This Computer Refuses To Tell You Where To Go

Photo: Jim Merithew /

You can find bike computers that are cheaper, more intuitive, and just plain easier to use than the SRM PC8, but you won’t find one that’s sexier. Just look at it. Yowza.

The horizontal layout looks far more elegant than the vertical or square designs everyone uses these days. The gorgeous anodized aluminum body weighs just 93 grams, yet feels substantial and robust. Best of all, the backlit display is clear, concise and infinitely adjustable.

So why don’t you see a PC8 on every whip? Well, it’s expensive. It doesn’t offer navigation. The interface is a nightmare. And it’s expensive.

The PC8 costs $750 and if, heaven forbid, you lose that nicely designed magnetic download cable, a new one sets you back 30 clams. I understand the desire to design a sexy cable, but it seems so Apple. And as long as I’m ranting, can we all please agree on a cable standard?

Sorry. Back to the SRM. Given that you an pick up the excellent Wahoo Elemnt for less than half the cost of a PC8, paying $750 for a computer seems silly. Especially one that doesn’t offer navigation. That explains why I yank the SRM mount off my bike and rely on my trusty, if quirky, Garmin 820 whenever I’m in Europe.

Granted, the PC8 features GPS for data recording (500 megabytes of memory) and provides all your ride info when you upload data to Training Peaks and Strava, but you can’t use it to get home. If you regularly download routes from Strava so you can explore new roads, move along to better options like, say, the Garmin 1000 that we love so much.

That said, data junkies will adore the PC8. Add a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, and power meter and this thing provides hours and hours of data to crunch. Want to know your average heart rate, power or speed? No problem. Want to know your 30-second power or your max heart rate? No problem. Want to know your altitude, ride time, distance, or the temperature? No problem. And you can configure the 240x400p screen to show seemingly endless combinations of this data in real time.

But that interface can drive you nuts. Setting it up through a laptop is a snap—you can play around with several configurations, choose one, and upload it to the PC8. But once you’re on the bike, all those menus and submenus look like an M.C. Escher painting. Accessing them requires holding down various combinations of the three buttons. Ugh.

Finish exploring the myriad screen options and master the digital dexterity needed to access them all, though, and the PC8 is a joy. I found the execution of intervals simple, the data presented elegantly, and uploading/downloading data quick n’ easy. The battery lasts as long as 45 hours, too.

There’s a lot to like about the PC8, especially if you love data as much as you love riding. Even if you can look past the lack of navigation, you’re still left with that crazy price. But, like the iPhone X, just looking at the PC8 makes you want one, and using it only makes you want it more.