Since I've only ever used two different cyclometers, I don't know how much my opinion is worth but here it is anyway.
Both of my bike computers are Cateye models with wired cadence pickups. The older model is the Astrale (no longer offered) and the newer one is the Strada, supposed to have replaced the Astrale. I actually preferred the Astrale since I care more about my cadence than my speed and I could make the larger display digits show either figure. The Strada uses the larger digits only for speed.
Both models can be easily removed from the handlebar mount clips and snapped back in. My one caution about these is that the contacts in the clip sometimes don't conduct unless you fiddle with the head some. It's annoying to have to do that partway through a ride when you notice that it's stopped showing your speed or picking up your pedal cadence.
Get the cheap one. You'll go as fast as with the $80 one, but the $/mile cost will always be 80% lower. If (when) you stick with pedaling and find what you like or don't about the cheapo, then you can more consciously select a model with the features you want, and you're only out $15, not $80.
I had a Cateye Solar that I loved, but it succumbed in an off-road endo. I'm now using a Cateye Micro that so far has pleased me. I started with it on my Tour de Sol automobile entry in 2005, moved it to my (bio)diesel powered lawn tractor for a while. I got 2.3 mpg, (or 48,500 sq.ft.) while cutting grass. Only this year have used it as intended on my bicycles. I have two mounts, so I just swap the unit and select the second wheel size program. Still on the same battery since 2005, too.
End of calendar year Update: 1106.4 miles displaced by bicycle.
How difficult would it be to add a bicycle mileage log somewhere on the site? It would be interesting to see how the mileage changes over time etc.
Also, it would be cool if you could 'link' your bicycle to your car, so you can work out an 'effective' miles per gallon, between the two items (so you can see the effect that cycling actually has on your economy). I guess this would have to be based on the last 90-days like the MPG calculations are to keep the calculations simple.
Anyway; I hope to get my bike going soon. I might see if I can get a cycle computer today!
__________________ Team GasMisers5 - #1 for first three rounds of the original GS Fuel Economy Challenge
Miles displaced by e-bike since 1 Jan 2008: 62.6 (0 kWh used)
With my work being nearly 8 miles away, I'm thinking I'll average close to 80 miles per week. If I can bike say 15 days a month (save the rest of the days for oversleeping, eating a big breakfast and taking my time, bad weather) I think by Sep/Oct when it's time to put the bike away I'll have totalled about 1500 miles!!!
Amazing... that'll be half of one oil change and at $3/gal for fuel, I'll be saving roughly $175. So, roughly $200 saved, wear and tear minimized, health improved, and a big smile on my face for not getting any more traffic violations from Johnny Law in my morning road rage commutes to work.
After one season of riding, the bike and gear will all have paid for itself in money saved.
My pedal commute has cost me money. It'll be difficult to amortize it on a purely financial basis.
New clipless pedals (two pair), one pair of clipless shoes,
Six new tires , 2 700c tubular, 2 700x28 clincher, 1 2.35x24, 1 2.25x26,
Rechargeable LED headlamp, LED tail lamp,
Over booties, two pair of gloves, balaclava, helmet, helmet mirror,
Three pair of shorts, three shirts, three pair of socks,
Shampoo and soap at work,
Added laundry (shorts, shirt, socks daily, towel weekly),
Added water and heating (a second quick rinse shower before starting work, occasionally another when back at home at the end of the day).
Considering my car averages 45 mpg on the 10 mile commute (.44 gal/day at 3.499 gal) I save $1.55 in fuel.
I increase commute time from 40 min/day (driving) to 80 min/day (road bike) or to 100 min/day (mountain bike).
Only if I were earning $4.65 (or $1.55) /hr am I actually 'making' money by spending time to save fuel cost.
Very interesting. I never added in all the variables like water used, tires used clothes purcased.
I think though, a set of tires would last 1500 miles. I rode my BMX as a kid for the better part of 4 years solid, every single day. I commuted 5-6 miles daily, sometimes more, sometimes less. Went through 5 or 6 inner tubes, but never needed new tires.