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Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)(21 posts)

Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)cory
Mar 5, 2002 8:49 AM
I tagged this onto a thread in Components, but I've been sitting here thinking about it and came up with some more issues about Flight Deck computers...
I've never used one, but there are frequent posts about the difficulty of installing them and setting them up, and I'm wondering what makes them worth it.
If I need to know cadence, I can feel it. Makes no difference if I'm at 89 rpm or 93 or whatever--it's right or it's wrong, and I don't need a computer to tell me that. Similarly, in the unlikely event that I need to know what gear I'm in, and for some reason I DON'T know (I forgot that I shifted 10 seconds ago?), I can look down at the derailleurs.
I'm not a Luddite--I have simple computers on all my bikes but the singlespeed. But what makes Flight Deck worth the cost and apparent hassle?
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)DINOSAUR
Mar 5, 2002 9:15 AM
I'm thinking the same thing. I have a basic Cat Eye Mitty 3 computer. All I pay attention to is my ride time and milage. I can tell how I'm doing by watching my time when I hit certain locations on my ride. I look back also to see what gear I'm in, but I can tell if I need to change gears by the way I feel. My new bike will have Campy and I'm thinking about ErgoBrain in the future. Then I remember cycling back in the days when they didn't have computers and I got along fine.

I think computers are great as you can keep track of your miles and it's good for maintenance purposes also.

I was watching a tape of the '91 Tour De France. The peleton was riding steel bikes with down tube shifters. The only cf bikes were used in time trials.

I wonder if cycling has got too much involved in the equipment aspect and not enough about the riding? Sometimes I think we (or they) make it a lot more complicated than it really is.

On the other hand, when I came back to cycling in 1999, I rode for 2 and a half years with no computer (I was going to give myself 6 months). Now I wonder how the heck I got along without one. Numbers don't lie....
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)Steve1
Mar 5, 2002 9:53 AM
"I wonder if cycling has got too much involved in the equipment aspect and not enough about the riding? Sometimes I think we (or they) make it a lot more complicated than it really is. "

I absolutely agree. Its amazes me the time and effort people put into analyzing bicycling minutia (such as weight savings, cadence, cyclocomputers, aerodynamics, wheels, etc), without realizing that bicycling is JUST AS FUN, and JUST AS PHYSICAL (actually, quite often, bicycling is MORE physical without it. Lets face it, were all in this for the physical aspects) Competetive athletes searching for an edge being the exception here.

I recently stripped by bikes of all gimmictry (ok, except the HR monitor, but thats not REALLY a bike component). It takes me back to my childhood when we biked in jeans and ski-jackets (instead of spandex and polypro) and we LOVED it.

And its cheaper.
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)bianchi boy
Mar 5, 2002 8:03 PM
I bought a used bike w/ Flight Deck and really liked it for a while as it was nice knowing my cadence, what gear I was in, etc. However, when I bought a new bike, I just installed a Performance Axiom wireless computer on it. I like the cleaner look with no wires, and it has all the functions I really need and want -- speed, avg speed, max speed, odometer, time. I really don't miss the cadence because that is just so easy to figure out, and I spin at a fairly high rate without any trouble. Really the only thing I miss on the FD is knowing what gear I'm in, but all that takes is a glance back. I've still got the FD on my backup bike and have no desire to swap it to my main ride.
Dino, when did you finally get a computer? and, what's this...Js Haiku Shop
Mar 5, 2002 10:52 AM
dino gets new bike?
you getting the Majestic?
when did this happen?

and on to more things...
you computerized your ride
when did this happen?

it's not like i quit
i've been reading and posting
just not quite as much

like small town, i guess
drive through at high rate of speed
blink, you miss something!
Dino, when did you finally get a computer? and, what's this...DINOSAUR
Mar 5, 2002 3:00 PM
New bike is on order. I decided on a Colnago Master X-Light with Campy Chorus. Due date is around March 15th. The owner of my LBS really helped me and gave me a big fat discount, which rounds off to $600.00 (including tax). No charge for assembly, and he said if I didn't like it he would return my money. Hard to beat a deal like that!

