Computers vs smartphones - myth busted

Probably not that much at all to be fair. Your point isn’t lost on me, I believe that I said I agreed with the points you’d raised. My point was that I’d rather not find out how much juice I could make that/those important phone calls with.


Being an avid Samsung fanboy myself for years and having had the same debate with myself i gotta mention another point you seem to be missing.

The reason i eventually decided against using my phone is because of the potential OLED burn in.

Your phone is particularly suceptible to burn in when in direct sunlight and heat.

My Galaxy S7 had major burn in marks after a trip to Curacao and using as a Navi in the hot car under sunlight.

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I’m in Scotland fella, oled burn in or indeed sunshine in general isn’t usually something we have to worry about😅


@bclarkson disingenuous?


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Fair point :rofl:


Am a klutz. Cf aforementioned screen crack from 12 inch drop. Plus don’t use a wallet anymore. ID and cards are in the case.

My Garmin is 6 years old and has had a very hard life. My phones Have yet to get much better than half that sat mainly in my pocket.

I can sleep in a van because it has everything I need and makes it hard to justify the cost of a house. Oddly, I still own a house.

I mean sure, you can get away with using your cell phone but it’s not optimal. Most of the reasons you list I don’t agree with (water and crash proof, size, battery life). Bike computers are made to do one thing and they do that really well. Your cell phone wasn’t created to be a bike computer but like sleeping in a van you can make it work.

For $200 I can have a bike computer that will last me 4-??? years. It’s not enough money to worry about amortized over the life of the device.


For me the reason to use a computer over my phone is that I’m in the Apple ecosystem and their phones don’t support ANT+ which in my experience has always been far more reliable than Bluetooth for connecting fitness devices. The fact that my Garmin Vector pedals also only transmit some types of data via ANT+ seals the deal.

Also my phone is massive and my bike computer is tiny. Strapping a phone to your bike has always and will always look dorky in my opinion.

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I didn’t really read his post as just sharing experience because the OP was 1) myth busting and 2) trying to claim a generalization to “normal, average recreational cyclists”. I’m a normal, average recreational cyclist where rides longer than 3 hours are not rare by any means.

I apologize if my word choice was harsh. That was my initial reaction because in my cycling community a Sunday ride with friends is easily 6-8 hours, it is not all riding but quickly amounts to that once you count breaks and lunch and so on. No one wants to slide home with 10% of battery left on their phone.


Hard to say how many - really depends how you define a recreational cyclist. The recreational groups I ride with occasionally probably are out on their bikes for 7 hours at least once a month, with typical ride duration being 3-5 hours

This is definitely not true - no matter what mount you’re running if you were running a smaller device (like a dedicated computer) it will be more aerodynamic than a relatively large smart phone. For as casual as you are trying to make yourself sound I’m not sure aerodynamics matter, but certainly for folks focused on aero the phone is a non-zero penalty over a garmin 530 or a wahoo elmnt

Yes, in nearly all crashes the phone being mounted on the front of your bike is a much higher risk area than the small of your back. additionally, as others have mentioned, phones are much more fragile than bike computers

Slightly higher chance of a phone flying off due to the increased size - better leverage against the mount. Agree with your core point though, neither will come off without an impact or something bumping into it pretty hard

Overall I have no issue with you or anyone else running their phone as their bike computer. It definitely doesn’t fit my needs as I race regularly and, separately, need battery life in excess of what a phone can provide. It never really occurred to me that this was an argument until your post…is there someone out there telling you that you’re an idiot for using a smart phone?

Well the “Myth Busting” title was a bit prejudicial was it not? A diss aimed at computer users. There is no myth to bust. A riding buddy of mine has nothing on his bars and never has. He is pure old school. Another guy in my group looks like he has a bike kitted out by a SWAT team. I don’t know if he is riding his bike or hunting bad guys. Others update their bar top fauna regularly. Me? I rock an old 510 that keeps ticking. I tried an alternate for a very specific reason that didn’t work. Don’t have any in my circle with a phone out there. Wouldn’t care if I did. Just glad that they got out there.

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I think you may have misread, the two of you actually seem to be in agreement here. The OP didnt say his phone was more aerodynamic.

Also, given your argument about aerodynamics being so marginal, I’d argue that the extra “leverage” of a bigger phone would be smaller than the aero benefits.

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Hmmm, when I bought my Garmin edge 800 it was cutting edge and my flip phone did not do anything it could do. today, my Garmin edge 800 still works, gives me what I need to know and lets me focus on the ride. No messages, etc coming across the screen.

IF I ever get back to the volume of on the road riding I used to do, I can easily see upgrading to get the rear radar option and I would want a camera both directions. Key thing at that point is crash notification of select contacts. But that is years down the road – who knows what we will have by that time.

Bottom line: Do what works for you!

Come on now, let’s be adults about this. How is it a diss? It’s simply an opposing view to the norm that forums like this should be welcoming. We all have different views. But I applaud the OP because not only has he challenged the norm, he’s back it up with actual testing rather than just spouting an unfounded opinion.

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I may have - but I was actually assuming he had a typo given it was in a section telling us the benefits of a phone. I assumed he meant the phone was more aerodynamic due to the out front mount. You’re correct though, I shouldn’t have assumed

Not sure I follow you - how is the leverage relevant?



If you read the orignal post, his points are ones made by supporters of head units which he then adds his opinion to. So he’s addressing the “tidier” argument by pointing out that you can get a quadlock mount for your phone which does much the same job, but doesn’t address the issue, given that we all seem to be in agreement that it is such a tiny marginal gain.

You brought up the leverage. I’m pointing out that the downside of the “extra leverage against the mount” is a non issue in my opinion, especially if you disregard the marginal aero benefits of a small head unit

Agree to disagree - the aero penalty is important, particularly given just how many watts you can burn by modifying the leading edge of your frame. You really want to minimize it. My post was focused on a truly ‘recreational’ rider (as defined by the OP) - where maybe he doesn’t care about aero at all. For people focused on aerodynamics there is no way to justify any additional burden on this front

As above - I am not disregarding those, he is. The leverage is meaningful if you are trying to make the argument that the phone is ‘safe’ on the front of your bike. The higher mass and larger profile of the phone make it much more likely to disconnect from the bike. As I said in my first reply, I do agree with you that it isn’t going to go anywhere without an impact of some sort, but in the event of a crash you will do more damage to your phone if it is mounted to the front of your bike than if it is in your jersey pockets

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Me: I’m trying the paleo diet this month.
A Smart Person: The paleo diet is a fad based on poor science, that’s not actually how our paleolithic ancestors ate.

That’s how. OP indirectly dissed people who use bike computers by suggesting that they have been suckered by a myth (that bike computers are better than smartphones for tracking rides).

You have invoked the Rule of the Internet. (Sort of.) (It’s close enough and I love this clip.)