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A good mid-range bicycle trip computer for touring

Alia Parker's picture
CatEye Strada Wireless bicycle trip computer review. Cycle Traveller.
One essential piece of equipment cycle travellers should take when on long tours is a good quality and accurate trip computer for keeping track of distance.
These little gadgets, when used with a map, will help you track your location and make sure you don't miss a turn, especially on remote roads where the street name may not necessarily match the name on the map, or perhaps doesn't have a name at all.
There's a huge range of tech gadgets you can get for your bike, from top of the range GPS units like the Magellan eXplorist range, right down to a number of dirt cheapies. The GPS, while capable of doing all sorts of fantastic things, have a limited battery life and require charging every one to two days, while those at the cheap end may not track the distance accurately and, if wireless, the magnets may not always trigger the sensors.
My preference lies somewhere in the middle. A good mid-range trip computer will combine both accuracy with a long battery life lasting months. Furthermore, you can always rely on a good old fashion paper map to use in conjunction with your device; maps don't need re-charging and you can throw them out when you're done with them (every ounce counts when on the road!).
An affordable and reliable option in this category is the CatEye Strada Wireless, which retails for about $60. I used this computer on our recent four day ride on Cycle Traveller's Caves and Country Route between Mittagong and Young in NSW and found it to be easy to install, easy to use and very accurate.
As the name suggests, the CatEye Strada Wireless uses magnetic sensors to determine wheel revolution, meaning you don't have any messy wires to tie up. The magnetic sensor that attaches to the front fork is large and maneuverable and not once on our ride, despite the road getting quite bumpy on the dirt sections, did the magnets move or fail to register a revolution. The distance was spot on.
The gadget offers a number of features displayed on a relatively large screen that is easy to read. Riders have the option of monitoring current speed, recording their top speed, tracking distance via the odometer and two separate trip distance clocks, using a stop watch and a general clock with the time.
The Strada Wireless has an easy to use "one click" interface, meaning you press the screen down and it will switch between features. This makes it very easy to use while riding. The only downside to this is that if you accidently lean on the gadget, you will reset the clock, wiping the data you've just stored. This is not a deal breaker, but it could be a little frustrating, especially when trying to remove the device from the mount.
Another handy feature of the CatEye Strada Wireless is that it can be mounted on either the handlebar or the stem. The mount is also adjustable and it can be reused.
While the Strada Wireless is not technically waterproof, it did display a good resistance to water when I accidently left it in a 1cm deep puddle (don't ask!). The device has continued to work perfectly.
The CatEye range of trip computers is generally reliable and widely stocked around the world. One Cycle Traveller reader says he's a huge fan of their Strada Double Wireless model, which shares the same features as the Strada Wireless, but comes with an even easier to use magnetic sensor. This one retails at around $90. Higher up the range, the CatEye Adventure will also read your altitude.
There are a number of good trip computers out there, but for quality and price, the CatEye range is very dependable.
Image: CatEye Strada Wirelss. Source: CatEye.

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