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Best Bike Computers

last updated Feb 27, 2019

You have a fancy watch, a smartphone, a computer, car navigation system, and a pretty bike. Don't you think that your bike is feeling left out? Sure, the bike is lucky to have you but we all know that you get lost sometimes or don't quite take her out for as many miles as she begs for. Investing in a bike computer can be life changing for both you and your sweet bike. For some people, riding a bicycle is more than just an entertaining recreational activity. Some are so dedicated to the craft that they inspire to reach heights that they never thought they would before. For these types of biking enthusiasts, you will want to ensure that you have the most elite and advanced bike computer on the market.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
GARMIN EGDE 520
95.4/100 our score
Accuracy
97
Ease of Use
98
Compatibility
96
Battery Life
97
Accessories
89
GARMIN EGDE 520
Why is it better?

Can acquire GPS and GLONASS satellite signals

Offers Strava Live Segments

Includes all the basic metrics such as calories burned, distance and speed

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
GARMIN EGDE 520
Test Winner: GARMIN EGDE 520
Researched Sources
17
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
14K
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for bike computers has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products to help you while biking in case you get lost or want to keep track of how many miles you have ridden. A great bike computer to keep your eye on is the Wahoo Element. We love this bike computer because it is known to be able to toggle between several different zooming angles and it is compatible with KICKR and SNAP indoor bike trainers.

Sorting Options
Accuracy Ease of Use Compatibility Battery Life Accessories By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Accuracy
97%
Ease of Use
98%
Compatibility
96%
Battery Life
97%
Accessories
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$242.96
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Accuracy
95%
Ease of Use
98%
Compatibility
96%
Battery Life
93%
Accessories
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$129.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.6
Accuracy
97%
Ease of Use
94%
Compatibility
87%
Battery Life
96%
Accessories
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$229.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Accuracy
96%
Ease of Use
95%
Compatibility
94%
Battery Life
93%
Accessories
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$398.00
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Accuracy
97%
Ease of Use
94%
Compatibility
92%
Battery Life
89%
Accessories
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$25.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Accuracy
93%
Ease of Use
96%
Compatibility
91%
Battery Life
88%
Accessories
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$49.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Accuracy
97%
Ease of Use
91%
Compatibility
89%
Battery Life
94%
Accessories
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$54.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Accuracy
93%
Ease of Use
96%
Compatibility
89%
Battery Life
90%
Accessories
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$34.20
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Accuracy
88%
Ease of Use
89%
Compatibility
90%
Battery Life
88%
Accessories
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$94.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.6
Accuracy
79%
Ease of Use
81%
Compatibility
79%
Battery Life
79%
Accessories
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$329.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • GARMIN EGDE 520
  • LEZYNE MICRO
  • POLAR M460 GPS
  • GARMIN EDGE 820
  • CATEYE VELO 7
  • CATEYE STRADA
  • CATEYE PADRONE
  • PLANET BIKE PROTÉGÉ 9.0
  • GARMIN EDGE 200
  • WAHOO ELEMNT
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. GARMIN EGDE 520

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
GARMIN EGDE 520
Accuracy
97
Ease of Use
98
Compatibility
96
Battery Life
97
Accessories
89
best offer for today
$242.96
Pros:

Can acquire GPS and GLONASS satellite signals

Offers Strava Live Segments

Includes all the basic metrics such as calories burned, distance and speed

Cons:

Syncing data can be slow and unresponsive

The interface can be clustered as some items are hard to find

Well, it sure did not take long for Garmin to make another appearance, huh? No doubt, the Edge 520 is most notable for its GPS and GLONASS technology.

Read more

Software Features

For further options to acquire a satellite signal, this has implemented GPS and GLONASS technology. Past this, it also provides you with advanced cycling dynamics when used with Vector power meters.

