Skip to main content


I have seen enough of Neville Wood’s work on electronic counters to have gained confidence in the method. I believe it is suitable to supplement the use of the Jones/Oerth counter. It’s cheaper and available just about everywhere in the world. There is, however, an impediment to its use:

The cyclometer models that are suitable for use as revolution counters are unknown to the potential user except for those identified by Neville. He has found a few counters that can be used with four magnets, and one that can be used with one magnet. I believe the one-magnet approach is better, but both work. If use is to spread, it will be necessary for the various models of cyclocomputer on sale to be continuously evaluated, so that up-to-date information as to availability can be presented to the public.

Fortunately this need not be complicated. It takes a person, like Neville, who is willing to research what’s on sale, and find out what’s suitable. I believe that just about any cyclocomputer will work with four magnets, but it would be agreeable if there were several choices for the single-magnet approach.

How do we find out what’s good? There are two approaches that come to mind:

1) Contact the manufacturers and inquire whether the wheel circumference can be programmed to 9999 mm or more. If you receive a “yes” answer, buy a cyclocomputer and check it out.
2) Visit bike shops and open the packages. Tell them if the circumference can be programmed to 9999 you will buy it.

The budget to do this will be quite modest, but it has to be done on a continuous basis, since models of cyclocomputers are changing all the time.

It would be beneficial if some users of this message board would contribute their experience with cyclocomputers.

With knowledge of suitable cyclocomputers gained, it will be necessary to disseminate it. Various federation web pages could make the knowledge known, at the same place they give out information about Jones/Oerth counters.

It will take time, but it’s worth it. It’s a comfort to know that with what Neville has taught us, I could arrive just about anywhere in the industrialized world and acquire all I need to measure with a visit to a local bike shop.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Unfortunately your advice on how to identify suitable computers for electronic counters is unreliable. The manual for the Protégé only indicates the circumference can be set to 2184 mm, and when I told the manufacturer, Planet Bike, that it could be set to 9999 mm, it was the first they knew of it. The manual for the Cateye OS claims that the circumference can be set to 9999 mm, but in fact it cannot. Besides the Proteges, the Ciclosports are the only computers I am aware of that are settable to 9999 mm, but these are useless as electronic counters because they only record trip distance above 5 mph. I found a unique computer that recorded trip distance to 1 m, so that when the circumference was set to 1000 mm it recorded revolutions. Again though it did not work below 5 mph. I have discovered other quirks on other models only some of which can be worked around. Thus, the only way to identify a suitable computer is to test it looking for problems I have already identified. This does not have to involve any financial sacrifice though – all suppliers I know of allow full refund of a purchase.

When I first developed the idea of electronic counters over two years ago, there was a big choice of suitable computers and it seemed that this would always be the case. However as I indicated in my May post, “End of the Electronic Era?”, this no longer pertains, because most manufacturers have made the retrograde switch to wireless models, which do not work below 5 mph. There is always hope that technology will develop usable models in the future, but in the meantime stock up on Proteges!
Last edited by neville
I have a Trek computer on the bike that I use along with a Jones-Oerth. If a RD wants an accurate (read: not short) course without the rigor of USATF measurement protocol I'll use the Trek.

I've done a parallel measurement on my local calibration course during the past two measurement projects and found the Trek to be about a single wheel revolution long over the 0.5 mile distance of the course.

I don't trust the Trek completely, but I'll use it to give me a "heads-up" warning a mile split is approaching.

As I said, if a RD is concerned about race distance but doesn't want to go through the entire measurement protocol I'll use the Trek. The response from the local anal-retentives with their GPS gadgets is pretty much the same when I measure with the Trek as when I go through the USATF protocol and use the Jones-Oerth. In fact, I get more grief (i.e., "course is long") when I use USATF measurement protocols.

But, since I've begun measuring down here there hasn't been a short course...

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.