Top 15 Best Mountain Bike Computers in 2018

best-mountain-bike-computer

When it comes to mountain biking, a training tool can work wonders – especially for athletes who want to better their performance, find out what they need to improve on and measure themselves against other cyclists. For amateurs, knowing one’s progress can be a huge motivator, and help to keep you on track with your fitness goals. This is where mountain bike computers come in. We have also written a complete guide about the best mountain bike gloves.

Types of mountain bike computers

There are generally two types of cycling computers suitable for mountain biking – wired and wireless

Wired types have a sensor and handlebar unit that are connected by wire. They are usually very basic and only good for tracking speed, distance and time. They also tend to be cheaper and only require one battery, but can also look untidy and may snag – not recommended for mountain bikes which may go through rough terrain. Check out our complete guide about the best mountain bike forks.

Wireless units are generally more ‘high-tech’; some run on GPS to measure speed, while others rely on an analog Top 15 Best Mountain Bike Computers in 2018transmitter. It needs batteries in both the transmitter as well as the handlebar unit, but there are no wires to snag on. Wireless units can usually pair with separate devices such as a heart rate monitor to measure things such as heart rate and power, which is more useful for serious cyclists, but they are also much more expensive.

Key Things to Look Out For

  • Functionality and data – Determining the type of data that you’d like to measure will help you choose the right cycle computer to fit your needs. Amateurs or hobby cyclists may go for a cheaper, more basic unit that only displays standard measurements such as speed, time and distance. However, this may not be sufficient for advanced riders, who may wish to monitor data such as power, cadence or heart rate. If you are looking for the latter, consider devices that can pair with separate ANT+ devices such as heart rate monitors and cadence sensors.

 

  • Software – Like regular computers, software on cycle computers can face issues from time to time. Certain models are known to have buggy software which may cause the unit to freeze up during a ride.

 

  • Connectivity  – Basic units and older models will not have the capability to connect to other devices, but many newer models are compatible with Bluetooth or Wifi. This allows users to directly upload data to cloud storage or an application, download routes and maps, and even share their rides in real-time on social media via a smartphone. Connectivity to popular fitness and cycling apps such as Garmin Connect and Strava will give users a seamless and more convenient riding experience, while live tracking features are especially useful for those cycling in a group, to locate each other on the route.

 

  • Navigation – When riding through unfamiliar territory, having in-built navigation or maps can be comfortingTop 15 Best Mountain Bike Computers in 2018 and help users align themselves. Some cycle computers have basic maps included, with the option to upgrade to more detailed maps.

 

  • Build and Size – Mountain biking features a much tougher terrain and outdoor conditions than regular road biking, so a sturdy build, plus waterproof properties are a plus. At the same time, the unit should be compact but large enough for users to view their data clearly.

 

  • Screen – Data should be displayed in an orderly manner that is easy to read, leaving users free to focus their attention on the road. Touch screens should respond well even in rainy conditions or with gloved hands. Some cycle computers come with anti-glare properties that make it easier to see in bright sunlight. For night riders, go for units that come with a backlight.

 

  • Battery Life – The worst thing that can happen when you’re out on a trip is for the unit to run out of battery. A good wireless cycle computer should last more than 10 hours, although some have been known to last up to 15. The basic units that run on a single battery tend to have an average lifespan of a year.
  • Additional Features – Look out for helpful features such as auto start or stop functionality which stops recording when no bike motion is detected, for the most accurate measurement possible.

Top 15 Best Mountain Bike Computers in 2018

Picture Name Feature Price Rating

Picture

Name Feature Price

Rating

1. Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS

Battery life up to 15 hours

$$$ 4.8
2. Garmin Edge 800
Barometric altimeter $$$ 4.8
3. Garmin Edge 25 Cycling GPS

Weighing only 25 g

$$$ 4.7
4. Garmin Edge 1030 Cycling Computer
3.5” bike computer $$$ 4.6
5. Garmin Edge 510 Bundle Bike GPS
3pc. Lens Cleaning Kit $$$ 4.6
6. CatEye Padrone Wireless Bike Computer
tracks calories burned $$ 4.5
7. Garmin Edge 820 Bundle
Internal memory: 16 GB $$$ 4.5
8. CatEye Micro Wireless Cyclocomputer
option to manually set the odometer $$ 4.5
9. CatEye – Velo 9 Cycle Computer
WIRED SENSOR $$ 4.4
10.CatEye – Stada Wireless, Cycle Computer
FlexTight Bracket $$$ 4.3
11. CatEye – Strada Slim Wireless Universal Bicycle Computer – CCRD310W model
Programmable odometer $$ 4.2
12.Bryton Rider 10 GPS Cycling Computer
Built-in barometer $$ 4.1
13. VDO M5 Wireless Cycling Computer
Trip distance to 999,99 KM/M $$$ 4.0
14. iGPSPORT iGS50E Bike Computer

