Bicycle computer comparison 2018

Purchase advice on the bicycle computer comparison or test 2018

  • A bike computer is attached to the handlebar of the bike and displays data about speed, distance, travel time and other parameters of a bicycle ride.
  • Most of the time, the system collects this data by itself, as a small magnet on a spoke triggers a voltage pulse to a coil on the fork. The frequency of these pulses becomes the basis of the calculation of speed and distance.
  • Modern devices often have additional functions that deviate from the pure route data. Thus, some modern bicycle computers can also track the route via GPS or give route instructions.

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: comparison

The sun is shining, the weather forecast does not predict any changes in the glorious conditions - optimal conditions for getting on the bike and enjoying the scenery, the weather and the physical activity!

To not only go into the blue, but also to keep track of the tour, a bike computer is a useful accessory. These devices can capture a lot of data about your journey, such as current speed, average speed, distance covered and many more. With more modern equipment, you can also track your route or get directions for navigation.

In our Bicycle Computer Comparison 2018 Find out what types of bike computers are available, what to look for when buying a bike computer, and which is the best bike computer for your needs.

1. That can be a bike computer

eddy current

The principle of the cycling computer is based on induction. Using a magnet on the bicycle spoke, a small current can be induced in a coil on the fork. This current is called eddy current and provides the basis for the data collection.

We first take a look at the Construction of a classic bicycle computer. This consists of two components; on the one hand, a central office on which the collected data are evaluated and displayed, on the other hand, a data acquisition coil.

The basic principle of the bicycle computer and its predecessors, the odometer and bicycle speedometer, is that of the eddy current, This physical phenomenon provides the basis for the speedometer.

The frequency of the induced current acts for the calculation of distance and speed. The basis is the so-called rolling circumference, This results from the diameter of the rims plus the size of the inflated tire.

The data is calculated as follows:

The small Magnet is located 20 centimeters away from the axis, The bike has 28-inch tires with strong coats. The diameter of the entire tire is 710 mm. This sizedbecomes the basis of the rolling circumference of the tire:

Rolling circumference l = twice the tire diameter d multiplied by Pi

l = 2⋅d⋅π

In our example results:

2 ⋅ 3.1415926 ⋅ 710 mm = 4461.061 mm

A circulation of the tire is therefore equivalent to the movement over 4.46 meters. The cycle computer can thus calculate the distance traveled by adding the rounds. For example, one hundred revolutions of the tire result in a covered distance of 446 meters.

For the calculation of the speed, not only the number, but also the frequency of the rounds is decisive. After all, the speed is nothing but the distance traveled in a certain time.

Another example (again starting from a tire diameter of 710 mm):

The cycle computer registers 100 revolutions of the tire in one minute. Starting from the formula for speed

speed v = Way s divided by time t


446 m / 60 s = 7, 43 m / s.

To convert this value to the more usual kilometers per hour, just multiply by the number of seconds that pass in one hour (this is 3,600):

7.43 m / s ⋅ 3,600 = 26,670 m / h = 26.67 km

Thus, from the revolutions of the tire track and speed can be calculated.

The transmission of the data was done in former times mostly by cable. Users had to wrap a thin cable, usually insulated with black plastic, around the handlebar and bicycle fork to ensure data transmission from the bike to the bike computer.

This method still exists on current entry-level models. However, now exist too amplifies devices that rely on wireless transmission of the data.

We count the following in the following Advantages and disadvantages wireless bike computer on:

  • easy construction
  • no clutter
  • direct transmission to other devices possible
  • susceptible to interference
  • need separate power supply

More functions, which many models have in common cycling computer tests, are:

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: comparison

A simple bike computer on a handlebar.
  • Date / time
  • Average speed
  • maximum speed
  • travel time

In addition, modern equipment is equipped with features to provide further insights into the bicycle ride.These features are usually interesting if the corresponding user has a sporting interest in cycling (eg as a sporty balance or special bike training).

