In the era where data drives decisions, equipping yourself with a fitness tracker for cycling can add real practical training value to your riding experience.
These are the best bike fitness trackers you can buy. I’ve used and tested most of them in-depth for months. The other models in this roundup are the most popular amongst your fellow riders worldwide.
Whether you’re zoning-in on heart rate, distance, speed, or mapping out your adventures, your next-level cycling journey starts here.
Let’s take a look at the top bike fitness trackers!
In A Rush? Here Are The Best Fitness Trackers For Cycling
5 Of The Best Bike Fitness Trackers On The Market
The Garmin Vivoactive 5 is a versatile smartwatch that can track a variety of sports and activities, including cycling.
It has a bright and colorful AMOLED touchscreen, built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, blood oxygen sensor, and NFC for contactless payments. It also supports music storage and playback so you can listen to your favorite tunes without your phone.
In terms of cycling, it can measure your speed, distance, elevation, cadence, and calories burned and provide you with smart notifications, weather updates, and safety features like incident detection and assistance.
It also has the best battery life in this roundup, up to 11 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS and music mode.
Compared to some of its competitors, it lacks some advanced cycling features like power meter compatibility, training load analysis, and cycling dynamics. And while the touchscreen is responsive and easy to use, it can be hard to see in direct sunlight.
Polar is another high-quality brand with lots to offer cyclists. Polar specializes in making outdoor and multi-sport watches. The watch is built to last, with a sturdy design that can withstand military durability tests, including water resistance to 100m.
The Grit X has plenty of cycling-specific features, including a Hill Splitter mode, Komoot route guidance, adaptive fuelling tips, responsive recovery insights, and tailored workout recommendations.
One of the main attractions of the Polar Grit X is its battery life, which can last up to 40 hours in full GPS mode and up to 7 days in watch mode.
You can also extend the battery life by using the power save options, which let you adjust the GPS accuracy and heart rate sensor frequency. The watch also supports fast charging, so you can charge up to 100% in just an hour.
Here are some of the things I don’t like about the Polar Grit X:
- The screen has a thick black bezel that makes it look smaller than it is, reducing the visibility of the maps and routes.
- The watch doesn’t have offline maps or navigation, so you must rely on your phone or Komoot. It also doesn’t support waypoints or points of interest, which can help find landmarks or destinations.
- The watch has no built-in speaker or microphone, so you can’t make or receive calls, use voice commands, or hear audio feedback from the watch. You need to use headphones for that.
- The watch doesn’t support Spotify, third-party apps, or widgets, so you can’t customize it with additional features or functions that you might find helpful.
The Suunto 9 Peak is a sleek, powerful multisport GPS watch that can handle outdoor activities.
One of the main advantages of the Suunto 9 Peak is its long battery life. It can last up to 7 days in Tour mode, which uses GPS every 10 minutes and records basic data. Performance mode, which uses GPS every second and records more detailed data, can last up to 25 hours.
Another great feature of the Suunto 9 Peak is its integration with Komoot. You can create or import routes on Komoot and sync them to your watch via the Suunto app.
Then, you can follow turn-by-turn directions on your wrist with vibration alerts and distance indicators. You can also see an overview of the route profile, elevation, and distance on the watch screen. It helps navigate unfamiliar trails or plan new cycling routes.
It has some drawbacks that might make you think twice before buying it.
For instance, it doesn’t have a barometric altimeter, which means it relies on GPS for altitude measurements. This can result in less accurate readings, especially in areas with poor GPS signals or changing weather conditions.
Another downside of the Suunto 9 Peak is its lack of offline maps. While it can show you routes and directions on the screen, it doesn’t have a full-color map display like some competitors.
The Suunto 9 Peak also needs to improve in terms of music features. It doesn’t have any internal storage for music files, nor does it support any music streaming services like Spotify.
The latest and greatest model from Apple offers some impressive features for cyclists of all levels.
First, the Apple Watch Series 9 has a bright, crisp display that is easy to read even in direct sunlight. You can customize the watch face to show your preferred metrics: speed, distance, heart rate, cadence, elevation, and more.
You can also use the new double-tap gesture to switch between different screens or control your music without taking your hands off the handlebars.
Secondly, the Apple Watch Series 9 has a powerful S9 chip that enables fast and accurate GPS tracking and on-device Siri, which can access and log your health data privately and securely.
Thirdly, the Apple Watch Series 9 has a long battery life, lasting up to 30 hours in GPS mode. This means you can go on long rides without worrying about running out of juice.
Lastly, the Apple Watch Series 9 is compatible with various cycling apps and accessories. You can sync your data with apps like Strava, Zwift, Komoot, or Cyclemeter.
You can pair your watch with Bluetooth sensors like heart rate monitors, power meters, or speed and cadence sensors. You can even use your watch as a remote control for your GoPro camera or smart bike lights.
Of course, the Apple Watch Series 9 could be better. There are some things I don’t like about it, such as:
- Only compatible with iOS devices, so if you have an Android phone or tablet, you’re out of luck.
- The most expensive device in this roundup.
- The watch has no dedicated cycling mode, so you must use the generic outdoor workout mode or a third-party app to track your rides.
- The watch does not support ANT+ sensors, which are more common and reliable than Bluetooth sensors for cycling.
