a Cross Country Rider
from Bolton, VT, USA
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2011
Strengths: The hands-free controls are very convenient. I love the fact that it displays the current chainring and cog; this is especially handy on a tandem. I also think it's really cool the to have cadence without a crank sensor.
Weaknesses: The controls take a little getting used too; they are not intuitive, but the biggest problem is the sensor mount. Somewhere in Japan there is an engineer who should be handed a tanto so that he can commit seppuku (hara-kiri). Only a total bone-head would design it using a built-in zip-tie, requiring replacement of the entire sensor and mount if you want to do something as simple as to remove the fork to service the headset. It's the most idiotic mount in the history of bike computers, and that's saying a lot.
Don't buy it. How Shimano could have let this sensor mount go into production is one of the bicycle industry's great mysteries. It should be retired to history with the PMP crankset. One would think perhaps Sheldon Brown designed it after coming up with Nanodrive and Symmetrispokes.
Similar Products Used: Sigma Sport, Cateye, Avocet, Vetta
Bike Setup: Harry Havnoonian racing tandem
a Cross Country Rider
from Tucson Az. USA
Date Reviewed: January 16, 2010
Strengths: The information it gives is very useful, particularly on a tandem, where you can't always see what gear you're in.
I really don't know what I paid for it. It came with the bike.
Weaknesses: The pickup, which is quite expensive, broke twice in the same place. I've elected not to replace it...it'll only break again.
The last time it broke, I just put the broken part in my toolbox. Six months later, the display portion of the head fell off. (I've owned it almost 3 years)
It needs some design work before it's ready for prime time.
Lets take a look at version 2.0 before spending a lot of money on good product with some design problems.
It's more expensive than you need for a road bike, but it would be just right for a tandem..once they solve the problems.
a Weekend Warrior
from Mammoth Lakes
Date Reviewed: July 22, 2009
Strengths: Great info and accuracy. Patience and memory are all you need. Sort of like learning the gas and brake on a car, only 2 buttons. Excellent training tool, especially if you already know your heart rate.
Weaknesses: Not always connected. Fork mount slips on fork occasionally.
Still have to hide wires under bar tape which may be a pain for re-wrapping. Wish it transmitted off of rear wheel so it would be useful on my rim trainer. Transmitter signal is a bit weak and needs direct line of sight to computer.Fine with 2 wheel rollers.
Dig it Like it and wish it would adapt to grip shift so I could use it on my Mtn Bike. I have them on each road bike. I bought the first one when it first came out and it has been transferred to 3 bikes.
a Weekend Warrior
from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2009
Strengths: Can't really see any particular strengths
Weaknesses: Too many features and it quits working when I hit bumps.
Maybe I'm just too dense to figure out how to work this, but I've got better things to do while I ride than try and scroll through functions I don't use to find ones I do -- like watching where I'm going!
Strengths: Controll buttons integrated on hoods, virtual cadence. Visual gears.
Weaknesses: Where to begin: No back light; functions are not logically connected to each other, the big three: distance, time and cadence, should all be in the same loop, (indeed, they should all be on the same screen.) No 12 hour clock! Come on Shimano this is the 20th and 21st century. Sender unit is hideous and its mount is awkward. There is only one fork mounting bracket. The supplied magnet sucks, I don't even use it, instead relying on aftermarket or custom set ups. There is no memory after battery death or change! I had to trim the handlebar mounting bracket so it would fit cleanly fore of my stem. (Although I admit, this was just me trying to keep a clean install). Many more...
If broken, would I buy another one? No. Not until this unit is better designed for the rider. It is counter intuitive, awkward to use and often flakes out on a ride. The active part of the computer should be able to be stopped and started from any function. I often ride showning the RPM/cadence. I have to switch modes to the other side, then loop to the distance or time function just to stop the computer. This is about 5 button presses for something that should only take one or two.
Bike Setup: Trek 5.2SL/Ultegra/numerous wheels and cassetts
a Cross Country Rider
from Idaho Falls, ID
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2007
Strengths: SC-6502 Computer and SM-SC70 harness Great ideas and clean installation. Cool to see the gears on the display. Control buttons built into grips. Lots of functionality even though it is very poorly implemented. My setup instructions worked fine. Setup took a while, but I had no hitches.
