The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Bike Computer + Reviews
Because being able to find the best bike computers is harder than you would think, we’ve decided to take a look at some of them and see which ones come on top, and which ones are worthy of your time. There are pros and cons to everything on the market, so don’t forget that when you check out these reviews. One of the top choices, in our opinion, is the Garmin Edge 830 Performance GPS Cycling/Bike Computer with Mapping, which has plenty to offer you. It can show you more than half a dozen information pieces about your riding, it shows you a map you can rely on so as not to get lost, and you can even check your email with it. Of course, there is always a chance you won’t find this device in the store at the moment, so you can try the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer, which also has plenty of cool features.
This item can show you plenty of info that you’d want to know, including training load focus and altitude acclimation. You can use it to verify your emails or text messages. It comes with a map so that you won’t get lost.
You will have a harder time working with the screen if it gets wet.
As it is capable of showing you plenty of info that you want to know as a bike rider, its capacity to let you connect to others via apps, and a helpful map guide so you won’t get lost, this device is one to look out for.
The aerodynamic design doesn’t slow down the bike. You can customize the settings as you see fit. It allows you to check the text messages and emails you’ve received so that you can always stay in touch with people.
As it has a shorter battery life, you will need to charge it after every ride.
Since it has an aerodynamic design, it lets you customize the settings, and allows you to communicate via email and text messages, this item is surely one that is likely to get your attention.
Also To Consider
It comes with various features that all work together so that you won’t get lost. It can show you points of interest and elevation data for a better ride. It also has the ability to create routes following your directions.
You can only communicate and receive notifications if you have data.
Because it has features that basically stop you from getting lost, lets you check out points of interest, and creates routes for you, this product is by far one of the most interesting on the market.
9 Best Bike Computers (Updated Reviews) in 2021
Because many people have trouble managing to pick a bike computer, we have taken a look at some of the top choices on the market and ranked them accordingly. Of course, all of them have pros and cons, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
- 1. Garmin Edge 830 Performance GPS Cycling/Bike Computer with Mapping
- 2. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer
- 3. Garmin Edge 1030 3.5″ GPS Cycling/Bike Computer with Navigation
- 4. CAT EYE Urban Wireless Bike Computer
- 5. Garmin Edge 130 Compact GPS Cycling/Bike Computer
- 6. CAT EYE Velo 7 Wired Bike Computer with Odometer & Speedometer
- 7. iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer Big Screen with ANT+ Function
- 8. SY Bicycle Speedometer & Odometer Wireless Waterproof Bike Computer
- 9. CAT EYE Quick Bike Computer – Wireless and Waterproof
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Garmin Edge 830 Performance GPS Cycling/Bike Computer with Mapping
As soon as you pair this product with the compatible sensors, the dynamic performance monitoring it can provide will come into full effect. This is how you will get insight into your VO2 max, training load focus, heat, recovery, nutrition, altitude acclimation, hydration, and so on so that you will never get caught off guard.
In order for you to feel safer when you ride the bike, the item comes with a bike alarm, tracking and group messaging, and it is also compatible with the Varia rearview radar and lights, which will help you see better and also be seen – of course, you have to pair it with a compatible smartphone.
The Garmin Cycle Map is routable, and it will help you ride any area as if you were a local of that area. It also includes on-device route creation and off-course recalculation, which also helps you get places faster.
This item is capable of showing you your training load focus, hydration, nutrition, heat, recovery, altitude acclimation, and many more, for a healthier ride.
The alarm bike, group messaging, and tracking features are compatible with the Varia rearview radar and lights so that you can ride your bike in a safer way.
The Garmin Cycle Map is also highly useful as it is there so that it will guide you in any area, meaning you will decrease the chances of getting lost.
You also have the ability to customize the item with free apps, widgets, or data fields that you can find in the Connect IQ Store.
