Sunday, 22 June 2014

CatEye Strada Digital Wireless w/ Cadence Hands-On Review

cateye strada double wireless review photo
If you are looking for a wireless cycle computer with speed, cadence & heart rate then the Cateye Strada Digital Wireless has to be a serious contender, but is it any good? Read our review below to find out.

According to their website, CatEye have been making cycling computers since 1981 so it's fair to say they should know what they are doing. They offer a wide range of wireless cycle computers from the top of the line CatEye Stealth 50 GPS (£179) to the CatEye Velo 5 (£14.99) and at the time of writing the CatEye Double Wireless retails at about £79.99 which is pretty much middle of the range.

I personally bought this product because I wanted a simple computer which would measure cadence to help with training (if you don't know how important cadence is to improving your speed and efficiency on a bike then I suggest you get googling). After doing some online research myself, the CatEye Digital Wireless seemed to be well recommended and within my price range.

After riding with it for around 1000 miles I thought it was time to do a review.

Review Contents
  • Features
  • Tech spec
  • Installation
  • On the road usability
  • Looks/durability
  • Photos
  • Summary

Features
  • Current cadence
  • Current / average / maximum speed
  • Pace arrows indicate current speed vs. average speed
  • Trip 1 and trip 2 distance
  • Total distance
  • Elapsed time
  • Clock
  • Auto start/stop/power saving
  • Automatic sensor recognition
  • Heart rate (requires heart rate sensor sold separately)

Technical specifications - Cateye Strada RD410DW

Current speed:0 ~105.9 km/h (0 ~65.9 mph)
Elapsed time: 0:00'00"~9:59'59" 
Heart rate:0 (30 minimum)~199 bpm
Cadence : 0 (20 minimum)~199 rpm
Trip distance 1: 0.0~999.99 km/mile 
Trip distance 2: 0.00 ~9999.9 km/mile
Average speed: 0.0 ~105.9 km/h (0.0〜65.9 mph)
Maximum speed: 105.9 km/h (65.9 mph)
Total distance (Odometer):0~99999km/mile
Clock: 0:00'~23:59' 
Pace arrow:Yes
Auto power saving:Yes
Sleep mode:Yes
Auto start/stop:Yes
Dual tire size: Yes
Odometer manual set:Yes
Tire size:0100cm~3999cm (default: 2096mm/700c)
Battery:Lithium battery CR2032X1
Battery life:Computer: approx 6 months (1 hour use per day, may vary depending on environment.)

Heart rate sensor*: approx 1 year (1 hour use per day, may vary depending on environment.)

Speed sensor: approx 1 year (1 hour use per day, may vary depending on environment.)

Size:                                  Computer (46.5mm x 31mm x 16mm)
                                          Speed/cadence sensor* (47mm x 62.4mm x 13.1mm
                                          Heart rate sensor (31mm x 62.5mm x 13.2mm)

Weight:                              Computer (20.3 grams)
                                          Speed/cadence sensor* (21grams
                                          Heart rate sensor (15.4grams)

*heart rate monitor is not included with the RD410DW and must be purchased separately.

Installation
Despite a few online reviews suggesting the Strada Double Wireless is hard to install and set up I was pleasantly surprised to find it took under 30 minutes from opening the box to have everything installed and ready to go for a test ride.

The head unit clips into a mount which is secured to the stem/handlebar with a simple nut and threaded strap.

The speed/cadence sensor is combined into one single unit which is mounted to the non-drive side chain stay (the part of the frame which connects the bottom bracket to the rear drop out) using two cable ties.

There are two magnets to measure speed and cadence data - one on the crank arm which is secured via a cable tie and one on the spoke which is secured with a nut.

Once everything is in place the speed/cadence sensor will need a bit of adjusting to ensure the magnets pass within 3mm of both sensors, this took about 1 minute and requires a phillips cross headed screwdriver.

I have read several reviews online where users had difficulty setting the sensors at the correct distance or that they kept slipping out of range when riding. However, since fitting mine I have ridden approximately 1000 miles over bumpy roads, through puddles, in wind and rain and have not had to adjust a thing. Fit and forget, very impressed.

