Need Cycling Computer Recommendations
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  1. #1
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    Need Cycling Computer Recommendations

    My Garmin 500 gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago. I'm looking to replace it, however technology has moved on since it was purchased. The offerings out there are multiple and confusing. Most seem simply overkill. I'm searching for a unit that will give me GPS, speed, cadence and heart rate. I have several bikes, so the unit would need to track me whatever I'm on. I don't need the unit to have bluetooth capabilities. Help!
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxattax View Post
    My Garmin 500 gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago. I'm looking to replace it, however technology has moved on since it was purchased. The offerings out there are multiple and confusing. Most seem simply overkill. I'm searching for a unit that will give me GPS, speed, cadence and heart rate. I have several bikes, so the unit would need to track me whatever I'm on. I don't need the unit to have bluetooth capabilities. Help!
    Thanks.
    Any of the Garmin Edge products will do what you want, might want to find a nice used one like a 510 maybe.
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  3. #3
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    here's a nifty comparison, tool/picker thing, select stuff you might be interested in, look at the stats, compare to others, then read the reviews.

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/product-...son-calculator
    Last edited by mik_git; 04-09-2019 at 03:29 AM. Reason: oops, forgot the link
    All the gear and no idea

  4. #4
    Sluggo
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    Thanks mik-git! That is one handy calculator. I think I can find something useful here.

  5. #5
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    My Bryton has been rock solid over the past three years-in the US, head unit/chest strap/ cadence sensor bundle will run you between $125 and $160 on Amazon depending on model.

  6. #6
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    I went from a 500 to a 520 and was pretty blown away... the Edge 520 has been the best cycling purchase I've made in the last 5 years. Now that it's been replaced by the 520 Plus, you can sometimes find the 520 still available for lower price.

  7. #7
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    I'm a big fan of the Wahoo Elemnt and Elemnt Bolt. I've had one since launch and it's worked well and has proven to be very durable.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetdog9 View Post
    I went from a 500 to a 520 and was pretty blown away... the Edge 520 has been the best cycling purchase I've made in the last 5 years. Now that it's been replaced by the 520 Plus, you can sometimes find the 520 still available for lower price.
    Ditto. Love my newer 520. Perfect small size. Intuitive enough if you know Garmin products. Perfect. On screen management is awful and the 520 avoids this problem. I love the unit, it syncs reliably and does a everything I need flawlessly.
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  9. #9
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    I recently got a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, and I love it. It's intuitive, has a long battery life, and does everything you need. It displays speed, cadence, power, HR, grade, elevation, the map, and even incoming text messages (overkill). Initially, I was hesitant about the $250 price, but it's been worth it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxattax View Post
    I'm searching for a unit that will give me GPS, speed, cadence and heart rate. I have several bikes, so the unit would need to track me whatever I'm on. I don't need the unit to have bluetooth capabilities. Help!
    Thanks.
    Think almost all the units are Bluetooth and Iím no tech expert but without Bluetooth donít you need wired connection for cadence and heart rate?

    Good luck with your search! There are a lot of great options out there.

  11. #11
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    I have an Edge 520 Plus that I use with a power meter, speed sensor and heart rate strap connected through Ant+. It works great. The turn-by-turn navigation is a useful addition. The computer is extremely configurable, you can make the screens look like whatever you want them to look like. I have reliable connections with the various sensors on the bike and seem to get good results. I like the 520 Plus better than the higher-end Garmin models as I think touchscreen on a bike computer is a questionable idea.

    One bit of jankyness with the Edge 520 Plus I've encountered: somewhat unreliable Bluetooth behavior when paired with my phone (Galaxy S8 on Android 9). It's unclear if you need to be running Connect to have the Edge connect to the phone over Bluetooth, I think you do (manual seems deliberately unclear on this). Also, I've had the Edge sporadically disconnect from my phone while on a ride for seemingly no reason. I can generally get it to reconnect once the ride is over easily. The main reason to want to maintain a Bluetooth connection with your phone while riding seems to be Strava Live Segments, a pretty minor thing for me.

