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No data, no ride. There’s a good chance that you might very well agree with this statement. After all, that’s probably why you’re here reading this.
Data and data display have become increasingly popular in cycling. Whether you’re training for the next big race, or just looking to improve your fitness, bike computers are an excellent aid.
The GPS capable and more sophisticated units can help you plan and follow routes, correlate physical data, and even alert loved ones in the case of an accident. On the other hand, cheaper and non-GPS capable units can be used to keep a simple track of the miles racked up and basic speed data.
So, whatever kind of bike computer you’re looking for, our list of the 8 best bike computers will hopefully have one that will interest you.
Let’s get down to business and take a look…
- Top 8 Best Bike Computers On The Market 2021 Reviews
- Best Bike Computers Buying Guide
- Before We Announce Our Winner
- Final Thoughts On The Best Bike Computers
Top 8 Best Bike Computers On The Market 2021 Reviews
1 Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS
Garmin is the best-selling bike computer brand. Since the time a bike computer was first strapped on to a bike’s handlebars, they’ve reigned supreme. What’s more, they’ve shown no signs of relinquishing their crown any time soon.
The Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS, Base, is one of a wide range of Garmin’s bike computers. It falls approximately in the middle of their range. Although it doesn’t do everything, it can still do a lot, and it does it all very well.
The Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS, Base has a full-color display and measures 2.90 x 0.80 x 1.90 inches and weighs just over 2 ounces. So, there’s no real issue of this unit slowing you down.
The display is not a touchscreen. This undoubtedly keeps the price reasonably low. It also undoubtedly cuts down on any glitches and problems associated with a touchscreen. Nice and simple with less to go wrong.
The Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS can be paired with Android 4.0 and IOS10 and later. It is ANT+ compatible and is, therefore, able to display a full range of data from your heart rate monitor and power meter.
It can display maps, routes, and accurately pinpoint your position using GPS/GLONASS technology. However, unfortunately, unlike some of the more expensive Garmin bike computers, it cannot give you turn by turn instructions. For most cyclists, it’s probably not a deal-breaker, though, on long rides in unfamiliar areas, it would be nice to have.
Once paired with your phone, and the Garmin Connect App, it can provide live tracking, links to Strava live segments, provide weather reports, notifications, and provide access to social media sharing. When you finish your ride, you can program the computer to automatically save your rides to Garmin Connect. Then, once you’ve recovered, you can plan and share your rides.
There’s no facility to plan trips on the computer itself. If you need this, you’ll have to stump up the extra cash for one of the all bells and whistles Garmin bike computers. Like the Garmin Edge 830, for instance.
The Garmin 520 is IPX7 certified, so you don’t need to worry about the rain and the elements. These things are tough and designed to take a good amount of abuse.
Battery life is a realistic 15 hours, so you’ll be fine, even on the longest of rides.
- ANT+ compatible.
- Good screen size.
- Excellent Garmin Connect App software.
- Cannot plan routes through the computer.
2 LEZYNE Mega XL GPS Bicycle Computer
If you don’t mind a black and white display, this is worth taking a look at.
The major advantage this unit has over all of its competitors is the battery life…
It completely grinds all other GPS units into the dust for staying power. Incredibly, the LEZYNE Mega XL GPS Bicycle Computer can go for 48hours without a charge. To put this into context, that’s more than twice the battery life of most of the alternatives.
Well, not too much, really. OK, so you’ll be living back in the 60s’ when everything was in black and white. You’ll also have to forgo a touchscreen. But other than that, the computer has all of the good stuff you’d expect.
Though not at the same time, of course. You’ll be able to check on speed, average speed, distance, time covered, elevation, calories, temperature, maps, routes, turn by turn instructions, and so much more.
It’s also able to pair with your Bluetooth and Ant+ devices. If you’ve got a power meter and a heart rate monitor, it will be able to display your power output, cadence, FTP, peak power, heart rate, average heart rate, and peak heart rate.
