Cycling has picked up in popularity ever since the pandemic has started. More and more people are trying it out as cycling is a much safer alternative to commuting. It is also a great form of exercise while getting to one's destination. To aid someone while on the bike, a cycling computer is a good tool to use because it displays and records data about your ride.
If you are training, you can keep track of your fitness level as well as your efforts through the device. If it’s your first time in a certain area, you can also use it to navigate through a place. Read on as we will share a list of our 10 picks on the best cycling computers available online. We will also go over the features to consider in choosing one. Let's start!
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Table of Contents
Cycling computers are for people who are really into cycling, especially at a competitive level. People who love long rides or would want to regularly train and see the numbers they are producing will want to have a cycling computer. They can use the acquired information to assess their training and see the statistics of their rides.
However, phones often do well enough if your only concerns are the speed, distance, and route of your ride. One disadvantage is that the battery gets drained faster as the phone is tracking a multitude of data. This might be of concern as your phone is your primary way of communication when emergencies occur.
If you also practice multidisciplinary or you're a person who performs other sports, such as cycling, running, and swimming, it is better to go for a fitness tracker to be able to acquire data across different sports. However, some cycling-specific data, such as power and cadence, might not be acquired through a fitness tracker.
Choosing a cycling computer depends on what type of data you require from it. Some riders may need basic data, such as speed and navigational recording, while some require multitudes of data. We will go over the considerations that you need to remember for you to have a good grasp of what cycling computer will work best for your needs.
The power of GPS gives insight into the rides that you will be completing. It is important to determine the distance you traveled and to have the option of route planning if it is the first time you are riding in a particular area.
Most cycling computers already cater to GPS tracking, with only the most basic bike computers lacking the functionality. The use of the Global Positioning System or GPS helps with the tracking of your route as well as distance, speed, and elevation. The higher-end cycling computer models tend to offer a much accurate reading. These provide better data for your analysis.
If you are unfamiliar with your route or you like exploring new places, getting a cycling computer with turn-by-turn navigation will do you wonders. Some middle-end units offer basic tracking and notify you when you are off-course.
On the other hand, high-end devices offer similar functionalities to that of car navigation systems, suggesting new routes when you make a wrong turn, even guiding you as you approach a turn. They have built-in maps and can even display the specific elevation of the route in real-time.
How your body responds to the stresses you put on it is indicative of whether the training is effective or not. To understand how your body reacts, getting a heart rate monitor for cycling will help achieve training gains. Some sensors cannot pair with this type of sensor and don’t display heart rate data, so check if it is compatible.
Meanwhile, for those who are into mountain biking, some cycling computers also provide metrics, such as jumps, air time and, flow or the smoothness of your descent. Trail routes are also included, making it very important for your cycling computer to have navigational features.
Depending on your budget and display needs, choose a screen that can offer you the necessary display features during your rides. Meanwhile, also look into the mounting options to ensure that you get the best viewing experience with a stable device.
The way your data is displayed is important, however, take note that the better the display, the higher the price. Lower-end cycling computers only use analog displays for numerical information.
Middle-end devices cater to black-and-white 16-bit displays, which can show maps and navigational cues. Higher-end have touch screens with colored displays for better viewing during rides. Most brands also let you choose what data you can display to cater to your training.
There are different mounting options available for cycling computers. The easiest to mount is through a rubber attachment which gives you more options on where to mount it. However, this is the least secure and has higher chances of the device falling off during bumpy rides.
Some utilize a twist-and-lock mechanism that offers a much more secure attachment. It can be mounted at the bar or the top cap, depending on the accessories. Attachment options come with the cycling computer, but you can buy additional accessories if you want more options on the mounting.
What is the use of the data you've recorded if you cannot send it to your phone or computer for analysis? Cycling computers have built-in wireless connections for sensors, smartphones, and computers to share data before, during, and after your rides. Apps also use these connections to directly analyze those data and give you insights.
All cycling computers come with a form of wireless connectivity. It may come in ANT+, Bluetooth, or WiFi. Most sensors communicate with a cycling computer using ANT+ as it can support multiple sensors at the same time. Bluetooth offers great connectivity but only caters to one sensor at a time.
