On 3/7/00, 148 people visited this page to see what a cheapie Bicycle Inclinometer looked like. This page wasn't referenced anywhere else on our website; these people came, looked, and scratched their collective heads based solely on a posting on the rec.bicycles.tech newsgroup by someone asking if there were any inclinometers available for bikes.

   
For those who doubted that a semi-workable inclinometer exists for bicycles...here it is!  I spotted a few of these in a bin at a distributor, and just had to snag them.  Actually, it's a combination inclinometer/accelerometer, since acceleration will cause the bubble to move in the same way a changing grade will.

How accurate is it?  Hard to say, but it definitely is useful from a comparative standpoint.  For example, I've learned quite a bit about those parts of roads where you really can't figure out how steep they really area because you don't have good visual cues.  Even on Kings Mountain Road, which I climb twice a week, I've discovered that certain parts that seemed tougher than they should be...actually are a bit steeper than the surrounding areas.  The primary argument against accuracy is that it measures acceleration as well as incline, and some feel that the sinusoidal forward motion of a bike uphill (meaning that you don't pedal with the same force all the way through the stroke, so you're actually speeding up/slowing down/speeding up etc on a per- crank- revolution basis) renders this thing useless.  But in real life, it actually does seem to work and one doesn't notice much of that effect, probably because there's damping in the system due to the viscosity of the fluid the bubble travels in.

Where do you buy one of these things?  Someone told me they were imported or made by a company named SideTrak, which I believe is located in Washington somewhere.  I'll try to find a source for a bunch more in the event we suddenly get a lot of requests.  --Mike--

Last updated 08/25/07

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