The LEZYNE Mega XL GPS Bicycle Computer can store ten separate screens of customized data. It can also store the information for 800 rides. This can all be quickly accessed by a 4-button intuitive layout.
Effectively, it has all the GPS features, all the data display, and all the connectivity you’re ever likely to need.
Since it’s also highly durable and weatherproof, together with that awesome battery life, it would seem a shoo-in for all the backpackers and long-distance riders amongst you. Provided you can embrace the mood of the 60s’ that is!
- Full navigation.
- Extraordinary 48-hour battery life.
- ANT+ compatible.
- 10 Separate customized data screens.
- Easy-to-use four button operation.
- No touchscreen.
- Black and white display.
3 LEZYNE Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer
The LEZYNE Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer has most of the great features of the Mega XL GPS we’ve just reviewed. It has the same black and white screen. It also has great battery life.
However, although it has a black and white screen, it’s noticeably smaller than the Mega XL GPS screen. The LEZYNE Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer has a screen that measures 31.7mm x 40.1mm. This compares to 35.3mm x 58.8mm.
Another big difference is that you get just 24 hours of battery life. Now, normally this is class-leading, but when compared to the Mega XL GPS 48-hour battery life, it falls well short. Honestly, though, on all but some quite extreme rides and tours, 24 hours should be fine.
Another couple of small differences with the LEZYNE Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer is that you only get eight separate customized data screens. Additionally, you can only store the information for 400 rather than 800 rides.
The good news is that everything else is the same.
You still get the same huge amount of data storage capability. You’re still able to keep a check on parameters such as speed, average speed, distance, ride time, calories burned, elevation, temperature, routes, turn by turn instructions, route planning, and so much more.
You can, of course, pair the LEZYNE Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer with Bluetooth and all Ant+ devices. If you’ve got a heart rate monitor and a power meter, you will be able to keep track of your heart rate, peak heart rate, and average heart rate. You will also be able to keep a check on your cadence, FTP, power output, and peak power.
If you’re OK with a slightly smaller screen, reduced battery life, and a small reduction in functionality, when compared to the LEZYNE Mega XL GPS, this is a great cost-saving alternative.
- Full navigation.
- Good value.
- ANT+ compatible.
- 24-hour battery life.
- Black and white screen.
- Small screen.
4 Garmin Edge 830, Performance GPS Cycling/Bike Computer
The Garmin Edge 830 is at the higher end of the Garmin bike computer range.
As you’d expect, you get a good quality data display that covers just about every possible cycling parameter you can think of. And some you can’t!
Further, the pinpoint accuracy of the GPS/GLONASS technology and the excellent class-leading Garmin Connect software give every piece of information you’re ever likely to need.
Firstly, it has a color touchscreen. It measures 3.2 x 0.8 x 1.9 inches, so it’s also slightly bigger than some of the cheaper models. This helps with both visibility whilst riding and also with route planning.
Another improvement is that all navigation is relayed on a turn by turn basis. Furthermore, you can use the Garmin Cycle Map to plan routes and check out popularity routing to help you ride like a local. Better still, the Garmin Edge 830 allows you to do all your route planning on the device.
For our mountain biking and trail riding friends, you can download trails and MTB tracks from 80 different countries. There is also an MTB dynamics package that can display the level of grit, or hard going, and can also show you jumps, jump distance, and hang time. It’s even able to measure and record your level of ‘Flow’, or smoothness of descent.
The Garmin Edge 830 helps to take your training to the next level. It can crunch the numbers and data to give you advice both on and off the bike. On the bike, it can set alarms to remind you went to fuel and hydrate. Off the bike, it can show the level of your performance tracked to optimal.
To structure your workout, the Garmin Edge 830 can sync structured workouts through TraingPacks, and via the Garmin Connect online fitness community. What’s more, you can also view your upcoming training for the weeks ahead. And all this can be done directly from the Edge. We’re still liking this!