2.2 inch anti-dazzle screen

$$ 4.0
15. Zaplue Bike Computer

water-resistant

$$ 3.9

1. Garmin Edge 520 Bike Computer

Built for professionals and athletes, the Garmin Edge 520 is a wireless unit that runs on a dual-satellite system ofGarmin Edge 520 Bike Computer GPS and Glonass, giving users more signal options, even in areas with less connectivity. The unit covers standard measurements such as distance, speed and elevation. When paired with a power and heart rate monitor via ANT+ tech, it will show heart rate, power, cycling-specific VO2 max and recovery time.  Meanwhile, a built-in Functional Threshold Power test allows cyclists to establish a baseline either on the trainer or the road, acting as a landmark to know when a user is riding at a level effective for their training goals. It pairs with a power meter to measure watts/kg and cycling dynamics.

Connectivity

The 520 comes with a Bluetooth connection to smartphones, helping cyclists to save, plan and share their rides via the Garmin Connect app. It also offers live tracking, smartphone alerts, social media sharing as well as weather uploads. The 520 connects to Strava, allowing users to the complete segments and earn rankings against local rivals in real time, whilst getting notifications for segment start and finish, as well as leaderboard rankings. However, the unit can be buggy, as syncing and software issues are still a problem.

Design and Battery Life

Made for the outdoors, the 520 is slimmer and sleeker than its predecessor, the 510. It features a compact, rugged form of 1.9” x 2.9” x 0.8” and weighing 11.2 ounces. Charging of its lithium ion battery is via Micro USB,  offering an impressive 15 hours of battery life. An IPX7 rating makes it fairly resistant to water and bad weather.

Rather than a touch screen, the 520 reverts to manual operation via six buttons, which are chiclet-style and difficult to press. When attempting to press harder to get the unit to register, the button double activates, causing users to miss the item they were intending to go to. The start stop button is located on the bottom edge, making a tight squeeze to get to between the handlebar.

Display

The Garmin can display up to five fields at a time without scrolling. The screen, however, is difficult to read if not angled correctly, especially in mid-light conditions.

Additional Features

The bundle comes with a heart rate monitor strap, cadence sensor and speed sensor. Also included is a bike mount and micro USB charger.

Pros

  • Dual satellite system
  • Built-in FTP test
  • Measures standard metrics ie distance, time, speed
  • Pairs with other ANT+ devices
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Connects to Strava
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Buggy, syncing issues
  • Poor button design
  • Glaring display

2. Garmin Edge 800

One of the brand’s earliest touchscreen models, the 800 holds up well by today’s standards. It tracks distance ,speedGarmin Edge 800 and location, and pairs with an ANT+ heart rate monitor, speed or cadence sensor and power meter for an in-depth analysis of each ride. Thanks to a barometric altimeter, the 800 provides precise ascent and descent data, whilst recording temperature changes. The unit runs on Hot Fix GPS, although it takes longer to lock on to the satellite and the signal drops occasionally.

A built-in basemap shows major roads and cities, although this is very basic. The unit supports a micro SD Card loaded with street or topo maps. Simply select a destination and the computer provides turn-by-turn navigation prompts on screen.  Ideal for performance trainers, it works with a suite of training tools such as the digital riding companion, Virtual Partner.

Connectivity

Being an older model, the 800 lacks Wifi and Bluetooth capabilities for real time uploads, but users can still link to Garmin Connect via USB cable to the computer – you just have to wait until after the ride. Review, replay and share with fellow cyclists, view a summary, create personal goals or save routes recorded by other cyclists for use in your next ride. Beyond its built-in basemap, users can opt to download from Garmin’s GB Discoverer range of OS maps, City Navigator or TOPO maps, which would cost extra for the bundle. Otherwise, go for open source maps which can be downloaded into the SD card.

Design and Battery Life

Suitable for mountain biking, the 800 is sturdy and water resistant up to IPX7. Measuring 2 x 3.7 x 1 inches, it weighs 3.5 ounces and is compact without sacrificing readability on its touch screen. The carbon fiber look is sporty and rugged, and the unit easily attaches to a bike’s handlebar via a low-profile, quarter-turn mount. The battery lasts 15 hours.

