If you’re in the market for a new computer for your bike but you are having trouble picking the best one, you’ve come to the right place. There are so many different models to choose from, and they all do different things, come in different sizes, etc.
Of course, you want to make sure that your new gadget fits your needs and your budget before making a purchase. It can be a real headache trying to find the best bike computer by yourself though. Luckily, we’ve done all of the research work for you; and we’ve come up with some great results.
Things to Consider for Bike Computers
What You Need and/or Want to Monitor. Your decision is going to be largely based upon what you plan to use your bike computer for. If you just want to keep track of how far your rides are, you don’t need anything high-tech; probably just a small, very basic bike speedometer. If, on the other hand, you want to monitor your cadence, heart-rate, speed or other aspects of your rides, you’re going to need something a little fancier.
Ease of Use. If you can’t use your new gadget on the go, what good is it? You need to be able to see what your screen says, and access the different features it provides –safely- while riding.
Ease of Setup. Again, if you can’t use your new gadget, it’s pretty much worthless. Fortunately, we were able to find several models that don’t present a lot of problems with setup or use.
In order to find the best bike computer, you need to know what features are available to you.
Speed, Speed Comparison, Temperature, Heart Rate Monitor, Distance, Stopwatch, Energy-saving Mode, etc. There are obviously a few features that we don’t need to discuss; as they are self-explanatory.
Cadence. Your cadence is the pedaling RPM; or revolutions per minute of your ride. Some models only monitor your current cadence; while others monitor your current, long-term and average.
Altitude. While almost everyone knows what altitude means, many people aren’t sure how it’s relevant to cycling. The altitude monitoring feature allows to you calculate your gradient percentage (how much up-hill, down-hill and flat terrain you cover) during your ride.
GPS. Another feature that most people are familiar with, but unaware of the potential uses you can get out of it. Some of the best bike computers are equipped with GPS, which gives you access to street maps, topography, planned routes for enjoyment or to avoid traffic. Some models even allow you to ‘race’ against a virtual opponent.
Carbon Offset Readout. A carbon offset readout tells you roughly how much you are decreasing your carbon footprint by riding a bike instead of driving a car (the same distance).
The Cateye Velo 9 Cycling Computer is top notch equipment for cyclists that are serious about monitoring their progress during bike rides. It’s easy to set up and easy to use. In addition, this model is incredibly easy to install and remove from your bike. It requires no tools, and it fits on either the stem or handle bar section of the bike. This bike computer accommodates any size bicycle tire; although you will have to manually program the computer to recognize your tire size if it is not standard.
The Cateye Velo 9 is equipped with all of the mandatory features that are required by serious cyclists on a budget. It monitors your current, average and max speeds; as well as your overall trip distance. It records your elapsed time, and provides a 24 hour digital clock. This model also keeps track of your calorie consumption and provides a readout of your carbon offset; unlike previous Cateye Velo models.
Although it may not look incredibly fancy, the single button operation of the device makes it far easier and safer to operate while riding. The screen is large enough that you can easily read the display while riding as well.
The Sigma ROX 6.0 CAD Cyclometer is another great option for cyclists that want to monitor more than just their distance traveled. This model is easy to program, easy to use and easy to install/remove from your bike for your convenience. The installation is tool free, so you don’t have to pack any screwdrivers around with you.
The unit is water proof, for those rainy-day rides. After your ride, you can dock it to your personal computer at home to record all of your data; which is a highly convenient feature.
This model is equipped with a large screened, full text display; making it much easier to read while riding. It also features zoom capability, in case you do have any trouble reading it while riding.
The Sigma ROX 6.0 is equipped to monitor your heart rate monitor, heart rate threshold, cadence, speed, rpm, altitude, distance, time elapsed; and my personal favorite- it calculates the intensity of your overall ride based off of the information it gathers.
GPS is a little more complicated to set up than the other two models that we’ve talked about, but it’s worth it. This model is easy to use once you have it setup, and it is easy to install/remove from your bike.
It is a bit more expensive than the first two bike computers on the list; but you do get more bang for your buck. This model comes equipped with all of the features that you expect to find with a higher price tag (speed, temperature, distance, time elapsed, cadence, etc…), but it is also equipped with a high sensitivity GPS receiver.
This cycling computer is top notch even if you are simply using it to map out your routes to avoid traffic, or to find local bike trails; however it also enables you to go a little further off of the beaten trail on your rides. With an easy-to-read display, and easy to use features; this is a great choice for adventurous cyclists.