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Best Bike Speedometer

last updated Jul 17, 2019

From the mayor of basecamp to the sheriff of the foothills, to the King or Queen of the Mountain, all cyclists have things they want to achieve. And while riding is there for the joy of the course, it can help to have all your information. Cycling is difficult to quantify at times; you can measure how long it’s taken you to travel a distance that you’ve planned on a map, but checking your progress overall needs some specialized equipment. Bike speedometers come in a couple of main forms – the simple and the high-tech. You’ll see them described as bike computers much of the time, mainly because they’re capable of tracking much more than just speed, and are constantly being developed. Your smartphone can do a lot, but measuring cadence, power,heart rate, calories, temperature and much more will always be more accurate with this device.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research

icon
CatEye Padrone
98.8/100 our score
Power Source
99
Use
98
Style
99
Connectivity
99
CatEye Padrone
Why is it better?

Very long battery life

Large screen

Wireless at a low price point

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
CatEye Padrone
Test Winner: CatEye Padrone
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
12
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.1k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
16
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Melissa Coleiro
By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for bike speedometers has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products that are known for measuring your cadence, power, heart rate, calories, temperature and much more with this device as you are bike riding. A great bike speedometer to keep your eye on is the CATEYE PADRONE. We love this bike speedometer because it is known for having a very long battery life and having a large screen.

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Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
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#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
Power Source
99 %
Use
98 %
Style
99 %
Connectivity
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$64.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Power Source
98 %
Use
97 %
Style
97 %
Connectivity
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$149.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Power Source
97 %
Use
96 %
Style
97 %
Connectivity
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$49.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Power Source
95 %
Use
96 %
Style
94 %
Connectivity
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$242.96
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Power Source
93 %
Use
94 %
Style
92 %
Connectivity
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$199.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Power Source
91 %
Use
90 %
Style
91 %
Connectivity
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$29.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Power Source
88 %
Use
89 %
Style
86 %
Connectivity
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$329.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
Power Source
85 %
Use
84 %
Style
83 %
Connectivity
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$169.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Power Source
83 %
Use
82 %
Style
82 %
Connectivity
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$599.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Power Source
78 %
Use
79 %
Style
79 %
Connectivity
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$34.20

Top 10 Picks

1. CatEye Padrone

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
Cateye Padrone Plus CC-PA110W
Amazon Link
Power Source
99
Use
98
Style
99
Connectivity
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$64.95
Pros:

Very long battery life

Large screen

Wireless at a low price point

Cons:

No data transfer

Limited measures

Back to CatEye for our last pick, with the Padrone boasting similar features and functionality to some of their other lower-end models like the Velo 9. However, it’s a popular bike computer from a trusted brand and at a low price so it’s worth a mention.

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Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance (total and trip) and clock.

Connectivity
It’s wireless, which is a bonus at this price point. However, there’s no GPS or data transfer.

Visibility
A larger (1.7 x 1.2 inch) screen. It was actually developed in response to customer feedback, which shows that CatEye really is listening to what real cyclists need, not just filling up on cool features. It’s also backlit, which is a plus.

Ease of use
The Padrone itself is the button, which allows for the larger screen in a small unit; just press down on its lower half to change functions. It has auto-stop and a programmable odometer, which means that you can manually enter your distance when you replace the battery and the records are reset.

Durability
The Padrone is water-resistant. Using CatEye’s FlexTight technology, this bicycle speedometer can be mounted and then adjusted by hand so it can be easily changed on-the-go.

Battery life
The replaceable battery will last for up to a year, which is a big bonus.

Summary
Described as simple and stress-free, the Padrone is a ‘get up and go’ model that does what you need. It’s also available in six colors,

2. Lezyne Super

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
LEZYNE Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer
Amazon Link
Power Source
98
Use
97
Style
97
Connectivity
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$149.99
Pros:

GPS and many bike features

Backlight

Good battery life

Cons:

Not sleek design

Lezyne is a lesser-known and underrated player but has an increasingly wide range, snapping at the pedals of some of Garmin’s lower specification models. The Enhanced Super is like a hybrid between a basic bike speedometer and a fully equipped bike device.

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Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance, pace, clock, distance, elevation, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears, temperature, sunset time and workouts.

Connectivity
It’s GPS-ready and syncs to the free Lezyne Ally mobile app via Bluetooth. This allows upload and download of ride files, sync to other riding apps, heart and power monitors and receive a call and message notifications. It also connects via micro USB.

