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Best bike computers 2021 | Top GPS devices ridden and rated

Top GPS cycle computers ridden and rated

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

These are the best GPS bike computers for 2021, based on real-world use by our expert team of road and mountain bike testers

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GPS bike computers let you measure your performance, log rides on apps such as Strava and, in some cases, navigate.

Garmin dominates the market, with units ranging from the diminutive Edge 130 Plus to the smartphone-sized Edge 1030 Plus, but brands including Wahoo and Lezyne are giving the GPS giant a run for its money with useful features and sharp pricing.

Here is our selection of the best GPS cycling computers. Keep reading for our buyer’s guide to cycling computers.

Garmin Edge 520 Plus

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Edge 520 Plus improves battery life and adds a few extra features over the old 520.
Bike Radar / Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Good, with turn-by-turn directions, Garmin Cycle Map, automatic rerouting colour mapping and back-to-start feature
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, sunset time, workout counters and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap
  • Size: 49mm×73mm
  • Screen: 35mm×47mm, 200×265 pixels, colour
  • Price: £259 / $279 / AU$449 as tested

The Garmin Edge 520 Plus targets competitive riders with features such as Strava Live Segments, FTP testing and tracking, Di2 integration, a VO2 max calculation and recommended recovery time. It’s now been superseded by the slicker Edge 530 but remains in this list because it’s still widely available.

The compact unit covers all the standard variations of metrics including distance, speed, elevation and – with the use of a heart-rate strap and a power meter – heart rate and power. The 520 Plus has seven buttons, not a touchscreen like the Edge 510 or the Edge 820.

A Bluetooth connection to your smartphone can provide automatic wireless uploads to Garmin Connect, Strava, TrainingPeaks and more, plus on-screen notifications of incoming texts and calls.

For the 520 Plus, Garmin improved the navigation by using the Garmin Cycle Map instead of the ‘basemaps’ loaded onto the standard 520. This means you get turn-by-turn directions, off-course calculations and back-to-start routing.

The 520 Plus also got a major boost in battery life, in our experience lasting about twice as long as the standard 520 when using navigation.

While the 520 Plus has great navigation and colour maps, its real strength is as a full-feature training tool in a compact size.

Lezyne Mini GPS

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Lezyne Mini GPS looks a little old-school but offers a lot of functionality for the money.
Lezyne
  • Navigation: Turn-by-turn (without mapping) via Lezyne Ally V2 app
  • Training data: Speed, distance, time, elevation, calories, temperature, cadence, heart-rate, power, electronic drivetrain info
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart, Micro-USB
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth Smart enabled power meters, cadence sensor and heart-rate monitors
  • Size: 33.7mm wide×47.9mm long×23mm thick
  • Screen: 22×26mm black and white
  • Price: £95 / $99.99 / AU$189.99 as tested

Lezyne’s diminutive Mini looks a little old-school with a chunky bezel and small screen, but it offers all the important performance metrics at a reasonable price.

You can even navigate using the Mini if you pair it with Lezyne’s Ally V2 phone app, and power, cadence and heart rate can be measured with the appropriate external sensors.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is a streamlined version of the original Elemnt. Love your smartphone? You’ll probably like the Bolt.
Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Good, with turn-by-turn directions and a ‘take me anywhere’ feature you can use on the fly
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, sunset time, workout counters and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth, WiFi
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap, EPS, Moxy, Best Bike Split
  • Size: 48mm×74.5mm
  • Screen: 33.5mm×44.6mm, 240×320 pixels, black/white
  • Price: £199 / $249 / AU$399 as tested

Note: The Elemnt Bolt has been updated for 2021 and, among other upgrades, now features a colour screen and smart navigation. The review below relates to the previous generation model. Stay tuned for a full review of the new computer in the next few months. 

While Wahoo claims its Elemnt Bolt GPS computer and sculpted mount are aerodynamically superior to the comparably sized Garmin Edge 520 and 820 with their respective mounts, the real selling points are the Bolt’s easy-but-robust functionality, compact size, killer battery life (triple some Edge computers when using navigation) and decent price.

The Bolt has all the normal metrics plus turn-by-turn navigation, Strava Live Segments, Live Track and a feature called ‘take me anywhere’, where you use your phone and Google’s search power to find a destination, then the Elemnt Bolt guides you there.

The Elemnt Bolt is easily configured with a smartphone app (iPhone or Android), and six buttons drive daily use, while LEDs can be configured for navigation or training alerts.

