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As technology improves, the ability to track exercise has only increased. As a cyclist, you want to review your riding and use the results to enhance your skill.
There are plenty of computers out there specifically for cycling, but with the advances in smartwatches the features and functionally is better than those clunky computers. Plus, you can use a smartwatch throughout the day to gather more information on your health and recovery.
Best Smartwatches for Cycling
|Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)||$499.99 from $429.00||View on Amazon|
|Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire - Black with Black Band||$599.99 from $338.83||View on Amazon|
|Garmin vívoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch Contactless Payments Built-in Sports Apps,...||$279.99 from $194.00||View on Amazon|
|Garmin vívoactive Black||from $219.00||View on Amazon|
|SUUNTO Spartan Sport (Wrist - Hr), Black||$499.00 $319.95||View on Amazon|
|Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch/Running Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, Black||$349.00||View on Amazon|
|Apple Smart Watch 38mm Watch Series 3 - GPS - Space Gray Aluminum Case with...||$444.57 from $419.00||View on Amazon|
|3D Fitness Tracker & Real Time Audio Coach, Moov Now:Swimming Running Water...||from $44.50||View on Amazon|
Top Cycling Trackers – Product Reviews
We reviewed our favorite fitness trackers for cycling so you can find the best fit for your cycling style.
1. Garmin Forerunner 935
- Premium GPS running/triathlon watch with wrist-based heart rate;Strap material : silicone ; Smartphone compatibility : iPhone, Android, Windows; designed for sale and support in North America only.
- Offers advanced running and multisport Features in a comfortable watch you can wear all day, and it only weighs 49 grams
- Provides elevation changes with a built-in barometer; altimeter and electronic compass help you keep your bearings
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is a comfortable, lightweight tracker ready to provide you with quality information. The compact design does not compromise on features. The sensors included are a barometer, altimeter, thermometer, and a built-in GPS.
This watch also works well for running, so if your cycling includes triathlons, this is an excellent choice for you. Simply press a button to change the exercise and stay in the zone.
We found the menu layout clean and straightforward. Choose your favorite features to appear at the top to avoid shuffling through apps to find what you want.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 also comes with a heart rate monitor so you can respond to real-time data. Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ are available to connect to external sensors.
Connect to your phone and receive notifications without interrupting your workout. We liked that clearing notification on the watch also cleared them on the phone.
There is a Forerunner 935 app that comes along with the watch that allows you to track sleep, steps, and even stress. The added stress tracking was very intriguing to us, and we liked the recommended breathing meditative mode that encourages relaxation as well as concentration.
The battery life varies depending on the mode you use but can last up to two weeks before needing a charge. This device tends to run on the pricier end but is well worth the quality and features.
2. Garmin Fenix 5 Saphire
- Premium multisport GPS watch with Elevate wrist heart rate technology. Physical size : 47 x 47 x 15.5 mm
- Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case , Features Sunrise or sunset times, GPS Time Sync
- Put key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows the effects and progress of your workouts. Battery life- Smartwatch mode- Up to 2 weeks. GPS/HR mode- Up to 24 hours. UltraTrac...
The Garmin Fenix 5 Saphire does it all. From measuring heart activity, monitoring your quality of sleep, supplying text messages and emails, and more, this fitness tracker is designed to be used and abused.
It has a traditional watch design to it, five buttons on the side and midsized. We liked having the ability to change the watchbands depending on our activity.
GPS is included in this tracker, making it an excellent option for cyclists looking to track distance and speed.
But what makes this a top choice for cyclists is its compatibility with power meters and cadence sensors. The Garmin Fenix 5 Saphire is one of the few watches that support Bluetooth Smart power meters and speed/cadence sensors. All your information is available for real-time data during your work out.
We also really liked the V02 Max feature. Its accuracy prepares you for races, estimating how well you will do for future events, so you know when you are ready.
The battery on this watch can last up to two weeks if you are not constantly in GPS mode. This benefit means you can keep peddling without fear of your equipment dying in the middle of a ride.
Of course, a top of the line watch comes with a top of the price. But the number of features, as well as extended battery life and durability let you know you will get your money’s worth. Plus it looks so nice sitting on your wrist.
3. Garmin Vivoactive 3
- Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch (available for supported cards from participating banks)
- Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ store. Memory/History : 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data
- More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more. Lens material: chemically strengthened glass, bezel material: stainless steel, case material:...
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 combines function and fashion into a top quality cycling smartwatch. This fitness tracker boasts training data on speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, distance, time, and more. All the data you need, available in one tracker.
And if you are into style, there are three face colors and multiple watchbands to customize your look.
The customizable touchscreen lets you access the GPS with a specific cycling option. You can also receive notifications and respond to text messages if linked to an android phone.