- The watch does not have a built-in barometric altimeter, so it relies on GPS data to measure elevation changes. This can be inaccurate or inconsistent in some areas.
The Apple Watch Series 9 is an excellent smartwatch for cycling if you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem and value convenience, performance, and style.
You may also be interested in – 5 Of The Best Bands For Apple Watch Cyclists
Fitbit is so synonymous with fitness trackers that the brand name has become a verbal stand-in for fitness trackers.
The Fitbit Versa 4 is a smartwatch with a sleek design, a bright AMOLED display, and a range of health and wellness features. It can track your heart rate, SpO2, skin temperature, sleep quality, and more. It also has a battery life of over six days.
The Fitbit Versa 4 has a built-in GPS to track your pace and distance during outdoor cycling without your phone.
It also has a cycling exercise mode that can record your average speed, duration, calories burned, and heart rate. You can also view a map of your route on the Fitbit app or website after your ride.
It also supports stationary bike exercises, so you can use the Fitbit Versa 4 to track indoor cycling.
However, the Fitbit Versa 4 has its drawbacks.
One of the major ones is that it needs music storage or playback capabilities. This means you can’t listen to your favorite tunes or podcasts on your wrist without carrying your phone.
Another downside of the Fitbit Versa 4 is that it requires a Fitbit Premium subscription to access some of its features. Fitbit Premium costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year, which adds up to the initial cost of the watch.
If you don’t want to pay extra for these features, you might be better off with other smartwatches that offer similar or better features without a subscription, such as the Polar Grit X or the Garmin Vivoactive 5.
What To Look For In Bike Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers come equipped with several features that can be very helpful to cyclists. But which is the best bike fitness tracker? The features range from basic heart rate monitor tracking to advanced health monitoring data.
Here’s what you need to know to find the best one for your needs.
Purpose of the Tracker
First, what type of rider are you? A daily commuter or weekend warrior? Here are a few things to think about.
- Casual Rider: If you bike for fun or commute, you should consider basic features like speed, distance, and time tracking.
- Fitness Enthusiast: For those aiming to improve their health or fitness, look for trackers with heart rate monitoring, calorie burn estimation, and detailed ride analytics.
- Competitive Cyclist: Advanced riders might need more in-depth metrics such as power output, VO2 max estimation, and advanced ride dynamics.
Key Features – Geek Out With Data
Fitness tracker technology has progressed rapidly over the past few years. Here are a few tech features to watch out for:
- GPS: Enables accurate tracking of speed, distance, and route. It’s also pretty awesome when you can upload rides to apps like Strava and be able to share with family and friends.
- Heart Rate Monitor: This allows you to gauge your effort and monitor your fitness levels. Some trackers have built-in heart rate sensors, while others might need an external strap.
- Connectivity: ANT+ or Bluetooth supports connecting with external sensors like cadence sensors, power meters, or heart rate straps.
- Display and User Interface: Consider screen size, resolution, touchscreen capabilities, and button layout.
- Battery Life: Choose a device that can last at least a few hours to multiple days on a single charge, depending on your ride duration.
Elevate Your Game
Another convenient feature, depending on where you are cycling, is having daily and long-term elevation data.
Some cyclists find this data incredibly beneficial. The elevation and distance monitors will be indispensable if you follow a rigorous training regimen.
Here are a few cutting-edge features you may want to consider:
- Altitude and Barometric Data: Useful for hill and mountain rides.
- Navigation and Maps: Some high-end models offer turn-by-turn navigation.
- Smart Notifications: Stay connected without pulling out your phone.
- Training Aids: Features like training status, training load, recovery time, and virtual partners can help in structured training.
Go Beyond Cycling
This article is focused on how fitness trackers can help you as a cyclist. But, many trackers on the market are programmed with different tracking modes.
So, no matter how you choose to stay active, whether running, swimming or golf, a fitness tracker will be able to monitor your progress. They generally have specific programs to boost your performance and measure your body’s response to that exercise.
Know more, train better – a good fitness tracker can help you fine-tune your overall exercise routine.
Related article – Is Cycling Good For Boxing?
Frequently Asked Questions
How accurate are bike fitness trackers in tracking distance and speed?
The accuracy of fitness trackers for cycling will vary depending on the brand and model. Most modern trackers have advanced sensors and GPS technology to provide accurate readings.
These trackers can offer precise speed and distance measurements with minimal discrepancies when paired with a reliable satellite connection.
How does a bike fitness tracker compare to a smartphone for cycling?
While smartphones offer basic cycling metrics, dedicated bike fitness trackers provide a more comprehensive range of data, longer battery life, and specialized features for cyclists.
However, a smartphone app might suffice if casual cycling is your goal. A dedicated bike fitness tracker is the preferred choice for serious training and in-depth data analysis.
It is hard to declare a clear winner when each of these products is so great!
However, considering all the options, we went with the Garmin Vivoactive 5. It delivers in all the areas you need, good battery life, accurate data recording, and is incredibly durable.
What the Garmin lacks in bells, whistles, and apps, it more than makes up for its features. It will deliver all the health-related statistics you need, keep you from getting lost, and look good while you wear it.
It was a tough choice to make, and your opinion may differ from ours depending on your personal needs. Remember, you are the only one who can determine which fitness tracker is right for you!
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