Bryton Rider 420T

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Bryton Rider 420T is a competitively priced cycling computer with 77 functions.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Navigation: No mapping capabilities but can be used with a GPX file for turn-by-turn navigation
  • Training data: Speed, distance, heart rate, riding time, power (with a power meter), gradient, altitude, metres climbed, cadence, calories burned, and more
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, BLE, USB
  • Compatibility: ANT+ and Bluetooth, heart rate, cadence, speed, power meter and smart trainer, Shimano Di2, SRAM, eTap, Campagnolo EPS
  • Size: 49.9mm×83.9mm×16.9 mm
  • Screen: 58.4mm diagonal (2.3 in), 128×160 pixels, grayscale mono LCD
  • Price: £190 / $230 / AU$340 as tested

The Bryton 420T is a competitively priced cycling computer that comes with a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor included. The computer is also available as a standalone 420E head unit (£104.99).

The cycling computer has an impressive 77 functions, including everything you need for training including heart rate and power readings, which it can present as averages and maximums.

The 420T does not have mapping making it more of a training tool than a computer that will help you explore your surroundings. But, you can load a GPX to the 420T for basic turn-by-turn navigation.

A claimed 35-hour battery life after a 4-hour charge sets the Bryton 420T apart from the competition.

Garmin Edge 530

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Edge 530 is a hugely capable GPS computer in a relatively small package.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Good, aimed primarily at following courses created in advance, with excellent turn-by-turn instructions and hazard warnings. Non-touchscreen means browsing map is mostly a waste of time
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, navigation, performance monitoring and more
  • Connectivity: Micro-USB, Bluetooth, BLE, WiFi
  • Compatibility: ANT+ and ANT+ shifting, power meter and bike trainer, Shimano Di2, Vector power meter, Garmin Varia and Virb
  • Size: 85mm long×51mm wide×16mm thick (20mm total including protruding mount)
  • Screen: 38mm×51mm (2.6in diagonal), 246×322 pixel colour screen (non-touchscreen)
  • Price: £259.99 / $299.99 / AU$499 as tested

The Edge 530 is a hugely capable GPS computer packed with features aimed at serious enthusiast cyclists who want to track their training.

Externally almost identical, the Edge 530 shares almost all of its features with the more expensive Edge 830, but uses external buttons rather than a touchscreen.

As a result, navigating menus and setting up ride profiles can be time-consuming and fiddly, but once you’ve got those sorted it’s very easy to live with.

Navigating pre-planned courses is straightforward and the colour display is crisp and easy to read. With added sensors (available separately or as a bundle with the device), the Edge 530 offers a wealth of performance tracking data.

Garmin Edge 830

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Garmin 830 is an ideal partner for adventuring.
Alex Evans
  • Navigation: Good, maps and navigation features are easy to understand and it’s relatively simple to program routes. On-device route calculation isn’t great, though
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, navigation, performance monitoring and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth, BLE, WiFi
  • Compatibility: ANT+ and ANT+ shifting, power meter and bike trainer, Shimano Di2, Vector power meter, Garmin Varia and Virb
  • Size: 48mm×74.5mm
  • Screen: 50mm×82mm, 246×322 pixels, colour touchscreen
  • Price: £349.99 / €399.99 / $399.99 / AU$599 as tested

With an impressive array of interesting and useful – if a little clunky at times – features, the Edge 830 is a true class-leading GPS that really offers plenty of useful functions above and beyond its competition.

The maps and navigation features are easy to understand and it’s relatively simple to program in routes. On-device route calculation isn’t great, though, and it certainly didn’t live up to Garmin’s claims of riding like a local.

The on-device data and displays are fantastically simple to read when you’re on the move, but it’s certainly worth investing in the additional sensors if you don’t already own compatible ones.

Overall, the Edge 830 has a fantastically diverse feature-set that looks to make it one of the most comprehensive training and navigating devices money can buy.

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus has all the trimmings, with a price tag to match.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Best in class with a faster processor for quick route recalculation
  • Training data: A bewildering number of training metrics that can be customised to your heart’s content
  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap, Campagnolo EPS, Garmin Varia
  • Size: 58mm×114mm×19mm
  • Screen: 3.5in / 89mm colour touchscreen, 282×470 pixels
  • Price: £519.99 / $599.99 / €599.99 / AU$999 as tested

Sitting at the top of the Garmin Edge tree, the Edge 1030 Plus gives you every single feature you could ever want in a bike computer in the same overall format as the outgoing Garmin Edge 1030.

