What is the point or benefit of a bike computer (rather than an iPhone)?

Mike_P

Guru
Location
Harrogate
If you are cycling where you know where you are then a basic speed reading etc is all you need, if you are venturing into unknown pastures a GPS bike computer is really useful. Yes a phone can do that but it's battery life is vastly limited in comparison and you may need the phone for its normal use. My Wahoo Bolt was £150 in a sale last Autumn.
 

Johnno260

Veteran
Location
East Sussex
I wouldn't want to risk the phone on the bars, unless you have an old phone you don't care about I suppose.

But like others said having the phone tucked away safe and dry seems more important in case of an emergency.
 
I have a super duper ulefune something or other. Waterproof to 10,000 metres. Drop proof from the Eiffel tower (tested but not quite the Eiffel tower). Film underwater. Dog knows where it is even if I don't. I regularly get lost so useful on my handlebar. Sold off two Garmin's found to complicated. Phone switch on, tell it where you are going 3 routes offered. I have Anquet maps (1:50,000) on CD's. One day I will ring them and sort out a swap for a SD card. Sorted then for a walking maps as well. Stuff Garmin pain in the arse.
 

gcogger

Regular
I just bought a Garmin Edge Explore, where previously I'd been using my phone with some success (e.g. with Komoot).
The main reasons for me were:
  • It's waterproof
  • The GPS is more accurate - no more late turn instructions
  • Constantly draining my phone battery will shorten the life of my phone
  • Leaving the (OLED) display on for hours will shorten the life of the screen
I'd also hoped for better battery life, but that's not the case - the Garmin will last perhaps 6hrs if you want to have the display on at a (somewhat) visible brightness setting. My phone will do about the same.
 
Location
South East
I bought a wahoo, to save phone battery, and to keep the phone safe in the pannier, or on a bumbag if going far. The Wahoo got us to Paris, with turn by turn routing and recording the ride as we went.
it was easy to set up, and gives a good overview of details, including temperature.
It’s horses for course of course, but I feel it was a good investment in going along routes we haven’t any knowledge of.
Just recently, MOH has used the breadcrumb trail to get to work, and I’m not sure she would have managed quite so easily with a map on her phone.
 

snorri

Legendary Member
Buy the OS map for your local area for about a fiver, study it and built up a mental picture of the area and learn about things and places you never new existed right on your doorstep.
...................and also buy a pocket compass, being on the right road is only a part of the game, when in strange territory you have to know in which direction to travel:okay:
 
I have a 1:50,000 map of the UK on cds which are on my laptop. I am hoping Anquet will let me swap them for sd card/s to load into my phone. I have no sense of direction and my map reading leaves a lot to be desired. Although it would help if looked at my map before I got lost!! Took the dog for a short 1 hour walk which lasted 2 plus hours yesterday. Dog happy. me, not so much. Knee sore sorted by a few beers and ciders. Of course that don't happy where I live but I am in deepest darkest Herefordshire. Oddly yesterday my phone was useless. Or at lest map was. It clearly showed roads but no village names and that i wasn't moving. When I was on the road it still showed me in the middle of a field. Only when I had moved about 2 miles did it show my position accurately.
 

gcogger

Regular
I have a 1:50,000 map of the UK on cds which are on my laptop. I am hoping Anquet will let me swap them for sd card/s to load into my phone. I have no sense of direction and my map reading leaves a lot to be desired. Although it would help if looked at my map before I got lost!! Took the dog for a short 1 hour walk which lasted 2 plus hours yesterday. Dog happy. me, not so much. Knee sore sorted by a few beers and ciders. Of course that don't happy where I live but I am in deepest darkest Herefordshire. Oddly yesterday my phone was useless. Or at lest map was. It clearly showed roads but no village names and that i wasn't moving. When I was on the road it still showed me in the middle of a field. Only when I had moved about 2 miles did it show my position accurately.
If you want phone access to those kinds of maps, a subscription to Ordnance Survey mapping is cheap (£20/year, I think, last time I renewed) and lets you access the entire UK at a variety of scales up to 1:25000. You can download specific areas to the phone if you're going to be out of reception.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
I usually tend to fit a cheap basic cycle computer to whichever bikes I use most. I'm not interested in average speed or anything like that, I just want to record my mileage so I always get cheap basic ones. I suppose I could use my phone I'm sure but I don't always take my phone when riding, battery life is a concern - especially if touring and I suppose it's partly just habit as I was using cycle computers before I ever had a mobile phone never mind a smart phone.

