A week with the Magene C606 GPS bike computer

I’ve been getting Instagram ads almost non-stop for the new Magene C606 head unit and decided to snag one to compare against my existing fleet of head units. For $160, I figured it was worth a playing around. I haven’t seen an in-depth look at this head unit from DCRainmaker or GPLama, but was curious to see what a budget bike computer looks like these days. I probably won’t go into every single feature on this head unit, sticking to what I’ll actually use.

A photo of 7 different GPS bike computers on a counter.
My current fleet of bike computers. Wahoo ELEMNT, Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, Garmin Edge 130 Plus, Garmin 1040 Solar, Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT2, Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM2 and the newcomer – Magene C606.


The unit itself is fairly ROAM-sized, with a traditional LCD backlit display. I was initially worried that the battery life would take a hit from a screen like this, but I think it holds its own pretty well. I had 4 decent distance rides on the unit and only saw the battery hit 51%.

From a connectivity standpoint, it’s pretty standard in the market. I’ve got HR, Power, ETap AXS, Varia and ANT+ lighting connected (the Varia paired and created the ANT+ light network on it’s own). I haven’t actually tried using an ANT+ headlight with it yet. The data collected from these sensors all seem to be pretty solid. GPS data is generally okay, but definitely not as accurate as some of the devices doing dual-frequency GNSS like the 1040 Solar or ROAM2. The C606 uses AGNSS similar to the Wahoo ELEMNT Rival, meaning a file is synced to the device periodically to help it find satellites quickly. With the C606, you need to do this at least once every two weeks.

The companion app used OneLapFit is about what you’d expect from a Chinese language company without much of an English market presence. There’s some translation oddness around the app, but for the most part it works pretty well.

The app allows you to configure a lot of different field layouts, a la Garmin. However, anytime you change a field layout it just blows away all the fields you had set. I really like the way Wahoo handles the zoom/field configuration, but there’s definitely some power in the way Magene allows you to configure fields. They provide a lot of different layout options with up to 10 fields on a page.

I did however find that they’re some fields I’d expect to see – even some data that’s still recorded to the FIT file, but not viewable during your ride. Temperature was a notable miss for me.

The best part about the page configurations for this device was… profiles. Very similar to Garmin’s approach, you have colorized themes for each profile, with the ability to customize pages/fields for each profile independently.

What worked well

Magene supports two services for syncing your rides – Strava and TrainingPeaks. The device happily sent rides to both services in my use, sending the data I’d expect to be there and just generally working well without issue.

The screen was reasonably visible in the sun outside, though not as readable as what I consider to the best contrast outdoors – the ELEMNT ROAM2. That being said, it was just fine for most of my riding time outside. The touch screen, while not instantly responsive, worked well enough to fit my needs. There’s also a button on the bottom left corner of the device for changing pages, making the device seem like a Garmin and Wahoo love child.

Varia Radar support paired to my Garmin Varia RTL515 was rock solid. It was detecting and alerting me of cars without issue. Magene even has a data field that tells you how far away the closest car is. However, they neglected to add units to the display so you’re left guessing if it’s feet, yards, meters, or parsecs. Based on my experience and configuration of imperial measurements, I’m guessing it’s feet. Not a super useful field for me, but one that was a standout compared to Wahoo’s and Garmin’s offerings.

Heart rate and power data from my Wahoo TICKR2 and Quarq DZero was solid and reliable. The gearing displayed on the unit from my SRAM ETap AXS was also great.

What didn’t work very well

Let me start by saying that for $160, this unit fulfilled expectations for the ability to record and sync rides to Strava and TrainingPeaks. Decathalon is also an option, but I don’t use it so I can’t speak to that. There are no other services it supports currently.

Strava sync is limited to ride uploads. Strava routes do not sync to the device as they do with Wahoo and Garmin. This is a big miss because syncing routes to the device is painful, requiring you to upload a GPX file using the app – and a lot of times failing to parse them. Adding Strava route sync support would be a huge win for this device. You can also manually create routes in the OneLapFit app, but it’s a painful experience compared to the route builders from Strava or others.