User Interface

While the screen can get a little clustered and it can be difficult to find a specific feature, you can set up multiple profiles and apply a different color scheme for each of them.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities
When you pair this device with either ANT+ indoor trainers or Bluetooth devices, you can receive all sorts of connected features such as smart notifications and live tracking.

Battery Life

Just as the Edge 820, this has a battery capacity of 15 hours when running on one charge.

Mount Design

You have the option to purchase an out-front mount but there is a selection of small plastic attachments and elastic bands that can be used to secure the computer. But, the seven-button operation dictates how you mount it.

Overall
With back-to-back fantastic bike computers, you should already be sold on Garmin. In particular, their Edge 520 GPS is nice thanks to its GLONASS and GPS capabilities and software features.

2. LEZYNE MICRO

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
LEZYNE MICRO
Accuracy
95
Ease of Use
98
Compatibility
96
Battery Life
93
Accessories
90
best offer for today
$129.99
Pros:

It is capable of storing up to 200 hours of riding data

Has modes for multiple activity modes such as hiking, running and cycling

Can pair it with your smartphone to utilize Lezyne’s app

Cons:

The battery life is not amazing

Even with the backlight, the screen has brightness issues

A lot of praise has been given to Garmin, but Lezyne makes their second appearance on this list which is highly noteworthy. While brightness is an issue with their Micro GPS, it does not overshadow its diverse design.

Read more

Software Features

With GPS technology, this device is able to map and track satellite signals. Plus, it utilizes GLONASS satellites to provide an even higher accuracy reading. When paired with compatible shifting systems, it can even display electronic drivetrain information.

User Interface

While the large screen sports a high-resolution and a backlight, it still has issues with brightness. Even with the backlight at 100 percent, it can still be difficult to see in low-light conditions.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities

In conjunction with the Lezyne Ally V2 app, which is free, from your connected smartphone, you can receive Strava Live Segments, turn-by-turn navigation, and smart notifications.
Battery Life

If you chose to run the GPS on this computer in one shot, you would get up to 14 hours (probably more around 10) of battery life. However, without it, you can get upward to 100 hours.

Mount Design

Lezyne equips this bike computer with their X-Lock Standard Mount system, providing you with the means to securely attach the computer.

Overall

While the screen can be a minor hindrance, albeit not necessarily detrimental as you can still see it, the ability to connect this device to your smartphone and utilize the Ally V2 app is a huge plus.

3. POLAR M460 GPS

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.6
POLAR M460 GPS
Accuracy
97
Ease of Use
94
Compatibility
87
Battery Life
96
Accessories
89
best offer for today
$229.95
Pros:

Has a Smart Coaching software feature that allows you to achieve your goals

With Bluetooth technology, you can wirelessly connect to several devices

The interface will display for you the number of calories you have burned

Cons:

When using the Bluetooth, it can be slow to sync the data between devices

Outside of its slow syncing capabilities, you will not find a better bike computer in the world today than the M460 GPS Computer from Polar. What makes it so great is its extensive software features and versatile Bluetooth technology.

Read more

Software Features

Coupled with a built-in barometer and the power of GPS technology, this computer manages to accurately and precisely track your altitude, routes, distance, and speed. Plus, with Strava Live Segments, you can enjoy further analytics and real-time data on your performance.

User Interface

To make the M460 simple and fun to use, it features an improved button design and a front LED light. On late night rides, this extra light is very useful.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities
With the power of Bluetooth technology, the options are aplenty for syncing your data. For example, you can receive notifications from your smartphone or connect to other leading power meter software. However, when syncing data, it can be a slow process.

Battery Life

When you are using the GPS and heart-rate functionality, you can expect the battery to last up to 16 hours on a single charge. Of course, this will be enhanced when not using this technology.

Mount Design

Included with the computer is a bike mount and while it is not the best mounting system out there, it is nice that Polar provides you with the means to mount the device.
Overall

Biking enthusiasts will take a liking to this computer within the first use, guaranteed. In the world of bike computers, it simply stands above the rest.

