Sigma BC 1609 Bike Computer Review

Sigma BC 1609 Review


Sigma BC 1609 Rating: 4.8

Quality
Ease of Use
Battery Life
Features/Price

The GoodAdvantages:

  • Reliable
  • Wired, so no interference problems like with wireless models
  • Good battery life
  • Backlight
  • Weatherproof
  • Lots of useful functions for a fair price
  • Never falls out of its bracket
  • Can be mounted on handlebar or stem

The BadDisadvantages:

  • None

Cycling computers have come a long way. For starters, most of them aren’t simple speedometers anymore. Sigma BC 1609 is no exception. It offers more features (especially cadence) than any other computer in its price category. And it does that without skimping on quality. And being a wired bike computer, it has none of the problems associated with wireless computers, like interference from front lights, other wireless computers, etc.

Being an owner of the older Sigma BC 1606L computer, I was glad to see the improvements in its successor, Sigma BC 1609. The 1609 model has a temperature function, which was absent in the older model. Also, the BC1609 rounds the current speed to one tenth of a mile (15.0 –> 15.1 –> 15.2) per hour. The older 1606L rounds them to the closest 0.5 mph (15.0 –> 15.5 –> 16.0). It never really bothered me, but for some people that was an inconvenience.

Included in the package are the following items:

  • Sigma BC 1609 computer.
  • One CR 2032 battery, which you’ll have to install yourself. Fortunately, you’ll only need a coin to open the battery compartment. If you’re a snob, use a gold coin.
  • Bracket (docking station, where the computer is mounted).
  • Magnet, you’ll attach it to a spoke.
  • Sensor, goes on the fork.
  • 2 rubber rings.
  • Cadence kit: sensor and magnet.

Previous models like my BC1606L had the batteries installed by Sigma before packaging. They displayed the current time (standby mode) and the battery slowly discharged in some warehouse/bike shop, until someone bought them. That’s why I had to buy a new battery about a year after purchase. A friend of mine bought Sigma’s BC 1609 about a year ago. He commutes to work everyday, a 30-mile round trip. The battery is still alive and kicking. Don’t use the backlight all the time though, or you’ll need a lot more batteries than me! The neat thing is, when you change the battery, you won’t lose your valuable data!

Installation was easy. Both the computer’s docking station and sensor are mounted using rubber rings. These make the installation a snap. You’re worried that the rubber rings will eventually fail? Don’t. I’ve ridden my bikes in cold (-5 degrees F/ -20 C) and hot (102 F/ 39 C) weather, for thousands of miles, and the rubber rings are still in good shape. I even reused them recently when I installed the BC1609 on another bike. In addition to the rubber ring, the bracket is securely held in place by an adhesive tape that sticks to the handlebar (or stem).

The following official video from Sigma shows the BC1609 installation and initial computer setup. Sigma is a German company, that’s why the computer in the video is set to German and shows kilometres per hour, not miles. Don’t worry though, as the language can be set to English, and mph can be used instead of metric.

At first, navigating the menus might be confusing. But after a couple of rides, you’ll be pressing those buttons without even thinking about it.

BC 1609 Package ContentsBuy it from Amazon” href=”https://www.bikeshake.com/bike-images/computers/sigma-bc-1609/sigma-bc-1609-mph.jpg”>Sigma BC 1609Sigma BC 1609

Click on a thumbnail for a larger view. Press arrow keys or click on the left/right of the picture to see previous/next one.

For the price, Sigma BC 1609 offers a lot of features. Especially the cadence feature, which is very hard to find in similarly priced computers. You can get it  on Amazon.

Sigma BC 1609 Features:

Sigma BC 1609 General Functions:

  • Auto start/stop
  • MPH or KPH
  • Large display, font and icons easy to read
  • 7 available languages
  • Integrated storage chip for data backup
  • Low battery indicator
  • 2 adjustable wheel sizes for 2 bikes
  • Automatic recognition of bike 2
  • Backlight
  • Current temperature
  • Weatherproof
  • PC compatible

Bike Functions:

  • Current speed
  • Average speed
  • Maximum speed
  • Trip distance
  • Current/Average speed comparison
  • Total distance bike 1/bike 2/bike 1+2
  • Current and average cadence
  • Programmable trip section counter

Time Functions:

  • Ride time
  • Clock (12/24 hr)
  • Stopwatch
  • Countdown timer
  • Total ride time bike 1, bike 2 & bike 1+2

Is it really weatherproof? Yes! I rode twice in heavy rain, and my Sigma BC1609 is still alive. Last winter I rode when it was -5 F (-20C), and was amazed to see the computer’s display didn’t completely freeze! The LCD did slow down considerably, though.

