Strengths: Many functions,TT comparison,feature,waterproof(despite other opinion)
Weaknesses: Radio signal interferences,manual,too small day trip memory(no 300km.plus),mounting system,collapsing functions,lack of decimals for speed.
Because I'm hard riding bicycle equiped with HAC 4,over 8 years(10000-15000km/year),my opinion may be very useful.I very agree with forum viewer,who's writing,that TT function is very inviting to ride TT.But I can't agree with opinion,it is not waterproof.I'm riding monthly holiday trips,using HAC 4 as wrist watch as well,and never taking off under shower.I guess,someone is complaining,because his exceptional computer has never been waterproof,and should be under complaint. I agree,that mounting system is falling short of expectations.Sometimes unfasts on the bumps. Interferences make reading distortions(I have had max.speed recorded over 150km/h).The same happens,when computer is partly unfastened. Device has too small day trip memory,if you want to ride more,than 10 hours. Lack of decimals for speed functions is very irritating,if you want to compare average speed,or beat max.speed.I'm finding much fan in similar games. The worst thing in my case is,that system is slowly collapsing: First conked out small switch in the base.there are located 3 connectors on the bottom,and fourth one above.That one in fact,is receiver activating switch.Base is virtually waterproof,with 1-piece inseparable case.However firstly I have had too short distance between switch and computer,because brass bolt of the switcher flattened on the top,and sometimes was not working.I solved that easily,but in the next year I have had to cut the base to clean connectors of this switch. As the next failed heart rate functions.I never could to repair that,but I've noticed,receiver is O.K.Probably problem is with the belt. Eventually,without any harbinger I lost bike functions.I couldn't find,where in circuit is cause of that. Now I have to let my HAC4 to take early retirement,and I wonder,if should I risk buying improved new HAC5.However I have to admit,better,professional systems are several times more expensive.
Bike Setup: Fondriest Altec 2,Ksyrium SSC SL,Record 10 Ultra,Speedplay Zero ti,Selle Ferrari Novus,self made carbon fork&seatpost,Nokon
a Weekend Warrior
from Wiener City
Date Reviewed: September 23, 2005
Strengths: It has a lot of features.
Weaknesses: It has a lot of features.
My day job is as a software engineer. I also work with technical documentation and localization/translation.
When I saw this on special offer, I said, "Well, I've got to get me this. It has everything". Up till that point, I had separate HR monitor and bike computer.
I couldn't figure out how to reset my daily/trip kilometers, other than sitting there and waiting for a 70km journey to count back to 0 in tenths of a kilometer. Most other bike computers, it's just a one-button push. I mentioned this to one of my colleagues on a ride, and he said "oh, you just have to think of it in sessions", then it took him half an hour to reset the odometer for the trip.
The altimeter function seemed cool. But, trying to find it climbing up a hill distracted me from getting up; on the downhill, it was just dangerous. So, I never knew how high I went.
The training manual is awful in English. I showed it to some of my technical author/technical translator colleagues. It's awful in every language. I'm guessing, since Ciclo is a German company, that German was the source language. However, even the German instructions are awful.
As one of the previous reviews mentioned, its interface has a lot left to be desired. As I said, I'm an engineer. I can cope with lots of features. But I have no idea how to access them without wasting half an hour or, worse, falling off my bike. Normally, the user manual helps in such cases, but not this time.
I wonder if the new HAC 5 is better. Somehow, though, I don't think Ciclo asked any interface specialists to help.
Unless your name is Lance and you were in front of a long line of cyclists in Paris the last seven years, I wouldn't recommend this product.
Similar Products Used: Trelock FC900, Ciclo HR watch (no bike features), some cheapy bike computers.
Bike Setup: Self-built Shimano-free geared 29er
a Cross Country Rider
from Athens, GA. USA
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2005
Strengths: Everything in one unit, clean, easy installation, able to change battery yourself (have to send similar products back to them for a battery change), data download is a great tool.
Weaknesses: Software and instructions are a little tough and not much help available to figure it out. Once you do though it's great. The cadence is wired, but it works without a hitch (my friends have wireless units and they don't always work right) so not really a weakness I guess.
I have the HAC4-plus (came with downlaod, software, and cadence kit in one package & is much cheaper than similar products). It is a little tough to figure out how to get the download working but once you do it is easy and has more info and tools than a nasa engineer could ever use! Mine has worked flawless for a year and a half, every once in a while the hrm will get a little interference but other than that this thing is the bomb. It is very easy to keep a ride log just by downloading and printing your rides. I use it on the MTB, road etc... and it works like a champ. I would recommend this unit to anyone looking for an hrm/cycle computer set up.