Possible functions can i.a. his:

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: bicycle

Cadence and heart rate are displayed at the top right and left in this model.
  • pulse
  • Cadence
  • GPS recording
  • calorie counter

Devices that have these features account for the more sporty use of the bike computer and bill help to document and analyze the training progress. Some modern cycle computers have a Bluetooth or ANT interface to pass the data to the smartphone or computer. This makes a more comprehensive analysis possible.

2. These types of bike computers are there

2.1. Classic bike computer

The classic bike computer works with the method described above to collect important data about the bike tour or the training, In addition to the small magnet for the spoke and the coil for the fork, the scope of supply for this category also includes the actual computer, a small device with an LCD screen, a holder for the same, and possibly cables for the connection between the coil and the computer.

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: comparison

A classic bike computer, here a VDO bike speedometer.

The classic bike computer (also called Velocomputer) is the Further development of the analog bicycle tacho, These devices had the disadvantage that they were only suitable for a certain wheel size because of their way of working. If one decided on a deeper profile in the bicycle jacket, the speedometer data could already be inaccurate.

Due to the digital operation of the since the 1990s popular cycling computer devices are independent of the size of the wheel. Rather, this can now be set exactly.

On the one hand, consumers do not have to worry about their personal bike computer test winner fitting their beloved bike, on the other hand, digital technology always depends on power supply - nothing works without batteries. However, since the devices usually work with energy-saving LCD displays, the power hunger is low - Often enough a button cell to operate the bike computer for months.

Some manufacturers provide their bike computers with solar cells to extend the life span further.

The data connection, if made by cable, is not dependent on a direct connection between the spool on the fork and the bicycle computer. In most cases, the coil and computer mount are connected. This allows users to remove the computer from the handlebars when the wheel is briefly turned off. Thus, for example, the long fingers to put a stop.

If the bike computer has wireless, the cable connection between the fork and the handlebar will drop accordingly. Newer models use a digital, encrypted wireless method to send the data.

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: 2018

A bicycle computer with a clear display.

For further data, e.g. heart rate (often erroneously referred to as "heart rate") or to measure the cadence, more sensors are needed. To determine the cadence, further eddy current detection on the pedals is required. To detect the heart rate, a corresponding sensor (as a chest strap or clip) is required.

In a sense, the bicycle navigation system is an extension of the classic bicycle computer. However, the recordings are not induced by a magnetic current, but are completely based on data from the GPS system. This satellite-based recording of ride data is often more accurate, but does not provide all the functionality of a bike computer. Most bicycle navigation systems do not have a cadence recording.

As the name implies, these devices are however suitable for creating a route or approaching a specific destination. For this they have databases of POIs (interesting places, such as restaurants, workshops, hotels), which support the route planning.

Cycling computers and navigation systems have some overlapping features, but they also have many differences, which is why they can not be considered completely interchangeable.

2.3. Bike Computer App

In addition to the physical bicycle computers, there are software applications that can take over some of the functions. Just like the bicycle navigation systems The apps for smartphones use GPS signals to record the speed and distance of the bike tour.

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: bicycle

Combined with two sensors that attach to both the shoe and the bike, the accuracy of a bike computer re-app increases.

However, some of the apps are not pure bike-related apps, but rather provide the recording as part of their tracking capabilities for sports in general. Thus, the apps can also partially record heart rates, but no cadence. Some of the apps, such as Ventoo for Pebble, use wearables, portable mini-computers, as a display. In addition, many offer the opportunity to export the recorded route and to look at the computer or other navigation devices.

