A bike computer can really enhance your ride, whether you use it to display data for fun or for training.
At its core, a cycle computer is a simple device to tell you how fast you’re going and how long you’ve been riding for. All they require is a magnet, receiver and a head unit. GPS is useful, but more humble cycling computers still have their place and in reality, a basic unit is all many of us really need.
Cycle computers have been around since the early 80s. They have been developed in that time, gaining features and getting lighter, smaller and more efficient. Speed and time are almost universal functions, but the average computer now includes 10 to 15 functions, such as lap times, average speed comparisons and maximum speed.
Computers are also increasingly able to receive data from auxiliary sensors measuring cadence and heart rate. Some will take the data they’ve measured and calculate other values, such as calories burned or Co2 saved compared to driving.
We’ve rounded up the best bike computers below £60, all of which were recently tested and reviewed by Cycling Plus magazine. If you simply want to know how far you’ve been and how fast you’ve done it, these will do the job. During testing over hundreds of kilometres they were assessed for ease of set-up, usability and whether their information is easy to read.
Boardman 22 Function Wireless
This wireless computer from Boardman has 22 functions. It’s more bulky and expensive than the competition, but is capable of providing detailed training information. www.halfords.com
Challenge Cycles 14 Function Waterproof
The Challenge Cycles computer has plenty on offer without a large pricetag. The screen is clear and crisp, but easily scratched. The buttons feel positive and it’s an impressive computer for just under £10. www.argos.co.uk
VDO A4+ Wireless
The VDO is cheap and efficient. It might have a limited number of functions but this fact makes it easy to use and simple to read at a glance. www.paligap.cc
BBB BCP-22 Microboard 13 Function
This wired, backlit computer has a range of functions and the option to mount on a bar or stem. One button keeps it simple to program and control. www.windwave.co.uk
Blackburn Atom SL3.0
The Blackburn Atom might not be the most complex computer available but this works to its advantage. The information it displays is easy to read, and it is quick to get set-up. www.zyro.co.uk
RSP Silicone Case
RSP’s silicone case computer provides a broad range of information that’s perfect for your inner geek, supplying you with data you probably didn’t know you wanted. www.raleigh.co.uk
Sigma BC 14.12 ALTI
Sigma’s BC 14.12 ALTI is a wired unit with a useful and accurate altimeter, making it a potentially valuable training aid. Its mounting system isn’t the best for use with bladed forks. www.raleigh.co.uk
B’TWIN Count 14+
The wireless Count 14+ is one of the more expensive units in this round up, but it’s not short on features. It does all the basics of a decent computer, and comes with a cadence sensor. www.decathlon.co.uk