These days data and cycling seem to go hand in hand. Data display, recording, and sharing have boomed in recent years. This is in no small part due to the ever-increasing sophistication of new generation bike computers.
Whilst there is always room in the market for bike computers that measure and record basic data, the drive for high levels of integration, improved mapping, and an increasingly higher capacity to record and share metrics is unlikely to end.
In this new cycling era, one of the eight best bike computers in our review will likely meet your biking needs.
Let’s get to it and take a closer look…
- 1 Top 8 Best Bike Computers You Should Buy Reviews
- 1.1 1 Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer – Best Value for the Money Bike Computer
- 1.2 2 LEZYNE Mini Cycling GPS Computer – Best Basic Lightweight Bike Computer
- 1.3 3 CAT EYE, Velo 7 Wired Bike Computer with Odometer and Speedometer – Best Battery Life Bike Computer
- 1.4 4 Garmin Edge 520 Plus, Gps Cycling/Bike Computer for Competing and Navigation – Best Mid Range Bike Computer
- 1.5 5 Garmin Edge 130, Compact and Easy-to-use GPS Cycling/Bike Computer – Best Mapping Bike Computer
- 1.6 6 Sigma BC 5.16 Wired Bike Computer – Best Basic Bike Computer
- 1.7 7 iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer Big Screen with ANT+ Function iGS50E Wireless Cycle Computer Waterproof – Best Simple Training Focused Bike Computer
- 1.8 8 Bryton Rider 320 GPS Bike Computer – Best Multiple Screen Training Focused Bike Computer
- 2 Best Bike Computers Buying Guide
- 3 Other Brilliant Bike Accessories?
- 4 So, what are the Best Bike Computers?
Top 8 Best Bike Computers You Should Buy Reviews
1 Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer – Best Value for the Money Bike Computer
This has all the main functionality and features of a mid-tier Garmin bike computer at a fraction of the cost. However, a couple of key features not included could be a deal-breaker for many cyclists.
The first of these is that you only get a black and white LED screen. In a world where we’re used to color-everything, including our phones, this might be a step too far for some. Equally, the lack of touch screen capability may lead others to skip the rest of this review.
But before you completely dismiss the Wahoo, it’s worth considering that there are distinct benefits, other than cost, from the omission of both of these features.
Firstly, you get better battery life. The stated 15 hours of maximum battery is easily achievable and will often run for longer. Compared to a Garmin 520, used in identical circumstances, the Wahoo will run for up to two or even three times longer.
The other advantage is that there is less to go wrong. Though there’s no touchscreen, the buttons are thankfully easy and intuitive to use. It’s simple to toggle between screens with the front-mounted buttons or zoom in with the side buttons. Plus, when it is raining, you never have a problem trying to get the screen to work.
More of the good stuff…
The Wahoo Element Bolt can be used for route planning and comes preloaded with a selection of maps from around the world. It can also be linked to third party route planning apps, like Komoot and Singletracks. The maps are easy to follow, they offer turn by turn navigation, and many find them easier to read than on a Garmin device with a similar size screen.
The Wahoo Element Bolt is compatible with all popular third party training apps. It’s also fully integrated with Strava Live Segment. And whatever you want to integrate it with, the good news is that it’s a genuinely wireless affair. The Bolt uses ANT+, Bluetooth, and Wifi, so they have you covered regardless of the protocols you use.
Plenty to offer…
In short, this tough, aero, IPX7 waterproof bike computer has plenty to offer. If you can get past the black and white non-touchscreen, we think it’s a great buy.
- Long battery life.
- Compatible with all third-party apps.
- Easy to read the screen.
- Screen still operates when it’s raining.
- It’s tough.
- Good value.
- Black and white screen.
- LED is hard to read when wearing polarized glasses.
2 LEZYNE Mini Cycling GPS Computer – Best Basic Lightweight Bike Computer
This is a reliable little bike computer that offers a lot for a very affordable price. It has a small black and white screen that measures 1.9” x 1.3”. The screen is nice and clear, but it would be nice if it were just a little larger. Following a route sometimes takes a second glance. However, keeping track of basic ride data and metrics is a little easier.