When I came back to cycling, at the ripe young age of 56, I decided I wans't going to use a computer for the first 6 months. The six months stretched into 2 1/2 years. I just rode by my watch. Now I'm turning into a mileage junky. I've rode 1k since Jan 4th.

The new bike is an early present for my 60th birthday. Retirement and cycling go well together...

Life is good
Way to go, Dinobianchi boy
Mar 5, 2002 7:53 PM
You're gonna love the ride of that Italian steel. The MX Lite is a beautiful bike too. ... Hmmm ... I'll have to start working on my wife for my 50th birthday in 2 years.
holy moly! 1k since 1/4!...Js Haiku Shop
Mar 6, 2002 6:24 AM
weather in C A
accommodating big miles
and here it rains ice

impressive mileage
good to hear of new bike, D!
...it makes you happy!...

me, mileage junkie
but a little less than you
and add trainer time

seven eighty since
january one, and gym
and trainer, and sleep

ah, but last weekend
forty five miles, 40 F
and shoes full of rain

squeeze my lobster gloves
out comes a cup of black rain
road soot and exhaust

difference this year
j-ku starts with longer rides
instead of thirties

perhaps by summer
each saturday: centuries
prepare for double

ride that colnago
while i save for eddy merckx
with the chorus kit

when x-light arrives
perhaps you can verify
Ti seatpost beauty

:o)
Serious no-flame response..._BLT_
Mar 5, 2002 9:29 AM
Well, if you don't feel like you need to know your cadence or have a gear display, then I don't think there really is much reason to get the flight deck. The only other thing is that the buttons are on the hoods, which can be convenient. Personally I like it because I pay a lot of attention to cadence. Sometimes I practice high cadence drills, or long spins, other times I practice climbing hills with low cadence. Also I like not having to look back at my cassette if I want to know exactly which gear I'm in--it's one less reason to look away and crash into potholes unexpectedly. But like I said, if those things don't matter to you than I would stick with something simpler and cheaper too.
Agreed--use cadence for training; gears for safetySlipstream
Mar 5, 2002 11:28 AM
I use cadence to help learn when to shift as well as for spinning drills. I also want to be able to spin at a certain cadence for a specific interval.

While I know what gear I am in most of the time, I like the fact that I don't have to look back at the cassette if I am not certain.

Does everyone need these devices? No. But, we don't need microwave ovens either.
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)maximum15
Mar 5, 2002 9:34 AM
When I was a newbie, I found it invaluable for helping me maintain cadence, understand my speed, and select the best gear combination for cadence desired. Now, the most convient feature (other than mileage, etc) is to verify I maintain the cadence I want when I am tired or the wind is blowing hard.
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)weiwentg
Mar 5, 2002 9:39 AM
in my case, I'm a gadget fan, computer nut, and general geek. plus I'm new to cycling. it was worth it to get the flight deck - I make extensive use of the gear indicator (there's a cable-mounted gear indicator that costs less than 10 bucks, of course) and the cadence indicator. although recently I have not found myself using the cadence indicator much.
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)KEN2
Mar 5, 2002 9:43 AM
I agree with you on the cadence question. As far as gear display, I like to know what gear I'm in mostly on my commuter, where there's a lot more start and stop and I want to be ready to start off from a stoplight or sign in my next-to-lowest gear. But I have one of those optional optical displays that come with STI installed in my right shifter cable, and that tells me what rear cog I'm in--that's all I need to know.
Info is always good. But the Flightdeck just isn't enough...DisguyTempete
Mar 5, 2002 9:45 AM
I manage to seriously train with my very basic bike computer, a Timex watch at my wrist and a polar hr monitor (cheapest BEAT) on the handlebar. Everything under 100$ and two of the three tools can be used elsewhere.

Once you have some experience, the cadence don't mean much, I agree. And the gears indicator? Almost stupid to me. The flightdeck only interesting feature to me is the location of the command buttons. And I too have heard it is not without mishaps. A good friend uses one AND the best POLAR bike computer available!!! What's with him?

