16 March 2014 ~ 73 Comments

Sigma ROX 10.0 GPS Cycling Computer Review

The new Sigma ROX 10 series. Their first GPS-based computer.

The new Sigma ROX 10 bike computer. Their first GPS-based model.

For the past several years, I have used Sigma analog “magnet wheel style” computers for some time now and like their large easy-to-read screens and overall design. Late last year, Sigma, the German company, released their first-ever GPS based cyclocomputer. They are offering the same computer body with two packaged versions. One version, the “Basic” package is the bare-boned package with no heart rate monitor, cadence sensor or wheel speed transmitter. Since it is GPS based I see no reason to also have a wheel speed transmitter. Also, since I already had two Garmin ANT+ heart rate chest transmitters, I opted for the “Basic” kit, instead of the more deluxe “Set” package.

For a similar price of the Garmin 200 or 500-series units, you get a lot more with the ROX 10.0. For that reason alone, I highly recommend this model. What you gain is the ability to upload previously created (or cycled) maps (i.e. GPX files made in RidewithGPS, Strava or Map My Ride). The maps on the ROX only show a reference line where you need to go and do not show surrounding streets or geographic features like the Garmin 800-series, but that is better than no map at all, as is the case with the Garmin 500.

User Tips

Chest Strap Syncing. For me, the manual (pg. 40) was confusing on how to sync the computer head to a chest strap heart rate transmitter. Here’s how, with the strap nearby the ROX: go to Settings > Bike 1–3 & Totals > ANT+ Pairing > Heart Rate 1.

Short Menu I missed this in the manual, but while on the primary “Training” screen, press both the upper buttons (Back & Enter) to quickly get to the “Short Menu,” which has several useful items like favorites (preferences for differing screen settings), elevation settings and uploading a previously created route or track.

Auto Pause I have found that I don’t enable the Auto Pause function as I like to separate moving time from total time. Page 23 says “Note: The exercise time is linked to the logging. If the exercise time is stopped, no data is recorded for further analysis. If the auto pause function is activated, the exercise time is identical to the trip time. If the auto pause function is deactivated, the trip time and the exercise time differ.

Backlight I have found that this light uses up a minimal amount of power, so lately (November 2015), I have it set to not turn off automatically after 10 or 30 seconds. I ran a test by leaving the light on for the duration of an 8-hour ride and the battery was depleted by 50%, which is about the same depletion I normally get with the light off the whole time.

Important Routes Note I currently create all my routes in Ride with GPS and then export them as a GPX file to my computer. From there they can be imported into the ROX using the Sigma Data Center software app. On a recent long ride, after downloading (or is it an “upload”?) my route, I checked to see if it “made it” onto the ROX via the Short Menu (see below) > Load Track > Stored Tracks. It showed up with the correct mileage displayed. But on the morning of the ride, the ROX constantly said I was off route. Upon further review (Short Menu > Load Track > Stored Tracks > Select “My Route” > Show Track, it displayed no map, despite indicating the correct mileage. Apparently I exported the wrong type of GPX from RWGPS, or the file was corrupt. Later, at home, I re-exported the route and it worked fine. So word to the wise…always double-check by viewing your route map on the ROX to insure it is properly uploaded.

Elevation Calibration As far as I can find, there is no auto elevation calibration. So at the beginning of every ride that is not near my known home elevation, I have found I need to go to Short Menu > Altitude > Manual Calibration and reset the elevation, otherwise, all day long, the elevation is reading as if I started it at my home elevation.

Preferences Perhaps one of my favorite features is the preference screen settings, which can be set up on my PC (Mac actually) and then later uploaded. With my Garmin fenix it can only be done on the tiny unit itself, taking hours because of the various disciplines or profiles (swimming, cycling, mountaineering, SUP etc.). I finally wrote them all down in a notebook before I sent the unit in for warranty replacement.

Software The packages do not included a software CD, instead they give you a license key (inside the box) to download it to your PC or Mac. My initial key didn’t work right, but Sigma’s  great U.S.-based customer service quickly provided another that did work.

