Best Cycling Computer for The Money
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With so many mountain bike computers in the market and all of them proclaiming themselves as the best, it can be a tad hard to buy the best mountain bike computers if you do not get some information first. However, with our detailed reviews, you should find the best easily.
We all have our different reasons as to why we want to buy the best mountain bike computers and most of these reasons revolve around monitoring speed, heart rate, logging cycling data, tracking routes, etc. All these functions can be combined and instead of having multiple devices to keep track of the data you can opt to for a mountain bike computer.
And why a mountain bike computer? Simply because mountain bike computers have all these functions and many more integrated into their systems. They are also reasonably priced, convenient and you get to connect your device to your smartphone. You also get to share your experiences with friends and family.
- 1 10 Best Cycling Computer Reviews
- 1.1 Garmin Edge 500 “Bundle”
- 1.2 2. Garmin Edge 810
- 1.3 2. Garmin Edge 520
- 1.4 3. Sigma Sport BC 8. 12 Bike Computer
- 1.5 4. RisePro Wireless Cycle Computer
- 1.6 5. Raniaco Wireless Bike Computer
- 1.7 6. Planet Protégé – Wireless Bike Computers
- 1.8 7. West Biking Wireless Waterproof Cycling Bike Computer
- 1.9 8. SOONGO Bike Computer Speedometer Wireless Cycle Computer
- 1.10 9. Suoaki Wireless 2.4 GHz – Mountain Bike Computer Review
- 1.11 10. YS Bicycle Waterproof Multi-functions Computers
- 1.12 Cat Eye Velo 7 – One of The Best Mountain Bike Computers
- 1.13 CatEye – Strada Wireless Cycle Computer
- 2 Choosing the Best Mountain Bike Computers
10 Best Cycling Computer Reviews
When it comes to cycling computers, they span the range from simple to complex. Some display only speed, distance and time. Others generate a wealth of downloadable data to track every detail of routine training.
Yet, the best will perform these tasks with minimal fuss, leaving you to focus on your ride. And while the Garmin Edge 500 isn’t perfect, it excels by being incredibly simple to set-up and use, even among multiple bikes.
Garmin Edge 500 “Bundle”
The Garmin Edge 500 “Bundle” comes with the head unit, two handlebar mounts, a combination speed/cadence sensor, and an upgraded heart rate monitor. The head unit is approximately 1.9 inches wide, 2.7 inches long, and 0.9 inches thick and weighs in at a very modest 57 grams (2 ounces).
Since it’s waterproof, including the silicone covered buttons, getting caught in the rain won’t be an issue. The display is a rather basic black/white LCD but is fully configurable and can display up to eight metrics at one time…or just one… but five seems about right. There are however three pages of data, displaying current information, another with averages, and the last with maximum values.
All the data, displayed or not, is available for download via USB cable after your ride. There is enough memory to store up to 180 hours of ride data, but the rechargeable battery lasts only about 15-18 hours. The head unit is also ANT+ compatible and can be used with other manufacturer’s sensors and power meters.
Set-up is straightforward, involving attaching the mount backed with a rubber gasket to your handlebar by means of two rubber o-rings. The head unit then inserts into the mount sideways and a 90 degree twist locks it in place. Admittedly, the mount doesn’t seem the most secure, but attachment is solid and ease of transferring between bikes has never been easier. I will point out that the mount is not suitable for triathlon bikes since there is limited space between aerobars. Since the attachment requires a twist, the width required is the better part of 3.5 inches (9 cm). So, for triathletes, the Garmin will likely wind up on the top tube or, depending upon shape, actually attached to the aerobar itself.
The Garmin uses GPS satellites to determine your location and speed. However, the timing signal from the satellites occurs only once a second and as such isn’t very accurate for determining speed, especially if you are under tree cover (think mountain biking) or have interference from the next generation mobile broadband transmissions (see LightSquared Issues) As a result your exact speed and therefore total distance won’t be calculated quite right. As such, Garmin offers the GSC 10, an optional cadence and speed sensor.
The sensor is very well thought out and was easy to install on the rear chain stay. Cadence is determined off a magnet attached to the inside of the crank arm, and similarly, speed is determined off a magnet attached to a spoke on the rear wheel. What makes the set-up delightful is that the sensor has a test button which flashes if the magnet is positioned appropriately (red for cadence, green for speed). The entire set-up can be performed in a few minutes and without having to change positions a dozen times fiddling with the precise magnet position.
