New Gear: Cateye Astrale 8

After talking to two bike shops yesterday, it was obvious that the fully wireless cadence and speed monitoring bike computers (or cyclometers, I’ve been seeing them referred to as) isn’t as fully baked as one would think. Quite frankly, I don’t see the challenge. It’s just little radios, and folks — R/C fans, etc. — have been doing little radios for a long time. Apparently the rub is that the signals aren’t quite strong enough to ensure transmission to the head unit, the data is way stale by the time it’s displayed on the head unit (as much as three seconds) and there’s a lot of cross chatter with other cyclists’ wireless units.

OK, so no wireless for me…. for now. 🙂

I decided to go with the Cateye Astrale 8. The web oozes over this thing, and I though the guy at Ghisallo was going to come undone talking about it. He had the admiration and enthusiasm for this device as though he’d built it himself. And, in the end, Ghisalo was about $11 cheaper than West County for it, so it was a sale.

As I would discover, plonking down $45 for the unit was the fun part. Installation was a bear.

First, for my bike, the cable is just a little short when configured in a typical fashion — spiraling the excess cable down one of the shifting or brake cables. There just wasn’t any excess to pull that off with. I mounted the speed sensor on the rear tire, which went pretty well, although finding a point where the sensor and magnet were separated by 5mm or less was a struggle. Then I mounted the cadence sensor near one of the cranks, and discovered just the opposite problem — finding someplace to mount the sensor where the crank wouldn’t clonk it everytime. Once mounted, I attached the magnet to the crank. Getting the magnet and sensor aligned here was incredibly critical, and took a couple of tries before I got data to the head unit.

It took 75 minutes to get it installed. Ugh. But it’s there, seems to be working, and is now ready to accompany me on the big rides this weekend. I also installed my gnome (pictures to come). If the Travelocity commercials have taught me anything, you can’t just go travelling anywhere without a gnome. 🙂

Locked, loaded and packed — next stop: Columbia!