A few posts ago we let you know that we’d just received a few samples of the CatEye Velo 8 cycle computer. We’ve been using the computer on a few different test bikes for a little over a week and wanted to update everyone on the experience so far.
Background on CatEye:
Cateye is a very experienced cycling company. Founded in Osaka, Japan in 1946, CatEye launched the first flashing lamp for bikes in 1964. CatEye also created the first head lamp using white LEDs in 2001. CatEye moved into the cycle computer business in the early 1980’s and now offers a large line of computers with various functions and available at almost every price point.
The Velo 8 Cycle Computer:
We selected the Velo 8 as a test version largely because of it’s affordability and CatEye’s reputation. We’ve used CatEye computers in the past and know many other users who have been pleased with the computer’s performance. Since we’re always looking for gear for beginner triathletes, we were very happy when the folks at CatEye agreed to provide a few test samples of the Velo 8.
The Velo 8 isn’t the most entry level computer from CatEye, but with a MSRP of under $25, this computer is a great price point for a computer with a few extra features you wouldn’t expect from an entry level computer. Of course, the Velo 8 features all the standard data points: Current, Maximum, and Average speed; trip distance; odometer; a clock; ET; and a bonus, calorie consumption. The Velo 8 has your standard auto start and stop, auto powersave, and thankfully, displays speeds up to 185mph, just in case you get a great tailwind. The Velo 8 mounts on your front wheel with a 27″ wired link. This can prevent it’s use when your using a trainer.
Mounting and Using the Velo 8:
Here’s what you’ll see when you open the box:
As we mentioned earlier, the computer mounts very easily using the tool free mounts. That said, you need to make sure, unlike your tester did, to pay attention to the mounting arrow to ensure you don’t have the mount upside down. There was plenty of wire to mount the computer at the tip of our aerobars, so you’ll have plenty of room to mount wherever you please.
The installation instructions are pretty straightforward, as are the setting directions. With only one button, it’s easy to scroll through the settings and select your tire size. We wish there was some way to adjust the calorie calculations. Since we had multiple testers using this product, we would have liked to see some way to adjust this setting; two women of different sizes and two men, also different sizes, obviously burn a different number of calories.
We did notice that the sensor on your spokes had to be adjusted a bit to have the computer pick up. This is a pretty grainy photo, but we had to tilt the sensor and the spoke magnet to get an accurate reading.
We have used this computer on multiple rides since we received the samples. In each case we compared the data points to another computer and to other rider’s computers. In each case, the readings were consistent, some differences between computers, but all data points were within a reasonable margin of error. We believe that this computer is as accurate as any other cycle computer.
We were impressed by the readability of the display. Even with our sunglasses on, the numbers were readable and clear. One ride was in a misty rain and we were still able to clearly make out all the data on the display. In direct sun the numbers washed out a little, but we’ve yet to find a reasonably priced computer that doesn’t suffer from this problem.
We expect to use this computer during the White Lake Half Iron Distance race and possibly the Gulf Coast Tri the following weekend. We will update any further observations, but we’ve used the computer enough to make a few conclusions. First, this is one of the easiest computers we’ve found to mount and set up. From start to finish, we spent only about 20 minutes going from box to an installed and working computer. That includes our mis-mounting the computer the first time.
The computer provides all the data points most riders need. The pace arrow is a great tool and your current speed is clearly displayed. We generally rode with the elapsed time showing, but finding the time or our average pace was only a few clicks away. Though you can’t use this computer with a trainer, we don’t think this is a huge setback. Many beginners don’t have access to a trainer, so this limitation is largely hypothetical. This entry-level computer is a reasonable choice for most cyclists. Until you get into serious training and need cadence averages, heart rate tracking, and countdowns, the Velo 8 will serve you well as a solid and useful computer.