Lastly, the bundled package comes with an upgraded heart rate monitor halter strap. The strap is simply the standard elastic band with size adjustment clips. But what makes the monitor different is that the heart rate sensors embedded within the band are limited to two rather small areas. As such the strap is much more flexible and conforms better to the body.
So if you’ve had trouble with halter strap type heart rate monitors in the past (women, I’m specifically talking to you) this strap is likely to work. Additionally, the plastic transmitter portion of the heart rate monitor which contains the battery is removal via two metal snaps, allowing the elastic band to be washed. Battery replacement is simple, but the battery needs to be removed for several minutes to fully discharge the device’s memory. Failure to do so will cause odd, intermittent issues with the function of the sensor.
List of data:
Speed, average speed, max speed
Cadence, average cadence, max cadence
Heart Rate, average HR, max HR,
Percent of max HR
Wattage (with optional ANT+ power meter)
Calculated calories burned
Heading (North, South, etc…)
In order to fully utilize the wealth of data on the Garmin Edge 500, you will need to use Garmin’s free internet based data service. Basically, you’ll need to sign up for an account. Once logged in, you can connect the Garmin via USB cable to your computer and upload data, either all data on the device or a specific ride. Garmin’s server-side software then formats and displays the data in an organized manner. A few screenshots are provided below.
The Garmin Edge 500 bundle is a well thought out and highly usable cycling computer package. It’s not cheap, and if you aren’t interested in logging data or seeing maps of your rides, then it may not be for you. However, its simple, it works, and presents well. Set-up is easy and the unit travels seamlessly between bike (can chose multiple set-ups if different bikes have different sensors or lack any sensors).
- Battery life is fine for routine rides, either on the road or in the woods. Downloading data with a USB cable is also the method of charging. However, if you happen to do multi-day tours and may not have access to a computer, you’ll want to buy a USB charger such as Apple’s little cube charger.
- No touch screen. No graphics. No ability to display a map while riding. This would be really helpful, especially for trail riding. Garmin makes a color, touchscreen device that shows maps and designed for trail rides. The Garmin Edge 800 however, has a heavy price tag: $449 for the base model.
2. Garmin Edge 810
If you are interested in purchasing a mountain bike computer that will keep track of all your details while you are enjoying your ride, then this bike computer might just the right pick for you. Like many Garmin products, the Edge 810 has sophisticated features that are not only designed to make your ride more fun but also come in hand in different situations.
The Garmin 810 allows you to record all your routes, upload them on social media or share the information with other riders using Garmin Connect.
Other than monitoring speed, incline, distance and elevation of your ride, the mtb computer is also compatible with ANT+ sensors which are used to measure speed, power and heart rate. After you are done with your rides, you can easily access your data and share it if you want to.
The incorporation of a touchscreen makes it easy to change outlines and navigate through the menu. The computer uses Bluetooth to transfer the recorded data to your phone. It allows you to activate Live Tracking which makes it easy for your friends to track you. In addition to that, Strava keeps your location and stats updated on the map.
- User- friendly interface
- Compatible with several maps such as BirdsEye Satellite Imagery and Garmin Custom Maps
- Live Tracking feature
- Ride sharing capabilities
- Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible
- Only primary roads have been installed
2. Garmin Edge 520
The Edge 520 is another interesting mountain bike computer from Garmin, and as usual it does not disappoint. It has ANT+ sensors compatibility which includes speed/cadence sensor and heart rate monitor. The Garmin Edge 520 is one of the most versatile bike computers since it has almost all functions built into it. For example you can calculate your optimum cake intake, VO2 max, functional threshold power and even recovery time.
If you prefer indoor training as opposed to outdoor fun, then this might just be the best bike computer for you since it is compatible with indoor bike trainers. According to Garmin, the battery of the Edge 520 can last for close to 15 hours. However, in reality the battery life is a bit lower than stipulated.
In addition to the 15-hour battery life, the Garmin Edge 520 has mastered the art of connectivity by allowing your computer to connect with smartphones through Bluetooth. You can also sync your bike computer with your smartphone which will allow you to receive texts, email alerts, calls on your Garmin Edge 520 while enjoying your ride.
The Garmin Edge 520 also has Live & Social Data tracking which comes with a three month trial of Strava.
- Sufficient memory capacity
- Strava Live
- VO2 Max
- Recovery Advisor
- Heart rate monitor
- Has heart and speed monitors
- Includes new features such as cycling dynamics and functional threshold power (FTP)
- High Resolution Display
- Syncs with phones to receive texts, email alerts and calls
- Backlight drains the battery very fast
3. Sigma Sport BC 8. 12 Bike Computer
The Sigma Sport BC8. 12 bike computer is ideal if you are looking for an entry level bike computer since it helps to check on the basic functions. Ideally, it has three bike functions and two-time functions that help to track your readings. For the bike readings, you can use it to check your speed, distance and total distance.
