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FlightDeck Questions(11 posts)

FlightDeck Questionszelig1
Jul 27, 2001 4:46 AM
I've read the product reviews and gone to the Shimano website but I still have some questions as it relates to a 9-spd DA road setup and the 6501 FlightDeck and SM-6500R harness. I have the more recent DA STI's which have one bump on the inside of each brake hood.

Is the 6501 the latest model?

Does the speed/distance sensor read from the front or rear wheel?

If it's the front, does the fork sensor mount at the drop out end or mid-way down the fork and is this sensor wireless to the head unit?

Is the wheel magnet clipped/screwed onto a spoke or a ring sensor like an Avocet?

The handlebar mount appears to be offset so that the head unit is above the stem. Is this correct and are there any clearance/mounting issues?

When they refer to the wireless harness, exactly what are the wireless functions?

Finally, aside from the cost, is this thing a complete waste of time?

I find the cadence (w/o a crank sensor) and gear indicator features to be of interest. I don't race anymore, enjoy fast riding and ride everyday, all year round. I've used an Avocet since they've come out and currently use a 30 & 40. I also at times use different wheels.

Thanks for any and all responses.
I'll answer what I can....Len J
Jul 27, 2001 5:05 AM
Sensor mounts on fork 1/3rd down from top.
There is both a wireless & wired mounting kit, I have the wired.
Wheel magnet mounts to spooke.
You are correct about the mount over the stem. I had no clearance issues.
My understanding is the wireless & wired have the exact same functions.

Generally I like the flight deck. It is relativly easy to use & the virtual cadence is accurate. I like the cleaner setup than the old Cateye astral wiring harness that went to the back wheel & chainstay. Cadence is virtual (not actual) You program in the gearing you have and based on the speed it back calculates the cadence. The bad news about this is that when you change rear cogs, you have to reprogram, and you lose all cumulative data. I have read that the new model (due out next year) may allow for the programing in of two different cogs.

The only other quirk to get used to is turning the computer on when you start. (default) there is a way to make it an autostart (which I have done) but it is not set up that way from the beginning.

My .02
So how do you make it autostart?moneyman
Jul 27, 2001 6:01 AM
I cannot figure that out. I didn't know that function existed on this model.

Its in the book, I'll try to remember to lookit up at home(NM)Len J
Jul 27, 2001 6:41 AM
Jul 27, 2001 8:51 AM
I do not have the book. I had the manual for the prior model, then had that FD sent back for warranty. They replaced it with the new model, but no manual.

You can also turn it off the same way you start it...UGH! (nm)Mabero
Jul 27, 2001 6:31 AM
some answersbianchi boy
Jul 27, 2001 5:06 AM

I have the older style Flight Deck with two buttons on the right brake hood, but most of the same features apply. The sensor mounts on the right fork about halfway up, with the magnet attaching to a spoke with a small screw. I don't know if Shimano makes a wireless version, but if they do, I would buy that -- all of those wires are a hassle and don't look very nice. (I also have a Performance Axiom wireless computer on my other bike and actually prefer it to the FD, even tho it doesn't have the cadence. The display is larger, it's easier to use, and no wires.)

The harness refers to the whole sensor/wire/computer mount assembly. For some odd reason, you can't just replace the battery if it goes dead or add a new mounting strap if it breaks. You must replace the entire harness. I found this out when the mounting strap broke on my FD. A new harness costs about $20-25, but someone gave me a spare one they had on hand. The computer mount is offset, which is a nice feature so you can position the computer right over your stem, but you don't have to if you prefer to have it to the side.

What I like most about FD is the cadence and gear indicator. It's nice knowing what gear you are without glancing back. (The chainstays are chrome on my new bike -- without the FD -- and I get blinded by the sun reflection on bright days.) The cadence feature is nice, but it's not that difficult figuring out your cadence by just counting rpms.

