What almost every enthusiastic cyclist would like to know is the number of miles they have covered and the cycling speed they have accomplished. A bike computer, also called a bike speedometer, is just a piece of gadget which will give you this and certain other cycling information as well just like in a fast-paced motorbike or a car. Whether it is the sense of accomplishment that you need from this piece of information or would like to track your progress while training for a race, the best bike computer is definitely something you should consider.
There are tons of models of bike computers out there, but not all of them deliver equally. The more advanced models of bike speedometers will not only display your speed and mile coverage, they will help you keep track of several other things as well including GPS information, calories burned and heart rate.
Even if you want a basic bike computer, it should be reliable and durable, at the very least. To help you make a great decision when choosing a bike speedometer, we have included the best bike computer reviews on the same page. Remember to give it a look before you make your choice.
Best Bike Computers in Summary
Do I Really Need a Bike Computer?
That’s the first question that will pop up in your mind once you start thinking about buying a bike computer. What you really need are a bunch of strong reasons that can support your decisions. Here are some of the biggest reasons why bike computers are such a big hit among cyclists.
Training Assistance for Professionals
For a professional cyclist, it is an absolute must to keep track of the mileage and speed. Knowing such valuable information helps them keep track of their progress which offers tons of benefits when training for a marathon.
Even if you aren’t training for a race or just an occasional cyclist who likes to go cruising out on the weekends, a bike computer makes your ride much more exciting. Many cyclists even get it installed to their bikes for the sole reason that it looks cool! As a matter of fact it does. This high-tech gadget, which by the way does not cost a lot either, gives your bike an upgraded, impressive look which will undeniably be a fascination to the onlookers.
Motivation for Exercise
Out of the tons of reasons why a bike computer is a worthwhile addition to your bike, an important one is the motivation it adds to your exercise. Most people cycle to keep their health in check and to stay in shape. The information displayed on the bike speedometer will undoubtedly motivate them into aiming for that extra mile. It helps them set out new goals everyday to keep the fun factor alive and to strive to exercise harder.
Affordable and Versatile
Another reason, and an important one, to consider purchasing a bike computer is their affordability. The best thing about bike speedometers, as is the case with every other bike accessory, is that with the tons of models available, you can easily find something that suits your budget. If you are looking for a cheap one, you can even find one in under $20. The more expensive ones will include other additional useful information on the display such as calorie count and heart-rate. These are equally beneficial if you are cycling as part of your exercise routine. Some bike computers even include advanced programs which allow you to capture pictures of the display and post them on social media to impress your friends.
Bike Computer Reviews
#1. Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS
Using Garmin Edge 520, you can expect to receive all the relevant bike information a cyclist could ask for. The most important feature is the GPS receiver which allows you to keep track of your current location and your destination at all times. Speed, distance, time and altitude are only some of the basic information that are a part of the display screen. Additionally, you can use apps like Strava to take part in biking challenges and pair the device to additional equipment like a heart rate monitor or even a power meter to acquire access to additional information as well.
Socially active cyclists will, additionally, appreciate its connectivity to their Smartphones which will allow them to not only receive their phone alerts directly on the bike speedometer, but also to share their biking data on social media to brag among friends. What’s more, your ride data is also automatically uploaded on Garmin Connect, which is an online community of the manufacturing company. This online forum allows you to store your rides, plan new ones and share it among others who are using the same bike speedometer as yours.
With a waterproof rating of IPX7, you can even use the bike computer in heavy rainfall without fearing any damage. Additionally, the battery life is 15 hours which is among the longest you will find for bike speedometers and the micro USB charging port makes it easier to charge the device once you have used up the battery.
- The display unit is not touchscreen.
- The price is a lot higher than that of an ordinary bike speedometer.
#2. Planet Bike Protege Bike Computer
If you are in search for an inexpensive bike computer, this one is an excellent option for you since it will deliver all the vital ride information along with dual settings for two wheel sizes so that you may share the same bike computer among two different bikes. The large display screen lets you learn the bike’s current speed, maximum speed, average speed, ride time, clock distance and temperature quite conveniently. It also lets you set a speed limit for your ride and will inform you in case you are travelling above or below that specified speed.
Despite the low price tag, all the essential hardware comes included in the package including handlebar mounting bracket as well as front wheel mounting kit. Batteries are also part of the package so you won’t have to purchase anything separately. The inclusion of all these accessories will make installation of the device multiple times easier for you. What also makes it a worthwhile pick for professional cyclists is the lightweight design, with the device weighing only 57 grams together with the mounting bracket and the sensor. What’s even more appreciable is the lifetime warranty that the manufacturer has to offer with such an inexpensive piece of machinery.
- The first setting does not allow you to set a 3 digit wheel size.
