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Strada / Astale ?

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Old 12-31-11, 10:11 PM
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lphilpot
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Strada / Astrale ?

I'm looking for a non-GPS, non-heartrate computer, preferably in the <= $50-ish range more or less. Right now Nashbar has a sale on some of them and I'm trying to educate myself.
  • Wired vs. wireless? Is the easier/cleaner install of wireless worth the hassle of replacing batteries? Or do they last long enough to make it a moot point?
  • In terms of screen layout, can you configure the larger (or smaller) digits to display the specific data you want? That is, I've seen various photos where sometimes the large digits are speed, other times they're cadence, etc.
  • I've been looking at CatEye since they seem to be popular, but I'm open to others.
  • For a recreational rider, how importance is having cadence continuously displayed, as opposed to having a clock available and just counting for 10 seconds now and then?
  • Any other gotchas, tips?

Here are four that kinda stood out from the rest, given my needs:

Strada
Micro MC100W
Astrale 8
Strada Cadence
Thanks.
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Old 12-31-11, 10:38 PM
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Mobile 155
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Both wireless and wired use batteries. Wireless just uses two. For me wireless is worth it so you don't have to coil the wire around the brake cable.

Most of the ones I have used with cadence read speed and cadence at the same time with spped on top and cadence on the bottom. I I haven't used a Catseye but I know people who do. I also like the Mavic Wintech.
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Old 12-31-11, 10:57 PM
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I have a wired one on my bike, and my wife has wireless. Both work equally well. I would rather the wireless, just because its looks cleaner on the bike.
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Old 12-31-11, 11:08 PM
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I have Cat-eyes, one wireless and two wired. They work fine but the wireless one is susceptible to interference occasionally. It doesn't affect distance traveled enough to notice but it plays un-nicely with top speed! The wired ones for about the same price as the wireless have more features.
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Old 01-01-12, 01:03 AM
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I have the wired Cateye Astrale on my bikes. I use 1 head and have each bike wired with a harnesses and switch the head between bikes. I utilize the cadance screen most of the time on rides as well as the running clock.
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Old 01-01-12, 01:51 AM
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Ease of fitment makes the wireless ones very popular. They work very well-until a problem comes in and then they can be a nightmare to sort out. Don't ask me why but they do.

The wired version look a bit untidy and can be prone to damage of the wires but in 20 years I have only broken one wire and luckily that was repairable.

So what do I use? Garmin GPS. No wires- no sensors and cadence can be fitted if wanted. I also have 3 heads and 2 sensors for a Cateye wireless in the spares box. That is due to the problems that came in after a while on getting them to work. And the Tandem still has a Cateye Astral on it as in 8 years it has given no problems- and only changed the battery once in that time.

And on cadence--You think you need it but I rarely use it now. I know my comfort cadence and if I want to pedal slower-I do. I only utilize it occasionally to see if I am in the right ball park- but can be interesting to find out how slow you pedaled up that steep hill and still kept upright.
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Old 01-01-12, 01:53 AM
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I have a Cateye Strada wireless on my bike right now. Like it a lot, except for one thing: the design makes the entire computer into a big button and it is easy to accidentally lean on it for 3 seconds and reset your trip data. The same issue should apply to the wired Strada.

I've had a few different Catey models over the years and have always found their user setup instructions to be difficult.
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Old 01-01-12, 02:22 AM
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I had a cateye strada wired that worked well until the wire pulled loose from the device. Then it proved almost impossible to fix. I had a Sigma wireless device that was usually fine except when it lost the signal from interference - this is sometimes, but not always, owing to riding near someone else who has a wireless device, so its less of a problem if you tend to ride alone. Now, I've got a Garmin Edge GPS, which is just great, but 5X your target price.

Bottom line - if you don't want to spend the money for something very expensive, then wired or wireless are both ok but imperfect. The Cateyes and Sigmas both were mostly satisfactory.
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Old 01-01-12, 04:01 AM
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Wired vs Wireless Each has advantages and disadvantages. Wireless looks neater, but you have a .very tiny radio transmitter, which can very easily suffer from the bane of all radio devices RFI. The transmitter (wheel unit) will use the most power, so you want a unit that uses a common battery for that unit. The head part all use a coin cell, but it should last a year or two.

Some units might allow you to set what displays where, others don't. Typically though if it has cadence, that will be the large line, if it does not, speed is the large number.

Cadence is a training tool, in other words, a recreational rider who is not performance driven does not need it. However If your buying your first computer, get one with it, to see how your doing,providing the price premium isn't insane....

Actually with a clock count for six seconds, makes the math way easier, if I count 9 in six seconds, that gives a cadence of 90, if I count 14 in 10 seconds, 14 times 6 = 84, but I gotta think about it.
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Old 01-01-12, 06:35 AM
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I have a Cateye Strada and I love the thing. In general I've always found Cateyes to be reliable and fairly simple to operate. This is my first computer with cadence and I find it to be very helpful, especially in the Spring when I'm trying to develop cadence rather than speed.
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Old 01-01-12, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Yo Spiff View Post
I have a Cateye Strada wireless on my bike right now. Like it a lot, except for one thing: the design makes the entire computer into a big button and it is easy to accidentally lean on it for 3 seconds and reset your trip data. The same issue should apply to the wired Strada.

