fitness trackers for cyclists
The market is saturated with tons of different smartwatches and activity trackers. Some of them are better at tracking certain types of activities than others. When it comes to cycling, the best options track every rotation, feature advanced navigation, and obtain accurate performance stats. Our pick for best overall is the feature-heavy Apple Watch Series 7. It’s excellent at tracking all of your cycling needs and beyond. Whatever you’re looking for in a fitness wearable, we’ve got you covered with the best fitness trackers for cyclists.
Best overall: Apple Watch Series 7 – Smartwatch
Source: Stephen Warwick / iMore
Apple Watch Series 7 has arrived, and it hosts some notable upgrades from its predecessor Series 6. On top of all the great features of Watch OS, it has the largest, most advanced display ever, an optimized UI with new keyboard and watch faces, an IP6X durability certification, crack-resistant glass, fast charging, and new colors.
We love the Series 7 for cyclists for many reasons, one being its advanced navigation system. It’s outfitted with A-GPS, Glonass, Galileo, QZSS, and can pinpoint your location and map your routes worldwide. It can send turn-by-turn directions straight to your wrist. Safety tracking will connect you with local emergency services should you ever find yourself in a bind.
A cool new feature for cyclists — Series 7 automatically detects when you start pedaling and reminds you to start a workout. Fall detection calls emergency services if you take a hard spill. A new voice feedback feature helps keep your eyes on the road and announces workout milestones like speed, calories, and distance.
Features like an always-on altimeter help cyclists understand how altitude affects their performance. This Apple Watch is also the first to offer fast charging. It only takes 45 minutes to go from 0% to 80% for quick juice ups on the go. Series 7 has a max battery life of 18 hours, but the new fast-charging compensates for the relatively short battery life. This smartwatch is pricey but worth it if you can expense it.
- IP6X certification + crack-resistant glass
- Advanced navigation
- Auto cycling recognition
- Fall detection + safety tracking
- Fast charging
- Short battery life
Apple Watch Series 7 – Smartwatch
Apple Watch Series 6 offers superior technology and premium health and fitness tracking, along with built-in GPS and cellular.
Best value fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 5 – Fitness tracker
Fitbit Charge 5 is by far Fitbit’s most advanced tracker to date. It’s the first Fitbit tracker to over EDA scans for stress management, ECG scans for heart health and Sp02 monitoring. Daily Readiness Scores help optimize your energy to get the most out of your cycling workouts.
Charge 5 is equipped with a built-in GPS. You can see your real-time pace and distance sans phone, then view maps of your workout routes post-ride in the Fitbit app. Active Zone Minutes reflect how your heart rate changed along your route in your workout intensity map.
This Fitbit tracker has an all-new color touchscreen that’s two times brighter than Charge 4 in daylight, and it offers up to seven days of battery life. Take note that some features like EDA, ECG, and Sp02 are only available with a Fitbit Premium membership. Some users complain of the display being too bright with no way to turn it down at night.
- EDA + ECG scans
- Daily Readiness Scores
- Sp02 monitoring
- Built-in GPS
- Active Zone Minutes
- Some advanced features only available with Premium
- Super bright display
Best value fitness tracker
Fitbit Charge 5 – Fitness tracker
Enhance your routine
Fitbit’s newest fitness tracker features built-in GPS, Active Zone Minutes, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring.
Best value smartwatch: Fitbit Sense – Smartwatch
Fitbit Sense is Fitbit’s most advanced smartwatch to date. It features EDA scans, ECG monitoring, Sp02, as well as built-in GPS. You’ve got the convenience of Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa right on your wrist, and it offers up to six days of battery life depending on your usage.
Use the Sense’s built-in GPS to map your rides so you can see pace and distance without your phone. Active Zone Minutes keep track of your heart rate along your routes, and then you can see how your heart rate changed post-workout in your workout intensity map.
An on-wrist skin temperature sensor tracks yours each night so you can view how it varies. You can see your nightly blood oxygen levels with an Sp02 watch face. Fitbit Sense’s maximum operating altitude is 28,000 feet.
- EDA + ECG
- Built-in GPS
- Active Zone Minutes + workout intensity maps
- 6-day battery life
- Sp02 available only with Sp02 watch face
Best value smartwatch
Fitbit Sense – Smartwatch
A feature-heavy smartwatch that offers EDA, ECG, built-in GPS, and Active Zone Minutes.