4. GARMIN EDGE 820

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
GARMIN EDGE 820
Accuracy
96
Ease of Use
95
Compatibility
94
Battery Life
93
Accessories
84
best offer for today
$398.00
Pros:

Is preloaded with turn-by-turn navigation with Garmin Cycle Map

With an integrated accelerometer, it can send your location to an emergency contact

Features group track

Cons:

As opposed to what Garmin states, it does not operate while wet

If you allow the device to design a course, it may take you to roads that are not appropriate for biking

It was only a matter of time before Garmin made an appearance on this list and to nobody’s surprise, it is not their only one. When it comes to bike computers, their Edge 820 GPS unit truly raises the bar.

Read more

Software Features

The Edge 820 has preloaded turn-by-turn navigation with the Garmin Cycle Map. In addition, this also offers Strava Live Segments, advanced cycling dynamics, watts tracking, and a recovery advisor.

User Interface

Garmin designed their computer with a 2.3” high-resolution touchscreen display and they claim it works when it is wet. However, this does not seem to be the case as operating it while wet is nearly impossible.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities

All the luxurious advantages that Bluetooth technology provides can be enjoyed here. But, past this, also featured here is group track which enables you to keep in touch with the other riders in your group.
Battery Life

For up to 15 hours on a single charge, you will be able to enjoy this GPS without charging it. In addition, the battery save mode will extend the battery life up to 50 percent if chosen.

Mount Design

Includes an out-front mount to allow you to attach and secure it to your bicycle of choice.

Overall

Anytime you see a Garmin device, if nothing else, you know you are investing in something with high-quality and excellent GPS capabilities. They may be the number one brand in GPS and their Edge 820 is part of the reason why.

5. CATEYE VELO 7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
CATEYE VELO 7
Accuracy
97
Ease of Use
94
Compatibility
92
Battery Life
89
Accessories
88
best offer for today
$25.00
Pros:

Has an amazing battery life

Detects when you have stopped

An entry-level computer that is perfect for beginners

Cons:

Has no GPS or Bluetooth

Features a wired sensor

Let’s face it, some of you just want a device that is able to perform the tasks you want. In this case, that would be displaying biking metrics.

Read more

Software Features

As with the Strada, the Velo 7 displays all the information you need at the tip of your fingers including speed, distance, and elapsed time. Plus, it also detects when you have stopped moving to stop the data from collecting.

User Interface

It may not be the most visually appealing interface in the world of computer technology, but it is extremely easy to read and interpret.
Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities

The one major caveat to this computer is its wired speed sensor, which can be a pain at times. Besides this, Bluetooth capability is not present here.

Battery Life

If you were to use this for one hour a day, it would last you up to three years. That is hard to believe, but its basic nature makes it more believable.

Mount Design

Due to the wired sensor, the process of mounting the computer can be a hassle and the wire can provide annoyance.
Overall

This may not appeal to bicycle gurus, but those looking for something basic will appreciate this design. Sure, a wireless sensor, which nearly all others have, is a huge caveat but the software is still highly functional.

6. CATEYE STRADA

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
CATEYE STRADA
Accuracy
93
Ease of Use
96
Compatibility
91
Battery Life
88
Accessories
90
best offer for today
$49.99
Pros:

Designed to detect when you have stopped moving

You can use this computer for multiple bikes

Comes with a FlexTight Bracket system

Cons:

Can be a pain to setup

Does not feature GPS or Bluetooth technology

Speaking of basic but effective, it is time to shine the spotlight on CatEye. In specific, their Strada Computer sports all the metric bikers need in a very basic design.

Read more

Software Features

All the metrics that you need are at your fingertips such as speed, total distance, elapsed time, pace arrow and the time. In addition, a nifty feature is able to detect when you have stopped moving to automatically stop collecting data.

