Smartphone as bike computer
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  1. #1
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    Smartphone as bike computer

    Not sure this is the right forum section, but anyway.

    Anyone using a Smartphone (Android) as a bike computer??
    Which app?
    How well does it work? Does it read Garmin sensors?

    There's a big selection but few of them will do ANT+.

    To try it out I'm in the process of setting up IpBike. Lots and lots of settings and way more than enough data.
    Cheers

    HJ
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    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  2. #2
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    I'm not the most coordinated dude on the planet, but I have to report that I find my Android phone to be much more difficult to deal with than a dedicated bicycle computer. Yes, I bought one of those handlebar mounts, but the phone is so big it takes too much precious real estate from my handlebars. When the thing, in a veritable blink of the eye, inevitably switches off to save battery life, you gotta put the phone into one of your hands and fish around for the damn black button on the phone's back, something that not only take one hand off the bar, it takes your eyes off the road. If the phone needs to have a code inputted in order to navigate to the program you want to access, your eyes spend even more time focused on the device. It's Paranoia City if you're in any kind of traffic.

    By contrast, a dedicated bicycle computer is a tiny device that is activated by a single, very accessible button. If you need something different than what first appears on the home screen, you simply move your hand a tiny bit along the bar and use your thumb to cycle through the various functions. What's more, your speed will always be a glance away, along with your next favorite choice of info.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  3. #3
    tlg
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    Are you looking for in-ride data or tracking data for post ride use?
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Are you looking for in-ride data or tracking data for post ride use?

    Mostly in-ride, e.g. would be interesting to see how steep the climb is, instead of "oh man!!".

    Since I have a Garmin Vivoactive HR watch and the cadence sensor(s) this is more a "Lets see how this would work" project. But having a larger display than the watch wouldn't hurt, being able to pick and choose which data is on the primary screen would be another bonus.

    PS the app on the Garmin is "BikeTracker" from 007 Software but that is specific to Garmin products ..... or I haven't figured out yet how to hack it for Android.
    Cheers

    HJ
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    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  5. #5
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    One of my former handlebar bicycle computers included percentage grade and total elevation gain. Yeah, I ought to get another one of those...
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  6. #6
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    I use a Cateye Padrone Smart with my iPhone in my saddle bag. I assume they have an app for android as well. I use this setup with Strava.

  7. #7
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    I use Cyclemeter on my iPhone and I like it. Gives me decent stats, but heart rate and cadence require connecting separate devices to relay that data.
    Given his penchant for nicknames, and his aversion to reading, I've decided to shorten Donald J. Trump to it's essence: Dump*

    I was "social distancing" before it was cool.

  8. #8
    MDM
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    I wouldn't. Phones don't have a barometric sensor so the altitude gain will be very overstated. You'd better have an external battery because leaving the phone screen on all the time will exhaust the phone battery in short order. Bluetooth sensors may work with a phone, but Ant+ won't (which Garmin uses). I have a Bluetooth heart rate chest strap and it works with my iPhone.

  9. #9
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDM View Post
    I wouldn't. Phones don't have a barometric sensor so the altitude gain will be very overstated.
    Ha. Barometric sensors are extremely inaccurate. Looking at a recent group ride 36mi long, the variance between highest and lowest elevations was almost 897ft. 40% difference. Both of them have Garmin 1000's.
    Put no trust in your barometric readings.

    You'd better have an external battery because leaving the phone screen on all the time will exhaust the phone battery in short order.
    That depends on the length of your rides and the quality of your phone battery.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  10. #10
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    As for battery life, I know Cyclemeter has the option to turn off the display after so many minutes so it runs in the background but doesn't drain the battery displaying constantly. I'm not sure about other apps. With a newer phone, I can ride for 2+ hours with it on with no issues.
    Given his penchant for nicknames, and his aversion to reading, I've decided to shorten Donald J. Trump to it's essence: Dump*

    I was "social distancing" before it was cool.

  11. #11
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    Tried a few more .
    What I usually do is load the app, make sure the phone/app combo catches decent GPS, next the 1.6km test loop .... in the car.

    Now I'm waiting for the developer of IpBike to get back from his one week off ...... to get access to the forum.
    But as he says right on the site, the site SW is not so hot, but he'd rather work on the app than improving/changing the site SW. One has to appreciate that.
    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  12. #12
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    Persistence paid off.
    It was a weekend fit for the ducks, big thunderstorms on Friday, followed by rain, rain and more rain for the next two days. Testing Android apps was strictly by car.

    The app for the Smartphone on the old Nishiki ......... "Urban Biker".
    Easy to set up, enough data to drown in and accurate.
    Highly recommended!
    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  13. #13
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    Phones on handlebars is generally a bad plan for many obvious reasons.

    A dedicated bike computer is much better. Even a basic one with no sensors will outperform a much more expensive phone in almost every way. Phones are (generally speaking) much more expensive, and much more fragile, not to mention, not very waterproof.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    Phones on handlebars is generally a bad plan for many obvious reasons.

    A dedicated bike computer is much better. Even a basic one with no sensors will outperform a much more expensive phone in almost every way. Phones are (generally speaking) much more expensive, and much more fragile, not to mention, not very waterproof.
    Good points. OTOH so far I'm only Can$20 into this experiment, flexible phone mount.
    We have a few of the "El Cheapo" BLU phones (used to be Can$80 a pop) that are already doing multi duty in an unconventional application.
    Other than that .... nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    BTW I no longer ride in the rain, I no longer XC ski in colder than -15C either. Simply too old for that.
    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  15. #15
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    While I do not recommend using your cellphone as the primary device for cycling, mostly due to battery life, and in the event something goes wrong a destroyed phone.. and it's size... If you really want to use phones, and they have to support ANT+, here is a list of devices with native ANT+ support.
    https://www.thisisant.com/directory/filter/~/60/~/

    Keep in mind that the list above is pretty outdated, but it does provide you with the line (almost exclusively Samsung) of models that have ANT+, and while not listed, the S20, Samsungs latest and greatest supports ANT+. But since you are looking at cheap models.. most of those that support what you want, like say the Galaxy S10 which is extremely outdated and old, can be had cheap, and will support what you want, although the apps may not support the older versions of android.

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