The Lezyne Mini comes complete with a mount that sits out in front of your handlebars. One advantage of being so small is that even with the mount included, it weighs about the same as your handlebar tape. And that’s not a lot, folks.
But what can it do?
Despite its size and price, it has turn by turn navigation and is compatible with all major route planning third party apps. It can store up to 100 hours of ride data that can then be easily downloaded to your chosen device. You can choose to sync your ride data with either third-party apps or with Lezyne’s own Lezyne Ally app.
It uses Bluetooth and Wifi protocols, but unfortunately, it’s not ANT+ compatible. This might be a problem if you want to use it with a lot of power meters and heart rate monitors. If you’re going to use the Lezyne to monitor and plan your training routines, you need to check that your devices are Bluetooth compatible. Frankly, there’s an excellent chance that they won’t be.
The computer has a runtime of ten hours, which is long enough for riding from home or for short tours. If you’re considering more extended tours, we think you would be better with a computer that has more battery life.
- Bluetooth and Wifi.
- Small screen.
- Not ANT+ compatible.
3 CAT EYE, Velo 7 Wired Bike Computer with Odometer and Speedometer – Best Battery Life Bike Computer
The CAT EYE, Velo 7 Wired Bike Computer, has very basic functions and can display just seven different data pieces. These include; the time, trip distance, time elapsed, current speed, total distance, maximum speed, and average speed.
The LCD is large, clear, and easy to read. You also have a choice of different display combinations. To change the display, you simply press the large mode button at the bottom of the screen. To reset to the main screen, you hold the button down for two seconds.
It’s about as easy as it could possibly be…
One of the features we love about this little computer is that it automatically stops recording when you come to a standstill. This means that if you have lots of stops at traffic lights, or have a leisurely coffee stop, your average times won’t be affected.
Another thing we love is its extraordinary battery life. You get up to three years with just one CR2032 battery. You read that correctly… three years! That makes the battery life in those clever route planning all-singing and all-dancing bike computers look relatively meager.
The cool thing is that this is something you can put a battery in and then forget about. If you use your bike every single day for an hour, you’ll get the headline three years that CAT EYE boasts about. This undoubtedly makes it one of the best bike computers for battery life.
Built for the road…
Finally, the CAT EYE computer is also very light and tough. Unfortunately, it’s only weatherproof rather than waterproof, but we can overlook it, given the low price. The fact is that if you just want a computer that will give you a few pieces of core data, this is a great choice.
- Easy to use.
- Easy to read the screen.
- Incredible battery life.
- Good value.
- Only displays a limited set of metrics.
- No GPS.
Garmin sells more bike computers than any other manufacturer. They were first to market and have continued to dominate this segment of the cycling industry.
Mid range quality…
The Garmin Edge 520 Plus model is one of their best selling bike computers. The company has an extensive range of bike computers, and the 520 Plus sits firmly in the middle. Although it doesn’t have all the features of the most expensive models, its popularity is undoubtedly down to the fact that it does many things well.
It measures 2.9” x 1.9” and has a color screen. It weighs just two ounces and can be mounted with any of Garmin’s mounts. This is not a bundle package, so a separate mount needs to be purchased separately.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a touchscreen unit. It’s an excellent option to have, which you can find on the next models up. However, touchscreen bike computers are not without their faults. The advantage of the 520 Plus screen is that it’s less likely to go wrong, it’s easy to use in the rain, and of course, it’s less expensive too.
The screen is a nice size for displaying maps. It uses the latest GPS/GLONASS technology to pinpoint and record your exact position accurately. Additionally, unlike the 520 Base model, the 520 PLUS can also give you turn by turn instructions.
Although not having turn by turn instructions isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, it’s a great feature. We believe it’s an excellent upgrade and one worth spending a little extra money for.
Route planning can be done through the Garmin Connect App or via all third-party apps like Strava and Komoot. On-device planning isn’t available. If you want this, like a touchscreen, you have to go to the next model higher in the range.
