12 Best Bike GPS Units in 2017
Riding bicycles is an activity people of all ages can enjoy, and they are used for far more than just rolling around the neighborhood these days. In some locales, they are more prevalent than cars, and for every casual rider, there is a half-dozen that ride seriously. If you fall into that category, there’s a good chance you may be familiar with GPS modules for bikes.
The best bike GPS units all share a few things in common, but the field narrows when it comes down to features and battery life. Whether you want real-time tracking as you trek through the wilds or just some simple data when you get home, we have included a cycling computer for you.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Bike GPS Units Ultimate Table
- Bike GPS Buying Tips
- Size & Display
- Top 5 Best Bike GPS Units Reviews
Top 12 Bike GPS Units Ultimate Table
|Design||Name||Battery Life||Display||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Wahoo Fitness Element Gps Bike Computer||17 hours||Monochrome||4.8|
|2. Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS||15+ hours||Color||4.4|
|3. Garmin Edge 20 GPS Cycling Computer||8 hours||Monochrome||4.2|
|4. Bryton Rider 530 GPS Cycling Computer||33 hours||Monochrome||4.1|
|5. Garmin eTrex 20x||20 hours||Color||3.9|
|6. Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS Cycling Computer||23 hours||Monochrome||3.9|
|7. Garmin Edge 820||15 hours||Color||3.9|
|8. Cateye Stealth 50 Cycling Computer||10 hours||Monochrome||3.8|
|9. Bryton Rider 310 GPS Cycling Computer||36 hours||Monochrome||3.6|
|10. Magellan CY0315SGHNA Cyclo 315hc GPS Cycling Computer||12 hours||Color||3.6|
|11. Bryton Rider 100 GPS Cycling Computer||25 hours||Monochrome||3.6|
|12. Polar V650 Cycling Computer||10 hours||Color||3.4|
Bike GPS Buying Tips
There was a time when people had a fear of losing their way on a bicycle trip. GPS has made that a distant memory, but finding the right GPS unit for your bike can be difficult if you delve in uninformed.
Size & Display
Most bicycles are sleek machines built to get your from one place to another and don’t have a lot of flair. While some bikes are more decked out than others, nobody wants a large LCD display taking up space on their handlebars. That said, it is a fine line between going too large or too small, as you need to quickly be able to access information while keeping your eyes on the road.
The best bike GPS units are ones that are medium sized and have clear displays that are easy to read. Whether it sports a color or monochrome panel is a personal preference although sunglasses and other eyewear should be considered along with the conditions outdoors. Unlike a smartphone, you may not be able to crank up the brightness pay close attention to the type of display and the overall size of the unit itself.
There are two types of bike GPS units on our list. While both function in a similar fashion and look the same, how they actually work is totally different. Some of our picks have built-in GPS modules and GLONASS support that allow you to track your ride in real time, even though heavy cover in some cases. These models have some outstanding features baked in include maps and specialized software for navigation.
The other style of GPS unit is the type that gives you data after your ride. It will record various stats during your trip and give you general readouts while you ride. The real data comes when you hop off the bike however and sync up to your PC. These are generally more affordable and can have just as many features as their GPS-backed brethren but sans the real-time tracking and data.
Now we’re going to discuss some of the features you may want to look for out of your next GPS unit. All of our units will keep up with simple data like your average speed, mileage logged and even calories burned in many cases. Some will also have a cadence feature to keep you on pace or show your heart rate with the proper accessory.
If you really want to stay connected and go high tech, look for bicycle GPS units that are compatible with the ANT+ sensor setup or have GLONASS capabilities. Some will let you sync up with your smartphone as well while others are a bit more low tech but can weather the elements with ease with an IPX rating. Think about the type of data you want to have access to (and how quickly) before choosing a favorite.
Top 5 Best Bike GPS Units Reviews
Some bicycle GPS units are a bit smarter than others, and if you are looking for one with a big brain, look no further than the Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bicycle Computer. It is not a module built for beginners or folks just looking for something simple, but it is the top choice on our best bike GPS list for a reason.
The Wahoo ELEMNT is one of the most connected gadgets you can buy for your bike. It can hook up to Strava for Live Segments, and it’s built to work with shifting systems from Shimano, eTAP, WE and other leading brands. It is a “true” GPS module, so it can keep tabs on you in real-time whether you are headed to the store or out on the trail. The display is top of the line as well. It measures 2.7 inches, and while it is monochrome, it is extremely easy to read in full sunlight or with sunglasses on.
