Android smartphones offer a perfect platform for cycling apps and there are plenty on Google Play to choose from. From bike maintenance to navigation and social competition, there's something for everyone.
Here are some of our favourites – we've marked which are cross-platform here, but you can also check out our guide to the best iPhone cycling apps if you're an Apple user. Don't forget to check out our useful smartphone tips for mountain bikers feature too.
Naturally the king of competitive social riding gets a slot on our list. While you can use Strava for speed and distance, most riders use the app with their phone in their jersey pocket to record their route, and times on Strava segments, while out on the ride. Once done, uploading a ride results in automatic ranking of your times over popular stretches of road and trail. The premium edition facilitates decent post-ride and long-term analysis, too.
Strava’s special sauce is its social component. Much like Facebook, you can follow your friends and see where and how hard they’re riding, leave comments and give kudos on their rides, and post Instagram photos that automatically link with your own rides. Many riders use a Garmin to record and upload their rides — and then use the app to scroll through and see what their friends are up to.
OsmAnd+ Maps & Navigation
While every Android phone has Google's generally excellent map service built in, OsmAnd+ Maps & Navigation gives riders an incredibly powerful mapping tool to help you explore the world by bike. The app uses OpenStreetMap data, a completely free, highly detailed mapping system. The best bit is that you can download the tiles for any area to your device, so even if there's no phone signal, you can use GPS to find your position on the saved map.
There's also bike-specific routing with turn-by-turn and voice navigation as well as exhaustive point of interest locations. You can also display speed and altitude if you're mounting the phone to your bars. There is a free option, but for a whole planet's worth of detailed maps, £4.50 for the full version is a small price to pay.
Download OsmAnd+ Maps & Navigation for Android.
The Roadie Bike Fit
We all harp on about the importance of getting a good bike fit, but it's not something everyone can afford to invest in and that's where The Roadie Bike Fit comes in. In return for the change in your pocket, the app offers an impressively comprehensive at-home bike fit, automatically finding data points such as ankles, knees, hips and shoulders (which you can fine tune if needed) to compare your current set-up to recommended ranges. This allows you to tinker with your position to your satisfaction, the app leading you through the process every step of the way with detailed instructions and analysis of your figures. The report card output is exhaustive, allowing you to keep a record of your position to swap between bikes.
The app is compatible with both road and TT bikes, but we'd recommend putting your bike on a turbo and keeping your phone in a fixed position throughout your fit session. It's not a real replacement for a professional fit, but if you've no idea where to start with bike set-up or want peace of mind that your position isn't wildly off the mark, it's well worth checking out.
Download The Roadie Bike Fit for Android.
Perhaps the biggest draw of the Wahoo Fitness app is the fact that is plays nicely with others. It pairs easily with Bluetooth sensors like heart-rate monitors, speed sensors and progressive power meters such as Stages. (With a Wahoo Key plugin you can pair with ANT+ sensors, too.)
In a world where many companies defensively guard your data in their various ecosystems, Wahoo Fitness uploads to all the good sites – Strava, MapMyFitness, TrainingPeaks, MyFitnessPal – and, if you like, can push your data in your choice of five file formats via email or Dropbox. If you’re an engineer, or just a data hound, you’ll love the number-heavy presentation of the app, too, with eight customizable pages of data on speed, power, heart rate and more. Plus, there’s a GPS map – though it burns through the battery pretty quickly.
We also use this app indoors — with the Kickr power trainer, a best-in-class indoor trainer.
Bike nerds will love this exhaustive technical app, which is great for getting into the nitty gritty of gear ratios and even tells you what cadence you'll need to achieve certain speeds (both mph and km/h). The app lets you play with wheel and tyre size as well as cog teeth and crank lengths. It's not for everyone, but its a great-looking, functional app for those who are into the minutiae of their bike set-up.
MapMyRide is a full-featured bike computer app, but also benefits from the parent company’s online history with route mapping software. The app is well equipped for tracking – not only rides but your nutrition, weight and more – but it can also get you where you need to go.
The app works with any Bluetooth Smart sensor (and ANT+ sensors with a plug-in), and it offers a competitive option for popular routes.
The premium version gets you training plans, more advanced routing options and live tracking you can share with family and friends. Also, and perhaps equally important, the premium version ditches the advertisements you’re stuck with on the free app.
The main function of the Bike Repair app is to help diagnose and solve mechanical problems with your bike. Select the problem area – dérailleurs, brakes, wheels etc – and the app filters down common procedures to get your bike running smoothly again. There are 58 repair guides and over 300 photographs as well as a comprehensive tips and tricks section, which includes bike fitting fixes too.
If you've worn a component out or just want an upgrade, there's also a product finder with price comparison for 11 online stores in £, US$ and AU$. There's even more though – you can specify the air temperature to get kit recommendations for that day's ride as well as store your own preferences to refer back to. The Bike Repair app really is bulging with useful features.
Taking the Strava model of one-upmanship to a new level, RiderState is an interactive cycling game of world domination. The map is split into territory blocks called lands and the more you ride, the greater your dominance over the blocks. The app uses real-time GPS tracking to show your progress after each ride. The aim is to become the governor of your street, district or city, but friends can take blocks away from you by riding more times over the lands. It's a great motivator when training for the sake of training starts to get you down and it's great fun to get back from a ride to find while lands have become yours. There are also achievement badges to share, power ups to deploy and plenty of social media interaction.
Ride With GPS
If you're looking for a feature-rich bike computer app, your search can stop at Ride With GPS – it does pretty much everything. As well as all the regular speed, distance and time fields, the feature list includes maps; elevation graphs; turn-by-turn navigation; Bluetooth support for cadence, heart-rate and power; route tagging with photos; and live GPS tracking so friends and family can see where you're up to on your ride. It also allows easy use of the routes on the Ride With GPS website, which is often cited as one of the most accurate for route and elevation data. There's no auto-upload to Strava, but files can be exported in various formats for cross-platform sharing.