You can pick up a decent wireless cycle computer for £30 (US$50) or so. So what does VDO’s new MC 2.0 computer offer to justify paying three times that?
In a word, functions. Lots and lots of functions. All the usual suspects, such as current, average and maximum speeds, are included. But the MC 2.0 WL, which weighs 34g (head unit), also has an altimeter and temperature gauge.
The altimeter doesn’t simply display your current altitude. You can call up the total height climbed for each ride, the average and maximum gradient, total height lost on descents… The list goes on. VDO’s own description lists 43 separate functions, and you can add a handful more if you pair the computer with the optional cadence kit – £22 (US$39.99) extra.
It sounds complicated, but basic setting up is reasonably straightforward. We put the intimidatingly thick instruction manual to one side and used the ‘picturebook’ to get started. Thoughtfully, this covers the cadence kit and heart rate monitor – £19.95 (US$20) – so there’s no need to thumb through a separate manual to set up these extras.
Getting further means using the manual, as with five buttons there’s a lot to learn. It’s worth taking a while to get to know the VDO, though, as there’s more than enough information to satisfy gadget geeks.
Ever wondered which local climb is really the steepest? With the maximum gradient function you can find out. Reset at the bottom of the hill and you can check the average slope, too.
With so much information on display, the screen does look rather busy, but the speed reading is large enough to stand out. It’s the information on the top line (temperature and gradient) that can be harder to take in.
In fact, there’s so much being displayed and recorded it’s a shame there’s no way of downloading the data as you can with a Polar CS200cad bike computer (around £100 or US$130 online).
What’s more, the VDO makes you choose between using the cadence kit or heart rate monitor as there’s no way of showing both on the head unit. That’s an irritating oversight when in other respects the WC 2.0 is very good indeed.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.