If you are cycling for fitness, you would want to go with the best bike computer that displays your heart rate and lets you know the calories you’ve burned.
When shopping for a bike computer, you will notice that the market is saturated with these devices. You are most likely to find yourself lost in the swarm of way too many choices. This is why in this article, we will be sharing with you the best bike computers in 2020. The list has been prepared after thorough and extensive research. Read the article until the last to have a look at various bike computers that you can buy.
Related: Best Road Bike Helmet
Table of Contents
- View the Best Bike Computers Below
- 1. Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS Computer
- 2. Garmin Edge 820 Bike Computer GPS
- 3. Lezyne Enhanced Bike GPS Computer
- 4. Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Wireless Bike Computer
- 5. SY Bicycle Speedometer and Odometer Computer
- 6. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Bike Computer
- 7. Cat Eye Padrone Plus Wireless Bike Computer
- 8. Garmin Edge 1030 Bike Computer
- What are the Things to Consider When Buying a Bike Computer?
- How Do Bike Computers Work?
- What Are the Possible Reasons for Non-functioning Bike Computers?
- Why Type of Bike Computer is More Accurate?
- Will All the Data Be Lost If the Battery of Bike Computer Ran Out?
- What are the Common Features to Consider When Buying a Bike Computer?
- The Final Word
View the Best Bike Computers Below
1. Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS Computer
Garmin Edge 520 is a premium feature-packed bike computer that is ideal for serious cyclists. The GPS-enabled device tracks the location where you’ve been, along with tracking the locations where you intend to cover. The device can easily be connected with your power meter or heart rate monitor as well. It can be easily paired with your smartphone and display notifications for incoming text messages and phone calls on its premium screen that has a display resolution of 200 x 265 pixels.
When connected with your phone, the Garmin Edge can offer live tracking. The product has an impressive 15+ hours battery time, which makes it ideal for off-the-road adventures. The device’s water rating is IPX7.
Why We Like It
We recommend this Bilstein kit because of how feasible it is for all Dodge Ram 1500 owners. The kit is made of sturdy materials and will last a long time.
2. Garmin Edge 820 Bike Computer GPS
Bike computers are available at different price ranges. Like everything else, a bike computer whose price is at a higher-end comes with amazingly sophisticated and premium features. The Garmin Edge 820 is one such bike computer that has gained immense popularity among cyclists because of its hard-to-miss features. The device has a color screen and a touchscreen. The lightweight and compact device has 2.3-inch, high-resolution display. The touchscreen of the device will work even wet or even when the cyclist is wearing their gloves.
The device has a group track feature, which lets you track the location of your fellow riders. This is a great device for groups who set out together but want to explore places on their own at some point during their journey. The device has a battery life of 15 hours, which can be extended through the battery save mode.
Why We Like It
A compact device, the Edge 820 is a premium bike computer which comes with exceptional features. The device includes turn-by-turn navigation that helps the cyclist keep track of their route no matter where they are.
3. Lezyne Enhanced Bike GPS Computer
If you are looking for a high-quality bike computer but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on the device, we would advise you to have a look at the Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS. The device comes with a good navigation system that offers turn-by-turn directions to cyclists. The device is compact and looks great when mounted on a bicycle. It also has a strong built and can withstand heavy precipitation and extreme weather conditions. It is super accurate and records data with its advanced data recording system, which comprises Glonass satellite and GPS.
The device is compatible with most of the smartphones and once paired, the device can automatically sync with Today’s Plan, Strava and TrainingPeaks. The device, after being connected with your smartphone, will also display notifications of incoming texts and phone calls. The live tracking can also be updated to share the route you take with your family and friends so that they can track your cycle in real-time.
Why We Like It
For people who want to have a premium bike computer at an affordable price, the Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS is the right choice. It has impressive features that can make your cycling journey even more fun.
4. Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Wireless Bike Computer
This Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Wireless Bike Computer is famous among cyclists because of its large display. Even though it is a basic bike computer that only displays the following nine items: speed, trip distance, max speed, temperature, ride time, two-wheel sizes, average speed, and clock, it is the most sought-after product. Casual cyclists normally prefer this device because of its eye-catching design and large screen. It comes with a universal bracket that makes it easier for you to mount it on your bike. It also has a unique feature that lets cyclists maintain a specific speed as it tells the cyclist whether they are going faster or slower than their average speed.
Why We Like It
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5. SY Bicycle Speedometer and Odometer Computer
The SY Bicycle Speedometer and odometer is a compact, black bike computer that looks just perfect when mounted on a bicycle. It comes with an auto wake-up function, which makes sure that the bike wakes up from its sleep mode as soon as it senses vibrations. It comes with an LCD-screen that offers a clear display of the ride data. The lightweight, wireless computer measures riding time, speed, and distance. It is a basic bike computer that is perfect for casual cyclists and fitness enthusiasts who want to know their riding time only. One of the salient features of the computer is its waterproof design, which makes it highly durable and sturdy.
During the nighttime, the computer provides backlight to make it easier for cyclists to read the stats. Similar to the auto wake-up feature, the backlight will also turn on automatically if any button is pressed between 18:00 and 6:00. The device is very easy to install on the bicycle and is even more convenient to use.
