Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Easy set-up, wireless, small size of computer and large numbers, two distance features
Cons: Only two modes displayed at one time, no ‘back’ button - must cycle through all modes to get to the one you want
Best Uses: Bike commuting, moderate training, all-around riding
A durable, reliable, and easy to use wireless bike computer, the Cateye Strada records eight different modes while maintaining a slim profile and great functionality. The set-up is intuitive and quick, and can work on a multitude of bikes. The Strada has similar features to the Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Wireless and the Sigma 1009, but earns our Best Buy Award for its superior simplicity, accuracy, and range of features for an excellent price. If a true training tool is what you want for cycling, we suggest our Editor’s Choice Award winner, the Garmin Edge 810. If you have a smart phone and want a fast, detailed report of where you have ridden, download the STRAVA app, our Top Pick Award winner.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Ease of Use
The Cateye Strada is a basic computer that functions nicely. The computer must be reset in order to set speed units, tire circumference, and the clock. It takes a little while to figure out what each of the three buttons controls, even with directions, and we had to start over 4 different times. This was the most difficult part of the set-up.
The Strada incorporates Cateye’s ClickTec feature, which allows switching through modes by depressing a button located on the back of the computer. When the computer is seated on the handlebar mount, depressing the bottom of the computer engages the button. With the whole computer functioning as the 'button,' precisely hitting a specific area to navigate modes becomes a non-issue. This made it easy to navigate on the ride in general, but especially while wearing winter gloves.
Some other reviews complained of the computer popping off of its mount, but we found that it was very securely attached and required a decent amount of effort to unclip. This being said, it could be easy to mistakenly think the computer is attached before it is actually locked into position. There were also complaints of the modes resetting themselves while trying to unclip the computer from its mount. We didn’t have any issues.
You can only see two sets of information at one time on this computer. Speed is the largest, and we mostly kept the other on time. While clicking through to check distance, it was easy to over-click, making us cycle through all eight modes again. Not a pain, but not optimal. Size is small, so it stays out of the way on the bike, and you won't notice it in your pocket if you stop for a break. The Strada is also easy to transfer to another bike - just cut the zip-ties and move the sensors to the other fork and front wheel – new zip-ties required.
The Cateye Strada computer tracks current speed, average speed, maximum speed, two separate distances, and elapsed time. It also has an odometer for all-time mileage, and a clock. Cateye has included pace arrows, showing if your current speed is above or below your average speed.
The Cateye Strada held up very well in the elements. On a snowy ride, the sensors kept synced with quite a bit of sludge build up, and we never had issues with rain or snow on the computer.
Other nice features include the small size of the computer and relatively large size of the numbers on the screen. It is easy to glance at the handlebars and know your speed and whatever other mode is available at the time. The screen size is smaller than the Sigma BC 1009 STS Wireless Bicycle Speedometer, but we found the numbers are just as readable, and both computers display two modes at the same time. It is also nice having a 'Distance 1' and 'Distance 2' function. You can keep track of individual rides with 'Distance 1', clearing it after each ride. 'Distance 2' will continue to track mileage until you choose to reset. We can see this feature being particularly valuable on a multi-day ride for tracking both overall distance for that trip (not just the odometer) as well as that day’s miles. Another benefit is the wireless communication to the computer. Instead of 12 zip ties keeping everything in place, 2 ties are all that is required to keep the sensor on your fork. With less gear and ties to work around, post-ride bike cleaning was made that much simpler.
Opening and installing the Cateye Strada is pretty straightforward. The whole process takes about a half hour from opening to ready-to-ride. There are 8 parts overall, including zip ties, which are provided. Everything is pretty intuitive, so we were able to get things where they needed to go without too much direction. When we did consult the guide, there were 3 different folded instruction sheets, only half of one being what we needed.
The sensor has to go on the right side of the fork within a distance of 70cm from the actual computer, ruling out rides on a trainer. The sensor is quite large, but set nicely into a small rubber holder and zip-tied onto the fork. The spoke magnet easily screwed onto our bladed spoke by hand, and didn't take much to be sure it was in the right place and within 5mm of the sensor. The set-up was a much better experience than the Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Wireless, which required multiple tools and a sensor distance within 2mm. The bracket snapped easily into the handlebar mount, and Cateye provided an adhesive buffer to protect the handlebars. This connected to the bars quickly by hand, and the computer snapped very securely into the actual mount. A spin of the wheel showed that the sensor was working and we were ready to ride.
The Strada is a good computer for a cyclist looking to keep track of basic ride statistics. The reliability, durability, and two distance options makes it a nice option for bike touring as well.
At a price of $59.99, the Cateye Strada is comparable in price to the other wireless bike computers we tested, however the small size, ease of use, and number of features make this a better value for your money, which is what earns it our Best Buy award.
— David Mackey
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Most recent review: March 16, 2013
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