As the weather gets colder and colder, I find myself on a trainer more and more. The only way to gauge my workouts is by time, unless I set up the sensor for my bike computer on my rear wheel.

Bike Computer On Rear Wheel

Will the computer work accurately on the rear wheel? Are there any disadvantages having it on the rear wheel?

  • 9
    Depends on the computer. Some are wired and only have a short wire to reach down the fork. And some wireless models do not have enough "range" to receive from a sensor mounted on the rear. But, if you can get it to work, it should be just as accurate on the rear as on the front. Oct 24, 2016 at 2:18
  • 2
    @DanielRHicks You could mount it to the seat post rather than the handlebars, if you don't need to look at it during the workout. Or set up a camera to look at it
    – Random832
    Oct 24, 2016 at 6:55
  • 1
    @DanielRHicks, All the wired bike computers I've seen have been simple 2-core wires. They could be extended (for indoor use) without even soldering, by using terminal blocks and a bit of bell wire.
    – Chris H
    Oct 24, 2016 at 8:02
  • 12
    +1 for the rear light so you can still train safely at night, even in a power cut. Oct 24, 2016 at 9:43
  • 4
    Your other option is to apply rule 9 velominati.com/the-rules/#9 followed by rule 5 velominati.com/the-rules/#5
    – Criggie
    Oct 24, 2016 at 9:55

5 Answers 5


Totally fine - its a good idea. You'll need to move the sensor and fit a second spoke magnet (or move your front wheel one)

Another option would be fit an ant+ or bluetooth sensor and look at virtual ride tools like zwift, but they're not free.

Another option is count your pedal strokes and aim for 90 every minute, but that gets boring.

  • 1
    Why aim for 90? People seem to think that one's natural cadence is probably best, unless it's unusually fast or slow. In terms of measuring distance "travelled", you just need to know your cadence and gearing. Oct 24, 2016 at 9:41
  • 2
    @DavidRicherby Fair point. Aim for "the cadence you would normally use on the road" for consistency. Or add 5 or 10 to that if you want to pick up the pace. Indoor training lacks a lot of realism, so working slightly harder when indoors helps to redress that difference.
    – Criggie
    Oct 24, 2016 at 9:50

Yes you can, although my suggestion is buying another cycle computer rather than trying to re-fit an existing cycle computer as you appear to be asking for.

I've always used a cadence cycle computer. The Cateye Strada wired cycle computer connects to the crank arm and the rear wheel.

Then you have cadence as well as speed and you can put the computer back on your handle bars.

From the manual:

enter image description here

  • 2
    @DavidRicherby the question was 'Can a bike computer be used on the rear wheel?', I took that to mean any bike computer, not just ones that are designed for the front wheel. Perhaps the question could be changed to be more precised, but for people searching for this question in the future I think my answer is a reasonable one.
    – icc97
    Oct 24, 2016 at 15:58
  • 1
    Ah, OK. That interpretation of the question hadn't occurred to me but it seems entirely reasonable. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Oct 24, 2016 at 16:21

Short answer: Yes.

Not so short answer: It depends, since most bike computer sensors (The Reed switch / Hall sensor) are designed for a front fork - spoke clearance and usually this is smaller when compared with the chain/seat stays. I have done it when testing the maximum potential speed my gearing could achieve and had to add a rubber to act as an spacer, besides that everything else was virtually the same.

As long as you can keep it secured to avoid it getting trapped in the spokes/pedals it all should work smoothly.

  • You can't see it in the picture that I posted but I ended up using foam as a spacer, so you are absolutely correct. The spacing on the rear is way different than the fork.
    – npsantini
    Oct 25, 2016 at 12:53
  • Great! Just as an extra keeping the sensor as close as possible from the hub is a must in order to keep accuracy at it's max (Since the speed is lower the closer you get to it giving more time to respond). Foam has lower friction and I would prefer rubber on the move, but with an a trainer that'ts not a problem.
    – Lementor
    Oct 25, 2016 at 12:59

I have just purchased and installed a B'Twin 500 "cyclometer" from Decathlon (AU$49). It has a gyro device which attaches to the rear hub and communicates to the handlebar readout wirelessly. The instructions are a bit difficult to follow but works well. There are several reviews of this device on-line. Worth checking out.


decathlon actually sell a computer designed to use with the turbo trainers it has 2 sensors that fit on rear wheel and pedal arm. then you use app on you phone to get live display.

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