Cycling - Gear/Equipment

Cycling Gear: Best Bike GPS 2017 for Turn-by-Turn Navigation

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The only thing changing faster than bikes these days is the technology we use to monitor our performance on them. From smartphones to cyclo-computers to GPS-enabled bike computers the landscape of tracking cycling performance is transforming fast. So, if you are also looking for the best bike GPS to track your cycling performance then stay on.

There’s nothing better than hopping onto a bike and riding off into the distant unknown, but, backing up, a good GPS for biking will ensure you always find your way home. There’s no shortage on the list of reasons to head for a bike GPS device, be it for tracking your rides, creating a fitness plan, sharing and competing with your friends or even turn-by-turn navigation. The tech explosion means that bike navigation devices are plentiful, but how to determine between an actual user-friendly device and marketing gimmicks?

One of the goals here is to make your life easier when it comes to choosing bike GPS. Keep reading to know the best bike GPS available.

At the end of the day, the technology has to work with you, not against you. So despite these rapid changes, focusing on what you — as an individual rider — want to get out of the tech is the key to utilizing the right equipment.

Best Bike GPS: Bike Computer Review 2017

Should you be one of those whose requirements circle around knowing how far and fast you cycled, you could be looking at a smaller, lighter unit with a longer battery life. Although, functions like mapping and navigation not only come at a price but also with a tad more sophistication at a display. If you are interested in collecting data such as heart rate, pedaling cadence, and power you will need to have connectivity to peripheral data collection devices.

Thankfully we have moved past the days when you needed multiple cables and wires to connect all your sensors to your data collection device.

Today, even the basic GPS biking units come with wireless capabilities, some even support an ANT+ interface. Even devices using Bluetooth Smart have become relatively common targeting the audience of the smartphone users. Having searched through the bike computer reviews of 2107, we are glad to showcase a few of the best bike GPS devices for road and trail for you to make an informed choice.

Mio Cyclo 100

Price: 131.57 USD
 

Mio Cyclo 100 bike gps
Mio Cyclo 100 

Features:

  • Anti-glare 1.8” screen in portrait or landscape mode
  • Compact and waterproof
  • Tracks with the built-in GPS.
  • Improves performance
  • Ratings: 4/5

While biking wouldn’t you want an everyday training companion? Well, Mio Cyclo 100 is definitely your best buddy for the ride.

With its personal workout partner, you can not only challenge yourself but also improve your performance. Pop it straight out of the box and get started on its monochrome screen in the portrait or landscape mode. It sports an anti-glare 1.8” screen and is compatible with every weather condition owing to its compact design and rugged waterproof casing. This device is good to record your time, speed, distance, height, calorie consumption and your tracks with the built-in GPS.

Cyclo 505 HC

Price: 746 USD

Cyclo 505 HC
Cyclo 505 HC

Features:

  • Best GPS for road and trail riding
  • ANT+, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility
  • Pre-installed cycle routes and road maps
  • Battery supports power meter, heart rate and interval training
  • Ratings: 3/5

The Cyclo 505 HC is a great unit that will suit a broad range of both on-road and off-road users. It has ANT+, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility and is capable of communicating with your phone, home computer and even your gears. Measuring 103 mm long and 61mm wide, at 129g, it isn’t an especially light or compact unit.

Its biggest benefit is of directional mapping – being able to follow a route you’ve found online or shared by a friend and saved in its 4 GB internal memory. Added to this is the ‘surprise me’ feature in which the Cyclo creates a loop ride based on your current location and desired distance or ride-time. This unit offers enough power meter, heart rate, and interval training features to be an effective training tool.

Mio Cyclo 315

Price: 281.73 USD

Mio Cyclo 315
Mio Cyclo 315

Features:

  • Easy & user-friendly
  • Built-in Li-ion battery capacity of 1500 mAh
  • Slim & lightweight
  • Ratings: 3/5

Looking for a lightweight and sleek bike GPS?
Then Mio Cyclo 315 is your answer.

