Bike Computers

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by codejockey, 11 Apr 2010.

  1. codejockey

    codejockey New Member

    Keller, TX
    Hello all, sorry to ask such beginner question, but as I'm new to cycling (at least as an adult), I'm interested in tracking my progress for the purposes of training, increasing distance, speed, etc. I realize that a computer could help me with that. My question though, I have a Garmin eTrex Summit HC GPS that I use for geocaching. It has trip computers, tracks routes, distance, etc. My question is, can I utilize that as a bike computer? I mean it wouldn't give me cadence, but will something like that give me most of what I'm needing, or should I just bite the bullet and buy a computer and be done with it? Thanks!
  2. You can get a bike mount for your eTrex. I've not got one so I couldn't say for sure but I think it'd be fine for recording distances, tracks but won't record an accurate speed.
    Personally I'd buy a cheap wired computer (cheap wireless can be unreliable) and use that in addition to the etrex.
  3. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie

    In theory if you mount it on your bars you use it to tell you where you are going (if you are not wearing sun glasses, isn't that right HLaB?). Yes is can be used for speed and distance, but cheap wired computer could be a wee bit more actuate.
  4. getfit

    getfit New Member

    Why do you guys feel that the GPS isn't accurate? GPS by its very nature is accurate. Yes it would require a mount to be able to position it in an ideal position and although I am not familiar with this model I would expect it to be able to show both current speed and average.

  5. I had a Garmin geko before (a very early fore runner of the Etrex I think) and found it a useful tool but not specific as far as average speed goes when compared to a cheap computer. A couple of years ago I bought a Garmin Edge GPS which is more bike specific and I find it really accurate. I think the difference is you can get a bike specific one to stop automatically at lights etc but a walking gps doesnt (its more accurate in location terms). So if you're interested in speed buy a cheap computer as back up.
  6. John Ponting

    John Ponting Über Member

    Have you checked the Garmin site (or even the manual for your unit)? Very quick look and there seems to be a dearth of speed related functions. Or I'm looking in the wrong place.
  7. arallsopp

    arallsopp Post of The Year 2009 winner

    Bromley, Kent
    If you run a GPS side by side with a bike computer, you normally find some discrepancies between the distances measured and the speeds travelled. Personally I use a Garmin Etrex (not remotely a cycle specific model) and find it gives me everything I need.

    (Once I accept that I need every road other than the one home).

    There's a parallel conversation about GPS/cycle computers going on over here, btw.
  8. aleksei

    aleksei New Member

    I use my phone =)

    I was looking for a cycle computer myself, a while ago. Not just any computer, I needed GPS too, as I already got lost a while ago =).

    So, I was looking at the Garming Edge 705. The price, back then around £280. But I realised I could do the same with an HTC Android (£300), a smart phone that gives you GPS, google maps, internet access, and all the bells and whistles.

    So for £300 I get the GPS plus a phone, and all the applications I can install on it. To me that outweighs any cycle-computer only device. Also consider that when you are out and about, you will usually be carrying your mobile phone besides your cycle computer, so why not have both in a single device??

    I bought the handlebar mount along with the phone on amazon. I'm in love with the whole thing.

    Unlike garmin, which I think uses in-memory maps, if you want to get directions while outside, you will need mobile broadband. I'm on Vodafone pay as you go. They charge £1 per 15MB per day. That's seemed to be more than enough for a day trip I did from Heathrow to the city. 42 miles.

    Anywhoo.. there.. my 2 cents.
  9. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Unless you are using a differential GPS with a local base station (which is unlikely given that sort of kit cost thousands and only used by those who need sub cm accuracy), a cycle computer will be more accurate then a GPS. The level of error will only be small, it will vary unpredictably from day to day, and for the most part it only likely to be tens of meters over the course of a journey. It really comes down to how accurate you want you measurement to be.

    If you want greater accuracy, cycle computers are cheep and (if properly set up) very accurate. However many people will probably be happy with just an ordinary GPS.
  10. arallsopp

    arallsopp Post of The Year 2009 winner

    Bromley, Kent
    Yep. I almost always have a blackberry on me, with a pretty much unlimited data plan. Google maps. Streetview. The works. Lovely.

    ...and then I have my double A powered GPS that actually gets me to/from places. Around SE London, if the phone has a clear view of the sky, its probably miles away from a data signal, and if its in the city, it probably can't see the satellites. It does a good job of interpolating and guessing where I really am, but boy does it eat batteries whilst its searching!

    The net result is that when I reach the point where I'll admit I'm utterly lost and have to ring for advice, the darn thing dies on me. Nowadays I just pop in another set of AAs, and ride it home. :wacko:
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