The Best Bike Computers for Tracking Fitness Data and More

Bike and cycling computers are small, simple gadgets that provide useful information and make it easy to see just how beneficial a bike ride is.

By Oliver Harriett | Published Dec 9, 2020 5:41 PM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Bike Computer Option

Photo: unsplesh.com

Bicycles might be the most versatile type of transportation around. While some people ride them solely for fun, others use them to commute to and from work or school. Others are passionate about cycling because of the health benefits and enjoy biking as part of their exercise routine. And then there are the athletes, riders who push their own strength and stamina to the limits and who take their bicycle very seriously. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, the best bike and cycling computers have a lot to offer you. These computers are compact devices that mount securely to the handlebars of a bicycle. Cycling computers come equipped with small sensors that are attached to the bike’s wheels and frame. These sensors interact with magnets to record information about your ride. GPS-enabled cycling computers receive signals from satellites, just as the GPS system in a car or smartphone does. The simplest computers capture ride data such as distance, speed, time, and elevation. More sophisticated ones tackle all of that information but also are GPS-enabled, offer third-party app support, calculate the rider’s carbon offset, count calories burned, and more. The best bike and cycling computers are accurate and suit the rider’s needs.

Our Top Picks

To identify the best bike and cycling computers, we considered collected data, ease of use, battery life, GPS compatibility, and mounting options.

Best Overall

The Best Bike Computer Option: CAT EYE Padrone Wireless Bike Computer
Photo: amazon.com

The CAT EYE Padrone Wireless Bike Computer is a simple and practical, wireless bike computer that records and displays data as you bike. The large display allows bikers to see all the stats they need. There are neither menus nor multiple buttons to memorize or navigate—the unit’s base allows one to toggle through the available information and functions. It’s also easy to adjust the unit using only one hand thanks to its FlexTight Bracket. This computer senses when a biker stops, restarting when they do so the average speed and trip duration remain accurate. This is a bike computer that can fulfill the needs of most casual riders.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Bike Computer Option: Garmin Edge 1030, 3.5" GPS Cycling/Bike Computer
Photo: amazon.com

The Garmin Edge 1030 is a GPS-enabled computer that offers preloaded cycle maps featuring turn-by-turn directions. Thanks to billions of miles of Garmin Connect ride data, it can also provide riders with the best routes both on- and off-road. There are preloaded Strava live segments to help riders get the most out of their trip and challenge their limits. During the ride, users can get loads of useful information like nearby points of interest, elevation data, and even upcoming sharp turns or other obstacles. Edge users can also stay connected to other cyclists with an onboard messaging feature. Should something go awry, the Incident Detection feature can summon emergency services. The Garmin Edge can also be customized with different widgets and apps. With up to 20 hours of power and an integrated charging pack, the Garmin Edge 1030 is a great pick.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Bike Computer Option: Planet Bike Protégé 9.0 bike computer
Photo: amazon.com

The Planet Bike Casual Protégé 9.0 has 9 functions: current speed, speed comparator, ride time, trip distance, odometer, average speed, maximum speed, clock, and temperature—and a two-bike capability. Whether you own two bikes, switch between a road cycle and an indoor, stationary one, or want to share the computer with a partner or a friend, all you’ll need is an extra mounting kit; the device itself is easy to swap out (but stays secure once in place). Recording and tracking data is effortless with the Protégé’s auto-stop and auto-start features, and its large, clear LCD screen makes it easy to view up to five pieces of data at once. Included are all the necessary mounting hardware (a 25.4-millimeter by 31.8-millimeter handlebar bracket and 82-centimeter wired front-wheel mounting kit) and a lithium battery. Lastly, bikers can ride in almost any condition knowing that the Protégé is ultrasonically welded and therefore waterproof.