Mio Cyclo 315 is fully equipped for the dedicated cyclist. Apart from measuring everything you need to know about your performance, it also offers you work out options for outdoors as well as indoors for when the weather doesn’t permit you to cycle outside. It’s simple menu structure and clear on-screen buttons ensure its ease of use. The flat, anti-glare 3” touch screen and lightweight design is what perfect for anyone who appreciates a stylish design and a slimline device to fit on their lightweight bike.

Lezyne Mini GPS

Price: 124.99 USD

Lezyne Mini GPS
Lezyne Mini GPS

Features:

  • Very compact
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Battery life up to 12 hours
  • Ratings: 3.5/5

Bikers! Lezyne Mini GPS is for you if you prefer to keep your metrics simple – speed, distance, elevation, calories.

Measuring less than 6cm by 4cm, it’s one of the smallest options available and weighs less than 30g. The 2017 version adds turn-by-turn directions and some mapping functions. This is very much a computer that’s all about completing the simple task of informing you about your ride, it doesn’t give you the sort of athlete feedback that the more sophisticated units do.

Equip yourself with the Essential Gear Required for Long Distance Cycling.

Garmin Bike GPS

Well, undoubtedly Garmin rules the bike world!

Garmin dominates the cycling GPS bike computer scene by dint of having got in early. Garmin GPS bike computers have come a long way thanks to a winning mix of user-friendly features, good looks, and effective navigation capabilities. While many units come close to providing similar functionality there’s not one that could come close to a Garmin bike GPS comparison.

Here's a Garmin bicycle GPS review. We have selected the best Garmins for biking.

Garmin Edge 25

Price: 184.20 USD

Garmin Edge 25
Garmin Edge 25

Features:

  • Tracks time, distance, speed, and calories burned
  • Customise data screens to display important ride information
  • Compare successive rides over the same route with on-screen courses
  • Sync with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for live tracking, incoming call, and text alerts
  • Compatible with ANT+ sensors, including speed, cadence and heart rate
  • Ratings: 4.5/5

Garmin Edge 25 is small in size but big on performance!

It is ideal for the average club rider who wants to log their rides, monitor performance and follow pre-planned routes. The Edge 25 sits one rung above the Edge 20, tiny at 40X42X17mm, and weighing 30g including its mount. Despite its 128X160 pixel display, it manages to be pin sharp making it easy to even check your speed at a glance.

Garmin Edge 520

Price: 368.42 USB

Garmin Edge 520
Garmin Edge 520

Features:

  • Can track time, distance, speed, ascent/descent and calories burned with high performance
  • Supports live strava segments
  • Can be paired with ANT+ sensors, including speed, cadence, heart rate, power meter and Di2
  • Can be synced with Bluetooth for live tracking, automatic uploads, smart notifications, send/receive courses, social media sharing, and weather updates
  • Use it with power meter and heart rate to get VO2 max and recovery time reports
  • Ratings: 4/5

It is a powerhouse camouflaged under its sleek and compact look.

While the device may be small – 2X3X1 inches it doesn’t skimp on features. Its lack of a touchscreen works as an advantage, as the physical buttons on the side and on the bottom are easy to use and will work under any weather condition. With a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone, the device can provide automatic wireless uploads to Garmin Connect, Strava, TrainingPeaks and more. It also includes on-screen notifications of incoming texts and calls. While the 520 has turn-by-turn directions and colour maps, its real strength is as a full-featured training tool in a compact size.

Garmin Edge 810

Price: 453.95 USD

Garmin edge 810
Garmin Edge 810

Features:

  • Sleek, lightweight GPS-enabled
  • 2.6-inch colour touchscreen with simple user interface
  • Tracks your ride details including speed, distance, time, location, elevation, heart rate, cadence and personal records
  • Additional features include live tracking, instant uploads, social network sharing and weather updates
  • Instantly uploads ride data via Garmin Connect mobile app
  • Ratings: 4/5

Make your life easy with Garmin Edge 810! It is similarly packaged as the 800 model it replaces. With the drop of a single gram in the weight, its dimensions stand at 93X53X25mm. It has a fairly responsive screen, even with gloved fingers or when wet, although it still seems a bit grainy and crude. The major hardware upgrade on the Edge 810 is the addition of a dual band ANT+/ Bluetooth wireless chip which enables you to connect the device to both iOS and Android phones. The Edge 810 has pretty much disappeared with the Edge 820 making an appearance, but we owe it a mention here, in case you chance upon a good second-hand deal.

