The craft and hobby of bicycling is one that is, by nature, pretty complicated. From selecting specific tires to body frames all the way to handlebar types, there is a choice to be made. However, once you make it past those choices, you will be staring down the final customization points: the bike computer.
The bike computer, otherwise known as the cyclo-computer or cycling computer, is a device that mounts directly to a bicycle to transmit information to the rider. These are very popular on bicycles for riders that want to get the most out of their time on the road. So to find out if you fit the bill, let’s take a look at what these machines can really do and so you can select the best cycling computer for you.
Top 10 Best Bike Computers Reviewed
1. MEILAN M4 Wireless Bike Computer…click image to see more on Amazon Meilan M4 use Bluetooth 4.0/ANT dual wireless transmission technology, connect with wireless speed/cadence sensor. IPX5 waterproof design can effectively resist the rain and snow weather while cycling. Equipped with 800MAH rechargeable battery, it can be used for more than 80 hours without backlight. Suitable for most types of bicycles: common bicycles, mountain bikes, road bikes, electronic bikes, folding bikes, almost all cycling bicycles with Spoke-Wheel frame. WARNING NOT suitable for solid wheels. Meilan products are directly produced by the Meilan Factory, providing a three-month replacement and one-year warranty for after-sales service. If there is any problem during using, please feel free to contact us, our customer service team will give you the best solution. You won’t find a better bike computer to spend your money on for under $75.00 .See more on Amazon…
2. Cateye Enduro CC-ED400 Computer…click image to see more on Amazon The CatEye Enduro has a heavy-duty wire to stand up to everyday wear and tear. The Enduro also tracks calories and carbon offset. The computer knows when you’ve stopped and automatically stops counting time and averaging speed. The CatEye is an underrated bike computer not experiencing the same attention as its competitors, reviewer says. It tracks current, max, and average speed, total distance, trip distance, elapsed time and calories.See more on Amazon…
3. Hiland Bicycle Computer…click image to see more on Amazon Only two touch buttons on the bottom for easy operate. battery CR2032 button battery, can last half year normally use. IPX6 waterproof. 19 functions: Temperature, Current speed, odometer, trip distance, auto on/off etc. Suitable for all types of bicycles: road bike, mountain bike, cruiser bike, kids bike, fat bike etc. For Wireless model,you want to mount the speedometer on the front wheel to get a more accurate speed information. Once you replace a battery,the data will restore to factory settings.See more on Amazon…
4. West Biking Bike Computer…click image to see more on Amazon Support for five language systems: English, Deutsch, French, Espanol, Italian. 5 Inch LCD screen with no reflective blind spots. Waterproof performance keeps it moving in any environment or weather. Simple operation to track your outdoor cycling real time distance, current/max/average speed, riding time, calorie consumption, temperature, stopwatch, weekly riding time/distance etc. It’s important to remember that it wasn’t that long ago that West Biking was the runt of the bike computer. The wireless automatic function is working! The reason for the device to make a ball sound is that the device is working . It’s good looking and easily installed without need for extra wiring on your handlebars. It is waterproof. The waterproof performance keeps the device moving inany environment. The distance between the magnet and the sensor should be controlled 3 MM.See more on Amazon…
5. Garmin Edge 25 GPS Cycling Computer…click image to see more on Amazon Garmin Edge 20 and Edge 25 are the smallest cycling GPS computers in the world. Weighing only 25 g (0.9 oz), they are perfect for travel. Pair Edge 25 with a heart rate monitor, cadence sensor and speed sensor to get the most out of your rides. First in this size and price range to add GLONASS. Share your rides and training activities in real time with live tracking.See more on Amazon…
6. Planet Bike Wireless Bike Computer…click image to see more on Amazon 9 function wireless bicycle computer: speed, ride time, trip distance, 2 wheel sizes, avg speed, max speed, clock, and temperature. Digital wireless technology eliminates messy wires. 4-line LCD display shows up to 5 pieces of data at a time. Fits 25 to 31.8 mm handlebars; limited lifetime warranty. Includes dual odometer (for two wheel sizes), clock and thermometer.See more on Amazon…
7. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer…click image to see more on Amazon Wahoo’s free ELEMNT Companion App automates pairing and manages the configuration process for fast, frustration free setup. Fully integrates with Strava Live Segments to give you accurate progress status and the Final Push to beat your goals. Waterproof Rating – IPX7 (waterproof up to 5 ft) Supported Satellites – GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU Galileo, and QZSS. Battery Life – 15 hours.See more on Amazon…
8. Garmin Edge 530 Bike Computer with Mapping…click image to see more on Amazon Garmin entered the bike computer market and has become well known for their quality of design and workmanship. Dynamic performance monitoring provides insights on your VO2 max, recovery, training balance, heat and altitude acclimation, nutrition, hydration and more. Battery life: up to 20 hours with GPS; works with Garmin Charge power pack for up to 40 hours of additional battery life. See more on Amazon…
9. XOSS G GPS Bike Computer…click image to see more on Amazon XOSS G wireless bike computer is bulit-in high-sensitivity GPS chip, which allows the bike computer positioning system is connected to 4 satellite connectivity: GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, Galileo. 500mAh rechargeable lithium battery provides up to 25 hours battery life. IPX7 waterproof protection allows bike computer to work normally in rainning day. Backlight, keystroke sound, auto pause, unit (metric or imperial), time zone can be set via the XOSS APP . Data transmission to STRAVA Professional XOSS Cycling Computer Riding APP supports uploading your riding data via Bluetooth and synchronize with Strava the same time which make sharing your riding record & experience easy. We specialize in the best products and service and will offer 100% customer service.See more on Amazon…
10. IPSXP Bike Computer…click image to see more on Amazon Small but complete bike computer is easy to use and easy to install. 24 functions including Auto sleep/wake, displays current speed, max speed, average speed, total distance, trip distance, riding time, stopwatch,calorie consumption, temperature and clock. Available in 4 languages (Chinese/English/French/German), 2 keys to control all functions. SUITABLE for most bicycles, mountain bikes, road bikes, BMX bikes, electronic bikes, folding bikes. NOT suitable for solid wheels.See more on Amazon…
How do bike computers work?
