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New statement of the problem
  • I use the same head unit for multiple bicycles.
  • Each bike is fitted with its own sensors and mounting bracket for the head unit.
  • When I switch the head unit on, it asks me which bike I'm riding. Since I often ride the same bike multiple rides in a row, this is a minor inconvenience, as the selection menu starts at the last-ridden bike.
  • I configured the head unit for automatic upload to an online portal. At the conclusion of a ride, the ride data are automatically uploaded.
  • But I have to go to the online portal after every ride to adjust the bike for that ride, unless the ride was on the default bike (the first entered).
  • Have you found a cyclometer and online portal combination that will identify the bike based on an initial selection, without having to reselect post ride?
Previous statement (to be deleted)

Uploading one's bike rides to an online portal is handy not just to keep track of one's fitness (it's a powerful incentive; acting as a reminder of the days and weeks when one has been "slacking off"), but it's also a nice reminder of the mileage for each bicycle—helping to identify, for example, when it might be prudent to check chain length.

But after an upload, I need to manually identify the bike. Otherwise a default bike is always selected.

Have you found a pair of cyclometer and online portal that enable you to upload your ride, and end up with the particular bike you selected in your cyclometer correctly saved in the online portal?

Update:
"Types"

Paul H suggests this is related to the "types".

One prominent online portal, Strava, shows five types.

bike types

How many "types" are there in Garmin, Wahoo, etc? If these five types are common, that would be sufficient to support five bikes for each head unit.

Presumably this is just an identifier. For example, if you have two road bikes but no TT bike, nothing stops you from using the TT type for one of the two road bikes to distinguish it from the other.

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  • 2
    Unless a "win-win" option is available, I would not recommend sacrificing the positives of Strava etc. just to have an auto bike selection feature.
    – MaplePanda
    Dec 7, 2022 at 23:02
  • If you only have one of each "type" of bike (e.g., road, gravel, mountain bike), Strava will respect the profiles you set up on your Garmin device by default. There's some nuance and details I don't feel like going into there, hence the comment and not a full answer.
    – Paul H
    Dec 8, 2022 at 0:50
  • @PaulH That will do. If you have two road bikes, nothing stops you from using a different (arbitrary) type for the second, subject only to whether the total number of types will cover the number of bikes.
    – Sam
    Dec 8, 2022 at 2:50
  • @Sam, well the types have to match in your Garmin head unit and Strava
    – Paul H
    Dec 8, 2022 at 2:53
  • @PaulH Yes, I understood as much. How many "types" are there in Garmin? (I updated the question.)
    – Sam
    Dec 8, 2022 at 3:25

3 Answers 3

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My phone does this.

Specifically I use an Android app called IPbike. I have to select which bike I'm riding when I get on, but with bike-mounted sensors even that is automatic. Then when I upload to Strava the bike name is attached to the activity (so is the activity - "cycling" or a synonym for us, and workout type - "commute", "indoor" or neither). You have to set up each bike in both places with the same name. If you set up offline mapping, you don't even need a SIM card, and can upload when you get back to a WiFi signal.

I only want to upload manually, and I don't think there's an option to upload as soon as I hit "Stop Trip" - but I haven't looked very hard. More information about the upload options is here - the list of websites is quite long.

A suitable phone is cheaper than a Garmin - I just paid £120 (about $/€130-150) for a Blackview BV4900, which is waterproof. With careful use of aeroplane mode I could navigate for 17 hours on one charge of my previous phone, and the new one has a bigger battery.

Bike types are less important than the unique names in general. The type is mainly for power/energy estimation. The lack of anything like Hybrid/City/Upright road is a bit of a problem - anything with aerodynamics like a mountain bike but lower rolling resistance isn't covered, and if you commute on a hybrid but also have several of the other categories, what do you do? It's worse for me even since my good hybrid died, because I have a hybrid tandem and a heap of junk/hybrid/pseudo-MTB, and my hardtail is set up as a winter commuter.

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  • BTW I think there's a Strava add-on designed for maintenance tracking, but I've never used it
    – Chris H
    Dec 8, 2022 at 9:33
  • Strange that they support both cross and gravel bikes, which should be very similar in terms of aerodynamics and rolling resistance, while "road bike" has to cover both racers and endurance road or even tourers, which is probably a wider range of efficiencies than cross vs. gravel. I guess it's a focus on competition
    – Chris H
    Dec 8, 2022 at 11:27
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Not exactly what you asked for, but there is a 3rd party service called ActivityFix designed to help with this issue. https://activityfix.com

ActivityFix allows you to set up rules which are then run against newly uploaded activities. Depending on the outcome of the rule check the activity can be automatically edited.

GPLama did a nice overview video here:

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  • An interesting way of attacking it form another direction. +1. Would be no use at all to me, and I suspect to many others without sensors: My commute used be usually hybrid, sometimes road bike (for going on club runs straight from work). It's currently MTB because with the hybrid dead I had to put the ice spike tyres on that. Sensors fitted to all bikes make things much easier
    – Chris H
    Dec 8, 2022 at 11:21
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For me Strava shows all my bikes. I have configured every bike I ride plus some placeholders, and can choose from them at the end of an activity.

These names are in a drop-down list, and while several are road bikes, some are MTB or a folder.

Screenshot of Strava Settings-> My Gear area

With this information you can even break it down further at https://statshunters.com/statistics/distance and produce a big table like this: https://criggie.org.nz/pictures/bikes/statshunters-breakdown.png (large).
This show's I've never ridden with the trailer more than 26km, and most of my rides are in the 20-40km bracket (thats the commute)
The M5 totalled 18,000km but only twice did a ride over 50km.


Some searching suggests that Strava uses the "Bike Type" as part of the estimated power calculation, along with height and weight and age. Those last two are also used for banding performance into weight and age groups.


Also I just use a phone running the standard strava app. No fancy headunits needed, though I have a cheap wired cateye for simple speed and time.

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  • I totally use strava for recording the mileage of parts too, you just have to go through the effort of adding the bike and its major parts, and also update it on the day you change any part.
    – Criggie
    Dec 8, 2022 at 6:27
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    I also used to record GT+trailer, and I rather wish I'd set up the tandem twice - once properly and once for solo. Next step (OT now) is setting up the trailer on the tandem
    – Chris H
    Dec 8, 2022 at 9:42
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    I started recently adding chain and derailleur tuning to the list of components. The first to check wear, and the second to track how long each tuning lasts (is 750-1000 km too little for either FD or RD?). But... that was not quite what I was asking. I updated the question. My previous statement seems to have been far off.
    – Sam
    Dec 8, 2022 at 14:15
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    @Sam if you're that organised it's a good approach. The only warning I get of impending derailleur cable failure is "it needs adjustment but didn't I adjust it a couple of weeks ago?", then it snaps about 50km later. That's after 4-5000km of use
    – Chris H
    Dec 17, 2022 at 22:10

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