Bicycle computers are offered in various packages with different trackable metrics. Choosing the right model for your driving style is crucial, and sorting the differences between the models can be confusing. Here is what you need to know.
What to look for in a bike computer
Before you start looking for a bike computer, think about what style of driving you have and what information you want. This is your basis for deciding on options and the amount of spending. For example, are you an occasional driver who only wants to know speed and distance or are you planning to use many sensors such as a heart monitor and a power meter? Would you like turn-by-turn navigation on a large display? The more you spend, the more options you have in general. However, you may not want or need all the features available.
Not only is user-friendliness crucial in assessing mid- to high-end cycle computers How is data collected and how is it exported and presented? Sensors such as speed and cadence (pedaling speed) can be connected via ANT + or Bluetooth. You want to make sure that the selected device is compatible with the devices you want to use.
To view your data, you need to connect to your phone or computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Manufacturers like Garmin offer apps and websites where you can review and analyze your data. For example, Garmin Connect integrates with the company's equipment and allows you to set goals, for example, to track your body weight and daily hydration. So do not just think about what type of driving you are doing and what data you want, but also what you will do with the data when you receive it and how easy it is to analyze it in a useful way.
In the low-cost cycle computer category, you can get even cheaper by opting for old-school wired computers. Here you have the choice between wireless computers. The covering of the whole bike is ugly. Not only that, wires can get caught and torn out. The electrical contacts under the computer mount are often corroded by sweat, and then connectivity problems arise.
Best Affordable Cycle Computers: CatEye Padrone and Sigma BC 1
There are some key features to expect in a budget cycle computer. like speed, distance and elapsed time. Some do more than others, and with so many options in the budget area, it's important that you do your homework, compare functions between models, and read reliability tests. We have chosen two with good reputation.
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CatEye Padrone CatEye
If your needs are simple, you can not go wrong with the CatEye Padrone. CatEye began manufacturing cycle computers in the early 1980s. Today, although high-tech products are produced, there are always reliable foundations for the budget used.
CatEye markets quite a few computers under the name Padrone, which can be confusing. However, the entry-level model offers the following features:
- Large and easy-to-read screen
- Current, maximum and average speed
- Total distance, elapsed time and clock
- Automatic break at stop
Another advantage is that No GPS is available and keep the replaceable batteries for about a year!
Sigma BC 14.16 STS Wireless Bike Computer with Cadence
The Sigma BC 14.16 STS caters for a little more than The Basic Wireless CatEye cadence sensor is particularly important for cyclists trying to maintain a high rpm to avoid possible knee problems due to excessive pressing a gear. Sigma also offers a mobile app for accessing your training data.
Additional Sigma Functions:
Best Mid-Range Bicycle Computer: Garmin Edge 530 and Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
You'll spend a lot more in the mid-range, but now you're in the area of turn-by-turn navigation and compatibility with a variety of sensors that allow you to capture more data about your driving performance.
Garmin Edge 530
Garmin's new Edge 530 is an upgrade from the 510 and 520 models to models and features of turn-by-turn navigation the company has built its reputation. On the full-color screen, you can follow a previously recorded route or route that you have created on numerous mapping platforms for cycling routes such as Garmin Connect, MapMyRide or Strava. Alerts can be set up for rounds and you can decide how far in advance you want them to get. For a little more, you can purchase a mountain bike package that supports the Trailforks app (Android, IoS), which includes trail scores, jump distance tracking, and flow analysis of your downhill capabilities.
Like The 520 (and unlike the 510) does not have a 530 touchscreen. Setting up and driving is done via side buttons. The device is compatible with ANT +, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This means that in addition to standards such as speed and cadence, it is also compatible with a variety of sensors, from power meters to cardiac monitors.
It integrates with the Garmin Connect smartphone app (Android, IoS) so all data is automatically uploaded to your connected phone at the end of your journey. You can also pair your Garmin account with Strava and other popular automatic upload tracking software.
The specified battery life is approximately 20 hours between charges. The 530 has security features such as LiveTrack that allow your friends and family to track your location in real time, and event detection that lets you use the speed and cadence sensors to determine if a crash has occurred and alert you to your emergency can send contacts through your paired smartphone.
The 530 offers rider-to-driver news and Strava live segments so you can challenge yourself on rides. There's even a bike alarm that alerts your smartphone when you're moving your bike when you're in a store buying sports drinks and snacks.
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Wahoo is one of the relatively new companies that questions Garmin's supremacy in the world of cycle computers, with an accompanying ELEMNT BOLT Considering that the design of the Garmin 530 is a bit cumbersome with just buttons, navigating in the Wahoo app is easy, but you'll need a smartphone to use it with the more expensive ELEMNT ROAM With enhanced navigation and a larger color display, you can set it up either on the device or through the app.
With one The battery life of 15 hours can be claimed by the BOLT The turn navigation offers the possibility to open the app, to enter the desired location and then to navigate from the computer to it.
Wahoo promotes the aerodynamic features of the BOLT, which in his opinion are superior to Garmin devices.
Like Garmin, the BOLT offers Wi-Fi, ANT + and Bluetooth compatibility so you can connect the sensors of your choice. It has a Live Track feature that updates a web-based portal so friends and family can track where you are and make sure you're fine. You can locate friends in transit in real time and receive emails, text messages and phone alerts.
When you connect to a service like Strava or RideWithGPS, your saved trips are automatically downloaded wirelessly to your ROAM. As with Garmin, data from completed trips can be uploaded to the same third-party services. Coaching apps like TrainingPeaks and Today's Plan can be integrated with BOLT so you can view your workout schedule and perform structured workouts. The BOLT works with Wahoo's indoor coaches to adjust the levels of resistance to your planned training.
Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer
The BOLT uses Wahoo's free ELEMNT companion app, which automatically couples and manages the configuration process for quick and frustration-free setup.
Best Premium Bike Computers: Garmin Edge 1030 and SRM PC8
If you get into the premium bike computer series, you can expect more bells and whistles Bigger color displays or more analysis of training data.
Garmin Edge 1030
Garmin 1030 Garmin
If you want the Rolls Royce of bike computers, the Garmin Edge 1030 is for you. It is equipped with all the features of the 530, but has a much larger touchscreen, which works according to Garmin with gloves or in the wet. You can also create rides on the device and not just upload them from other sources.
The SRM PC8 (Power Control Eight) is one of the most expensive cycle computers on the market and does not even have it Turn-by-turn navigation or smartphone connectivity. This is intended as data collection training for serious athletes focusing on interval training. SRM is quite proud that its device "does without gimmicks."
The large display is full of data and compatible with all ANT + power meters. The enormous memory capacity of 500 MB can store data for up to 4,000 hours of training, and a built-in motion sensor automatically turns on the PC8 while driving.
SRM PowerControl 8 (Black)
The SRM PC8 is a tool for serious athletes focused on training. The large display shows more real-time data than most cycle computers.
While the wide range of available bike computers may be a bit confusing, the good news is that there is one that is in the right price range, depending on your needs, and driving habits. For regular cyclists, we recommend spending the cash on a good mid-range computer with turn-by-turn navigation. You'll find that you're more willing to explore new routes and experience new bike adventures if you're sure you're not lost.