Bike computers seemed to be a futuristic concept not too many years ago. Now, bike computers are a common accessory used by many cyclists. There are so many on the market that choosing the best bike computer for your needs can be difficult. Super cheap bike computers exist that are enough to give you the basics, but for more complex stats you will need a more expensive computer with enhanced features. In this blog, we will review a number of leading bicycle computers on the market today to help you decide which one is best for your needs.
Cateye Strada Slim – Probably the best buy for the cyclist on a budget, the Cateye Strada Slim sells for around $50. It’s hard to go wrong with this all-in-one product. It shows current speed, max speed, average speed, distance (two trip distances) time, pace, and clock. Whether you stop for a red light or to grab something from the market, the computer automatically stops so that the data it collects is accurate. This computer is fairly basic, without a lot of superfluous features of extra buttons. That makes it great for the cyclist who just wants to focus on the bottom line numbers. It fits securely on the bike with the added attachments and can be shifted from one bike to another without a loss in accuracy.
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Garmin Edge 820 – At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Garmin Edge 820. At a whopping $400, you expect that it comes with additional features, and it does! It has integrated maps and is GPS-enabled. This computer has a color touchscreen and features audio prompts, 16G of memory, and even email notifications. Turn-by-turn maps allow for easy navigation, and you can connect it to ANT+ sensors for accurate heart rate detection. This is one of the most powerful and highly-rated cycling computers on the market.
Garmin Edge 520 – The baby brother of the Garmin Edge 820 has fewer features and costs less, but still packs a serious punch. At $250, it’s significantly less expensive than the 820. You lose the touchscreen capabilities, but still have access to customizable maps. Metrics maximize your training by using the ANT+ sensor for connectivity. Estimated VO2 Max, FPT Tracking and Testing, and Recovery Advisory help you get the most from your training efforts. This computer really shines with smartphone integration and displays call, text, and email alerts as you ride.
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Wahoo ELEMNT GPS – This user-friendly computer offers superb tracking and costs $330. It features frustration-free setup and automatically downloads and uploads your routes when you sync it with Strava, Komodo, and more. Program a destination, or point of interest, and the Wahoo will give you turn by turn directions cues. No need to use a laptop- the Wahoo ELEMNT will automatically sync ride data, update integrated software, and download the latest maps. It is 100% wireless and designed to be easily portable. Like some of the other computers, it lets you receive smartphone notifications as well, so there’s no need to check your phone.
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Polar V650 Cycling Computer – This creative cycling computer offers a few features that set it apart. It comes with integrated lights which turn on in low light conditions. This enhances the visibility of your bike and allows others on the road to see you better. It also has a rechargeable battery. No more worries about replacing your computer battery, as the Polar is easily recharged and the battery life is 10 hours. It costs about $265 with the heart rate monitor or $210 without, and provides integrated GPS and Smart Coaching features. The screen is full color and water resistant. You can easily connect your account with Strava. The built-in barometric pressure sensor allows you to track altitude as well as distance travelled, and the training unit features immediate feedback on your performance. If you are looking for a cycling computer to take you to the next level, the Polar V650 may be the right one for you!
If you are unsure which bicycle computer is best, visit your local bike shop. They will have lots of suggestions and will be able to show you the available features in person. When it comes to bike computers, it can really pay off to get your hands on one and try it out.
No matter which cycling computer you choose, you will likely see benefits in your performance. Computer allows you to track your data and monitor your improvement over time. You will be able to quickly determine what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to riding your bike. At Kass & Moses, we suggest cycling computers for all cyclists who want to improve their skills on the bike. As always, we urge you to ride safely, even if you are aiming for that next goal. Bicycle crashes are far too common, and the results can be deadly. If you or someone you love has been involved in a bicycle crash, call on the team at Kass & Moses for advice. We are available around the clock for a free consultation to help you determine what steps you should take to recover financially from your bicycle crash injuries.