The Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS Computer with Cadence and Heart Rate Monitor easily takes the best choice when it comes to cycling computers for some reasons.
- Edge 520 is fully loaded with lots of features that made it top in our choices.
- Do you love to take in-ride challenges through Strava? This device offers that feature.
- Edge 520 shows VO2 max (cycling-specific). Also shows the recovery time if you are using it with power and heart rate.
- If you use Edge 520 with Vector or Vector 2 power meters, Edge 520 tracks the following metrics: FTP: Functional Threshold Power, watts/kg, and other cycling metrics
- Additional features: Live tracking your routes, automatic uploading, notifications, sharing in social medias, shows weather condition.
These are considered to be some of the most crucial aspects of any cycling computer ranging from visibility, interfacing, extras, connectivity, and display to presets that can help improve performance. All the bike computers given in this list will in one way or another provide the rider with incentives to get better and ride faster but in different ways.
The best choice was picked after careful consideration both on and off the field. This means that riding indoors and outdoors was considered and the cycling computers that worked best listed. Some have extras that make a difference including GPS trackers and virtual races such as the Garmin cadence premium which places it ahead of the counterparts.
Considerations before buying a cycling computer
The right cycling equipment is worth researching. The fact that these are quite an investment means that picking what works best for you is crucial. There are some considerations that you will need to look into before choosing the right cycling computer.
Cycling computers will range in price depending on the brand and features. Those with more features will more often than not cost much more than those with less. Picking the rightly priced one is also determined by what you are going for. Cheap cycling computers will have the necessary measurements on display and may also lack crucial extras that may improve your performance. The main idea behind buying a cycling computer is improving your performance which means any feature that is likely to do so will make a difference on the track. Taking time to shop while considering the extras that each gadget has will give you a good idea of what you can go without. Cycling computers will go for $180 to $300 depending on what you are going for. The monitoring devices will go for about $10 to $50 depending on the brand and display the information they provide.
The best types of cycling computers are easy to install on the bike. Unlike Android apps, these are designed to be hardy enough to handle the road which makes them more ideal as compared to using delicate phone apps. These gadgets need to attach to the handlebars for ease of use. They also need to hold onto the bars without facing any form of damage especially when the rider hits extreme terrain. The installation also needs to be simple enough for a novice to use without having to call in a bike specialist for setting up. They also need to be easy to remove for cleaning as well as storage without damaging them over time.
Connectivity determines the ease with which your computer connects to the cadence and speed sensors. This makes it easier for re-connections at will. Most will use ANT+ while others will use blue tooth connectivity. The connectivity should go uninterrupted all through the riding period. The best way to determine this is through experience. The best way to ensure that you have no compatibility issues is by buying gadgets of the same brand and design altogether. This may be more expensive but worth it in the long run. Ensuring that you test your devices at the point of purchase is wise. This makes buying them online a huge risk. There have been cases where gadgets have failed to connect to the computers due to brand or other unprecedented issues.
The sensors also need to be the best you can buy. This will not only affect the longevity of use but connectivity. The best sensors will belong to the brand of the counter just for compatibility.
The type of display you get for your computer will determine how easy it is for you to use. The best displays allow touch capabilities which make it easy to handle the computer while riding. The best displays also need to be clear enough to take a quick look while riding without necessarily affecting the rider’s performance. An attractive display will also be interesting to look at.
The screen interface should be easy to work with and navigate. The fact that you will be using the computer while on the road often means that you will be checking your vitals often. An interface that is friendly makes it easy to navigate through the options fast and easily. A cycling computer that is complicated is a distraction while on the road despite the fact that it will be storing information. You will need to stop so as to interact with the valuable information which is an inconvenience while riding.
Cycling computers will also come with some additional supporting features besides the standard readings. The more the extras, the better the experience. Some of them include;
This may not be a choice for the pro racer but is a welcome addition for the long-distance rider. They are also awesome for indoor riders that are looking for some pumped-up music to enhance their riding. Music has a way of improving performance as long as it is not distracting. Some of the cycling computers come with an option of storage that allows you to store your playlist besides what comes with the stock. They also come with an earphone portal to allow the same. The music players also allow easy switching of songs while riding for convenience.