TrainingPeaks integration is bi-directional. You can pull workouts from your TrainingPeaks calendar and send them to the device, but the process is more manual than Wahoo and Garmin, who sync them automatically and present them as an option. A major miss was for the C606 to treat all TrainingPeaks workouts as indoor. GPS data is not recorded during these workouts, so if you’re planning on doing outdoor workouts, you’re not going to have a good time. You also cannot start a structured workout in the middle of a ride you’re recording, so you’ll have to stop and start another. This isn’t a very intuitive experience. This meant recording three separate rides for an outdoor workout I did – riding to the climb, doing the workout, and riding back home. There’s no concept of outdoor workouts, so you’re stuck to the trainer. Oddly the device recorded no GPS data, but still recorded speed.

Who does this computer make sense for?

As a previously competitive cyclist and racer, I realize I may not be the target market for many cycling products on the market. I train with a coach via TrainingPeaks, sync my rides to Strava, and import routes from Strava and other services.

The limitation of training workouts only being meant for the indoor trainer is a deal breaker for me. I’d rather not be tied to my indoor trainer when the weather is great outside, as it has been in Utah for a few weeks.

If you’re a beginner cyclist, wanting to save some money on a pretty well-featured bike computer and don’t need Strava routes synced to your head unit or want to do your training outdoor, this might work great for you. Honestly, for $160 it probably works great for a lot of people.

If Magene continues to improve the software and integrations with the C606, this could really start to challenge the bigger players in the cycling computer game. Until then, it’ll probably go back to being a backup device or something to play with when I’m bored.

Knobby Tires and Drop Bars – How cyclocross changed my life

In 2018, I jumped headfirst into cycling racing at the old Salt Lake area criterium racing staple, Rocky Mountain Raceway. I was terrible at it, initially. My first race I finished dead last, even in the beginner Category 4/5. However, I found the experience and community to be more than I could resist.

A Specialized Allez Sprint pictured at the old Rocky Mountain Raceway criterium course.
My first dedicated crit race bike, a Specialized Allez Sprint, pictured at the now-defunct Rocky Mountain Raceway.

I continued to race criteriums (often shortened to “crits”) and started to find a groove. I kept working on racing tactics and fitness, and found myself on podium at the RMR course a few times. Consistency was paying off, and my fitness continued to improve. Rather than stagnate at the Category 5 level, I applied for a Category 4 upgrade and got it. I went on to race a handful of Category 4 races in the road racing and criterium disciplines.

Around this time, I joined a local cycling team that would shape my life, community, and passions. Enter SaltCycle-Kestrel Wellness, a ragtag group of people who just loved to ride bikes. Some were competitive racers; some were just there to have a good time on two wheels. Both were equally important to the culture of the team and club, leading to the coining of the mantra “fun, not fast.”

A group of cyclists sitting at the Big Cottonwood mouth 7-11.
A group photo of several SaltCycle-Kestrel Wellness members at the iconic Big Cottonwood Canyon mouth 7-11.

My involvement with SCKW would expand to a cycling discpline I didn’t know much about – cyclocross. If you’ve been around amateur road racing at all, you know how seriously some people take it. Cyclocross is, in many ways, a polar opposite. My introduction to cyclocross began with going to cheer on and support SCKW teammates at the local cyclocross series, UTCX. Having spent numerous years improving my photography but left somewhat stale and routine, having an event like cyclocross was exciting and new.

Utah Cyclocross at Hillside Middle School (October 12, 2019)

With cyclocross, I found another community of people who just loved bikes, and new friendships were forged. It would be several years before my cyclocross photography would really take off, but the connections I made in 2018 and 2019 would lay the groundwork for my passion and involvement with UTCX.

Dave Amirault, known to the internet as Digi Dave or @ozskier, racing Ogden Cyclocross Park as part of UTCX in 2019.

I continued to attend UTCX races to cheer on and photograph teammates and friends. Eventually I began to better grasp the cycling discipline that would blend my love of photography and love of bikes, at least until COVID-19 took hold of the world.

The pandemic would come, and the cycling community and racing world would screech to a halt. The community and friends I had built would be seemingly on pause for a while before the world knew what was going on, and some people moved on from SaltCycle-Kestrel Wellness and the team would enter a state I can only describe as hibernation. I took a step back from cycling racing through 2020, and only re-emerged in 2021.