Favorite Trail: Issaquena (Clemson, SC), really all of'm!
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: eBay
Similar Products Used: None, but I read a ton about everything else out there before getting this unit.
Bike Setup: To many to list, (4) MTB's i-drive 1.0, 2.0, and team for my race bike, Zaskar team for taint busting, ZR 1.0 road bike and a brand new Carrera pro mateo road bike all are pretty well decked out.
a Cross Country Rider
from Sydney Australia
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2005
Strengths: The only device to give the athelete a real time comparison of current ride time against a stored Personal Best Time
Weaknesses: Poor ( but not unsatisfactory ) user manual
I searched long and hard for a tool to enable me to concentrate on riding hard rather than trying compare current split against memorised previous best splits. This computer is great at this. It is great to be able to see a grapical comparison of your ride against your buddys on the same course.
Also great as a lap beeper for swim trainning when trying to beat a given time.
So far no issues have occurred to be concerned about.
Similar Products Used: None has all the functionality in one computer
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz
Frank van der Velden
a Cross Country Rider
from Itajai, SC, Brazil
Date Reviewed: March 15, 2005
Strengths: Lots of info from one meter only. Big display. Nice software. A utile combination of data for accurate training.
Weaknesses: The velocity is not shown in decimals. Little expensive.
Very strong, I use it already for more than 3 years in rain, sun and near the beach without problems. Previously comments regarding difficult to understand manual tells more about the user than the manual. Its not more complicated than any vcr or video camera.
a Cross Country Rider
from Sammamish, WA USA
Date Reviewed: February 12, 2004
Strengths: lots of features. downloadability to pc
Weaknesses: functionality quit working
The first few months I used this computer I loved it. Some of the functionality has quit working making it almost useless. The speedometer is no longer accurate. I can be stopped and it will still show that I am traveling 6-7mph and quite often shows that I am going much faster than I am. This behavior is sporadic, some times it works and sometimes it doesn't. All sound feed back stopped working. I dropped the computer on the cement and the plastic handlebar attachment broke.
I am really disappointed after spending this much money.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Francisco
Date Reviewed: September 24, 2003
Strengths: Downloadability, robust altimeter and HR functions
Weaknesses: Not waterproof; miserable user interface; not-ready-for-prime-time software
I have never written a product review before, but I have been so disappointed by this computer that I feel compelled to do so now.
I bought the watch for its HR, bike and ski features. Of all of the HR/Altimeters I looked at, only this one offered robust HR, bike and altimeter features that could be used on the bike and off the bike for skiing. I hoped that the HAC4 could replace a Polar for cycling and a Suunto for skiing. If I had it to do over again, however, I would definitely keep saving for one each of the Polar and Suunto models, which appear much better thought out.
First, the positive aspects: -the ability to download workouts is fantastic. It makes using a non-downloadable computer seem like not using a computer at all. -The ski/hike/run set of HR, altitude and ski runs features. -the altimeter and HR functions work very well. -The gradient feature is fun. -The estimated power feature is also a fun novelty, though I don't think it is particularly reliable (it depends on having a smooth road surface, no wind, and accurate estimation of rider & bike weight- is that with or without water bottles? full? empty?)
The negatives: -Although the back of the case says "water resistant", it is able (per Veltec) to withstand no more than being rained on. After taking it swimming and having the screen go blank, I was told that water gets into the baro sensor. This is, to my knowledge, the only altimeter watch that is not waterproof to at least 20m, so I don't really understand why this one is not as well- except, perhaps that the developers never thought about it (a recurring them in this review).
There is also no mention in any promotional or sales material of this serious (to me) drawback. Had I had any inking of this flaw, I certainly would not have bought it.
-The user interface is worse than anything i have seen since a 1980-vintage VCR. It requires scrolling through 8-12 screens to change ANY function, including turning on/off the HR limit beeps (1 button press on my old Polar), setting the wake-up alarm, or *even turning the wake-up alarm on* (again, 1 press with just about any other digital watch sold anywhere).
-the 2 line display is inadequate for the amount of information the unit tracks. 8 button presses are required to scroll (one-way only) through all of the various bike functions while riding. 3 lines would be a major improvement (again, a la Polar or Suunto), as would the ability to scroll back and forward through the functions (Polar & Suunto again).