Why We Like It
If you are looking for a basic bike computer, we think that you shouldn’t look any further than the SY Bicycle Speedometer and Odometer. The device is compact and has a catchy design. Even though it offers basic features, it is liked by cyclists who want to gain access to basic data and stats of their ride.
6. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt Bike Computer
The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt is a popular bike computer that is famous for its compact and elegant design. It offers free setup. It is compatible with most of the third-party apps and automatically downloads routes. Once paired with your smartphone, the device will provide email, text, and call alerts. It also comes with an amazing feature of GroupTrack, which lets you track the location of your friends or family who parted with the pack. The device also offers turn-by-turn directions to budding cyclists to make their cycling adventure more convenient and fun. To view the data on the display, you can use the device’s zoom feature.
Why We Like It
The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt is an impressive bike computer that offers accurate riding data to cyclists. It’s amazing Take Me To feature provides an accurate cycling route that will take you to your required destination in the shortest time possible. The device can be easily paired with your smartphone as well. It is one of the best bike computers that you can get.
7. Cat Eye Padrone Plus Wireless Bike Computer
Available in impressive design, this affordable Cat Eye Padrone Plus Wireless Bike Computer comes with a long battery life that will make your journey more enjoyable. Even though it doesn’t have GPS, it can rely on your phone for that data. It is very easy to connect with your phone so you can depend on the computer to let you know where you are when you are on an off-the-road adventure. The sleek device is easy to mount on any bike. It can improve the overall appearance of the vehicle on which it has been mounted. The device comes with an auto stop/start feature that allows the device to stop counting average speed and time when you have stopped for, say, grabbing coffee, etc.
Why We Like It
This bike computer is an amazing device that will help you keep track of your riding performance. It comes with a backlit display that lets you keep track of the miles you have covered during dark hours.
8. Garmin Edge 1030 Bike Computer
A compact bike computer, the Garmin Edge 1030 offers comprehensive navigation and lets you track your cycling performance in an efficient manner. The device has a battery life of 20 hours and a large enough display screen. The device features navigation alerts, along with providing turn-by-turn directions. Its rider-to-rider messaging feature lets you keep a check on your fellow riders.
Why We Like It
The Garmin Edge 1030 boasts an impressive battery life of 20 hours that allows you to keep track of your cycling performance for a long time. It is compact and offers so many salient features. The only downside of the device is that it is highly-priced. In case you are okay with spending extra bucks on a bike computer, you should consider buying this one.
Buying Guide & FAQs
What are the Things to Consider When Buying a Bike Computer?
If this is the first time that you’re hearing about something called bike computers, the following section will be beneficial to you. Here, we talk about the factors that you must consider when you are purchasing a bike computer.
1. Wired vs Wireless
Wireless bike computers are generally preferred over the wired ones as they don’t cause any hindrances. Wired computers, on the other hand, come with a nagging wire that may cause problems for you. A wired computer can make your bike look a bit ugly – with all those wires dangling. This why many people prefer wireless bike computers as they add more elegance to the overall appearance of bicycles.
2. The Type of Rider
What kind of bike computer is good for you depends on the type of rider you are. Generally, there are three types of cyclists:
Competitive: These are the cyclists that don’t ride just for fun. They participate in different cycling competitions and they want to up their game. These cyclists want a bike computer with premium features. They’d want to know the distance they have covered, the time taken to cover it, and eventually the speed at which they were going. They’d also want to know other details, such as average speed, the trip distance, etc. Besides all of this, they would also be interested in knowing their heart rate during the ride and the elevation gained. So if you fall into this category, you must consider buying a bike computer that offers premium features.
Enthusiast: There are some people who have taken up cycling for daily commuting to work. Some turn to their bicycles when they want to go on a short tour, etc. These cyclists would want a bike computer that not only indicates the distance covered, time, and speed, but one that will also disclose other details, such as the maximum and average speed, total odometer, and trip distance.
Casual: Casual cyclists are generally not interested in going into the details of their ride. They only want to find out the distance that they have covered, how fast they were going, and how long they took to finish a ride. They are most likely to go with a bike computer that displays distance, speed, and time.
Your budget is a deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right bike computer. Even if you are planning to buy a premium bike computer, you would want to check the prices of such bike computers. Different brands offer different prices for a bike computer. Here is a look at what you can expect to pay for a bike computer with different features:
Bike Computer Features
Up to $50
Basic magnetic-sensor models. (Only wired models)
Between $50 and $125
Magnetic-sensor wireless or wired models that come with additional features, such as cadence
Between $125 and $200
Advanced magnetic-sensor basic GPS models or wireless models. Some of them include additional features, such as environmental and performance data including elevation, temperature, and heart rate
$200 and above
Advanced GPS models that come with customizable screens and include a mapping option, along with including a vast range of data options
4. Water Resistance
Cycling is an outdoor sport and requires you to be able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions. Even if you use a cycle for daily commuting to work, it is probable that you’d have to take out your bicycle on a rainy day with heavy showers. Therefore, you should buy a bike computer that is water-resistant. To find out the level of water-resistance of a bike computer, you have to look at the product’s IP code. Often called Ingress Protection code, the IP code of the product indicates the extent of protection provided by the product’s casing against water, dust, etc.