Display

Despite being a touch screen, the 800 holds up well against the elements whilst being sensitive enough to respond to gloved hands, although a fair amount of pressure needs to be applied. Data is presented in five pages with up to 10 pieces of data on each. These pages can be switched, panned or zoomed with simple taps. The only issue is that the screen is not difficult to make out in bright lighting conditions.

Additional Features

The computer comes with automatic time zone adjustment when biking abroad.

Pros

  • ANT+ compatible
  • Touchscreen
  • Rugged, water resistant build
  • Long lasting battery

Cons

  • Basic built in maps, additional cost for more detailed maps
  • Screen glare
  • No live tracking or uploads

3. Garmin Edge 25 Cycling GPS

Catering more to everyday cyclists, the Edge 25 is competitively priced, packing plenty of power and performance inGarmin Edge 25 Cycling GPS a tiny body. It features GPS and Glonass satellite tracking to measure distance and speed, even under tree cover. Essentially, the Edge 25 captures basic stats from a ride, including time, distance, speed and total ascent, although it does not measure power. It pairs via ANT+ so users can record their cadence, heart rate and calories burnt. There are a few kinks with the interface, such as not being able to access the settings menu while the timer is running, but these are minor issues.

Connectivity

The Edge 25 works best when syncing with the Garmin Connect app, allowing users to instantly share details of the ride in real time with live tracking and social media. It does so with Bluetooth, but this only applies when connecting to the app and not for other devices, which will still require ANT+ sensors in order to be paired successfully. Users can download courses ridden by other users or create their own, view personal records and analyse post-ride stats.

Unfortunately, the device is ‘brand’ exclusive and is not compatible with apps such as Strava. For instance, when uploading data to Strava, only a portion such as the time, distance and map is transferred, but not elevation and segments. Also, the unit is unable to load routes from other popular apps such as RWGPS due to unsupported format.

Design and Battery Life

The Edge 25 is one of the brand’s smallest cycling GPS computers, measuring a miniscule 1.6 x 0.7 x 1.6 inches, and weighing just 0.9 oz – making them perfect travelling companions. It features a four button design that is easy to use and is built to withstand rough weather, with an IPX7 water-resistance rating that allows it to be immersed in 1m deep water for 30 minutes. It does away with awkward rubber flaps for covering the charging port, and instead has an external contact for a proprietary USB cable. The battery life is less impressive. Although touted as being able to last up to eight hours, some users have reported less, with the average around four hours.

Display

Owing to its compact dimensions, the screen is small and displays one page at a time during the ride; first showing the date and battery life, followed by data that is spread across two pages, each with three customisable fields. When used with a heart rate monitor, a fourth page shows beats per minute and heart rate zone, followed by the map course. This is obviously quite limited but necessary for its size. The display for the battery percentage can be improved, as instead of a percentile, it appears as ‘quarters’, so users will not know if the battery is left at 10% or 25%.

Additional Features

The unit comes with two simple but sturdy ¼ turn mounts.

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight
  • IPX7 water resistant
  • Simple buttons
  • Basic metrics
  • ANT+ compatible

Cons

  • Small display screen, limited displays
  • Poor battery life
  • Not compatible with other apps, only Garmin Connect

4. Garmin Edge 1030 Cycling Computer

Whether you’re biking for professional sport or leisure, the Edge 1030 delivers with aplomb, enabling riders to stayGarmin Edge 1030 Cycling Computer connected even while on the road with comprehensive navigation, performance and cycling awareness features. Apart from the usual metrics such as speed, distance and time, the 1030 features preloaded cycle maps that provide turn-by-turn directions and new navigation alerts to notify cyclists of upcoming sharp turns. While riding, the unit even lists points of interest and allows users to search for addresses. Smart round-trip routing generates up to three choices of route for cyclists to pick and choose, and guides you back to the path if you stray. It pairs through ANT+ with heart rate monitors, speed and cadence sensors. As a safety feature, the 1030 comes with built-in Incident Detection that automatically sends your location to a contact in case of emergencies.

Connectivity

Able to connect via Wifi and Bluetooth, the 1030 works with a variety of 3rd party apps through Connect IQ, such as preloaded Strava and Training Peaks. Using Trendline Popularity routing technology, the unit uses billions of miles logged by users on the Garmin Connect ride to display the best on and off road routes most traveled by fellow cyclists in the community.

