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Do i need a cycle computer

tandrews8664tandrews8664 Posts: 97
edited September 2011 in Road beginners

First time posting on here, so going to go straight ahead with what may be a stupid question.

Do i really need a cycle computer, if so which one?

I'm starting to train over longer distances, so i do think it may be valuable in judging average pace etc, but i can just do this with a watch and an online map, or is there something i'm missing?

And are cadence monitors worth the extra £30, HR monitors worth the extra £50 etc.

Any advice would be appreciated



  • My first computer was one from Tesco. £10 and did speed, distance, cadence, max/average speed, time etc.....was great. That is all you need just for reference. I believe Asda do the same computer for the same money too
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    You dont "need" a computer but they are nice toys to have. I started with a really simple speed/distance/average speed years and years ago but now have £300+ worth of Garmin Edge 800 with GPS/OS Mapping, Heart Rate, Cadence etc. As a newbie - there's many better ways for you to spend £300+ on cycling though. As above, basic function computers are pretty cheap

    I've actually got a boxed Cateye Wireless (Strada I think) sat in the drawer at home thats going unused since fitting the Garmin. PM me if interested (would be looking at circa 50% new price inc delivery so £20) - i'll check the model when i get home. I bought it in March and took it off end July.
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,235
    Always nice to see how fast (or not) you're going, and what distances you've covered. My first one was an Avocet - did current speed, distance, time elapsed, average speed, and a little arrow that pointed up of down depending on if the average was getting faster or slower. No

    But the honest answer is no.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    It's like drugs. You'll start off with a cheapo job from Tesco; before you know it you'll be hankering after a Garmin 800 with all the bells, whistles and dildoes.

    Just say NO!
  • Always worthwhile, if you're training it's probably a must.

    You'll need to be pushing yourself. If you don't have one you could be doing 25kph and thinking you're doing great whereas if you had one you could see you were only doing 25kph and ride harder.
  • GizmodoGizmodo Posts: 1,928
    Have you got a smart phone with GPS?

    For Android you can get "Google MyTracks" or "Endomondo" for most phones including iPhone - both are free. They use the GPS in the phone to record your position and speed at regular intervals as you ride. You can then send the data as a GPX file which you can load into the free web site to analyse your ride.
  • SecteurSecteur Posts: 1,971
    You're going to end up wanting/buying a Garmin 800 anyway, so just get it now rather than wasting money on cheaper things!!!
  • No, you don't need one, but yes, you will appreciate it, almost certainly. Knowing how fast you're going is a great motivator - I'm cycling approx 5mph faster all-round since I picked it up again in May, which really keeps me going. I also know if I'm slacking on a commute and can choose to push myself or acknowledge that I'm taking it easy (or tired!). I can play 'top speed' going down hills and know just how terrifying it must be for the pros to go downhill at 65mph (having felt what 40mph is like)!

    I do now have one of the fabled Edge 800s - the routing and recording of where I've been is completely wonderful. Overkill for the commute though!
  • Wirral_Paul

    Do you still have the speedo for sale,which model is it and waht condition is it in?
  • I bought the Cateye Strada double wireless last night and even just the ride home was enough to convince me it was the right decision.

    Going to spend all of my time now trying to keep my cadence hovering between 90-100 to try and improve my technique (I'm more of a grinder than a spinner).
    It's a great little motivator and I feel better having that on my bars than my iPhone!
    Welcome to Hoogerland, Population: Heroes.

    Danny Hart; How does he sit down with balls that big?
  • They're worth having for a clock for when you commute to work.
  • sheffsimonsheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    gilesjuk wrote:
    They're worth having for a clock for when you commute to work.

    Is all I use mine for. Zero interest in average speed, cadence etc, fairly pointless as a training tool other than as a stopwatch for intervals, it has no HR function, and I dont need it to know if I am riding hard, my legs and lungs tell me that.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    A GPS computer is nice for the downloadability. Machines like the Garmin 500 or Bryton 35 are better than mapping GPS for normal use as they are smaller, cheaper and simpler but still have loads of good stuff on (basically, you only need mapping if you expect to get lost!). There is a lot to be said for getting a nice training GPS for 95% of the time and a cheaper, less fashionable mapping GPS for the other 5% for an all in price less than one Garmin 800. Unless you do a lot of touring.

    I'd say HRM and Cadence is worth having. Both allow you to improve your cycling in a way that the other normal functions don't - eg HRM can encourage you to train in lower or higher zones depending on what bad habits you get into. Cadence will probably get you changing to lower gears sooner as I suspect most people otherwise use higher gears than they ideally should.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Thanks for the replies

    Looks like there are a few varying ideas out there, but i think i'll just get a cheap one for now, but i bet within a week i'll be scowling e bay for a second hand garmin :wink:

    I do have GPS on my phone but not being able to see it until after the ride seems fairly pointless, as other people have said, i'd mainly use a computer to push myself. Plus, i'm not keen on mounting my phone to the handlebars/stem. I'm sure a computer could take a tumble, but doubt my phone could.
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