Sep 7 2005
A basic, middle-of-the-line computer from your favorite German fitness product company. Avg. speed, ridetime, stopwatch, ride distance, max speed, total odo, and even a countdown odometer (for those of you who can’t subtract). Retail is $25, a wireless mount (which I got) is 15 more.
Set-Up: 4. Pretty simple. After you find the hidden button on the back that resets it, just punch buttons (there’s only two) through the menus, enter the special 4-digit code for your wheel size, set your clock, and it’s good to go. Barely need the manual at all. Kinda sucks that you can’t mount it on the stem without having it rotated 90-degrees, though.
Use: 5. God, it’s so easy. One button goes between modes, the other starts/stops. Both buttons together reset a given mode. Plus the display is so flippin’ huge that even Laurent Fignon could read it without glasses. Average speed stops measuring when the wheel stops rolling, as does trip time, so you can stop to take a leak without messing up your data.
Maintenance: 3. Could have been better. Sigma’s dumb stock magnet doesn’t fit bladed or radically butted spokes. The sensor (on my Look fork, anyway) moved around a lot. I’d say about once a week I’d look down while riding and find my current speed at 0.0, and have to realign things.
Durability: 2. I flip the bike upside-down for maintenance, and it didn’t seem too damaged by it. I also packed in pretty hard one time (around 20mph) and computer stayed put on the bars. But after changing its location to the stem so I could mount aerobars, I started sweating on it alot, and after 1820 miles, it stopped working. Changed all the batteries, bought a new wireless mount, new magnet, still nothing.
Features: 4. Everything I need, nothing I don’t (except the stupid trip countdown – aren’t Germans supposed to be good at math?). Actually, it would have been nice to have a cadence option, and a backlight, but that might be asking too much from a $25 dollar computer.
Final Thoughts: For me, it comes down to ease of use vs. reliability. Maybe if you buy a Mavic magnet, superglue the wheel sensor in place, and don’t sweat on it, it lasts longer and requires less tweaking. The sheer frustration of trying to use the CatEye I have now makes it seem worthwhile to stay with the BC 1200 and just replace it every 2000 miles.