Garmin Edge 820

Price: 434.21 USD

Garmin Edge 820
Garmin Edge 820

Features:

  • Tracks time, distance, speed, ascent/descent and calories burned
  • Group tracking allows to see the location of fellow riders
  • Pair with Bluetooth for live tracking, send/receive courses, social media sharing, audio prompts and weather updates
  • Ratings: 3.5/5

This bike GPS is known for its ace navigation and performance.

It is a comprehensive bike navigation device, designed to meet the needs of a demanding cyclist. The 820 has improved social training functions, keeping full Strava segment integration and adding a new GroupTrack feature that displays exact location and speed information for your fellow riders. We still wish for a slightly more responsive screen, but with ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensors, the potential for next level riding is high.

Garmin Edge 1000

Price: 657.90 USD

Garmin Edge 1000
Garmin Edge 1000

Features:

  • Best multi-purpose GPS device
  • Larger, easy-to-read display with capacitive touchscreen
  • Supports base mapping & routing
  • Ratings: 5/5

It goes well beyond merely offering GPS and mapping features, including heart rate monitoring, a speed/cadence sensor, Wi-Fi connectivity and pretty much anything else a biker could ask for.

With upgrades including a larger easier to read screen, base mapping and routing, a capacitive touchscreen, means this device has got your biking needs covered. It might not be an ideal choice for cyclists who do not require robust mapping but is one of the best multi-purpose GPS devices out there. The price also could be a deterrent, but riders serious about performance and constant improvement can rest assured that the Garmin Edge 1000 delivers well beyond its price.

Polar V650

Price: 229.61 USD

Polar V650
Polar V650

Feature:

  • Tracks ride with integrated GPS
  • Large 2.8" colour touch screen
  • Barometer
  • Free Polar Flow web service to plan and analyse your training
  • Compatible with Polar Bluetooth Smart heart rate & cycling sensors
  • Ratings: 3.5/5

How amazing would it be to have GPS with heart rate monitor? Polar V650 cares for you while you ride!

Polar V650 cares for you while you ride!

It has taken some obvious design cues from the smartphones we know and love, with a central ‘home’ button and an Android-esque pull-down menu with screen brightness, alert sound volume and safety light settings can be adjusted. At a weight of 118g, the unit features a 2.8” high contrast colour touch screen with a sensitivity similar to a mobile, unimpeded by a full finger or insulated gloves. It boasts of a nifty feature – the front safety light. However, it’s held back by its firmware with no ANT+ compatibility. Nonetheless, it’s well-priced and is close to a competitive head unit.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

Price: 309.22 USD

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt
Wahoo Elemnt Bolt 

Features:

  • Aerodynamic body design
  • Offers lesser drag
  • Compatible with ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Systems include power, heart rate, speed, cadence, muscle oxygen and electronic shifting system
  • Ratings: 4.5/5

A compact bike GPS device which boasts of an aerodynamic body. Because of the Bolt’s revolutionary tapered shape and sleek interlocking mount, you’ll experience relatively less drag. Wahoo returns the customization control to the cyclist with customizable data fields that allow you to select and prioritize the metrics that matter the most. The device pairs with most ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors and systems including power, heart rate, speed, cadence, muscle oxygen and electronic shifting system.

Memory Map 270 Pro

Price: 119.36 USD

Memory map 270 pro
Memory Map Pro 27-

Features:

  • GPS Cycling Computer
  • Heart rate and cadence ANT+ wireless sensors
  • GPX route recorder.1.5" LCD screen with backlight
  • Lightweight but sturdy construction
  • Waterproof
  • Ratings: 4/5

It exhibits a clear, simple display, making it easy to read even through the harshest of road vibrations.

It includes a barometric altimeter to register the amount of climbing your rides will include. The device is also ANT+ compatible, enabling it to be synchronized with a heart rate and speed/cadence sensors. The unit has operational buttons, eliminating the impracticality of swipe screens when used under wet conditions or gloved fingers.

