Sigma 1909 HR STS Bike Computer Review

After a year of serious cycling, I have finally bought a bike computer.  So far, I’ve been getting by by using TrailGuru on the iPhone for post trip analysis, or asking my fellow riding friends during the ride, “How fast are we going?”.  Not very scientific or useful.  Sort of like driving a car without a speedo, or having a bank account without transaction history.

Yesterday, my eBay purchase of the Sigma 1909 HR STS arrived! 

This little computer does speed, cadence and heart rate – all wirelessly too!  I definitely wanted speed so I can maintain a good pace which is useful when cycling in a pack.   I heard that cadence was useful to make my cycling more efficient.  And heart rate should be useful to improve my fitness.

First Impressions

I was worried that the screen would be quite small, which would make it hard to look at when cycling.  But no, when I unboxed the Sigma, I was happy to see a large clear display!

The wireless sensors seem a bit big, but I’ve heard that they are smaller than the Cateye wireless ones, so I’m not complaining.

Packaging all looks professional, instructions were very clear, all good!

Nice things about the Sigma package is that you get O rings as well as zip ties – you can choose which way to secure the parts to your bike.  It also came with a sample tube of Buh Bump heart rate monitor electrode cream!

Installation

The Sigma website actually has videos showing you how to install the sensors on your bike.  You gotta see the video once – it’s useful, but moreso because it’s all done in cheezy simulated slomo.  The actor must’ve had a ball recording this.

Mounting was pretty simple thanks to the clear instructions.   I just had some problems with the magnet on the front wheel.  It seems if it was mounted the correct orientation, the magnet jutted too far out and kept hitting the sensor. I couldn’t move the sensor any further away from the spokes.   So I’ve temporarily mounted the magnet facing the other way on the spoke.   Not ideal but it’s still registering OK.

Very small gap between magnet and sensor

One nice feature about the sensor – it seems to make a small clicking sound everytime the magnet goes by.  Not sure if this is the magnet relay inside the sensor or an actual click from a speaker, but it makes it easier to tell whether the sensor is working or not.

The cadence sensor was quite easy to install and didn’t seem to get in the way of my shoe at all.

Sigma cadence sensor

Operation

At first I wasn’t sure how to turn the device on or off!  But it seems to be always in standby, turn on when it detects movement from the sensors, and goes back to standby automatically after some period of not being used.

Speed and cadence worked fine for me.  Actually, I noticed I ended up pushing myself more on my ride to work today because of the computer!  So it must be doing something right 🙂    And it was nice to see the cadence so that I could keep it around 80-90rpm.  

The speed and distance sort of matched up with TrailGuru on the iPhone.   Yeah I know, a pretty short commute to work and “slowish” because of traffic lights, intersections, etc 🙂

The thing that didn’t work for me though was the heart rate monitor.  I had it strapped on, and I did wet it before I started (and it was pretty wet when I finished), but it didn’t register anything!  No heart rate.  I’ll need to investigate another time – maybe it was in the wrong location on my chest, or maybe the shape of my chest is not conducive to strap on heart rate monitors.  Hmm..

So for AUD $129 off eBay, the Sigma 1909 HR seems like quite a bargain.   Especially when a Cateye RD400DW double wireless without a heart rate monitor goes for the same price on eBay and the Polar CS400 and CS500 ones with heart rate monitor go from $349 to $399.

I’ll need to try different positions for the HRM strap and see if it makes any difference…   and try that sample Buh Bump cream!

More info here: http://www.sigmasport.com/en/produkte/bikecomputer/topline_2009_wireless/bc1909/

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10 thoughts on “Sigma 1909 HR STS Bike Computer Review”

  1. I had no problems with the heart monitor. I had problems with most everything else I wanted a setup for 2 bike on the street and trainer. The wireless range is too short for rear wheel installation on most bikes. I ordered the “wired unit” for the bent. The speed display has a lag, as do all of the displays except for the heart. The speed lag makes it useless for acceleration/deceleration. The calorie display does not start until some time after your HR goes over 100bpm. That is according to “support”. This item is not for athletes. My resting heart rate is 60. After riding for an hour at a nice clip, the calories (Kcal) read (two) 2. Support said:”That’s not to say your are not still burning a good amount of calories during your rides, the bike computer is just not counting them based upon the formula used. It may not be the answer you were expecting, but I hoped it cleared up your “lower” Kcals.” Used this unit with a different brand of wireless, a Sette, and a $1 eBay Chinese wired computer. They were both more accurate and responsive than the Sigma. When you set this up for 2 bikes, one wired and one wireless with the extra sending units required and the Docking station to allow you to monitor both bikes, the investment in time and money is considerable. The software for the docking station is very crude, and I was disappointed in its usefulness. Support offers no support, and this unit is Not Ready for Prime Time. SaintTammany

    1. wow you’ve way over thought this one…It’s a bike computer/training aid. I can see if you paid $250 or more than you’d have a point, but for the money you got what you paid for.If you need more buy a more expensive model or get a garmin…

      1. Hi Tommy, thanks for the comment. Well – after not getting my HR monitor working, and actually wanting to step up to analyse my heart rate and cadence over a ride, I’ve ended up buying a Garmin Edge 500 which is fantastic.

  2. My experience with the 1909 cadence component so far (computer purchased a week ago online) has been disappointing. I cannot get it to work properly. I initially fiddled about with it for ages trying to align the magnet to the sensor and then it only worked intermittently; now it’s not working at all 😦 My Shimano cranks have a dip, so I’m wondering if that is contributing to a misalignment??

    I changed the battery tonight, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. I read on another forum that about 10% of cadence transmitters do not work on the Sigma 1909! Brilliant. In hindsight I should have purchased the computer from my LBS. I’m not confident about returning it or getting any after sales service. The only option is to buy a new cadence transmitter. I’ve seen them online for $39, not much of an investment if it works I suppose…

    1. Hi Georgie, my cadence did work but my heart rate didn’t work. Lately my speed didn’t work which really bugged me – and was quite unsafe when riding in a group. As above, I’ve now upgraded to a Garmin Edge 500 and am much happier.

  3. Hi back at ya, I’ve only had mine for a week but I’m so totally in love with it!! I’m actually loading up some maps into “courses” for the weekend – woot!

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