User Interface

For a basic computer, the display is actually quite nice. So you do not have to spend time focusing on the screen while you are riding, you can toggle through the functions by merely pressing the base of the unit.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities
What is installed in the software is what you get here as it does not support Bluetooth functionality.

Battery Life

If you use the Strada Computer for one hour per day, it would last you up to one year. Without GPS and Bluetooth technology clogging the battery, it lasts longer than the competition.

Mount Design

CatEye includes their FlexTight Bracket mounting system to allow you to easily mount and adjust it on your bike.

Overall

Sure, this is not the most advanced computer on the market. Without GPS and Bluetooth functionality, it can’t compete with the others on this list. But, for simplicity and basic needs, this is a fantastic system.

7. CATEYE PADRONE

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
CATEYE PADRONE
Accuracy
97
Ease of Use
91
Compatibility
89
Battery Life
94
Accessories
87
best offer for today
$54.95
Pros:

Available in 8 different colors

Inexpensive

Easy to use interface

Cons:

No Bluetooth

Coming in as one of our cheapest and well loved computers, the Padrone from Cateye is known for its easy mounting, large screen and color options. The Padrone was actually created by listening to customer feedback and creating a new product with all the favorite preexisting features and enhancing or eliminating the unloved features. Some people find this model is too basic for them, considering it doesn't measure cadence, but for the simple biker, this may be ideal.

Read more

Software Features
This computer easily displays all of your stats. You will be able to keep track of your speeds; current, maximum, and average. It is easy to add your mileage to this device from a previous outing or from a different device. One of the most admired features of this computer is the auto-pause. The counter will pause when you stop to chat or grab a cup of coffee.
User Interface
The face of this device measures in at 67.5mmx43mm and 15.6mm in depth. The Padrone has been described as a "squint-free" device, allowing you to focus more on the trail than the computer. Another loved feature is the fact that there are no buttons on the sides or face of this computer. To switch apps, you simply tap the screen.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities

This specific version from Cateye does not feature Bluetooth. There are other versions of the Padrone do have Bluetooth, and that will be reflected in the price difference. Conveniently, this computer is wireless and features an analog sensor!

8. PLANET BIKE PROTÉGÉ 9.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
PLANET BIKE PROTÉGÉ 9.0
Accuracy
93
Ease of Use
96
Compatibility
89
Battery Life
90
Accessories
89
best offer for today
$34.20
Pros:

User-friendly LCD touch screen

Multi-functional features

Real-time recording/monitoring

Affordable

Easy to mount on a bike

Cons:

No notable cons

User-friendly buttonless computer tech ensures very accurate data, very good for touring or bike training, the screen has an easy four line readout so you can keep track of your data easily. The computer offers nine functions, average speed, max-speed, temperature, clock, dual odometer, distance to go, riding time, speed comparator and current speed.

Read more

Software Features

Very easy to read font size, no need for buttons with the large size LCD screen being very easy to read and monitor. The screen gives five pieces of simultaneous data, to change the display just do a quick finger tap on the screen, if you touch the screen for a long time this will reset the data on display.

Computer Functions:

You get ongoing monitoring for current speed, a reliable speed comparator, your ride time, the distance for your ride, a dual odometer which covers two different wheel sizes, a readout for your average speed and maximum speed, the temperature, and a clock.

User Interface

The interface allows you to easily track and record your bike journey while you are riding, you can set the computer to start automatically when it senses your bike starting to move. When you come to a halt the system will stop recording and start again when you move, this means you get a very accurate reading of your real-time journey excluding the stops.

A user-friendly Macro Monitor LCD screen, the unit case is ultrasonically welded together with a size of 40 by 47 millimeters and can be mounted on handlebars of the size 25.0 up to 31.8 millimeters. The total weight of the unit with the sensor and bracket is just 57 grams. The Magnet will fit up to 4mm spokes (bladed).