We appreciated having both Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility. Transferring data and linking additional sensors makes it simple to review your complete workout information.
One feature we would like to spotlight is Garmin Pay. Link your banks or cards so you can refresh your electrolytes during a ride or feel classy out on the town.
The constant shaking, when worn on a trail, proved to be challenging for monitoring heart rate, but we were impressed with the accuracy of the heart rate monitor when on the road.
Some people might find this tracker to be on the bulky side, but we find the unique design to be eye-catching and durable.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is an excellent option for lots of features without breaking the bank.
4. Garmin Vivoactive
- Built-in sports apps, including GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing plus swimming and activity tracking¹, let you view your stats even when away from your phone(Check User Manual in Product...
- Refer to page 10 in the User Manual for troubleshooting steps.
- Ultra-thin, high-resolution, sunlight-readable, color touchscreen display
The Garmin Vivoactive may seem like a basic smartwatch, but it packs features that will improve the quality of your workouts. It focuses on tracking your fitness and does its job well.
The built-in GPS tracks your route while analyzing the terrain you are riding. The focus is to provide cyclists with accurate, live data during the workout.
When using the cycling mode, you can track time, distance, speed, and calories. Gather other useful information throughout the day (and night) by checking your steps and using the sleep-monitoring feature. Add in the use of Bluetooth and you are set for your workout.
And smartphone alerts can pop up on the customizable watch faces. Email, text, even calendar events keep you in the know, so you don’t interrupt your exercise routine to stay updated. The display is large enough to easily read while riding.
The thin, slim design of this watch means you barely notice that you are wearing it. It only enhances your work out and pairs well with every day or more formal outfits.
We also like that the Garmin Vivoactive monitors your downtime and will prompt you to get up and move if you have not done much in a while. This accountability aspect really encouraged us to move more and even cycle more often.
Unfortunately, this device does not include a heart rate monitor but is easily compatible with other heart rate sensors.
5. Suunto Spartan Sport HR
- Battery life up to 12H in training mode
- Steel bezel, mineral Crystal Glass, and an outdoor-grade color touch screen
- Strong and sleek design with100 mwater resistance
The Suunto Spartan Sport HR is one of the more affordable options but does not compromise on the quality it provides.
A color touchscreen gives excellent visibility in any lighting. You can also use any of the three buttons to operate the watch.
What stands out on this smartwatch is the built-in heart rate monitor. Optical measurement is right on the wrist for convenience. With 24/7 access to your heart’s information, you can adjust your workout and your recovery while understanding more about how your body responds to activities.
GPS navigation tracks your ride so you can compare distances. You can also get accurate measurements on your pace, speed, altitude, and calories.
We love that it is compatible with some Bluetooth power meters as well as other Suunto brand sensors. You have the support you need for power meter and cadence sensors.
The Suunto Spartan Sport HR has a battery life that falls on the lower end of the scale, but can still last up to 10 hours in training mode. That’s plenty to get you by until the next chance to charge.
One improvement would be for the tracker to realize we are starting a workout automatically. Instead, you must select each exercise from the menu. This is helpful for people looking to prepare for workouts and holds you accountable when planning your day.
6. Polar V800
- GPS SPORT WATCH: Advanced multisport GPS Watch for serious sports enthusiasts and professional athletes who want to reach peak performance, the built-in GPS keeps track of your ride, run or hike...
- ADVANCED TRAINING WATCH: Create and customize profiles for different sports and get exactly the data and guidance you need for each activity
- FITNESS TRACKER: Combines training load with 24/7 activity data for true recovery status. Polar Flow web service compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6, OS X 10.7, OS X 10.8, or later, and PC Windows XP,...
The Polar V800 is a strong, feature-full fitness tracker designed for practically anything. The durable screen offers clear information in most lighting conditions and has a decent battery life of 50 hours in GPS low power mode.
Stay connected with the typical smartwatch benefits like notifications for texting and emails. And incorporate the features into your everyday life like tracking steps and monitoring quality of sleep.
One feature we liked on this device was the ability to customize profiles for different sports. You can control the data given and find the guidance you need to improve.
The 24/7 data of your activity provides you with a full understanding of your training to your path of recovery.
We also appreciated the Bluetooth Smart was compatible with additional cycling sensors. Integrating with power meters and cadence sensors while uploading to multiple devices gives you the best information for adjusting your workout.
The Polar V800 also tracks your body’s movements and will notify you if you have been inactive for a certain length of time.
As a fitness smartwatch, this device is almost too qualified. If you plan to use it only for cycling, you may be missing out on some of its other fantastic features. Of course, this makes it an excellent selection if you are a triathlete and want to combine your cycling information with running and swimming.