Visibility
Despite displaying a lot of information - six stats per page, the details are fairly small. However, there is a handy backlight for low light conditions. The Lezyne can show your phone’s battery as well as the time, date, GPS signal strength and its own battery level, which is handy.

Ease of use
Because of its simple design, the Lezyne bike speedometer connects to GPS quickly and is reliable. It also features turn-by-turn navigation, which is a great addition.

Durability
The shape of the bicycle computer itself isn’t as sleek as some, with the side-buttons protruding somewhat. Overall though, it’s only 1.69 x 2.67 inches, which makes up for this. It’s also water-resistant

Battery life
The battery life is around 24 hours, rechargeable via micro USB.

Summary
The Lezyne definitely sits somewhere between categories. It’s got a bit more than a basic bike speedometer in the form of GPS but is by no means a smartphone-like device. The price might be the deciding factor here, offering many of the features of a Garmin for almost half the price, yet for not much more than an entry-level bike speedometer.

3. Cat Eye Strada

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
CAT EYE - Strada Wireless Bike Computer, Black
Amazon Link
Power Source
97
Use
96
Style
97
Connectivity
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$49.99
Pros:

One-touch scroll

Auto-stop

Small and light

Cons:

No data transfer

The Strada Wireless is a firm favorite and comes up time and time again as a popular all-rounder which ticks all the boxes in its category, rather than just including the bare essentials to call itself a bike speedometer.

Read more

Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance (total and trip), pace, and clock.

Connectivity
As the name suggests, the Strada is wireless, using its inbuilt sensor to connect to its magnet. Sadly, there is no data transfer functionality.

Visibility
Very large display for such a tiny (1.8 x 1.2 inches) device. Two main stats displayed so this allows them to take up most of the screen, increasing visibility.

Ease of use
The Strada Wireless has a few fun tricks up its sleeve. Firstly there’s auto-stop, so you don’t have to worry about pressing anything or your stats getting thrown off when you pause. You can also program two different tire sizes so that it can be used on another bike. Be careful here when checking your tire size, as it can be tricky to work out the codes and reference numbers on your tires. As you’re not here for smartphone-like features, why have to navigate like you are? The Strada Wireless bike speedometer is controlled via a one-touch scroll through the features. CatEye’s online quickstart guide is very useful for setting up.

Durability
The Strada Wireless is weatherproof, slim and light, weighing just 0.78 oz, and only half an inch thick! It’s a great choice for any surface - mountain, road or urban cycling - being easy to mount with all fixings included.

Battery life
A massive one year on a replaceable battery - based on one hour’s use per day. Beware, the odometer will reset when you do eventually have to replace the battery.

Summary
One of the best if you need to check all the stats you can without extra sensors and monitors, and for the price, it can’t be denied. Of course, they can do many more things the higher the specification, but in its class, the Strada Wireless bicycle computer is on top.

4. Garmin Edge 520

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS
Amazon Link
Power Source
95
Use
96
Style
94
Connectivity
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$242.96
Pros:

A comprehensive range of measurements

Seven stats to view

Color screen

Cons:

Not touchscreen

As you’ll see, Garmin dominates the high-specification bike devices market, and deservedly so. While we didn’t want it to dominate our list, we want to provide a fair representation of the best of what’s out there and what’s popular with users. We’ve tried to give a decent spread of Garmin’s offering across our picks.

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Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance (total and trip), pace, clock, elevation, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears, temperature, sunset time and workouts.

Connectivity
GPS and GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), along with a Barometric altimeter for increased altitude measure accuracy. The Edge 520 will auto-sync to Garmin Connect and includes a USB cable for data transfer and charging.

Visibility
A high contrast, 1.3 x 1.8-inch color screen with up to seven stats visible at once on the action screen, as well as other screen functions like altitude graphs and maps. Included maps aren’t the most detailed, but you can download others, subject to purchase and storage space.

Ease of use
There are seven peripheral control buttons on this bike speedometer, which sound like a lot at first, but they’re fairly intuitive in practice. As well as upload and download, the sync to Garmin Connect allows in-ride challenges and call, text and social media notifications from your smartphone. Among the map functions, we really like is the ‘back-to-start’ for route overview. There’s also a nifty ‘asses recovery’ feature.

Durability
For its functionality, the Edge 520 is relatively small at 1.9 x 2.8 inches, and 0.8 inches thick, and weighs only 2.08 oz. It’s waterproof against rain, splashes or snow, and has a maximum immersion time of 30 minutes at less than three feet, which should see you through trips in the heaviest of weather.

