Mounts and accessories
Mounts and accessories
What type of connectivity your device has will play a big part in the accessories available.
Right now, ANT+ is still the most widely used wireless protocol, but Bluetooth is becoming more and more popular, to the point where lots of bike computer manufacturers are building both into their units. But, in general, there are certain types that’ll be available no matter what unit you have.
The first are speed/cadence sensors. This will either be one or two sensors depending on the manufacturer. Garmin used to make an integrated unit that sat on the seatstay and measured both, but with the Edge 1000 they’ve moved to a dual sensor design where the cadence sensor sits on the non-drive side crank arm and the speed sensor fits on the rear hub. Obviously the GPS will record speed as well, but the speed sensor can be useful for those moments when (or, more correctly, if) the GPS drops out, and the speed sensor will actually help to improve the accuracy.
For anyone serious about their training, heart rate is a particularly useful add-on. Of course, power is better, but if you don’t fancy dropping hundreds, or even thousands of pounds on a power meter, £50 extra on a heart rate monitor is a valued substitute. Lots of manufacturers will offer a version of their unit with a heart rate strap that’s be cheaper than buying the unit on its own. For example, Polar’s new v650 is £194.50 without the strap and £239.50 with, but the strap on its own will set you back £64.50. If you think you might want to train by heart rate, paying that extra bit up front may well save you a few pounds in the long run. Again, make sure your unit has the relevant wireless connectivity (e.g. the Garmin Edge 200 and Lezyne Mini GPS don’t have ANT+ or Bluetooth connectivity so won’t be able to talk to an external sensor).
By far the most popular mount type now is the Garmin-style quarter turn mount. It’s small, unobtrusive, easy to mount on the bike and very secure. Because of this, the majority of companies have a quarter turn mount for their computers but some companies, like PRO or CatEye use a more traditional clip-in method where you have to press in a tab to release the computer.
There are basically three places on the bike that mounting a computer is practical: on the bars, on the stem and an ‘out-front’ mount that sits the computer just in front of the handlebars. Now personally, I hate having things cluttering up the handlebars. I like climbing with my hands on the tops, and having a computer there would mean it would just get in the way. Stem mounting is a really neat method of moving the unit out of the way, but can be an issue if you have one of the newer, larger bike computers and a shorter stem. If, on the other hand, you favour a 130mm stem like Lotto-Belisol’s Adam Hansen you can probably mount an iPad on your stem and not notice it.
The out-front mount is our favourite style, and the method preferred by the majority of the pro peloton. It makes the computer slightly easier to see, and gets it out in front of the stem, in an area you should pretty much never need your hands to go. There are plenty of manufacturers of out-front mounts, and most do their own. Garmin, for example, will give you their out-front mount with the Edge 510 performance bundle or higher, or you can buy one separately for £29.99. But some of the best come from third-party manfacturers. K-Edge are probably the market leaders when it comes to third-party computer mounts, and they have a variety of styles and colours.