Bike Computer Consolidation

The question I'd invariably get was, "Why do you have two bike computer?" The engineer in me would answer "For redundancy!". But the truth is, I liked the computer (Planet Bike Protege 8.0) that I bought with my SPECIALIZED Allez, nice large display with a 4 line, easy to read LCD display. The second computer a Cateye Astrale 8 came later and was monitoring cadence and the rear tire speed (for my indoor/trainer riding). By the way, there was a third computer, an older model Polar Heart Rate monitor (wrist unit).

So, as I've done in my job, I needed to put together the requirements for a computer consolidation. My requirements;

  • A single computer capable of monitoring all of the following;
    • cadence
    • speed
    • Heart Rate
  • Wireless sensors (I don't want to deal with the cables)
  • Large LCD digits (these eyes aren't getting any younger)
I settled on the Polar CS100, it came with almost everything, except the cadence sensor which had to be purchased separately. It did have one issue, limited range between the sensors and the computer. So limited, that I couldn't mount the wheel speed sensor at the rear wheel and have it register on the computer at the handlebars.

Range Limits
  • 1.5 ft for the wheel speed sensor
  • 2.5 ft for the cadence sensor
So, my solution was to mount the computer on the top tube. But the top tube on my SPECIALIZED Tarmac isn't exactly round, so I cut a small section of an old bike tire to used between the computer mounting bracket and the top tube.

With the computer positioned there, it's now well within range of all the sensors. I was even able to get out yesterday for a short ride to make sure everything was working.

All the products that I've have mentioned in my blog are products that I personally own and use for my day to day bicycle riding.


Anonymous said...

Is a rear bike computer any different from a regular one, other than maybe having a longer wire? or longer wireless range?

Doug Curtis said...

With wired units, it's just the length of the cables. My Protege 8.0 didn't have a long enough cable to reach the rear wheel, but the Astrale 8 did. With the wireless units you'll want to check the manual, (usually available online and the manufacturers website) to verify the range. The top tube mounted computer isn't idle from the standpoint of checking the stats during a ride, but it was the only way to get it in range of all the sensors.

Anonymous said...

thanks for all the info! Very helpful to this novice biker!