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Armando Mastracci ⓧⓔⓡⓣ Breakthrough Training

Armando Mastracci ⓧⓔⓡⓣ Breakthrough Training

10:44 AM on Monday, August 17, 2020   •   Edited

Your Phone as a Bike Computer

For those of you noticing the bike computer I’ve been using, it’s a regular Android phone called a Cubot King Kong Mini. It’s part of a growing breed of ruggedized Android phones that often come in smaller sizes for convenience. They are hard to find though. There is another unit that we are quite keen on from Unihertz called the Atom L. It’s being launched tomorrow in fact https://www.unihertz.com/blog/blog-4/post/new-website-will-be-live-on-august-18th-10-00-am-cst-95. We haven’t tested it yet but it appears to have a lot of promise. They are sending us a unit. Also, Hammerhead are working on the Karoo 2 (with investor Lance Armstrong) although this is more of a pure bike computer Android platform than a phone with bike computer suitability.

The challenge with using a regular phone as a bike computer is that they are normally bigger than your typical bike computer, although the King Kong Mini is only slightly larger than a Garmin 1030. You need a bigger device in order to use the keyboard on the phone without it being too hard to use. But road cyclists tend to prefer smaller head units. These two demands are somewhat incompatible. The Atom L is on that fine edge although a bit bigger than the King Kong Mini but with almost 2x the battery and cold weather durability. It’s is likely a pretty good phone to use on a day-to-day basis. At <US$300, it’s much cheaper than many dedicated bike computers. I’ve been using the King Kong Mini as my phone and don’t have any issues with it being too small as a phone. Note that if you are using your phone as your bike computer, you’re only carrying 1 device, not 2. If you’re on a new model Android 8 or higher, they support Bluetooth tethering, so you can connect the second Android bike computer over Bluetooth so that’s it’s tethered without consuming lots of battery. Those with iPhones can also opt to use one of these Androids in off-line mode or tether as needed over wifi hotspot (don't think of it as a religious iPhone vs. Android thing!).

To use a phone as a bike computer, you'll need a ruggedized phone ideally with a mount and mount adapter. A good protective case with a regular phone can be ok too. There are stick-on mount adapters available (they are incredibly strong when attached to the back of a phone or silicone case) that you can use with regular mounts or you can look into a Quadlock system.

Our app can be used as a bike computer but stay tuned for new changes coming that will improve its suitability to use on your handlebars as an alternative to a bike computer. It's evolving to become an app that will act as both an Xert app - reviewing your activities, progression with more “app” features coming, in addition to acting as a bike computer that you’ll use while riding and training.