Throwing rocks: Bontrager wireless cycle computers

To avoid the ugly wires, I bought a Bontrager trip 4W wireless computer for my new bike (picture from the URL above).

It likes nothing better than to display a speed of 29.5, and while I wouldn’t mind going that fast (even in km/hr) without having to work, I didn’t believe it. The speed also randomly displayed in the 30s and 40s, and sometimes well beyond, even when I wasn’t moving. Sometimes the number would get smaller when I rode faster. Occasionally, it would display real values, but not dependably. Not good.

So I took it in to the retailer, where they basically admitted that they didn’t have a clue, and also didn’t offer to refund my purchase price.

On the Bontrager site, I sublmitted the following query:

I just bought a trip 4w computer. MPH readings (and average and odometer) are completely unrelated to actual speed. Started off in this mode, has been known to give proper readings, but fell back into insanity. Any idea why?
BTW, web link for user manuals just hangs forever.

I got a reply the next business day (kudos for that, Bontrager):

Thanks for writing. As the Trip 4W computer uses an analog wireless signal, it can occassionally be overpowered by other wireless devices, such as a garage door opener or wireless keyboard. This does not tend to be too much of an issue out on a ride, but if it is causing an issue in your home you would want to see if you could determine the cause of the interference. If it continues to be a problem away from signals when out on a ride, it would be our recommendation to bring it in to your local dealer to have them troubleshoot the issue further.

To which I responded:

It happens pretty much everywhere, and is not predictable. I took it to the retailer (chain reaction), who were in the dark, but did not offer to refund my money. If it is not dependable, it is pretty much useless, so I now have a wired computer. This is a new record for turning money into shelfware.

A very disappointing experience.

The bottom line is that this technology appears to be nowhere near suitable for real use in real products. Shame on the industry for selling this junk!


About 86dave

World traveler, mostly first and second world Outdoors: hiker, cyclist, photographer Libertarian Author, Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks, Wiley, 2012
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