If you get caught in a storm, and the screen gets wet, like older models of smartphones, you will have a hard time getting to work with the device, meaning that for using it properly, you have to be dry and have some covering for the screen.Buy from Amazon.com
2. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer
This product has an aerodynamic design. This is actually the first GPS bike computer that is fully aerodynamic so that it won’t slow you down when you ride the bike. Using the intuitive interface of your smartphone, you can pair and customize settings, configure the workout pages you want, and create links to popular cycling apps.
The item also presents other popular features, such as the one for wireless route downloads, turn-by-turn cues that you can receive from popular apps like Singletrack, MTB Project, or Strava, among others, and cycling optimized routes using Wahoo’s very own “Take Me To” feature, thus making it simpler to ride any road.
You may pair it with your smartphone so that you will receive text messages, call alerts, and emails, while also having the option to turn on the Do Not Disturb feature when you just want to get away from it all.
The aerodynamic design of the GPS bike computer means that you are able to ride the bike without feeling like the device is slowing you down in any way.
You have the ability to use the intuitive interface of your phone, so you can pair them two together and customize the settings, configure the workout pages you’re interested in, etc.
The product comes with wireless route downloads, turn-by-turn cues from various apps, and the “Take Me To” feature so that you will not risk getting lost.
You can receive your emails, call alerts, and text messages right on this device after you have paired it with your smartphone.
The battery life can be shorter than you would expect for this device, which means that you will probably have to charge it after every ride that you have taken if you want it to work the next time you use it.Buy from Amazon.com
With this device, you have the ability to ride for a longer time. It comes with the Trendline popularity routing that includes billions of miles of rider data so that you can see which are the best on and off the road routes. This proves to be helpful to everybody, from a commuter to somebody who is looking for their next adventure.
The product also comes with the Garmin Cycle Map and turn-by-turn navigation, plus new navigation alerts that have the role of letting you know when you are about to reach a sharp turn. As you are riding, you can get the information you want regarding elevation data, check out points of interest, and even look up an address you want.
You have the ability to tell the device a distance and a starting direction, and it will be able to come up with three routes that you can take.
The Trendline popularity routing has included billions of miles of rider data, which will let you check out which are the best on and off the road routes for you to take.
The Garmin Cycle Map and turn-by-turn navigation make sure that you can ride through any area as if you already know it, always helping you reach your goal.
You can do things such as checking out the elevation data, points of interest around you, or addresses, even as you are on the bike, riding it.
You can communicate a distance and starting point to the device, and it will come back with three options you can take as a result.
The notifications, in the case of this device, can only really work if you have a mobile data connection. Not only does this affect battery life, but if you find yourself in an area without any signal for mobile data, it will simply not work.Buy from Amazon.com
4. CAT EYE Urban Wireless Bike Computer
This bike computer has the capacity of displaying all of the stats that you may want to know, including the current, maximum, and average speed, the total distance and the trip distance, the elapsed time, how many calories you’ve burned, a pace arrow, and even a clock. This way, there is pretty much nothing else that you’d want to know that the device isn’t showing.
As you have the possibility of manually setting the odometer, you won’t have to start over again every single time you wish to change the battery, giving you the possibility to save your miles. Thanks to the FlexTight Bracket, you have the option of mounting, adjusting, and moving the computer by hand, all with a lot of ease.
On top of that, the computer is able to tell when you have stopped to take a break, at a red light, etc., and will instantly stop counting time and the average speed, all by itself.
The item can display all of the features that you’d be interested in seeing, from the trip distance and burned calories to the elapsed time and average speed.
You can set the odometer by hand, so when you change the battery, you won’t need to start the counting of your miles again, as the device will memorize it.
The FlexTight Bracket lets you mount, adjust, and move the computer all by hand and without having to struggle to do so.
The product knows by itself when you have stopped at a red light, took a break, etc., so it will automatically and instantly stop counting the time and average speed.
This item only has one button that you have to use to get through all nine different displays to see the number that you are interested in, so if you want to see the previous number, you have to switch through all of the others before you get to it.Buy from Amazon.com
5. Garmin Edge 130 Compact GPS Cycling/Bike Computer
This product stands out thanks to the fact that it has a design that is simpler than most and rugged with a display of 1.8 inches. Reading what is on the screen can be difficult in some cases, when the sunlight is too bright or not bright enough, but not for this product, which manages to offer you the same quality even when the sun conditions change.
