Bell 15-Function Wireless Cyclocomputer Review

Here's a review of the Bell 15-Function Wireless Cyclocomputer, a low-cost bicycle computer that offers basic functions such as speed and distance, as well as extras such as a backlight, thermometer, and calorie counter.

I purchased the device recently, thinking it would be decent cyclocomputer for my old Puch. I wasn't looking for anything fancy, and this one fit the bill. And at about $20, the price was reasonable.

The unit has some nice features. It has an EL-backlit screen for night-time readbility, and it keeps track of calories burned and fat grams burned, along with a temperature readout. Of course, it also has the normal odometer, speedometer, average speed, maximum speed, ride time, etc. And since it was wireless, it was easy to install – just strap the sensor to a fork, and mount the display to the handlebars.

The unit worked reasonable fine at first. It had its quirks – the unit automatically shuts off after a few minutes of no action, and doesn't auto-start when you get back rolling. So if you forget to press a button, your mileage will be off.

And the data clearing was strange, too – you had to manually clear each individual parameter after a ride, rather than all in one step. A bit of a pain.

But soon enough a bigger problem cropped up that made the thing pretty well useless – the wireless interface was too sensitive to noise.

I first noticed it when I pulled my camera out to take a picture while riding, and the speed went nuts when the turned-on camera got too close to the cyclocomputer. But I've seen other units with that problem, and it's easy enough to avoid.

Then I saw the display going haywire at a bike rack next to a grocery store. Weird.

Then it went gaga at a convenience store.

In all, I had stats for several rides ruined because the thing flaked out due to RF interference. If I can't trust the device, and have to estimate my miles and speed, then what's the point? I'd be better off just not messing with it at all.

Here's a typical display, with the bike standing against a wall at a convenience store, and the computer reading 44.9 MPH:

Even better, here's the Bell 15-Function Wireless Cyclocomputer compared, side-by-side, with an old Cateye Cordless 7 (sadly, no longer available, but Cateye has similar wireless cyclocomputers, including the Strada, Vectra, and Micro):

That's using my Samsung cell phone as the RF source. I saw similar results with my camera, or holding the device near a computer.

As you can see, the Bell thinks it's moving, while the Cateye does not.

So basically, the Bell 15-Function Wireless Cyclocomputer works fine if all you want it for is a speedometer. If you actually want more data, such as distance traveled, average speed, or maximum speed, it is useless. Stay away from it, and invest in a better-quality cyclocomputer.

I ultimately returned the product and got my money back.

See also:

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist.

Last Update: January 9th, 2014