Doing it all the hard way...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Review of VDO cycle computer MC 1.0+

The Hottie got me this bike computer as a father’s day present. Last year I received the Park Wheel Truing Stand (TS-1) and was speechless. I recall hefting the TS-2 stand out of the box and setting the shiny silver behemoth on the carpet and admiring its beauty. The quiet understated strength of the stand’s heavy steel, speaking to its longevity. The stand will be in use long after I have crossed the finish line of life in the groupetto. It was a perfect gift and one I had not hinted at, so it was all the more wonderful.

But alas, I digress.

When I opened the little wonder I was quietly pleased as the constant failure of my Avocet Altimeter had relegated that little machine to the back of the drawer. As a cycling altimeter the Avocet was woefully inadequate; therefore anything that could capture cumulative elevation gain was a welcomed addition. But wait, it is so much more, and does it all so very well.

It is a wireless unit so the clean lines of the Seven were unaffected by instasllation. Set up was pretty easy with my two gripes being the microprint of the owners manual (talk about age discrimination – they should check their product demographics), and the fact that if you choose English units (feet and miles) you need to put your wheel circumference in using inches as your unit of measure. I have always had to use millimeters, so this was weird.

It displays the following all the time (when riding): Speed, current elevation, temperature (quite a nice feature), current grade as a percent (oh yeah, way cool) and an indication that your current speed is above or below your average speed for the ride.

It has three buttons that are wisely separated by function types.
One for typical cycling functions (distance, time, average speed, max speed, etc.)
A second for secondary functions (time of day, stopwatch, a second trip odometer, etc.)
The third for altitude functions (cum trip climbing, max elevation, average grade, max grade, total climbing)

So my experience has been as follows:
It is amazingly accurate. It doesn’t measure in five or ten foot increments, but in single foot increments. This is true both for current elevation and all of the cumulative elevation measurements. It measures grades with very good accuracy. I don’t know the interval it uses in either time or distance, but as the road kicked up, or slackened, it registered the changes pretty quickly. It updates trip accumulated climbing frequently, almost constantly, but there is a few seconds between updates.

The cycling functions are par, with the only gripe being that current speed is only measured in one half mile per hour increments. Accelerating you see 11.0, 11.5, 12.0, 12.5, etc.

I can read it with my old man eyes and that is a big plus. I am sure in winter with rain on my yellow glasses and a dark sky it will be hard to read, but in that weather, I’ll have other issues to contend with.


I wasn’t expecting a new computer, let alone this German made “ubertoy”, but if I was to scour the world for a cool unit, this is it. If you want more, relax, it is just a bike ride.

Five out of Five

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