Mount Design

The device comes with a handlebar bracket which is 25.4 by 31.8 millimeters and a front wheel mounting at 82 cm. This is built to be durable with a robust heavy-duty large wire harness which has a wire mounting system for the front wheel.

Overall

The computer is an overall user-friendly system with very good software and computer functions while being easy to fit onto a bike.

9. GARMIN EDGE 200

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
GARMIN EDGE 200
Accuracy
88
Ease of Use
89
Compatibility
90
Battery Life
88
Accessories
89
best offer for today
$94.99
Pros:

No setup required as you just attach it to the included bike mount

Can store up to 130 hours of riding data

Features a challenge mode that allows you to surpass your previous rides

Cons:

It does not feature street mapping or the time

Lacks Bluetooth technology

Speaking of the devil, Garmin returns again. Truth be told, with two superb bike computers already addressed, what could this possibly bring to the table? Well, it does not necessarily trump the other two but it secures its spot due to pure-quality.

Read more

Software Features

In typical Garmin fashion, this integrates a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that finds satellites quickly. When you are not moving, the Edge 200 also has an Auto Pause feature to stop the timer when you are not moving. Finally, you can also set alerts for time, calories, or distance.

User Interface

As compared to the other Garmin bike computers on this list, the user interface has aged a bit. While it gets the job done, it is very basic.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities
Unfortunately, there are no Bluetooth capabilities with this computer as Garmin removed its ability to do so.

Battery Life

Even though Garmin claims that this gets up to 14 hours on a single charge, they may have been short-selling themselves. Some have claimed to achieve an even higher battery life.

Mount Design

To make the process as easy and care-free as possible, there is no setup required and all you need to do is secure the computer with the included bike mount and you are all set.

Overall

The Edge 200 is very basic in nature, but that does not make it incapable of performing at an excellent rate. The lack of Bluetooth functionality and an aged-interface may not appeal to some, but do not doubt its GPS capabilities.

10. WAHOO ELEMNT

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.6
WAHOO ELEMNT
Accuracy
79
Ease of Use
81
Compatibility
79
Battery Life
79
Accessories
80
best offer for today
$329.99
Pros:

You can toggle between several different zooming angles

Is compatible with KICKR and SNAP indoor bike trainers

Fully integrates Strava Live Segments

Cons:

The buttons can be difficult to press down

The companion application can provide issue

If the Polar M460 is the best bike computer in the world, then the Wahoo Elemnt is its tag team partner. In terms of quality and design, these two computers are closer than 10 is to 11.

Read more

Software Features

Wahoo integrates turn-by-turn direction downloads into their computer and with the option to add free pre-loaded maps, they guarantee that you are equipped with a GPS device that will take you where you need to go. Plus, it also integrates Strava Live Segments for accurate progress statistics.

User Interface

The 2.7” display, with high-glare and low-light conditions, makes it simple for you to view the metrics and data displayed on the interface. But, a slight caveat is present with the buttons. During a ride, they can be awkward and really hard to press down.

Wireless and Bluetooth Capabilities

Fully implemented in the Elemnt GPS computer is full Bluetooth functionality. Thus, you can sync the computer to your smartphone for notifications and even pair for wireless sensors and cycling apps.

Battery Life

Wahoo claims that this device will last up to 17 hours on a single charge. While sometimes the battery life can be exaggerated, not many have complained about it.

Mount Design

For your convenience, the Element ships with three different mounts. This includes a TT, stem and out front. All these will provide you with a proper mounting system on your bicycle.

Overall

Just like the Polar GPS computer, this is only one real design fix away from being as close to perfect as you can get. But, when investing in products you must accept that flaws will accompany them. Thankfully, the issue of the buttons does not make this unusable.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Accuracy

When you break down a computer, no matter the size, software is as big a determining factor as any. When you are discussing and analyzing bike computers, there are a few specific software integrations that you should focus on. Perhaps the largest one is its GPS capabilities. With GPS technology, you will be able to navigate and track your position in the world. But, different GPS devices will have either faster or more reliable satellite signals. Two surefire factors to look for are if the system also utilizes GLONASS satellites and if the receiver has high-sensitivity. The former will aid in acquiring more satellites while the latter will provide a faster reception.