- The speed information that it gives is not very accurate.
- No GPS receiver is available.
#3. Velo Wireless Bike Computer
Wireless bike computers aren’t always cheap but this one from Cat Eye is not only affordable for every cyclist but also delivers all the interesting stats that will make your ride more fun. Whether you want to maintain a certain average speed, be notified of your maximum speed, keep track of the distance that you have covered or the time for which you have been cycling, you will find all the relevant information on the large display screen. The computer is smart enough to pause the ride time when you stop at a red light or otherwise and omit this duration when calculating your average speed.
Additionally, it also keeps you informed of the calories that you have burned and features a clock that lets you know the time, no matter where you may be riding. This calorie meter is a generous addition which is hard to find in many of the other cheap bike computers. This makes the model an ideal gift for health enthusiasts. The bike computer comes with a FlexTight Bracket which helps you mount the computer on your bike’s handlebar quite easily and adjust it according to your requirements. You may even remove it and install it on a different bike if you wish to. What will also impress you is the low weight of the gadget. Weighing under 3 ounces, this bike speedometer will make almost negligible contribution to the overall weight of the bike.
- The bike computer does not include a backlight which makes it hard to read it at night.
- Instructions for calibrating the bike computer aren’t very clear.
#4. Garmin Edge 25 Cycling GPS
Edge 25 is another excellent bike computer produced by Garmin which is much cheaper than Edge 520 which has already been discussed. Although lower in price, it presents all the fancy features that a serious cyclist could ask for. Firstly, the shape of the bike computer is quite compact and weighs just about 25 grams which makes it a preferred gadget for professional cyclists who are concerned about the bike weight.
Furthermore, the advanced GPS receiver makes use of satellite signals for accurate calculation of your speed, distance and location. The same GPS receiver also allows you to pair the gadget with your mobile devices and share information of your rides on social media and gather appreciation. Not only is it compatible with your mobile device but can also be paired with additional equipment like a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor to extend the list of data that you receive from it.
You may also use a special app with the gadget known as Garmin Connect which lets you accomplish goals and analyze your ride stats. This will undoubtedly help you enjoy your training and benefit more out of it. Overall, Edge 25 maintains a good balance between price and features so that most cyclists will consider it a worthwhile investment.
- There might be compatibility issues with certain mobile devices.
- The mounting system is not very efficient.
5. Lezyne Enhanced GPS Cycling Computer
If you want a GPS enabled bike computer but at an affordable price, Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer is worth a consideration. Pricing around $150, the gadget is ideal for racers as well as for mountain bikers. Together with all the basic data that you can expect from a GPS enabled bike speedometer, this model can also be paired with additional equipment such as heart rate monitor, cadence sensor and power meter.
What’s even more interesting is that the bike computer uses an accelerometer which will turn off the GPS functionality and save battery life when the bike is stationary. It is thanks to this smart functionality that the device offers a 24-hour runtime which is considerably longer than what you would expect from most other GPS enabled bike computers. You can pair it with your smartphone to receive alerts for your phone calls and messages and also for receiving turn-by-turn navigation which will help you find your way.
Installation is quite simple as it will involve no extra cables that need to be tied up. A mounting bracket is available in the package using which you can either mount the bike computer on the handlebar or the stem depend on where you find it most suitable. With the purchase of the gadget, you also enjoy a complete yearlong warranty from the manufacturer.
- The bike computer does not display maps.
- Color screen is not available.
6. SY Bicycle Speedometer and Odometer
Even if you are shopping on a budget, you can still look forward to finding a reliable, basic bike speedometer. This model is a strong example of a reliable, waterproof bike computer which delivers all the basic ride data to the cyclist, but at a very affordable price. In less than $15, you get this compact bike speedometer which comes with an easily readable, bright display screen to display the stats of your ride. Average speed, maximum speed, current speed, ride time, distance and clock are all part of the display on the bike computer.
The bike speedometer also features a unique automatic wake-up function which brings the gadget to life upon picking up movement of the bike. This saves you from the trouble of pressing a button to turn the bike computer on. The computer handles it on its own. The display screen also features a backlight which will be triggered automatically when you operate the device during the nighttime.
Installation of the gadget is just as simple as its usage since all the installation tools are provided in the package together with clear instructions to tell where all the pieces will go. After installation, you can customize the device for the specific tire size of your bike and start using it.
- Calorie count is not offered.
- No GPS function is available.
7. Sigma Sport Wired Bicycle Computer
This one is another basic bike computer for those looking for a compact, inexpensive device that will give all the important information regarding the ride. The device features an easy to use, single touch operation which almost no one will have a hard time figuring out. You can press the available button to display the required information including speed, distance, ride time and also a clock to show the exact time of the day.
