Whether you are looking to improve your bike split, explore some new trails, or simply time your ride around Island Lake, a cycling computer can be a great tool for improving performance and staying motivated.
Bike Computers vs Phone
The age-old debate, to phone or not to phone. Personally, it’s really simple, leave the phone at home and go ride without distractions. Your phone can act as a full bike computer, there are tons of free apps, and GPS is standard on most phones. BUT, remember the phone can use a lot of battery when being used while riding, if you fall or crash your precious phone may get damaged, and finally they are big. Bicycle computers still have a relevant place in the world because they still can do somethings better. They are very durable, small (if you want small), always there where you need them, don’t use data or cell phone battery, and do a great job of compiling all the data (power, cadence, HR) for training analysis.
Bike Computer Options
Full Function GPS
View maps with turn by turn directions, race against your virtual self, the ability to connect to all sensors, and even control your electronic trainer are simple tasks for today’s range of full function computers. If you are riding or training hard and want all the data and features possible, these are the ones for you.
Two of best are the Wahoo Element and Element Bolt
The Bolt is the little brother with a slightly smaller and more aerodynamic while the Element has a huge easy to read screen and two rows of LEDs to help guide your performance. Even those of us who dislike technology will love working with these easy to use and very powerful computers.
For the simplest way to get speed, distance, time on your bike we recommend the Garmin Edge 25. This small, simple GPS bike computer allows you to get all the basic information with a clean, simple computer. No sensors to attach, simply install and go. Also, the best way to get speed/distance on multiple bikes because there is only one peice to move from bike to bike.
Full function Bike Computer
New to the shop is the Wahoo Element Mini. This small, simple computer is our best choice for a full function computer with no GPS. It comes stock with a speed sensor, but can easily add a cadence and HR sensor to give plenty of data for a reasonable price. Plus if you pair it with your phone you can receive txt messages and even use your phone’s GPS. and ya, no magnets to get bumped out of alignment, so yes we like this one a lot!
Old School Bike Computer
The basic, the bread and butter, the classic answer to “I want to see how far I rode today” question bike computer. Using a simple handlebar mounted head, and fork mounted sensor and magnet, this is the cheapest way to put speed and distance on a bike. The magnet spins on the spokes, the sensor counts the revolutions and the head shows your speed. Available in wired and wireless, but please just get the wireless, it’s faster to install and looks much better on your shiny new bike.
Sensors allow data from your bike to be transmitted to your phone or bike computer. Right now I am very happy with the sensors from Wahoo, they are easy to install, sync, and work with most phones and bike computers.
Primarily worn as a chest strap, the heart rate monitor send your heart rate in Beats Per Minute to the computer.
Wahoo has three versions, with various levels of technology, but for most people, I recommend the basic one: Tickr
On the bike, the Revolutions Per Minute of your legs is called Cadence, and a cadence sensor has the noble task of counting home many times your legs go round and round. Cadence sensors use to use magnets on the crank arm, but we always found those troublesome, now we really like the ones that use an accelerometer. The Wahoo RPM cadence is whats on our bikes and we are happy to say we have virtually no issues with how it works. Simply strap on and go.
To add speed to your computer or cell phone with no GPS, a speed sensor is mounted to the wheel and counts how many times the wheels spin. Once again, we used to rely on magnets, but they would always get bumped or fall out of alignment. Now we really like the accelerometer style, just like the cadence sensors.
Power Meters can greatly improve your training regime by allowing for very specific and most importantly quantitive analysis of your efforts. These toys, are serious tools for the athlete looking to get the most out of a well-designed training routine. Power meters come in many forms: crank, pedals, hubs, and depending on your specific bike and training needs, we can help recommend the right one. But, there are a lot of variables to consider, so, for now, I will leave it to a personal discussion, give us a call and we will start the process.