Strada is that the display is a lot bigger. The Strada is fine, and I agree cadence is useless, but I do like the big display.
 

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Roll Out Jeremy
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Cadence has its place

If you are just starting out it may be useful to have a cadence display. Training cadence is more important for a beginner than building strength. After your cadence becomes consistant, smooth, and efficient (90 rpm rule of thumb), you will never need cadence display again. If you are just starting out I wouldn't be too quick to rule out a cadence capability. There again, if you have good basic cycling skills it may be something you don't need. I use a Sigma ROX 9.0, best computer I have ever had, by far. I don't log or use the cadence function...
 
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oroy38 said:
In my experience, a cadence sensor is completely useless, and is just another number to clutter your mind. It's not hard to tell if you're spinning or if you're mashing. Efficiency is more about the pedal stroke itself rather than the cadence.

If you just want basic stuff like you mentioned, don't spend more than $60. Here's what I use:
http://www.coloradocyclist.com/product/item/CATQAWAY
Wow, I cant believe you would post something like this, but I guess it all depends on your riding style. If one is just "toot'n" around looking at butterflies then there is no logical need for a cadence sensor.

If one is really training and has a goal, then a computer with cadence is a useful tool to have. I personally pay attention only to two readings, my cadence and heart rate. I dont even have a mph in the display in my garmin, I have it programed out. I dont care what the mph is since I know that in my 53Tx 16T or 15T @ 89-97 rpm I am smoking! :D

But I would rephrase your reply if I were you and say that it is useless to your style of riding, (whatever that is ....lol).

A cadence option on a computer can be very useful without a doubt....:thumbsup:
 

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Mr. Versatile said:
1. It has to be wired - not wireless.
I’ll bet you’re over 50!:D

If you want 100% reliability, I agree with Mr. V. that wired is the way to go. I have wireless on both bikes. One of them is 100% reliable, the other is 99%+ reliable. The speedo occasionally drops to 0 for a few seconds, but I can live with it. The LBS replaced it 3 times. The first 3 were maybe 90% reliable, and the dropped signals could be easily reproduced in the shop.
 

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I'm on the same boat as Sly. I train all winter with cadence and heart rate. I find this to be to most effective way of working on specific energy systems and within certian training zones. I would not buy a computer without these functions.

When I am outside though my focus is different. I still look at HR, but then I focus on avg speed as more of a measure of effort over a given route.

I have always been wireless. Just much cleaner and I have never really had issues. Until recently I had a Mavic, which was pretty nice. Easy operation and set up. Now I have a garmin 500. I wanted the ability to track my training with a bit more detail than the mavic offered.

I would recommend putting together a list of things you want from the computer and then buy one based on functions and reviews. I'm 100% against buying the cheapest just to get something on the bike. It sucks to spend money and then find out later you bought a piece of junk or it's missing some key option you really wished you had.
 
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wim said:
Another vote for the uselessness of a cadence display. Cadence is what it is—some riders find happiness at lower crank rpms, some at higher ones. As to efficiency: in a race, you don't want it. You want speed, regardless of the metabolic cost. :)
You sound like the wannabe cat 5 race dude that gets lapped at every race and gets into everyones way. He does not believe in computers and does not seem to figure out that fact that one needs smething to base training progress against. He is a loose canon and all over the course causing havoc and accidents. If you talk to him he has the same ideolgy as your post. He doen't know what gear he is in half the time ...lol

Would you happen to be this guy by any chance?....:D
 

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thercman said:
Hey All!

So when looking at a cycling computer what do I need for racing and riding? I assume cadence for efficiency. I would also like to track how many miles I put on my bike and components etc. What else should I look for and what should i be looking to spend?

I've had cyclocomputers from Sigma, Schwinn and Vetta. I used the Sigma on bicycles and motorcycle with great results. I'm currently using a Vetta V100, bought it 'cause it was 50% off at the LBS. The Schwinn was a dept store purchase and is junk (hard to operate, unreliable).

Definitely go with a popular brand (Sigma, Cateye, Blackburn, etc) and stay away from the WalMart type stuff.

As for features: there's the obvious ones (speed, odo, tripmeter, stopwatch) and others (cadence, service interval, backlighting). I like having the cadence. Wired cadence takes a few more minutes to install but requires no batteries. Choosing a cyclocomputer that includes HRM is gonna put you at or over $100.

There are some fine choices on nashbar.com for $20-30 without cadence and $50-ish with cadence.

YMMV.
 

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I see two ways to go with this. Way #1 is cheap, works basically forever, and requires no maintenance. That's a CatEye Astrale that gives you speed/cadence, is wired, and its battery lasts like 7 years. This is what I did with my first bike and I was happy.