One of the 1030’s swanky new features is its rider-to-rider messaging. Do away with mobile phones when travelling with friends or in a group, as the computer allows users to send pre written notes from the 1030 to their units – handy for when there is a flat tire, or letting them know your bike is not far behind. Alternatively, pair it with the GroupTrack function to allow them to pinpoint your exact location easily.

Strava users will enjoy Live Segments made to push one’s performance, as the unit receives alerts for segment starts and finishes, and compare current efforts to personal bests. A new Segment Explore feature allows users to view popular and Marquee Segments around them directly on the device itself.

The 1030 does suffer from occasional connectivity issues, which typically involve the unit pairing and unpairing from the phone. This can be solved by connecting via USB cable, but shows poor form given its expensive price tag.

Design and Battery Life

The 1030 has one of the most impressive battery life spans on the list, lasting up to 20 hours and extendable up to 40 hours with the optional Garmin Charge power pack. Size wise, it is still quite compact at 2.3 x 0.8 x 4.5 inches and weighing 4.8 ounces. The start and end ride button are in an awkward position at the bottom edge, which often mean that it is very close to the handlebar and require the whole device to be removed from its holder to access the button.

Display

The 1030 is highly customisable with apps, widgets and data fields from the Connect IQ store, such as AccuWeather. The standard activity screens display up to 10 data fields, and its size makes the screen easy to read waypoint and maps. The backlight minimises glare and does not take up too much battery.

Additional Features

The device comes with an out front mount.

Pros

  • Good navigation features
  • Intelligent routing
  • Wifi, Bluetooth, ANT+ compatible
  • Compact size
  • Good display

Cons

  • Awkward buttons
  • Connectivity issues

5. Garmin Edge 510 Bundle Bike GPS

A predecessor to the 520, the 510 nevertheless offers many features that make it a solid choice for athletes andGarmin Edge 510 Bundle Bike GPS professional cyclists. It runs on a dual-satellite system of GPS and Glonass, and includes measurements such as distance, speed as well as ascent and descent. It connects to ANT+ devices for optional metrics, including heart rate, speed and cadence and power.

Connectivity

Send and receive courses, share your ride through social media, get updates on weather and perform live tracking with the 510’s Bluetooth connectivity, which enables the unit to transfer data to the Garmin Connect app. The computer comes with a Virtual Partner feature to race previous activities in real time. That being said, the 510 has limited storage capabilities, with only 22MB of space, which may not be enough for riders who intend to save data from several rides before uploading them to the computer.

Design and Battery Life

The 510 is reasonably sized at 2 x 3.4 x 0.9 inches, and offers more battery life than the 520, at 20 hours. The unit is water resistant for use in rain and bad weather, while the full-colour touchscreen is reasonably easy to operate, even with gloved fingers and when wet – although it might require a harder tap as opposed to tapping a smartphone.

Display

It is easy to customise the computer per activity profile, as users are allowed to predefine up to ten bike types and five sub-categories. For each, the unit displays up to five screens of data with 10 fields each, alongside map course, elevation and virtual partner screens.

Additional Features

Included in the bundle is a heart rate monitor strap, cadence sensor and speed sensor, plus micro USB charger and bike mount. A minor point of annoyance is the mount, as it sits off-axis and causes the computer to be slightly rotated.

Pros

  • GPS
  • Measures distance, time, speed
  • Pairs with ANT+ devices
  • Long battery life
  • Touchscreen
  • Customisable display

Cons

  • Limited data storage
  • Difficult to tap

6. CatEye Padrone Wireless Bike Computer

Basic but inexpensive, the CatEye Padrone is good for beginners or amateur cyclists. Although lacking a GPS, it CatEye Padrone Wireless Bike Computerworks well for displaying stats such as current, maximum and average speed, total distance, trip distance and elapsed time. It also comes with a clock and stopwatch to help cyclists keep track of performance. The downside is that it does not display any maps or routes, and cannot be paired with accessories such as heart rate monitor or cadence sensor. The odometer can be set manually, so you do not have to start over every time there is a battery change. The computer automatically detects when the bike is stationary and stops counting time and speed accordingly.

Connectivity

As a basic unit, the CatEye does not have any sort of connectivity function such as Bluetooth or Wifi. Instead, it pairs via sensor through a transmission signal, with a range of up to 70 cm. It is not advisable to use the CatEye in a race venue as it may pair with other computers, making it quite pointless to use in a competitive setting. The plus point is that it does not require wires, as opposed to traditional models.

