...and I don't even like Strava, or any "sharing" model. I don't expect my friends to give a sh-t about where I rode last Thursday.
CatEye Stealth 50 GPS Cycling Computer: First Look, First Impressions
by Lee Slone
In this age of data-addicted Strava junkies, fancy handlebar-mounted GPS units are ubiquitous. It’s no secret that Garmin is the market leader in the cycling GPS segment, with an informal poll of my cycling friends showing a near-total domination of the market. I’m no stranger to Garmin’s Edge line, as I’ve worked my way through the Edge series (305, 500, and 705) as well as played around with the newer touchscreen units. Garmins just work—except when they don’t, which can be catastrophic when going for a new KOM on Strava. Despite the domination of the market, I’ve always been interested in possible alternatives that might work as well or better than the what I’ve used in the past.
And speaking of the past, I was a happy customer of the CatEye Strada Wireless prior to my switch to a GPS. While a lot of old-school cyclists or those burnt-out on data might scoff at it, I’ve almost always ridden with a computer, and CatEye has been the standard for me. So, I was very interested to hear that CatEye was bringing some fresh competition in the GPS-enabled computer market with the Stealth 50 CC-GL50.
The Stealth 50 is a compact, ANT+ enabled cycle computer with a GPS receiver. Rather than being a highly-configurable device like the Edge series, CatEye has elected to go with a more traditional design with a fixed segmented LCD displays for time, speed, distance, and inputs from ANT+ sensors (heart rate, cadence, and power). They claim that you can “upload ride data to web-based training sites, such as CatEyeAtlas.com and TrainingPeaks™, where you can visualize your activity, analyze performance and share your ride.” This means that Strava-heads can rest easy knowing that their data will be easy to upload, though some may mourn the lack of in-ride data flow.
What it lacks in configurability, the Stealth 50 gains in simplicity and value—at first glance the small unit is comparable to many traditional cycle computers. It doesn’t have any provisions for displaying a map, let alone some of the even fancier features of the newer Garmins. But inside, it’s packing a GPS and ANT+ receiver, so it records the full complement of that data for later analysis. If you’re used to CatEye, rejoice: It mounts with a familiar (to owners of previous Cateyes) and solid tool-free bracket, which is easy to switch between bikes (great for most of us). For $150, it’s rather tempting for those who want to record data while riding and only really geek out on it later.
Other features include a full-time backlight, auto-stop/start and programmable odometer. The Stealth 50 is waterproof, USB rechargeable and can be used on multiple bikes, so you’ll always be ready to ride.
For its price—inexpensive compared to other, more feature-rich GPS and heartrate monitors—is a good value assuming it proves reliable. Stay tuned, as we are planning to give a full review after further testing.
CatEye Stealth 50 GPS Cycling Computer Specs:
- MSRP: $150
- Weight: 60 grams
- Battery: Lithium-ion rechargeable battery with USB Cradle
- Standard operating time: Approx. 10 hours
- More info: CatEye.com
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Hi James, thanks for your comment! The "always-on" recording with the Stealth definitely caught me off-guard, as I'm used to the Garmin model (I don't start it till I'm ready, and that's definitely not in my driveway). I was also a bit surprised by the software in my initial use - Perhaps the best addition they could make would be direct file export for users of sites and apps besides Strava. I'm a fan of Strava, but I'm also a fan of the Garmin units mounting as a mass storage device with an accessible filesystem.
I early-adopted this, and I'm regretting it. Cateye's web-based software for uploading has little training use, and the proclaimed ability to upload to TrainingPeaks doesn't exist yet. God forbid you forget to clear the memory before starting a ride, as you'll map out your trip across the house, to the garage, or worse yet, your drive to the group ride. When this happens you can't edit out the segments you don't want. Maybe they're fixing these problems, but the firmware is non-updatable, so their options are limited.