Guide to Bicycle Computers

Guide to bike computers

Bike computers have drastically improved since the day of cable operated speedometers precariously clipped to the front of your bike. All computers will tell you how far you’ve gone, how fast you’re riding, and how long you’ve been riding. However, there are many other features available as well. We’ll take a look at some of the features that may be of use to you, as well as the first big decision you must make when looking at a computer.

Wired or Wireless Bike Computers

Computers are either wired or wireless. For those who don’t mind having wires from the bars to the sensors, this is probably the most reliable way to go. However, wireless computers offer the convenience of easy removal and a clutter free design. Though rare, wireless computers can sometimes be subject to interference, though.

Features of Bike Computers

Many computers will offer some, if not all, of the following features

  • Current speed, average speed and maximum speed
  • Clock and stopwatch
  • Trip distance and total distance
  • Cadence (how fast the pedal rotations are)
  • Speed comparator (compares current speed to average speed)
  • Heart rate/Pulse monitor
  • Calorie counter
  • Temperature
  • Alarm clock
  • Illumination
  • Downloading capabilities

Final things to consider

Once you settle on what features are desirable for your style of riding, there are a few more factors to consider. First, compare the battery life of various models. Second, take a look at the screen options and make sure the readability of the unit is good. You may also want to consider additional mounts that allow a different placement of the unit, sometimes making it easier to read. Lastly, if you’re an avid rider who rotates between bikes, look for a unit that can easily be swapped between bikes.