7. Apple Watch Series 3
- Space Gray Aluminum Chassis with Ion-X Glass, Black Sport Band, 8GB of Storage
- 1.3 Inch (340 x 272) Display, Changeable Faces with Widgets
- Displays Notifications and Runs Apps, Accelerometer and gyroscope, Heart rate sensor
The Apple Watch Series 3 is a great device to monitor cycling, heart rate, and more while still matching your everyday wardrobe.
While marketed as an extension of your phone – access to calls, texts, emails, and social media updates, this watch doubles as a fitness tracker.
Built-in GPS tracks your ride as well as everyday movements like sleep, calories, and sleep. Plus, the heart rate monitor is included so you can follow your resting heart rate and monitoring your body’s response during exercise.
We like the activity app that provides three daily goals related to fitness. You track your standing, moving, and exercise and can quickly check your progress.
Access to Bluetooth allows for pairing and transfer of information. This fitness tracker works hand in hand with many other fitness apps. And for everything this watch can do, it has decent battery life.
The downside of the Apple Watch Series 3 is the durability is not as strong as other fitness trackers, which can give anyone pause due to the expense. However, if you plan to keep the watch on for the 24/7 data and mainly use it for cycling, you should have a smartwatch that will last you years.
8. Moov Now 3D
- MOOV NOW provides real-time audio coaching for running, cycling, cardio boxing, body weight (Moov 7 Minute+)
- Most advanced swim tracker - stroke type, stroke count, lap analysis, recommends ways to improve
- Tracks Active Minutes and Sleep
The Moov Now 3D is great for beginners and an excellent choice for those looking for a simple, yet effective fitness tracker.
Daily goals are used to encourage physical fitness, and achievable levels build your exercise confidence.
One cool feature we found was the real-time audio coaching. You can fine-tune your cycling experience with this fitness tracker. Quality gear information and valuable feedback move you toward your goals.
There is a specific cycling feature that also uses Bluetooth to connect to other bike sensors you use. It works well on both Android and iOS devices.
One of the more affordable products, the Moov Now 3D uses the simple concept to judge activity in minutes rather than steps. This is encouraging for cyclist because every minute you are riding counts.
And battery life is extensive. 6 months estimated for each battery – replaceable, not rechargeable.
This device is unique in that a phone is required for use. Wearing the watch gathers the information and can deliver it audibly, which is great for audible learners, but to view visual specs you need to jump to the app.
Because there is no screen to display, we found ourselves feeling more comfortable and acting naturally during use. The fear of cracking a screen is gone, and you can be in the moment on your ride.
Advantages of Using an Activity Tracker for Cycling
Whether you are an amateur cyclist or a professional cyclist, you can benefit from using a fitness tracker for your rides.
A cycling fitness tracker does more than just monitor your exercise.
- Offers guided workouts and intervals to improve your progress.
- Set your goals and adjusting your fitness routine as needed.
- Helps keeps you accountable and encourages consistent training for consistent gains.
- Seeing your personal progress mapped out pushes you to continue towards your goals.
- Real-time data allows you to adjust exercise intensity based on tracker information
Must Have Features of a Cycling Tracker
There are a variety of fitness tracker watches out there, but there are some features, as a cyclist, that you can’t do without.
GPS – Being able to measure logistical data is essential for feedback during and after your ride. The elevation changes, the distance you complete, information on average speed, top speed and in between, plus the specific route you take are all valuable pieces of information.
Pace – Knowing your pace allows you to adjust the intensity of your workout and evaluate where you are versus where you want to end. Pace also supports assessments of other information, like calories burned, so you know how to regulate your ride.
Cadence – Understanding your cadence lets you focus on fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers. You can’t count your reps yourself, that is why this is a must-have on a fitness tracker.
Bluetooth or ANT+ – Having one of these features lets you share information between devices. You can connect with smartphones, power meters, or other bike mounted devices. The more information you have, the better. Plus, the ease of transferring data will let you focus on the data, not spend hours trying to sync your data.
Extra Features to Consider
Some of these other features can enhance your workout experience but may not be necessary for everyone. That is what’s so great about smartwatch fitness trackers. They are customizable to your individual needs.
Other features to consider:
Heart Rate Monitor – Knowing your body’s limits, and knowing when to push and when to ease off, allow for a healthy relationship between you and cycling. A heart rate monitor gives you a more in-depth look at how your body responds to a ride.
Sensor Compatibility – You want a tracker that can connect to your other sensors. If you have a power meter to improve your racing skills, the sensor compatibility is essential so that information is not lost or locked into one device.
Navigation – Having your route set up ahead of time helps, but sometimes there is an unexpected road detour or another obstacle. A navigation feature allows you to adjust your path as well as track your ride.
Touchscreen – Keep up with the latest technology and go for the simplicity of a touchscreen.