Garmin's new Vivoactive HR could be its best watch yet for cyclists

Wrist-based heart-rate monitoring, GPS and altimeter all included

Garmin has already carved itself a strong niche in the cycling world, but this new Vivoactive HR smart watch could take that to the next level. There's constant wrist-based heart-rate monitoring, GPS, an altimeter, touchscreen display and more, for a very respectable price indeed.

The Kansas-based company has spent years making the bike computers of choice for many riders, including quite a few BikeRadar staff. But thanks to the combination of a great feature set, including something called Garmin Move IQ which claims to be able to detect when the wearer starts a new sustained activity like cycling, running or swimming, this new Vivoactive HR could extend that dominance further.

Related: Garmin updates Fenix 3 adventure watch with on-wrist heart rate

And it tells you how many flights of stairs you've climbed, too:
And it tells you how many flights of stairs you've climbed, too:

As with many of Garmin's other activity trackers and smart watches, it will track steps made and calories burnt throughout the day, and auto-detect your sleep cycles for analysis on the accompanying Garmin Connect app.

You can be alerted to incoming calls, texts and more on-screen:
You can be alerted to incoming calls, texts and more on-screen:

It can also talk to Garmin's Varia lights and radar, giving you alerts on your wrist when a car gets too close behind you, and control a VIRB action camera for capturing those epics shreds. It does deliver smart watch notifications via Bluetooth, so incoming calls, texts and tweets can be detected, though you'll need to open your smartphone to reply.

Related: Garmin Varia bike radar alerts riders to approaching cars

Multisporters will be pleased to hear it also supports running, pool swimming, rowing, paddle boarding and snowboarding. Plus golf, if you're into that. It's not quite as rounded a feature set as the Fenix 3 (which also tracks hiking, climbing and triathlons), but it's around half the price for most of the features.

The Vivoactive HR promises eight days of battery life in watch/activity tracking mode, or up to 13 hours when GPS is switched on. Price is £209 / $249 / AU$399, and it will be available in approximately April 2016.

Related: Our review of the original (and current) Garmin Vivoactive

Jamie Beach

Deputy Editor, UK
Jamie's been addicted to bikes from the moment his stabilisers came off. Earliest cycling memory is the chipboard-ramp-on-bricks, but happiest one is bombing down a Mallorcan mountain pass that seemed it might never end. Always on the hunt for the perfect rain jacket, a keen collector of hats.
  • Discipline: Road, gravel
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains with long climbs, equally long and fast descents, the chance to get above the treeline.
  • Current Bikes: Genesis Croix de Fer, Brompton M3L
  • Dream Bike: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Moots Routt
  • Beer of Choice: Augustiner
  • Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

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