I've had a few different Catey models over the years and have always found their user setup instructions to be difficult.
I really like the "whole computer as a button" feature and have never accidentally reset it. I have found that every computer I've had in the past 25 yrs. was a PITA to set up. I found the Sigma to be worse than the Cateyes but they all suck IMO.
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Old 01-01-12, 07:08 AM
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Thanks for all the info!

Re: GPS, yes I like having one along, but I always carry my smartphone anyway, so I have one there. Since I virtually always plan routes in advance -- usually over familiar territory -- the GPS is for after-the-fact data, not for finding my way home.

Re: Cadence, even no longer than I've been riding (again), I can already feel when I'm in my best zone, as it were. That's usually about 75-80 or so. Initially I was thinking I'd really want cadence, but the more I think about it, if I had to chose it might go. Plus, if I have a reference of seconds I can count.

Re: Price, at some point I'm sure I'll refine what I like, dislike, want, etc. and will replace this with the "perfect" unit for my needs. That's why the low price point - This will almost certainly be a learning purchase... kinda like my current bike.

It's starting to sound like the feature set will decide, with a slight preference toward wireless if all else is equal (I don't mind installing a wired unit, but like the wireless look better).

One more quesiton: Is the sensor/transmitter 'always on' as long as a battery is installed, or is that what "auto on" refers to on some models (i.e., turns on only when motion is sensed)?

Thanks again.
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Old 01-01-12, 07:28 AM
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I got the wireless wheel speed sensor with my Garmin, for more accurate distance and speed measurements. The transmitter also measures cadence. I used to occasionally time my cadence by counting for 15 or 20 seconds, and thought that was all I needed.

But, I actually look at the cadence numbers all the time. It's surprising to me how far off my guess of cadence can be. I want to be in the low 90s, but I'll look down and see low 80s instead. Or if I'm trying to put out a big effort, I try to keep it up near 100.

So I really find it useful to have an accurate cadence display all the time.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I think all wireless transmitters go into a very low power mode when the wheel is stopped, and only send the radio signal when they see the wheel is turning. My Garmin rear wheel transmitter is still on it's original CR2032 coin battery, after more than a year.

Auto On usually refers to the timer stopping when you aren't moving. There's two reasons for this: 1. You don't have to remember to hit the start button (Garmins don't have an auto start, and I do forget to start it sometimes.) 2. Your average speed isn't reduced by the elapsed time you aren't moving.

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Old 01-01-12, 08:45 AM
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Strada Cadence, wired, on my bike. Never any problems with it. Once you get your tire circumference measured, takes 10 mins to set up. I ride with cadence and speed showing most of the time. Speed and distance if I'm following an unfamiliar route via cue sheets.

Can't recommend one over the other as I've never ridden anything but Cateye. I can say we've nto had any problems with Cateyes on any of our four bikes, over the last 8 years. I see no reason to switch...
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Old 01-01-12, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I really like the "whole computer as a button" feature and have never accidentally reset it. I have found that every computer I've had in the past 25 yrs. was a PITA to set up. I found the Sigma to be worse than the Cateyes but they all suck IMO.
I didn't find any trouble setting up a bike computer, although if your VCR still flashes 12:00 then it could be an issue.... Best place to start is the actual instruction book, and just follow along. The hardest part I found on one bike was getting the sensor close enough to the wheel for it to pick up. A few thicknesses of a Popsicle stick broken in half to make it narrow enough, then put together with electrical tape, worked wonders. I think a piece of AL bar folded over and shaped properly, would probably work better, but you use what you have on hand
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Old 01-01-12, 01:17 PM
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Mt son and I each bought the Cateye Strada. We find that the device displays speed in 0.1 increments up to 20.0 mph, then in 0.5 increments above 20.0 mph. That's kind of aggravating when I'm working hard enough to be above 20 mph but can't tell exactly how far above 20 mph I am going. Apart from that it's a pretty good unit.

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Old 01-01-12, 03:28 PM
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20 years ago the wife wanted a cycle computer. Bought the cheapest in the shop and it is pink. Shows current speed and mileage on that trip. Switch it off and it resets. It's all she wants.

Basically this is all I look at on a ride. Current speed and how many Miles I have done. But as it is a Garmin-After the ride I do look at gradient-Total climb on a ride and that is it. The rest is irrelevant.
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Old 01-01-12, 04:03 PM
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Astrale 8 Cadence wired on 3 bikes here. Have used several brands on my other bikes but prefer the CatEye product I guess. Cadence can be of use to encourage a faster pedal rate at least for me, but really don't need it. Have always used wired but can see how some prefer the wireless. As far as screen layout their is a toggle to swap the cadence into the upper or lower portion of the display.
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