Best Triathlon Bike Computers Review 2012
The best bike computers for triathlon tested, rated and reviewed for 2012
We fitted these computers to a number of bikes and rode with them to assess their ability to deliver the promised data in real-world conditions. At this time of year, real-world conditions tend to be cold, mucky and wet more often than they’re clear and fine.
We spent hours logging up miles and prodding away at these units while wearing chunky winter gloves to see if they work the way you need them to. All the models tested here are wireless so there were no issues with wires getting snagged.
Other devices, such as lights, mobile phones and heart-rate monitors were used in conjunction with the computers to check for any signal interference or break-up.
Truth is, many of the 20-something functions on computers rarely, if ever, get used. So why not save money by trimming back to the bare essentials with the VDO A4+? The head unit is small and neat, though the digits are still usefully large at 12mm. With just four functions you’re only ever a couple of clicks away from every reading. The A4+ was all we needed for the standard, out-and-back rides on our regular routes. Feature-hungry tech-heads or pro athletes may desire more info, but we have a warm feeling for the good old days where we just wanted to know how fast, how far and how long we were going. We made firm friends with the VDO and think you will too.
Does just what’s necessary, but that’s the whole point.
This small, nine-function unit has a comparatively large screen. The main digits are 18mm tall and easy to see but secondary info is only 5mm and can be easily missed. A single button is used to select functions and gives an audible click. We managed okay with lightweight full-finger gloves, but it took more concentration to ensure a clean press with thicker, winter gloves. As well as all the usual speed and distance data, the Crops also calculates calorie consumption, which is an interesting extra function. The LED test button on the fork sensor is a particularly useful feature as dead or depleted sensor batteries are often the reason that wireless systems fail.
Outstanding value; could use a narrower, taller button.
Triathlon Plus Top Value Award, issue 48
Blackburn Atom SL3.0
We fell in love with the Atom’s angular aesthetics, which look equally good mounted on the bars or stem. Set-up is a five-minute job and the single button uses a left/right tilt to activate either of the two switches. The button’s action is positive and the different modes are sensibly ordered. Data updating was fast and the scan function lets you see all of it by continuously scrolling through each mode. The head unit’s mount is worthy of note for its Velcro strap that makes fitting exceptionally quick and easy. It’s a preferable alternative to the standard-issue zip ties, which make full removal a faff. If only they’d do something similar for the fork sensor mount.
Great looking and easy to mount. Good enough to topple the excellent Cateye Strada.
Triathlon Plus Gold Award, issue 48
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Tags: BBB, Best Triathlon Gear Reviews, Bike Computer Reviews, Blackburn, Bryton, CatEye, Crops, Garmin, Hot, Knog, Mio, Polar, PRO, Triathlon Gear Reviews, Triathlon Group Tests, Triathlon Plus Magazine, VDO, Wahoo Fitness