But, it does not stop with navigation functionality. In addition, the computer should also display for you advanced cycling dynamics and metrics such as performance, distance, calories burned, speed and modes for hiking, cycling, running, etc. Also, keep a special eye out for computer systems that allow you to use and access Strava Live Segments. With this, you can enjoy further analytics and real-time data on your performance. For biking gurus, this is a great way to improve your craft.

Ease of Use

Next up, it is time to discuss the user interface. No matter if it is a smartphone, tablet, laptop, video game console, or bike computer, the display and interface are vitally important. But, how eloquent and detailed it is, also depends on your personal preference. As you saw on this list, there are some that have very basic, but effective interfaces. They do not have to sport a retina OLED display, but some of you may at least want a high-resolution display with color.

Also, if you are used to the touchscreen interface of your smartphone, decide right away if you are okay with a button-controlled design or if you need a touchscreen interface. When you are riding your bicycle, you may not want to navigate your bike computer via buttons. Of course, also pay mind to the brightness and lighting. Take note if you notice several people complaining about the issues they have with the brightness in low-light and high-glare conditions.

Compatibility

Modern technology devices thrive because of many factors, but arguably there most convenient feature is Bluetooth. When you have multiple devices that have a Bluetooth technology, you can sync them together and access data from one to the other. With these types of computers, this can be utilized for something as simple as receiving smart notifications on your computer from your smartphone. Or, it can be used for additional software capabilities as you can utilize certain cycling apps from your smartphone and sync them on your computer. For example, Lezyne’s Ally V2 app allows their GPS computers to have the ability to provide turn-by-turn navigation and Strava Live Segments.

Battery Life

Electronic handheld devices will always, whether great or small, be judged by their battery life capacity. Not so much the lifespan, but how much juice it will provide and how long on a single charge. For those of you that know anything about GPS technology, you understand that it can be a battery hog. If you take a minute to comprehend what the device is doing, acquiring signals from satellites that are hovering above the earth, it becomes understandable why they use so much juice. Hence, you will see devices that use GPS with a battery life for both GPS and non-GPS modes.

As far as the amount of time it can be run on one single charge, that is merely personal preference. A few questions to ask yourself are, one, how long do you plan on using the computer in one shot? Then, if you are using it for an extended period of time, will you have the means to charge it? Take this, for example, if you are bicycling all weekend long then you may want a sufficient battery life. Of course, if you plan on using it once a day for a few hours then you can always recharge it when you finish.

Accessories

As these are computers designed for bicyclists, manufacturers need to provide them with a means to mount the computer on their bikes. After all, for all, you bicyclists out there, riding on one hand while the other hand is holding your device is not practical at all. Thankfully, with all the entries on this list, the sellers provide you with some sort of design implementation to mount the computer. Most of the time, sellers will equip their own custom mounting system with the computer. Not only does this make it easier for you but you do not have to concern yourself with finding an external mount.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Accuracy
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#2
Ease of Use
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#3
Compatibility
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#4
Battery Life
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#5
Accessories
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Choose Wisely

Choosing a bike computer doesn’t have to be difficult but you will need to know what you are trying to get out of the one you choose. They can be very basic and there are those with advanced features to fit most needs. A bike computer should be easy to use while you are riding. There are many ways to make sure it is the best fit for you. Including trying it out before making your purchase would be ideal. But if that’s not the case, read the reviews about ease of use.