Battery life
Approximately 15 hours, rechargeable.

Summary
The Garmin Edge 520 has been described as a ‘reliable stalwart’, and while certainly not the highest specification model around, it’s great value for its mid-range position. You’ll notice a jump in price if upgrading from the basic speedometers, but it’s fairly standard for this level of technology and you won’t get much more within this bracket.

5. Garmin Edge 25

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Garmin Edge 25 GPS Cycling Computer
Amazon Link
Power Source
93
Use
94
Style
92
Connectivity
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$199.99
Pros:

Second cheapest Garmin in range

Smallest GPS computer in the world

Easy to mount

Cons:

Short battery life

For some, the Edge 25 cannot be replaced and despite the leaps and bounds in developments, this will always be the speedometer of choice for some riders. It takes size and simplicity to new levels whilst incorporating great functionality.

Read more

Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance (total and trip), elevation, heart rate, cadence, and calories.

Connectivity
The Edge 25 is actually the smallest GPS computer in the world! It connects well and fast to GPS and GLONASS for location accuracy - your smartphone can’t save you if its battery fails. It does, however, hook up to Garmin Connect via Bluetooth for all your smartphone notifications.

Visibility
The screen is 0.9 inches squared, which with the unit itself being 1.5 inches squared, is relatively massive. In turn, the display itself shows two large or four small stats on the activity pages. As well as a full-screen display of direction fragments.

Ease of use
Four side-buttons, one of which is brightness so the functions are easy to navigate once you get used to them.

Durability
It’s truly tiny, genuinely the size of a watch, and should fit just above the stem of your bike if you choose. It also has one other sensor to attach to either wheel hub for ease. The other advantage of its size is that it needs minimal mounting, just small, discreet elastic bands. It’s also water-resistant.

Battery life
Only about 8 hours, rechargeable via USB cable, but for its tiny size and high functionality, this is forgivable.

Summary
It might not look like much, but the Edge 25 is another option if you want to hide mega-specification under the looks of a basic bike speedometer. You’re paying slightly more for an unbelievably tiny unit that’s packed with technology, but nowhere near as much as some of the high-end models.

6. CatEye Velo 9

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
CAT EYE - Velo 9 Wired Bike Computer
Amazon Link
Power Source
91
Use
90
Style
91
Connectivity
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.95
Pros:

Auto-stop

Carbon offset

Massive battery life

Cons:

Wired - more initial setup

It’s back to basics with another of CatEye’s popular speedometers. They can’t be beaten for low prices and great reliability in their category. CatEye offers a few products in its Velo range, this being the latest wired model.

Read more

Measures
Time, speed (current and average), distance (trip and total), pace, clock, distance, calories. An interesting feature here for such a budget model is that the Velo 9 has an estimated carbon offset meter. This measures how much you have reduced your carbon footprint by taking your trips on a bike.

Connectivity
It’s wired, which makes sense for the price.

Visibility
The bike speedometer screen takes up most of the tiny 2.1 x 1.4 inches body, which is great as there’s no need for much else around it. The display shows two stats, nice and large, as well as the pace arrow.

Ease of use
Very simple, with a one-button scroll through. We liked that it spans almost the width of the device, so there’s no fiddling trying to find a tiny button while you’re on the road. Be careful when hooking up to the sensor magnet and then to your handlebars - make sure you have enough to reach them before you attach each all the excess wire.

Durability
The Velo 9 bike speedometer comes with all the kit you need for a super-simple install, and CatEye’s online quickstart guide makes it really easy. Zips ties pull very tight so make sure you’re happy with the position before you tighten! It does very well in wet weather.

Battery life
An amazing three years! A definite bonus of a simpler model if you only need basic functions. However, it is of course via a replaceable battery.

Summary
No frills, no bells and whistles, just stats and a reliable speedometer. An undeniable price for an essential piece of kit.

7. Wahoo Elemnt

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
Amazon Link
Power Source
88
Use
89
Style
86
Connectivity
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$329.99
Pros:

Unique features such as LED indicators and ergonomic buttons

Large, customizable screen

Long battery life for functionality

Cons:

Relies heavily on a smartphone for functioning

The Wahoo ELEMNT is a good-looking, mid-to-high-range model. Fans are loving this alternative to Garmin, surprised by its ability to compete with the well-known brand. Read on for what’s got users hooked.

Read more

Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance (total and trip), pace, clock, elevation, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears, temperature, sunset time and workouts.