Bryton Rider 100E

Price: 92.04 USD

Bryton Rider 100E
Bryton Rider 100E

Features:

  • High-sensitivity GPS receiver for fast positioning
  • Waterproof
  • Large and easy-to-read screen
  • 7 customizable data screens with up to 5 data points per page
  • Ratings: 3.5/5

It has a slim, sleek and low profile. This device has an easy to read clear screen with a plethora of about 36 features, works well with Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors that allow you to add heart rate and speed/cadence measurement. With an auto back-light and customizable data pages, you can easily plan your work out and compare and compete with fellow cyclists.

Cateye Stealth 50

Price: 134.48 USD

cateye stealth 50
Cateye Stealth 50

Features:

  • Compact
  • Picks up GPS signal quickly
  • Lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Ratings: 3.5/5

It is quick to pick up a GPS signal and easily visible on the move, constantly showing time and current speed, but can be customized to also show other data options such as heart rate, cadence, journey distance etc. The device size is compact and "no wires" keep it neat to use, however, it does require un-mounting of the unit to switch on or off.

Cateye Velo Wireless Cycle Computer

Price: 46.04 USD

Cateye Velo Wireless bike gps
Cateye Velo Wireless

Features:

  • User friendly
  • Minimalistic cyclo computer with leading technology
  • Ratings: 4.5/5

This bike GPS device is one of the ‘no-nonsense’ units available for cyclists. The two-line display is clear, displaying current speed at the top and then scrolling through auto stop/start ride time, ride distance, average speed, maximum speed, overall distance and a clock at the bottom. Its singular button is easy to find and operate even with thick gloves.

Cateye Strada Wireless Cycle Computer

Price: 65.75 USD

Cateye Strada wireless
Caption

Features:

  • Easy to use, compact, lightweight
  • All-purpose: morning commute, a training ride or an adventure race
  • Simplest set up with a discreet overall appearance
  • Ratings: 4/5

This bike GPS offers a compact, lightweight, easy to use computer for all types of riders. Its 8 functions include current speed, max speed, average speed, odometer, total distance, trip distance, clock and elapsed time completes the checklist for a basic cycle computer.

Lezyne Super Cycle GPS with Mapping HRCS Loaded

Price: 184.20 USD

Lezyne Super Cycle GPS with mapping
Lezyne Super Cycle GPS with Mapping HRSC Loaded

Features:

  • Odometer
  • Barometer
  • Has ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Rechargeable Lithium polymer battery
  • Ratings: 4/5

It can display incoming text messages, emails and phone calls, along with turn-by-turn navigation and Strava Live Segments.

Additionally, the display can be personalized to show just the basics, or all the bells and whistles, with up to five customizable pages to navigate. At the nucleus of the device lies an ultra reliable ride tracking using a combination of three forms of measurements: GPS/Glonass, which tracks the rider; a barometer, which measures atmospheric pressure and balances out elevation; and an accelerometer (detects movement), which cancels out GPS “drift” and saves battery life.

Cateye Stealth 10

Price: 105.25 USD

Cateye Stealth 10
Cateye Stealth 10

Features:

  • Ideal for daily cycling, not navigation
  • Lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Standard operating time: Approx. 10 hours
  • Ratings: 4.5/5

It is ideal for light training and everyday cycling, not for navigation. Track speed, distance, elapsed time and record up to 60 hours of data that you can upload and share via web-based training sites. Other features include a full-time backlight, zauto-stop/start, and programmable odometer.

For the newbies who have recently taken up cycling as a passion and are a bit clueless on bike GPS and their purpose, here are more insights on these smart cycling computers.

What is a Bike GPS Device

Starting off at ground level, GPS is an acronym for Global Positioning System. GPS signals are sent out from satellites orbiting the earth. A GPS navigation device picks up these signals and uses them to determine its own location at that particular point in time.

Bike GPS Device
Bike GPS Device

A bike GPS device is one that uses GPS for a variety of purposes that might be handy for someone riding a bike. The device is generally mounted on the handlebars or the stem so that the cyclist can easily access the ride data being displayed.

