While other manufacturers are in a full-feature GPS arms race, CatEye have decided to concentrate on delivering the essential information in a totally sealed, simple to operate and surprisingly affordable unit.
It’s a smart move in principle. The more features that big-screen GPS bike computers such as Garmin’s 810 attain, the closer their price, size and battery life get to a smartphone – a smartphone that’s getting closer to rendering even the best GPS computers obsolete with every passing month and new app.
CatEye’s Stealth unit is barely bigger than a standard wireless unit. Both the £80/$120 10 and £100/$150 50 still have a programmable log rate (one, two or five seconds) GPS sensor to tune accuracy and battery life. The 50 is ANT+ enabled to pull data from HR belts, and power, cadence and speed sensors. The GPS speed data is impressively accurate, and sensor syncing is easy too.
It also uses a dock to connect to your PC rather than a mini USB plug, so it’s totally sealed. The functional but basic CateyeAtlas site lets you upload rides onto a map with a neat ‘fly through’ analysis sidebar, or you can put your ride straight onto Facebook, Strava and Training Logs for post-ride bragging/analysis. Two data display lines and a selection of mid-screen icons and clock put the basics clearly under your nose, and you can even set the backlight depending on clock time.
There are issues, though. There’s no programmable screen option, so the top line is always current speed while you scroll through average/max speed, distance, HR, cadence and power at the bottom – irritating if you want to display heart rate and timer together while training. The power button on the back is a neat idea to stop accidental stopping and starting but, once on, the unit starts recording as soon as you move, so you have to stop and reset before every ride. We also had problems getting it to talk to a Mac in the UK, although we’re assured it works fine with them in the US and Japan.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.