-Worse, the bike functions are poorly indicated. E.g. the mileage displays in hh:mm format (?!) with a tiny "mi" in the corner. The altitute also displays in 10s of feet, ie. 1000 ft registers as 100. This is more odd than anything else, but adds to the general user-unfriendliness. The lower line in particular is so small and hard to read that I feel as though I will crash trying to scroll through the various functions.
-The software includes 3 separate applications (basic workout analysis, training log & a "tour" program that allows you to enter route information, road types, restaurants along the way, etc.), all of which will import the raw data, but which then generate separate, incompatible files for each workout. I.e. I can not import a workout into one program, edit the ride data, and then use the edited data as the basis for analysis ine one of the other programs. Each analysis effectively starts from scratch, lessening the utility of the three programs drastically. I also can't compare or overlay workouts to any significant degree except by printing them out and comparing side by side.
-The biggest software flaw is that the training journal reads workout dates improperly, and generates a seemingly random date for each workout, sometimes reversing the month and date, and sometimes changing the year (up to 2039 so far). Because the watch imports each workout stored on it anew each time I download, this means that I would have to go through each workout on every download to figure out which is the one workout I really want to import. For me, this program in particular is a hopeless waste of time and hard drive space.
-The watch stores up to 64 hours of data, but deleting data to prevent having to download the whole batch every time also wipes out accumulated ride time & distance. Poor planning once again.
-As noted in other reviews, the manual is very poorly translated. It is also very abbreviated, e.g including no information on using the ski function, making me think that there is loads of useful/helpful information that is not provided to English-speaking users.
-The velcro watch band is uncomfortable and hard to adjust to fit my wrist without being too loose or too tight (and smells when it accumulates sweat), but can not be swapped for another style, as the band must be removed to fit the watch into the download interface and the bike mount.
-Finally, when used as an everyday watch, the basic display shows either HR or temp in large numbers at the top of the screen, and the time in 1/2 size numbers at the bottom. Rather than have an inaccurate temp reading (or maybe it is accurate as to the temp directly adjacent to my skin) prominently displayed, I thus generally have a big 0 for the HR, and the time in smaller numbers. It seems that no one ever gave any though to how someone might actually use the device as a watch. Once again, I would point to the Polar as a point of comparison- in watch mode, it shows time & date, and only goes into HR or bike mode when the user puts it there.
In response to the note by another poster re the inability to translate metric-imperial measurements, I believe the reason is that it was developed in Germany without thought for the U.S. market, hence no translateability was ever considered. When the manuf'r belatedly decided to import to the U.S., it chose simply to reprogram the U.S.-bound devices with U.S. measurements rather than redesign the entire device.
The apparent lack of thought or planning as to how the watch would really be used (i.e. the uncomfortable strap, non-waterproofness, hard-to-read bike displays, ungainly watch-mode display, non-intercompatible software, failure to consider non-metric measurements, etc.) drives me crazy. Apart from the software problems, the device actually works fairly well.
If I knew before buying what I know now, though, I would never buy it again.
from Squamish, BC, Canada
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2003
Strengths: Has the features I want
Weaknesses: No local (BC) supplers, and now when I tried to buy another mount I find that Ciclosport now sells and EXTREMELY wimpy mount that isnt going to hold this EXPENSIVE piece of garbage on a handlebar after the first bump!
Seems to be extremely well represented in Europe/UK but Veltec needs to vastly improve their visibility and customer support system. I can't find a contact anywhere.
from Squamish, BC, Canada
Date Reviewed: February 5, 2003
Strengths: Loads of features & it's ability to download to your PC for analysis. Fairly easy to read during races. Wireless is a great feature.
Weaknesses: The da*m mouting bracket, The poorly translated manual, takes awhile to figure out the logistics of the software. I found that the altimeter is TOO sensitive, changes even with lifting the cuff of your jacket when used for alpine touring. And the tempurature fluctates wildly.
Lost the stupid thing in the first 4 races I used it. The first 3 I happened to notice it and if it was'nt that ir cost $500 CAD I wuold have left it. Last race I was able to find it at my only crash site of the coarse.Do not, do not, I repeat Do NOT but if it does not have the newer upgraded mounting bracket, has a security feature that so far keeps it on the bike. Overall a "good" unit with the mounting bracket fix, but I think Ciclosport needs to rethink the entire package a bit more
Similar Products Used: Sports Instruments HRM, Polar
Bike Setup: Marin Mt Vision
from Los Gatos, CA
Date Reviewed: August 5, 2002
Strengths: feature rich computer, hrm, and training aid.