    A lot of people really like the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, which is about the same price as the 520 Plus. Worth looking at that one.

  12. #12
    pmf
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    What do you guys with multiple bikes do? I'm curious about a Garmin, but I've got four bikes that I all ride . Extra mounting kits?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    What do you guys with multiple bikes do? I'm curious about a Garmin, but I've got four bikes that I all ride . Extra mounting kits?

    Yes, I just keep a separate mount on each bike and mount the computer on whichever one I'm riding that day. Although the 'swing arm' style one-bolt mount that comes with the Elemnt Bolt is super easy to swap if you want to go that route.

  14. #14
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    The 520 / 520 Plus usually comes with 2 mounts, one of the "ahead" mounts you clamp on your handlebar, and one that you can attach to stem with o-orings. I have bought additional ahead mounts for multiple bikes, but always look for deals like eBay... full price for those things is ridiculous.

  15. #15
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    They make a few different mounts for Garminís. Velo Endeavors is one I like as an out front design. I turn it around on my mt. bike and my tourer that has a front bag. Thereís also designs that fit under the stem top cap as well as mount to the front stem bolts.

    As word of advice, Garmin ships the units with a tether. Good to use to keep the device from flying in the event the mounts break.

  16. #16
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    Garmins are the best functioning and IMO with the best choices of features. Durable and reliable, which is good as Garmin CS is absolutely, positively, the worst customer service department in the First World. It would be impossible to over criticize them.

  17. #17
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    i didn't think i need blue tooth but after having a unit with it i find i enjoy the ease of having it communicate with my phone. comes in handy for saving rides and avoiding the cable or seeing messages on the computer while riding. not a feature i expected to use but it does come in handy. also think carefully as to whether you may decide to follow routes at some point. there's a lot to be said for planning for the future.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    What do you guys with multiple bikes do? I'm curious about a Garmin, but I've got four bikes that I all ride . Extra mounting kits?
    To compound on what others have said about mounts, you can also have the device set up with a number of profiles, so you can have 1 for each bike, so that you can track milage and have different stats showing. When I got mine (edge 1000) I had it set up with a profile for each bike, but now I just have a different profile for what I'm doing (Mtb, mtb race, road, road race) and let the apps track the bike data (is done in both Garmin and strava)
    All the gear and no idea

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalGuy View Post
    The worst customer service department in the First World. It would be impossible to over criticize them.
    When is the last time you worked with them on an issue? I've called a few times over the past year for help with various products and they have always been very helpful. Just don't call on a Monday - that's when their busy with everyone from the weekend.
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  20. #20
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    A contrarian view:

    A cycle computer is a good tool if you need or want the data (training for racing; specific fitness goals; data junkie; specific limitations you want/need to be careful not to exceed; etc.).

    Otherwise: how about a watch? Or, nothing, if you don't have a specific time by which you need to finish? It is remarkable (to me, at least) how much more attention one has available to enjoy the ride/scenery and listen to one's body when one is not distracted by the numbers on the computer.

    --------

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    When is the last time you worked with them on an issue? I've called a few times over the past year for help with various products and they have always been very helpful. Just don't call on a Monday - that's when their busy with everyone from the weekend.
    I no longer have a need to deal with them or at the least haven't had a need for a long time. However, with email support which is what I used they always took a long time to respond and then never responded properly. The replies were not responsive to my question and worse it was clear that a good portion of their replies were cut and paste sections of scripts put together for their reply. (Guess that explains the nonresponsiveness.)

    The two LBS employees that I know have told me that they have had major problems with their efforts to work out issues with Garmin telephone support. And, yes, the two LBS people are smart, articulate, and thorough.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by D&MsDad View Post
    A contrarian view:

    A cycle computer is a good tool if you need or want the data (training for racing; specific fitness goals; data junkie; specific limitations you want/need to be careful not to exceed; etc.).