On the road
On the road the Cateye Strada Double Wireless is easy to use because of the simple 'one button' operation and to scroll through the functions you just push the whole unit down against the mount which makes a positive 'click' sound when you push down - a welcome bit of positive user feedback.

Although it is easy to use on the move, to be honest on most rides I don't even need to touch it and just leave the display set on current speed and cadence. My only gripe with the operation would be if you were regularly checking another function it would be quite tedious to click through all the functions to get back to speed and cadence (scrolling through functions is one-way only).

The screen has enough contrast to be seen on the brightest of days with sunglasses on (a rare occurrence for UK readers) and despite the small size of the computer, is easily readable at a glance.

My only slight criticism is the delay in reporting data which I have timed at about 6 seconds. e.g. after accelerating quickly away from a traffic light it can take 6 seconds to register you are moving. However, when you are out on the open road this isn't an issue as speed/cadence is generally much more steady and it is very rare you need to know your precise speed at that very second.

I'm not sure if this is a general issue with wireless cycle computers or if the Cateye Strada Double Wireless is especially laggy, any comments below on this would be welcome.

The current speed function also displays pace arrows which point up or down depending if your current speed is above or below the trip average speed. This is a useful feature as long as you remember to reset average speed at the start of every ride (which I never do).

In the photos below you can see every combination of data the unit will display. I have set the largest 'upper' display to current speed although this can be switched to cadence or heart rate depending on the focus of your ride. Speed can also be changed to km/h.
Cateye Strada function screens
1. Current speed / current cadence / current heart rate
2. Current speed / trip 1 distance
3. Current speed / trip 2 distance
4. Current speed / average speed
5. Current speed / max speed
6. Current speed / distance covered
7. Current speed / clock
8. Current speed / moving time
Looks & Durability
The headunit seems extremely compact and durable and I can confirm that it will survive being dropped at 30mph on the road (a err friend of a friend didn't clip it into the mount properly before starting a ride).

Aesthetically I think it looks great, especially compared to similar priced products from competitors. The design is simple and unobtrusive and will blend right into your bike without shouting "HEY LOOK I'M A BIG UGLY COMPUTER BOX THING".

I know to a certain extent we shouldn't fuss over looks but no one wants to ruin the aesthetic of their carefully designed bike with a clunky looking computer which looks like it's from the 90's.

Combining speed/cadence into one sensor is also a good move to keep the visual impact of this device to a minimum. It is also completely wireless.


Photos
cateye strada double wireless size
9v battery for size comparison
cat eye strada digital wireless size comparison
And a 10p coin, this thing is tiny!
cateye strada RD420DW size
About the same depth as the 9v battery
cateye strada double wireless mounted to stem
The screen is filthy in these photos, apologies.

I was pleased with how the Strada Double Wireless blends right in with the rest of the bike.
Profile shot, slightly chunky from this angle.
Wireless cadence/speed combined sensor
Cateye ISC-10 speed/cadence sensor
Cateye ISC-10 speed/cadence sensor mounted with two supplied cable ties
ISC-10 sensor with speed and cadence magnets
Supplied ISC-10 sensor with speed and cadence magnets fitted



Summary

Pros
  • Small and durable design
  • Head unit looks good
  • Lightweight
  • Clutter free easy to read screen
  • Easy to install and set up

Cons
  • Small screen might be hard to read if you have a visual impairment
  • One way menu system can be frustrating to use
  • Data reporting lag may annoy some users

It's good for
Cyclists who want a small and simple wireless computer with speed and cadence to assist their training.

It's not good for
Cyclists who need more advanced features such as GPS, ANT+ power meter compatibility and touch screen.

The Final Word
Would I recommend this product? Hell yeah! You'll be hard stretched to find a completely wireless cycle computer with cadence in this price range and the simple, unobtrusive design and proven durability make it a product well worth buying. I ordered mine from Wiggle and it was delivered the next day, can't get much better than that.

Anything to add to our review? Please comment below.

1 comment :

  1. I think I will invest in one of these little magic boxes after reading this!

    ReplyDelete