Some have WiFi which can be convenient if you want to upload or download data on your cycling computer. To maximize your purchase, choosing cycling computers that come with Bluetooth and ANT+ is the way to go. You don’t necessarily need WiFi as you can connect it to your phone to download and upload data onto it.
Basic cycling computers can only connect to cycling applications, such as Strava, and don’t offer any customization options. If you spend a little more on your cycling computer, some have smartphone applications that can monitor the data presented on it, set routes, and offer page customizations to show which data matters to you while riding.
These applications also cater to indoor cycling, controlling the indoor trainer and linking other sensors to it to broadcast data to your computer. This makes it easier to set up, plus you can start focusing on increasing your fitness instead of fiddling over your cycling computer.
As cycling computers are electronic, they are highly reliant on the battery packs they are using. It is also a best practice to have them waterproofed as cycling in the rain is inevitable on some occasions. Let's see why these two things are important for a cycling computer.
The common consensus is that the bigger the cycling computer, the longer the battery life. Smaller computers only cater to around 4-5 hours which may be sufficient for some, but this means that you have to check the charge before each ride to know if the battery will last through the ride duration.
Bigger cycling computers offer a run time of 15-24 hours, meaning that you can bring it to longer rides without any worries of the cycling computer running out of battery. It also reduces the number of times you will charge, making it a hassle-free experience.
There will be instances when we have to cycle in the rain, be it a race or when we are caught outside during training. Since a cycling computer is a hefty investment, there are concerns on whether it can last a downpour without any electrical damage.
Thankfully, most cycling computers come waterproofed, so you don't have to worry about the components getting wet. The waterproofing ratings differ across models, so check with the manufacturers regarding the rating of the cycling computer that you will get.
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Edge 130 Plus Black Bike Computer
Light and Compact Cycling Computer That Delivers
Bike Computer G+ Wireless Cycling Computer
A Device Perfect for Everyday Riding
Edge 1030 Plus Bundle GPS
An All-Out Data Gathering Computer for Your Ride
Elemnt Roam GPS Bike Computer
An Easy-to-Use and Powerful Cycling Computer
Padrone Stealth Edition Cyclocomputer
A Cycling Computer With a Speed Sensor
Wireless Bicycle Computer
Minimalist Data Tracking for Your Cycling
Mounting and Cycling Computer in One Form Factor
Wired Cycling Computer for Reliability
USB Rechargeable Wireless Bike Cycling Computer
Easily Attach This to Guide Your Training
Multifunctional Cycling Computer
Harness the Power of the Sun for Your Cycling Device
Garmin has been at the forefront of delivering data for sports enthusiasts. It is only natural for them to produce cycling-specific peripherals for data analytics. This Garmin Edge 130 Plus is their entry-level take on the lucrative world of cycling.
The display comes in a 1.8-inch monochrome color scheme that works well in the sun. It has a backlight, should you fancy riding at night. You can sync this to their app, the Garmin Connect™, and connect it to training apps such as TrainingPeaks® and Strava for your workouts.
Edge 130 Plus uses multiple satellite systems and a built-in altimeter to track elevation and your whereabouts. It also caters to mountain biking, so they won't be left behind. It has a small form factor with features that is more than meets the eye.
It features a 1.8-inch display that is a joy to read in sunlight. It is also backlit, so no more squinting during the night. It supports Bluetooth and ANT+ technologies to pair your phone and sensors. Supporting that is a rechargeable battery that lasts 25 hours on a single charge. Talk about long-lasting!
The cycling computer records up to 15 data fields, which is enough for enthusiasts and advanced cyclists. If you are caught out in the rain, you need not worry about your data as it has an IPX7 rating, keeping it safe from water damage. It is compact and small yet acquires data like a true pro.
The big guns have been unleashed with Garmin's Edge 1030 Plus cycling computer. This is what you dream of when you want the best and the most technologically advanced gear for your cycling endeavors.
Harnessing its computing power, the cycling computer is able to dynamically monitor your performance. It incorporates VO2 max, recovery time, and training load to maximize your gains in each and every training that you do. You can do all this through the Garmin Connect™ app that you can sync seamlessly.
It also notifies you of your nutrition while on the road to help you stay fueled, mile after mile. Mountain bikers will also enjoy its MTB-centric metrics, where you can measure grit, flow jump count, jump distance, and hang time. It's a no holds barred device to keep you in tiptop shape.
