If the presence of cardio training is the meaning of life, then you can not deny yourself classes on an exercise bike. However, you can get the same benefits on the street from a regular bike. The only condition for these workouts to be effective is the presence of a bike computer. It will allow, similarly to classes in the gym, to monitor the performance and plan the course of the workout.
What to look for when choosing
Unlike an ordinary computer, the bicycle version has a very limited set of functions. But they are strictly directed. This is a simple computing device that allows you to determine the efficiency of the use of the vehicle and record data on the distance traveled. So, for example, the simplest option shows:
- Current time;
- Distance traveled;
- current speed;
- Average speed per workout
- Minimum and maximum speed.
This is enough to monitor the data of the average cyclist.
For those who want to know more about themselves and the trip, the device with advanced features in addition to the above gives:
- cadence (cadence);
- Pace (the ratio of the current speed to the average for the trip);
- pulse rate;
- Change in carbon dioxide content;
- air temperature;
- Altitude relative to sea level.
The greater the number of monitored characteristics, the more expensive the device, but not only this affects its cost. Much depends on the brand that produces the product. There are brands specializing in the production of high-precision equipment, for example, Casio, famous for the release of watches and calculators. In particular, Casio Sport produces a specialized line of devices (mainly watches with additional functions). But there are those who deal exclusively with sports accessories. These are companies that produce equipment for professional athletes, focused on the detailed processing of data indicators collected during outdoor training, including cross-country.
Types, alternatives and their features
Professional models based on indicators give a detailed description of a training session or a stage of a competition with detailed statistical data by period – the beginning, end or a specific section of the path. They are equipped with a memory that is not erased when the battery is replaced, but only reset manually.
An alternative to them can be a smartphone with a set of sensors and special applications, however, it should be noted that such experiments often turn out to be deplorable. An unsuccessfully fixed device will fall on the first bump and as a result there will be no training or gadget. Therefore, it is worth giving preference to bicycle computers that will not waste electricity and withstand the load placed on them.
Of the additional amenities, manufacturers often offer a backlight for a monochrome display and a waterproof case. Some even manage to release devices without buttons and with color displays, but they have the same disadvantage as phones – the charge quickly decreases. It will not be enough for a long trip, for example, in the mountains. By the way, for advanced models, the charge level is displayed on the screen. Most often, the data on it is reflected in 2-3 lines. Therefore, the larger it is, the larger and more noticeable the numbers, which is especially important on a road with active traffic, such as a city highway.
According to the configuration of devices, the following types can be distinguished:
- Stationary and removable (including wrist);
- Wired and wireless.
Stationary models are the least popular, because. can be stolen, with or without transport. Removable bike computers in this regard are much more convenient, but there is one subtlety. In order for the device to serve for a long time, you need to choose a model with a convenient, but reliable mount. If problems occur during installation / dismantling / use, then the accessory is of poor quality.
Also, problems can arise with wired models. Since the wires connect the parts of the device located simultaneously on the moving and fixed parts of the bicycle, they are the first to become unusable. This is one of the reasons why they are cheaper. In contrast to them, there are wireless models. They have to change batteries much more often to keep the signal received from the sensors consistently strong.
What is suitable from what is offered on the market
Among all the models encountered, it is worth highlighting a few. For example, from the Garmin brand. This is not cheap, but very high quality option. Devices 810, 510, 500 deserve the highest praise. They have received recognition from foreign audiences, where their use has become more common than in our country. Despite the fact that they have a different set of additional functions, they are all reliably protected from mechanical damage and moisture penetration.
Brand No. 2 – Cateye has occupied the niche of budget, but high-quality bike computers. It produces a whole line of devices, the leader of which is the Strada model in Slim and Velo 7 versions. Strada Double allows you to use it on 2 vehicles at once, saving the data of each. This wireless option captures cadence and heart rate when using the right sensors.
Of the inexpensive models with GPS navigation, the Timex Cycle Trainer 2.0 stands out. Its price is half that of the same Garmin model, but the quality is not worse. It has 4 buttons and a display with clearly defined data even on the go. The set of functions, in addition to the most necessary ones, includes tracking by GPS coordinates downloaded from a PC. You can also transfer data from it to the network.
The cheapest, but practically unkillable, is Sigma BC 5.12. It has a monochrome display and only a few features. However, for a beginner who just wants to lose weight, they are suitable and this is the best option. Its price is justified, because. it is wired, miniature and waterproof. But they are easy to use and easy to set up.
Useful information and additions
Those who like different kinds of new things often have problems like those that owners of Strida bikes have. On non-standard wheels, especially with plastic spokes, it is difficult to install a sensor, but a similar problem can be solved. This is done simply. Instead of one coupler (zip lock) 2 mutually twisted are used. This allows you to stabilize the location of the sensor and eliminates its loss.
It should be noted that not all programmed functions are available in the basic configuration of the devices. Most often this concerns the cadence accounting function. It is only available if the kit includes an appropriate sensor, which is purchased separately from the main unit. The same applies to models that replace a conventional GPS navigator in a pedestrian version. GPS maps loaded into memory have to be purchased from the relevant Internet services.
More expensive devices transmit an encrypted signal. This is necessary to exclude the influence of extraneous electromagnetic devices on the readings of the sensors, since their work is based on closing the signal circuit with a magnet. This feature is very necessary if the trip is planned in the company of riders who have such devices.
The video below provides detailed information on how these devices look and how they are used. Recommendations for choosing a bike gadget depending on the goals of the owner and other useful tips are also given.
Note that which bike computer is best decided only by its owner. Personal opinion is formed comprehensively, taking into account all related factors, including what computing functions the device will perform