The new computer gets an updated processor and an improved touchscreen over the old model.

Battery life has also grown to 24 hours, though this can be extended to an enormous 48 hours if you run the computer in a stripped-down mode.

The SD card slot has been removed but internal storage has grown to 32GB. The TrailForks trail database is also installed as standard on the unit.

Garmin Edge 130

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The little Garmin Edge 130 has a sharp screen and easy-to-follow menus.
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Basic, breadcrumb-style with no basemap
  • Training data: Basic speed, distance, time, elevation, heart rate and power data fields
  • Connectivity: USB, ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Varia, Connect IQ
  • Size: 40×62×17mm
  • Screen: 27×36mm, black/white Memory-in-Pixel
  • Price: £149.99 / $149.99 / AU$299 as tested

Cycling computers can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re looking to buy your first one. There are a host of metrics, navigation and connectivity features to wade through, which – for many – anything beyond the basics could remain unused.

As the spiritual successor to the Edge 500, the Edge 130 is compact at 40×62×17mm, weighing just 33g and has a super-sharp 303×230px Memory-in-Pixel display and a 15-hour battery life.

When it comes to training metrics it’s got your speed, distance, time, elevation, heart rate and power data fields covered – it’s even got a barometric altimeter built-in for accurate elevation readings.

If you’re after advanced metrics such as TSS (Training Stress Score), 1 sec or left/power, you might go for a more fully featured head-unit.

The Edge 130 doesn’t get a basemap or Garmin Cycle Map, but does offer rudimentary breadcrumb-style navigation, and will even give you a heads-up as you approach a turn.

As you’d expect from a Garmin computer, it features ANT+ connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity for your phone and sensors too.

Garmin Edge 25

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Garmin Edge 25 is an excellent minimalist option.
Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Breadcrumb trail via Garmin Connect
  • Training data: Speed, distance, time, calories, elevation, heart rate and cadence (but not power)
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Compatibility: ANT+
  • Size: 40mm×42mm
  • Screen: 23mm×23mm, 128×160 pixels, black/white
  • Price: £140 / $170 / AU$229 as tested

The Edge 25 was Garmin’s second cheapest bike computer, sitting one rung above the Edge 20 in the range, and a spiritual successor to the Edge 200, but smaller, lighter and slightly more capable.

The Edge 20 and 25 have both been discontinued but are still available from some retailers. They remain an appealing option thanks to their tiny dimensions – the smallest option in Garmin’s current range is the somewhat larger Edge 130.

Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS computer offers good functionality at a great price.
Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Good, with turn-by-turn directions and GPS Ally on-the-fly destination finding
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, sunset time, workout counters and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap
  • Size: 42.9mm×67.8mm
  • Screen: 31.7mm×40.1mm, black/white
  • Price: £130 / $150 / AU$220 as tested

The Enhanced Super GPS looks a little clunky compared to Lezyne’s ultra-sleek tools and pumps, but it generally works well. The 45-degree X-Lock mount is more secure than Garmin’s, and the wealth of data on offer is impressive.

You can have up to five pages with up to four fields on each, with seemingly every metric imaginable available. Turn-by-turn navigation, Strava Live Segments and incoming call/text notifications? Check, check and check.

Similar to the Elemnt Bolt, you can use the Lezyne app to find a destination and use the computer to navigate to it.

The Super GPS has now been superseded by newer models, but it remains widely available.

You may also want to consider…

The following GPS cycling units scored less than four out of five stars, but are still worth considering.

Sigma Rox 12.0 Sport

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Best bike computers
The Sigma Rox 12.0 Sport has detailed maps and is intuitive to use but it does lack Bluetooth, relying solely on WiFi.
Adam Gasson / Immediate Media
  • Navigation: Excellent, with good search for routes including shortest route and easiest route
  • Training data: Speed, time, distance, altitude, gradient, power, heart rate, lap, cadence, temperature, calories, Strava Live Segments (with premium subscription)
  • Connectivity: WiFi, USB
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap,  SRAM eTap AXS
  • Size: 60mm×115mm×18mm
  • Screen: 40mm×65mm, colour and touchscreen
  • Price: £349

The Sigma Rox 12.0 Sport comes with an excellent package of accessories. In the box, it has a quality out-front mount, a standard bar mount, a heart rate monitor strap, a speed/cadence sensor and a good length cable too.