Sigma BC 1609 Bike Computer is available at Amazon.

60 thoughts on “Sigma BC 1609 Bike Computer Review”

  1. impossible to fit on MTB or even trekking bike, because max. allowed distance between sensor and magnet is ONLY 5 mm (less then 1/5th of an inch)
    i’m not impressed with this product one bit

  2. Hello hdi,

    Any specific problem you’re having? I mounted the Sigma 1609 on my friend’s mtb about 5 months ago, and it works fine. I also used the older Sigma 1606L on my old hybrid, which had a suspension fork.

    I’m eager to help, and very curious to know about your problem with the Sigma BC1609!

  3. Hello Tony,
    as I said, max. allowed distance between sensor and magnet is only 0.5 cm (less then 1/5th of an inch), but when I install it, the gap is around 3 cm (1.18 inches). As a result, no speed is being measured and displayed. I’ll try to improvise something tomorrow. Will put a piece of rubber in between fork and sensor, bringing it closer to the magnet. Hope this will work.

    I’m open to suggestions. How did you attach it to your friend’s mtb?

  4. @ hdi, I had an earlier model Sigma with the same issue and I did exactly what you are suggesting. I placed a bit of rubber under the sensor to to get it within range of the magnet and it worked fine. I just used a bit of double sided tape between the fork and sensor, and sensor and spacer to make sure it stayed in place.

  5. hdi,

    If it’s a wireless Sigma bc1609, then you could try mounting the magnet on the rear wheel. But I suspect you have the wired one, so I’m not sure if the cable is long enough. When I installed this computer on my friend’s MTB, the distance from the sensor to the magnet was slightly more than the recommended 5mm. Worked fine, though. My suggestions:

    1. Piece of rubber (duh!)
    2. Mount it closer to the center of the wheel to lessen the gap
    3. Use additional magnets on top of the original one. You can purchase rare earth magnets anywhere these days.
    4. Mount it on the rear.

    I’d be glad to see how you worked around this problem, so please post back. It would be great if you could upload some photos (in the form below), so others will benefit.
    Computer installation is more challenging with MTBs. Some manufacturers allow even less than 5mm distance, so don’t be angry at Sigma! 🙂

    jolly_tas,
    Thanks for helping!

  6. Hello Tony and jolly_tas,
    since my Sigma 1609 has wire, mounting it to the rear wheel was not an option. I did a combination of your suggestions:
    1. I used a rather thin piece of rubber (folded it six times to get the right thickness) and then duct taped it to the front fork
    2. I mounted it closer to the center of the wheel, as far as wire length permitted
    Then I fixed the sensor in place using cable ties. The gap between sensor and magnet is more then 5 mm, and “the installation” does not look good. Nevertheless it’s working, and displaying all needed data.

    Guys, thank you for your quick responses and help.

    Here are pictures of the end result.
    [img]https://www.bikeshake.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/DSC07503.JPG[/img]
    [img]https://www.bikeshake.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/DSC07506.JPG[/img]

  7. Glad you got it working!

    Weird about the wire length though. The wire that came with both the bc1609 and 1606L was long enough to wrap it many times around the brake cable. I don’t know about your bike’s setup, but maybe you could have mounted it closer to the center of the wheel? I know it’s working, but it would have been great if it looked good while working! 😀

    Judging by the fork and wheel alone, I have the impression that you have a beautiful bike. That’s why I ask about the wire length.

    Thanks for posting back, with pictures too!

  8. Installed the BC 1609 (wired version). Cadence works fine as does clock and temp but MPH, distance, etc do not work. I have it mounted on the front wheel about half way to the hub and the clearance seems to be OK.

    Thanks,

    Lee

  9. Hi Lee,

    It seems the sensor isn’t picking up the signal. To check that, turn the front wheel. Does the computer “wake up”? What’s the gap between the sensor and magnet?

    If the computer’s still in standby mode, take off the magnet from the spoke, and make it touch the sensor several times. Does the computer wake up and start showing the speed? If not, there may be a problem with the cable.

    You can upload some photos in the form below. This might help us determine the source of the problem.

    Please post back with the results, as I’m curious to know what the problem is.

  10. It seems the sensor isn’t picking up the signal. To check that, turn the front wheel. Does the computer “wake up”? What’s the gap between the sensor and magnet?

    No effect.

    If the computer’s still in standby mode, take off the magnet from the spoke, and make it touch the sensor several times. Does the computer wake up and start showing the speed? If not, there may be a problem with the cable.

