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flight deck(6 posts)

flight deckColuber
Oct 27, 2001 5:22 PM
Anyone know anything about flight decks? I'm getting a new bike soon and pondering a flight deck, but I don't really know much about how they actually work. For example, how do they actually connect with the shifters, etc? And how well do they work, how accurate, etc? And how much do they usually cost? Thanks!
re: flight deckzelig
Oct 28, 2001 1:30 AM
I'll assume the bike has Shimano running gear and flightdeck compatible levers. The control functions and shifter related functions are set and sent by a switch/contact which fits on the inside of each of your sti levers. These are then connected to the head unit. The wheel related function works like any other bike computer in that there's a magnet attached to a spoke on your front wheel and there's a sensor attached to the fork. The transmission of information from the fork sensor to the head unit is either by wire or wireless, depending on model. The cadence is based on the computer computation of what gear you're in and the road speed.

Functionally, it's worked well. I have the model where there's one button on each lever versus the older models which have two buttons on one lever. It seems that with the two buttons on one lever, it was possible to inadvertently reset trip times and distances when riding on the hoods. Accuracy, well it seems as good as my Avocets. I live in the UK and it was about £140 but I think it's around $130 in the States. Seems like you can get some pretty good deals on Flightdeck.

I like the product but if you don't want or need cadence and gear information, I'd stick with some of the simpler product offerings.
re: flight deckDrD
Oct 28, 2001 5:41 AM
They work as well as any other computer out there, with the added bonus of having the controls/buttons on the shift levers, and they calculate a virtual cadence based upon your current speed and what gear you are in.

There is an old version and a new version of the head unit - the new version allows you to set the odometer, the old one does not. There are also both wired and wireless harnesses - referring to the connection from the wheel sensor to the head unit - both versions require a wired connection to the shift levers.

Installation is a bit more time consuming than a regular computer, as you have to run the wires to the shift levers (the wire harness has a connector which attaches to the side of the lever under the rubber cover - if you roll back the cover and look on the inside surface of a flight deck compatable lever, you can see the panel which is held in place with a single screw) - you have to partially untape the bars, run the sensor wires to the shift levers, then retape the bars - the rest of the installation is the same as a standard computer.

I have the wireless set-up and have been using it for ~9mos - I like it alot!

Prices tend to vary - ranging from $40 on sale online for the wired unit to ~$130 in the lbs for the wireless one - shop around - also - make sure you know what you are looking at - some places sell the head unit and harness as a kit, others sell the two seperately.
The 6500 series has ergonomic problemsBrian C.
Oct 29, 2001 10:27 AM
All in all, it's not a bad cycling computer.

I have the 6500 series Flight Deck and there are some annoying deficiencies.
Most notably, you can accidently turn off the computer if you brush one of the buttons on the Ultegra brake hood. (The only certain century I've done is unofficial because somewhere along the way the computer was turned off and I didn't notice until after a few miles. At journey's end, it clocked in at 95 miles. Damn!)
Another annoying feature is you have to roll through six or seven functions to get to the one you want. Perhaps that's typical with all computers but I only wish Shimano had made it programmable so that you could put all the information you really need on a typical trip (speed, cadence, rolling time, clock, among others for instance) on Level 1 and the other, less-important information (stopwatch, odometer, etc.) on the second level.
Thirdly, I wish they'd given you a choice between 12-hour and 24-hour clock.

I've heard that some of the deficiences noted above were corrected in the 6501 version.
(The 6500 has the two control buttons on the right brake hood; for the 6501, each hood has one button - or so I've read.)

Have you checked out the Review section on this board?
hearty recommendationsfeathers mcgraw
Oct 29, 2001 7:05 PM
I can't say enough good things about the Flight Deck. My favorite function is the gear display, which is intuitive and clear. It's particularly good for racing, when you're prone to be addled by exhaustion and/or adrenaline, and don't want to sneak a glance at your cassette. Setup is a bit of a hassle, but less so if you consider the lack of a crank sensor for cadence.
More confusing than necessary.nee Spoke Wrench
Oct 30, 2001 6:18 AM
I've got two of them and functionally can find no fault with them. I think you definitely get coolness points when you have a Flite Deck. Everyone likes to watch how the gear indicators work.

The equipment selection seems to me to be much more confusing than necessary. Shimano has made two different heads over the years, there are many different wire and sensor kits, and you buy the parts individually. Here's the key information that you need to know:

Look at your brake lever hoods. Some have two buttons on the right hood, some have one on each hood. Two button hoods take the SM-6500 wire harness. One button hoods take SM-6500RS. The only difference in the STI levers relative to Flite Deck is the hoods so you can use either harness as long as you also use the corresponding hoods. DO NOT get the SM-6500MS universal harness. It is designed to work with non-Flite Deck shifters and doesn't have the cool gear indicator and cadence functions.

Shimano has revised the head. The newer head (6501), among other changes, will accept wheel sizes for up to five bikes. Naturally the programming and operating instructions are slightly different. Unfortunately, the programming instructions come with the wire harness not the head so they might not match. If you have an old harness and a new head, Shimano will fax you the 8 pages of English language instructions.