[Tech Review] Schwinn 12-Function Bicycle Speedometer

I’m sure most of you are wondering why I thought it would be necessary to own a speedometer for my bicycle, so I’ll go ahead and explain myself. I’ll start by telling you that no, it isn’t because I didn’t want to accidentally surpass the speed limit, though my muscular and tone legs are probably more than capable of pulling that off.

I was riding down a hill on the side of one of my town’s busier streets and decided to cut through the grass and hop off  a curb and into the road. Apparently there was a ditch in said grass that I was unable to see, because the grass was evenly cut so the turf looked smooth. I hit the ditch and was thrown over the handlebars a good ten feet onto the asphalt, landing on an awkward combination of my head, neck, shoulder, and knee.

Needless to say, the bicycle was destroyed, but I miraculously walked away with nothing but some road rash and bruised pride. This is where the speedometer comes into play. I took the bike back to Walmart (which was actually bike number two of four total in a week and a half; long story), put on my best offended customer hat, and convinced them that the bike was defective and they let me trade it back in for a new one. I picked up this speedometer while I was there because I wanted to recreate the event and see how fast I was actually when I spilled.

Before I get to that test’s results, let’s go ahead and take a look at this speedometer itself. It’s review time!

As the majority of you utterly genius readers have undoubtedly gathered from this post’s title, I am reviewing a 12-Function Cycle Computer made by Schwinn. Being new to the world of bikes and accessories, I made my purchase based solely on name recognition.

The actual unit is a compact, rounded square in shape, housing a small LCD display in the center with two buttons on the bottom left and right. It runs off of an included 1.5V battery which is placed into a compartment on the reverse side of the unit. It doesn’t look half bad with a sleek black, red, and silver design, though it won’t win any beauty pageants either.

When powering the device on for the first time, you will be taken through a process which requires you to program your rim size (the package includes a pamphlet with details on how to properly do so) and your unit-of-speed measurement preference (Km/h or MPH). There is also a programmable digital clock which has options for either 12 or 24-hour display. This process is fairly uncomplicated overall, and isn’t too much of a pain to go through with.

The 12 functions include:

  • Speedometer (0-99.9 M/hr or KM/hr)
  • Tripmeter (Up to 99.9 M or KM)
  • Odometer (Up to 9999.9 M or KM)
  • Trip Timer (9:59’59”)
  • Maximum Speed
  • Digital Clock
  • Average Speed
  • Scan
  • Freeze Frame Memory
  • Speed Comparator
  • Speed Tendency
  • Odometer Reset Function

The hardware is installed using zip ties, which gives a trashy appearance that could have been avoided if the docking unit was held into place with holsters and screws instead. Connecting to the handlebars is a docking station that is attached to a long, thin black cord which holds a small sensor on the other end. The wire is pretty long and must be wrapped around the brake handles in order to eliminate excess slack. The sensor attaches to the fork, facing into the front tire. The final piece of equipment is a small round magnet that clips to one of the spokes with a tiny hinge.

My biggest problem is with this magnet. The clip is much too loose around the spokes and moves often. Any time you hit a bump or jump off of a ledge you’ll likely have to stop and reposition the magnet right next to the sensor, and if it isn’t just right you’ll have to try again until you get it correct. This is a hassle and it completely kills your flow when it happens, and it happens quite often.

Aside from the faulty magnet, I hate the fact that the screen isn’t back lit. I do a lot of riding at night, which I find is the best time to exercise, and not being able to monitor my speed to see if I’m performing adequately is irritating. There was a unit available for $20 that featured a back lit LCD, but since I was to frugal to drop more than $1o I guess I don’t have the right to complain too much.

Final Words:

All in all the Schwinn 12-Function Speedometer does everything it says it will do. The fact that the sensor takes frequent repositioning to get it to work properly kills a few points, and a back lit screen would have been nice. Most of the features are pretty useless to the average rider, but I use the speedometer and clock all the time. While I highly recommend all cyclists own a speedometer, there are several superior devices out there and this one just comes up short.

Buy a Schwinn 17-Function Speedometer from Amazon for the same price as the 12-Function instead!

By the way, I reached 26.3 M/hr in my recreation of my accident. Ouch.

Pros

  • Knowing how fast you’re going
  • Plenty of functions
  • Easy navigation
  • My legs

Cons

  • No backlit screen
  • Weak sensor won’t stay put
  • Wire from docking station to sensor is too long
  • Uses zip ties for hardware installation
  • Crashing

Final Score: 6.5/10

7 thoughts on “[Tech Review] Schwinn 12-Function Bicycle Speedometer

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  2. Wow, you are beyond lucky. Wrecking a bike at 26 mph could’ve seriously hurt you. And I take it you probably weren’t wearing a helmet?

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  4. @ben

    Go for it, it’s the cool thing to do.

    @ Schneider

    Absolutely not! In fact, not only was I not wearing a helmet when I wrecked the first time, I had no helmet when testing. On top of that, it was night time, and I had no form of light or anything. I’m just too hardcore I guess.


  5. Thanks for the review, I was about to order a Schwinn computer via Thank You rewards points I had accumulated on my credit card. I was uncertain if the computer was wireless or not until arriving at your blog. Thanks for your time, looks like it is time to pony up $45 and get a wireless computer.

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