I always plan my routes on a paper map as I can get to see the whole area I will be passing through in a way you can't with GPS.

On my pre-war Elswick I have one of these little babies to record my mileage :becool:
View attachment 537606
I remember those.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
I was cycling when tyred's clicker on the front wheel was state of the art, I remember when we started to use cycle computers, its all I have on my bike, if I want to record a ride I have ride with GPS on my phone, I just activate the go ride feature and stick the phone in my saddle bag, its all I need for most of my rides.
 

oldworld

Senior Member
Well I wouldn't use an iPhone on a bike but then I wouldn't pay that sort of money for a phone.
I get round things with a cheap £100 android phone and if I want to navigate use Osmand with routes created in Cycle travel.
To see how far/fast I'm going I've got a cheapo wired Sigma.
The phone battery won't last for a day ride but I carry a spare battery.
I had an etrex but never got on with it. I like the phone far better.
 

Twilkes

Guru
the gps in a phone is inferior to that of a dedicated gps device…
I don't think this is true anymore - I've used GPS on my Huawei £80 phone and on a GPS bike computer, and they're both pretty much equal, even when I've tracked the same ride with both devices at the same time the accuracy is pretty much the same. In fact the phone has the benefit of locking onto a signal almost immediately because it can use mobile phone masts and local wifi networks to locate itself, whereas I've sometimes had to wait for a minute or to for the GPS device to lock on at the start of a ride.

GPS doesn't seem to drain the phone battery much at all either, as long as the screen is off (i.e. I wouldn't want to use it for navigation). In fact the thing that drained the battery the most was having an active email app that was constantly pinging to see if I had any new messages, probably got an extra 40-50% battery life by deactivating that.
 
On the phone gps accuracy subject and speaking as a non-technically minded person, I'd trust the gps on a dedicated unit before a phone.

I remember testing out various gps apps on my phone utilising different apps and recall one situation very clearly.
On the Dutch side of the Schelde estuary my Motorola phone wrongly showed my position on Osmand and Google Maps, first with data off, then on. I was still in Belgium according to the phone, yet not in a location I had been.
My older cheapy Chinese phone showed my accurate location on Osmand and with neither saved Google Maps nor a sim was useless for Google maps.

In any case, the longer the gps is activated on a phone, the more accurate it is, I have found.
I've also noticed that weather, specifically thunderstorms, have an effect on accuracy on all the gps devices I've tried, although not to the extreme that it has me in another country^_^

If I ever have the suspicion that the location may be inaccurate, a short ride or walk normally causes the phone to recalculate.
 

Ming the Merciless

There is no mercy
Location
Inside my skull
I have a 1:50,000 map of the UK on cds which are on my laptop. I am hoping Anquet will let me swap them for sd card/s to load into my phone. I have no sense of direction and my map reading leaves a lot to be desired. Although it would help if looked at my map before I got lost!! Took the dog for a short 1 hour walk which lasted 2 plus hours yesterday. Dog happy. me, not so much. Knee sore sorted by a few beers and ciders. Of course that don't happy where I live but I am in deepest darkest Herefordshire. Oddly yesterday my phone was useless. Or at lest map was. It clearly showed roads but no village names and that i wasn't moving. When I was on the road it still showed me in the middle of a field. Only when I had moved about 2 miles did it show my position accurately.
Should not need to, just get the anquet phone app and sync the ones you want
 
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