Below are Some Questions

or comments I sent to their tech support person regarding this product, along with their answer.

  1. Q: You said “Anytime you come within 30m of that point it should recalibrate to your preset number.” What point? How does one set waypoints with this device? On pg. 26 of the manual it says “You can also mark special points of interest (POI) located near the route as waypoints.” Does that mean in RidewGPS after I mark POIs and the ROX will beep when I approach it? Or can I do create waypoints with the ROX as I travel?
    A: POI is different from the Altitude points list. POI’s can be added to route that you then transfer to the ROX computer. The altitude points list you have to create on the ride at the location. Here is how you set that while on a ride:  you have to be getting the GPS signal and then follow the steps to get into the short cut menu/altitude scroll to the bottom (Manual Calib) press enter, press enter, then using the -/+ buttons change the character/number that is selected then press enter to go to the next and repeat until you have set the elevation then press back/back/back and you should be at the training screen.
  2. Q: If I’m doing a continuous 24-36-hour ultra event, do I want to set the Log Interval to 5 or 10 seconds, so I don’t max out the memory of the ROX? I will be using an external USB battery pack to keep it going for that long.
    A: With the log memory empty at the start of the event you should get approximately 41 hours at 5 seconds and 82 hours at 10 second intervals.  When you dock the computer with your MAC in the dashboard display in the upper left you will see LOG and below that it tells you how much memory is left depending on the interval selected.
  3. Q: In tracking mode, what is the top of the screen oriented to? With my fenix, I can set it so the top is the direction of travel OR just north. I keep it in the direction of travel. It seems the ROX bounces around a lot when holding it in my hand. Is there a setting for this?
    A (Short Answer): Short Menu (see top of page) > Track Settings > Track Direction. (But not found under Settings where one would think it would be.)
    Long Answer: When you are in the track view or the altitude view you can change the options on the top of the display. Go to the device settings in the data center and go to favorites A (and or B) and open that drop down, there you will see the different views and the options available. Direction is one of the options but you can select up to six for track view and altitude view.
  4. Q: After creating a route in RidewGPS or elsewhere and after exporting as a GPX file, can I just copy it onto the ROX w/o opening the Data Center and saving it there first? (seems like an extra step) With the fenix, the icon of the device shows up on my desktop (iMac) and I see the native files etc. that are on the device, whereas the ROX it doesn’t show up as a device on my computer, which is kinda weird as I thought all external devices that are attached show up.
    A: No you will have to import the .GPX file into the data center first then export it to the ROX computer.
  5. Q: I don’t have a power meter on my bike, so are the power settings (including power to weight ratio) not relevant or does the ROX provide a guestimate of those anyway?
    A: The ROX computer has what they call Perceived Power, it is an algorithm that will use the user data that you enter then it calculates what it perceives is the power that it should take to do what you are doing.  It is not the same as using a strain gauge power meter.
  6. Q: With the Sigma PC15 (fitness watch) it gave me wonderful heart rate info, giving me time percentages of time in each of three zones. That was most helpful in training and for post-workout analysis. On page 32 of the manual it shows time at various intensities (but not percentage, a bummer), but I don’t see that data on Sigma Training Center. I know it shows on the ROX under Memory > Stored Tours. I am missing that info on the Data Center?
    A: The HR % are shown in the data center, you can display the target zone, intensity zones, or the power zones. But while you are riding you can set it to intensity zones or you target zone and that will show % of max and it will show if you are below, in, or above your chosen zone.
  7. Q: It appears that the stopwatch doesn’t work in the background…i.e. in an ultra event, I want to get a total time, after all the breaks and stops including those times when the ROX is turned off…but I guess that is not possible. Too bad. My Sigma 1609 (older non-GPS model) had such a feature.
    A: You are correct. As soon as you leave the stopwatch display is resets it to 0.
  8. Q: With the ROX 10, the “Trip Time” is actually the time moving or the time “exercising,” whereas my exercise or moving time is the ROX’s “Total Elapsed” time of the event. Those seem to be reversed!
    A: Exercise time is the total time from when you hit start until you press stop and trip time it the time you are moving. But if you have auto pause turned on they will be the same time.
