The Cateye Strada Smart is a simple solution to displaying ride data on your bar if you use your smartphone to record your activities. It's only really going to be a viable option if you haven't already bought into ANT+ sensors, and it's not as configurable as some other options, but it will tick the right boxes for some riders.
Our last user survey revealed that two thirds of road.cc users record their activities using a smartphone, mostly with Strava. The vast majority (86%) don't mount the phone on their bars though. So, how to keep track of your ride data?
There are some solutions to this problem already, of course. The Wahoo RFLKT and the O-Synce Coachsmart are two that spring to mind. Both of those connect to any ANT+ sensors you have and feed that data back to your phone via a Bluetooth connection, and the phone supplies GPS data. The Strada Smart is slightly different in that it's Bluetooth only.
The bundle I've tested here is the computer, a speed and cadence sensor, and a heart rate strap. If you want the head unit on its own — if you have Bluetooth sensors already, for example — then that'll cost you £79.99
You can use the Strada Smart in one of two ways, Mirror mode or Sensor Direct. In Mirror mode, you pair the sensors with your phone, and use that to gather data. The app on the phone pushes the numbers to the Strada Smart head unit. You can pair pretty much any Bluetooth sensor, including power-measuring devices.
In Sensor Direct mode, the sensors are paired directly with the head unit, hence the name. That means if you're not taking your phone on a ride you can still use the Strada Smart, although obviously you won't get any GPS information as that's supplied by the phone.
Setting up the Strada Smart was pretty straightforward. Once you've installed the Cateye Cycling app it's a case of going through the settings to get everything paired up; it was simple enough with both Cateye and non-Cateye sensors. Pairing the head unit to the phone is straightforward too. Once everything's talking to everything else you can hit record on the app, stick your phone in your pocket and you'll get the data fired through to the head unit. Standard recording interval is one second, although you can set it to two or five if you prefer. There's an option to auto-pause the recording when you stop, or you can press the head unit for one second to pause, and the same to resume.
Setting up the head unit in Sensor Direct mode is a bit more of a fiddle and it's handy to have the instructions nearby. But to be honest it isn't a mode you're going to use much. You're only really going to be interested in the Strada Smart if you're using your phone as your primary recording device. If you want a standalone solution then you can get a GPS computer with ANT+ sensors for the same money as the Strada Smart; Cateye themselves make one, the Stealth 50. So you'd most likely do that. The odd time when you forget your phone, or it's out of battery, then it might be useful as a fallback. The head unit has enough storage space to hold a few decent rides.
So let's assume that you're using the Strada Smart in Mirror mode, to show the data that your smartphone is recording. Does it do a good job? Yes, pretty much. The connections between the app and the sensors and head unit seem very stable – I've not had any issues with sensors or the head unit being dropped – and the different data is easy to access via the clicky head unit; like most Cateye computers, the whole head unit is basically a button, so you tap it to switch views.
There are two main data fields. The one at the top displays speed by default, although it can be configured to show heart rate or cadence if you prefer. The bottom field cycles through the different available data on each click. There's total distance, elapsed time and two trip distance counters, plus altitude in Mirror mode and heart rate, cadence and power from any paired sensors. Average and maximum values for speed, cadence, heart rate and power are also available.
If you're used to looking at a Strada computer – or any small computer – then the Strada Smart is much the same. The readout is clear and easy to understand, although it takes a bit of time to remember where you're looking for the little symbols that tell you what display you're on. The LCD screen isn't as configurable as a dot-matrix display would be, and can't show you as much at once, but realistically if you're considering the Strada Smart you're more the kind of person that likes to keep a record of your ride, as opposed to someone who likes having all their data to hand in real time.
Cateye's Cycling app syncs easily with Strava and TrainingPeaks and allows you to push your rides to Cateye's own portal, Atlas, as well. That ship has sailed, though: there's very little on Atlas. You can share your exploits on Facebook and Twitter too. The app is okay, but it's not as polished as some of the other options for recording on your phone, and feels a bit clunky at times. It's been updated a couple of times since I got the Strada Smart, and is getting better, but it's not the seamless experience of the Strava or Wahoo apps, for example.
So, is the Strada Smart for you? Maybe, if you're wanting to use your phone and you don't have any ANT+ sensors already. It's a simple enough solution for recording your data and getting some of it to your handlebar. It's a pretty expensive way of getting it done, though, for the amount of data you can view at any one time. The Strada Smart isn't great value as a package: the Cateye Bluetooth sensors are far from the cheapest, adding £90 to the price of the head unit. It's worth shopping around for cheaper alternatives for the sensors and buying the head unit separately if you think it'll suit your setup.
A pretty simple solution for getting data on your bar if you use your phone to record your rides
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cateye Strada Smart speed/HRM bundle
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Strada Smart connects with your smartphone through the CatEye Cycling App. The Strada Smart is mounted on your handlebar or stem, while the smartphone is stashed out of harm's way in a pocket or saddle bag.
In Mirror mode, the smartphone records ride data and transmits a copy to the Strada Smart. Phone call and email alert icons are also displayed. The phone is kept in sleep mode, preserving the battery. The Strada Smart can work with Bluetooth Smart Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate and Power sensors in this mode. When smartphone use is not an option, Sensor Direct mode can be used as a back up. Sensor Direct mode syncs the Strada Smart directly with the Bluetooth Smart Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate and Power sensors, so important ride data is always available.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Current speed： 0.0(4.0)～105.9km/h
Total distance： 0.0～9999.9/10000-99999km
Trip distance 1： 0.00～999.99km
Trip distance 2： 0.00～999.99/1000.0～9999.9km
Elapsed time： 0:00'00"～9:59'59"
Average speed： 0.0～105.9km/h
Maximum speed： 0.0(4.0)～105.9km/h
Wireless transmission： Bluetooth®
Clock： 0:00'～23:59' [1:00'～12:59']
Pace arrow： Yes
Auto power saving： Yes
Auto mode： Yes (Auto/Manual start/stop)
Dual tire size： Yes
Tire size： 100mm～3999mm (default：2096mm)
Compatible sensors： CatEye brand ISC-12 Speed/Cadence sensor / HR-12 Heart Rate sensor
* Also works with other brand Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate, and/or Power sensors conforming to Bluetooth4.0 CSCP/HRP/CPP
Battery： CR2032 X1
Approx 5 months
Dimension： 47.0 X32.0 X13.2mm
Weight： 17 grams
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's pretty good, but not as configurable as some. If you already have ANT+ sensors you'll want another solution.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Small, simple, light.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
App is clunky, could do with more configurable screen.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes and no. It does a job, certainly
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe, depending on what they wanted
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 189cm Weight: 91kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.