Last weekend I purchased a much needed bike computer. As a first time casual rider, I wanted to keep track of the time spent, mph and most importantly, total number of miles traveled. After looking online for a suitable computer, I finally opted to go with my bike shop’s suggestion.
First and foremost, two things I must cover before going into details on the bike computer. If you want to purchase this item or any other similar item, I suggest you purchase it online! Last Saturday I asked the very helpful and friendly sales clerk at County Cycle Club to suggest a bike computer for me. He immediately suggested that I go with the “cheaper” model as the other models had stuff that most people don’t even need or bother to use (e.g. cadence meter). In that regard, he was 100% correct. I wanted basic and no frills. He suggested the Sigma BC 506. Here’s the whopper: I asked him how much and he said it was $34.99. Ok, a little steep but I figured it wasn’t that bad. I later found out otherwise. When I got home, I checked Amazon.com (why oh why did I do that?) and found the same model for
$15.66! I was so pissed off! Yeah, it was my fault for giving in to impulse buying but I never thought that I would find it for that cheap. Lesson learned: always compare prices and buy online (my wife could’ve told me that). Us men never learn…
The second thing I want to cover is installation. I read online that people have spent close to two hours installing this model or other similar products. I will tell you right off the bat: have a qualified bike shop install it for you! The main advantage of purchasing the BC 506 at my bike shop was that they install everything on my bike for the life of the bike. Period. I am willing to test, however, if I purchase a product outside their shop if they are willing to be equally kind to install it for me.
The sales clerk mounted my bike on his special maintenance rack and within 15 minutes, had the unit installed, wires wrapped around cables, magnets affixed and wheel calibrations set. He said that they have a special computer or gadget that does the calibrations for my specific wheel size which is paramount to the unit working perfectly. Any mistakes and I will get erroneous readings on the computer. I consider myself a pretty smart guy, I can read and most definitely know how to follow directions. But the tiny manual has several pages dedicated to wheel size and wheel size charts and how to input them into the computer. I am SO glad I was spared all of that.
It was time to put this baby to the test on the rode. Today I rode up and down Westchester County’s South County Trail near route 9A and the Saw Mill in NY and took the computer with me. I instantly liked that it has a twist lock system which enables me to simply twist the unit off the bike with a click and put it in my pocket, thus preventing theft (useless to the thief without the other components though). This was a neat feature I didn’t know about.
The BC 506 basically has five functions: speed, distance, total distance, clock, and ride time. Perfect; nothing more and definitely nothing less. It has a clear, crystal display with digits very easy to read. Dominating space on the display is the speed. I averaged 12 mph (can be calibrated for Kph). Second is the clock function which is great because it means I no longer need to wear a watch (my wrists tend to get sweaty) during my rides. You can set the unit to auto scroll so that it cycles between all the various funtions at 2 second intervals by pressing the single rubber button at the bottom of unit. The speed readout always remains at the top right of the screen.
The only other thing worthwhile mentioning is the magnet attached to the wheel spoke. I was advised to keep an eye on it from time to time and to make sure that it is almost touching the sensor but not quite or else I’ll get the wrong readings on the device. I asked him if it will slide down as time passes and he assured me that it won’t. If that were to ever happen or if I should have any issue with it, they will wholeheartedly will take a look at it and make sure everything’s okay.
When I stop the bike to drink some water or to take a break, the computer stops and keeps in memory all the information. It only records when I’m riding. Sounds like a no-brainer but it wasn’t that obvious to me at the time. Even after I detached the unit and took it home, all the information was still there. Simply holding down the button for 2.5 seconds resets the whole unit, ready for the next ride. When not in use, the defaults to displaying only the time. It runs on a 3-volt CR2032 lithium battery (included) which lasts for about 2 years. One word of caution however as stated in the manual: record the wheel size and total distance before changing battery. You will lose this information and you’ll have to re-enter it! Also, the time must be re-entered as well.
There isn’t much more that I can say about this bike computer. If you need to buy one, this is the one to go especially if the price remains low as posted on Amazon. If you want to install it on your own, give it a try. Physically, it isn’t that hard at all. It’s figuring out how to input the right information for your specific wheel size that will prove to be challenging. Don’t bother to get any other bike computer that offers more than the five functions mentioned if you’re an average, casual rider. I hope this review proved to be helpful to you.