Hopping on your bicycle and cruising through a trail to take in nature’s views is one of the best ways to stay in shape. And with the rise of technology, the cycling experience has become more efficient than ever. With every new release, GPS watches evolve to become more like bike computers, so it makes complete sense to invest in one if you cycle every week to commute to work, tackle trails on the weekends, or love to cruise through town.
There are times when a handlebar-mounted bike computer is a better choice than a GPS watch, but most of the time it only wins in the category of screen size. Chances are you’re an all-around athlete, making the multi-sport options of a GPS watch more beneficial. A smartwatch allows you to track all your workout statistics on one wrist computer, so you don’t have to invest in multiple fitness trackers. A GPS watch also allows you to transition from bike to bike easily since you probably have more than one if you’re addicted to cycling. To save you from the stress of looking for the perfect timepiece to go along with your two-wheel commuter, we’ve rounded up the best cycling GPS watches for your consideration.
Key Components To Keep In Mind
Every year there are new cycling GPS watches that hit the market, which makes shopping for one a hassle. However, if you know what you’re looking for, the process becomes much more manageable, especially when compared to going in blind. There are specifications you should seek out in a GPS timepiece. It may seem silly to note, but you should make sure there’s a dedicated cycling mode. Next, the battery life in GPS mode should be substantial at around 15 hours or more on a single charge. You should also acquire one with a wrist-based heart rate monitor for analyzing your relative effort and calories burned. Seeking out a cycling GPS watch with turn-by-turn directions, music capabilities, and power meter technology is also beneficial, but not absolutely necessary. Now that you know what to look for, let’s check out the best options on the market.
Timex Ironman GPS Watch
Timex has built a reputation for making tough timepieces that won’t break the bank. The Ironman GPS Watch provides you with real-time pace, speed, and distance statistics. It’s a lightweight timepiece with 50-meter water resistance, tap-screen technology, a soft silicone rubber strap, and an INDIGLO light-up watch dial if you decide to cruise at night. The watch even has hydration alerts to keep you energized and focused.
The Fitbit Versa boasts over 15 exercise modes, including a dedicated mode for biking. You’ll benefit from over four days of battery life and personalized reminders to keep you on the right track toward your completing your goals. It also features SmartTrack technology, which automatically records selects exercises from running to cycling and saves them on the Fitbit app. And you can feed your need for tunes by storing over 300 songs on this watch.
Powered by a multi-day battery with up to 5 days of life on a single charge, the Ionic provides you with pace, distance, elevation, and more thanks to its built-in GPS. You can also measure your heart rate continuously with PurePulse technology. There are a variety of sport modes available with this watch, including weight lifting, biking, and running. You’ll even benefit from personal coaching right on your wrist with on-screen guidance and routines that adapt to your data.
Polar Vantage M GPS Watch
Combining lightweight construction with the latest sports tech, the Polar Vantage M GPS Watch is an all-around winner. You can choose from more than 130 sport profiles, including cycling, and analyze all of your stats in an automatic training diary. The watch monitors your heart rate with Precision Prime sensor fusion technology and is compatible with your cycling accessory. Not to mention, it packs over 30 hours of battery life so you can concentrate on breaking records.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Built to last with a military-grade construction, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is rugged enough for any journey on your two-wheel commuter. You can take advantage of the 45 preloaded sport profiles, sleep cycle analysis, calorie tracking, guided breathing exercises, and more to transform yourself into a healthier you. To keep you motivated on your path, you can pair the Galaxy Watch to your smartphone and let your favorite jams push you to keep pedaling.
Garmin Forerunner 245
The Garmin series of GPS watches covers just about every physical activity out there, including cycling. The Forerunner 245 has a dedicated cycling mode to track your stats while you keep the wheels moving. You can create your own custom workout or enjoy the free workouts available to download. It also has excellent safety features such as built-in incident detection, in case you take a hard fall and there’s no immediate help available.
Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
The all-star Spartan multi-sport watch is perfect for anyone who loves cycling, but also wants to work on the other two phases of a triathlon. It boasts over 80 sports modes, estimated wrist heart rate technology, 24/7 activity tracking, and 100-meter water resistance. And it has plenty of outdoor functionality for the trails you’ll tackle, including waypoint and visual route navigation and route planning with an altitude profile.
Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch Series 4 is one of the most versatile smart devices for athletes. Within its aluminum case, it has the power of a built-in GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, and Galileo to make sure you’re going down the right path. The 50-meter water-resistant watch also has 18 hours of battery life on a single charge and an electrical heart sensor. And the watch has a cadence sensor for indoor and outdoor rides and pace alerts.
Suunto 9 Baro
With an intelligent battery, the Suunto 9 Baro GPS watch can track your cycling speed, average speed in real time, bike lap, and maximum power. On a single charge, you’ll get up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking, providing you with quality data you can analyze and use to evolve as an athlete. Hit the trail with your bike wearing the 9 Baro, and you’ll get all the information you need about how your body runs.
Garmin Forerunner 945
The Garmin Forerunner 945 can do it all, including monitor your VO2 max and detect incidents. It has a preloaded activity profile for cycling and an auto multi-sport feature, allowing you to switch sports with the push of a button. The smartwatch also has full-color, onboard maps so you’ll never get lost on the trail and a battery that lasts up to two weeks in smartwatch mode and 10 hours in GPS mode.
12 Best Beginner Road Bikes Under $1,000
Now that you’re equipped with an exceptional cycling GPS watch, it’s time consider a bicycle upgrade. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the game for a while, our list of best beginner road bikes under $1,000 could come in handy.