Are you a hardcore cyclist with a generic smartwatch? If so, then you could be at a loss. Why? Most generic smart watches aren’t accurate enough for your cycling sessions. They are less likely to have pro-cycling features such as biking mode. Which guarantees improved accuracy while you perform any cycling activity. Such as mountain biking.
Apart from accuracy, the build of cycling smartwatches are a lot durable. That is, compared to the generics. As you can see, there are various factors you should consider.
Read on, as we’ve provided all the necessary information you need to make the right choice. Which you’ll find in our guide and reviews of the Best smartwatch for tracking cycling.
Best Smartwatches to Buy For Tracking Cycling
- Cheapest Smartwatch Ever For Cycling: Fitbit Ionic Watch
- Best Display On A Smartwatch For Cycling: Garmin Fenix 5
- Best Affordable Cycling Smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 2
- Best Aesthetic Cycling Smartwatch: Garmin Vivoactive Black
- Best Garmin Smartwatch for Cycling: Garmin Forerunner 735XT
- Most Sleek Smartwatch For Cyclist: Polar M430
- Best Long Lasting Battery Life Smartwatch: Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
- Most Expensive Smartwatch Ever Sold For Cycling: Polar Vantage V
- Most Sturdy Cycling Smartwatch: Suunto 9
- Best Apple Watch For Cycling: Apple watch series 5
Cheapest Smartwatch Ever For Cycling
Fitbit Ionic Watch
This is an affordable piece that provides all you need in a smartwatch as a cyclist. The first feature to look at is the built-in GPS with Glonass. Together, they enable the smartwatch to track routes and other standard metrics.
Your readings are visible both in day and night time. Thanks to its amplifiable brightness of 1000nits and increased pixels for clear readings.
The battery life of the ionic Fitbit smartwatch is 4-5 days. Some users claim the device lasted for close to a week after light use. But after heavy use, the smartwatch can only last much fewer(2-3days). Another feature to look at is its comfortable and durable fit. The glass is a certain level of impact-resistant because it is gorilla glass 3.
Speaking Of convenience, the watch comes with large and small breathable rubber bands. This feature also encourages customization as the band comes in various colors.
Pros: strong & long-lasting battery life,10 hours of GPS mode, durable glass, comfortable rubber, very accurate GPS, Water Resistant, clear display.
Cons: straps could give rashes, 1-year warranty.
Best Display On A Smartwatch For Cycling
Garmin Fenix 5
This is one of the best smartwatches for cycling. The eye-catching part about this watch is the bike-specific profiles. The profiles includes a bike mode, indoor biking mode, and the Mountain Biking mode. They all give accurate readings due to the built-in GPS (and GLONASS). The watch also possesses a special feature called trackback. It assists the user in retracing his/her routes right from the starting point.
Visibility is not an issue with the Garmin Fenix 5. Credit to its high resolution, bright and full-color display. That has LED backlighting and a transflective screen for when it’s dark or too bright. Also, the size of the screen is large enough to read your data.
Another feature to look at is its stainless steel bezel, and base which gives it a rugged and durable build. Thus, making it great for wild cycling, even for a long time as the battery life can last 3-5 days while using GPS. If used with a GPS activity, it’ll last up to a week.
Pros: water-resistant, rugged design, special biking modes are available, possesses backlighting & transflective technology, Interchangeable straps.
Cons: the screen isn’t so large.
Best Affordable Cycling Smartwatch
Apple Watch Series 2
If you’re a fan of Apple products then any of the apple series smartwatches is for you. This smartwatch in particular is the apple watch series 2. It’s a bit old but it gets the job done. The device comes with an accurate GPS that can track your speed and distance traveled while you bike.
Another feature to look at is Its durable build. As the apple series 2 consists of a scratch-resistant glass (Ion-X), with Aluminum casing. And underneath the watch is a ceramic base that is comfortable on the wrist. Looking at the Apple watch series 2, it has a decent-sized monochrome screen which is wide enough. The display is OLED, which guarantees readability.
The Apple watch battery life lasts for days when in normal use but when in GPS mode, you can only get 18hours max. This is enough to provide you with uninterrupted tracking for the day.
Pros: decent GPS, durable build, OLED touch screen display, comfortable straps, touch screen, 18 hours of GPS use, built-in sensors are available.
Cons: no special GPS function, no fall detection, does not support power meter.
Best Aesthetic Cycling Smartwatch
Garmin Vivoactive Black
Yet again on this list is another smartwatch made by Garmin. They are well known producers of wearable technology specifically for improving athlete skills. Cycling is one of them and its best feature for this training metric is its built-in GPS.