Other Factors to Consider

Connectivity

Bluetooth is terrific, but do not overlook ANT+ compatibility, either. For those that do not know, ANT+ is a wireless protocol for monitoring sensor data. This could include your heart rate or even the tire pressure on your car. Being able to connect with various ANT+ sensors gives you even further software options and provides you with a better means to train and hone your skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Can You Track Speed Without a Speed Sensor?
a:

This seems like a question that answers itself but does not be fooled that easily. Even if a device does not have a speed sensor, it can still track your speed. How is this possible you may ask? As long as you are able to have access to the skies for your device to pick up signals from the satellites you can have your speed monitored and tracked. Of course, this also means your computer must have GPS capabilities.

q: In Theory, Could You Use Bike Computers for Other Activities?
a:

One of the better aspects of GPS technology is that it is highly versatile, adapting to several different activities and adventures. Even bike computers that do not have GPS on them can be used for activities other than cycling - but with some caveats. Unless the system allows you to change the settings, if you use a bike computer for hiking then you will have to deal with the pacing being calculated in miles or kilometers per hour. When you upload your data on certain applications, you will need to convert it to the proper metrics for hiking.

However, in terms of navigation, GPS and GLONASS devices can be used for just about everything. This is especially enhanced when they provide you with the ability to use turn-by-turn navigation to arrive you your destination.

q: Will Bike Computers Work Outside of the United States?
a:

It is worth noting that this question is more aimed at bike computers that utilize GPS and GLONASS technology. As versions that do not have it will have no issue working anywhere in the world. But, this is often a question that gets asked when discussing GPS. Remember, your device can acquire satellite signals wherever it has access to the sky. It does not matter if you are in Russia (especially with GLONASS as that is Russia’s version of GPS) or the United States, though it does when it comes to maps. If you invest in a bike computer that uses mapping to navigate, you may have to download maps online for them to work properly overseas.

It can become a common misconception that GPS devices require an internet connection, as that is not the truth at all. Granted you have access to the sky, you will be good to go.

q: What Are Some Ways to Maximize the Battery Life?
a:

As was briefly explained earlier, the battery life of bike computers can fluctuate depending on how you use it. For those who are avid energy savers and looking to get every ounce of juice from the battery, if the computer has the options for it, there are settings that you can turn off to maximize the battery life. One such example is to disable the backlight and decrease the brightness. Another, if the computer implements any sort of LED lighting, is to disable the use of any LED indicator lights. Finally, features like turn-by-turn navigation can suck your battery life very quickly. If need be, forego using this navigation to save some battery. As you already know, the GPS itself can already be a battery hog, so avoiding even more drainage could prove beneficial.

q: Can You Use Bike Computers for Two Different Bikes?
a:

Not every single bike is the same; this is something you are already aware of. It does depend on the specific bike computer, but they should be able to adjust to different bikes. For example, a software feature such as the heart rate monitor may stay the same but the speed and cadence may be slightly different. To put it in perspective, here is what Wahoo claims about their Element GPS Computer: their device will automatically detect different speeds and cadence sensors no matter the bike it is mounted on. But, because it does not have an odometer function it can’t keep track of the separate mileages for each bike. While that is just one example, the worst that is going to happen is that some features are a little different from bike to bike.

q: Will Bike Computers with GPS Work Under Tree Cover?
a:

By now, you fully understand that GPS devices must acquire signals from satellites floating above the earth. However, there is a high likelihood that during your bike ride, you will eventually be under trees or some sort of cover. In these situations, will your GPS computer continue to function? No matter what you do, this will affect the signals that your device can acquire. But, this is where having a high-sensitivity receiver and GLONASS technology also assist as the device can pick up more satellites at a more efficient rate.

All in all, what truly matters is the thickness of cover you are under. If you ride underground and in caves, good luck receiving a signal. But, if you are traveling in the woods and you can still see parcels of the sky then you should still be able to receive signals.

Sources

  1. Suzie McCracken, Buying Guide: Bicycle Computers, Buying Guide, Jan 23, 2015
  2. Paul Robson, Tame your cycling gadgets to become a faster rider, Feb 04, 2016