Bike computers make cycling more fun and effective. These battery-powered electronic devices attach to your mountain bike or road bike cockpit. They display a range of helpful information, including speed, distance, trip time, and cadence. Bike computers range from relatively simple gadgets offering limited but valuable information to sophisticated devices that serious athletes can use as training tools.
If you are on the market for a budget-friendly cycle computer, this article is for you. By the time you’re through, you will be able to pick the best budget computer for your unique needs. Read on.
Need a quick answer? The overall best budget bike computer is the Bryton Rider 15 Neo. It rated highly in all attributes – feature packed, waterproof, and great battery life.
How To Choose A Budget Bike Computer
With the vast selection of cheap bike computers available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the perfect one. Especially if you don’t know what to look for in such a device. Here are some of the critical aspects to look out for when shopping for the best budget bike computer:
The display is one of the integral components of a bike computer, and it should be of the best possible quality. A good computer should have at least a backlit screen and touch sensitivity for your convenience. The display should also be large enough to prevent eye strain.
Most bike computers display time of day, average speed, elevation gain, heart rate, and other information that you can configure depending on your needs.
If you don’t mind simple maps and a limited range of metrics, there’s a wide selection of bike computers in the $50 to $100 price range to suit your needs.
The higher the level of detail in a cycle computer’s navigation system, the higher the gadget’s price!
If you often ride around neighborhoods and streets you’re familiar with, a bike computer with breadcrumb navigation would suit your needs. A computer with a more sophisticated GPS navigation system and mapping features could be well above the $100 price range.
Battery life is another important factor to consider when choosing a cheap bike computer, especially if you plan to be on the road for an entire day.
A device with at least 15 hours of battery life would be an excellent choice. You can even find cheap bike computers that offer 25-30 hours of battery life.
A good budget bike computer should be compatible with various sensors and devices. It should cover Bluetooth or ANT+ at the very least.
With this capability, you’ll enjoy a wide range of benefits down the road, such as the heart rate monitor, cadence sensor, and many more.
In today’s technology-driven world, people want gadgets compatible with their smartphones. So keep this in mind when choosing a bike computer with such capability.
Few things are more convenient than being able to answer a phone call or read a text with ease in the middle of the road. If you want to enjoy such a level of convenience, you should go for a bike computer that supports smartphone notifications.
With some bike computers, you can connect to third-party apps. This will allow you to easily track your progress, schedule your training plan, and upload metrics to social media. You didn’t ride if it’s not on social media right? 😆
It’s worth noting that it could be challenging to find a budget-friendly bike computer with most of these third-party apps. However, if you need something to track your calories and distance covered, there are many options under $100.
Ease Of Setup And Use
Who wants a bike computer that would give them a headache setting up or using? Nothing can be more frustrating on the road than losing your way, only to find you can’t set up your bike computer’s navigation system to get back on track.
Be sure to choose a device that you can easily and quickly mount and dismount. The device should also be easy to use. Some budget cycle computers even come with smartphone apps for easy setup.
The Overall Purpose Of A Bike Computer
Another critical aspect to consider before you buy a cycle computer is the type of cyclist you are and why you need the gadget in the first place. If you are a casual rider who uses a bike for daily commutes and weekend leisure rides, a simple bike computer under $50 will serve you well.
Cycling computers in that price range usually show basic information such as time, speed, and distance, which will be sufficient for your needs. If you add a few dollars, you will get a bike computer with a cadence sensor.
If you are a cycling enthusiast with specific fitness goals or you often use your bike for touring, you’ll need a bike computer with more advanced features than the basic ones. A bike computer that shows data such as calories burnt, average speed, and maximum speed would cost you up to $100.
If you are a competitive cyclist, you’ll need a computer that can show additional data like elevation gain, heart rate, and power data. Such a computer would often be above the $100 budget range.
Whatever bike computer you choose, make sure it has:
- A simple and secure mounting bracket that lets you attach the computer easily and quickly.
- A large and easy-to-read display screen that is backlit for dull conditions.
- A robust and weather-resistant casing that can withstand harsh elements.
- Large, user-friendly buttons that you can operate easily with cold, wet, or gloved hands.
- Well-written and easy-to-follow instruction manual.
Now that you know what to look out for in a budget computer, let’s explore some of the top-rated cheap computers to purchase today.