It simply measures your speed, calories burned and the distance you’ve covered. To improve navigation you can always download the map of the trail or area you wish to tread on if it’s available.
This smartwatch has a lightweight ultra-thin build which is comfortable on the wrists. Its touchscreen display is high resolution. Also, the remains visible during (back lights) ambient or bright conditions (transflective screen). Its battery life lasts for 8-10 days after light use. But with GPS, it would last between 8-10hours a day which is decent for a day of cycling.
Pro: 10 hours of GPS mode, convenient light-weight build, readable display, water-resistant.
Cons: you can’t retrace your routes.
Best Garmin Smartwatch for Tracking Cycling
Garmin Forerunner 735XT
This is a running watch with other GPS-enabled sporting features such as cycling. It possesses both GPS and
Glonass. Both of which are great for accurate tracking of speed, distance covered, and routes. The Garmin Forerunner has a sleek design which is also durable for extreme biking. It’ Also provides a comfortable fit for your wrists with its rubber straps. , and comfortable with its build and comfortable rubber straps.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT’s battery life is quite strong as it can last for 11 days on smartwatch mode (non GPS). If used with GPS on, you should expect to use it for 14 hours max. But when on Ultra-track mode, the device will last for a day. If you plan to ride during a wet day, the Garmin forerunner 735XT is convenient to use as it is water-resistant.
Another impressive feature is the display. It’s a decent size for reading.
Backlighting is available for readability in the dark. Also, the screen is
transflective. Which aids visibility of readings in the presence of excess sunlight rays.
Pros: sleek design, 14 hours of GPS use, convenient to wear, accurate GPS, readable display, water-resistant.
Cons: tends to give a plastic feel.
Most Sleek Smartwatch For Cyclist
This is one of the sleekest smartwatches you’ll find in the market. Its build is almost the same as the apple watch series which has a monochrome style. Thus making the watch easy to read as you tread the trails. Apart from its convenient build, the display is large and bright enough to view readings.
Also, the display has backlighting to keep your readings visible for when it’s night time. The straps are breathable silicone which feels nice around the wrist. Another great feature about the Polar M430 is its accurate tracking system. That consists of an advanced integrated GPS and accelerometer. They are all you need to enjoy accuracy while you bike.
GPS weighs heavy on battery life, but for the M430 you have more control. The polar M430 allows its users to adjust the accuracy of the GPS to save battery life. You can adjust from high to low, in return, you’ll get about 9 hours to 30hours.
Pros: built-in accurate GPS, an accelerometer is present, comfortable on the wrist, easy to read, buttoned interface, Bluetooth connection.
Cons: no touchscreen, only Bluetooth connection, does not support power meters.
Best Long Lasting Battery Life Smartwatch
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
One of the cyclist’s favorites is the Garmin Fenix 6 pro as it possesses a unique tracking system. This system consists of several built-in sensors. A 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and a gyroscope. The system also consists of features to ensure accurate navigation. Which is a preloaded topo map global navigation satellite networks(GPS, Galileo & GLONASS).
The Screen is power glass. Such compares very well with the gorilla glass & sapphire in scratch resistance. It stands out with its non-reflective property which aids visibility of readings. Apart from the glass, the display also aids readability with backlighting.
Another great feature is the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro’s impressive long-lasting battery life. That spans up to 48 days depending on the activity. But with GPS use, the smartwatch can only last for a decent 10hours. Wearing the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is comfortable with its breathable silicone strap. It is sure to stay on your wrist without slipping.
Pros: accurate navigation system, built-in sensors are present, Bluetooth, Ant+, button interface.
Cons: not touchscreen, does not support power meters.
Most Expensive Smartwatch Ever Sold For Cycling
Polar Vantage Multisport Watch
This right here is a triathlon Smartwatch
with enough features to be a viable cyclists option. One of them is a large display that maintains readability due to its clarity. The watch also offers a breathable detachable silicone strap. That is comfortable to wear.
Another feature to look at is the tracking system. It offers accurate tracking with several satellite navigation networks (GLONASS, Galileo & Assisted GPS). With them in place, you can track your speed, distance covered, and routes while you bike.
You get to have longer cycling sessions. As the polar vantage ultra-long battery life which lasts for up to 30hours of GPS use. This is more than what most brands of cycling smartwatches have to offer.
Pros: long-lasting battery life, accurate tracking system, comfortable on the wrist, crisp clear & adaptive touch screen display, customizable.
Cons: Fragile screen, does not support power meter.
Polar Vantage V
Here’s another polar fitness smartwatch that would be great for your biking sessions. This particular polar smartwatch is one of a kind as it works on running power. It does not include foot pods nor any other special sensor devices. All the powering comes straight from the user’s wrist.