Design and Battery Life

At 1.7 x 0.6 x 2.6 inches and weighing just 1.12 ounces, the CatEye is physically compact but big on display. Despite its small dimensions, the outer casing is made from smooth, tough plastic which should hold up to tough conditions on the road well.It comes in a variety of bright and fun colours. It has an impressive battery life of one year with one hour of usage a day.

Display

Stats are shown in large font, and it does away with complicated buttons and touchscreen menus, allowing users to toggle through functions by pressing the base of the unit. In bright sunlight, the digital readings are bold and legible, but there is no backlight for night riding.

Additional Features

The FlexTight Bracket allows users to mount, adjust and move the computer – a little too tightly, as removing the unit is difficult.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Clear and large display
  • Auto stop when no motion detected

Cons

  • Very basic, only displays stats
  • No connectivity functions
  • Not for night riding
  • Difficult to remove from mount

7. Garmin Edge 820 Bundle

The Edge 820 comes with many of the features found in higher end models of the series. Apart from the usual speed Garmin Edge 820 Bundleand distance metrics, it also measures Vo2, stress score and advanced cycling dynamics, and includes a recovery advisor and Strava live segments. The unit includes a base map, but additional maps may need to be purchased. When preloaded with Garmin Cycle Maps, the GPS provides a turn-by-turn navigation both on and off road, pointing out road and bike paths, points of interest, elevation data and address search. Connect it to ANT+ compatible devices to measure heart rate, power and cadence.

A useful feature of the 820 is its built-in incident detection, where if the accelerometer detects a sudden harsh stop, it automatically texts an emergency contact, with a 30-second time frame to cancel. However, the 820 suffers from lag and freeze issues, especially when loading longer courses.

Connectivity

Like most Edge models, the 820 enjoys Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity, and can be set up with the Garmin Connect app. When riding in a group, use the Group Track feature to keep in touch with other riders. The unit also works with Varia cycling awareness products, such as the Varia rearview radar and smart bike lights. While Wifi enables users to connect to laptops and upload data after each ride without the hassle of wires, the 820’s poor connection drops constantly, which can be frustrating.

Design and Battery Life

The 820 offers up to 15 hours of battery life, and has a save mode that will extend this by a further 50%. Rated IPX7, the unit is resistant to water and bad weather, and is able to operate at temperatures between -20 to 55 degree celcius. It is compact at 2.9 x 1.9 x 0.8 inches and weighs 3.2 ounces.

Display

The 820 sports a high-resolution 2.3” touchscreen display that works with gloves and when slightly wet. However, the touchscreen is hyper sensitive and does not work in rainy conditions.

Additional Features

Included with the computer is a mount. Those who go for the performer bundle upgrade will get a premium heart rate monitor, cadence sensor and speed sensor.

Pros

  • GPS turn by turn navigation
  • Built-in incident detection
  • Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity
  • Long battery life, power saving mode
  • Compact

Cons

  • Lag when loading long courses
  • Hypersensitive touchscreen
  • Screen does not work in rain
  • Wifi connectivity issues

8. CatEye Micro Wireless Cyclocomputer

The CatEye micro wireless is one of the brand’s most popular entry level cycle computers. Boasting ten functions andCatEye Micro Wireless Cyclocomputer 12 features, it measures current, average and maximum speed up to 65.9miles per hour, clocks a total distance of 99,999 miles, two trip distances up to 999 miles and two elapsed times to 9:59:59. A pace arrow lets cyclists know when they are riding above or below average speed. It also comes with a programmable odometer and two clocks, the first of which starts and stops based on wheel movement, while the second can be done so manually.

Its biggest flaw is its sensitivity to electromagnetic interference, which can range from stop lights to low hanging telephone wires. As a result, items such as current speed and trip mileage does not appear accurate, making it difficult for riders to track their rides on route sheets.

Connectivity

As this is a basic cyclo-computer, it does not connect to Bluetooth or Wifi. It is, however, a wireless unit that works with a sensor on the spoke wheel, within a 70-centimeter transmission distance, for tire sizes from 100 to 3,999 millimeters. Dual wheel size settings allow cyclists to use the unit with two different bikes.

Design and Battery Life

The computer and sensor run on CR2032 batteries. At 2.1 x 1.5 x 0.9 inches it is compact but slightly heavier, weighing 4.2 ounces. Its battery has a lifespan that lasts a maximum of one year, but are cheap and easily replaceable. Choose from attractive black and silver colours to match your ride.

Display

Switch between automatic start, stop, power save and sleep modes to help save time. The display is large enough and features an LED backlight to help users view stats more easily, but the screen has a polarising effect that is difficult to read from certain angles.

