Hands-on Gear Review

Cateye Strada Slim Review

A basic cycling computer for those wanting to track distance, time, and speed.
Cateye Strada Slim
By: Curtis Smith ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 26, 2016
Price:  $70 List  |  $65.45 at Amazon - 7% Off
Pros:  Small, lightweight, wireless speed sensor
Cons:  No ANT+ compatibility, lacks versatility, no GPS
Manufacturer:   Cateye
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 11
  • Ease of Use - 30% 6
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 7
  • Features - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 20% 5
  • Water Resistance - 10% 7
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Best Buy Award

Our Verdict

Small, lightweight and affordable, the Strada Slim by Cateye is our Best Buy for the Casual Cyclist award winner. It is a non-GPS cycling computer designed for road bike use. It reads speed, time, and distance with a wireless sensor that mounts to the fork leg. If you are looking for a small, sleek computer for use on your road bike, and you are not concerned with the ability to upload ride data for analysis, then this is the cycling computer for you.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Strada Slim is a small, sleek cycling computer, with a wireless speed sensor. It stands out from other computers we tested with an incredibly low weight, at just 12g. We also like that it is designed to be attached with the included rubber straps rather than zip ties. It is not GPS enabled, and thus you are not able to download your ride data, but it is a reliable, easy to use training tool. When it senses movement it automatically starts recording, so you will never have to worry about turning it on, just get on and ride. Not everyone needs an advanced data analysis tool with GPS maps like the Garmin Edge 820 — for some simple is better.

Performance Comparison


The Cateye Strada Slim is a wireless cycling computer that does not use GPS or ANT+.  It can be mounted on the stem or handlebars using the included rubber straps.
The Cateye Strada Slim is a wireless cycling computer that does not use GPS or ANT+. It can be mounted on the stem or handlebars using the included rubber straps.

Ease of Use and Interface


The Strada Slim lacks visible buttons anywhere on the front of the computer. Scrolling through the data points is accomplished by pushing on the lower portion of the computer body, activating a hidden rear button that pushes against the mounting bracket.


It is a clean look, and you can feel a definite click when you push on the computer. The computer automatically starts up when movement is detected and keeps a running total of distance like the odometer in your car. Nothing too fancy, but it is simple, and it works every time. Compared to other more complex cycling computers such as the GPS enabled Garmin Edge 520 the Strada Slim takes less effort to master, and the various functions can be quickly figured out by trial and error. The Lezyne Super GPS also has a tactile button interface but is much more complicated to use due to a more robust set of features and functions.

Set-up


Initial setup is fairly easy, all you need to do is input your wheel size and set the current time. A tire size chart with corresponding circumference numbers is included with the directions to help you get an accurate size.


Small recessed buttons on the back of the unit are used to perform initial setup functions. We needed a paper clip to push the buttons, which was a bit of a hassle, but you should only need to go through the setup process once.

The Cateye Strada Slim is attached using the included rubber straps  but you can also use zip ties should you loose or break a strap.
The Cateye Strada Slim is attached using the included rubber straps, but you can also use zip ties should you loose or break a strap.

Attachment of the head unit is accomplished using the included rubber straps, with options to mount the bracket on either your handlebars or stem. The Speed Sensor must be attached to the fork leg, in such a manner as to achieve a gap of 5mm between the magnet that connects to a spoke. This is reasonably easy on a road bike, but we found it to be difficult for other types of bikes or road bikes with disc brakes, due to different distances between the spokes and the fork leg.

Note: it is possible to use the more flexible SPD O1 speed sensor, which works better with wider fork-to-spoke gaps with the Strada Slim. It can be purchased separately.

Battery life was consistent with manufacturer claims, one year for the head unit and 1000km for the sensor. Both the sensor and the head unit use different battery types, so you will want to have CR2032 and CR1616 batteries on hand, which is a bit inconvenient, but both can be purchased at most electronics stores. Battery life is far superior compared to computers with rechargeable batteries such as the Lezyne Super GPS and the Garmin Edge series computers, which average 24hrs and 16hrs respectively. However, the extended battery life of the Strada Slim is due to its lack of GPS connectivity and other power-intensive features such as navigation.

Features


The features on this contender are basic: you get speed, average speed, max speed, time, elapsed time, distance, and a lifetime odometer.


We tested the Strada Slim side-by-side with other computers and found the speed and distance data to be accurate. It also has an auto on function enabled when movement is detected, and it goes into off or power saving mode following 10 minutes of inactivity. There is no way to download your data to any tracking service such as Strava or Training Peaks. The more advanced GPS enabled computers we tested such as the Garmin Edge 820 have a far higher capacity for tracking and recording ride data. Also features such as mapping, Live Track, and smartphone integration allow for much higher integration of technology than the Strada Slim can provide.

Water Resistance


Cateye does not reference any particular water resistance standard, but they do claim that the Strada Slim is water resistant. We did not have any issues with performance during testing in poor weather. Some moisture made its way into the battery compartment during a particularly wet ride but had no discernable effect on the sensor.


Versatility


The Strada Slim is not a versatile computer.


It is designed to work with road bikes and is not compatible with other types of bikes. It also lacks ANT+ compatibility, so it cannot be used with third-party sensors for heart rate, cadence, or power. Another major drawback is that the small sensor range prevents you from placing the speed sensor on the rear wheel. This means that the computer is useless when the bike is used on a stationary trainer because the computer only tracks the movement of the front wheel. More versatile networks such as the Super GPS can be easily swapped between different bikes and will provide necessary ride data even in the absence of speed, or cadence sensors by using GPS to track distance and speed.

The Cateye Strada Slim uses a wireless sensor mounted on the  inside of the fork leg to measure speed  and distance.
The Cateye Strada Slim uses a wireless sensor mounted on the inside of the fork leg to measure speed, and distance.

Best Applications


This bike computer is best suited to casual cyclists and road cyclists who are not interested in tracking their data using Strava or other similar services. If you just want to know how fast and how far, this is the computer for you. The Strada Slim is an affordable solution for tracking riding data. We would not recommend it if you want a single computer that can be used on multiple bikes, due to the lack of versatility, and the need to move sensors from bike to bike.

Value


This model is limited in features and does not allow you to download your data. It is also limited to use on road bikes only unless you purchase the SPD 01 sensor from Cateye that works on a wider variety of bikes. With a list price of $70, the Strada Slim is a good value, particularly for the cyclist who will not take advantage of the advanced features offered on computers such as the Lezyne Super GPS, which retails for more than double at $150.

Conclusion


If you are road cyclist or casual cyclist looking for a basic computer, then the Strada Slim may be a good fit. It is important to note that there is no way to transfer, download, or share data. This makes working with a coach or tracking long-term fitness trends difficult. However, this contender will give you the basic distance, speed, and time, and it does so with little hassle and easy setup. The batteries will last most riders a year or more, and you don't even have to remember to turn it on.

Curtis Smith

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