Thanks to the use of GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellites, plus an altimeter, the device lets you always know just how far, hard, high, and fast you’ve gone riding on your trip, regardless if you are taking an off-road trip on the mountainside or when you are making your way through the city.
The item is compatible with Varia cycling awareness accessories, from which we can mention the rearview radar and smart bike lights. Using the device is really easy, thanks to its compact design.
The product has a simpler, rugged, and compact design, and with a display of 1.8 inches, meaning that it is much easier to carry it on your bike.
You shouldn’t have problems reading the display when the sunlight is too strong or too low because the product was adapted to always offer you a good display of the information.
Features like the altimeter, the GPS, or Galileo satellites play a role in helping you know just how fast, far, high, and hard you have been riding during the trip.
This bike computer is compatible with Varia cycling awareness accessories, from which we can mention several, such as the rearview radar and smart bike lights.
The life of the battery is not exactly great – it can last you for a couple of hours, but if you plan a 15-hour trip, as advertised, you are in for a letdown.Buy from Amazon.com
6. CAT EYE Velo 7 Wired Bike Computer with Odometer & Speedometer
This product manages to stand out thanks to a variety of things, one of them being the fact that it can display plenty of information that you may be interested in knowing. Among them, we can mention the current, average, and maximum speed, the total and trip distance, the elapsed time, pace arrow, and clock.
If you’ve decided to take a small break or you’ve just stopped at a red light, the device will know that you have stopped riding and will automatically stop counting time, as well as the average speed. The computer has a wired speed sensor, and it’s part of the entry-level devices that can be used by people who are just getting into cycling.
The battery was created so that it can last up to three years, so that means that you can install it and not think about it for many months to come.
The computer is able to display a series of information that you will want to know as you ride the bike, including current speed and average speed, total distance, and so on.
If you’ve stopped riding the bike for a while, the computer will automatically stop counting the time and the average speed so that you will get the exact results of your performance.
This computer has a wired speed sensor, which makes it a part of the entry-level devices that you can use if you are a newcomer to the cycling game.
The battery included in the devices was created so that it will have a lifespan of about three years, so you don’t have to worry about it for a long time to come.
The setup can be a bit more complicated than you would have thought, but you will manage to do it eventually, without too much hassle.Buy from Amazon.com
7. iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer Big Screen with ANT+ Function
This product has a highly sensitive GPS, meaning that it uses satellites to swiftly find out your position, track how fast, how far, and where you are riding. It also has a heart rate monitor, a speed sensor, plus a cadence sensor, so you are able to find out more information about your activity than by using other models.
You must also pay attention to the fact that the item comes with a large screen of 2.2 inches so that you will have better visibility, even when you are in direct sunlight. The battery is durable since it has a capacity of 1200 mAh, meaning it has an endurance of about 40 hours so that you can use it for a long time.
Furthermore, the product is compatible with Strava, meaning you can upload files there with no worries and no effort, giving this item a boost.
The highly sensitive GPS of this device lets the satellites find your position fast and tell you how far and fast you were going, basically instantly.
The product includes several cool information features, like finding out your heart rate, a speed sensor, and a cadence sensor, so you’ll find out what you want to know fast.
The model has a larger screen than the usual ones, totaling 2.2 inches, meaning you will truly enjoy better visibility, even as you are traveling under the sun.
The battery of the computer is durable and has a capacity of 1200 mAh, which gives it an endurance of around 40 hours, so you can use it for a long time.
The percentage grade can be, at times, a bit slower than what you would like, being behind by one second to what is actually going on at that moment.Buy from Amazon.com
8. SY Bicycle Speedometer & Odometer Wireless Waterproof Bike Computer
This bike computer has plenty of functions to make it stand out, one of them being the ability to automatically wake up from sleep mode when it starts to sense vibrations going on in the bicycle. It has a bright LCD so that you can easily see all of the ride statistics that you need. It also has a small size, so it won’t make the bike heavier.
