How to Install a Bicycle Speedometer in 4 Simple Steps
How to install your new cycling computer in 4 easy steps- Wired
We ride for fun and leisure but we also ride for data and fitness. What better way to get those metrics then a cool new cycling computer. Sometimes installing and understanding the functions can be hard, so we're here to help you though the setup and get you logging miles.
For those that are new to the idea of a cycling computer/speedometers and other ways for tracking your workout let's talk about what a cycling computer actually is. Bicycle speedometers are small computers that attach to your bicycle to measure the rotation of your tires. The computer takes information from sensors located on your bicycle wheel and calculates your speed and distance. Some computers can be as advanced as to provide other information such as your power, differential lap times, heart rate and altitude. Installing and calibrating a cycling computer is easy when you know how to route one and what the correct numbers are to enter. So let's get to it!
Step 1- Attach the sensor to the fork.
Attach the computer sensor to the fork opposite of the brakes on your front wheel. You can attach the sensor at any point along the fork, so choose a location that will be easy for you to access and that the sensor will not slide on. If your sensor did not include any specific attachments, secure it in place with a cable tie. Run the wire from the sensor up the back and outer part of fork, if you have a suspension fork make sure the wires do not interfere with the forks compression. This location will protect the wire from trail debris, while keeping the wire away from the wheel while spinning.
Step 2- Attach the computer to your handlebars.
You want to pick a location that is easy to see and also will not hinder the steering performance of your bike. I suggest attaching to the handlebar near the stem clamp. Remember the computer's display will go in this mount, shoot for a location that is easily visible while keeping your eyes on the road ahead. Every computer mount includes slightly different hardware, make sure to read the directions if you have to second guess routing. When you secure the wire to the sensor and the computer mount to your bike frame, try wrapping the excess wire around the cable housing or the fork leg and securing with a zip tie. This wrapping and securing will leave you with a clean routing job. Add a cable tie to any location where it looks like the wire may dangle or bow out from the frame. Remember to leave enough slack in the cable so the handlebars can turn freely without damaging the wire or the computer.
Step 3- Attach the magnet sensor to your wheel.
Depending on the computer model that you purchase the magnet will clip to the spokes or require a small screwdriver to secure it in place. This magnet will attach to your front wheel and pass by the sensor each time your tire rotates to calculate the distance. The sensor knows your tire has made one complete revolution each time it senses the magnet, so it is vital the magnet passes within about 3-4mm of the sensor for an accurate reading.
Step 4- Calibrate the computer to your specific wheel size.
Enter the diameter of your bicycle tire into the computer. This information is usually printed on the tire itself near where the recommended PSI (tire pressure) is listed. Your computer must know the tire diameter order to calculate your speed accurately. Turn the tire to ensure the computer sensor is detecting the magnet as it goes by. The computer display will show different speed values if the sensor is working correctly. Note that some computer manufactures use a number code for the tire size, so check computers instruction manual for exact measurement.
Now that you know how to install a computer, which one is right for you?
In the world of bike speedometer there seems to be an endless selection available. We carry two options on our website, the Cateye Velo 9 and the Cateye Urban Wireless. We selected these two to carry because they offer good value at a reasonable price. The Velo 9 will run you $30 and the wireless, $45. Both of these computers offer info on current speed, elapsed time, distance, calorie consumption, carbon offset, and more. If you have any questions when selecting a computer feel free to ask.