We saved the best for last with this one as the Wahoo ELEMNT GPS uses Bluetooth and the ANT+ dual-band tech system for wireless connectivity. That means heart rate monitors and other gadgets will sync up with ease, including your smartphone. This GPS unit is built to fit a large variety of bike with three mounting options, and the battery life will get you through a couple of days of riding with a rating of around 17 hours.
Garmin is a brand you’re going to see more often than not on our list. That is a great thing as they know plenty about making solid GPS units whether it is for a 4-wheeled vehicle or a bicycle. Our first choice from the company is the Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS which is a full-color unit that resembles a tiny smartphone.
There are buttons on either side that allow you to zip through the menus on the 2.3-inch color display with ease. While it’s not a touchscreen display, we found navigation to be simple, so you will be able to access the data you need in a flash. The live tracking GPS module features automatic uploads, smart notifications for calls or texts, and can even give you the weather. Want to share your progress on social media? It can handle that as well along with keeping tabs on all the important cycling data you could ever need. The official app is easy to navigate and available for consumers with an Android or iOS device.
Other perks worth mentioning are the included heart rate monitor for ANT+ sensors and GLONASS, Segments, LiveTrack and Connect IQ are all options. You will get a free 2-month trial for Stava Premium as well which will sync your starred Strava segments up to that new bike GPS.
Many of the GPS modules built for bikes are large to medium-sized and come packed with loads of features. If you are in need of something that doesn’t take up much space on your handlebar but still performs like the big boys, the Garmin Edge 20 may be just for you.
While small the Garmin Edge 20 GPS Cycling Computer is powerful and has GPS+GLONASS built in to track your location no matter where you roam. That’s especially impressive when you consider it only weighs 25 grams and measures a little under an inch on either side. All the normal data will be tracked on the small display, and while you won’t get access to segments or Connect IQ, you can access LiveTrack. ANT+ compatibility is also missing from the equation although you can pick it up on the Garmin Edge 25.
Despite its size, this GPS bike module is perfect for riders looking to buy their first tracker or seasoned vets that are looking for something small. The fact it has GLONASS is the icing on the cake, and the battery life is solid for a hard day’s ride at 8 hours.
The Bryton Rider 530 GPS Cycling Computer is another high-tech GPS unit geared towards those that want to stay connected while they ride. It has a built-in GPS chip to go along with Bluetooth 4.0, WLAN and an instant notification, so you’ll never miss a call or text. That’s just the tip of the technological iceberg, however, as this one has 72 functions baked in.
We won’t dig through all the things the Rider 530 can track but will highlight a few. The usual suspects are present like time, speed, distance, and cadence along with calories. Readings you may not find on other units include temperature, altitude, wattage, and heart rate if you have the proper sensor. The built-in compass ensures you’ll never confuse north from south and you’ll get access to the Bryton app along with the ability to connect to STRAVA and other leading programs.
As much as this unit brings to the table, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the battery life. It is rated at around 33 hours of usage, which is the best on our list with the exception of the Bryton 310.
Rounding out our Top 5 is another bike GPS unit from Garmin. The eTrex 20x is a tough tracker that’s built to lead the way through even the most extreme terrain thanks to its GPS receiver and GLONASS support. It also makes use of HotFix Satellite Prediction and has ample onboard space for maps and a microSD card slot if you need to expand.
As for the display, it clocks in at 2.2” and is a 65k color panel with a resolution of 240 x 320 that looks just as good in the sun as it does in the shade. Other features to note include a track log with 10,000 points and 200 saved tracks, space for 200 routes and turn-by-turn routing on roads. That’s right; this GPS receiver is not just amazing of cyclists, it will also work wonders for hikers, hot air balloonists, and globetrotting adventurers as well.
The Garmin eTrex 20x has a lot to offer consumers looking for a solid GPS for their bike. It does have a downside however as it is a little larger than most and will require the purchase of a bike mount. It also doesn’t have the same bike-centric features you’ll find on some of our other picks but is arguably the best way to go if you are going to spend a lot of time off-road on your MTB.