The item is lightweight as a result of its size, it is also wireless, and it has a waterproof design so that you shouldn’t run into problems when you ride the bike in a storm. The computer can measure the speed, distance, and also the riding time. These are the info pieces that most bike riders want to know when they are riding the bike.
It also has backlighting so that you can easily read it when it is dark outside. The backlight turns on by itself between 6 pm and 6 am, when you push any button on the computer.
This bike computer will be awakened automatically from sleep mode when it senses that there are vibrations going on in the bike.
The bright LCD lets you see all of the statistics that you care to check out, including distance, speed, riding time, and so on.
The presence of the backlight means that you can read the display even during the night; it turns on automatically between 6 pm and 6 am if you push any button during that time.
The fact that it is a waterproof product means that even if you get caught in a storm, the computer won’t have problems continuing to run.
The batteries seem to generally only last about a year and replacing them can be a bit costly, about half as much as buying a completely new unit does, so naturally, some people are not too keen on that aspect of the computer.Buy from Amazon.com
9. CAT EYE Quick Bike Computer – Wireless and Waterproof
This device will let you measure your current speed and average speed, the total distance you’ve ridden your bike, the total distance of the trip, moving time, etc., so that your rides will be full of information now. The sleek design makes it very attractive for many people as it simply looks good, standing out from the classic designs.
On top of that, the product has an integrated out-front bracket and an inverted LCD screen that makes it so much easier to glance and go. It also has a head unit that is detachable so that you can remove it and attach the computer with greater ease.
The selection mode is really accessible, and it gives you the chance to use an easy menu for changing the settings. The odometer is programmable so that you won’t have to lose your miles from now on – you just have to input the numbers when you are changing the batteries.
You can find out the current speed, average speed, total distance, moving time, etc., by using this bike computer.
The sleek design makes it stand out not just because it looks good, but because it also allows for a much easier way to glance and go.
The head unit is detachable, so when you remove it, you can attach the computer more easily.
It has a really easy and accessible selection mode so that you can use the menu as you please, without having to put in too much effort for that, as other models require you to.
The signal can sometimes drop or interfere with some electronics, which makes some people less interested in the device, especially if they were planning on riding it off-road in the mountains, but it should be less of a problem in the city, so it is important what your riding style is for that purpose.Buy from Amazon.com
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Since we are living in the Information Age, it is only natural that even riding a bike is different than it was in the past, meaning that you can now get plenty of information about your activity that simply wasn’t possible before. Some people use a smartphone for that, but the best bike computer can come with other features. Verify some bicycle computer reviews for more info.
The questions before you buy
Before making any sort of decision between an affordable bike computer and an expensive one, you will need to ask yourself a series of questions so that you will be redirected to the item that fits your style the best. You must think of the info you want to register and what you plan on doing with it.
Of course, the question of buying a cheap bike computer or an expensive one is part of the deal, as well. Also, you must think about what functionalities you want for your cycling computer to have. The best cycling computer should be able to do as many things you actually want and need.
The type of rider
Unfortunately, the line of questioning doesn’t stop here as you need to ask yourself what type of rider you are if you want to really come across the best cycling computers for you. There are three types that you can belong to – the casual cyclist, the enthusiast rider, and the competitive cyclist.
The first category refers to people who are mostly interested in the speed, distance, and time of their ride. The second category is for people who are also interested in the average and maximum speed, the total trip distance, etc. The third category wants to know everything, including what the best cycling computer with cadence and heart rate is.
The bike computer
What exactly is a GPS bike computer? This is a device that you have to mount on your bicycle and has several features, such as it being waterproof, having a compact design, and in case of an accident, it is very unlikely that it would get damaged. The downside is that even the best mountain bike computers can’t be used for anything else.
Types of sensors
There are two types of sensors: the bicycle GPS computer and the magnetic one. The first one relies on a satellite receiver to transform GPS signals into riding data. You will benefit from more data options, which you can then transfer to a computer, and you can also customize the screen.