Way #2 is to get a Garmin or other GPS-based unit and not use any of the speed or cadence attachments. This is awesome because there is nothing strapped to your crank, your chain stay, your spoke, etc. These straps/wires are impossible to keep clean so it's nice not to have them. The GPS has the advantage of not being susceptible to different tire circumferences (I got new tires and my bike is fast/slow!), usually gives you a % grade reading (which is nice, although I admit not exclusive to GPS units). The battery life sucks and it needs to be recharged every ride, and if you leave it on and forget to turn it off you don't have a computer for that ride. It works well if you have multiple bikes. This is what I did when I get my second bike because when I started to move the CatEye from the old bike I decided I didn't want to put nasty tie downs on my new frame, so I just borrowed my wife's Garmin.

I guess there are ways #3 and #4, which are get an iPhone app and carry it in your jersey pocket, and get a powertap hub and a Garmin 705 with all the attachments, respectively. But I've never tried either of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Interesting info. The guy at the LBS also told me cadence is one of the most important features to have, since you can keep yourself working at your prime efficiency. That makes sense to me. If you push extra hard sometimes and not others it seems as though you will fatigue faster and the guy that may not be moving quite as fast through that part of the course will pass by you on the bcak side.... Is that correct? While I have a budget if it makes sense to purchase a unit with a heart monitor then I would rather spend the money up front than have to purchase a second unit later.
 

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slyjackson said:
You sound like the wannabe cat 5 race dude that gets lapped at every race and gets into everyones way. He does not believe in computers and does not seem to figure out that fact that one needs smething to base training progress against. He is a loose canon and all over the course causing havoc and accidents. If you talk to him he has the same ideolgy as your post. He doen't know what gear he is in half the time ...lol

Would you happen to be this guy by any chance?....:D
Easy bud…he just happens to think cadence is not that important as a feature on a bike computer. That is quite a jump to ‘wannabe cat 5 race dude’
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Wired w/ Cadence

thercman said:
So when looking at a cycling computer what do I need for racing and riding? I assume cadence for efficiency...
Well if you really mean for racing and not just riding around then here are the features I would recommend:
1) Cheap so when you crash and it breaks you won't cry.
2) Wired which is the easiest way to keep the price down.
3) Cadence which will allow you to train at different cadences, learn what they feel like and be able to perform in a race at different cadences to fit the situation. Watch a junior race with gear restrictions and you can see the kids who actually train at different cadences, they will be easy to spot as they ride away from the mashers in the pack. Once you have several thousand miles in your legs cadence on the computer will no longer be necessary but until you learn what it feels like at 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115... the computer display will help.
4) Distance so you can gauge how many miles are left in a race and use or conserve your energy as necessary.
5) Speed so you can gauge pack speed and determine what to do to catch a break or get away in one. You can do the same thing if you know your cadence and gear selection. Also very helpful in a time trial.
6) Gee Whiz numbers like Average Speed, Maximum Speed, Riding Time, etc. are fun but really mean nothing since there are so many variables such as wind, weather, traffic, drafting... Note that if you spend a lot of time riding with wannabe racers who never pin a number on then these gee whiz numbers are far more important than training tools like cadence.

As someone else mentioned, a big uncluttered display is helpful. Look someplace beyond your bike computer for heart rate functions. My wife has been very happy with her Cateye computers.
 

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Computers...

I agree with all that Cadence is not very helpful, and just another sensor, and another battery, on the bike.

As for wireless, I used to be a wired-computer grouch, and rocked a couple of $16 Sigma computers for who knows how long, but lately I've been using Digital Wireless stuff from Cateye and it is really good.

The sensor sends out coded digital packets rather than just an analogue signals... so far I've had none of the ghost signals, failures, random speed increases, etc, I had with my previous wireless computers.
 

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oroy38 said:
In my experience, a cadence sensor is completely useless, Efficiency is more about the pedal stroke itself rather than the cadence.QUOTE]

Sounds like cadence to me.

I find cadence to be more important than MPH; I can feel I am in the right gear, but want to make sure my cadence is pretty consistent and that's how I have an idea that I and pedalling efficiently.

I suggst wireless as well.
 

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Cateye V3 is the best I've used. I started using Cateye computers in the '70s....yes, I'm that old and, yes, I like cadence sensors. Switched from wired to wireless a couple of years ago after having wired computers crap out on wet rides. Tried Sigma wireless first......worst computers I've ever used as they constantly blanked out because of interference. Bought a Cateye V2, in fact two of them, since I had a separate Polar HRM, and they are great. Single sensor mounts to the chainstay and picks up speed and cadence. Decided I needed another for a different bike and went with the V3 to pick up HRM in a single unit. Even better than the V2 They aren't cheap, but they work.
 

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Cadence helped me become a better cyclist. I rode for years with no real improvement until I started monitoring my cadence. I don't really need cadence anymore now that I know what is best for my body, but it was one of the key items to my improvements. It would be hard to back these statements up with facts, but I will add that my wife recently started using cadence to try and improve her cycling abilities and I can see how it has helped her.
 
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