Connectivity
It’s GPS, Bluetooth, and wifi compatible, as well as connecting to monitors and sensors. It will hook up to your smartphone via the ELEMNT companion app, which you can use to easily and instantly control features such as route-mapping. Needless to say, this allows tracking, social media, and mobile notifications.

Visibility
ELEMNT are proud of their screen, and rightly so with some cool features like zoom and five different numbers of data fields. It’s also got a 2.7-inch Daybright display, which will be a clincher for those that want to combine the monochrome simplicity of a basic model with the clarity of a high-end one.

Ease of use
Some more proprietary features here, such as the textured buttons, spanning and molded into the front of the unit - no hunting for a tiny toggle. ELEMNT also include something not seen on any of our other choices, their Quicklook LED Indicators. These can be programmed to flash in a variety of situations such as notifications, drops in heart rate, or detours.

Durability
There are three mounts included for attachment to different areas of your bike. It’s also waterproof up to five feet. It’s a nice size and weight for its functionality, at 6 x 5 inches, 1 inch thick and 3.5 oz.

Battery life
Up to 17 hours, rechargeable via USB.

Summary
So, the ELEMNT appears to be not just a hybrid but a real alternative to Garmin, with a few unique features in its own right.

8. Magellan 505

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
Magellan 505 GPS Cyclo Computer
Amazon Link
Power Source
85
Use
84
Style
83
Connectivity
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$169.99
Pros:

Fun proprietary features

Touchscreen

Quick connectivity

Cons:

Doesn’t include some of the most up to date technology

Another one in the alternative camp if you want some of the specifications without the high price, or just want to try something other than Garmin. Magellan is pretty small, only stocking a few models, and mostly known for in-car GPS, but they’ve gained popularity for their smartphone-like UI and features.

Read more

Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance (total and trip), pace, clock, elevation, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, temperature, and workouts.

Connectivity
GPS-ready and connectivity are via Bluetooth and wifi. It will also connect to the standard heart rate and power monitors and cycling apps. Hook up to your smartphone is quick, so much so that it can be done while stopped on the road - no sitting next to the wall charger and wifi needed.

Visibility
The Cyclo 505 has a color screen, and despite its mid-range price, is visible in sunlight. It measures 3 inches, so can live up to some of the pricier models in terms of visibility. What’s different here is the smartphone-like look and menu.

Ease of use
It’s a touchscreen, and as we’ve mentioned, navigates like a basic smartphone. Some of Magellan’s fun features include ‘Surprise Me’ for suggesting routes and a database of off-road tracks from experts. This is useful as downloadable maps tend to carry an additional cost. There’s also wireless sharing with your fellow riders via ‘Shake-n-Share’.

Durability
It’s good for road and off-road and comes with two types of mount for your handlebars. It’s water-resistant and has a two-year warranty.

Battery life
Twelve hours rechargeable, which is decent for a device in this class.

Summary
It says a lot that with Garmin’s dominance, die-hard fans are defecting to the Magellan. To be fair, Magellan themselves describe it as a “bicycle navigation device”, so they’re not trying to be the latest high-specification device. It’s a well-priced option if you want to move into the user-friendly, connected space but without the price tag.

9. Garmin Edge 1030

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Garmin Edge 1030, 3.5
Amazon Link
Power Source
83
Use
82
Style
82
Connectivity
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$599.99
Pros:

Supreme functionality

Impressive battery life for its class

Many unique and proprietary features

Cons:

Expensive

And now for the jewel in Garmin’s bike speedometer crown, the Edge 1030. However, that’s not to say it’s the best or only device you should consider, the price alone will certainly exclude it from many cyclists’ wish lists.

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Measures
Everything and more! Not only does it track all the stats imaginable, but it will analyze and feedback information like ‘Training Load’ - a measure of your effort cumulatively over the last week; and VO2 Max for tracking optimal oxygen use over time.

Connectivity
Again, it will connect pretty much any way you need it to - Bluetooth, Wifi and to Garmin Connect, of course. As well as GPS and GLONASS, there’s also a barometric altimeter sensor for checking altitude more accurately and an accelerometer.

Visibility
Overall, the screen is 3.5 inches diagonally, which along with the color display makes for great readability. A neat feature here is that the background can be changed from white to black for different light levels and ease of visibility.

