The latest cycling computers can go way beyond mere speed and cadence. High-tech GPS navigation features allow you to explore with confidence, smart radar lights tell you exactly what's on the road behind you and some computers can even replace your coach.
Whether you're planning on striking out on your own bike packing adventures or you're in search of those marginal gains that will (maybe) turn you into the next Chris Froome, we've rounded up the best bicycle computers of 2021. Because if it's not on Strava, did it really happen?
Best bike computer for GPS navigation - Garmin Edge 1030 plus
The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus GPS Cycle Computer GPS computer comes pre-loaded with detailed maps and the full-colour 3.5'' colour touchscreen makes it easy to scroll and zoom.
Turn-by-turn navigation lets you explore new roads and trails. Plus, if you spot something interesting and want to stray from your planned route, this clever computer will recalculate your course to get you back on track when you're ready.
Mountain goats will love Garmin's ClimbPro which gives you detailed information about gradients so you can manage your efforts, even if you're riding unfamiliar roads.
In addition to the GPS navigation and activity tracking, the Edge 1030 Plus is packed with features to help you get the most from your training and riding. It will even alert your emergency contacts if it detects an incident, sending them your exact real-time location.
The best bike computer for big cycling climbs - Hammerhead Karoo 2
Developed and tested with the UCI World Tour team Israel Startup Nation, Hammerhead's powerful little GPS computer has impressed Chris Froome so much that he has invested into the company and has joined the company's advisory board.
The high quality 3.2" screen and 12-hour battery life mean the Hammerhead Karoo 2 is perfect for riders planning long days in unfamiliar territory. Uploading a route from Strava, Ride With GPS or Komoot could not be easier - simply log into the Karoo 2 website, drop in the URL where you found the route and it will be automatically downloaded to your device as soon as it gets an internet connection. Alternatively, the native route-planning app is super-simple and intuitive - when we asked it to create a route with only the start and end points on our home roads it was smart enough to know where the cycling infrastructure was to bypass busy roads and the mapping even included layout changes from as recently as two months ago.
Got climbs on the agenda? This is where the Karoo 2 really comes into its own. It automatically interprets the elevation data on any route you upload so it can tell you which climb you're on and how many there are remaining every time the road goes up. Any significant climb is divided into color-coded segments with distance and average gradient which not only helps with pacing and gearing, but we think having this data also helps with motivation since you just need to concentrate on ticking off each segment.
Best bike computer for racing cyclists and triathletes - Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt 2.0
The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT Cycling Computer features GPS tracking, preloaded maps, and all the training and racing data you would expect from a high-end bike computer, all packaged up in a neat little aerodynamic shell. However, where it excels for racers and triathletes is the seamless connectivity with Wahoo's other devices.
You've got enough to do in triathlon T1 and T2 without thinking about your tech which is why the brand rolled out 'Touchless Transition' when they released their Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL watch. Not only does the watch automatically switch between the swim, bike and run profiles - the watch and ELEMNT computer will automatically share with each other so you always have sight of your full data throughout the triathlon.
If you train at home with a Wahoo KICKR turbo trainer, you can also pair the ELEMNT and control the KICKR from your handlebars. Switch between Erg, Level or routes/ride history which lets you replicate a real-world route indoors. Perfect for an indoor race recce.
Best bike computer for mountain biking - Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS
The tough little Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS Cycle Computer was designed specifically for riders who want to explore the trails less travelled. The full-colour screen is protected by thin, lightweight gorilla glass that can withstand knocks and scrapes and there's even a locking screw on the handlebar mount so it's not going to go flying off into the bushes when you hit a bump.
Load routes in seconds from popular apps like Komoot and Strava thanks to the user-friendly mobile app. Then, if you change your mind, this smart gadget can work out how to get you back to where you came from or even how to get to somewhere entirely different on the fly. Flashing LED lights when you have a turn coming up make it difficult to get lost.
The fully customisable screen lets you display up to 11 data fields so you can see everything that matters to you at a glance.
When you're done, your ride will automatically transfer to your favourite activity tracking service - Strava, Trainingpeaks, even Dropbox.
Best bike computer for long adventures - Lezyne Mega XL
The Lezyne Mega Xl GPS Cycle Computer can run for an impressive 48 hours off a single charge and can store up to 800 hours of data, making it a perfect choice for your bike-packing adventures and audax rides. Free live tracking can be activated so friends and family can see where you are at any time.
All-weather riders will be reassured that the Mega XL carries an IPK7 rating which means it can withstand the harshest of wet weather. It's fully sealed apart from the charging port which is protected with a sturdy rubber cover so you can splash across those fords in confidence.
The bundle includes an ultra-rugged mount that needs a push and a turn to remove the computer from, a bit like a medicine bottle, so you can be sure that it's going to stay put however rough the trail gets. You also get a smart rear LED light that offers up to 270° of visibility and can be programmed and controlled from the Lezyne phone app.
The 2.7-inch 240x400 high-resolution screen can display in landscape or portrait mode and shows you easy-to-follow directions in simple black and white and automatically reroutes if you miss a turn.
Best bike computer for commuters - Garmin Edge 130 Plus
The Garmin Edge 130 Plus GPS Cycle Computer is a deceptively compact entry-level bike computer that packs in a host of features previously only seen on higher-end models.
A crisp 1.8’’ display screen makes data easy to read in sunlight or low-light conditions. Use the simplified 'breadcrumb' mapping to see where you're going, where you've been and how far it is to the start.
Garmin's Cycling Awareness helps to keep you safe on busy commutes. It can automatically detect incidents and send an alert with your precise location to friends or family. You can also connect Garmin's Varia™ smart lights which not only help you to be more visible but also give you a heads-up on the traffic around you.
Cyclists training to improve their fitness can sync structured indoor or outdoor workouts straight to the device via the Garmin mobile app. Pair with external sensors for detailed performance insights with metrics like VO2 Max and heart-rate.
Just like the top-end Edge 1030 Plus, the Edge 130 Plus can even help you manage your climbing efforts with Climb Pro and give you stats on things like jumps count and distance if you prefer mountain biking, taking you seamlessly from the daily commute to weekend fun.
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