Bike GPS Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Cycling GPS?

Date Posted:22 December 2015 


Buying the Best Cycling GPS: How to Choose the Best GPS for Biking?

A dedicated GPS bike computer is more accurate and reliable than a smartphone with GPS and cycling app. In addition to longer battery life, another advantage a GPS sports unit has over using a smart phone is that you don't incur data charges from your telecom services. This is because phones use GPS and triangulation with phone towers to calculate position. 

A GPS unit can record and display real-time cycling information such as speed, distance, and time, and some advanced bike GPS units can also monitor your heart rate, altitude, cadence (the number of pedal turns per minute), calories burned, and even compare your performance stats. Generally, the more feature a cycling GPS has, the pricier it becomes. 

Different riders demand different information from their GPS. For casual cyclists, they usually just want to know how far, how fast, and how long their ride was. For cycling enthusiasts and touring riders, they would like features that show the average speed and maximum speed as well as the distance of each trip. For the competitive cyclist, they would be looking for an advanced unit that can provide performance and environmental data like heart rate, temperature and elevation, and possibly a mapping option. Regardless of which rider you are, there’s a GPS unit that’s right for you. 

Although there are a many cycling GPS to choose from, the following buying guide can help you zero in which one would be the best for you. Here are a few questions to consider when selecting a bike GPS.

  1. Would you be using the bike GPS purely for cycling or for other sport activities as well?
  2. Would you like to use Bluetooth when transferring data?
  3. Would you be using ANT+ protocol to pair your bike GPS unit for accessories like HRM, power meters, cadence?
  4. Would you be using Bluetooth to pair your bike GPS unit for accessories like HRM, power meters, cadence, etc.)?
  5. Would you prefer to use a basic cycling GPS with no accessories?

1. Would you be using the bike GPS purely for cycling or for other sport activities as well?

Cycling Only
These GPS units are exclusively for cycling. 

Garmin Edge 20

Garmin​ ​Edge 25

Garmin​ ​Edge 510

Garmin​ ​Edge 520

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garmin​ ​Edge 810

Garmin​ ​Edge 1000

 

 

 

Cycling and other Sports

The following wrist-top devices includes Cycling functionality among other sports such as the ones listed below.

  • Running

Garmin vivoactive HR

 

Garmin vivoactive

Garmin vivoactive HR

 

Magellan Echo Fit
Magellan Echo/Echo Fit
(with Smart Phone)
TomTom Multisport Cardio GPS TomTom Spark GPS

 

  • Triathlon (Multisport Mode, Running, Biking, Swimming)

Suunto Ambit2 S

Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Suunto Ambit2 S

Suunto Ambit3 Sport

 

  • Triathlon and more

Garmin fenix 3 HR Sapphire

Suunto Ambit3 Peak

Garmin fenix 3

Garmin Fenix 3 HR Sapphire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Would you like to use Bluetooth when transferring data?

Here are some GPS units that can wirelessly transfer data to your smart phone or other compatible device using Bluetooth Smart connection:

3. Would you be using ANT+ protocol to pair your bike GPS unit for accessories like HRM, power meters, cadence?

ANT+ protocol is a reliable wireless connectivity used primarily in fitness monitoring devices. Below are some of the ANT+ enabled GPS units you can pair with your fitness accessories.

4. Would you be using Bluetooth to pair your bike GPS unit for accessories like HRM, power meters, cadence, etc.)?

There are fitness accessories such as heart rate monitors that can be connected to another device using Bluetooth Smart technology. Below are several Bluetooth Smart enabled cycling GPS units. 

5. Would you prefer to use a basic cycling GPS with no accessories?

If you would prefer not to use other sensors or accessories with your GPS unit, the Garmin Edge 20 bike-mounted GPS can efficiently track your time, distance, speed, location and calories burned. Just about all the information a casual cyclist would need.

 

Which cycling GPS computer do you think would be the best one for you? Please put your comments below.

Learn more tips on how to choose the best GPS watch for your sport. Read our buying guides below:

Top Four Ways How Activity Trackers Can Improve Your Fitness


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