Vetta has been in the business of making cyclocomputers for a long time, its range of products vary from the basic C5 model to the Alpha-50 cyclocomp/HRM. While the C5 gathered many rave reviews for its reliability and sheer durability, the Alpha-50 has had its fair share of criticisms, ranging from buttons falling off to unreliable HRM readouts. Having taken into consideration its hits and misses, Vetta rolled out a whole new range of products for 2005, with the V100HR that we are featuring here, the most capable in the lineup. At first glance, the V100HR looks like a successor to the Alpha 50, but very soon we realized it is more than what it seems, being designed as a cyclometer complete with Heart Rate Monitor and Cadence function all in one package, we proceeded to unveil its numerous functions.
Out of the box
Our test unit and its full array of accessories came well organized and securely packaged in a stealthy black box. Having received it at 10pm to prepare for an overseas ride the next morning meant that the unit had to be set up on an extremely tight schedule. Here we greatly appreciated the V100HR ease of installation; with the sensors clearly labelled, it was a matter of strapping on the A23 batteries provided and securing them with the generous number of zip ties provided. The M sized strap provided with the heart rate transmitter will fit most adult riders, being adjustable to accommodate any chest sizes between 28 and 42 inches. A particular favourite feature was the LED indicator on both sensors: upon fresh installation/reinstallation of the sensor battery, the LED would blink a couple of times when the magnet passes the sensor in the correct orientation. This negated a lot of guesswork and the hassle of having to look over to the handlebar while turning the wheel/pedal to check if the computer was registering any readings. Removable molded rubber pads kept the sensors and mounting bracket securely on the fork, chain-stay and handlebar (2 different pads provided for the bracket for use on either a flat or riser bar) respectively. Some fiddling with the buttons got the wheel circumference entered and the basic functions of the computer were ready to use in less than 15 minutes, all this without the drudgery of flipping through the thick instructional manual, yet.
To fully understand and utilize the numerous functions however, we dutifully sat down with the manual to program the V100HR. Having 2 separate mode buttons to cater to the Bi-Level memory allowed us to switch between the 7 main display modes without having to scroll through all to find the desired one. The centre button functions both as a start/stop and also the timer reset button. Freezing the display to view the instantaneous readouts while data continues to be captured is also possible. To input or alter information such as rider data or heart rate target zone require the display to be at its respective modes before holding both mode buttons to enter the setting mode. There is also a service timer function, by which we can keep an accurate log of the total riding hours the bike has clocked, and using the inbuilt alarm – if necessary – as an alert for carrying out specific bike maintenances. This is in addition to the function for dual bike settings. While we could not find fault with the detailed manual (59 pages in English), spending over an hour on programming and familiarization was the price to pay for the wealth of functions.
Even with so many functions at hand, Vetta has managed to design a compact computer (dimensions of 50 x 40 x 20mm) with a well organized display layout. The display fonts are easily visible (though we wished they were bolder) with 3 different information displayed in any one mode. Having the heart rate information present in all the main modes was spot on. The V100HR also has intelligent programming to automatically omit cadence mode from the display loop should it not detect any cadence signal. Maximum/average, time in and out of target heart rates zone and cadence were also some of our favourite secondary modes, the data provided being especially useful for riders looking to do after training reviews.