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Sigma Rox 9.0 Follow-up Review – One Year In

I’ve now been using my Sigma ROX 9.0 for over a year. My previous posts (Initial Impressions, and Sigma Rox 9.0 – Part II) have been getting a fair amount of traffic, so I thought it a good idea to provide a detailed update now that I have used the unit for a full season. Unfortunately, many of my current thoughts are less than positive.

Cadence Sensor:
The cadence sensor has not worked consistently for at least half of the time I’ve owned the unit. It’s hard to position properly to start with (it doesn’t like to stay where you put it) yet needs to be perfectly aligned to work properly. My unit will give values that are much too high (approximately twice as high as they should be) if the sensor is too close to the magnet. Move it further away, and it will then count not enough revolutions. Realistically, the numbers it gives are right perhaps only 20% of the time. This is a major disappointment. Also, the battery in the cadence transmitter seems to ‘think’ it’s dead when it is not, and I keep getting the warning message on the unit. This is annoying!

My unit is getting ‘scuffed’ up and ‘dinged’ from normal use. I’m not rough with the unit, and am a bit disappointed that it is starting to look this way after only one year. See an example (not my unit) here.

Battery Life:
Perhaps this is normal for a wireless unit, but the battery was dead when I pulled it out this spring. Less than one year on a new battery? Weak! My cheapo (wired) CatEye lasted 2 years (at least!) on a battery with no problems.

Resetting Distance:
Before my first ride of 2011, I wanted to reset all of the memory values (from 2010) to zero. I did a full download of all data to my computer, saved all settings to my computer, and then reset the entire unit. I then loaded all settings back from the computer, and was good to go.. .or so I thought. It turns out that downloading doesn’t save ALL of the settings, and you then have to go back in to the unit and manually set a bunch of things (setup of Favorites menu, etc.) which is highly annoying. I think this is a bug in the software, since it looks like the settings are actually saved to the file, but not imported properly back to the unit.  To avoid this, you can just reset the totals on the unit manually, and the rest of your settings will be preserved. To do this, go to “Setting > Totals > Cycling > Distance I > Change > enter your new value (in this case zero) and save” Unfortunately you would then have to manually cycle through all the values and reset them all to zero (time, heart rate, etc. etc.) However, I think this is still easier than resetting the preferences that didn’t come through in the backup!

Slow Software:
The software is still SLOW. Loading every entry in the Logs or Memory screen takes forever, and there’s no way to seperate things into smaller ‘chunks.’ For example, I still want all my 2010 rides to be shown for future analysis, but I don’t need to load them every time I open the software. There should be a way to tuck them into an ‘archive’ folder, and load only my 2011 rides. Similarly, when the 2011 list gets big/slow, it would be nice to tuck them into folders by month or something.

I still have no idea what ‘Distance +” and ‘Distance -” mean in the main menu. All I can determine is that for rides over 100km, the “Distance +” field will show the total (e.g. 113.4km,) while “Distance -” will show the total minus 100 (e.g. 13.4km). I have no idea what this means, or what the point is. Oh well.

One plus of the unit is that it is still waterproof. Unlike my cheapo CatEye, which gave up any time it rained, the Sigma keeps on trucking in the rain.. Nice!

So.. after a year of use, the Sigma ROX 9.0 still works. It’s a nice unit, but has its flaws, which I’ve outlined above. The most serious of these flaws (in my opinion) being the cadence issues. I need to do some more testing with my second bike kit, and see if it has the same issues. Perhaps the cadence unit on Bike #1 is just wonky. Fortunately, everything else  on the unit works, and works pretty well. It’s a decent unit. However, if I were to do it all again, I’d give a pretty serious look towards the Garmin 500



Comment from G Rajashekar
Time August 10, 2011 at 3:14 am

I have had this for about 18mo / 10K km. Completely agree with what you say in your three piece review.

The buttons at the bottom on my unit fell off on a ride (tarmac). Sigma have been very nice in offering to send me replacement buttons free of cost.

My minor disagreement is in your conclusion “However, if I were to do it all again, I’d give a pretty serious look towards the Garmin 500” and get a Edge.


Comment from darrencope
Time August 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Thanks for your comments gr! Yes, the Edge 700/800 units are nice, but a bit of a different price range!

Comment from Lothar Scheld
Time August 18, 2011 at 8:04 am

I owned a Sigma Rox9 for almost 2 years now. I have not encountered any of the problems you have listed above. My Battery had to be replaced after 1+ years of riding, but only in my main unit.
The cadance sensor is dead on, and works flawless, I do remove it frequently during cleaning and never had an issue with. It picks up the sensor flawlessly.
As for the software it could be a bit better, but what I do I save all my rides and convert these into an excel spreadsheet. By converting the data (text to colums found under the DATA column) it actually lists each colum and you can then sort and view by date, speed, distance or any column you are choosing.
The only drawback is that you have to save your data from your computer after 7 rides if you want to track your progress.
To me, for the price it is an excellent value, and by far better than any similar cycling computer. I owend a Polar 200CS, the Sigma 9 ismore acurate in terms of Heartrate monitoring a lot easier to operate with way more functions, and unless interested to have a GPS as well a unit to be considered.

Comment from darrencope
Time August 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Hi Lothar,

Glad you’ve had better luck with your Rox! I think I must have a lemon of a cadence transmitter, as the one on my Time Trial bike works fine! Where are you downloading the data to bring into Excel?

Comment from T. Terezakis
Time November 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I have a reliable fix for the cadence sensor. I stopped using the factory cadence magnets, and use a 1/2″ round, rare-earth magnets.

I just place the magnet through the hole in the crank-arm for the pedal. The magnet holds to the pedal shaft, and provides plenty of magnetic field to trigger the sensor with 100% reliability. The pickup/sensor can even be 3/8″ inch away; probably more if need be.

Look for “Magcraft Super Strong Magnets”; in 1/4, and 1/5-inch lengths.

Kind Regards,

Terry Terezakis
North Hatfield, MA

Comment from T. Terezakis
Time November 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Sorry, that’s supposed to be 1/4 and 1/2-inch lengths!

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Time March 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm

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Comment from st
Time March 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Using BC2209MHR, since 01/12. Had to mount unit on top tube, with face 45deg angle to left to allow consistent wireless reception of speed and cadence. Had to move speed sensor behind front fork (from in front) to get clear line-of-sight to receiver. Found orig. loc. of receiver on handlebar stem lost cadence unless I was in left turn! (eventually had the aha moment…, needed better line of sight). Low sensitivity is prob. good to prevent interference, BUT, can be a pain. Batt life less than wired to be expected, wireless eats the juice.

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