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How Do I Choose a Bike Computer?

How Do I Choose a Bike Computer?

As you move forward in your life as a cyclist, it is normal to want to improve your experience, your performance, and your feedback. You start making modifications to your ride, look for better components, and start comparing perks in order to make your ride as comfortable and efficient as possible.

But when it comes to measuring your own performance, one of the best ways of doing so is to use a bike computer. These vital gadgets help us find and understand our peak moments and take the most out of them. They also help us learn and adapt to our weaknesses, finding a way to turn them into new strengths.

Now, as easy as it may seem, choosing a bike computer is an important personal choice, given the different functions they offer and their cost. Depending on what you’re looking for, there are near-infinite options for you to choose from.

Useful functions such as smartphone pairing, GPS navigation, advice on performance improvement, communication between users, and data compilation are just some of the advantages of owning a bike computer. If you feel you need some tips on bike computers, ride along and get ready to give your performance a boost!

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How Do You Set Up a Wireless Bike Computer?

Wireless bike computers work both independently and paired to your smartphone. As most models require an internet connection to provide several services such as GPS, messaging, and data compilation, the Bluetooth dependent devices are the ones most commonly available.

But, as you may imagine, the more functions–the more complex it becomes. You must be sure to correctly set up your computer in order to take advantage of all the useful services. So, here are some tips for you to correctly set up your bike computer for the first time.

Read and charge. To begin, and even though all guides may look alike, it is of great importance to at least give a scan to the user guide. A good time to do this is while charging your brand-new bike computer, since most electronic devices come with half a battery charge, or even less. It is always recommended to plug and wait for it to be charged in full before configuring it. Scan through the guide while you wait.

Smartphone pairing. Once charged and you understood what your bike computer is capable of, it is time to pair with your smartphone. Depending on both devices, the approach may be different, but simply look for the Bluetooth sign in both, activate, and wait for them to find each other. Every time you turn on your bike computer, it will first look for any paired smartphone and automatically connect, unless there are more than one previously paired devices in the area. In this case, it may be necessary for you to look it up again and require the computer to connect to the desired phone. Most devices also come with an app for you to download so that data is transferred to your smartphone where you can keep record of it.

Device pairing. Besides connecting to your smartphone, your bike computer also needs to be paired with the various perks it may come with. The most common ones are power meters. These are used to measure speed and cadence. Typically, there are two power meters, and they have a special button that activates their Bluetooth signal for your device to find and pair with. Unlike what happens with your smartphone, this should only need to be done once, and every time you turn your bike computer on, the power meter should already be selected by default.

Decide on your home screen. Most bike computers allow you to personalize your home screen. Thus, you will not need to swipe through different screens in order to check what you are most interested in measuring. Depending on brand and model, you will be able to choose up to a certain number of categories so that data is always available for you to check and follow.

Configure your account. Most brands have an online account for you to log in and keep track of your data, such as speed, distance, route, cadence, and performance. In order to do so, you should visit the official website of your device and create a personalized account. Similar to your smartphone app, the bike computer sends data to your profile, where you can get stats on every ride you measure. Some devices even have an advice option, in which suggestions are made on how to improve your next ride.

Mount the paired sensors. Last, but not least, you should mount your cadence, heart rate, speed, or any other sensors your bike computer comes along with. Your user guide will confirm placement, but cadence and speed sensors should be attached to the crank and hub, so that data is collected accurately.


Where Do You Mount a Bike Computer?

Bike computers will come with a specialized mount for you to attach to your ride. For comfort reasons, these are typically fastened to your handlebar. This allows you to safely pay attention to both the device and the track or road.

Some devices, such as the Garmin Edge 1030 Cycle Computer, are specially designed to be mounted and kept right in line with your handlebar. In this way, you get an uninterrupted view of the track while checking the information on your ride.

This video shows you how to set up a wireless bike computer (credits to leonardmlee):

How Do I Choose a Bike Computer?

Choosing the right bike computer for you and your cycling mode depends on many factors. Consider at least two of them: what you need, and how much money are you willing to spend. Remember that the more functions a device comes with, the more expensive it will be.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that each single piece of information the bike computer offers is going to be useful for you or your ride – depending on your riding goals.

For example, the Lezyne Mega C Smart Loaded GPS offers specialized turn-by-turn and offline navigation. If this is not what you are looking for, or your budget does not allow for it, the Cateye Strada Slim Wireless Cycle Computer instead ensures good battery life at a more affordable price without those extra data perks.

As we mentioned before, it is always up to your needs and budget. But there is such a wide variety of bike computers, so be confident that one will surely be suitable for your cycling style!


Credits and Useful References

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/group-tests/cycling-gps-units-buyers-guide-181254

Featured image: “Sigma Sport 700 Cyclocomputer”, Wikimedia/ Rock (CC-BY-SA-3.0):
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sigma_Sport_700_Cyclocomputer.jpg

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