The CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer is a five-function entry-level bicycle computer (cyclocomputer) that does exactly what is it intended to do.
Before I review this product I need to explain a few things first. I use Abvio Cyclemeter, an iPhone app, to record every ride I take and I keep my iPhone in my back jersey pocket during the entire ride. There are products you can buy that allow you to mount an iPhone on your handlebars, but if you keep your iPhone display turned on during a five-hour ride your battery will run dry long before you get home. I also don’t like that thought of having a rather expensive iPhone sitting on the handlebars—it seems like it would be in the perfect spot for total disaster if I crash.
In addition to the Abvio Cyclemeter I use a Garmin Edge 205 GPS on three of my bikes. My fourth bike has a CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer mounted on it. Can you guess why I don’t just get another Garmin mounting bracket for my fourth bike? Well, I ride all year-long, even when the temperatures drop to around zero. I’ve had three different Garmin GPS units and they have all stopped working during winter rides—their batteries just lose power in cold weather (sometimes in less than 45 minutes). Once the GPS unit warms up again everything is fine, but I just can’t use a GPS unit on my handlebars during the winter.
Last winter I got tired of having my GPS die during a ride, so I bought my first CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer, and I am sure that when my current Garmin GPS dies I will replace it with a CatEye Vectra. Since all the data about my ride is being recorded on my iPhone I just need the basic information displayed on a handlebar unit. Not only that, but I think Garmin products are seriously overpriced and their customer support is horrible. Their GPS units are not bad, but the software they use is an abomination.
The CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer only has five basic functions (Speed, Maximum Speed, Distance, Odometer, and Clock). These functions are all displayed (or changed) by touching one rather large button. The unit comes with one standard mount that will work with either a stem and handlebar set-up. The two most common complaints about this unit are that it lacks an average speed reading and it does not give the elapsed time. These complaints are valid, but then again, this is a basic unit—it was never intended to do everything!
I was able to install this unit in about eight minutes, but I’ve installed several products like this before. I think a total novice could install it in under 15 minutes because the instructions are very easy to follow. True to its name, this unit is wireless. A small magnet is placed on your spokes and it communicates with a sensor you place on the front fork, and then the sensor relays the information to your Vectra Computer. This past winter I rode with this unit for over 400 miles on my snow bike, and the Vectra held up well though all the mud, snow, ice and road salt I took it through.
The CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer (CC-VT100W) retails for around $45, but you can purchase it from Amazon.com for $39 and that price includes free shipping.