As a junior road cyclist, I wanted a bicycle computer to track my workouts. I had purchased a cheapo one from eBay to replace the Bell F12 that I had ruined when I crashed, but it wasn’t water resistant and would crap out on rainy rides.
One of the core features that I wanted in my next speedometer was a way to track cadence. My knees have always been a little weak and I wanted to train myself to run in a lower gear and at a higher cadence.
Cadence is the number of times your crank turns in a minute. The idea behind cadence is that a higher cadence in a lower gear takes pressure off your knees and prevents injury. However, it also seems to require a slightly different set of muscle memory and muscle type, so you have to get used to working out at the higher RPMs.
Most of the Cadence calculators were wireless and extremely expensive. For over a decade, the Astrale 8 has been one of the only rear-mounted, wired, units that also includes cadence.
The downside with a unit like this is that there is a lot of cords that need to be installed on your bicycle. It is hard to go with a unit like this and still keep everything aesthetically pleasing.
Style points aside, the durability of this unit is like none other. Mine lasted for over ten years with one wiring harness replacement.
Cateye has since discontinued the Astrale 8, offering the new Strada instead.
There is a wired and a wireless version of the Strada (plus a wireless version with heart rate monitoring).
The Strada is a sleeker design and does away with buttons. Instead, you just push the base of the unit to scroll through your settings. Frankly, I like this new design better.
The other neat feature is that this computer can be programmed to two different bicycle tire sizes. So you can buy an extra harness, install it on your second bike, and move the computer between two bikes.
Also, the fact that it detects your speed based on the rear wheel means that you can use this speedometer in the off season when you are riding the trainer. It will still measure speed, miles ridden and cadence.
I pretty much only use the average speed and total distance for keeping track of my workout. The Cadence is what I watch most while I am riding to make sure I am protecting my knees. With the Astrale 8, you could set Cadence to be the most prominent number. The Strada doesn’t have that feature, so I’m stuck watching my pitifully slow speeds as well.