The Earl of Kirkland
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: December 31, 2005
Strengths: Genius and original design, several and a half truckloads of features, and simple user interface.
Weaknesses: This product posseses no serious weaknesses, but being the chronic whiner that I am, there are a couple of things to mention in this category. Firstly, the cadence sensor is not wireless, which is really just a wee little quible. Secondly, the button of which activates the backlight must be held down for three seconds in order to activate the backlight, creating a woefully perfect opportunity for some ill-intentioned miscellaneous object to ruin your day by hurtling you to the ground in a rather undignified manner. The reason for this is that the button which activates the backlight is also responsible for several other features that are activated by a momentary depression of the button.
Overall, a great computer with an outstandingly original design that is very practical (vastly quicker and easier to read one's speed while riding). Quite frequently a product with an excellent and original design is utterly lacking in execution (poor usability, poor quality of construction, et cetera...). No plauge as such inflicts this product, for only minor quibles are present. Quibbles of which are trampled under foot (or hoove?) by the product's strengths. Therefore, I hereby bestow upon the 2004 Specialized Speedzone Elite 5.0 five "Flamin' Chilis" for the value rating-the procurement of a $70 computer for $20 is a somewhat difficult act to follow-and four "Flamin' Chilis" for the overall rating, since nothing is absloutely perfect (unless nothing just so happened to sprout a wireles cadence sensor and a dedicated backlight button, in which case nothing would be absolutely perfect, herefore voiding the foresaid statement referring to the lack of absolute perfection in nothing).
Similar Products Used: Uhh, none (although, I have momentarily [well, actually, more like several moments of tarily] ridden bikes equipped with computers before, but not for long enoung to allow some data to be used for a comparison to be stored in my filing system).
Bike Setup: 2004 Hardrock Sport w/2001 RS Sid Hydra-air.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 2, 2004
Strengths: Best design on the market. Nice looking, easy to use. You can see nearly all measurements at once without a display cluttered with numbers. Sturdier than most other bike computers.
Weaknesses: No quick-release mount. Backlight button doesn't make any sense. Bulky wireless transmitter. Only speed sensor is wireless; only the 5.0 Pro has both a wireless cadence sensor and wireless speed sensor. Analog clock is useless.
The Specialized round-face computers are simply the best bike computers you can buy. The analog speedometer-style display is beautiful and functional. You can see your current speed, maximum speed, and average speed all on the outer dial. Then, you can choose another numeric quantity to display in the center, such as cadence, total time riding, lap time, etc.
The computer does have a few problems, noted above. Probably the most frustrating is the third backlight button. You have to hold it for several seconds to turn on the backlight, which is a little difficult while you're riding. On the Speedzone 5.0 Pro (see below), it's even worse: press it only momentarily, and you'll reset the wireless parameters!
This computer is very similar to the Specialized Speedzone 5.0 Pro (I have both). Now, if you've gotten this far, you've may already know that Specialized USA insists that the 5.0 Pro doesn't exist. This is nonsense, as I own one myself. The Pro has the same round face and does everything the Elite does, plus it adds an altimeter, a thermometer, an inclinometer, and its cadence and speed sensors are both digital wireless (as opposed to the wired cadence and analog wireless speed sensors on the Elite). If you want the best computer out there, get the 5.0 Pro; it's quite a bit more expensive and much harder to find than the Elite, but it's worth it.
Anyway, the analog clock is pretty useless because of its low resolution (I say "analog" here, even though it's technically made of digital hands on the LCD screen). There's a long hand and a short hand, but they only stop at the hour markers. What does this mean? Well, at 3:00, the small hand points to the 3 and the large hand points to the 12 (normal, right?). At 3:30, however, the large hand is pointing to the 6, while the small hand is still pointing to the 3 (rather than halfway between the 3 and the 4, like it should). This poses the biggest problem at 5 minutes to the hour (say, 3:55), where it really looks like 2:55 because the little hand is *still* pointing to the 3. Arrgghhh.
Anyway, despite these small flaws (and the complete lack of a quick-release mount), this is still the best computer out there. Because of its design, it doesn't suffer from the clutter problems of the other number-only computers. It's very well made, too: I've had a few of these round-face computers (I keep upgrading), and I've never had one fail. This is more than I can say for the CatEye and Trek computers I've used in the past, which all seem to die a slow death after only a year or two. The Speedzone 5.0 Elite is a beautiful, functional computer, and I recommend it highly. (If MTBReview had a page for the 5.0 Pro, I'd give it 5 flamin' chilis across the board.)