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Verdict: 
A pretty simple solution for getting data on your bar if you use your phone to record your rides
Weight: 
25g
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Cateye Strada Smart speed/HRM bundle
6 10

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.

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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

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.

Mirror mode

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.

App synching

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.

Verdict

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

Battery life:

Approx 5 months

Dimension: 47.0 X32.0 X13.2mm

Weight: 17 grams

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

Overall rating: 6/10

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.

7 comments

Avatar
themartincox [553 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Compared to the RFLKT it seems like a lot more money for less functionality and usability?

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DaveE128 [934 posts] 2 years ago
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So I'm a little unclear on whether you can run the Strava app and use this without having to run a separate app. Agree with the above comment - RFLKT looks much better value. Personally I've heard so many bad things about dropped connections with bluetooth sensors that I'm sticking with ANT+ despite the positive comments on that in this review. There are smartphones that support ANT+ with decent battery life now if you want to use a phone.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6329 posts] 2 years ago
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DaveE128 wrote:

So I'm a little unclear on whether you can run the Strava app and use this without having to run a separate app.

no.

it has its own app, which will sync with strava. but the strava app won't push data to the head unit

Avatar
roadie2013 [7 posts] 2 years ago
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re: "but the strava app won't push data to the head unit" ....

So if I just want to see my GPS/ride data etc and with no need for HRM or Cadence info, i'm setting off i'm pressing record on both my Strava app and a Cateye app?

I'll be honest the small size works for me, and if you don't need/desire cadence and HRM it seems a cool option. It also apparently tells you when a call is coming in...... (good or bad thing i'm not sure).

Roadie

Avatar
jasecd [484 posts] 2 years ago
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I have one of these (just the head unit) and I like it. You use a separate Cateye app which uploads seamlessly to Strava upon completion.

I've had no issues with it and it works flawlessly for me. I like the small size and the way it alerts you to calls and texts when you're on the road. I'm hoping for turn by turn GPS in an update but not holding my breath.

Avatar
Danger Dicko [282 posts] 2 years ago
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It's not for me.
I use a Garmin Edge 200 and I love that it doesn't alert me if I have a call or text coming through. Out on my bike seems to be the only place I can be away from calls texts and emails.

Avatar
Das [243 posts] 2 years ago
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Surly a Garmin 500 or Touring represents better value for money? I suppose the Cateye is more compact.