  9. Q: For ultra long events, an external battery pack can be plugged into the Micro-USB port and the computer battery can be topped off while cycling. The only problem I see is that for a 1200km event (90 hours) the unit may run out of memory, and unlike my Garmin fenix, there is no way to wirelessly via WiFi, upload part of route to my iPhone. (For a 90-hour 1200km ride, I would have to set this to once every 30 seconds, which gives chops off any sharp turns, but on the straights or with wide turns, it is basically OK).
    A: You will have to change the log interval from the ROX computer under device settings.
  10. Q: The twist lock attachment is not secure. Because the body of the 10.0 is larger than previous Sigma models, when one pushes any of the four side buttons, the whole unit tends to rotate (nearly falling off the bike). I finally slapped some electrical tape inside the mount, to tighten things up more. I noticed that some reviewers on Amazon or elsewhere had the same problem.
    A: There will be a new mount and out front mount just for the ROX 10 but we have not heard a date when that will be showing up. I did see a prototype last week and it really did hold it nice and tight. I will write myself note to get one out to you when we get them. I will forward your comment on to the developers and see where that goes. Thanks for the input.
  11. Q: The lap button only works when moving. On today’s ride, twice, I got to the top of a hill climb, unclipped, then quickly hit “Lap” but it didn’t take it. Consequently, I didn’t get a record of the time interval for that lap. (Perhaps Strava may have it as a segment, but I won’t know my time until I get back to the office to upload).
    A: Will pass comment on to engineers.
    Q: Yesterday, I took the ROX 10 on a short backcountry ski trip, along with my Garmin fenix (wrist watch tri model) to compare. Regretfully, both units recording erroneously high heart rates, which seems to be a chronic problem with ANT+ chest straps. I confirmed this with them at the recent Interbike show and they sent me a freebie “newest, latest” Garmin chest strap. It was worse than the old one…mostly due to wind issues while cycling, but today, while skiing, why? Hmmmm. I guess this is your first ANT+ venture. Have you heard any reports that your chest strap also gives bad readings for cyclists (mostly in summer when wearing one single jersey)? (My conclusion: same problem as with all Garmin devices).
    A: Did you try moistening the chest belt contacts when you put the chest belt on? Its cold and dry air so that might help with the connectivity, maybe a cardio gel. But Garmin owns ANT+ so my guess is it’s all the same.  I have heard of issues with cycling and HR’s, with a looser fitting jersey that if it starts to flop around it can create a static discharge and that will interfere with the HR signal. I had a customer out is California and he was having issues with his HR chest belt so what he tried was he mixed some sort of fabric de-static stuff for the laundry and mixed it with some water and put it into a spray bottle. Before a ride he sprays the front of his jersey and that seemed to work for him. And I bet it smells fresh on the rides. That was years ago and he still stays in touch so I assume it is still working. 
  12. Q: How does the unit get firmware updates? The manual refers to this, but gives no clues on how it is done.
    A: When you dock the ROX computer the data center checks for FW updates, for better or worse that’s how they set it up.
    The Firmware updates are done through the Data Center (PC or Mac software). After you open the Data Center software wake up your ROX 10.0 computer then dock it with the USB cable, while in the DC dashboard view if there are any Firmware updates you will see a window between connected device and statistics in the main display. It there are any updates listed, to the right you will see a green button that says start update, click on that green button and from there you will get a screen(s) with the instructions for installing the updates.  BUT before you do any updates make sure you have downloaded any data off the ROX computer, the new FW will wipe all the previous data off the computer.  This includes any training data, total device values, and your device settings. Once the new FW updates have been installed then you can push the device settings back onto the ROX computer from the Data Center.
  13. Q: How do I delete tracks (routes created, but not ridden yet) on the ROX? (Not being able to delete them in the field seems to a big oversight).
    A: They can only be deleted by using the Sigma Data Center (desktop) computer application. Plug in the ROX to your computer and then click on the “Track Synchronization” icon on the upper-right corner of the screen of the Data Center screen. Follow the logical steps from there.
  14. Q: On the ROX unit itself, there is a “Memory” function. What memory does it refer?
    A: The internal memory % is the amount of memory that is taken up by your rides that you have saved, but not the tracks you have uploaded to the ROX, they are separate.
    Q: So if “internal memory” is only for rides I have done, how do I asses memory allocation of uploaded tracks or routes (which I have yet to ride)?
    A: There is no way to check that memory; I don’t think it takes up very much memory as it’s just the GPS coordinates. But it would be a nice addition; I will mention it to the developers.