His Polar watch will give you everything you need, from speed, cadence, average, max, distance AND programmable HR monitoring.
It's expensive, but I'd rather get that.
My reasons.Len J
Mar 5, 2002 10:26 AM
I decided that I want a computer on my bike in order to get some objective feedback as to how I am riding. Once I decided that then the question was what features. I was a masher & when I decided to try to become a spinner, the cadence function really helped (I originally had a cateye astrale). Now, even after several years of paying attention to cadence, I still am sometimes surprised at how different the actual cadence is from what I think I'm doing, sometimes higher, sometimes lower.

When I got a new bike, I decided on the Flight deck for two reasons: 1.) It had cadence but did not require seperate wires from the crank. It calculates "Virtual" cadence. The bike looks cleaner. & 2.) I felt it was safer, with display changes without taking hands off the hoods & without having to look at the rear casette to see what gear I was in.

Bottom line, it works for me, it's a tool.

Len
That's precisely why I don't like the product . . .morrison
Mar 5, 2002 10:37 AM
it does NOT calculate true cadence. What it does is a quick calculation that takes into account the gear you are in, the speed you are travelling, and the size of your wheels. Then it spits out a number that is supposed to represent cadence, but actually represents the cadence you would have IF YOU WERE PEDALING ON THE FLATS OR UPHILL AND THERE WAS NO WIND. In other words, if you're coasting downhill in 39-23 at 30 mph, your cadence is going to read something like 6,000,000.

After 2-3 seasons on a bike, most people are probably pretty good at figuring their own cadence. I am usually right +/- 5 rpms.
That's precisely why I don't like the product . . .curlybike
Mar 5, 2002 11:28 AM
Why did you say wind? It takes the same rpm in any given gear to make the same speed , wind or not. This of course does not apply to coasting, but we know this. Do you think the wind chill has any bearing on the amount of anti-freeze you need in your car, same difference?
I should have articulated that one better . . .morrison
Mar 5, 2002 12:32 PM
I was attempting to draw a comparison between a steady tailwind and travelling downhill . . . in either situation, you can (for at least a brief period) travel at a speed that is not representative of the force with which you are pedaling.
well...DrD
Mar 5, 2002 12:55 PM
Correct - it estimates your cadence as you describe - so if you are pedalling, it tells you the cadence a which you are pedalling - why does it matter if there is wind? or you are going uphill? or downhill, for that matter (unless you are soft-pedalling).

I don't particularly worry about it if it reads 0 or 999 while coasting - I am not pedalling, so I am not watching cadence (also - the computer only displays it if you want it to - more often than not I have the current speed and the clock, stopwatch, or distance displayed, anyway - I only look at cadence when I am trying to focus on that)

The big thing for me was the buttons on the levers, which I really like - no other system would give me that.

(though I was tempted at one point by the Specialized computer with the altimiter/inclinometer - I like gadgets... sort of curious how well it works)
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)CFBlue
Mar 5, 2002 11:16 AM
It has a lot of bells and whistles that I wonder what on earth they could be good for. I have one on my road tandem so that i can tell what chain ring I am in, since I can't see back that far. it is even more appreciated when I have a blind stoker with me. I get annoyed that the info I am most interested in, speed/cadence/gear position is gone for three or four seconds after a shift while it tells me what ratio I am in. Why on earth is that useful knowledge? it also gives estimated cadence, so when coasting down a steep hill at 50, you get a reading of 300+ cadence. There is good use to this, you can shift into a gear that gives you a cadence you can keep up with and know when to start pedaling.

Mike
re: Serious no-flame Flight Deck question (sort of an x-post)wsexson
Mar 5, 2002 9:07 PM
I am inexperienced, and I like the cadence and gear display on the Flight Deck. I didn't think the installation was difficult. I agree that it is a little expensive. I like the buttons on the hoods, and overall I am happy with it.

I can't argue with the fact that a lot of people would be just as happy (or happier) with simpler, cheaper computers. You sound like one of them.