At such low a price, it is surprising to learn that the device displays in 7 different languages so that you will find it easy to understand even if you can’t read English. Furthermore, the large and bright display makes it easier to understand it while keeping your attention on the road at all times.
Together with being simple to read and understand, it is also quite easy to install. This wired bike computer can be installed to the bike without the need for any professional tools and is waterproof so that you may ride on rainy days without fearing any damage of the gadget. Last but not the least, it is the only bike speedometer in this price range that includes a USB port through which you may download the ride data into your PC.
- The wires may get in the way of the other components of the bike.
- It does not display the average speed of your ride.
8. Wahoo Eelement GPS Bike Computer
For those who do not mind a higher price but will not compromise on quality or any of the high-end features, Wahoo Fitness brings this incredible bike computer. It comes with a free application that makes setup and configuration of the bike speedometer much simpler for the cyclist so that they can spend more time cruising and less time trying to set up the machinery.
Besides the compatibility for external software applications such as Stava, RideWithGPS and more, you can also download and upload routes onto your bike computer so that you are never in doubt, no matter where you may be riding. You can even create a customized route for yourself and receive notifications on the screen for every turn, thus making it much easier and enjoyable to ride. Its compatibility with external software such as Strava allows you to compare your progress with fellow cyclists and meet new goals. Pairing it to your Smartphone allows you to receive notifications for incoming phone calls and messages on your phone.
In addition, it can display maps for which you may zoom in and out to better understand the route. Other than the superior functions and simple configuration, the bike speedometer is completely wireless so there isn’t any hassle or danger of the wires getting tangled among one another or with other equipment of the bike.
- The price is much higher than most other GPS enabled bike computers.
- The display is black and white.
9. Cat EyeStrada Wireless Bike Computer
This reasonably priced bike computer is among the best selling models on Amazon for the amazing features and reliability that it offers. The easy to read display screen will keep you informed of all the relevant data for your ride including the instantaneous speed, maximum speed, average speed, distance, time, direction and clock. Smart functionality will automatically stop counting the time when you stop the bike and will also adjust the average speed accordingly.
This weatherproof bike computer is not just versatile with respect to the features offered but it also lets you concentrate on the road rather than the controls. The mode selection is quite simple since you will just need to press the base to switch among the functions.
The FlexTight Bracket and all the included tools make the unit simple to mount so that you are all set to hit the road while the dual configuration allows you to set the device for two tire sizes and switch it between bikes. What’s just as beneficial for professional cyclists is the fact that the unit weighs only 4 ounces even with all the advanced features that come with it.
- The data cannot be transferred into another device like your PC.
- No extras are available such as calorie count or heart rate. The unit will only provide the basic ride stats.
10. Magellan GPS Cyclo Computer
If you are looking for a brand cheaper than Garmin but one that offers all the cool features to make your bike ride an enjoyable one, Magellan 505 has you covered. What makes this bike computer so popular among cyclists besides the affordable price tag is its simple-to-use interface which resembles that of a Smartphone. It features a 3” touchscreen which is among the largest in bike computers and makes it easier to switch between screens when you are on the road. Also, the color interface allows you to read it clearly in the sun or at nighttime without losing your concentration on the road.
Additionally, the smart Bluetooth connectivity that it offers lets you connect the device to your Smartphone or other sensors such as a heart rate monitor or a calorie meter and extend the already long list of features. Connection to the Smartphone, just like any other advanced bike computer, allows you to keep a check on the incoming phones and messages on your phone. Other than that, you can expect to find all the basic information on the display screen including time, speed, distance, pace, altitude, temperature and clock.
Additionally, built-in sharing app which allows you to compare your rides with those of your friends and built-in street maps are also part of the package.
- It does not include some of the modern features that are a part of the Garmin models.
- The screen resolution is not excellent which makes it a bit difficult to read the maps.
Bike Computer Buyer’s Guide:
So now you know why your bike needs a bike speedometer. The next step isn’t all that simple. You will need to consider multiple factors before you can select a bike computer that works perfectly for you. Below is a list of everything you need to look for when choosing a bike speedometer.
Wired vs Wireless
Two types of bike speedometers are available as far as the data transmission is concerned. You will find wired bike speedometers as well as wireless bike speedometers. Both have their own sets of pros and cons.
The wired bike computers will use magnetic sensors that are connected to the display panel via connecting wires. These varieties are simple in design with the obvious benefit of a much lower price tag as compared to the wireless varieties. They are also much lighter in weight since they do not include the advanced mechanisms and batteries which are required for a wireless bike speedometer.
On the downside, once installed, they cannot be removed and reinstalled on a different bike in most cases. Also, the additional wiring may look untidy to some cyclists. It also has a risk of getting caught up in bike parts which can be highly risky for mountain bikers.