The Edge has an excellent built-in incident detection safety feature. In the event of an accident, the computer will automatically send a message to your preset emergency contacts pinpointing your exact location. It’s a great feature.
Finally, this sturdy bike computer also has a full 20 hours of battery life. Plus, you can use the Garmin battery power pack to get an extra 40 hours of life.
Absolutely. If your budget allows, the Garmin Edge 830 has sufficient benefits over less expensive models to make it worthwhile. We should point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with even the least expensive Garmin bike computers. It’s just that this is better.
- Turn by turn navigation.
- On-device route planning capability.
- MTB dynamics package.
- Structured training data.
- Incident detection.
- 20-hour battery life.
5 Planet Bike Protégé 9.0 Bike Computer
This has taken us back a few years and put a smile on all of our faces.
If you want a GPS bike computer, one that can plan routes, talk with your other devices, and display a mountain of data, look away now. This is not for you.
If you’re looking for simple speed, time, and distance data, in an easy-to-read package, read on. This could be exactly what you had in mind.
The Planet Bike Protégé 9.0 bike computer is like something you’d find on a bike 20 years ago. It’s a simple device that attaches to your handlebars with a sensor, on a wire, running to your front wheel.
The 9.0 in the title stands for the nine different pieces of data you’re able to display. These include current speed, speed comparison, ride time, trip distance, average speed, maximum speed, clock, temperature, and dual odometer depending on wheel size.
There are no buttons. You just simply tap on the unit to scroll through the screens. When you want to reset the screen and data, you press and hold it down for a couple of seconds. The Planet Bike Computer also has an auto-stop function. This means that when you stop for traffic or for that all-important coffee stop, average speed and ride times won’t be affected.
The information is displayed on a simple black and white LCD screen. The display is capable of showing five pieces of data at once. The small screen is enclosed in a sturdy weatherproof case measuring 40mm x 47mm.
This kind of bike computer is perfect when you just need to collect some simple information on the number of car-free miles they’re clocking up. Or for just giving some basic information when you’re not overly concerned with hardcore training.
Backed by a lifetime guarantee, this clear, easy to use, easy to install bike computer, makes a lot of sense for less data-driven riders.
- Super simple.
- Easy to read.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- No GPS.
- Limited data display functions.
- It can’t talk to other devices.
6 CAT EYE – Velo 9 Wired Bike Computer
The Cateye bike computer is similar, in terms of functionality, to the Planet Bike Protégé 9.0 bike computer we’ve just reviewed. It similarly can display nine pieces of data. Hence, again, the 9 in the title.
The nine functions displayed are not all the same as the Planet Bike Protégé 9.0. The Cateye Velo 9 can display time, total distance, trip distance, time elapsed, current speed, max speed, average speed, pace arrow, and calories burned.
The display can easily be changed by hitting the large mode button on the front of the unit. Hold it down for 2 seconds to reset. There are several different combinations possible. Happily, they’re all clear and easy to read thanks to the large, bold LCD screen.
The Cateye has motion sensors to automatically switch on and off your ride data. If you need to stop for traffic lights or a rest period, your ride time and speeds will not include the stop times.
It uses a small round CR2032 that can give a battery life up to 3 years. That’s with an average use of one hour a day, so basically about 1,000 hours. Unbelievable!
To put this onto context, the best GPS battery life of any computer we’ve reviewed is the LEZYNE Mega XL GPS Bicycle Computer, with a battery life of 48 hours.
The Cateye is a computer you can put in the battery and forget about.
The Cateye computer is weatherproof and sturdy. It’s very easy to install, and it’s nice and light, so it won’t slow you down. There’s no doubt about it; this is another excellent budget bike computer for cyclists only requiring a limited amount of data.
- Clear display.
- Easy to use.
- Amazing battery life.
- No GPS.
- Limited data capability.
7 SY Bicycle Speedometer
This is the third in a row no-frills bike computer.