Additional Features

The CatEye comes with simple, easy to use bracket mounts for the stem and handlebar.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Programmable odometer
  • Works with two separate bikes

Cons

  • High electromagnetic sensitivity
  • Inaccurate readings
  • Very basic
  • Polarised screen, difficult to view

9. CatEye – Velo 9 Cycle Computer

Although basic, CatEye’s Velo 9 has a few extra features that make it a decent choice as an entry level cyclo-CatEye – Velo 9 Cycle Computercomputer. It displays current, maximum and average speed, total distance, trip distance and elapsed time, and has a calorie counter, pace arrow and clock. The computer automatically stops counting time and average speed when no motion is detected, while an equipped odometer can be adjusted to your preferred mileage. There is also a ‘carbon offset’,  reminding users of the amount of CO2 they are taking off pollution by biking instead of driving a car. The calorie counter feature seems to be useless, since it is not rigged up to any other devices, and therefore unable to give an accurate count.

Connectivity

The Velo 9 is a wired model and has to be rigged to a sensor and calibrated to your tire size. The wire is approximately one meter, which some may find insufficient. It is, nevertheless, much more reliable than Wifi or Bluetooth.

Design and Battery Life

Like most of the CatEye series, the Velo 9 has small, compact dimensions measuring 2.2 x 0.7 x 1.5 inches, and weighs 2.4 ounces. It’s battery lifespan is impressive, lasting up to three years, counted by one hour of usage per day. It comes in either black or white colours and the sturdy plastic body holds up well against rainy weather.

Display

Depending on preference, the Velo 9 allows users to select metrics that they are comfortable with, such as kilometers or miles per hour. Its single button operation makes it easy to scroll through the pages quickly, without having to mess around with touch screens or fiddle with buttons. Rather than an on/off switch, the computer has automatic-ON capability that immediately starts up when the wheel moves. When not in use, it eventually sleeps to save on battery, displaying time only. Although the display is easy to see during the day, there is no backlight for night riding.

Additional Features

The Velo 9 mounts onto the handlebar on a slide and clip, which comes with double sided tape and zip ties. The quality of this, however, feels quite flimsy, and the tape and zip ties cannot be reused so users will have to buy more should they wish to move or remount the position.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Basic metrics
  • Simple single button operation
  • Auto-on

Cons

  • Flimsy mount
  • Mount position cannot be adjusted
  • Short wire
  • Calorie counter function inaccurate
  • No backlight on display

10. CatEye – Strada Wireless Cycle Computer

A sound choice for lovers of minimalism, CatEye’s Strada model is identical to the brand’s Padrone design, with a CatEye – Strada Wireless Cycle Computerfew minor changes. It has all the basic performance metrics such as current, max and average speed, total distance, two trip distance and elapsed time, and comes equipped with a clock and stopwatch for cyclists to track their performance. Like the Padrone, there is an odometer which can be set manually, and it employs the same auto-detect technology that stops calculating time and speed when there is no motion.

An addition to the Strada absent in the Padrone is a pace arrow, useful for showing how fast or slow you are compared to the average speed. On rougher roads, the computer tends to lose speed or signal distance, but  softening rattle from the mount with some foam should alleviate the problem.

Connectivity

The Strada is a basic, wireless unit that works via transmission signal with a sensor, with a range of 70 cm. Users can switch between bikes, thanks to its dual tire size function. It cannot pair with apps or ANT+ devices.

Design and Battery Life

Boasting a smooth, slim and sleek design with rounded edges, the Strada is compact at 1.8 x 1.2 x 0.6 inches. It is considerably lighter than the Padrone, weighing just 12 g compared to the latter’s 30 g. It holds up well in rough weather. Other useful features include its auto start stop and auto power saving functions, which ensure the battery lasts up to one year, with one hour of usage per day.

Display

Despite is small size, the display is large and clear to read. Navigate easily using the base to toggle through functions, even through thick gloves. It is not suitable for night riding as it lacks a backlight.

Additional Features

Fit the head onto the  FlexTight Bracket dual direction mount, secured with a jubilee clip band that fits around bars or stems. For flatter bars or oversized stems, users will need an optional adaptor.

