Best Bike Computers – Buyers Guide and Cycling Computer Reviews

With the advancement of technology, cyclists have many exciting options at their disposal in terms of a cycling computer. These devices enhance rides by showing and tracking statistics of speed, distance, and time. Nowadays, computers are incredibly intricate as it provides power, heart rate, and GPS functionalities. There are many versions out on the market that are customizable for each type of rider, starting from the beginner up to the competitor.

Below, we’ve identified the best cycling computers for every type of rider, from the novice to professional:

A few factors to think about when considering a cycling computer is to figure out what type of rider you are. There are many functions, features, and connections each device is paired with for every cyclist.

Cyclist Level

Whether you are a novice, professional, or in the middle, there is a cycling computer that fits your state. For the beginner, one may want to consider a simple cycling computer to start. Look out for the basics and see if additional features appeal to you. Most computers can determine speed, distance, altitude, and time traveled.

Riding enthusiasts may want to consider items that come with more features such as a GPS. This helps long distance riders in navigation and points out gas stations along with pit stops. These middle-tier devices can also measure heart rate and be paired with Strava to see results of their rides.

If you are a competitor and looking for something advanced, there are considerations below too for that. Higher end cycling computers provide an array of metrics such as power and cadence levels while providing live updates with a navigational guide and map. Although the numerous data fields may not be necessary, it is beneficial for riders looking to maximize metrics to push past their current boundaries with each ride.

Computer Features

As hinted above, cycling computers can be very simple to high tech. Make sure when you choose a device, it matches what you are looking to utilize. Just remember, these devices can be as fancy as you want, but will that useful to you?

There are many simple devices that track speed, distance, and your lap times, while others fit riders looking for certain features. Heart rate may be a deciding point as some may want to watch out for that when riding. Certain riders may need this feature to maintain certain heart rates for their personal health. In terms of this, there are also gadgets befitting proactive riders.

Cycling computers may also be as advanced and overstuffed with more metrics than what you’ve asked for. One example is that GPS as riders get a map of their surrounding area along with route guidance to their set location. Additionally, they can measure your power level, in kW or cadence level, as you ride along your route. More advanced devices can mark out the averages within power along with the peaks during your journey. Other neat features to consider are the work-out orientated ones.

When choosing a fitness computer, one must consider if they are tying this in with their routines. There are specific features on these gadgets that aid a rider in that aspect. This includes a connection to Strava and being able to track and compare your results to others on your list. These computers may include built in workout presets that you can create. This helps with reaching goals of burning calories, maintaining lap times, or just meeting a specific power requirement on a course. Everything is customizable, and some riders even use this feature to help with races.

Connectivity

Connection to external devices is another factor to consider when choosing your cycling device. One important detail is to see if your cycling computer supports ANT+ or Bluetooth devices. This includes power meters to heart rate monitors connected during a ride. At the moment, ANT+ compatibility dominates the market as there are more devices using this connection type. Some companies started adapting to Bluetooth, and that may not pair at all if you have existing ANT+ devices.

In terms of statistics and platforms, there are reporting systems to consider when your device is connected to a computer. Cycling companies have their own platforms in diagnosing a trip and providing measurements during each interval. Our tip is to make sure you are comfortable with the platform and layout your device uses. The key is to look for something comfortable and simple enough to determine data you want, after uploading information to your computer. There are also 3rd party platforms to consider such as Strava. It is one of the most commonly used databases to compare and check up with your friends in terms of statistics. Each cycling computer has their own method of uploading onto Strava and may utilize live or manual uploads after a trip.

Taking all these tips into account, we’ll go over our recommended cycling computers at each level to find the best one for you.

Conclusion

As depicted above, there are many types of cycling computers that can accommodate all riders for specific purposes. Our recommendation is the Polar V650 as it is the best cycling computer for its price. Polar continues to update its applications, and the device can support many important metrics such as heart-rate, cadence, and power levels. It’s GPS is clear and simple to follow with Polar’s street by street guidance system.  Lastly, it is compatible with Strava platforms while its Flow web service can display metrics of each ride flawlessly. The world of cycling is vast, and one of these cycling computers makes the perfect companion on your next journey.

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