In a wireless bike computer, the magnetic sensor is connected to the display unit via a wireless signal transmitter. As compared to a wired bike computer, these units offer a tidier look and eliminate the risk for the wiring to get caught up in the other bike parts. They are, additionally, much easier to install and can also be reinstalled on a different bike, if need be. However, the need for a transmitter and a set of batteries adds extra weight to the overall unit, and resultantly to the bike. Also, wireless bike computers are much more expensive as compared to the simpler wired bike computers.
The newest and the most advanced varieties of bike speedometers come with GPS function. Although the bike computers which include GPS feature will cost you much higher as compared to the simpler models, they are an excellent option for professionals as well as biking enthusiasts.
These bike computers include a GPS receiver, which helps you gain other types of information regarding your ride besides speed and mileage. The most important among them is the ability to track your route which is especially beneficial if you are on an unfamiliar path.
Additionally, it allows you to couple this information with other mobile devices and use apps to compare your progress with other cyclists, globally. Strava is one such app which allows you to do so. You can also upload routes from the computer into your GPS enabled bike computer so that it becomes easier to find your way, no matter where you plan on travelling to.
In some countries, you can never be sure when it’s going to rain. No matter what the climate of the region is where you are riding your bike, the bike together will all the gadgets installed on it need to be able to withstand an unexpected downpour without resulting in any damages. Since your bike speedometer involves electronics, batteries and wiring with it, you need one that includes a good degree of waterproofing so that its functionality is not damaged even if it comes in contact with water.
It is the IP code that you will find in the specifications of the device that will tell you the level of water resistance that it offers. Level one will offer only little protection against water that drips vertically. These levels can go up to 5 or higher, which offer a good degree of protection against faster and even warmer jets of water.
Bike Computer Features
Different bike speedometers come with different sets of features depending on the model you choose and what you pay for it. The cheapest varieties of bike computers will display basic ride information including speed gained and the distance that you have covered. These basic bike speedometers may also include your ride time and a clock on the display.
The higher end varieties may include additional information on the display screen. These may include heart rate, altitude and temperature. If the bike speedometer is GPS enabled, you can acquire even more information as has already been discussed. Just compare the specifications and see if the bike speedometer that you are planning to purchase includes all the features you will require while riding.
Although it may not seem like an important consideration, it can be a useful addition to your bike speedometer if you often ride at night. A backlight in the device will allow you to read the display much more easily in the dark.
Some of the higher end bike computers, particularly those wireless models that include GPS feature can not only be switched between multiple bikes, they will also store the information from each bike into a separate folder so that it’s easier for the user to understand. Siblings who own their own separate bikes may find this feature useful as it allows them to share one bike computer rather than investing in multiple ones.
How to Install a Bike Computer?
A bike computer is a rather simple tool which does not involve a lot of parts that you will need to worry about. This makes its installation a simple task. You can go ahead and do it on your own rather employing any professional help and spending extra bucks on it. Installation of a wireless bike computer makes your job even simpler since there are no wires involved which will need fixing.
Each bike speedometer is built differently and involve slightly different steps for its installation. You will need to take a look at the instruction manual to make sure you install it correctly. However, following are the installation steps that will work for most bike computers.
- You will need to attach the sensor carefully to the fork of your bike in order to obtain accurate readings on the bike speedometer display. A hub speed sensor, in contrast, is attached using a rubber band to the wheel hub of your bike. You may attach it with the front wheel hub or with the rear wheel hub, the readings will be identical.
- Now attach the display unit to a convenient location on your bike handlebar and a suitable angle so that you have no problem viewing it at any time.
If the unit is a wired one, rather than wireless, tie all the cables at suitable points on your bike so that they won’t get tangled up or come in the path of any of the bike parts.
- Now you have to attach the magnet to your front wheel so that the sensor attached to the fork can capture its movement. This step is not a requirement if you are using a hub sensor.
- Lastly, you simply need to calibrate the bike speedometer to your specific bike which involves correctly providing all the relevant information that is asked for. Generally, the bike computer will ask for the diameter of your bike’s tires so that it may calculate the data accordingly.
In these modern times, where almost everything is quantified, it’s hard to find a bike without an advanced bike computer installed to it. Naturally, cyclists also wish to assess their performance and they can have it at quite affordable prices.
If your bike still lacks a bike computer or you wish to upgrade the existing one, just keep everything we have mentioned in the guide fresh in your mind and make a suitable selection from among the top ten bike computers that we have presented on the same page. In case you are still not convinced, you have the option to read several customer reviews before you finally make your purchase. Once you ride your bike with this new high-tech gadget installed, you will surely find yourself enjoying the ride much more than you used to.