The Garmin Edge 520 PLUS can be paired with IOS 10 and Android 4.0 or later. It’s Bluetooth and also ANT+ compatible. This means it can display a wide range of data and metrics from every make of power meter or heart rate monitor.
When it’s paired with your smartphone, you can connect to the Garmin Connect app, monitor and record live tracking, follow Strava live segments, receive weather reports, gain access to various social media sharing platforms, and receive notifications.
This just touches the surface and gives you a taste of some of the main features. You’ll no doubt also be pleased to know that it’s IPX7 certified, so you have no worries in the rain. Plus, you get a generous 15 hours of battery life.
This is undoubtedly one of the best bike computers in the mid-tier range.
- Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible.
- Garmin Connect compatible.
- Third-party software compatible.
- Provides turn by turn navigation.
- Good sized color screen.
- IPX7 certified.
- No on-device route planning capability.
5 Garmin Edge 130, Compact and Easy-to-use GPS Cycling/Bike Computer – Best Mapping Bike Computer
This is an entry-level Garmin bike computer. But just because it has a low price doesn’t mean that it shorts on features. You do, most noticeably, sacrifice a color screen and touchscreen, but you still get plenty for your money.
The screen measures just 1.8” so it’s relatively small. However, it’s clear, well-laid out, and has the advantage of being easy to read in low light conditions. Overall, we like the screen since there’s never much information on it at any one time.
Another advantage of the simple black and white screen is there’s less to go wrong. Additionally, it helps to give you a healthy 15 hours of battery life. Now that’s a figure that can put most high-end bike computers to shame.
Mapping is basic but effective…
You can download planned rides, and the Garmin will give you a bread crumb trail to follow. It also prompts for turns. It may not be as fancy as full detailed color maps, but the routes are, nevertheless, very easy to follow.
Route planning can be done via Garmin Connect or any third-party app. The Garmin Edge 130 can be linked to any external device by Bluetooth. It can, therefore, also provide real-time tracking of your exact position.
For those of you wanting to use it for training purposes, you’ll be pleased to know it’s ANT+ compatible, too—another cool feature for such a small and relatively inexpensive GPS bike computer.
The display includes information such as speed, average speed, distances, and altitude. All your data can be shared with third-party training apps like Strava. Alternatively, the data can be stored on Garmin’s own excellent platform.
For those of you using Varia lights or accessories, happily, the Edge 130 is compatible. Being able to use Garmin Smart light and their rearview radar system is a big plus.
- Long battery life.
- IPX7 certified.
- Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible.
- Clear screen in poor light.
- Compatible with third-party apps.
- Bread crumb mapping only.
- Black and white screen.
6 Sigma BC 5.16 Wired Bike Computer – Best Basic Bike Computer
The Sigma BC 5.16 Wired Bike Computer is a non-GPS bike computer. It provides basic information for cyclists who don’t require anything else other than a few critical riding metrics.
The computer is undoubtedly old-school and has the looks of something you’d likely see on a bike over 20 or 30 years ago. It is a wired unit that works by using a magnet that attaches to a spoke on your front wheel and a sensor that fixes to your fork. A wire then runs from the sensor up to the head unit.
The head unit comes with a mount and is powered by a CR2032 battery that’s also provided. The computer is weatherproof, but it’s not outright waterproof.
So, no IPX7 rating here…
However, the screen is large and easy to read. This is helped by the fact that it displays only a few data pieces at any one time. The menu can either be set to auto-scroll, or you can manually change the menu display by hitting the button. There’s only one to press!
The five measurements that can be displayed are; speed, trip distance, total distance, clock, and ride time. Unlike the CAT EYE reviewed earlier, it doesn’t pause your ride time if you stay stationary for any length of time.
Goes the distance…
More positively, you do, however, get a massive three years of battery life and the ability to switch between km and miles. Another thing you get is an impressive five years warranty.
- Screen is easy to read.
- Easy to use menu.
- Long battery life.
- Long warranty.
- Only displays five measurements.
