Which Bike Computer?? Love the stats:)

So the Cateye Padrone I’ve had for only a year already went kaput on me. What bike computer does everyone recommend? Trying to keep my spend on this between $100 – $300ish. Pros and cons of your choice would be appreciated.

19 Replies

Jboz, February 6, 2021 at 1:13 pm

The upper end of your price range gets you into some decent GPS based computers. I was a Garmin guy for a long time, but recently switched to Wahoo Fitness. I like their ecosystem, works really well for me. They have a small and pretty basic unit (the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt) for less than $250.

Pros:
Great battery life
Buttons easy to operate with gloves on
Easy to configure with a smartphone.
You can see who is calling you and short texts.
Automatic uploads to stay up-to-date.
Wireless connectivity.
Can easily pair with cadence sensors and heart rate monitors.
You can change the settings within your phone.
The phone app can be connected with multiple external sites.

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Joseph Schlau, February 6, 2021 at 1:50 pm

If you ride in areas with cellular service, your smartphone coupled with the Ride With GPS application does everything a Garmin does. There are mounts which place the display in the same location as a GPS. The options allow you to monitor speed and heart rate when wearing a compatible chest belt monitor.

I’ve used and still use the Garmin bike GPS units since 2006. The Garmin applications allow me to bring up any ride in the past 15 years and make year by year comparisons. Garmins of course depend on satellite signals so work where cell coverage fails you.

My original Garmin with the black and white display still works.

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Jonathan Jones, February 8, 2021 at 10:09 pm

I like my Wahoo a lot. It does some things more easily than Garmin, but there are some features I wish it had. Garmins can give you the weather (not just temp from the onboard sensor) including wind speed and direction. Why can’t my Wahoo do that? There doesn’t seem to be a good reason it can’t.

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Gary Davis, February 9, 2021 at 1:18 am

I really like my Wahoo bolt

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KenH, February 9, 2021 at 12:01 pm

A few years ago I switched from a Garmin that was forever losing data on me and the keener I was to have data from a give ride the more likely it was to lose it. I switched to Lezyne and I have been happy ever since.

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Mike Howe, February 9, 2021 at 6:05 pm

I have the Wahoo Elmnt Bolt. I love it. Its easy to use and its also very easy to change how many stats you want to display at a time. It also has a feature that it will pause your ride once you slow down to a certain MPH (you chose how low). The feature comes in handy when your getting off your bike in the pass through towns so its not recording your slow walk as part of your actual biking mileage. And its easier than having to remember to stop and start each time too when your getting off and on your bike.

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Eric Strobel, February 9, 2021 at 8:02 pm

Nice feedback…Thanks. Does the Wahoo and Lezyne give you readings for elevation climbed and current elevation? I’m assuming you can customize what you see on the screen?? Would love to be able to see 3 or 4 readings(mph, avg speed, miles, etc) at the same time.

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LawnchairMan, February 9, 2021 at 8:31 pm

I use a Garmin 520. I have it set to display three screens that auto-scroll. I only put three stats per page to get the larger font. I am guessing that there are thirty stats from which to choose. Elevation and vertical climb are two of them. I don’t show vertical climb as I ride, but the data is there when I finish.
There are multiple features on the 520 that I will never use, like the maps.

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Mike Howe, February 10, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Eric, I’m not sure if the Wahoo Elmnt Bolt shows the elevation on the screen or not. I don’t pay attention the elevation so it might be there, but I don’t look at it. When I look at the stats after my ride the elevation is there. You can easily switch from one data field/stat up to nine very easily while riding by pushing a button. There are lots of videos on youtube that will show you how easy it is, the features and reviews. There’s also the Wahoo Roam which is newer and I think has the same functions with a little bigger of a screen and color maps but also costs more.

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Gary Davis, February 10, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Yes it dose show elevations. I have mine set and shows in bottom right corner

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KenH, February 10, 2021 at 1:48 pm

Nice feedback…Thanks. Does the Wahoo and Lezyne give you readings for elevation climbed and current elevation? I’m assuming you can customize what you see on the screen?? Would love to be able to see 3 or 4 readings(mph, avg speed, miles, etc) at the same time.

You can customize the screens on the Lezyne that I have (SuperGPS, obsolete now) and it does do elevation but not all of their models did when I bought it. I think the SuperProGPS is the current model most similar to what I have. As best I can remember here at work my main screen shows speed, cadence, heart rate, grade, total climb, power (I have a Velocomp Power Pod which many serious power trainers disdain but I find amusing), and distance. I don’t know for certain if it shows current elevation, it may but that is not something we worry about here in the flatlands! Grade and total climb for the day are the things of most interest to me. I believe you can have up to 8 readings per screen and there are several screens you can customize and scroll through, manually or automatically. I have two more screens set up with other information and there is quite a list of available readouts to choose from.

As with any computer I would advise culling your choices down to a short list and then downloading manuals for the candidates as the manuals usually have a lot of information to use in making a final decision.

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Eric Strobel, February 10, 2021 at 10:16 pm

KenH, does the Lezyne come with speed and cadence sensors? Also is the screen easy to see? I also noticed they have a Mega XL version with a bigger screen…any difference besides the size of the unit?

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LawnchairMan, February 11, 2021 at 4:32 pm

Any GPS unit will calculate your speed by tracking you as you move. No sensor needed. I think my Garmin 500 came with a cadence sensor, but I couldn’t find a place for it on my recumbent. Check what comes with the unit you select. I’m sure you can purchase sensors separately too. I lost my heart rate transmitter (chest strap) and had to purchase a new one.

These are the functions I have selected for my pages:
Speed
Heart Rate
Distance
Heading
Grade
Time of Day
Average Speed
I think I can have five pages, but three is enough for me.

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KenH, February 12, 2021 at 8:16 am

Lezyne does have bundles that include speed, cadence, and HR sensors but they are not included in the basic price that you generally see advertised. I bought mine as a computer only and use whatever sensors are already on the bike.

The Mega is a new model and I don’t know much about it. It is newer and more expensive than mine so I would assume that any differences between them are improvements in favor of the Mega. I don’t have any trouble reading the screen on mine and I would assume that the larger Mega would be easier to read. But if you have had trouble with other screens in the past then you might be well advised to try to find bike shops that carry the ones you are interested in so that you can try them yourself. The only time I have ever had trouble reading screens is on products that everyone reports trouble with so I am not very sensitive to screen issues.

DC Rainmaker has some reviews of Lezyne computers but he seems to have lost interest in the brand and there is not much on the latest units. The only “review” of the Mega I could find was some side comments in a review of Lezyne’s Komoot and Relive data connections.

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KenH, February 12, 2021 at 8:23 am

As LawnchairMan says GPS computers can easily track your speed and distance without bike sensors. They won’t do cadence and there may be some advantages to having speed sensors on the bike. But for people just starting out and wanting the best computer they can afford you can certainly do without external sensors until you have the time to set aside some money for them. I still use my old Garmin on the folding bike that I bought to comply with the Metra rail service rules about bikes on trains during rush hour and I have no sensors on that bike. So a perfectly adequate way to go for a short time or forever.

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