It has a time function; you are able to read normal time and ride time. The clock automatically starts and stops based on movement and it is quite ideal for an entry level bike computer. It runs on battery, which comes with the device.
Being an affordable and having a minimalistic design makes it an ideal entry computer bike. This is an exciting computer to have on your sports bike. It makes outdoor activities more fun and enjoyable. Like the water bottle or biking mug holder, this computer is easy to mount on the bike.
- It comes in a waterproof body
- Has full texts that displays body language
- Has an automatic start and stop function that is detected automatically on movement
- Has an on and off scan mode
- Has a twist lock item that makes it easy to mount on the bike
- Does not show temperature
4. RisePro Wireless Cycle Computer
This is one of the best wireless bike computers on a budget if you are looking for something affordable. It is also easy to install and one can even get tutorials on how to do it on YouTube.
Since it is waterproof, you do not have to worry about using it while in the rain. The manual is easy to understand and has good quality reading and monitoring when moving.
It also has an automatic on and off function and as a bonus, the bike computer has a backlight as well. It is ideal to use because it gives you real time data and you are able to track your progress.
RisePro Wireless Bike Computer has a 4-line display for organizing different cycle data.
- Quite affordable
- It is wireless
- Easy to use and setup
- Tracks data in real time
- The readings on the screen are quite clear
- To maintain signal, you may have to adjust the sensor and magnet
5. Raniaco Wireless Bike Computer
It is an ideal wireless bike computer that gives you value for money. By touching any button, the LCD light can turn up and this can be helpful if you are riding your bike at night. It is also easy to install and the figures are easy to read as you cycle.
It is easy to use an unclip as well for security purposes.it has several features that make it ideal to use and measure your speed, distance and time in real time. The screen also allows for you to look at the readings on a quality screen.
- It is waterproof
- It is wireless
- Has an LCD screen which you can use at night to light the way
- Easy to use and install
- Quite ideal for its price
- The LCD light may turn on after 6pm and may not be helpful if it gets darker early
6. Planet Protégé – Wireless Bike Computers
It has a green LCD backlight, which can help while riding in the dark. The bike computer is wireless and waterproof, which makes it ideal if you have to ride in the rain. You can easily use it to measure speed, distance and riding time should such information be important for you when keeping fit. It is also easy to use it on any bike. Easy to use an install and it comes with a manual that helps you to use it easily. It comes with a sensor and a magnet that helps you to get better experience while using the computer on your bike.
- It is quite small
- Can help you measure useful statistics without using your phone
- Build on very high quality
- It is water resistant
- It is also wireless and has LCD backlight
- Has a delicate plastic clasp that can easily snap if you are not careful with it
7. West Biking Wireless Waterproof Cycling Bike Computer
It has an LCD digital display that helps you to easily read your statistics. It has various features, which helps to make it multi-functional. The bike computer is light in weight, wireless and waterproof and this makes it ideal to use convenient and durable.
The bike computer helps you to measure speed, distance, overall riding time taken which is crucial information for serious cyclists. It has light, which can be useful at night to help light the bath if you are riding in the dark.it also has power saving function to help with increasing the battery life and saving power.
- Wireless bike computer
- It is waterproof
- Has power saving features
- Comes with a spare battery which is quite helpful
- Easy to use and install
- Light comes on after 6:00 pm and if it gets darker then that you may not enjoy the light function which can, however, be reprogrammed
8. SOONGO Bike Computer Speedometer Wireless Cycle Computer
SOONGO bike computers are easy to use and install and one can easily get YouTube tutorials to help with the installation process. Apart from speed, distance and riding time, it can also measure tire circumference, used as a stop watch among many other functions cause of its amazing features.
It is wireless and waterproof and this makes it quite durable and long-lasting. It also comes in a great design and has intelligent feature such as the backlight that can be used during night riding. It gives real time data and the computer is small and light in weight making it easy to carry on your bike effortlessly as you ride.
- It is wireless
- It is waterproof
- Ideal for its price giving value for money
- Easy to use and set up
- Records and displays data effortlessly on its quality screen
- It has a very sensitive sensor that can turn on when it detects any motion
9. Suoaki Wireless 2.4 GHz – Mountain Bike Computer Review
The bike computer shows you more than just basic speed. It shows you current speed, maximum and average speed. It is easy to see this information on display and you can easily tell if you are going faster or slower than your average sped.