    Computer wake-up did not occur. Checked the cable for tautness and appears to be firmly attached to both the transducer and handlebar mount.

    You can upload some photos in the form below. This might help us determine the source of the problem.

    Two photos uploaded. The before pic showing the gap and the pic after I padded the transducer to take it closer to the magnet. In all cases, the mounting was about three inches from the hub.

    Please post back with the results, as I’m curious to know what the problem is.

    No matter if we did the before or after the result was the same. Temp, time and cadence worked fine. Nothing else did like speed, distance, etc. Seems like the cadence would not work if there were not a good electrical connection between the transducer and the computer.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Lee
    [img]https://www.bikeshake.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/OrigInstall1Feb11-1.JPG[/img]
    [img]https://www.bikeshake.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/PaddedInstallation1Feb11-1.JPG[/img]

  11. In the first photo, the distance between the sensor and the magnet seems close enough. No need for padding, as in the second photo the magnet passes too close to the sensor.

    Seems like the cadence would not work if there were not a good electrical connection between the transducer and the computer.

    Actually, cadence has its own sensor, magnet and cable. The cadence sensor is installed on the chainstay. The cadence magnet goes on the pedal. The cable that goes from the cadence sensor to the computer can be connected/disconnected in the Sigma bc1609. The speed cable is permanently attached to the computer bracket on the handlebar on one end, and to the speed sensor on the fork on the other end.

    Does the computer show cadence when you turn the wheel? If yes, then this means that you mounted the cadence sensor on the fork, instead of on the chainstay. I know of at least one guy who did that, so it’s entirely possible!

    Please check that, then post back.

  12. The cadence numbers do increase as I spin the front wheel.

    Apparently, what I have is a cadence sensor hard wired to the mount. The separate cadence sensor (which I have not hooked up)with the two connections looks exactly like the one I now have on the fork of my bike. The only thing that happens when I am underway is the cadence reading increases and decreases depending on speed (and of course, the clock and temp continue to work). No other motion seems to be sensed.

    Is the cadence sensor and the speed/distance sensor the same device just used in separate ways or is the cadence sensor different physically from the speed/distance sensor?

    Mysterious,

    Lee

  13. A further observation.

    Both sensors have exactly the same form factor — both have the name Sigma stenciled on the side. The sensor with the two connections has a serial or model number stamped on the top, 462P8. The sensor hard wired to the mount does not have any markings other than the name, Sigma.

  14. That’s really unbelievably strange! The sensors do look the same, and they work the same, too. Their connection to the computer is the only thing that’s different.

    Did you put the computer in the bracket the right way? If not, this explains everything. Although it is designed to only be seated the right way, you never know.

    Try the troubleshooting steps listed in the manual. Here’s the pdf: http://sigmasport.com/us_media/produkte/bikecomputer/topline_2009/topline_wired/bc1609/allgemein/visuals/ba.pdf

    Since I can’t check it myself, the only thing I can advise is to contact your dealer. If there’s something wrong with the computer, they should replace it, no questions asked.

    I’m eager to hear from you, Lee.

  15. OK, I tried every angle to remount the computer into the handle bar cradle. It fit the right way and it fit 180 degrees out of the right way. It would not lock in at any other angle.
    In any case, it made no difference in the MPH or distance but the computer no longer registers cadence at all in any position.
    Lee

  16. I’m a little frustrated with the ghetto installation on this product, but I’ll take it out tomorrow and see how it works. If it works well, I’ll try to come up with something that looks better.

    FWIW, I used the spacer that was intended for the cadence meter and strapped to the front fork, and it solved the problem. Probably the most frustrating thing about this situation is one, properly fabricated, 25 cent part, that they include for the cadence wire, would solve the problem.

  17. I have a BC1609, and it fits perfectly to my MTB. Just 2 small problems which I need help with.. I have lost the paper operating instructions, and want to know 1, how to turn off/on when not in use, and 2, how to reset for each ride. It seems to be adding all the distances together. Any help would be greatly appreciated..

    Steve

    1. Steve,
      Sorry for the late reply. I was on vacation. The Sigma BC 1609’s manual can be found on the official site. Here’s the link:
      http://www.sigmasport.de/en_media/produkte/bikecomputer/topline_2009/topline_wired/bc1609/allgemein/visuals/ba.pdf

      The computer turns off by itself several minutes after you stop using it. To reset, press the top left button for 2-3 seconds to reset the displayed value. To reset all the values, don’t release the top left button after the current value is reset. The computer will flash “Reset ALL” for 2 seconds and then will reset all the values.

      Tony.

  18. varontron