If you are living in an area that witnesses harsh weather conditions, you should take a look at the IP code of the product to find out about its vulnerability to water and dust ingress. However, it is also worth noting that not all manufacturers provide this valuable detail about their products. So, you must also consider buying the product from those who provide all the details regarding the products’ water resistance, etc.
5. Smartphone Pairing
The latest models of bike computers come with a brilliant feature that enables them to connect with smartphones. This connection allows the computer to save more data, such as the location of the cyclist, etc. You must be wondering why we aren’t advising cyclists to download a cycling app on their smartphones if they want to connect their bike computer to the phone. Here is the thing: when you are running an app on your phone, your phone’s battery will drain quickly. As a result, your phone is likely to switch off within an hour or so. With the connection, however, your phone’s screen will remain off throughout your journey while the bike computer will keep retrieving important data from the phone.
Secondly, when you are using the phone to keep track of your ride, you are supposed to mount it on your handlebar. This is not right for your phone’s safety and you are likely to end up damaging your phone. But when the bike computer is connected with your phone, you can safely keep the phone in your pocket.
The perfect way of recording your location on the bike computer is by connecting it with your smartphone. However, if you want to get everything in one device, you can consider buying GPS-enabled bike computers. Bike computers that are available at a low price come with a GPS feature that indicates your location. On the other hand, high-priced bike computers display the map on the screen that can help a cyclist in their navigation.
7. Compatible Mounting Bracket
Bike computers are mounted on the handlebars of bicycles. It is possible that the computer you bought turns out to be incompatible with your bike’s handlebar. This is why it is important to have measurements of your handlebar when you set out to buy a bike computer for yourself.
How Do Bike Computers Work?
Reading about the amazing features of a bike computer might have made you think about how exactly this device works. Bike computers with magnetic sensors comprise a magnet that is attached to a wheel spoke. The wheel rotates past a sensor that is attached to the bicycle’s front fork. For the cadence sensor, the sensor is attached to a rear stay while the magnet is attached to a crank arm. On the other hand, there are bike computers that use a satellite receiver and prepare ride data by converting GPS signals.
What Are the Possible Reasons for Non-functioning Bike Computers?
There can be a lot of factors that may have led to the breakdown of your bike computer. Some of the most common ones are as follows:
Battery: Usually, the reason why your bike computer is not working has to do with the battery of your device. It is better to replace the battery after two years to ensure that the device continues to work smoothly.
Mount Connection: This is the problem that is commonly observed in wired models. Sometimes, the display unit is not tied up in the mount correctly. If that’s the case, take off the computer and click on it again.
Sensor Position: If the sensor on the wheel gets knocked out of its position, the device will face a problem while displaying the data. Make sure to check the gap and alignment between the spoke magnet and the wheel sensor if you encounter any problem with the bike computer.
Wire Connection: This is a problem that is limited to wired bike computers only. Sometimes, because of the constant rubbing against the bicycle’s frame, the bike computer’s wire gets worn out. It also loosens from the mount. If you are facing any problem with your computer, it is advisable that you check out if the fault lies in the wire.
Why Type of Bike Computer is More Accurate?
Both types of bike computer – magnetic and sensor – provides accurate data. However, if you have to choose between the two, a dedicated GPS bike computer is more accurate.
Will All the Data Be Lost If the Battery of Bike Computer Ran Out?
No. Once you have recharged or even replaced the batteries, you will be able to access your data.
What are the Common Features to Consider When Buying a Bike Computer?
There are some features that every bike computer should have – regardless of their type. When you are buying a bike computer, make sure that the product you have chosen has the following features:
- An easy-to-read backlit screen
- Weather-resistant housing
- A compatible and secure mounting bracket
The Final Word
Bike computers are a beneficial device that lets you keep track of your performance. Even if you are a casual cyclist, it is always better to find out the speed at which you ride and the distance you normally cover. On the other hand, daily commuters can learn about the details of their performance, including their maximum speed, etc. In case this is your first time buying a bike computer, we hope that our guide helped you in making the right decision and that you were able to choose a product from the list of our suggested products. Let’s have a quick look at our top 3 products as well:
The top pick: Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS is packed with features that will make your cycling tours more fun. The compact computer is so easy to mount on your bike’s handlebar and can enhance your bike’s look. Its easy-to-read screen lets you keep track of your performance wherever you are.
The premium pick: Even though the Garmin Edge 820 Bike GPS is an expensive product, it has impressive features that are rarely found in any other product. The durable and compact bike computer has a high-quality touchscreen that works perfectly well even when wet. It comes with a full map that helps bicyclists with navigations. The features of this premium product justify the price tag at which it is available.
The value pick: The Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS is a good bike computer that offers premium features at a low price. The small-sized computer has a durable and sturdy construction. It is super resistant and extremely weather-resistant.
If this is your first time buying a bike computer, we recommend you choose anyone from our top 3 listed above. For competitive cyclists, premium bike computers with sophisticated features are the ideal choice.