Some bike apps in the list:

  • Digital Dashboard GPS
  • Runtastic Road Bike (also available as a mountain bike version)
  • Urban biker
  • komoot

3. Purchase advice for bicycle computers: You must pay attention to this

3.1. functionality

The function and design of your bike computer test winner is a crucial purchase criterion, To make sure you choose the right device for you, you should consider which features are important to you. In the following, we have created a table that gives you an overview:

typedata collectionsuitable for
bike computer

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: computer

  • Eddy current transformer on the bicycle fork
  • Records speed and distance
  • can also detect pedaling and heart rate
Athletes who want to keep track of their training progress

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: computer

  • GPS signal
  • can record speed and distance
Leisure cyclists who do not want to give up navigation
Bike Computer App

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: bicycle

  • GPS signal
  • can record speed and distance
  • With additional devices also heart rate measurement possible
Athletes and recreational cyclists who do not want to purchase a separate device

3.2. display

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: comparison

The classic models have easy-to-read displays (here a sigma bike computer).

The nature of the display is essentially related to the design of your bike computer test winner. If you choose a classic-looking device, you'll get an LCD display that's up to four-line interface. The advantages of this (quite simple) technique are the easy readability and the resistance even in sunlight.

The devices in the Bicycle NAVI category have larger displays, which usually have colored displays. This allows maps to be displayed so that users can follow their path. The colored displays are mostly larger, but consume more power accordingly and are sometimes difficult to read in direct sunlight.

3.3. Sensor & usability

For bicycle computers must be Sensor that detects eddy current, be installed. This is attached to the front fork. You have the choice of whether your preferred device is the data

  • by cable or
  • wireless

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: bicycle

If you opt for a bicycle navigation system with touchscreen, make sure that the device can also be operated with gloves.

transfers to the Velocomputer. If you knocked out a wired device, changing it would be difficult. Wireless devices can be switched back and forth between different bikes fasterHowever, a wireless radio connection is often prone to interference.

Also pay attention to how many buttons are required for operation. Our bike computer comparison shows that the simple cycle computers can usually be operated with fewer buttons, So even during the trip small changes can be made. Most of the tests on the bike have a touch-screen display that is often intuitive and easy to use.

3.4. Waterproof or not?

Most bike computers in comparison are splash-proof, i. Some rain can not hurt them in most cases, However, if you want to do wind and weather tours and enjoy the outdoors in the pouring rain, you should make sure that your favorite is actually waterproof. To avoid malfunction after a three-hour tour at 400 mm / m².

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: comparison

4. Questions and answers about cycling computers

4.1. How accurate are bike computers?

Bicycle computer comparison 2018: computer

Bicycle navigation is about 5 to 10 meters in the navigation.

If you prefer the models with sensor on the fork, you have to make sure set the computer to the correct wheel size. If you miss this, an inaccuracy can quickly add up. For example, if you have a 28 "wheel but only 26" in your computer, the error per turn is approximately 32 cm, which translates into very inaccurate measurements of distance and speed.

The Bike Navis, which work with GPS signals, have the usual error with this technique: The freely usable frequencies are usually accurate to only five to ten meters.

It can also happen that the GPS signal goes under the dense canopy of a forest and you are dependent on the error correction. This replaces the possibly actually driven route by a straight line from the last to the next valid GPS signal. Depending on the period without the GPS signal and the distance between them, this calculation may lead to more or less erroneous values.

4.2. How do I set a bike computer?

Make sure your wheel size (rim diameter plus inflated jacket) is correct. In the following video you will find out how to determine this without having to refresh your knowledge of school mathematics (calculating the amount of circles).

4.3. What does ODO mean for the bicycle computer?

ODO stands for Odometer, the English word for Wegmesser. This refers to devices that, like the bicycle computer, measure a distance based on the circumference of a wheel. The technical word for a Wegmesser is in German-speaking countries Hodometer.

4.4. Which bike computer are the pros driving?

Due to the special demands that the professionals put on their training routine, many use special devices that have little in common with the training computers for home use. Team Sky, for example, which has the winner of the overall ranking in its ranks uses a so-called to monitor the training progress Power meter, which is attached to the pedal crank and so can raise cadence, distance and speed data.

4.5. What does Stiftung Warentest say?

In 2010, the foundation conducted a cycling computer test. The result: First place for a sigma bike computer, which convinced the testers by handling and accuracy.

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Video Board: Top 5 - Bike Computers 2018