Fiddly Diddly Computer
At heart I’m pretty simple, so I like simple things.
I’ve got two cycle computers - one’s a Topeak Comp 140, which is just great - speed, trip distance, cadence, averages, maximums, and an overall odometer. More to the point, it’s all controlled by a SINGLE button. Press to scroll through the functions, press and hold to reset everything apart from the overall odometer. It’s also wired rather than wireless, so providing the cables’ll reach, I can mount it anywhere on the handlebars without having to worry about sensor pickup, or interference from electric fields. So this is the computer that’s mounted on Christine, my race bike, sitting at the end of the clip-on tri-bars, so I can watch the cadence while keeping my eyes on the road.
The other computers a Blackburn Delphi 4.0. All the same features, but with a wireless wheel sensor, a backlight, and the option for two different bikes / wheel sizes, with independent and combined odometers. On the face of it, a real step up . . .
But. . . . it’s the fiddliest darned thing I’ve ever used. There are FOUR buttons, and they all have multiple functions, depending on whether you press, press-and-hold, press in combination with other buttons, or have already pressed something else first. AND none of the buttons are labeled, though they give ‘em names in the manual (seven languages in a single volume), which seems to have not been proofread. There seems to be no narrative to it, and you frequently find yourself flicking back & forth between several pages. Oh, and to cap it all, the cadence (the measure I’m really interested in) is displayed in the smallest, hardest to read part of the display.
I got this to use on Trixie The Fixie, and sturdy & dependable Wilf. Except the cadence sensor packed up after a few months, which made it less than ideal for Wilf. And an extra wheel sensor & magnet costs, well, almost as much as the whole Topeak computer did in the first place. So its ended up as the computer for Trixie The Fixie only, where the cadence is whatever I can push it to.
So today as I headed off out just before sunrise, I was trying to reset the trip counter on this little gizmo. Trying to remember which combination of buttons needed pressing. And I ended up selecting the wheel size for Wilf, AND re-programming this to some fictional wheel size. All this meant that I was getting speed & distance readings about 50% greater than I knew to be true.
So after I got home, I downloaded the manual (again), and have tried again to learn how to do even the basics with this alarmingly complicated toy.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 02/13/2008
- Time: 14:00:47
- Total Time: 2:00:00.00
- Distance: 30 miles
- Average Speed: 15 mph
- Measurements based on past experience of today’s routes - the Blackburn Delphi 4.0 was no help at all today!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, to reset the trip counter, you have to select either the trip distance or average speed in the secondary display, and THEN press and hold the Start/Stop button. Obvious really, when you think about it.