Common Bike GPS Functions

The most prominent and obvious functions include navigation and route recording. Simply by feeding in the name of the place, or the postcode of the destination the unit will cough up the directions to it, with turn-by-turn instructions as you approach the junctions along the way. Some bike GPS devices can also generate a random route of a specified length, quite an entertainment gimmick for the enthusiastic explorer on a cycle.

A device will usually provide the ability to track the course of your ride using low-power wireless communication protocols such as Bluetooth and ANT+, allowing you to download it to your computer or upload it to a relevant website or smartphone app. They will often show data which is coming from other (non-GPS) sensors on the bike or the rider. These could include cadence (the number of pedal turns per minute), altitude and distance climbed, rider heart rate (current as well as average) etc.

GPS devices indicate elevation, the most common way being, with help of their built-in barometric altimeters. A barometric altimeter uses atmospheric pressure to determine the height above sea level. However, it could be susceptible to errors depending on weather and temperature changes.

Common Bike GPS functions
Common Bike GPS Functions

In the case of a GPS without a barometric altimeter, it would use your position and a value called a reference ellipsoid to calculate the elevation. An altimeter although, does allow you access to additional information such as how fast you’re climbing and the gradient, which gives you the necessary boost to scale that insanely steep hill.

Many units are capable of doing the brain work for you, freeing you to do the physical work. With the help of programmed workout sequences, the device gets busy counting intervals, timing efforts, and monitoring training efforts and load so that one doesn’t under perform or over perform.

Need to affirm yourself you’re really making the effort?

  • GPS units work with a power meter that records your power data along with your ride and heart rate data and displays a range of measurements and averages.
  • GPS units are known to showcase time functions to include time of the day, ride time, stopwatch, sunset and sunrise times etc.

Know all about what to wear when your ride with our Cycling Gear Buying Guide.

Alternatives to Cycle Computers

In case you aren’t looking to buy a cycling specific bike GPS devices, Smartphones are also an option. They will have a GPS chip built into them, which may not be as accurate as the dedicated cycling GPS but will enable you to track your position with reasonable accuracy.

Many free activity tracking apps are available, Strava being the most popular, closely followed by the likes of MapMyRide and Endomondo. Mounts are readily available to attach your smartphone to your bars or stem, normally with a clear plastic zip up sleeve so you can see your data as you ride. The continuous display could pose a slight issue with regards to the battery life though.

Know about Best Cycling Apps to Improve Your Ride.

If you would prefer to track your activity in other sports as well, a wrist-mounted multi-sports watch would probably more suitable.

Geonaute Onmove 220 GPS Watch

Geonaute Onmove 220 GPS watch
Geonaute Onmove 220 GPS Watch

It is a product available on the Decathlon network. It’s 5 button layout is practical and functionally smooth. The model is light with a weight of 51g, thickness of 115mm and a diameter of 45.5mm. The Bluetooth Smart allows you to transfer watch data to a compatible smartphone. The device is also comfortable to use for running.

Garmin Fenix 3

Garmin Fenix 3
Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch

It is almost near perfection. It’s survived the rigors of riding, skiing, surfing, rock climbing and canyoning without so much as a scratch on the screen and is easily the best GPS watch for mountain biking.

The Gramin Epix

The Garmin Epix Watch
The Garmin Epix GPS Watch

It isn’t far behind offering a high level of functionality but its ease of use and availability of major data only boosts your athleticism. Due mention to the Polar V800 which along with being a sports watch doubles up as an activity tracker as well.

The type of GPS unit you settle for may vary, depending on your cycling endeavors. GPS technology, wireless communication, and social data tracking are just a few things to take into consideration while on the hunt for the best unit for your bike. For a weekend or an after work cyclist taking two-three hour rides, battery life might not even be a consideration, a hobbyist wouldn’t consider weather conditions, while a performance rider would probably face the snowstorm than miss a ride.

Like any buying decision for the discerning cyclist, no matter how much you intend spending or how much data you decide to record, a bike GPS unit will enhance your ride by leaving you with a permanent record of where you have ridden, when and how fast. It will give you the option of diving into your performance with tools to improve and broaden the horizons of your cycling experience.

If you use a bike GPS, let us know which one do you use!

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