On top of that, you can also swap this device between bicycles without any problems. The magnetic type uses a magnet that is attached to a wheel spoke, and although it is an example of cheap bike computers with long battery life, there is no GPS functionality, in this case, making it less modern.
How do you transmit data?
Cycling computers can be wired or wireless. The wired one uses a magnetic sensor with a wire that transmits the signal to the display unit. This option is an example of affordable bike computers that are also simpler and lighter, but you also can’t swap them between bikes.
Furthermore, the transmission wires can get caught up and even ripped out, especially if you are using a mountain bike. The wireless computer for bicycle is much easier to install, it doesn’t have wires, and it has a general cleaner look, but it is a more expensive option, and also a heavier one.
Checking out bike computers reviews will make you aware of the fact that you can find various other features, even in the best budget bike computer. For example, a backlight is of uttermost importance, as you are likely to get caught at least once riding while it is dark outside.
The battery life for the best GPS bike computer relies on a built-in rechargeable battery, which can last up to almost a full 24 hours – usually, it’s about 20 hours. A smartphone that uses GPS and cycling apps lasts way less – between 5 and 8 hours. Magnetic units use watch batteries and can last for years.
One of the things that give the best mountain bike computer an edge is the presence of multiple data screens. You can see the data on a single screen or on multiple ones, as you scroll through using a button. You can even customize and fix these screens to your liking on the best cycling computer.
The ability to transfer data from bicycle computers to your training program software, PC, or website is a must for a modern model, this is why you will need a GPS cycling computer if you wish to do this. This will allow you to keep track of your progress, how many calories you’ve burned, etc.
How easy it is to read the screen data of a bicycle computer is very important. Bicycle computers with a magnetic unit come with a fixed font size, while the best bicycle computer with GPS usually has the option to change that size. Check out cycling computer reviews to find out more about the fonts.
So, in order for you to come across the best bicycle computer, what you will need to do is to read a bike computers review or two, and you will increase your chance of finding the best bike computers for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do you mount a bike computer?
Installing a bike computer is rather easy since you don’t have to worry about too many parts, regardless if the product is wireless or wired – though, to be honest, the wireless one is a bit simpler because there are no cables to take into consideration. You’ll start by mounting a sensor on the bike’s fork.
Start running the wire along the back of the fork so that it won’t suffer any damages. Place the bike computer display on the handlebar, somewhere where it is easier for you to see anytime you need it. Adjust its angle. Put the magnet to a spoke on the front wheel – this is very important.
Where the magnet is placed will play a part in how well the computer is going to work. Be sure that the magnet will pass by less than 5 mm from the sensor so that it will be able to recognize it. Finish everything by calibrating the computer.
Q: What should I look for in a bike computer?
Bike computers can be quite different, ranging from manufacturer to manufacturer, and, of course, from model to model. While there are plenty of people offering advice over what such a device should include, the reality is that the best bike computer is the one that fits your needs and your riding style.
The types of sensors or data transmission are important in all devices, but you must pick the option that is more fitting for you. The presence of a backlight, how long a battery lasts, how well you can read a display, these are all important features, but how important they are for you, only you can decide.
To make things more precise – a waterproof bike computer makes perfect sense, but if you live in Southern California, it’s not really at the top of your list, right? Be aware of what you need and invest accordingly in the device that you like the best.
Q: What bike computers do the pros use?
It can be hard to go by what pros use when it comes to bike computers, as sometimes people who are really talented become spokespeople for various brands, so they are likely to be biased. Furthermore, another type of bias appears, in which if we hear that a brand is good over and over again, we will really see it as such and overlook its problems.
This is why it can be quite challenging to find an honest answer to this question. The simple answer is that, brand-wise, pros usually go with the big names in the game. Garmin, Wahoo, SRM, Cat Eye, and many others are favorites, so if you want to listen to them, you will surely get a product made by one of these brands.
Feature-wise, pros like to have as many features as possible, so they’ll go for a waterproof product (which can be relative for you, as explained above), and one that has a backlight.