Before we turn this into a guide on selecting your first bike computer, we should at least have a firm understanding of how they work. Bike computers are not mere digital devices strapped to your handlebars as they have a little more going on than that. There are two important technical points that we need to confer.
1. Magnetic Sensing Ability
The magnetic sensing bike computer uses a reed switch attached to the front fork and a magnet attached to your wheel spoke. There is also a cadence sensor with the seating placed on the rear stay and crank arm instead.
Basically, this type of sensor gives you a device that will stay charged longer and not run on any advanced digital technology. The downside, and it is a big one for some riders, is no GPS.
2. GPS Sensing Ability
The second and more popular style of the bike computer is made around a GPS device. This device is strapped on to your bike handles. Information is beamed down from GPS satellites and then transferred to your monitor in front of you.
The information you receive is super flexible in that it can be then shipped off to a personal computer for record-keeping. The downside is that these units are more expensive and often need to be recharged.
What does a bike computer do for me?
Now that we know how these computers work in a roundabout way, we need to assess if they will benefit us. In terms of information seeking, bike computers can offer riders unparalleled information.
A glance at the computer display will show you such important information such as how far you have cycled, what elevation you are currently at, what grade of incline you are riding, and so much more!
As we briefly discussed above, the different sensors will provide you with different kinds of data. If you opt for the cheaper magnetic sensor, then you will not be privy to the information that GPS-fueled devices can offer you.
A magnetic sensing bike computer won’t have ready access to the weather, nor will it compile the data it records for analyzing on other devices. If these two devices seem too different to pick correctly, move on to the next step.
Assess what kind of rider you are.
A hobbyist basketball player shouldn’t drop $500 on a pair of Jordan’s when all they are going to do is scuff them up on the blacktop. A cycling hobbyist shouldn’t drop a ton of money on a bike computer that will give them more data than they want or need. Like in all commercial life situations, assess yourself before assessing the product.
1. Casual Rider
For a casual rider, you won’t need a bike computer that gives you super in-depth metrics. Typically you will want something that will churn out your distance, speed, and time. You want to know how fast you went, how long you rode, and how far you got. For a casual rider, the computer and bike should be simple and cheap.
2. Bike Enthusiast
If you are the kind of cyclist, who needs to know just about everything, opt for a device that gives you even more information. You will want to know your average and maximum speeds, have a running odometer, and so much more.
3. Competitive Biker
If you are the type of cyclist who plans to compete or ride seriously for a passion, you need all the available information. You can get bike monitors that offer you elevation metrics, heart rate analytics, and much much more.
Remember, the only way to get the product you need is by knowing what you really will be doing with it. So use these guidelines above to accurately assess the style of riding that you plan to do. If you want to go out and ride four days a week for hours at a time when your needs will be different than those that plan to ride only once or twice a month.
Which is better wired or wireless bike computer?
Wireless bike computers are better than wired bike computers. Wireless bike computers easier to set up, and look better on the bike. Radio interference is an issue that some early units had, but that has long since been dealt with. The wireless computer can easily be swapped from one bike to another, and can even be used on multiple bikes at the same time with the same computer.
Bike computer vs. phone
High-end bike computers with additional sensors give you much more information than an app on a smartphone. A power meter, heart rate monitor, and cadence meter are just some of the data collection instruments. A speed of around 80 revolutions per minute is recommended for the protection of your knees. Not everyone needs all that data, and some apps can be paired with a heart rate Monitor. The bike computer is a better choice if you really want or need all the data.
Do bike computers work with trainers?
Some bike computers work with trainers. Some bike computers have sensors that mount to the rear wheel instead of the front. Since the bike’s front wheel will not be turning, a unit with a rear mounting sensor should work with your trainer.