One of the best ways to get your speed juices flowing is by working with a close companion that is not only consistent whenever you need to ride but is competitive. The virtual racer is one of the best ways to beat yourself. A virtual racer marks your previous best time encouraging you to beat every existing record by riding faster and better. The virtual racer is an impressive visual rider that provides you with a real-time comparison. Some cycling computers also simulate your riding next to the virtual riders so as to tell when you are lagging behind and by how far.
Goals and achievements
One of the best ways to gauge your performance is by creating goals and accomplishments that you can reach. The best cycling computer will allow you to program goals and set results that you can work with. You also have the capability of downloading already set goals and achievements that will help you push for better cycling skills with time.
A GPS tracker is as important as any other feature on the cycling computer. Riders that spend long hours on the road covering long distances may find this a very useful feature. This also helps riders cover new terrain without the fear of getting lost along the way. It is also an excellent way to know the distance that you want to cover beforehand. The tracker provides all the possible ways to get to your destination also offering varied options of terrain.
3 best cycling computers you can buy today with cadence & heart rate monitoring features
1. Garmin Edge 520 Bike Computer
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS, Base
This is one of the most powerful options in the market providing advanced metrics and power analysis for accurate readings. This gadget made it into the list thanks to the providence of new time in one feature, calories tracking and good cycling dynamics. The high-resolution display competes well with the first choice providing a 2.3 color screen.
The device is also lightweight and compact. It is also ANT+ compatible and pairs fast with conventional sensors using ANT+ such as speed, cadence sensors, and power meters. Some of the extras that come with this gadget include auto uploads, social media sharing on community platforms and test notifications from your smartphone.
You also get a handy device that can withstand harsh environments while riding thanks to the reinforced chassis. The gadget is also good to look at design in ergonomic features that allow it to be held by hand or mounted on a brace on the bike for convenience.
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS, Base
|Price||The Garmin Edge 5290 is a reasonably priced cycling computer that provides quite some features under its price.|
|Installation||The gadget is fast to install and calibrate which is a good thing. It takes a few minutes in the absence of the sensors set up timing which is ideal. Just like most of the other computers, you will need to buy a bracket along with it so as to place it on the handlebars.|
|Connectivity||The device is ANT+ compatible, and you get automatic uploads, live tracking, social media sharing and weather updates real time. You also get the advantage of receiving text notifications from your smartphone. Most riders find this a bit distracting while riding, but the fact that it is optional is a good thing.|
|Display||The 2.3-inch color screen is ideal for a powerful display. You get Good visibility while enjoying a compact device that can withstand harsh riding.|
|Interface||The interface allows the user to aces the touch screen fast and easy which is a bonus while riding.|
|Extras||The device comes with a heart rate monitor, speed sensor, cadence sensor, a US cable, and manuals. You also get a stand unlike most of the other devices.|
|Presets||Presets are available for riders seeking to improve their performance. These help in setting goals that can be achieved over time.|
|GPS||You will enjoy live tracking with the gadget for riding to places you have never been.|
2. Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer
Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer
Our third choice provides live tracking, social media sharing and weather updates alongside instant uploads and live tracking. You also get the basics of riding including heart rate readings calories, cadence, power, and location. All this is visible via a 2.6-inch screen with rugged features complementing a customizable touch screen.
The navigational system is ideally allowing the rider to switch between views while on high-speed rides. Easy connect to the Garmin Mob App allows one to use custom maps as well as Satellite imagery for the purpose of tracking. You get a user manual with the gadget so as to learn more about it thanks to the fact that it comes with an array of extra features. The difference between the devices is minimal and will fall mostly on reliability while on the field. The strength of the connectivity is crucial and the stronger, the better.
Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer
|Price||The cycling computer costs almost double of the first two which is the reason why we have placed it third. It provides quite some features with the pricing but still borders on what the first two offer.|
|Installation||Installation is quick and easy allowing the user to connect to the sensors reliably. You will need to purchase a mount for it alongside the item which makes it more expensive.|
|Connectivity||Live tracking, ride sharing, and social network are some of the connectivity bonuses you get. You also enjoy weather updates which are crucial for long distant riders.|
|Display||A 2.6-inch screen provides touch screen capabilities on a rugged casing with customizable interfaces and color. The screen is also hardy and able to handle the toughest of terrain and handling even while on the move.|
|Interface||The interface allows quick navigation through the available data while riding.|
|Extras||You get to connect with the Garmin community, the Garmin Mobile App, and Improved navigation. The gadget also comes with topo maps and bike friendly routing supported by Garmin and Satellite imagery.|
3. Garmin Edge 500 Bike Computer
The Garmin computer cadence premium monitor has no equal when it comes to cycling equipment. It comes with a 160 x 240 pixels screen that allows touch screen capabilities for ease of use while riding. This means that you will not have to slow down to get your readings or navigate through the settings.