Best budget: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini – Smartwatch
Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is an affordable smartwatch that offers built-in GPS and Amazon Alexa. It’s lightweight, thin, and comfortable to wear. It won’t drag you down on the roads or trails. It features 24/7 heart rate, all-day activity, and sleep tracking. Plus, you can also monitor your Sp02 levels and stress with this tech-savvy device.
It offers 70+ sport modes and is water-resistant. You can control music on your phone with this watch. It delivers up to 14 days of battery life in watch mode or seven days of battery with heavy usage. All of your performance stats are stored within the app so you can analyze your training sessions and improve athletic performance.
Take note that this watch comes in three colors: pink, green, and black, but it does not offer many customizable watch faces. Only two default watch faces are customizable.
- Great battery life
- Built-in GPS + Amazon Alexa
- Sp02 + stress monitoring
- 70+ sport modes
- All-day activity and sleep tracking
- Minimal customization options
Amazfit GTS 2 Mini – Smartwatch
Excellent tracking on a budget
Affordable GPS sports watch that features long battery life, Amazon Alexa, Sp02, and stress monitoring.
Best bike computer: Garmin Edge 130 Plus – Bike computer
This easy-to-use bike computer features a close to two-inch display that’s crisp and easy to read in sunlight or low-light conditions. You’ll get training guidance by syncing structured indoor or outdoor workouts to your device from the Garmin Connect app or other compatible apps, including TrainingPeaks and TrainerRoad.
You can improve your fitness with performance insights such as VO2 max and heart rate. Manage your efforts during touch ascents with the ClimbPro feature. You’ll always know where you’ve been and where you’re heading with this bike computer’s navigation system. Know how far, fast, hard, and high you’ve ridden with data from GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, as well as an always-on altimeter.
This bike computer tracks jump count, jump distance, and hang time with mountain bike dynamics. It offers up to 12 hours of battery life to fuel your rides all day long. It’s also equipped with safety tracking. This bike computer is outfitted with a rechargeable battery, and there is no user-replaceable battery.
- User friendly
- VO2 max + heart rate
- Advanced navigation
- Mountain bike dynamics
- No user-replaceable battery
Best bike computer
Garmin Edge 130 Plus – bike computer
An edge on the competition
This user-friendly bike computer offers VO2 max, mountain bike dynamics, advanced navigation, and altimeter.
Best durable: Garmin Instinct – Smartwatch
This is the best smartwatch for mountain bikers. It’s designed to withstand the harshest environments and is constructed to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance up to 100 meters. It features a built-in three-axis compass and barometric altimeter, plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, Glonass, and Galileo) to help track in more challenging environments.
It will monitor heart rate, activity, and stress. You can train with multiple preloaded activity profiles, including cycling on and off-road. You’ll stay connected with smart notifications (with a compatible smartphone), and automatic data uploads to the Garmin Connect online fitness community.
You can use the Tracback feature to navigate the same route back to your starting point, along with the Garmin Explore website and app to plan your routes. It has a battery life of up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode, and up to 40 hours in Ultratrac battery saver mode.
Note that some users complained of nonexistent customer support when their watch had issues. This watch is pretty bulky, which may be an issue for those with smaller wrists or who aren’t fans of chunky watches.
- Constructed to Military standard
- Excellent GPS + navigation system
- Great heart rate + activity tracking
- Superior battery life
- Poor customer support
Garmin Instinct – Smartwatch (Tundra)
Thermal shock and water-resistant
This is a strong and durable smartwatch designed for the rugged outdoors with superior battery life and tracking.
Best multi-sport: Polar Grit X – Smartwatch
This lightweight, outdoor sports watch features extra-long battery life and will give you up to 40 hours in full GPS mode. It delivers up to seven days of battery in watch mode with 24/7 heart rate tracking. It features a durable design — it’s built to military standards and is water-resistant up to 100 meters.
It offers real-time, turn-by-turn route guidance and route import from Koomoot to keep you on track. It automatically detects inclines and declines. Using your speed, distance, and altitude data, the Hill Splitter will tell you how you performed on your route’s ascent and descent sections.