Weaknesses: The unit stops accumulating time and mileage with one touch of the left button. You use the left button for several functions, but if you are in the wrong mode, one touch stops the computer. You should have to hit 2 buttons or hold one in for 2 sec to turn it on and off. The pace arrow does quit blinking when it is not accumulating mileage, but if you are concentrating on your ride and not the computer, you won't notice this for a while. It still shows your speed, so it is easy to ride along thinking it is working correctly when it isn't.
Touching both buttons at the same time resets your time, distance and mileage to 0. Since both buttons are used for normal functions, you should have to hold them both in for 2 sec to reset. It is way too easy to reset when you do not want to.
In stopwatch mode, you have to take your hands off the bars and find a tiny button on the back of the unit to see your distance, ave, and max speed for the stopwatch group.
The pace arrow is tiny.
The unit goes into "power saver" mode if you haven't ridden for 30 minutes. It is too stupid to wake up when you start riding, you have to press one of the little buttons on the back of the unit. That is 10 year old technology.
The implementation and the interface are so poor that the unit is not useful to me.
I have yet to complete a ride where this unit measured all of my distance. I prefer to concentrate on the ride, not on the computer to know when I can touch one button or the other without shutting it off or resetting it.
A decent computer should track your riding parameters automatically and reliably and with little thought. You should reset, ride, and have complete results anytime you want to look at them. It should not quit accumulating mileage with a single touch of one button. It should always start up when the wheels stat turning.
I made a mistake buying this unit and will be replacing it soon.
Similar Products Used: Various Cat Eye wireless and wired computers. Basic features, but well designed. Performance Bike Axiom wireless. Again, simple but well designed.
Bike Setup: Trek Madone SL 5.2 My mtn bike is a Specialized Epic Comp
from South Wales, UK
Date Reviewed: May 4, 2005
Strengths: Integrated, with no sensor wires, has a gear indicator, which is great for my wife (who's bike it's on) as it can be hard to remember just which of the 9 cogs on the back you are in - you know what it's like when you're climbing, and you think you have 1 gear left, you push the lever and it's already on the stop - Argh - you just want to climb off don't you ? Well at least you know all the time exactly what you have left.
Weaknesses: It is quite complex to learn! Won't work when the Bike is on the Turbo. This unit suffered some shifter flakyness last winter after a wet ride on our beloved salty roads, however, after flipping open the lever sensor interfaces and giving then a litle TLC with some Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) and drying with a hair drier, it now behaves properly. I just resent spending 60quid ( a whole hundred bucks) and having to do this on a unit only just out of the warranty. I kinda expect it on my 6 year old Sigma's that cost a third of the price, but this should be better. However, NEW problem, it now thinks its occasionally not fitted, so it looses all "real time" indications. I have cleaned the contact pads and wait to see if that's done the trick. Also, it only fails during races, usually 300m after the start, and then starts working again when the problem is being described by the rider (Wife) to the Mechanic (Me)I'd like to hear from anyone else who's had the same problems and fixed them !
A really good piece of kit when it's working properly, but I swear, if it fails in another race, it's going in the hedge.
Similar Products Used: Catey Astrale with Cadance, Sigma BC800, BC900, BC1100 (all with cadance) Cateye Mity 8
Bike Setup: Giant OCR 2 with 9spd Tiagra Group, The only mod from purchased spec is the wireless Flightdeck (6501) and ttt bioarm Tribars
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2004
Strengths: OK, there are a lot of reviews here that talk negatively about this product. First, the latest product is the SC-6501, not the SC-6500. Second, the product comes without instructions in the primary pacage. Instructions are in the wiring harness package which is required. I noticed that the instructions were for the discontinued SC-6500, but the latest instructions are on the Shimano Website www.shimano.com. Please beware that many of these reviews are for the older product, and improvements have been made.