Ease of use
Well, what can we say? The Edge 1030 can do pretty much anything you want to enhance the tracking of your rides. We might joke about it being like a smartphone, but there really are pre-written texts that can be sent when hooked up to your mobile, and rider-to-rider messages between those in your group. Other fun features are ‘Trendline’ for finding popular routes, and remote control of your VIRB camera if you have one! What’s more, for all the functionality, it’s set up and ready to go within minutes.

Durability
Unsurprisingly, Garmin has given the Edge 1030 their highest level of water protection, which is similar to some of our other picks at water exposure of up to one meter for 30 minutes. It is impressive for a bike speedometer with this level of technology. Garmin’s clever mount also keeps the Edge 1030 in line with your handlebars so it won’t obscure your view.

Battery life
A very impressive 20 hours, which, among other features, is an improvement on their previous models and again, a lot for a computer with this many functions.

Summary
It’s almost a smartphone in its own right, the Edge 1030 is like an extension of your mobile; like having it strapped to your bike. Yes, it’s got a price to match and probably even costs more than some smartphones, but if you’re serious about your cycling it really can do it all.

10. Planet Protégé 9.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Planet Bike Protégé 9.0 bike computer
Amazon Link
Power Source
78
Use
79
Style
79
Connectivity
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$34.20
Pros:

Large screen

‘Buttonless’

Long battery life

Cons:

Large wheel magnet

Another simple, well-liked model, the Protegé covers the basics and for an almost unbeatable price. If you just need something to track your stats, this fits the bill.

Read more

Measures
Time, speed (current, average and maximum), distance (total and trip), pace, clock, and temperature.

Connectivity
The Protegé is wired, and there is no method of data transfer. There are the magnet, a sensor and the computer itself.

Visibility
The screen is large, taking up pretty much all of the 1.5 x 2-inch units. Five stats can be displayed on the LCD screen, which means they’re really clear and are large enough for a quick glance. However, the lack of a backlight is a shame.

Ease of use
The large screen is made possible by the fact that the Protegé is ‘buttonless’, so there’s no space taken up with a toggle. It’s not a touchscreen but a tap of the bicycle computer will let it scroll through the functions, which is great news for a quick change on the road. The Protegé can also be configured for two-wheel types for moving between bikes.

Durability
Attaches via a handlebar bracket and front-wheel mounting kit. Mounting is pretty simple, but Planet Bike will also provide further help in addition to the instructions if you need them, which is great. It’s done pretty well in rain and low temperatures without showing signs of damage.

Battery life
Up to a year or about 9000 miles with a replaceable battery.

Summary
The Planet Protegé is a reliable bike speedometer model, giving what you need and for a decent price. As an extra tick in its box, it is made and manufactured using sustainable, environmentally friendly materials and processes.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Power Source

This will be a major factor for some riders. It needn’t put you off or be the deciding factor, but the convenience of going wireless might be enough for some. It’s more likely, however, that it’s actually the range of functions, typically wider in a wireless model, is what actually makes the decision for you.

There are pros and cons to both. Wired devices have the hassle of securing wires safely out of the way and looking untidy, but are cheaper and don’t require a separate sensor battery; whereas wireless devices are much more ‘mount and go’ but require charging or replacement batteries in more than one element.

We’ve included it as a major element as it does tend to characterize the type and as we say, will sort the pack for some riders.

Use

Small or large, they are usually capable of tracking more data than they can display on one screen, so you’ll have to configure it to your specifications. Some displays are easier to scroll through or modify on the road, whereas some you’ll need to set up the screens beforehand.

There are two main modes of operation on this bike speedometer – buttons, and touchscreen. Within this, the buttons may be around the edges like a stopwatch. This can be easier to use as the buttons have a specific function, but more difficult as you have to get used to them. Otherwise, the button or buttons will be within the face of the device, the most simple of these being a one-touch or single-scroll. This means that you push it once and it scrolls through the functions, or keep pressing it to scroll through manually.

Touchscreens work as they do on a smartphone, with a similar look and menu. However, they won’t be as responsive and you’ll obviously pay more for this.

Style

Bike speedometers fall into several categories. There are very basic, wired, cheaper models, which measure a few stats and don’t have any data transfer; there are similar wireless versions; there are wireless devices that have a bit more functionality via Bluetooth and WiFi sensors which connect to a smartphone. Then there are the GPS-ready products, which cover all of the above and have some navigation functionality; and the top-specification ones, which have it all – color touch screens, mapping and communication capabilities.

The type you choose will mainly depend on how much you want to track and whether you like to have it connected on-the-go or are happy to download and analyze later.