Another great feature of this Smartwatch is the tracking system. It consists of an integrated GPS and a barometer. Both of these will ensure you enjoy accurate tracking throughout your cycling session. And it also provides route guidance. The battery life is impressive with up to 40 hours of GPS which makes the watch great for long bike rides.
The display has a decent size that is wide enough to ensure easy readability. It’s also durable given the screen is gorilla glass. Also, the smartwatch display has an always-on color touch display. That enables you to view readings in darker environments.
Pros: comfortable straps, durable screen glass, crisp touchscreen display with backlighting, long-lasting battery life, accurate tracking system, decent screen size, Bluetooth, and support power meters.
Cons: only Bluetooth, light Ray could obstruct your readings.
Most Sturdy Cycling Smartwatch
If you’re the type of cyclist that craves treading on risky terrains then you should consider the Suunto 9. Why? It possesses a durable build. For one, the watch is water-resistant. The screen is sapphire glass with a strong metallic scratch-resistant bezel.
The smartwatch possesses a reliable built-in GPS (GLONASS & Galileo). That works in conjunction with sensors such as the fused track sensor. With them in place, you can track basic metrics and trace your routes by planting points of interest on the map. The smartwatch even comes with a special biking mode which is one of 80+ sporting modes.
The battery lasts for up to 120 hours. This is possible as the Suunto 9 allows users to adjust battery use. You get to choose between several battery modes such as performance, Endurance & ultra.
Pros: long-lasting battery life, Accurate tracking system, durable build, a built-in sensor is available, comfortable straps, touchscreen display.
Cons: Bulky design, very sensitive button interface.
Best Apple Watch For cycling
Apple Watch Series 5
This is the latest version of the apple watch series. With that said the watch is bound to have several pro-cycling features. One of them is its improved tracking system (GPS, GLONASS & Galileo). ensures accurate tracking in terrible terrains. The GPS doesn’t work alone as the watch also possesses a built-in compass. As well as other sensors that improve accuracy.
The apple watches series 5 is durable as it consists of a scratch-resistant glass screen (ion x). And also has a ceramic back that feels great on the wrist, like its rubber or breathable fiber band.
The battery life in GPS mode is a max of 18 hours a day which is great for daily cycling. Your readings will be clear both in daytime or night. Thanks to its large LPTO OLED always on retina-display screen(30% larger than the apple series 4).
Pros: water-resistant, convenient for the wrist, clear touch screen display, larger screen than the series 4, decent GPS battery life, built-in sensors are available.
Cons: straps might be uncomfortable, does not support power meters.
Things to Consider When Buying A Smartwatch For Tracking Cycling
You Should consider the battery life of your smartwatch when shopping. As many brands would claim longer battery life. Most times, this is not so as the smartwatch could last for weeks but have a low GPS battery life. So when shopping, keep your eyes on the Smartwatch’s GPS runtime.
Note: Some good options come with a low but decent 10 hours of GPS battery life while high-end ones could have a GPS battery life of up to 40 hours.
Specialized cycling smartwatches are very accurate when extra built-in sensors are present. These sensors reduce the workload on the GPS. Thereby reducing its errors, and temporarily takes its place when required (GPS fault).
As a cyclist, you should consider smartwatches that connect to several
satellite networks. such as GPS GLONASS, QZSS, and/or Galileo. Smart watches that supports two or more of these navigation satellite networks
Also, you have to look out for the style of navigation. There are smartwatches that will offer you the breadcrumb mode of navigation. Which will help you retrace your routes. And there is the generic one which allows you to pinpoint positions of interest.
As a cyclist, comfort is also important. Look out for the smartwatch that gives a comfortable fit. Its straps should be made of the material you’re ok with. such material could be rubber or breathable fabric.
Durable screen material is also a must to prevent damage. The wrong screen
could make the watch useless. The appropriate glass screen material is either gorilla glass, crystal, or sapphire.
There’s no point in using a smartwatch if you can’t see the readings. You should consider the smartwatch that possesses a much clearer screen. with great backlighting and a transflective (readings are visible despite sun-light reflections).
What Does Strava App do?
It’s a running and cycling app which enables you to achieve your training goals. It does this by manually recording your activities. Which could be running, swimming and even mountain biking.
The app connects user’s as a community. How? It enables users to share the results with friends on various platforms. It also provides a platform to which users can challenge each other.
Do I Need A Power Meter For Cycling?
Not really. In the end it depends on your preference as a user. If you have a power meter installed onto your bike then get a smartwatch that supports it. If not, then you don’t need one.
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