Five Best Budget Bike Computers To Buy In 2021
If you’re looking for a lightweight bike computer that offers all basic functions and you don’t mind if it lacks GPS connectivity, the CatEye Strada Slim is an excellent choice. This wireless bike computer displays all the basic data, including speed, total distance, and elapsed time.
While it’s slender and light, the Strada Slim has a relatively large screen so you can easily view the displayed information. Unlike GPS bike computers, this device collects cycling data using a wheel magnet attached to a spoke passing by a sensor mounted on your bicycle’s fork blade. The sensor then transmits the data to the main computer.
You can configure the computer based on your tire size. This bike computer also has a dual tire function, meaning you can use it on two different bikes. It has a powerful battery that can last up to 12 months if you use the computer for about one hour every day.
The Strada Slim is available in several color options to suit your style. Setting up the gadget is quite straightforward and should take you no more than 15 minutes. A variety of zip-ties and rubber bands allow for quick installation of the head unit on the handlebar or stem of your bike.
If all you need is a device that will give you the essential information at a glance, you might want to see what the Sigma PURE 1 ATS offers. This compact and beautifully designed bike computer displays only your speed, distance, and total riding time on a large, easy-to-read display.
This user-friendly computer is ideal for recreational cyclists. It uses an ATS (analog transmission system) wireless sensor on the fork to transmit the signal from the magnet to the receiver integrated into the head unit after every revolution of the wheel. The coding of the signals ensures the transmission is free of interference. The computer can recognize multiple wheel sizes, ensuring it always displays accurate information.
Each piece of information displayed on the compact screen is large enough so you can easily locate it on the go. The Sigma PURE 1 ATS features a tool-free installation, allowing for easy mounting and set up.
If you’re looking for a high-quality bike computer with basic functionality, you can’t go wrong with the CatEye Velo 7. This simple, easy-to-use bike computer is ideal for basic to intermediate cyclists whose only concern is basic metrics like average speed, maximum speed, distance, riding time, elapsed time, and a real-time odometer.
The Velo 7 features a One-Touch Button for switching between screens. Other features include Pace Arrow, Auto Start/Stop, a Programmable Odometer, and Simple Tire Size. The device runs on a single CR2032 Lithium battery that can last up to three hours.
It boasts a sleek, lightweight design and won’t eat up too much space on your handlebar. Another great advantage of the Velo 7 is that it is easy to install and won’t take you more than 10 minutes to set up. You can mount it on the stem or handlebar using the universal bracket system.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly GPS cycle computer, Bryton has you covered. This company prides itself on providing affordable and feature-packed GPS bike computers. The Bryton Rider 15 neo is one of the company’s most budget-friendly bike computer models available on the market today.
The Rider 15 neo is a compact device offering several features you would hardly find in other models in the $100 price range. It supports three satellite systems (Galileo, QZSS, and GPS), BLE sensor connectivity, and highly accurate one-second recording.
It comes with a clear two-inch display screen with backlight and three intuitive buttons. This allows for easy operation and navigation in all weather conditions. The display is also water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged when riding through wet conditions.
This versatile device offers up to 21 functions. It includes speed, altitude, distance, heading, and calories. It can also measure calories burnt, environmental temperature and supports smartphone notifications. What’s more, you can pair it with various external sensors.
The Rider 15 neo offers an impressive 16-hour battery life. That means you can ride the whole day without worrying about where to charge it when the battery dies!
If you’re looking for a simple, affordable bike computer with basic functions and can withstand any weather condition, the CatEye Padrone Wireless Computer is an excellent option. Besides displaying your current, maximum, and average speed, this device will record the trip distance, total distance covered, and riding duration.
It also has a clock to show the current time. This bike computer is waterproof, meaning you can use it in all weather conditions. It also comes with a Flex-Tight bracket so that you can mount it on your bicycle no matter the weather.
The display is large enough, allowing for easy reading without having to squint your eyes. Another remarkable feature of the Padrone is that it automatically stops the timer when the bike stops. This function comes in handy when you stop at a red light or want to take a rest. The device has a powerful battery that can last up to one year when you use it for one hour every day.
We hope this review helps you find the best budget bike computer for your needs.
When shopping for an affordable cycle computer, you need to consider display, battery life, mapping features, sensor compatibility, smartphone compatibility, and ease of use. Your overall cycling style or habit will also determine the kind of computer to purchase.
If you still can’t decide on the perfect computer to buy – take a look at our top pick of this roundup is the Bryton Rider 15 Neo. It’s packed with features, waterproof and has great battery life. Can’t ask for much more!