The cycling computer has a high-res, bright and clear touchscreen. This helps the Rox achieve its excellent navigation, which uses very detailed maps, and has functionality such as adapting your route to rough roads and trails if you tell it you’re riding an off-road ride. The computer will also reroute you if you go off course.

The Sigma Rox is serious competition for the likes of Garmin and Wahoo, but it does have some shortcoming. The main one being that it doesn’t have Bluetooth and relies on a WiFi connection, so you’ll need a WiFi hotspot to download routes or upload rides.

Other GPS bike computers


Buyer’s guide to GPS cycling computers

In the past, cycling GPS devices were primarily for riders who wanted ‘pure’ navigation and trail guidance.

However, their usage has changed greatly and these devices now combine navigation, regular bike computer functions, connectivity to devices such as heart rate monitors and power meters, and lots else into one unit. The GPS is now just as much a dedicated training tool and ride tracker as it once was a navigation unit.

Garmin Edge GPS bike computer buyer's guide
GPS cycling computers are now packed with features that improve training as well as navigation.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

GPS bike computers are now also hitting price points that rival basic bike computers. Using GPS technology to provide speed and distance information means it’s no longer necessary to use wheel-mounted magnets and sensors, so switching the computer between bikes has never been easier.

The cycling GPS market is dominated by similar brands to the automotive GPS industry. Garmin is the key player, but brands such as Wahoo, Polar, Bryton, Suunto, Leyzyne and CatEye also offer GPS-equipped options.

What to consider when buying a GPS device for cycling

Navigation or tracking?

The Komoot app running on a Garmin GPS device
Navigation and mapping is useful for riding near home and bikepacking.
Joseph Branston / Immediate Media

Perhaps the biggest question when choosing a GPS unit is deciding whether you want it to guide you on a ride via maps and navigation, or if you simply want it to track your ride and give you the data to look back at after your ride.

Generally speaking, navigational GPS units will cost more because they feature built-in maps, additional storage, navigation software and often a much larger screen to make use of all of this information.

Devices that offer mapping and directional guidance have come a long way. GPS accuracy has greatly improved, guiding you to within one or two metres of a desired location.

Far more tracking GPS units are sold than those that include navigational aids. For most riders, all they want is live ride data with the option to undertake detailed analysis after a ride.

However, they don’t offer nearly as detailed navigational information, and often only offer ‘breadcrumb’ navigation, which overlays a simple line over a blank screen for you to follow.

Connectivity

Mobile phone connectivity is desirable for a number of reasons. The likes of the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and Wahoo Elemnt Bolt offer Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity and share information with compatible phones.

Many bike computers now include a giddy array of features when linked up to phones and other sensors, including incoming call and text alerts, tracking which allows your riding buddies or family at home to see your location in real-time, and even which gear you are in with electronic drivetrains.

Bluetooth and ANT+ cycling computers will link up to external sensors so you can pair them with devices such as heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, speed or power meters, and more. This unlocks a whole host of possibilities and can help you step your training up a notch.

Most high-end cycling computers will also neatly integrate with third-party cycling apps such as Strava, TrainingPeaks and Komoot.

Some will also link with WiFi for automatic uploads, avoiding any need to upload your ride via Bluetooth once you get home.

Cycling computer training functions

The main and most familiar way cycling computers can aid training is by linking up to a power meter or heart rate monitor,  providing live data about your power output or heart rate during your ride.

There are benefits and disadvantages to both and many things to consider when deciding whether heart or power training is best for you.

Beyond simply providing live readouts for auxiliary devices, some cycling computer brands claim their computers can use this data to establish VO2 max and FTP (Functional Threshold Power), as well as provide insight into needed recovery time and training load.

Various bike computers now come with the option to load workouts and training plans directly onto the computer making structured training an easier affair.

These plans are either available through brand-specific software (Garmin Connect for Garmin computers, for example) or in some instances through apps such as TrainerRoad and TrainingPeaks.

Some other features available on cycling computers are framed as training tools but are also useful and enjoyable for cyclists who are just out riding for the fun of it. These include alerts signalling how much longer a climb is and live Strava segments introducing some friendly competition against others or your own personal bests.

How does a cycling computer mount to the bike?

A key factor, but one that’s easily overlooked, is how the device attaches to the bike.

Most GPS units attach to either the handlebar or the stem of the bike. Generally speaking, the more common the brand, the more available mounting options there will be.