It takes automatic, overnight recovery measurements to let you know when you can safely push your body again. It comes with 130+ preloaded sport profiles so you can track all of the ways you move. Use the Polar Flow app for planning, analyzing, and making the most out of your training sessions.
This watch is pricey, but reviewers feel it’s well worth the investment, especially if you’re an avid mountain biker.
- Excellent battery life
- Route guidance
- Hill analyzing technology
- Built-in GPS, compass, altimeter
- 130+ sport profiles
Polar Grit X – Smartwatch
130 sport modes
Durable outdoors sports watch that features long battery life, 24/7 HR, route guidance, hill stats, built-in GPS, and altimeter.
Best everyday design: Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Smartwatch
Garmin Vivoactive 4 tracks energy levels, respiration, menstrual cycle, stress, sleep, heart rate, hydration, and more. You can easily download your favorite songs, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer, and connect with your headphones for phone-free listening while you ride. It comes with 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including cycling, yoga, running, and swimming.
It features a battery life of up to eight days in smartwatch mode and up to six hours in GPS and music mode. You can personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps, and widgets from Garmin’s Connect IQ store.
This watch is pricey, but it is a fully outfitted smartwatch, so we feel you get what you pay for. Some users reported sync issues with Spotify, and some reported Bluetooth connectivity issues.
- Light, sleek design
- Great customization options
- 20 preloaded workouts
- Music + Bluetooth
Best everyday design
Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Smartwatch
Stylish and smart
The Vivoactive 4 is a sleek smartwatch with a fully customizable design that features 20 preloaded workouts.
Best lightweight design: Coros Pace 2 – Sport watch
Source: Nicolette Roux / iMore
Coros Pace 2 is one of the lightest sports watches on the market right now, weighing in at a mere 29 grams. It boasts exceptional battery life of 20 days of regular use and 30 hours in full GPS mode. It offers many preloaded sport profiles such as cycling, running, swimming, cardio, strength, and water sports with ongoing updates.
It features an optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and thermometer. It tracks all-day activity and sleep, so you never miss a beat.
This feather-light smartwatch does not offer any music play, streaming, or storage — definitely something to consider before purchasing if you like to listen to tunes while you ride.
- Long battery life
- All-day activity + sleep tracking
- Multiple sport profiles
- No music play, stream, or storage
Best lightweight design
Coros Pace 2 – Sport watch
Light as a feather
A feather-light smartwatch that features extra-long battery life and all-day activity, plus sleep tracking.
Best style: Apple Watch SE – Smartwatch
Apple Watch SE monitors all of your daily activity and enables you to track all your favorite workouts, including cycling. It features optional built-in cellular so you can get calls, send messages, and listen to music phone-free. Additionally, you can contact emergency services if needed with the tap of a button.
There are tons of ways to personalize your Apple Watch SE, which is why it’s our pick for best style. To make this smartwatch completely and uniquely yours, you can choose from various band materials, colors, and casing materials. Apple offers hundreds of customizable watch faces so you can personalize Apple Watch further and make it your own. It delivers up to 18 hours of battery life.
Apple Watch SE is less expensive than the latest Apple Watch series, but is still costly. It does not offer Sp02 or ECG monitoring.
- Fully customizable
- Built-in GPS + cellular
- All-day activity tracking
- 24/7 heart rate
Apple Watch SE – Smartwatch
This fully customizable smartwatch is stylish and has a lot to offer regarding personalization and color.
There are a ton of fitness trackers out there, but not all of them are created equally. We scoured the market to find the best fitness trackers for cyclists. Advanced navigation systems were high on our priority list, and the ability to accurately and effectively track rotations, heart rate, and altitude.
We love Apple Watch Series 7 for its navigation, safety tracking, voice feedback, and always-on altimeter. It can pinpoint exactly where you are globally and map your routes worldwide by sending directions straight to your wrist. It also features an optional built-in cellular system so you can go phone-free while you’re riding, but stay connected if necessary. It’s outfitted with Apple’s most advanced features and is one of the best, if not the best, smartwatches and fitness trackers.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Nicolette Roux Nicolette has been an avid cyclist for over a decade. She understands a cyclist’s needs when it comes to the perfect fitness tracker.
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