    Otherwise: how about a watch? Or, nothing, if you don't have a specific time by which you need to finish? It is remarkable (to me, at least) how much more attention one has available to enjoy the ride/scenery and listen to one's body when one is not distracted by the numbers on the computer.

    --------
    I went this route.. sort of.

    I have both the Edge 810 and The Fenix 5x. I really really hate the chest strap HR monitor. I also Kayak and Paddleboard, so the 5x made sense (and I basically got it for free after using Amex points and my corp health benefit which pays 50% of any health related item). So I pair my HR sensor in the watch to the 810. I use the 810 mostly for mapping, typically I pick a range and let the unit pick the route. I'm less of a numbers person, but I do like to play around with them every now and then.

    Additionally, the ability to allow my wife to track me live on longer rides because I live in an area with idiot drivers.

    Support wise, I have never had to call them. That said, from a quality perspective, the hardware is generally pretty good (even if they are decades behind.. I mean they used regular USB for years when everyone else used micro usb), but from a software perspective.. they suck major a$$, and we are all basically beta testers.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by D&MsDad View Post
    A contrarian view:

    A cycle computer is a good tool if you need or want the data (training for racing; specific fitness goals; data junkie; specific limitations you want/need to be careful not to exceed; etc.).

    Otherwise: how about a watch? Or, nothing, if you don't have a specific time by which you need to finish? It is remarkable (to me, at least) how much more attention one has available to enjoy the ride/scenery and listen to one's body when one is not distracted by the numbers on the computer.

    --------
    I am in this boat right now as well. I took my computer off because it needed a new battery and I wanted to see which one I needed. I haven't felt any great urgency to actually go to the store and buy said battery. I have been riding without the computer and haven't missed it at all. I still use Strava, but that is recording on my phone in my saddlebag.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    To compound on what others have said about mounts, you can also have the device set up with a number of profiles, so you can have 1 for each bike, so that you can track milage and have different stats showing. When I got mine (edge 1000) I had it set up with a profile for each bike, but now I just have a different profile for what I'm doing (Mtb, mtb race, road, road race) and let the apps track the bike data (is done in both Garmin and strava)
    I think they did away with Bike Profiles and changed to Activity Profiles. I had Bike Profiles on my Edge 810. The rides recorded for each profile was never data that the device sent to Connect, so you had to edit the connect file, or the RWGPS file to parse down to individual bikes. It never came from the device, as far as I ever saw.

    Activity Profiles are what my Edge 1000 uses and I just label particular activities as a bike. You can then have different data screens setup for different bikes. But again, this data for particular activities is not sent up to Connect, Strava, etc,... as far as Iíve seen, unless Iím missing something useful

  25. #25
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    I skipped the marginal 510 and stuck with the 500 until the 520 was introduced and sufficiently discounted.

    The one thing that I like about the Edge 520 is that sensors are individual signatures, instead of being pared to a specific bike, of which there were a limited number). I have quite a few bikes with power meters (among other ANT+ sensors), and sometimes I rebuild them in different configurations. I have multiple heart rate monitors for different purposes (like the one that stays with the travel bike), and they're always paired and ready to go. It's just easier that way.

    The rest? I could do with a more Edge 500 functionality, without all of the bells and whistles. Maybe I'll use more of it one day.

    I have a couple Edge 500s that I still use on the trainer. I bought another 520 because who knows when they are going to finally die. My Edge 800 had a touch screen that I hated (swiping rain or sweat off the screen changed screens), and finally that fancy screen just shifted mostly out of view. I am disinclined to fix it.

    I use the Garmin mounts on my trainer bikes, ENVE stem mounts on my various Moots, and a few K-Edge mounts on my Madones and other bikes. Usually the handlebar shape dictates what I use, because some aero, "wing" bars just don't work well with some mounts.

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