Summary

All-in-all I am happy with the ROX 10, especially considering the price point.

My biggest complaints are:

  • Inability to upload results directly to Strava. One must upload to the Sigma Data Center on a PC first and then to Strava.
  • Inability to upload results via a mobile device or directly online. When I travel, I generally do so with an iPhone and a iPad as I don’t own a laptop. But I like to upload my rides to Strava immediately after I complete them. But I can’t, until I arrive back home, because the Sigma Data Center software must be loaded (& this is only available through a serialized edition) onto a laptop or desktop computer — they don’t have a online, browser-only upload utility. (This problem is solved with the ROX 11 as it has Bluetooth).
  • I wish the stopwatch function would work in the background of an activity, so at the end of an ride, I can tell what my total time was, including breaks and stops. Better yet, I wish the “Trip Time” recorded the total time, from the start the unit started recording to when an activity was saved, regardless of how many times the unit is paused or turned off to save battery life.
  • Battery light buttons are difficult to use. The backlight is enabled by pressing the bottom two side buttons. But nearly every time, I end up pressing one button slightly before the other and invariably I click the lap button instead.
  • I like that there are no touch screen modes as that is a hassle with gloved hands. But on the other hand (pun intended), I don’t care much for the soft rubber buttons as with gloved hands, it is difficult to use.
  • I have a local friend that, after about three years, the tabs on the bottom of the ROX 10 are worn out and no longer can mount to a bicycle. That is not a replaceable part. Sigma offered a discount on a new unit. The new ROX 11 has deeper tabs and use the Garmin mount system.

 

Screen shot of my preferences for the ROX 10. Note how the Auto Pause is OFF (see text for the reason).

Screen shot of my preferences for the ROX 10. Note the Auto Pause is OFF (see text for the reason).

Screen shot of my preferences for the ROX 10.

Screen shot of my preferences for the ROX 10.

Sigma Contact Info

USA Website

USA Telephone — 1-888-744-6277

Tech Support — Mike, E-mail (mike@sigmasportusa.com)

73 Responses to “Sigma ROX 10.0 GPS Cycling Computer Review”

  1. Rando Richard 1 September 2015 at 5:22 pm Permalink

    I have never had, nor used, the speed sensor. As I understand it, it works in tandem with the GPS and is especially useful in deep canyons when GPS reception is spotty.

  2. richard 11 November 2015 at 1:11 am Permalink

    Hi there,

    I have recently purchased the Sigma Rox 10 for my mountain Bike.

    Unfortunately, whilst I think the product is great, I find it annoying to have to turn on and press ‘start’ every-time I get on the bike.

    So question is – If I purchase the speed sensor or cadence sensor, will this unit turn on automatically?

    I had a bike computer 20 years ago that would turn itself on when it detected the wheels turning, so this feels like regression!

    I would appreciate your feedback!

  3. Rando Richard 11 November 2015 at 8:02 am Permalink

    Hello Richard,
    I personally do not own the optional speed sensor/cadence sensor, primarily because I don’t have a need to see my cadence any more. But regardless, I’m sure that this GPS, like nearly every other brand on the market, requires user input to turn it on…otherwise the battery simply wouldn’t last long. Accessing a satellite requires more power than the old-school magnet cyclometers.
    With the ROX 10, you first press (hold for a second or two) the upper right Enter/Power button. It will bring up the “Training” screen. Press the same button again and it brings up the home screen. Then, once the device senses movement, it prompts you to press the Start/Lap button, which you must do, otherwise your activity will not be recorded. Once you start recording an activity, a watch symbol is displayed, confirming that you are “recording” the activity and not in pause mode.