Here is a list of positives:
- This product is easy to install for a person that services his/her own bicycle. Approximately one hour of installation time. Programming takes about 45 minutes. Most of this time is in checking cluster tooth count and wheel size. Incidently, the 6501 does have more standard wheel/tire sizes. - Computer has four (4) memories for different bikes. - The unit allows for a initial setting of the odometer. No longer do you loose your total miles. I changed computers just a week after purchasing a new bike. I just added the total miles from the old unit to the 6501. - The gear selector works perfectly and is a great tool. - the stopwatch function includes a seperate memory for Top Speed, Average Speed and Trip Distance. - Speed is always displayed in large numbers unless cadence is selected. - The unit is auto start. I believe averages and maximum speed are still tracked in sleep mode. I will have to test this feature. - Buttons in brake handles are very positive and are not easily hit by accident. - Display is large and clear and can be viewed at all reasonable angles. - Lap counter - Pace arrows indicate if you are above or below average speed. This only works in Trip Distance Mode "TIM".
Weaknesses: - No accumulated miles for all bikes in memory - Bracket not designed for larger diameter Headsets - Magnet for spokes is old fashion and heavy. Not designed for flat spokes or other wheel designs. - The unit is really only designed for Shimano equipment. This is not a negative, but buyers should be aware of this fact. - No option to use rear wheel for pick-up. Maybe if you use the wireless version. - Wireless version may not work with HID headlights or LED headlights. Possible radio interference. This is true with many wireless computers. - No backlight! Sigma makes a nice external light as an option. - Only has a 24 hour clock, no 12 hour option.
Great Product, easy to use, nice fuctionabilty. The gear indicator is a the best feature especially in night riding when I cannot see the rear cluster. I will only upgrade if Shimano offers a new product with a backlight. As far as other fuctions such as Altimeter and Heart Rate Monitor, I prefer to use a wrist computer.
a Weekend Warrior
from Glen Rock, NJ USA
Date Reviewed: March 15, 2004
Strengths: The Flight Deck is a brilliant idea with a sometimes not-too-brilliant execution. The strength of this unit lies in its visual gear display and the virtual cadence. I use it on a tandem so I can tell which gear I am in; and the cadence function is quite helpful when you have a stoker on the back who may be used to a slightly different cadence pace. There are better(more logical and intuitive) computers out there if you just need the basic speed and time functions.
Weaknesses: If you don't really need the gear display and cadence features, look elsewhere. The menu is exasperating to use and the contents of each menu don't necessarily relate to one another. The auto-start feature is a misnomer. When first starting on your ride, you have to push a wobbly rubber button on the back of the unit to wake it up. Once you do that, the unit then becomes auto start/stop as long as you don't stop for more than 30 minutes, in which case you have to "wake it up" again. Try that with cool weather gloves on! I have the older unit(6500) on another bike and the wake-up works perfectly whenever you rotate the wheel or move a lever. Other problems: The mounting bracket is fragile when cold(don't try to mount it unless the temperature is above 65 F.-it may break). The mounting bracket cannot be centered above the stem unless you have a very thin ahead stem or an older one-piece stem. The advertising claims it can be set for 4 different bikes, but the manual does not include instructions. In fact, the manual I got with my 6501 was for the discontinued 6500.
A well made computer with nifty gear display and virtual cadence. Otherwise, it is just a fair cyclocomputer with no notable feature to recommend it. For tandem use, this device is wonderful to have because trying to see which gears you are in while steering a long bike is quite tricky and possibly dangerous.
Similar Products Used: Sigma Sport BC800 and 400. Very easy to set up and operate. I used two wireless versions on a tandem and it worked fine in the front and rear.
Bike Setup: Co-Motion Supremo with Dura-Ace.
a Cross Country Rider
from Addison, IL
Date Reviewed: December 3, 2003
Strengths: View gear selection Virtual cadence w/o extra wires or transmitters Control display w/o taking hands off the handlebars
Weaknesses: No Avg or Max Cadence feature (however it may not be accurate due to it being virtual cadence)
This product is a great way to see your gear selection without taking your eyes off the road. Also, allows you to switch display from either the low or high positions on the handlebars. Great for road bikers. Not all that useful if you have gear indicators on your shift lines or elsewhere on your handlebar. I have not had problems with the buttons or reliability. I have used this product in the rain as well as replaced the cork tape with no issue. I think the majority of these type of problems can be solved by taking care in the install and securing the wires and buttons properly.
