Best GPS Watches For Cycling (2018)
When we talk about the best GPS watches for cycling we have to admit that most of the devices are specifically designed mainly for running. Cycling mode is only a feature which is available for some of the watches in the market and this is a shame. The good news is that there are a dozen watches which are very good for cycling. This includes sports watches made by Polar, Garmin, Suunto, and TomTom.
In this article we will review the following GPS watches:
- Garmin Fenix 5
- TomTom Multisport GPS Watch
- Garmin Vivoactive HR
- GARMIN FORERUNNER 920XT (ANT+)
- Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR
- Polar V800
Many serious cyclists prefer the traditional dedicated bike computer and that’s OK but some riders still ask us regularly for cycling GPS watches. That’s why we have prepared this list for you. Without further ado let’s start with Yes Cycling’s selection of the best GPS watches for cycling.
Garmin Fenix 5
Garmin Fenix 5 is one of the best overall fitness watches and we love it. You can track all your activities through the day if you are a casual cyclist or you can use all the cycling modes or the dedicated triathlon mode if you are into this sport. It’s not a coincidence that Garmin Fenix 5 is first on our list of the best GPS watches for cycling.
The Fenix 5 includes practically every functionality of a high-end bike computer which you would ever need. The GPS watch is compatible with any ANT+ cycling sensor. It includes GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass all of which are best in class.
The battery life is impressive and we can say it is a benchmark for such unit in the market. It’s one of the best looking GPS watches out there and you can choose between a lot of versions. My personal best is the SAPPHIRE version which looks really nice.
Unfortunately, the Sapphire version which is one of the best is extremely expensive. Anyways we highly recommend the Garmin Fenix 5 as one of the best GPS watches for cycling.
Check Current Price on Amazon
TomTom Multisport GPS Watch
TomTom Multisport GPS Watch is one of the most interesting entries in our list. This is the first multisport device produced by the Dutch company but it’s full of crazy new ideas. The design of the device is great and the one-button usability idea is awesome and very well executed.
It tracks three sports ( cycling, swimming, and running ) but unfortunately, there is no triathlon option where you can track your triathlon activities. One of the biggest advantages of the TomTom Multisport is its price which is extremely competitive. It’s one of the cheapest GPS watches you can buy but it comes with some downsides too.
Another great idea realized pretty much well is the bike handlebar mount which is included in the box and works perfectly. This device needs some additional work by the producer mostly on the software side and we can’t say that it is the best GPS watch for cycling but it is a good entry in our list and you should definitely consider it, especially if you are on a very tight budget.Check Current Price on Amazon
Garmin Vivoactive HR
Garmin Vivoactive HR is the all in one package on the list. It offers all the sports you can name like running, cycling, swimming, golf, walk, ski and much more. Again this one is, not a dedicated cycling GPS watch but it must have been clear until now that such device does not exist at the moment.
Garmin Vivoactive HR is suitable for casual cyclist and overall sportspersons. One of the best features of the device is the ability to read emails, notifications and check calls from your smartphone. These features are available because of the included Bluetooth connectivity. Of course, some other models also have this function.
The main selling point of this device is the heart rate monitor which is not the best in class but does its job relatively well. In my opinion, the device is a little bit bulky and it doesn’t look very well on my hand but that’s just me. If you are looking for relatively cheap GPS watch which has a dedicated cycling mode maybe you should consider Garmin Vivoactive HR.
Check Current Price on Amazon
GARMIN FORERUNNER 920XT (ANT+)
Garmin Forerunner 920XT (ANT+) is not one of the best looking GPS watches on the market but it is definitely one of the best GPS watches for cycling overall. It is super light and easy to wear and the buttons are very easy to use because they are in front. The device is really old now but this doesn’t change the fact that it’s full of functions and it’s really rigid.
A lot of cycling functions are available for the hardcore riders and the device can be easily compared to some of the best cycling computers on the market. The battery life is best in class with claimed 40 hours of GPS activity and up to 4 months of using it just as a watch.
Garmin Forerunner 9020XT (ANT+) can be connected wirelessly to your smartphone and is able to show notifications on the screen. The device is compatible with ANT+ as the name suggests. We recommend the device as the best GPS watch for cycling which is perfect for serious cyclists and adventurers. I have many friends who use this device professionally for many years now and they are not changing it for any other new device.Check Current Price on Amazon
Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR
Suunto Ambit 3 is a multisport GPS watch and it is one of the most expensive units on our list. It is very well made and looks rugged. The battery life is decent and the functionality is good but mostly for running and navigation. There is a dedicated cycling mode which is very customizable and works fine.
Overall it is very good sports watch with included heart rate sensor but for general activity tracking, rival fitness bands and watches do better. You can choose between some versions like Peak, Traverse, and Sport. In this case, you can see the Peak model which is very good.
The device integrates with Strava with associated Movescount App. The GPS data is very accurate in our tests and battery life seems to last longer than stated by the Finnish company. Traditionally Suunto watches are very good looking and you can wear them as an everyday watch. Suunto Ambit 3 is a very strong contender on our list of the best GPS watch for cycling.
Check Current Price on Amazon
Polar V800 is really one of my favorite GPS watches for cycling. I know many hardcore cyclists and runners who use this watch for their endurance races. It includes many great features like smart coaching. The device is really very advanced and it is made for the real sports enthusiasts and professional athletes.
There is, of course, a built-in GPS which can keep track of your run, ride or swim. It can measure everything you will ever need like: speed, distance, route and much more. When you pair the device with a Polar H7 heart rate sensor it becomes a very powerful system for tracking everything you will ever need. Polar V800 doesn’t have a built-in optical heart rate sensor but with the H7 it can be one of the most accurate devices on the market. As we already know many professional athletes don’t like the optical sensors and they don’t trust them at 100%.
The smart coaching functions included in this device are training load, recovery status, training benefit, running index, smart calories, orthostatic test and more. You can see more information HERE. The battery life is also very impressive with claimed duration of up to 13h of training time with GPS and sensors and up to 50h in GPS low power modeCheck Current Price on Amazon
We also have a dedicated review of the new Polar M430 GPS Watch which we crowned the best affordable GPS watch for cyclists and runners. If you prefer to use your smartphone as a bike computer, always use a good bike phone mount for your safety.
About the Author
I'm a passionate cyclist and an adventurer. Writer and editor of Yes Cycling.