Wahoo has been at the forefront of delivering devices that wow. The Elemnt Roam is designed as a cycling computer to deliver the performance that you need and more. It is made to cater to every possible cycling metric that you might think of.
The device features a vibrant, crystal clear 2.7-inch color display that is easy to view and navigate through while on your rides. Made from Gorilla® Glass, it resists scratches and bumps, which is handy if you like rough roads. It houses a battery that lasts up to 17 hours, so you will never go out of juice when training or bike packing.
It has awesome connectivity with popular apps, such as Strava, Komoot, and TrainingPeaks, so you will have access to your cycling data whenever you need it. If you want your loved ones to track you, it has a live track feature to have them see where you are at.
The screen is big with large numbers to display the current speed, total distance, trip distance, elapsed time, as well as max and average speed. It also displays the time, so you won't lose track of it while enjoying the scenery.
The Padrone is a lightweight cycling computer, clocking in at 31.5 grams. It is powered by CR 2032 batteries, which are supplied in the packaging, and last for about a year with around 1 hour of usage every day. Get this now if you want a light, long-lasting cycling computer and can live without GPS capabilities.
In the package, it comes with a speed sensor and 2 batteries. The battery can last a year and has solar charging as well. It is easy to set up; just align the sensor and the magnet on your wheels, turn on your cycling computer and pair them, and presto, you're ready to enjoy a full-fledged speedometer.
If speed is what matters, then this delivers it to you fast. It can track your current, average, maximum, and minimum speeds so that you know if you are the king of the road as you cycle vast landscapes. It has backlighting as well if you want to conquer roads at the peace of the night.
An embodiment of form and function, the Cateye Quick Cyclocomputer is an easy-to-install cycling computer. It is built in the bar mount, offering fast clip-in and out of the handlebars. This gives you an edge in determining your speed, distance, and other data that might be of interest to you while on your commute.
A winner of the Good Design Award 2018 and iF Design Award 2019, it incorporates an analog display that is crisp and clear. The build is aerodynamic and sleek, making heads turn with the form factor. It is programmable; you can choose which data you want to be displayed all the time.
Powered by a removable battery, it will last you a year with careful and planned usage. There is also a battery indicator to notify you if you need to change it already. For good design and functional data on your rides, you will not go wrong with this device.
The cycling computer is connected to the speed sensor, so you are assured that you are getting accurate data each and every time. It can display the current speed, riding time, riding distance, current time, and date. It is backlit for those night rides and has buttons to toggle among the numerous data. Getting wired has never been this reliable!
It has a 120mAh battery that can be charged in an hour and lasts for 12 hours with the backlight on and longer with it off. There are two buttons that you can toggle to interchange the data being displayed. With the included computer mount, the computer is in front of you, right where you need it.
The need to determine one's speed is inherent to cycling. If this is important to you above all others, West Biking has got you covered on that matter. It comes with its own speed sensor and has its own wireless digitally encoded connection to deliver accurate data to the screen. Add solar charging in the mix, and you have a long-lasting cycling computer for your rides.
The screen is readable day and night. It can display data regarding the speed and is interchangeable with temperature, time, and distance traveled. Installation is also hassle-free. With the included rubber bracket, just latch it on the bar and slide the device. Simply set it up and ride on.
Aside from improving yourself, you can upgrade your cycling gear and experience some performance gains in your cycling. Items such as cycling shoes and socks can help you transfer more energy to the pedal. Meanwhile, lighter bike chains can also transmit a more efficient power to the gears, helping you turn the wheels much easier. Shop below from our recommendations!
Recorded data from the ride has been the number one companion of cyclists when they want to improve. The use of a cycling computer has aided some of the top cyclists in their quest to become better, and you should do the same as well. Now that you know the considerations in selecting one, we can’t wait to see the progress you are about to make as a cyclist.
Author: Richard MartinEditor: Ayeza Mangulabnan
No. 1: Garmin | Edge 130 Plus Black Bike Computer
No. 2: XOSS | Bike Computer G+ Wireless Cycling Computer
No. 3: Garmin | Edge 1030 Plus Bundle GPS
No. 4: Wahoo | Elemnt Roam GPS Bike Computer
No. 5: Cateye | Padrone Stealth Edition Cyclocomputer
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