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hikebike-bagpeak
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to get an altimeter for extreme mtb climbing.
My concern with investing is the accuracy on a bike. Found a potentially misplaced post in the lights and bike lighting forum on a good cyclometer: VDO MC1.0, where users claim that it works well for them. I find this hard to believe, so what's different with the VDO MC1.0 ??????? The barometric pressurechanges/weather and the constant need of calibration with fast changing altitude on long steep pitches would seem to detract from its usefulness.
 

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Rolling
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There is no perfect solution for altimeters. But I think a GPS with a pressure altimeter is the way to go. You get a pressure altimeter that you can calibrate and a GPS calculated altitude reading if you want. Unless you are riding with an eminent storm, the calibration shouldn't change all that much. I don't see how pitch grade would affect the pressure calibration.

I have a Garmin GPSMAP 60 csx that does great for pressure altitude.

The advantage of the GPS is it has a lot more use than use biking. It's good hiking, driving, running. You can get data on speeds, speeds to destinations, have mapping capability log routes.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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lidarman said:
Unless you are riding with an eminent storm, the calibration shouldn't change all that much.
Not true, not all pressure differentials have precip associated with them, and while the strength of the wind may vary, it's not fair to say that stormy weather has to accompany a pressure change. Furthermore, you can see pretty radical changes in pressure as a front approaches or right after, and again not all fronts are depicted on weather charts, only significant ones (weather wise).

The calibrated GPS probably IS the way to go, but realize the limitations. There is also going to be different pressure at a different altitude and geographic location, and while pressure settings (altimeter settings) are corrected for sea-level, you can't set your altimeter in Phoenix and have it be accurate in Sedona or some other place that is a good distance, the pressure is always different (leaving out the difference caused by the different altitudes) simply due to the geographic location.

Understand that aircraft flying around (like airliners) with altimeters are required to update their altimeters pretty frequently. This doesn't mean that an altimeter for your bike will be wildly inaccurate, but realize what it takes to be accurate, you won't always be able to provide the means necessary. The baro-aided GPS is the best bet, as already suggested.
 

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Waiting for Godot
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i bought a cheapy bike computer that came with an altimeter. as a altimeter it didn't work well. it is very dry in my mountains. as i got close to a stream or rounded a cliff that had a different eco, it would give inaccurate data. i mean really wrong numbers, way off.

then of course if a storm did come in, it would be way off as well.
 

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ballbuster
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Second that

lidarman said:
There is no perfect solution for altimeters. But I think a GPS with a pressure altimeter is the way to go. You get a pressure altimeter that you can calibrate and a GPS calculated altitude reading if you want. Unless you are riding with an eminent storm, the calibration shouldn't change all that much. I don't see how pitch grade would affect the pressure calibration.

I have a Garmin GPSMAP 60 csx that does great for pressure altitude.

The advantage of the GPS is it has a lot more use than use biking. It's good hiking, driving, running. You can get data on speeds, speeds to destinations, have mapping capability log routes.
I got an Alta $20 one from Performance Bike. Its a bit of a PITA to navigate around and change settings, but it works well. I found it is actually pretty accurate, as far as I can tell. I check it against other rider's GPS units, and it seems to be in the neighborhood.... usually within 10' for 1000 feet of gain.

But... you have to calibrate it. And... it will be thrown off as the day warms up. I usually start rides with it calibrated, then it drifts about 10 feet if it warms up 15-20 degrees.

https://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.cfm?SKU=25333&item=20-5136&slitrk=search&slisearch=true



Personally, I wouldn't spend much dough on a dedicated altimeter. You would do better with a GPS.
 

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Registered
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I have the VDO in question and like it alot as a bike computer, save for something that is completely unrelated to the altimeter function (which is very good on this one).

No altimeter is perfect, but they generally give you your total climb within a few percentage points of difference and unless you are some sort of control freak, this should be plenty. As for dealing with changes in pressure, if you ride a loop, the difference between your starting altitude and ending altitude will be the adjustment to make due to the change in barometric pressure. If you don't ride a loop and don't know your exact starting and ending altitudes, well, you have to wing it.

I always thought the bigger problem was starting from a point where you do not know what the altitude is.
 

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I use Suunto watches, and my gf has a VDO MC 1.0+ They are both very accurate and I frequently ride with maps that show elevations and both have been dead on. They can be helpful. Not necessary, but pretty helpful when you go into the mountains, especially where you haven't been before.
 

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hikebike-bagpeak
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanx for all the feedback. I'm not committed 100% to either GPS or Altimeter yet, while I suppose even GPS's have there downfalls ie: lost signal behind rock walls or trees.

Ken in KC, to answer your question I used the word extreme to refer to rides on trails up above 13k. no trips planned for the Himalayas at this point, although I'd love to hit the 'Leh' route from India to the Tibet before I'm to old.
 

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Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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Which Would Be A Total Joke

lidarman said:
... and a GPS calculated altitude reading if you want.
GPS is pretty useless for elevation measurements unless you're lugging around a survey setup. What would be the vertical error on a Garmin ± 30m?
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Shayne said:
GPS is pretty useless for elevation measurements unless you're lugging around a survey setup. What would be the vertical error on a Garmin ± 30m?
If it has WAAS, 1m.
 
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