GPS mount on the 2021 version of the Giant TCR Advanced SL
Outfront mounts are a popular choice, especially with performance-orientated cyclists.
Warren Rossiter/Immediate media

Garmin is no doubt the leader in this area, with scores of aftermarket mount options allowing you to decide exactly how and where the device sits on your handlebar or stem.

Gamin and Wahoo use mounts that rely on a quarter-turn twist-lock to hold the computer in place. The 90-degree turn makes it easy to fit your computer but also easy to remove when popping into a shop or cafe.

Out-front mounts are a popular choice because they put the computer in front of the bar making it easier to look at whilst moving. These mounts also make the cycling computer flush with the bar, giving a cleaner look for the more aesthetically minded.

Screen size and display type

As a general rule, the larger the screen size, the easier the information will be to read. You’ll also be able to show more information on the screen without having to scroll to another page.

Of course, the downside is that larger units can be cumbersome, crowd your handlebar, and add extra heft – offending the more weight-conscious riders among us.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS bike computer 2021 V2
The new version of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt has switched from greyscale to a colour display.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

For performance and general riding, the Garmin Edge 820’s 2.3in (5.84cm) screen has become something of a benchmark. Most newer devices are this size or larger. For those looking for a truly diminutive option, the Garmin Edge 130 Plus would be our first recommendation.

Screen size and resolution are a bigger concern if you want to use a cycling computer for routes and navigation. Here, being able to see waypoints and your desired route is crucial, so a screen size of 2.5in (6.35 cm) or larger is advisable.

Colour displays are becoming the norm, which makes for easy reading, especially with detailed maps.

Some cycling computers still use a greyscale screen because these can be more readable in bright light, but if Wahoo’s latest Elemnt Bolt is anything to go by this might become less and less common.

Touchscreens are becoming a standard on newer devices too, because they help simplify toggling menus and selecting desired data.

Mapping

Garmin Edge 830 GPS bike computer with on-device mapping connected to an iPhone with Garmin Connect app showing a selected route
The iOS Garmin Connect app uses Google Maps.
Alex Evans

Early GPS cycling computers offered turn-by-turn navigation via a snail trail (also known as a breadcrumb trail).

Snail trails didn’t really give enough information as they were simply displayed as a single line over a blank screen with no landmarks or surrounding roads detailed, but you could get a fairly good sense of where you were going and were often notified if you drifted off course.

Now, many cycling computers are preloaded with in-depth maps that are similar to topographic maps detailing roads, landscape, features, waypoints and any amenities. This is particularly useful for bikepacking but is great even if your cycling somewhere unfamiliar on holiday or close to home.

Maps often only cover certain territories. For instance, in the UK, the Garmin 1030 Plus comes preloaded with maps for Europe and North America but you will have to download maps for other regions.

Plenty of computers allow you to sync courses from route building apps such as Ride With GPS or Komoot, and in some cases let you drop a pin on the computer’s map and will automatically route you to that location.

Battery life

Are you looking to complete long rides, multi-day adventures, or simply want to go out and not worry about having to recharge your device between training sessions?

If any of these sound familiar it is probably worth seeking out a cycling computer with decent battery life. Many computers will have a claimed battery life of between 15 and 20 hours, but this is of course dependent on use.

External battery expanders can bump up the battery life of your cycling computer if you’re out for a particularly long time.

Alternatives to GPS cycling computers

Polar Ignite GPS fitness smartwatch
Smartwatches are alternative to cycling computers with many of the same data functions.
Andy Lloyd

While this buyer’s guide is dedicated to GPS units, there are viable alternatives to GPS cycling computers in the form of GPS watches and smartphones.

GPS watches

GPS watches will record your cycling data much like a GPS cycling computer. They have the added benefit of having built-in heart rate monitors but don’t have the same mapping and navigation capabilities as many cycling GPS computers.

If you do more than cycling – for instance running, swimming or indeed triathlon – GPS watches are a good choice for their versatility. But a major downside to these devices is the smaller screen size, so if you’re planning to keep the device on your bike, you’re better off with a cycling-specific unit.

Smartphones

Smartphones are ideal if you’re looking for a way of navigating around town and don’t want to invest in a dedicated cycling device, or simply dip a toe in the world of GPS navigation and ride recording.

Smartphones can be used with apps such as Strava and might prove just as useful as a cycling computer for casual riding.

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There are many smartphone handlebar mounts and cases available to keep your phone safe and secure whilst riding, but they are likely to be less waterproof than cycling-specific computers. That said, keeping the phone in your pocket or pack remains an option for data collection.