Because of my tendency to adopt new technology early I’ve been a user of wireless cycling computers for around 10 years years now (probably since they first came out) and the inherent flakiness of them always baffled me. If we can get a wireless phone to transmit from one end of the house to the other, from the basement, why can we not master the communication of devices attached to your bicycle less than 2 meters apart?
Of course I realize the limitations on the receiver and transmitter size and all that good stuff, but still!?!? Come on!! Perhaps it’s one of the downfalls of me being immersed in technology everyday – a very small tolerance for technology that doesn’t work.
Over the course of my many years of experience I’ve dealt with many models, mainly from VDO and Sigma. I’ve been very disappointed in both. From consistent ‘communication’ issues with the computer to constantly dying batteries… It was starting to not be worth my while. Rather than give up however, I decided to try a different brand. Cateye had just come out with a computer they dubbed the “Strada Double Wireless.” One of the main reasons it caught my eye is that it tracks both speed and cadence through one sensor, attached to the rear wheel. The beauty of this is that it will work on the trail as well as on the trainer!
Given my spotted past with wireless devices my optimism was limited.
To set the bar, the Strada Double Wireless is to me, more of a ‘commuter’ level computer, and as such was mounted on my Tricross (commuting/cyclocross bike). It features:
Comparing this to a full on ’training’ computer that incorporates heart rate, power output, or GPS just wouldn’t be fair. The Double Wireless doesn’t try to be something it’s not – it’s a good fit, that provides more than enough information for a regular cyclists needs.
Though I did actually have to read the instructions, installation was generally a breeze. There’s a ‘syncing’ process that took me a couple of tries, but other than that it was golden. From start to finish the install took me about 10 minutes. It could probably be done faster, but I’m a perfectionist with placement and alignment.
Another thing I really liked was that this computer is able to mount to your stem… I’m a big fan of an uncluttered handlebar and this does the trick to keep everything nice and neat.
There were only two deficiencies that caught my attention:
- The included zip-ties could’ve been a little bit longer – I used some longer zip-ties from my own collection.
- The magnet was not super awesome – The magnet included in the Cateye system clamps ‘around’ the spoke, rather than ‘to’ it. I found that the magnet would move out of position every once in a while and I would loose transmission. I ended up using a magnet from another system that clamps directly to the spoke and have yet to have a problem.
I’ve been using the Strada Double Wireless for almost a year now and I’ve only had one problem – which a quick reset of the system cured. There’s been no transmission issues whatsoever. In fact, I ran the Double Wireless’s sister computer the Strada Wireless throughout the Transrockies, and despite horrific temperatures, rain and mud, I had nary a problem.
Reading through external reviews there were a few issues that others encountered:
- Some issues with the magnet becoming misaligned and no longer syncing with the transmitter. They might be using the stock magnet, whereas I swapped mine.
- Some encountered some battery longevity problems. It’s been around a year of daily commuting and road training and I have yet to replace the battery.
- Some mentioned wireless interference with heart-rate monitors, which I can understand… I can’t validate this, but during installation the system auto-selects a transmission ID – I would speculate that if you were to wear your HR monitor during set up, it would select a channel that doesn’t incur interference.
A great buy. So long as you aren’t looking for vast amounts of data, this should do the trick. It’s not the cheapest wireless unit on the shelf, but during my time with it the Cateye Strada Double Wireless has proven durable and consistent over many months of use and the one problem I had was easily rectified. I’d gladly cough up a couple extra bucks for something that isn’t going to flake out over the long term.