Like the Planet Bike Protégé 9.0 and the CAT EYE – Velo 9 it’s very basic indeed. In fact, the SY Speedometer is the least expensive of all the bike computers we’ve reviewed. And by quite some margin.
You can measure a few basic functions, including speed, maximum speed, average speed, trip distance, total distance, ride time, and current time. The SY Bicycle Speedometer also has a motion sensor to automatically switch the computer on and off during your rides. This will protect the stats for your overall ride times and average speeds.
There are a couple of things we particularly like about this unit compared to the other two basic bike computers we’ve already looked at. Firstly, we like the display, and secondly, we like the installation system.
The display doesn’t look quite as neat or elegant as the Protégé 9.0 or the CAT EYE, but it’s easier to read. The numbers are larger and thicker. Also, they are displayed on a dark green background, which makes the numbers clearer.
Additionally, the display has a backlight that illuminates automatically when you press the button. It should, however, be noted that the backlight will only come on between 18.00hrs to 06.00hrs. Unfortunately, you’re not able to set it to come on at different times. It would have been a nice feature, but at this crazy low price, we can forgive it.
Another big advantage the SY Bicycle Speedometer has over a lot of similar devices is that this a wireless device. The head unit connects wirelessly to the magnet sensor and magnet that are correspondingly attached to the front fork and spoke. It’s a much neater system than having a wire from the computer to the sensor that’s wrapped around the fork.
Our only complaint with the SY Bicycle Speedometer system is that the sensor is rather bulky. This is probably down to it having to accommodate a wireless feature and also down to some coast containment.
Overall, this is one of the best bike computers for cyclists on a budget…
It’s rugged, weatherproof, and both easy to use and read. For the price-point, you honestly can’t go wrong.
- Very inexpensive.
- Wireless connection to the sensor.
- Green Backlight.
- Easy and clear display.
- Large sensor.
- No GPS.
8 Garmin Edge 25 Cycling GPS
This is an entry-level Garmin bike computer. It’s very small and compact and weighs just 25gms, measuring a mere 2.3cms x 2.3cms.
Ideal when you want to travel light, or you’re aiming for a PB or KOM.
The display is quite small, so routes and maps are a lot harder to follow than on the Garmin Edge 830. The screen is also in black and white, and there are no turn by turn instructions. Regardless, with a little more concentration, you can still follow routes. However, for mountain bikers trying to follow twisting terrains, at speed, it’s unlikely to be suitable.
The screen is controlled via four buttons mounted on the side of the unit. You can easily scroll through different screens to view different parameters. If you choose the mapping page, a handy compass needle is displayed to help with your orientation.
Unlike the Garmin Edge 20, the Garmin Edge 25 is ANT+ compatible, so you get to display and log information from your power meter and heart rate monitor. Considering the size and the price of the device, we have to say that’s pretty impressive.
The Garmin Edge 25 can be linked to Garmin Connect, so you get to download courses and routes to follow. The Edge 25 uses the same GPS/GLONASS technology as the more expensive Garmin bike computers. You’re therefore guaranteed to always have an accurate position even under dense tree cover.
This little computer is ideal for the budget-conscious cyclist, who is prepared to sacrifice some functionality and screen size. Unfortunately, you’d also have to sacrifice some battery life too, as you can only expect to get around eight hours fully charged. Oh well!
- Small and lightweight.
- ANT+ compatible.
- Compatible with Garmin Connect.
- 8-hour battery life.
- Small screen.
Best Bike Computers Buying Guide
Screen size isn’t always important, and it’s undoubtedly not always essential to have a big screen. If you’re only displaying basic data, without mapping, a small screen, like on the Cateye, is fine. On the other hand, if you’re displaying mapping and routes, a good-sized screen is a help.
The Garmin Edge 25 has the smallest screen for a GPS computer. We think it’s a little too small and would prefer something at least as big as the LEZYNE Mega XL GPS or the Garmin Edge 520.
