If you’ve read my Turbo Trainer review, then you’ll realise that I had to shell out for one of these in order to record my turbo trainer sessions. I like the idea of a cheap cycle computer, but a GPS is always my first choice. Unfortunately, a cheap computer just wouldn’t do as you need a rear wheel setup for a trainer and most computers fit to the front wheel (for the simple fact that it’s nearer).
So the Cateye Strada Cadence, for a whopping £40 (in my eyes!) was the cheapest device I could find that stated it was suited to rear wheel mounting. It did come with cadence features as well, which would be a bonus for training.
On un-boxing, I couldn’t believe the size of the thing. I don’t normally photograph this part of the process, but I just had to take a picture of the computer now just in case I’d lose it after I put it down. It’s barely bigger than an SD card – if a fair bit chunkier.
The Strada Cadence offers the following functions:
- Current Speed
- Average Speed
- Maximum Speed
- Current Cadence
Installation is, initially, very easy. You might find the whole process easy, depending on your bike’s layout. The computer is meant to go on the stem, but I could only get it to fit on the handlebars. The cadence and speed sensors are placed on the chain stay and then magnets placed on the spokes for the speed and the inside of the crankshaft for the cadence with everything kept securely in place with cable ties (get spares!). It was easy enough, making sure that they line up with the sensor points, but not so easy getting them close enough as they only work at a range of 3mm. That’s practically touching. My gap was over 1cm, and so curising and problems ensued.
I thankfully had a pack of Sugru waiting to be reviewed, which is a form of rubber that moulds into shape and cures overnight. I didn’t know if it would be hard enough, but gave it a shot. It worked, but having to kludge like this is hardly a great start, and an issue that’s common with other users online.
Once I’d eventually got the sensors in place, the computer itself is no-nonsense. You simply click the entire device, activating a switch on the rear, to change screens – as easy as it gets on a bike. There’s a menu button that only needs to be accessed during setup on the rear, and once you enter your units, wheel circumference and time you’re ready to go.
The size of the computer is small, but unobtrusive and after the initial shock I grew to like this aspect. You can also place the device on a second bike, with the addition of a second fixing kit, so you can use the same computer on your turbo trainer and your road bike (if you’re lucky enough to have such a setup!) It can be rather difficult to read the computer, and there’s no back light either which would be a useful addition.
Accuracy was OK compared to the known distance cycled and if you do find that the distance is off then you probably need to change your wheel circumference. However, I’ve used it mainly indoors on a turbo trainer and it did exactly what I wanted with the added bonus of current cadence. It could also do with a setting to allow it to cycle through all the different readouts.
Overall though, the sensor fitting is the only thing that lets this device down. Most people will not wish to mess about and will fairly expect it to ‘just work’ without too much faff. It’s also a common problem online – with a number of Amazon reviewers and others who found the same issue. One other solution was to add magnets onto the ones provided in order to bridge the gap (Link). So we’re left with rather mixed feelings about this, as it works perfectly now it’s set up. However, setting it up involved far too much bodging for the price, hence only 3 stars out of 5. If the fitting was easier then we’d have no reservation about recommending it. As it stands, only buy it if you know it’ll fit your bike or you like a challenge!