A few things about FD I don't like: 1) Mine is the old style with 2 buttons on the right hood, and it's very easy to mistakenly turn it off by accidently hitting the front button. 2) Whenever you shift, it flashes the gear ratio on the screen for several seconds, which for me is totally useless information. 3) It's relatively complicated and takes a while to get used to. 4) I haven't found a way to reset the odometer with clearing out the whole unit. 5) I don't like all of the wires wrapped around my front fork and handlebar.

My FD came with my bike. If I was buying a new computer, I would save the money and get a wireless computer with the basic functions. The Performance Axiom cost only $40 new, has worked great for me and I can swap it between bikes. You can buy extra mounts for $20 and it can be set for two different wheel sizes.
some answersthe_gormandizer
Jul 27, 2001 7:33 AM
I agree with the points you have raised. I had the 6500 for a short while until my BS agreed to swap it for the 6501. The 6501 allows you to swap the head between bikes (you can store setups for multiple bikes). Although the new button placement is superior, I still sometimes inadvertently reset the trip information by pushing both buttons at the same time while riding on the hoods. I think that the problem of needing to clear the whole unit in order to reset the odometer persists. The other thing I notice is that the 6501 displays the gear tooth count instead of the ratio. Maybe this is a programmable option, but since they don't give you a manual with the head, I don't know (grr!). I think the gear tooth count is maybe more useless than ratio, since you see the gears pictorially.
re: FlightDeck QuestionsLone Gunman
Jul 27, 2001 5:16 AM
Based upon your description, that is the newer model. I ride the older model, and is wired. The pickup is on the front wheel, the magnet is held in place by a set screw and I don't think the positioning where on the wheel matters. As far as wireless function, any info used to indicate a speed is a wireless function, as I suspect the info from the mag pickup is relayed to the head unit and calculated. No clearance problems that I can see with mounting, the cadence is virtual cadence and is approximate, a calculation of speed, gear setting = ave cadence and is fairly accurate. The gear setting info is programmed by the user and small ovals are blackened to match the gear you are riding in and this info is relayed to the computer for the 2 functions, cadence and gear selection. Not a waste of time at all, I have used cateye and this is a far better functioning unit than any I have used and water proof!
re: FlightDeck QuestionsMarcy S
Jul 27, 2001 11:05 AM
Since I was having battery issues with my older FD (6500), my LBS swapped my 6500 for the new improved wireless 6501 with cadence. Since I only needed the computer head, Shimano feels that there is no need for a manual, which I strongly disagree on. Since I have always logged my bike stats after each ride, I was able to enter in my odometer miles, which is a great new improved feature.
When I first got the Flight Deck, it took me some time to get used to it, but now I can honestly say that I am very happy with it. I like to keep it on the second set of buttons in the RPM/SPD screen. You can either have the rpm's at the top or the bottom, depending if you have cadence or not.

Since I have Mavic Ksyriums, which the spokes are slightly turned diagonally, my magnet is stuck on with a heavy duty sticky-back. I am surprised how great it stays on, since it has been through many rain storms.

Good luck.
Question for those with the 6501Andy
Jul 27, 2001 3:00 PM
I have the older 6500 with a wired harness and two buttons on the right brake hood. I would like to upgrade to the 6501 if it will solve my current problem.

Riding with my hands on the hoods accidently presses one or both of the switches on the right hood. Everytime I look down I'm in a different mode or I accidently turned off the stop watch etc.

This makes the computer completely worthless except for the odometer which does not start/stop by pressing a button.

Does the new setup, one button on each lever, fix the problem of accidently pressing them while riding with your hands on the hoods?

Also, my current 6500 has auto start. I hope they didn't take that feature away in the 6501.

The mounting bracket on my harness would not fit over my Icon stem. I replaced it with a TTT Forgie stem and it still didn't fit. Not enough crearance. I took one of those cheap reflector mounts that came on my bike and hack-sawed it into the correct shape to make a crude mount.

I tossed the stock magnet and purchased a shimano magnet designed for bladed spokes. I got the magnet at my LBS for $12 (expensive) but it's VERY small and it looks nice.