We don’t think a color screen is as important as size. We’d feel quite happy, in most circumstances, with the LEZYNE GPS black and white screens, or the three black and white screens of the non-GPS bike computers. Color screens are easier to read, but you will have to pay a heavier price at check out and put up with reduced battery life.
Finally, we do like the convenience of touchscreens, like on the Garmin Edge 830, but this is another feature that’s going to hurt at check out.
The 5 GPS bike computers all offer mapping and route-following instructions.
The two LEZYNE bike computers and the Garmin Edge 830 also offer turn by turn instructions. It’s a nice feature and one we’d prefer to have but could live without. The Garmin Edge 520 and 25 don’t have it but are still easy to navigate with.
Mapping and the level of detail and range of routes will very much come down to software, which we’ll look at shortly. However, the most expensive unit, the Garmin Edge 830, does have a couple of useful extra features not available on the others.
Firstly, it’s compatible with MTB and trail mapping. This gives much more details on conditions than other units. For more extreme and fast rides, it’s a huge plus.
The other big plus for the Garmin Edge 830 is that you can plan and implement routes on the device. No need to link up with your electronic device to access installed software. This could be a deciding factor for purchase despite the price.
When you buy a GPS bike computer, you buy more than just a computer; you also buy into their brand’s ecosystem. Of the two different brands with GPS, namely Garmin and LEZYNE, Garmin stands head and shoulders above all its competitors for the quality of its software.
Garmin Connect has the oldest, best established, most comprehensive, and smoothest software. Regardless, if you want to plan routes, link to Strava, join social groups, plan training regimes, or simply crunch the numbers, Garmin is first-rate. It does everything very, very well, and nothing badly.
That’s not to say that the LEYZNE Ally software and app isn’t good. Because it is. It also does a lot of things well and can do pretty much everything that Garmin Connect can do. It’s just that the Garmin Connect software does it better.
Power meters and heart rate monitors nearly all use ANT+ technology to talk. If you have a bike computer, it should have ANT+ technology to receive all the data from your other devices.
This is where the three bike computers that don’t have GPS come into their own. Without having to run GPS and sort out your routes and mapping, they sip at battery life like a teetotaling nun drinking a whiskey.
The best bike computers for battery life are the Planet Bike Protégé 9.0, the Cateye Velo 9, and the SY Bicycle Speedometer. However, the star of the show is the Cateye Velo 9 that can run for up to 3 years, used for an hour a day, on just one battery.
It’s a real plus for the three bike computers that concentrate on displaying just limited data.
If you need long battery life and GPS, plus everything that goes with it, take a look at the LEYZNE Mega XL GPS Bicycle Computer. It has an astounding 48 hours of battery life. It may have a black and white screen, but that could be something worth sacrificing for its stellar battery life.
Before We Announce Our Winner
For more excellent reviews of bike parts and accessories, head on over to our comprehensive coverage of the Best Bicycle Engine Kits, the Best Bicycle Wheel Lights, the Best Bicycle GPS Trackers, the Best Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauges, the Best Bicycle Tires for Gravel Riding, the Best Bike Rollers, the Best Flat Pedals, the Best Bicycle Tool Kits, and the Best Bike Repair Stands on the market.
Back to bike computers…
Final Thoughts On The Best Bike Computers
So, there you have it.
A good selection of bike computers for all of you data fanatics.
The next time you’re out on a ride, we recommend you consider taking the…Garmin Edge 830…with you, for a spot of company. This was the most expensive bike computer on our list, but we feel it completely justifies the price tag.
The overall quality of the unit is excellent. We love the touchscreen, the turn by turn instructions, and its best-in-class mapping and route planning capability. We also love the ability to plan on the device and the incredible Garmin Connect software you have unlimited access to.
It’s a very hard bike computer to beat at its price point.
Enjoy your bike, your data, and your rides.