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How to Set Up a Bicycle Computer

by Wade Shaddy
Bicycle computers attatch to the handlebars of any bike.

Bicycle computers attatch to the handlebars of any bike.

Bicycle computers can monitor speed and distance, similar to the computers installed in vehicles. Typical bicycle computers have a magnet that attaches to the spokes, a sensor that attaches to the fork and a display that attaches to the handlebars. The display shows miles-per-hour, an odometer reading and trip distance and can be reset for each ride. Some bike computers read out elevation, temperature and heart rate, but speed and distance are the most useful settings for the average rider. All models install the same way. Setting up your first bicycle computer is easier than it seems.

Install the small cylindrical sensor from the kit. Attach it to the right front fork of your bike using the cable tie that came with the kit.

Attach the magnet to one of the spokes and adjust the position of the magnet so that when the wheel spins, the magnet will pass in front of the lower half of the sensor. When that position is achieved, tighten the small Phillips head screw on the magnet.

Attach the display-mounting bracket to either the right or left side of the handlebars, with the wire facing toward the seat. The mounting bracket looks like a small ring with a bracket on top.

Slide the computer display into the mounting bracket toward the seat. Push it all the way into the bracket until it clicks.

Pick up the front end of the bike and spin the front wheel, the speedometer should register speed on the display. If it does not, adjust the magnet so that it is closer to the sensor. Spin the wheel again and adjust as necessary to get a reading.

Run the loose sensor wire up the right side of the fork loosely, securing it with cable ties that came with the kit. Turn the front wheel from right to left to make sure there's enough slack for the wheel to turn, then finish by running the remaining cable around the front brake cable and under the handlebars.

Secure any excess wire to the bike's stem with a cable tie.

Check you bike's tire size, and check the manual for the tire size code. Hold the display button on the front of the computer until it prompts you for the code. Enter the code for your tire size into the computer by pressing the button when it displays the code to lock it in. The computer is now ready to use.

Items you will need

  • Bicycle computer kit
  • Phillips screwdriver

Tip

  • Wireless computers install the same way, without wires.

About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.

Photo Credits