  4. sagcds11 14 February 2016 at 11:46 pm Permalink

    I have a question, I make sure that my home elevation is set every time I leave for a ride and usually leave from my home.
    I am still not getting a incline reading on my rides.
    What am I doing wrong?

  5. Rando Richard 15 February 2016 at 11:45 am Permalink

    That is a problem I have yet to encounter. Remember that it only records in full degrees (unlike some Garmins) and frankly it does not appear to terribly accurate. Did you try a long steep grade, of perhaps at least 200-300 vertical feet? If that doesn’t work, call Sigma. I believe their number is above in one of the other posts.

  6. Ed 9 March 2016 at 2:18 pm Permalink

    I just purchased a ROX 10.0 and like it very much. One thing I have noticed is the trip function doesn’t keep track of the miles accurately. When I download to PC the total miles is correct. Is there a setting I’m overlooking?

    Thanks Ed

  7. Rando Richard 9 March 2016 at 6:22 pm Permalink

    So you are saying that at the end of a ride, the “Lap” distance is different than the Total distance, despite not resetting the lap distance during the ride? Did you stop during this workout? If so, turn the Auto Pause off. I always leave mine off.

  8. Ed 12 March 2016 at 7:29 pm Permalink

    At the end of the a ride of around 30 miles the trip/lap distance will show 8 or so miles. When I download data the total miles will be 30 miles, everything else, incline, HR, max & min speed, shows correctly. I did have the Auto Pause on, it’s now off, going to try again next ride.
    Thanks

  9. Patrick 24 March 2016 at 8:53 am Permalink

    I have speed/cadence sensors from a older Rox 6. Will those sensors work with the Rox 10? Can I significantly extend the battery life by using the sensors rather than the gps to track speed? If so, can I use the gps on a spot check basis to determine my location on a downloaded track?

  10. Rando Richard 24 March 2016 at 10:57 am Permalink

    I really doubt that the ROX 6 and 10 are compatible. The 10 uses ANT+ frequency, whereas the others use something totally different. For your other questions, contact Randy at Sigma (see bottom of blog page for contact info).

  11. Ed 26 March 2016 at 8:18 am Permalink

    Update on this post.
    The trip distance works on all other screens and modes. It will not work on the main training screen. I should say it doesn’t display the correct mileage of trip on this screen. Other wise it works great, would have paid this much $$ for it if I had known of this.

  12. Rando Richard 26 March 2016 at 3:58 pm Permalink

    Let me run my own tests and get back to you, though it might be a bit as the forecast is grim for next few days, here in the mountains of Central Utah.

  13. Rando Richard 1 April 2016 at 9:27 pm Permalink

    Questions for you Ed. I did some field testing today & I may be able to help.
    1. When changing the fields on the ROX, are you doing that on the device itself or are you using the Sigma Data Center software on a PC?
    2. When you say “main training screen,” are you referring to what the Sigma Data Center (SDC) on the PC calls “Bike computer” or “User view?” The “Bike computer” is the default or “home” page as I call it. The latter is the customizable screen, up to six fields.
    3. Exactly what field are you having trouble with? “Trip time” (with a clock symbol in front when using the SDC), “Trip time” (with an arrow & mountain symbol in front) or “Lap time” (with the Lap words in front)? I found that I was using the Trip time with the arrow and mountain symbol, which meant that field was ONLY showing either the time going up or down and not the total trip time. Take a look and let me know.

  14. Martin 2 April 2016 at 10:17 am Permalink

    Great review Rando Richard. I have been using my ROX 10.0 for about a year now. My main complaints are the sloppy fitting handlebar mounting system and the time it takes for the unit to locate satellites. I did get the free upgraded mount, which is much tighter, although I now need another new mount for my commuter bike. The issue of satellite location is very annoying. Even when standing in an open area with a clear sight to the sky my unit can take up to 15 minutes to locate enough satellites. Often I get tired of waiting and begin my ride. 5 km down the road the unit suddenly comes to life and starts tracking. Frustrating! Have any of you had similar satellite location issues?

