While some more sophisticated and comprehensive computers might require an A level in computer science to set up – and a degree in reading the often confusingly translated instructions – Cannondale’s requires neither. The instruction leaflet is clearly laid out and pleasingly brief, and attaching the various bits and bobs to your bike is pretty straightforward too, using zip-ties in a variety of sizes.
It’s easy to use as well. A single button on the front controls all the functions, and this is aided by a small rear-mounted button for the initial setting up. Pressing this rear ‘Set’ button also initiates the backlight.
On the downside, the screen is quite small, measuring just 2x3cm in a portrait format. Cadence and speed are displayed permanently, and you use the button below the screen to choose from the other functions or you can set it to scroll through the functions automatically. The small screen results in the text being tall and narrow, not quite as easy to read in poor light as the chunkier text on a lot of other computers.
The 18 functions include all the usual suspects, but being a quite minimalist machine there are no heart rate, temperature, altitude or downloading capabilities – the calorie counting and cadence features are the only non-mainstream offerings. And the cadence function is probably this device’s main selling point. A single non-driveside chainstay-mounted sensor picks up readings from magnets on the rear wheel and left crank.
You don’t need to remember to turn it off either, which should help battery life. After five minutes it goes to half power, and after 30 it shuts down automatically. We were initially concerned about a very slight rattle, but you don’t hear this when you’re cycling, and it’s actually part of the IQ400’s automatic on/off feature. A good computer then, but at this price it’s up against the likes of Sigma’s excellent BC1609 and computers with heart rate monitors.