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Altimeter Watch Recommendation?(7 posts)

Altimeter Watch Recommendation?Warren128
Jul 19, 2001 10:56 AM
hi, all this talk of the mountain stages in the TDF made me think of getting an altimeter for my rides around the hills of the SF Bay Area. Can anyone out there recommend a good altimeter watch that won't break the bank and is not overly complicated to use, and fairly accurate? I've heard of Suunto Vector, and what about the Casio "twin sensor" watches?


re: Altimeter Watch Recommendation?CRM
Jul 19, 2001 11:15 AM
I've never used it so I can't say I recommend it, but I've been thinking about picking up Specialized's new Speedzone Pro cycle computer. It has all the features you'd expect on a top-flight cycle computer (incl. wireless) but it also has an altimeter, thermometer and inclinometer. I love checking out the statistics and I think it would be great to know how our local lungbuster hills stack up! Costs $99 and you can get it at
re: Altimeter Watch Recommendation?Dave W.
Jul 19, 2001 11:18 AM
The Suunto Vector works nicely. It's the only one I have experience with, but it's been good experience. However, mine arrived (new in box) without a manual, and let me tell you it's the most non-intuitive piece of electronics I've ever worn.

The good news is Suunto's US HQ is in Carlsbad, CA about 20 minutes from me, and the nice people there mailed me a manual and all was well. As long as you have the manual to guide you the first time you use it, it's easy from that point on.

My one gripe with the Vector after a couple years of use is the cumulative data is only available at the end of the ride. Another model (the Altimax?) will show you interim cumulative data without having to stop the recording. But that's a minor quibble, and the Altimax doesn't have the compass (which, as an MTBer, I can see coming in handy some day).
Suunto Vectormoneyman
Jul 19, 2001 12:49 PM
Have had it for a year and a half. Once I finally figured out how to make it work, it worked/s fine. Altitude instruments need to be re-set each day, as altitude readings are based on barometric pressure. That being said, it will tell you feet gained and lost on a relative basis, even though the absolute altitude may be off by several hundred feet. The manual is difficult to understand, at least for my feeble mind, but after several reads it finally made sense. High school geometry was like that as well.

It is a rock solid piece of equipment. I have abused it much, yet it keeps a goin'.

I believe the retail is around $200. And for an equpiment geek, it's a good investment.

re: Altimeter Watch Recommendation?grzy mnky
Jul 19, 2001 1:11 PM
Been using the Avocet Vertech watch for just less than 1 year. It's pretty easy to understand and operate. Has both a climbing and descending mode so it's useful for skiing, biking and hiking. Even has an automatic "run counter" for skiing and gives you all sorts of calculations, max alt. rate of climb/descent, etc. Only thing is that it doesn't have a compass, but Silva makes those. The Avocet is around $135 - there were some probelems with the first generation, but they fixed that and so far mine's been pretty bomber which is saying a lot based on my track record with small electronic devices. I considered the Sunto, but just thought that the device was to chunky for my skinny wrists. Wife has been using the Cateye cycle computer/altimeter, but it's balky and difficult to use. I'm looking forward to the Polar S710 HR monitor w/altimeter function - assuming it ever ships.
re: Altimeter Watch Recommendation?JohnnyA
Jul 19, 2001 2:31 PM
I have a Sports Instruments ALTA. It works very well for skiing and cycling. They retail anywhere from $75 to $150 so shop around. My wife has a Nike Altimeter, compass, temp thing. Looks nice, but pretty complicated. I think the ALTA is quicker to respond, but they both accumulate climbs/descents pretty closely.
Casio - uh - maybe they're better now ...Humma Hah
Jul 19, 2001 4:39 PM
I had one of the early Casio altimeter watches and I didn't buy a second. The altimeter was a battery hog, so after about a minute it only took one reading a minute, resolution of 20 ft. When the battery died, you sent it back to the factory for service -- no way in heck to replace the battery yourself. And mine had an analog watch face -- the second had fell off twice.

I now use a Cats Eye AT-100 altimeter cyclocomputer. Resolution 5 ft, batteries hold up fine and I can replace them myself, and it reads plenty often. Some of the newer altimeter cyclocomputers have even better features. My Cats Eye cost about $80 bucks, about the same as my Casio altimeter watch.