PRO is Shimano’s component brand, and the Scio ANT+ is one of their suite of cycle computers.
Why would a company not well known for its bike computers bring one to such a competitive market?
That’s a good question and one I asked of Tim Dawson from Shimano. His response was that Shimano do have a history of bringing to market computers that integrate with their shifting systems, giving users a visual indication of gearing such as the Flight Deck of years gone by. Secondly some of the PRO sponsored cyclists wanted a small simple computer for their bikes. While many triathletes seem to think that too much information is never enough, some of the “World Tour” riders just want the basics while they are plying their trade.
At the risk of having the techno geek triathlon audience click off the page after the next line, I’m going to break this to you quickly and hopefully painlessly.
The Scio is not a GPS device, nor does it have a memory or download capabilities. The display is also not able to be customised.
OK, are you still here?? Good!
I’m sure you have a few questions running through your head, as did I when I got the Scio home. Mainly “who brings out a computer without GPS and memory these days …. and who would buy one?”
Well it’s a good question and to be honest when I started playing with the Scio I struggled to answer them, but the more I used it the clearer it became, but more on that later.
The Scio itself is a small computer by some standards, about 40mm wide x 55mm long with a screen size of 30mm x 35mm. The Scio’s design is reminiscent of the pre GPS style of computers, with two large buttons used for all the navigation through the features. While it doesn’t have GPS or memory the Scio is not short on functionality. It is ANT+ enabled which means it can read information from your existing ANT+ sensors and display HR, speed, cadence and power. The other thing the Scio can do is integrate with Shimano’s Di2 with the help of the D-Fly attachment. This gives the head unit the ability to visually display gear information along with the Di2 system’s current battery status.
The install is simple, an o ring attaches it to either stem or bars with the mount enabling mounting in either plane. Since the Scio isn’t a GPS device it does require a speed sensor for speed and distance information which come supplied with the unit if you don’t already have an ANT+ one on your bike.
So let’s cut to the chase.
PRO have released this computer so that folks can access the information available from the D-fly in the simplest possible form. There is no way a company like PRO/ Shimano would get away with just releasing the D-Fly without having something available that could read that information coupled with the fact that currently the cheapest 3rd party computers to make that information available are $350+.
My initial thinking was that anyone running Di2 and D-Fly unit would be invested enough in the tech realm to probably want something with more bells and whistles than the Scio and to be honest I still think that is the case, especially for cyclists who only have the need for one device. So who would benefit from the Scio. Well interestingly enough I think if anyone can find a good use for it, it would be triathletes. You see most triathletes these days have their main computer attached to their wrist so it can travel the length of the event with them. This does however make them cumbersome to see when riding and most triathletes opt to have a secondary computer mounted to the bike for easy visuals. For this purpose the GPS devices can be a bit of overkill, let alone being expensive for a visual display. The latest models are also large, taking up valuable real estate on what is usually an already crowded cockpit on most tri rigs. Further to this many GPS devices can take a while to start up and find satellites as you charge out of T1 as they have generally powered down while you were off swimming.
The Scio can give you a visual display of your required parameter, which increasingly these days is power, along with speed and gear indications with in conjunction with the D-Fly without taking up too much space on your bars in an easy to use package.
The market for this device may be pretty limited, as many who may have a need for something like this could already be invested in other brands or want more tech. While it has some decent functions, for most people it is missing what many would consider the "non-negotiables" these days of GPS and memory. However if you are after a simpler unit, know where you are going and never seem to get around to downloading your data anyway then maybe this will be the computer for you.
As with anything that comes out of the Shimano/ PRO stable you can be assured that if this computer is something you would entertain then it will work well and do what it promises, however limited that may be.
The PRO Scio ANT+ is $219 RRP
For more info check out PRO