With SCKW in hibernation mode, a few friends from the team would continue to race primarily cyclocross and I’d be there, camera in hand, to capture the races. 2021 was the first year I considered selling my photography from these events and I launched my photography brand SawyerLikesBikes. Most of the wonderful people I have the privilege to call friends circled around Gear Rush’s presence at UTCX races. Gear Rush, a locally-based EBay consignment shop for outdoor gear continued to throw their backing behind the cyclocross scene in Utah.

Matt Widhalm of SaltCycle-Kestrel Wellness racing Kent Family Farm as part of the UTCX race series. (November 13, 2021)

Having been at so many UTCX races and gaining notoriety for being the guy with the camera on course, I started to partner with UTCX to capture and market the blossoming race series. The community surrounding UTCX had captured my heart as a very welcoming and supportive space.

Cycling is an expensive hobby, which naturally attracts people with at least some level expendable income. This means people are and were willing to spend a few bucks on a photo of them doing something cool to share on their social media. My approach to my photography side-hustle wasn’t to get rich, I was more focused on supporting and cultivating the community that brought me such great friends and time on bikes that improved not only my physical health, but mental health as well.

Meghan Sheridan racing P-Town Cross at Paul Ream Wilderness Park in Provo, UT. (October 4, 2022)

From about 2021 forward, I would establish myself as a near constant presence at every local cyclocross race I could get to. I think I maybe missed one or two UTCX races in the next several years, and would even expand to covering P-Town Cross in Utah County as well.

While I’d occasionally race a few token races at UTCX and P-Town Cross (with my fitness having seen a drop during the pandemic), I found more joy in capturing the races from behind the camera. The people in the Utah cyclocross scene truly make the community something wonderful. Each year when cyclocross season comes to an end, I find myself missing the time spent at races, even if they’re rainy, snowy, or muddy.

Brian Harris of SaltCycle-Kestrel Wellness racing Centerville City Park of UTCX (December 11, 2021)

To further challenge my cycling photography, I also picked up Enve Grodeo and Dirty Dino Gravel, being hired to cover the two events. I was originally slated to shoot Wild Horse again, having been hired to cover it in 2022. Utah’s unseasonably wet winter of 2023/2024 prevented it from happening with the snow still covering the mountain passes in April.

Jonathan Ertz racing Dirty Dino in Vernal, UT (June 17, 2023)

Gravel certainly provides a different set of challenges in capturing courses that are much more expansive. You usually only get one chance to get a shot of a rider in a particular area, as opposed to cyclocross or criterium, where you may get multiple opportunities to get exactly the shot you want. This requires visualizing what you want and not just capturing what you’re given, but I like a good challenge.

Sarah Kaufmann, representing DNA Pro Cycling, at Enve Grodeo (June 24, 2023)

To fill time in between cyclocross season, I went full circle and began shooting the local Utah Crit Series races – even shooting the now defunct USA Crits race series that came to Boise, ID and Salt Lake City. These eventually would become part of the American Crit Cup in 2023 and I’d shoot them as well, even being hired to photography Salt Lake Criterium in 2023.

Crowds watch on at the Salt Lake Criterium at Industry in 2023.

All in all, 2023 was a jam-packed year of taking what started as a side-hustle up a notch and I can’t wait to see what 2024 brings. Utah Crit League’s launch seems imminent to add an entirely new series of racing with new courses. I’m hoping to add some more travel to 2024 to make it to more races outside of the Intermountain West.

See you in 2024, friends.

Leighton Reuss of Gothic Health Club p/b Gear Rush shouldering the bike to run a particularly steep section of Art Dye Park at UTCX. (October 28, 2023)

Back at it

I’m giving blogging another shot as a way to post my photography and do some longer-form writing.

Penny and Lira awaiting the ball in the middle of an enthralling round of fetch in my parents’ back yard.

In the midst of a global pandemic, I decided to revisit old hobbies and picked up some new photo gear – a Nikon Z6 mirrorless FX camera body, and some new glass to go with it. Expect to see more photos of my dogs and daily life.

Andy would like treats (and maybe some pets).

In the meantime, poke around and see if there’s anything I broke on this freshly crafted nugget of a website.