- No auto-pause when stationary.
7 iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer Big Screen with ANT+ Function iGS50E Wireless Cycle Computer Waterproof – Best Simple Training Focused Bike Computer
The iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer is about the same price as a Garmin Edge 130. However, you get a few extras included in the price. So, are these enough to justify it as a realistic alternative choice over the Garmin?
Let’s find out…
First, let’s take a look at those extras. You get a cadence sensor, a heart rate monitor, a mount, and a speed sensor included in the bundle price. Since the computer is ANT+ as well as Bluetooth compatible, you’ll have no problems hooking up the three sensors.
We’re sure you’ll agree that having a heart rate monitor and a cadence sensor are great additions. As for the speed sensor, we’re not so sure. OK, we accept it will give you more accurate readings than through GPS. However, the difference is minimal, and frankly, GPS speed readouts are pretty accurate these days anyway.
Sorry iGPSPORT, no marks for the speed sensor, no marks for the mount either. This is just a cheap set of rubber bands. They do the job, but we wouldn’t rely on them still working a few years down the line.
Other than that…
The unit is IPX7 certified. The screen is black and white, which is acceptable at this price point, as is the lack of touch screen. Happily, the screen is straightforward to read and also intuitive to use. This is just as well since it looks like the instructions have been fed straight into Google translate. The result is very amusing, but pretty much an unhelpful mess.
The computer has an iGPSPORT app that can be linked to other third-party apps to share data. Unfortunately, the instructions are again not clear. This makes set up complicated, and the whole unit feels clunky to operate.
There are a host of ride metrics you can display and record. You can store up to 200 hours of ride data on the unit. Additionally, you get 40 hours of battery life.
It’s a good unit for displaying recording training data, but the lack of any kind of mapping is likely to make it a poor option for many. Compared to the Garmin Edge 130, which has bread crumb trail directions, the slick Garmin Connect app, and better syncing with third-party apps, the iGPSPORT GPS bike computer is unlikely to appeal to the majority of cyclists.
- IPX7 certified.
- Easy to read display.
- Intuitive to use.
- Long battery life.
- Stores up to 40 hours of data.
- Includes heart rate and cadence monitor.
- Clunky software.
- Hard to follow instructions.
- No mapping.
8 Bryton Rider 320 GPS Bike Computer – Best Multiple Screen Training Focused Bike Computer
This looks to have a lot of the same features as the iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer. There are, however, a few minor differences. These include that the Bryton Rider 320 GPS Bike Computer has a slightly bigger screen, measuring 2.3” rather than 2.2”. It has a shorter battery life. Plus, and possibly most importantly, it’s slightly more expensive.
The Bryton Rider 320 GPS Bike Computer comes with the same sensors as the iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer. This means you get a heart rate sensor, a cadence sensor, and what we think is a slightly superfluous speed sensor.
So, what’s different about it?
The screen is easy to use and also easy to read, even when lighting conditions are poor. It’s a tough little unit and happily is also waterproof. It is IPX7 certified, so you can take it to your local swimming pool and ride through that a few times if you fancy.
The iGPSPORT GPS Bike Computer is primarily aimed at cyclists who want to display and record training data. Best of all, the unit has multiple screens and can be configured to display just about any set of metrics you can think of.
Better software too…
Off the bike, you can store and share your data via the Bryton Active app and also link to third-party training apps. The Bryton Active app is an all-new affair and is a definite improvement over the app from iGPSPORT. It’s an altogether less clunky piece of software.
This is all good, but it does still lead us to the lack of any mapping capabilities. For the price-point, there are plenty of units that offer training and mapping possibilities. If you need mapping, this clearly won’t work for you. On the other hand, if mapping is not required, it’s a good GPS option.
- Good battery life.
- Heart rate and cadence sensors included.
- Touchscreen is easy to read.
- No mapping.