  15. Rando Richard 2 April 2016 at 8:47 pm Permalink

    Instead of purchasing a 2nd mount for your other bike, take a small piece of electrical tape and place it over the edge of the mount “shoulder” to make the fit tighter. I did that before they introduced the new mount.
    I have not had any slow-to-find satellite issues with the ROX. I have had such issues while in a narrow canyon with my Garmin fenix, but that is expected.
    1. Do you have a home elevation set into your ROX? Perhaps there may coordinates associated with that setting which may make it faster to find itself.
    2. Do you travel a lot, with start locations that vary? I know that if you start up a GPS but have traveled 50, 100 or miles since it was last used, it takes longer to find the satellites.

  16. Martin 3 April 2016 at 10:29 am Permalink

    Thanks for the quick response Richard! Much appreciated. Great tip for increasing the mounts hold on the unit. I’ll try that this morning.

    1. I do have a home elevation set into the ROX, which I have now zeroed. Perhaps this was causing the unit to search long and hard when starting a ride away from home, which is often the case.
    2. No, I don’t travel too much. I have the most satellite tracking issues when I begin my ride home from work, which is only 15 km away.

    I have enjoyed reading through your blog posting, especially the Hints and Help section. Great stuff.

    Thanks,
    Martin

  17. Rando Richard 3 April 2016 at 12:49 pm Permalink

    Don’t zero out your home elevation; put it at whatever it needs to be so it’s accurate. I also enter the other three options of elevations into places I frequently travel to; and the key is to remember to reset the elevation when you were starting from destinations away from your home. It seems like the Garmin devices I have owned did not require resetting the elevation, and I’m not sure why this is required with this Sigma project.

  18. Rowan Buhrmann 18 May 2016 at 7:33 am Permalink

    Hi Rando. I have a query about the android Sigma Data Center app. Can I use an OTG cable to connect my Rox 10 to my device (Samsung S5) and upload the current data, thus freeing up more space on my Rox? Want to find out before I purchase the app. This would make life much easier when traveling without a PC and SDC. I see they have released a few updates, but make no mention about syncing the Rox to the device…

    I am loving my Rox though. And had great service from Sigma Support.

    Kind regards
    Rowan

  19. Rando Richard 18 May 2016 at 8:41 am Permalink

    As I have heard it, the Sigma Data Center only works on a computer like an iMac, laptop or PC. Any Sigma mobile apps (phone or iPad) that may exist, do not work with the ROX, but may work with other devices like a Sigma heart rate watch. That is one my biggest complaint: when I travel I cannot easily upload results since I don’t own a laptop as I tend to use an iPad instead, but the Sigma Data Center and ROX aren’t compatible.

  20. David 6 June 2016 at 2:16 am Permalink

    Hello

    I’ve been using a Garmin Edge 500 for a few years, and although it seems to have most features covered, I thought I’d look around for an alternative.

    From what I’ve seen, the Rox 10.0 doesn’t have any additional navigational features over the 500. With the 500 you can plot a route using online route-planning software, save it, then copy the route directly to the 500. The 500 converts it to a Garmin ‘Course’, and you can then follow that as a breadcrumb trail.

    I’ve used older Garmins which worked differently, and with those you had to use different mapping software to create waypoints at every road junction on your route. They didn’t have a breadcrumb trail, but when you approached a junction they would point an arrow in the direction you had to go, and would also tell you the distance to the next junction – it worked well on audaxes/brevets.

  21. Rando Richard 6 June 2016 at 10:40 am Permalink

    David, does the Garmin 500 show a visual “route” on the screen when navigating a pre-loaded course?

  22. MATHIEU julien 16 December 2016 at 10:27 am Permalink

    Hello,
    Is it possible to give names to POI and see them while riding with the track on sigma rox 10 ?

  23. Rando Richard 16 December 2016 at 1:53 pm Permalink

    No. But I believe that the new ROX 11.0 (due out shortly) may do so as it has a so-called “Waypoints with Name” feature.