Bike Computer

How to Choose Your Bike Computer

How to Choose Your Bike Computer

The bike computer is also known to cyclists as the odometer.

Along with the bike lock and the bike bag, the bike computer belongs to the accessories of the cyclist.

The bike computer: a performance companion

The bike computer, or odometer, is a small electronic or mechanical device that measures the distance travelled. It is placed:

– on the handlebars, in the cyclist’s field of vision,

– or in the cyclist’s pocket.

Thanks to technological advances, it now offers more advanced features: weather or satellite guidance (GPS).

How a bike computer works

A bike computer consists of several components:

– An information unit is placed in view of the driver on the handlebars, wrist, or arm. It can have a digital, liquid crystal, LED, 3D, black and white, or colour display.

– A data capture unit is placed at the source on the fork, spoke, pedals, rear hub, and the cyclist’s chest.

– Various sensors:

– A GPS: no need for an internal sensor, a synthetic voice guides the driver in real-time.

– A sensor of pedalling frequency, speed, heart rate and power.

Note: a wireless sensor broadcasts + telephone signal: analog, encrypted, digital.

Caution! It is important to choose the nature of the signal to avoid interference. Two devices of different brands can be incompatible.

Mechanical, electronic or wireless bike computer?

Bike Computer

There are three types of bike computers:

1. Mechanical computer:

Nowadays, the mechanical computer has become quite rare and is composed of two units:

one is placed at the bottom of the fork to take readings,

the other is on the handlebar to deliver results.

Like a classic dynamo, the mechanical speedo is noisy.

2. Electronic speedometer:

It works much like the previous model, with a sensor at the bottom of the fork.

The difference is that a magnet located on the spokes supplies electricity to the computer with each revolution of the wheel.

A screen placed in the driver’s field of vision displays the results.

3. Wireless computer:

Nowadays, the bike computer no longer needs a power supply since it has a battery that offers nice autonomy.

Computer functions: speed, performance, GPS, etc.

A bike computer has various functions that allow the cyclist to measure his performance very accurately. Static functions: speed, temperature, altitude, etc. The bike computer allows different calculations:

– different speeds: average, instantaneous, distances, etc.,

– pedalling rate: instantaneous, average, maximum,

– heart rate: instantaneous, average, maximum, calories burned, etc,

– temperature: minimum, maximum, in real-time,

– altimeter: altitude, ascent speed, descent speed, etc,

– ascent: vertical speed, percentage of slope, etc,

– satellite route: maps, voice guidance, route recording,

Its additional functions: the bike’s memory, possible use on several bikes, data recording, and data processing on computer support.

Mobility functions: sharing via the Internet

Depending on the power of the network, some bike computers can be connected to the Internet. This allows the cyclist to share his or her performance during training, for example.

Choosing your bike computer: criteria, autonomy, reliability

Bike Computer

Buying a bike computer is expensive, but necessary to improve your performance. It is not a question of choosing it lightly.

Which bike computer for which use?

Here are the different ways of using the bike computer:

Use of counters

Bike computer

Walk

Basic model: distance and speed calculation.

Hiking

A model with GPS: distance and speed calculation + route guidance.

Sport

Advanced model: distance and speed calculation + route guidance + heart rate, cadence, altitude.

Competition

Full model: distance and speed calculation + route guidance + heart rate, cadence, altitude, power sensor.

Multi-disciplinary (road, touring, city, BMX)

The multi-bike model keeps track of the information recorded on the different bikes.

Multi-sport (triathlon)

Multi-sport model: compatible with cycling, running, walking, etc.

The criteria for choosing a bike computer

Before investing in a bike computer, it is necessary to focus on certain criteria like waterproofness,

robustness, luminosity, compatibility with other accessories, ease of installation and maintenance, and clarity of the information provided. Finally, look at whether the model is detachable or not.

The autonomy of the bike computer

A bike sensor is battery-operated, with limited autonomy. Be careful! On battery-operated models, even the sensors need a battery.

The autonomy of a bike computer varies according to the weather and the number of features used. The presence of the GPS reduces the autonomy considerably:

Bike computer

Entry-level

High end

Without GPS

3 000 km.

5 000 km.

