OK – so I’m a bit of a data junkie when it comes to my training. Although I’m pretty settled with my running data, through the combination of a Fitbit Surge and Strava, I’ve been looking for something for when I’m riding. So, I’ve purchased a Bontrager Trip 300 Computer.
At this stage, my cycling is purely recreational. I ride for fun, to commute and when I feel the need to do some cardio but my body isn’t ready for a run. So, I’m not looking for tools that will give the ability to analyse my performance to the nth degree. Just tools that record my mileage, deliver some live data such as speed and cadence and make it easy to monitor my progress over a period of time.
At the moment, I’m doing this with the addition of a simple cycling computer to my Fitbit/Strava combination.
I’m using a Bontrager Trip 300 Computer with a Bontrager Cadence sensor I picked up from a new store, Cycle Galleria, that’s opened locally. The communicate using ANT+ – wireless communications standard that’s used in many cycling accessories including cadence sensors and heart rate monitors.
Getting started with the Bontrager Trip 300 Computer and Cadence Sensor
Both the cadence sensor and computer have tool-free installation. I installed them to my hybrid bike, a Radius Strata. In order to install the cadence sensor I did need to remove a pedal to install the magnet that moves past the sensor that’s mounted on the bike frame. But that was not a big deal.
The sensor and computer use rubber mounts that are held in place with elasticised bands that make it easy to move the devices without them moving around as I ride.
The computer can be easily removed from the mount so, if I’m commuting or riding to a place for a run or swim, I can take the computer with me, reducing the chance it will be stolen.
The setup process was reasonably easy. When the computer is switched on for the first time – it requires a CR2032 battery that was not included – it goes straight into configuration mode. From there, it’s a matter of hitting combinations of the three buttons to change settings.
The Trip 300 Computer documentation leaves a bit to be desired. For example, when the computer is on, there are three icons in the top left corner of the display. Nowhere in the manual is there a description of what these represent. While the heart shaped icon probably represents connection to an ANT compatible heart-rate monitor, the other two icons are less obvious.
While experienced cyclists probably know this, it was frustrating for this cycling newbie.
Similarly, the descriptions of some actions were very vague. For example, starting a new ride requires that you press Button 2 (the larger top button) for five seconds – a pretty unintuitive option in my view. That brings up an option to start a new ride but there’s no obvious way to get the computer to tell you it’s storing the ride data.
The Cadence Sensor
The cadence sensor is a pretty simple device but it could stand a small design tweak. Although I could tell the sensor was connected to the Trip 300 Computer (once I discerned which icon represented a connection to the sensor) my cadence wasn’t appearing on the screen. This is because the sensor was not close enough to the magnet on the crank. I had no easy way of telling this as the LED that shows it’s all working correctly is located on the bottom of the sensor where I couldn’t see it until I tipped my bike over.
On a ride
The Trip 300 Computer’s display is pretty easy to see while riding. Although it lacks the GPS and advanced functions of high-end it delivers the data I need. If I need a GPS, I can use my iPhone with my LifeProof Case and the LifeActiv Bike/Bar Mount with Quiuckmount.That’s handy for longer rides when I’m on unfamiliar roads.
Toggling between the different display options is easy. Pressing Button 1, the smaller button on the computer’s right side, toggles through several options including cadence, a timer, the temperature and the time.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not looking for a cycling computer that will track everything – riding with my Fitbit Surge, I get all the data I want. The Trip 300 Computer provides me with a heads-up display that’s easily adjusted to deliver information as I’m riding without the need to take my eyes off the road.
The documentation is pretty poor and that contributes to the Trip 300’s overall usability.
I purchased my Bontrager Trip 300 Computer from Cycles Galleria. The price on the box was AUD$99.95 but the good people there offered me a discount as I’m becoming something of a regular customer.