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight
  • Sturdy, water resistant
  • Manual odometer
  • Pace arrow included
  • Clear display
  • Easy controls

Cons

  • Very basic
  • Does not work well on rough roads

11. CatEye – Strada Slim Wireless Universal Bicycle Computer – CCRD310W model

Boasting a lighter, thinner body, the Strada Slim is similar in function to the larger and bulkier Strada model, withCatEye – Strada Slim Wireless Universal Bicycle Computer – CCRD310W model several improvements. It measures current, max and average speed, total distance, two trip distance and elapsed time, and features a clock and stopwatch. An auto-detect function stops calculating time and speed when the bike stops moving. It also comes with a pace arrow and programmable odometer.  However, the unit is prone to interference, especially if the user’s bike also has an LED light. It does not work well in cold temperatures, below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Connectivity

The Slim is a basic, analog wireless unit, so the sensor should not be more than three feet away, and should sit directly underneath the computer. Users can switch between bikes with its dual tire size function.

Design and Battery Life

The biggest improvement on the Slim is its aerodynamic design, which is 35% thinner and lighter than the regular Strada model and easily concealed behind the front fork – perfect for road and mountain bikes. It weighs just 3.2 ounces, while the battery lasts up to one year with one hour of usage per day.

Display

Although smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Slim still manages to fit a screen that is 23% larger, with a large and easy-to-read display. Its ClickTec button interface is easy to navigate even while using thick gloves. It is not for night riding since it lacks a backlight, but viewing it can still be a problem during the day, especially in glaring sunlight.

Additional Features

The Slim sports a low profile FlexTight Bracket secured with a jubilee clip band.

Pros

  • Slim and lightweight design
  • Programmable odometer
  • Larger screen

Cons

  • Very basic
  • Not for night riding
  • Does not work well in cold temperature
  • Glare from screen

12. Bryton Rider 10 GPS Cycling Computer

The Bryton is a cheap alternative to biking computers – but with all the features and functionality of an expensive Bryton Rider 10 GPS Cycling ComputerGPS unit. Its high-sensitivity GPS receiver provides fast positioning. It is very convenient, as cyclists will not have to install a speed sensor or calibrate wheel size – just power it on and go. The unit supports up to 29 functions, including speed, distance, time, altitude and temperature, and can also pair with ANT+ sensors for heart rate, cadence and calories burned. A built-in barometer is included for those training with terrain., and shows gradient percentages which are helpful for uphill rides. Auto pause initiates when it detects a stop in motion. Overall, the unit performed well in terms of measuring all metrics, except for altitude calibration which can run each time the device is turned back on. However, this is easy enough to recalibrate using the smartphone app.

Connectivity

The Bryton works best with the Bryton app, and syncs easily via Bluetooth 4.0. Here, users can view their progress, plan trips, look at graphical analysis and share their rides on social media. The app also connects to Strava and TrainingPeaks. No more hassle of having to take your smartphone out on the ride, as the unit supports phone calls, emails and text notifications.

Design and Battery Life

When compared to some of the models on this list, the Bryton’s design looks somewhat dated and cheap. Buildwise, however, the plastic material is sturdy and holds up well against water, being IPX7 waterproof. It comes in two colours, black and silver. The Bryton is compact and slim at 1.8 x 2.8 x 0.64 inches, but considerably heavy at 52 g. The battery holds a decent charge of approximately 8 hours, and notifies users when it is running low.

Display

It’s two inch display means that items are large and easy to read. Swipe through five customisable data screens with a maximum of four data units per page. An anti-glare display works for daytime, while a clear backlight accommodates cyclists on night rides. One thing about the Bryton is that its temperature readout can only be displayed in Celcius, although this data converts to Fahrenheit when uploaded to Strava.

Additional Features

The unit comes with a USB cable, bike mount and quick start guide.

Pros

  • Supports up to 29 functions
  • Convenient to use, no calibration or installation needed
  • Syncs via Bluetooth
  • Supports phone calls, emails and text notifications
  • Inexpensive GPS unit
  • Decent battery life
  • Large display
  • Anti-glare, backlight

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Inaccurate altitude calibration
  • Display only shows temperature in Celcius

13. VDO M5 Wireless Cycling Computer

For a non-GPS unit, the VDO M5 is quite pricey, but it offers plenty of features that users might still consider it aVDO M5 Wireless Cycling Computer solid investment. It measures speed, average and maximum speed of up to 199kmh or 124 mph, ride time up to 99:59:59, trip and total distance to 99,999KM/M,, temperature and includes a 12 and 24-hour clock and stopwatch. Upgrade to include advanced data by pairing it with a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor. An auto start function helps you to get going again after a break, waking it up from sleep mode when there is no movement. Connectivity

The VDO M5 effortlessly transmits speed data through digital wireless transmission, which means no tangling around with wires. When paired with a heart rate monitor, it offers three training zones, namely Fit, Fat and Own. By keying in your maximum heart rate, the device automatically defines the zones, letting users know when they are working at a maximum frequency, such as 70 and 80 percent for Fit and 55 and 70 percent for Fat. Own, on the other hand, lets users store their own personal data within the device.