Weaknesses: price tempermental and sometimes defective button sensors no rear mount sensor option (trainers)
its a hit or miss...make sure you deal w/a shop when buyin this....gettin it online is only recipe for disaster if somethin is wrong. and if you have to deal w/shimano...good luck. i'm a dealer and i hate dealin w/em. in response to the rear sensor mount option or a lack thereof....its met w/a typical shimano answer when i called up from the shop......'rollers.' , typical shimano. trust us, dealers avoid any dealings directly w/shimano at all possible.
nice computer, lots of features...but w/anythin highend cut-above...there's bound to be nigglin' issues that cost more to fix and the manufacturer will think its your fault b/c they make a high class product that has no issues (mavic-lezze faire to the end for example).
Strengths: Fully integrated computer that tells you what gear ratios you're using and works out your cadence without a cadence sensor.
Weaknesses: Maybe a little expensive for the cordless option, but I'm nit picking really.
I don't know where all these negative comments have come from. The setup is a cinch, provided you have half a clue about bike maintenance, and provided you take the time and trouble to read the manual. Very slick operation, works flawlessly and stands up to all weathers. Even my wife finds hers a breeze to use. Suerbly executed, very innovative technology.
Bike Setup: Two road bikes, a tandem, and an MTB, all fitted with flight decks.
a Weekend Warrior
from Irvine CA
Date Reviewed: December 29, 2002
Strengths: "Virtual" cadence, gear indicator, large primary display, integrates with shifters, clean installation.
Weaknesses: Small secondary display; Pace Arrow, data labels way too small to see when riding; digital clock is 24 hour format only; when setting up, wheel circumferences can only be entered in multiples of 5 mm; documentation could be better.
Several of the guys I ride with have Flight Deck computers. I liked the cadence function and the way they integrated with the STI shifters.
Personally, the installation went smoothly, no real hassles. Took less than an hour. It probably took me more time to unwrap and re-wrap my bars than it did to install the unit. The initial setup wasn't too difficult once I had all the cog sizes.
It took me a bit of learning to understand the various modes and how to turn on the trip odometer function, but once I understood the logic, no problem moving between screens.
The Pace Arrow is way too small as are the data labels. My $30 Performance Axiom has a better display. At least I can read it on the move. I have found myself staring at the display on the Shimano and nearly losing control of the bike on a few occasions. IMHO, a cycle computer display should give you all the info you need with just a quick glance and not require you to stare at it.
When entering wheel size during setup, the computer only accepts tire circumference measurements in multiples of 5 mm. My Performance allows for 1 mm increments. Minor annoyance, but one of the trails I ride is hashed off each 1/2 mile and I cannot get my Flight Deck spot-on over an 8-mile measured distance like I could with my Performance.
The virtual cadence is a nice feature. Basically, it calculates cadence by comparing your road speed to the gear combination. So the downside is that it will give you a RPM reading even if the pedals are not spinning. Not really an issue, although the cadence feature will not work with the bike mounted on a trainer as will most pedal-mounted units.
My original plan was to get a second mounting system for my mountain bike, but I can see big $$$ if I endo with the way the Flight Deck mounts to the bars.
I'd have given it 4 chilis if the display was a bit easier to read and it's still a ways off from getting five.
I'm debating putting my old Shimano Flight Deck Computer on my new Bianchi SOK 29er. It uses these SL-M760 shifters with the 2 way release. The gear indicators are still on the bike.
I know that Shimano never made a sensor/bracket kits for these shifters. In fact, I'm pretty sure they don't even ... Read More »
I've got a shimano flight deck bike computer (& mounting kit) off a mate. checking the shimano website I cant find any info to suggest what shifters the flight deck will actually fit to? anyone know for sure?
scantRead More »
Does anyone know if the new Shimano Flight Deck Head 6502 is compatible with older wiring harnesses such as the sm-6500-m kit?
I have XTR M952 shift levers and I am wanting to get the new flight deck but I don't want the wireless kit that costs $89! I believe the SM-6501-M kit is a wireless vers ... Read More »