Best Bike Computers Buying Guide
Not all the GPS bike computers on our list offer mapping. If you do want mapping, you need to focus on either of the…
These days we’ve become used to turn by turn navigation. It’s great to have, either in your car or on your motorbike or bicycle. If you’re doing a lot of high speed and technical riding, there’s undoubtedly more need for turn by turn navigation. In this instance, check out the…
If you can live without turn by turn navigation and are happy with basic mapping, you can’t go far wrong with the Garmin Edge 130.
For those who want higher level mapping…
A big part of mapping is being able to plan your routes. This is where we think Garmin has the edge. (Pardon the pun!). Garmin Connect software is first-rate and offers excellent route planning and analysis. Lezyne and Wahoo software is still excellent, too, but it’s just that Garmin Connect is better.
If you intend to use third party route planning apps like Komoot, Strava, or Bikemap, the quality of the in-house mapping software may be a moot point.
The optimal size of the screen will, to an extent, depend on what you want to display. A small screen for the training focused bike computers, like the ones from…
…don’t particularly need large screens.
Frankly, when you only have to read a few basic metrics, then a screen as small as 2”, or even less, is sufficient. Nevertheless, if you also need to display routes, and possibly do some on-unit route planning, a larger screen is preferable.
The best bike computers don’t have to have color screens. As you’ll see from our review, there are a few distinct benefits of having a black and white screen.
…also seem to think so.
We like color, but recognize that a black and white screen can be just as, if not more, easy to read. To an extent, we’ve been spoiled by the prevalence of color screens on our smartphones. But use a black and white screen on a bike computer for a little while, and you’ll honestly not miss it.
The fact is that we like touchscreen, maybe even more than we like color. If you can’t live without a touchscreen, then take a look at the Garmin Edge 820, which is not on our list. Otherwise, any of the eight bike computers featured in our review should be fine.
Bear in mind that if you do opt for a touchscreen bike computer, it will be more expensive, more likely to go wrong, more costly to repair, harder on your battery, and more challenging to use in the rain.
We still like them, though!
The more basic the computer, the longer the battery life. It’s not exactly a complicated formula. Things that will kill your battery include GPS, touchscreens, color screens, and syncing with other sensors or smartphones.
This is why the simple training computers, like those from…
…have such phenomenal battery life.
We don’t think anyone can argue with three-years…
If you need GPS, without mapping, and you’re happy with a black and white screen, you can’t go far wrong with the…
It gives you tons more features, but you still get a healthy 40 hours of battery life.
It is possible to get bike computers that also offer mapping and have even longer battery life. The LEYZNE Mega XL GPS Bicycle Computer, not featured here, has a maximum of 48 hours of battery life. However, this is unusual.
You can typically expect around 10 to 15hours of battery life from an all singing and dancing bike computer. This is about what the more expensive units in our review can achieve.
ANT+ Bluetooth and Wifi
If you need a bike computer for training, then you’d be well advised to have ANT+ as the first protocol of choice. Most heart rate sensors, cadence, and power meters use ANT+. It’s a protocol that’s been around forever.
Although some new sensors use just Bluetooth, this still isn’t the norm. Even if you have bought sensors that only run on Bluetooth, ignoring ANT+ will limit your future choices. Also, if you have any existing ANT+ sensors, it’s best to ignore the LEZYNE Mini Cycling GPS Computer as it’s not ANT+ compatible.
For linking to training apps or mapping apps, you’ll need Bluetooth. Thankfully, this is standard across all bike computers. Some, like the Wahoo Element Bolt, also have Wifi. It’s nice to have and offers plenty of future upgradability.
Other Brilliant Bike Accessories?
Back to bike computers…
So, what are the Best Bike Computers?
So, there you have it – a wide selection of great bike computers.
The eight computers in our review range from the least expensive available up to mid-tier feature-packed units. It’s hard to select a favorite but the…
… is the one that we’d most prefer to strap on our bikes and take for a ride.
The overall quality of Garmin devices is excellent, and the Edge 520 PLUS is no different. Other than this, we are big fans of its mapping capabilities, the turn by turn instructions, and the access to the class-leading Garmin Connect software.
For a mid-tier bike computer, this is a very compelling package.
Enjoy your bikes and your rides.