Design and Battery Life

Made from durable and long lasting materials, the M5 features three buttons for easy navigation and is intuitive to operate, even while cycling. A large battery means a long run life and it includes a two-year warranty. At 2.1 x 1.77 x 0.62 inches, the unit is compact and lightweight.

Display

The M5 offers a large display with a clear structure for reliable data readouts, so users can get all the information at a glance. The pages scroll back and forth with a simple touch of a button, areas on the display are clearly defined and there is space to show individual function values together with a full text description, without the screen appearing too crowded. A backlight enables the unit to be used for night rides.

Additional Features

Heart rate monitor and cadence sensor can be purchased separately or in a bundle.

The unit comes with a mount included.

Pros

  • Backlight for night rides
  • Clear display
  • Compact
  • Easy button control

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No GPS, basic

14. iGPSPORT iGS50E Bike Computer

If you’re not keen on the expensive price tag that comes with big brand names, consider a less costly alternative – theiGPSPORT iGS50E Bike Computer iGS50E. Competitively priced, it comes with a suite of functions, including high-sensitivity GPS for fast positioning and live tracking, plus comprehensive ride data. Used on its own, it can cater up to 13 types of data, such as current, average and maximum speed, riding time, trip distance, total distance, altitude, gradient, temperature, lap, calories burnt and time. When paired with ANT+ devices, it displays up to six types of additional measurements, such as current, average and maximum cadence, as well as current, average and maximum heart rate. Automatic start and stop initiates during breaks to ensure users get the most accurate data possible. It can carry up to 200 hours of riding data. Unfortunately, the unit lacks navigation and maps.

Connectivity

The iGPSport supports Bluetooth 4.0 for instant upload and ride sharing capabilities. It works with the iGPSport app on both Android and Apple, and supports uploading files to Strava and Map My Ride, although it is more difficult to send data through to the latter two applications via Bluetooth. Connecting through USB to a laptop after the ride provides more stable data transmission.

Design and Battery Life

The iGPSport is larger than most at 3.3 x 2.1x 0.7 inches at 10.1 ounces, but its design is fuss free and utilises traditional buttons rather than a touch screen. The material is IPX 7 waterproof and has been tested to work well under rainy conditions. The battery lasts up to 40 hours.

Display

A large 2.2 inch anti-dazzle screen displays data clearly, so you can keep most of your attention on the road. Its anti-glare properties help to provide better visibility in bright sunlight. The only downside to the display is that the backlight is constantly on, even while riding during the day.

Additional Features

Position and secure the unit easily on an out-front bike mount. Also included is a Micro USB cable and a standard bike mount.
Pros

  • GPS
  • Lots of data
  • Bluetooth pairing
  • Auto start and stop
  • Waterproof
  • Large display
  • Easy controls
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Backlight can’t be turned off
  • No maps or navigation

15. Zaplue Bike Computer

Suitable for beginners, the Zaplue is a cheap entry level cyclo computer that will start you off before moving on toZaplue Bike Computer bigger and better units. Equipped with an odometer, it measures the basics such as average and maximum speed, clock, total distance, total riding time, temperature and calories burnt. The last function is inaccurate, since it does not connect to a heart rate monitor or any other device. The computer lacks an auto start or stop function, and has to be manually operated with buttons. It comes with a cadence sensor to measure the speed of pedalling or RPM. However, the data cannot be transferred to the laptop or any applications, making this a very basic unit.

Connectivity

The Zaplue works on a radio frequency sensor, and is therefore wireless. During installation, the distance between the magnet and the sensor should be 1.5 mm. It lacks any other connectivity capabilities.

Design and Battery Life

Weighing 3.2 ounces, the Zaplue comes in three shapes: rectangular, hexagonal or U-shaped. Batteries are required for both the sensor and computer. A simple button setting enables smooth and easy operation while on the ride. Although waterproof to some degree, it is not recommended for prolonged exposure to rain.

Display

The Zaplue has a fairly large display that shows data fields clearly. A backlight is present for night rides.

Additional Features

The unit comes with zipties for mounting on the bracket.

Pros

  • Backlight for night rides
  • Fairly waterproof
  • Simple operations
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Very basic
  • No navigation or maps

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