In these days of all-singing, all-dancing GPS cycling computers why would you want a non-GPS unit? Well, I was surprised at just how much I appreciated the simplicity of the digital incarnation of Cateye’s longstanding Padrone computer.
Its popular familiar features are still there – including the clear, large, super-legible screen and secure, easy-to-fit FlexTight mount – but it now has Bluetooth connectivity from the combined speed and cadence sensor (and optional heart rate monitor) to the head unit, and the ability to upload all your data to your mobile.
Whether pairing it with a smartphone or not, you still have to manually format the Padrone Digital using mode and menu buttons on the rear. This is fiddly, requiring a combination of long and short presses on the tiny buttons, but once done the computer is a breeze to use.
Fitting the head mount to a stem or bar and zip-tying the combined cadence and speed sensor to the non-driveside chainstay was a cinch, as was attaching the magnets to the crank arm and spoke. And, once formatted, syncing to a mobile proved straightforward.
The three-line screen displays up to four of the Padrone’s 11 functions: speed, average speed, max speed, total distance and two trip distances, moving time, clock, current average and maximum cadence.
Typically, the upper display shows your speed (in kph or mph) but you could choose it for your cadence or heart rate and you can do this using the mode key or through the Cateye Cycling app.
If you’ve got access to a GPS you can ensure greater accuracy by tweaking the wheel diameter size setting so that the Padrone and GPS run at exactly the same speed.
The real appeal of a simple computer such as the Cateye Padrone is its ease of use. There’s only one button on the front. Press it and it moves the whole computer in its cradle with a click.
It’s easy to read even if your eyesight is not the best, and the battery life is a claimed four months (beat that, GPS!). But it also lets you upload your stats to your mobile to track your fitness, or upload to the likes of Strava and TrainingPeaks. This makes it about as good as it gets for a non-GPS computer, but for this quite hefty price you could go entirely down the GPS route.