The rider also gets to share data on an online community for the purpose of analysis and categorizing. The cycling computer comes with a state of the art virtual partner and racer to improve your performance. These two options allow you to race against your best time or even a set time from athletes who are faster than you. The device displays you and the avatar which pinpoints our speed about your competition.
The receiver is highly sensitive to auto-pause functions. Besides this, you get calorie computation alongside a barometric altimeter. The easy to use interface is ideal for any level of cycling allowing you to get a good grip on your physical form besides the bike itself.
|Price||It is some of the most reasonably Priced cycling computers among the three. This is a home run while still providing a vast array of features for the rider.|
|Installation||Setting up takes a few minutes if you do not include the time taken to install the sensors. The only thing you need to do is fit it onto a brace on the handlebars for visibility and synchronize the gadgets.|
|Connectivity||The cycling computer provides flawless connectivity that allows you to share your information with people online. You enjoy the Garmin cycling community sharing all your results as well as achievements with people of like mind.|
|Display||You get a 160 X 24o pixel screen that is also a touchscreen. This allows the rider to interact with the screen while riding real-time without slowing down. The color is also attractive and programmable for personalization.|
|Interface||The navigation proved easy to use especially while on a fast ride. The fact that is displayed most of the information on a single screen also reduces the need to keep on navigating while riding unless you want to share your information.|
|Extras||Imagine riding alone on the road competing against self. It is one thing to race against your time and another race against a virtual form of yourself while viewing it on the screen. The virtual racer allows you to correct various things including the turns where you are losing time at.|
|Presets||You can create that also act as challenges for milestone checks. This is an excellent idea especially if you are tracking your health status.|
|GPS||You get an altimeter in place of the live tracking.|
How I picked the best bike computer?
The best cycling computer is a blend of some considerations. All these need to be well thought of so as to get the best option for the job. I have over time used some gadgets including phone apps and nothing beats having the right tool for the job.
The fact of the matter is that the best will come with a higher price tag. This makes saving for a good one mandatory. You are likely to part with more than $240 if you are looking for a good cycling computer. This is not inclusive of the sensors for your information.
The features are also as important as the gadget itself. The most notable features include an excellent display, friendly interface as well as some useful extras such as GPS, Music, Virtual Partner, Virtual Racer, and touchscreen properties among many others.
The gadgets also needed to be robust enough to withstand rough riding and consistent exposure to elements without damage. The best will not always be a perfect depiction of all these features but a compromise with the best as a priority.
Why trust me? My experience with cycling computers
I have come across some monitoring gadgets as well as cycling computers over time. The fact 0f the matter remains that cheaply is expensive. My first option was a monitoring gadget due to financial reasons which worked okay providing me with information about the condition of the bike. It was not easy for me to decipher my personal conditions which are what led to using applications. Using phone apps is ideal for people that already have smartphones and those that feel that buying a new gadget may be too expensive at the point.
The only challenge when it came to using phones was the delicate nature of the phone. I, of course, could not find a way to safely fasten my phone on the bars which meant pocketing it all along the ride. Reading the information while riding not only slowed me down but put me at risk especially when speeding. This meant that I had to stop so as to get my bearings and readings. The phone also faced loss and damage due to the weather conditions the moment I tried fastening it on the bike through modifications making the option a challenge over the long haul. Working with a cycling computer saved me the trouble. It set me back more than $200 but was the best investment I ever made. I have since then worked with some cycling computers as well as shared some with friends, and it is with them that we have ascertained the best in the market.
The best cycling computer will be determined by the size of your wallet. It will also be determined by your willingness to better yourself when it comes to riding. Pro bikers do not have a choice when it comes to getting the best tools for the job. People that do basic riding may be content with using the cadence same speed sensors alongside a phone app which is okay. A racing performer will need a real-time gadget that not only provides information while on the bike but provides details about every movement the bike and the body makes. My recommendation would be to get what works at your level. Buying the best is, however, a good idea if you have gotten to the level of using computers. People watching their weight as well as those with heart issues need to invest in a good cycling computer.