Connectivity

Related to the wired or wireless element is how the device communicates. Often, wired devices will only send and receive information from the sensor, whereas those with WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity open up a whole new range of apps and analysis. This really will be a deciding factor for those that want to do more than just track their numbers. If you want to chart your stats over a long period and view them in a range of ways, hook up with other riders, or even use the device as an extension of your smartphone in some cases, you’ll want to get one which has a more sophisticated mode of communication.

It’s certainly worth thinking this through, not least because of price, but it’s also easy to get seduced into buying a complex device you don’t actually need and will become more of a burden in terms of shorter battery life. If you take shorter rides, or in rougher conditions, you may not want the pressure of an extra smartphone on your handlebars.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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Setup

There often isn’t much choice with where to mount the device, and clearly, it’s going to be within a relatively small range of places on your bike as it needs to be visible to be useful. Some devices come with brackets to support a range of positions. Most commonly they’ll attach to the handlebars, so think about where’s comfortable in terms of your hand and arm positioning. If you do place it on one side, think also about where you’ll naturally tend to glance for the least time taking your eyes off the road. Another common placement is ‘up front’ in the center of the handlebars. Some models even engineer a special mount so that it stays in line with the handlebars and doesn’t protrude into your field of vision.

Other Factors to Consider

Durability

As with the majority of gear, bike speedometers are going to spend a significant, or most, of their time outside. While we’d like it if this meant a constant environment, there’ll be rain, wind, snow, heat, and mud to contend with. The majority of devices are water-resistant and don’t seem to have much trouble, some can even survive incidental immersion. High-specification units can also handle more than you’d expect, and this is one area where your smartphone is unlikely to make the grade – and we doubt you’d want to test it!

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Where is best to mount the speedometer?

a:

The main three areas that you can mount the speedometer are the handlebars (on either side); in the center, which is called ‘upfront’; or lower down just above the stem. Where you position will depend a lot on what is provided with the device, but some products do come with mounting kits which allow you to choose the position. There is no optimum position, it’s down to the user, the device, and the mount.

The suggested positioning will depend a lot on size; for instance above stem mounting isn’t going to work for some models because that space isn’t big enough for the amount you’d need, or sometimes even the bike speedometer itself.

However, we would let positioning determine which device you buy as there isn’t too much difference once you get used to them and there are more important factors which should influence you. If you really don’t like looking to the side you can consider that in your decision. Some brands also engineer their devices and mounts so that they don’t protrude into your view of the road, regardless of their size, but you’ll likely pay more for this.

q: Where do the sensor and magnet go?

a:

The magnet is attached to the wheel itself and the sensor to the fork so that the magnet can pass it when the wheel turns and give a reading. We recommend that the magnet goes near the center of a spoke, between the hub and rim. Usually, this is on the front wheel, but there are some rear-wheel devices. However, for all devices, positioning should be checked carefully as the sensor will have a maximum distance it can be from the device, wired or wireless. Check that the bike speedometer is picking up the movement before you fix anything in place more tightly by turning the wheel a few times.

q: How do I determine wheel factor?

a:

As with many products in the gear world, bike wheel circumferences are not standardized. While there have been efforts made to standardize wheel sizes and their coding, it isn’t absolute in terms of the wheel. This means that the circumference of two tires of the same size will be different depending on the brand.

For bike stats, the circumference is called ‘wheel factor’. Manufacturers might provide it, but another way to measure or check it is to roll the wheel once fully and measure how far it has traveled. Put a mark on the wheel and on the ground (perhaps do this outside!), match up the marks, roll the wheel until the wheel mark is back on the ground, make another mark on the ground and measure the distance between the two marks. That’s the wheel factor.

q: Do I need a bike speedometer?

a:

If you want to measure your trips and performance, it’s true that there are a few options. There are GPS watches or your smartphone itself as other options. However, they have been specially designed for the job and often these other devices aren’t as accurate. You can get a mount for your phone but stability and water-resistance are concerns – regardless of what you’re willing to spend, most people have spent hundreds on their smartphone! It will also use up your phone battery faster than simply connecting to an app in the background. Some watches can double up with a special mount, but otherwise, it’s on your wrist and not in front for quick glancing and ease of use.

Remember that smartphones will take up more room and the screen may not stay on when not in use. If you do configure them otherwise, bike apps will drain the battery. A phone is still an important piece of equipment, especially if you have a less sophisticated device and have no other form of communication.

If you can’t see why you need all of the functions in a high-specification model, then the very reasonably-priced basic models will suit you fine.

Sources