Weaknesses: the user interface and the windows application.
My HAC4 has now been back to the very nice people at Veltec sports in Monterey twice, once because of a crash, and the other because I pressed the start/stop button of the timer interface too long and it suffered a fatal error. As a hardware design engineer, I find it hard to understand what could cause such an error, and why this is not protected against in the computer's firmware. This very expensive accessory should have gone through a better QA program by the designers.
a Weekend Warrior
from Chelmsford, Essex, UK
Date Reviewed: July 24, 2002
Strengths: Huge array of functions and features. I can't think of anything else I could need. Clear display. Fast sampling time. Large memory. Typical German high build quality. Good user interface (once understood). Very accurate temperature and altitude measurement. Incredible value for money when compared with other products. Useful for most sports.
Weaknesses: The computer and accessories are excellent. Unfortunately, the manufacturers did not work hard enough on the English manual translation which makes it very difficult to understand. Having said this, with a little effort, the logical layout of the functions do become clear. The software supplied is also rather poor and suffers from the same translation issues. One of the applications supplied is only available in German! Hopefully, this situation will improve as sales in other countries increase.
First use was on this year's Etape du Tour. The device was very useful, especially the altitude, current gradient and power output features. Also, being able to download and analyse the captured data proved enlightening. Overall, I can truly recommend this device but be prepared to read the manual a few times to get the best from it. It is definitely a powerful aid to improving performance and will be loved by all gadget nuts. I assume that the mounting bracket has been improved over versions reviewed here earlier as it is extremely secure and I struggle to imagine a situation where the device would fall off.
a Cross Country Rider
from Heidelberg, BW, Germany
Date Reviewed: March 12, 2002
Strengths: Functions! all in one Device for heart rate monitoring, altimeter, an bike computer. PC interfacing capabilities. Customer service.
Weaknesses: Case for the translucent ones. Usability.
I think it's _the_ bike computer. You get all the data you need (even more) and with the PC interface it's a great way to control you trainig activities. It's weakness is definitly the user interface on the computer itself and the software of the PC interface. It is also quite inexpensive when compared to similiar ones (like the Polar computers).
Similar Products Used: Many different Avocet and Sigma ones.
Bike Setup: Specialized FSR COMP
a Cross Country Rider
from Los Gatos, CA
Date Reviewed: January 25, 2002
Strengths: A huge amount of functions. Being able to display two functions at a time is a great feature. The positive "snap" in which the computer engages into the handlebar mount was very nice, but from reading the above reviews, I'm going to try and secure it another way, perhaps with a leash.
Weaknesses: The user interface needs alot of improvement. I could think of several ways of making it so that a first time user would not even need to use the manual. Also, the companion software package was very poor. How hard could it be to convert to the english system, on the computer itself or the software????? The damm thing can calculate just about everything, but it doesn't know how to convert from meters to feet? Makes me wonder about the other features and how robust they really are. Also, the thing does not look like it will survive a crash at all. Why is it so thick?
Somebody needs to make a computer system that is designed to handle the harsh environments that mountain bikers face. A computer that won't come apart when you beeter.
The product would be great but losing two over four marathons because they fall out of the bracket when the trail becomes rough is not much fun. Training rides are ok cos you are not going hell for leather. And then when you find it, you can find it and push it back into place. Would not buy another and the supplier acknowledges problems with the mounting kit. Have seen them fall out of other bikes too. Stay tuned. Wireless mounting is good. Probably work better and stay in place for folk that do not bounce around as much. If something like this comes into my posession again it will be kept in place with tape. Other suggestions welcome. Overall it seems good but there are still problems.
Bike Setup: Jekyl 2000 (wife) aging gt hardtail, still with canti brakes. Good to enter marathons and smile smugly. A proper bike would be nice if the budget was not repeatedly eaten by the speedo
a Cross Country Rider
from Squamish, BC Canada
Date Reviewed: June 12, 2001
Strengths: Unique altimeter, HR and bike monitor with memory function. Cross sections of any ride downloadable. Switch to your wrist in a minute and take it hiking, backcountry skiing, mountaineering. Altimeter is very precise and you get a cross section of all your outings. Perfect adventure racing monitor.Battery is exchangeable by yourself. You do not have to mail it to manufacturer.
Weaknesses: I did not find any. It is easy to use and offers more than any other product on the market.
Great product! Fun to relive your experiences afterwards on PC.