With GPS

10 hrs

20 hrs

Bike computer: from $15

The bike computer has become accessible to everyone and in multiple stores, especially on the web. The price depends on the model, the features and therefore the range. Count at least $15 for the entry-level and $400 for the top of the range…

Bike Lights

The Best Bike Accessory to Upgrade Your Ride: Bike Lights

The Best Bike Accessory to Upgrade Your Ride: Bike Lights

If we talk to you about bike gadgets, one of the essential elements is the bike light to be visible at night. Let’s see it together.

Bike lights: a mandatory part of the bike

Any bicycle must have lighting. The highway code requires cyclists who ride at night to be equipped with:

– white or yellow front light;

– red rear light;

– white front reflector;

– red rear reflector;

– reflectors under the pedals;

– side reflectors.

Cyclists must wear a high visibility vest at night or when visibility is reduced on the roads.

Lighting on the bike: where to put it?

Bike Lights

The bicycle is equipped with lighting and reflective elements. The lighting of the bike is located on the:

– front wheel;

– rear wheel.

The reflective elements are the:

– spokes;

– cyclist himself.

Bicycle lighting: dynamo, batteries, and LED

There are several solutions for the lighting of a bicycle.

Dynamo lighting: the most common

Bike Lights

The dynamo is a magnet generator that transforms the force exerted on the pedals into electricity:

– this electricity powers the bike’s front and rear lights;

– a dynamo provides an alternating current on 6 volts, 3 watts, and 0.5 amps.

It offers unlimited autonomy, but this autonomy stops when the cyclist does not pedal anymore.

It is possible to install a capacitor to keep a little light during the time of the stop.

Note: the front lamp is more powerful than the rear lamp.

There are two types of dynamo:

BICYCLE LIGHTING: CHOOSING A DYNAMO

Types of dynamo

Principle

Location

The front dynamo

  • Provides powerful lighting, despite a loss of energy.

  • Resistant to rain and wind.

Installed on the hub of the front wheel.

The bottle dynamo

  • Needs to be triggered to work.

  • To do so, you just have to push the bottle in contact with the tire.

  • Inexpensive, it is also more fragile and the friction emits a characteristic noise.

Placed on the rear wheel.

Battery lighting: the simplest but limited autonomy

Bike Lights

Battery-powered dynamos do not need bearings with the wheels. They can be fixed or mobile.

In mobile, they are installed with a hook on the:

– helmet;

– handlebars;

– luggage rack;

– under the saddle.

Nevertheless, their autonomy remains limited.

LED bicycle lighting

In addition to traditional lighting, it is quite possible to add a LED headlight. This one recharges during the day, thanks to the sun’s rays.

This lighting, not very powerful, offers additional visibility during the sunset while waiting to light a more powerful lamp.

In case of lack of sunlight, the lamp provides a backup battery that you can recharge from an electrical outlet.

Types of bicycle lighting: comparison

Here is a summary table of the different characteristics of each type of bicycle lighting:

TABLE OF TYPES OF BICYCLE LIGHTING

Bike lights

Advantages

Disadvantages

Dynamo

  • Free and unlimited lighting.

  • Simple and resistant installation and start-up system.

  • Low cost.

  • Does not work when stopped.

  • Noisy.

Battery operated

Simple, efficient, and provides continuous light.

Limited and expensive lighting.

LED lamp

  • A simple addition to seeing and being seen.

  • Free and unlimited energy.

  • Works only when exposed to the sun.

  • Low lighting.

Reflective elements: reflectors, vests, etc.

A reflective element is an object that, when placed on the bike or the rider, reflects the lights of headlights or streetlights. There are different types of reflective elements:

– reflector: mirror reflecting the light;

– wheel reflector;

– pedal reflector;

– high visibility vest: the famous “yellow vest”;

– reflective clothing;

– reflective armband.

Bicycle lighting: starting at $2

Lighting for a bicycle is not the most expensive thing, starting at $2:

Bike Light Price

Lighting

Entry-level ($)

High-end ($)

Dynamo

Front

20

50

With bottle

2

30

Battery operated headlights

2

60

LED headlights

30

130

Reflector

0 50

30

Wheel reflector

4

8

Pedal reflector

3

5

High visibility vest

2

70

Reflective clothing

2

200

Reflective armband

0 40

18