It is easy to use and operate with information being digitally coded and being free from environmental interference. It is also quite easy to double check the information with a simple button.
The bike computer comes in a stylish design that makes it easy to mount and unmount on your bike and it has a function that helps it to conserve power. The smart bike computer also allows you to measure calories, rotations per minute and other useful data. It is a perfect gadget to take with you when you want to take your mountain bike to your outdoor vacation rendezvous.
- It is water proof
- Has a stylish design
- Easy to use and operate
- Being digital, it is free from environmental interference
- It has a lot of great features that makes it quite handy to use
- The little manual book and writings may discourage you set up process
10. YS Bicycle Waterproof Multi-functions Computers
YS produces some of the best mountain bike computers. This one is ideal for measuring current and maximum speed, riding distance and time. It is wireless and waterproof making it ideal to use when it is raining.it is easy to use and install and also quite convenient to operate.
Can be used on various bikes for an array of adventures including helping you to measure your data in real time.it has a fairly large screen to help in reading your data and it is light in weight to help you use it effortlessly. It can work in a variety of temperatures helping you to record your data within such change in temperature.
- It is light in weight
- It is waterproof
- Easy to use and operate
- You can use it on a variety of bikes
- Has large screen to help in quality display of data
- May fail to work in extremely low temperature that is below 0 degrees
Cat Eye Velo 7 – One of The Best Mountain Bike Computers
The bike computer can be used to record a variety of data from speed, riding time and distance which makes the gadget quite useful. It is easy to use and operate and this makes it convenient for bikers especially.
The display screening is large enough to show the data in real time and high quality.it is environmentally friendly, power saving and power saving. Stylish design is also very aesthetic and was clearly build to last.
Apart from being waterproof, it has light to help in the dark and you can also monitor your readings in the dark too. It gives value for money for a product of its price range
- Comes in a stylish design
- Built to last
- Large screen to help in quality display of data
- Light in weight
- Power saving and environmental friendly
- Range between the sensor and magnet is fairly low but not a big problem
CatEye – Strada Wireless Cycle Computer
CatEye Strada Wireless Computer for bikes has a large screen and the data can be seen from any angle when you are riding on your bike. It is waterproof and this means that it will not be affected on rainy days. It has a warning sign when it is going low on power.
It automatically switches itself on and off and this is quite idea. The computer is quite easy to use operate and install. Tracking of various parameters such as speed, distance, time and temperature is possible with the computer.
For its price, it gives great value for money and indeed it is one of the best mountain bike computers. It is also wireless and this makes it ideal to use without the many connections.
- It is wireless
- It is waterproof
- Easy to use install and operate
- Has a large screen where you can read data from any angle
- When the power is low, it gives off a warning
- If not installed correctly, it may have some syncing issues
Choosing the Best Mountain Bike Computers
Types of MTB Computers
Mountain bike computers are classified into two main categories:
- GPS-enabled Computers
- Non-GPS Bike Computers
GPS-enabled computers relay more accurate measurements of both speed and distance since they use GPS signals as opposed to wired sensors. This means that the data is more detailed than that collected using non-GPS bike computers
Most GPS-enabled computers are compatible with phones or computers which allows you to important information like speed and distance.
When it comes to non-GPS bike computers they are mostly beneficial in measuring temperatures, cadence, and heart rate. They use wired sensors to measure speed and distance covered.
Battery is one of the most important features to look for when shopping for the best mountain bike computers. You want a battery a full ride on a single charge or even better a battery than last for not just one ride but several.
Ease of Use
You want to buy a mountain bike computer that is easy to configure and use. The ideal mountain bike computer should have an easy setup and its functionality should not be complex. The navigation should be smooth and the important features should be easy to access. That said Garmin products should be high up on your list if you are looking for an mtb computer that’s easy to use.
If you opt for GPS mountain bike computers it is advisable that you check the startup time. You want a computer that does not take long to acquire satellites. The faster a computer is the better. Once your mtb computer acquires the satellites, you can hop onto your bike and ride into the forests or mountains.
Since this is mountain biking, you most likely to get wet or even get caught up in rainstorm. With that in mind a water resistant mountain bike computer would really come in handy. You never know what will happen so it is best to be prepared.
You need to figure out the exact features that will be of use to you. And since mountain bike computers come with a ton load of features, your ‘list’ of features will help you make the right decision.
Some of the key features include; stress score, data collection method, live tracker, smartphone connectivity, ANT+ compatibility, Bluetooth compatibility, mapping and route options.
Hopefully this information will be of use to you in your quest to find the best mountain bike computer.