Sigma Rox 10.0-the Quiet Bike Mechanic Review

In the world of cyclocomputers, the competition is pretty fierce. Just as fierce are the passions some cyclists have for a particular brand. For myself, I used to be passionate, but as I get older, I find that I just want something that works. It may not be the fanciest, most featured-filled, or prettiest, I just want it to work. It needs to work now, and it needs to work later.

IMGP2535
IMGP2535 (Photo credit: JoeTsaia)

Which brings me to GPS enabled cyclocomputers. I started out with a Garmin Edge 305. The reason I went to the Garmin after running a regular wireless computer was for mapping. I started group rides at the bicycle shop I was at and I thought it would be good to map our rides so other riders could get an idea of the routes. The Garmin Edge 305 performed admirably. Riders who know me know that I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to the physical size of the computer on my bicycle. The 305 was at that limit. Here’s a good image comparing it to a Cateye computer. HUGE. Not quite ginormous though.

Eventually, the 305 started working intermittently. Doing some research, I found there was a problem with some of the 305s in that the internal battery connection was faulty in some of the units. The battery would disconnect itself under vibration or hard impacts. My logs were broken up and it became useless. The price of getting it fixed wasn’t worth it, I was working in a bicycle shop after all, so I decided to upgrade.

Enter the Garmin Edge 500.

April 23, 2011
April 23, 2011 (Photo credit: Jeremy Jenum)

I didn’t stray far from the GPS apple tree though by this time, there were a few other competitors out there vying for GPS computer supremacy. I decided to stick with the Garmin, even after the battery debacle. The Edge 500 was the successor to the 305, so it was an easy switch. Upgraded features, customisable screens, and best of all, it was smaller. Eventually, this computer broke as well. I still don’t know how, but the USB port was broken internally. Weird. I know. I won’t get into the computer, this is a review of a different computer after all.

After the break, the defining review of the Sigma Rox 10.0

 

The Sigma Rox 10.0

The next logical step would have been the Garmin Edge 510. I did consider it. I’m one of those people who will research products to death to make sure I am getting the most for my money. It drives the wife unit nuts. But after not being happy with the new interface for Garmin Connect, I decided on the Sigma Rox 10.0. A couple of riding buddies own this particular unit, and I was impressed by the data analyzing software it came with. I can be such a nerd sometimes. It is also ANT+ compatible, which meant I didn’t have to buy the more expensive bundle with sensors. Just a head unit please.
No unboxing video here. You know my stance on those. But I am including a pretty picture of the head unit. The size of the computer is only slightly bigger than the Edge 500 it replaces. A little thicker, a little longer, and with sweeping lines as opposed to the utilitarian appearance of the Garmin. It makes for a pretty piece of hardware.
Mounting it is similar to the Garmin with an eighth-turn twist mount. Mine came with the original mount which holds the computer just fine, until you try to press the “Start” button with one finger. You impart enough force to release the computer from the mount. Sigma addressed this with a new mount that is available free when you register your new Rox with the old mount online. The new mount is different from the original in that it is round instead of the usual square Sigma mount, and is black and red instead of all black. It also holds the computer really freaking well. I had trouble at first just getting the unit in there. Once in, I felt like I could pick up the bike with it.
The display on the unit is quite good. It utilizes a dot-matrix style display like the Garmin. The difference being is that there are no customizable screens. I knew this from the outset, and I really don’t miss it. The Garmin had five screens and while that was awesome for a data nerd like me, you could only scroll one way. That meant going to a screen, then having to go past all the other screens just to see the one before it. There are two scrollable sections above and below the speed display showing all the other info such as incline, HR, etc. The lower portion is customizable through the computer based analysis software. AND YOU CAN SCROLL BACK AND FORTH. It’s the little things. There is a backlight as well for you night owls.

All the functions are there. The speed is the one constantly on display no matter what the top and bottom displays are showing. This unit also will pair up to a power measuring device, which, utilizing the software, you can make it one of the scrollable values in the bottom display. You can show max power, average power, etc. In fact, I don’t believe it misses any values. At least any of the important ones. Computers tend to lose something that one person wants.

Buttons. There are six on this sucker. All clearly labeled and stiff due to the waterproof build of this unit. The side buttons have a weird shape to them due to the curvaceous design and it’s not apparent at first glance how you’re supposed to activate them. After a couple of duh moments, you learn to push on the little “shoulder” to push the button. The plus and minus buttons are more conventional and are a Godsend in going back and forth in the lower display as well as being easy to understand when adjusting settings with them.

Speaking of settings, you can handle the majority of them on the computer itself. There is a setting screen you can scroll to, as well as a quick menu you can access by using a two button combo. As an option, you can use the provided software, but it isn’t as intuitive as using the unit itself. Cool thing is, you can save settings so if for some crazy reason, you reset the bugger, you can install the same settings. Provided you saved and backed them up of course. I know it’s against male credo, but read the instructions. It will save you  and virgin ears by doing so.

There are some extras included such as a stopwatch, a countdown timer, and a compass. You know, just in case or if you still own a flip phone.

Overall, I am impressed with this computer. All GPS units, regardless of manufacturer tend to have all the same features, so to set themselves apart, there are little things. For the Sigma, operational differences, excellent software that is included (review on that later!), different case design, among other things, set it apart from the industry standard Garmins. If you’re in the market for a GPS-enabled cyclocomputer, give the Sigma Rox 10.0 a look.

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