This guide includes everything you need to pick out the best cycling computer. It includes the two best GPS computers for mountain bikers, the best computer for road bikes, and the top GPS computer for bikepacking. In addition to breaking down the best cycling computers of 2022, this guide includes the best computer for beginners, and finally the best overall value computer across all cycling disciplines.
When it comes to cycling computers there are two companies dominating market share. Historically, Garmin has been the leader in GPS cycling computers for decades. Wahoo has the fastest growing market share in the cycling industry. Garmin and Wahoo are unmatched in cycling computer features, as well as giving you top of the line quality and reliability.
Best Cycling Computers For Mountain Biking
The best cycling computer for mountain bikes is the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus. (Check Current Price on Amazon Here) It checks all the boxes a mountain biker looks for in a computer. It has a large screen so it’s easy to see, GPS built in so your never lost, and it has a touch screen for easy operation while riding.
The second best computer for mountain biking is the Wahoo ELEMNT Roam. (Check Current Price in Wahoo’s Amazon Store) It has a 2.7 inch screen which is much larger than its little brother, the Bolt. The Roam has both side and top LED indicators and a color screen. It is button navigation rather than touchscreen. Mountain bikers in wet climates may prefer button navigation because touchscreens act up when wet.
It is extremely important for mountain bikers to have their computer mounted somewhere safe. Hanging out in front of your handlebars in an aero position works great for road cyclists, but its a great way to damage your computer for mountain bikers. The best way for mountain bikers to mount their computer is through a stem mount facing the rear, towards your saddle. You can find one on Amazon here: Best Tek Wahoo Stem Mount, or for Garmin users the K-Edge Garmin Stem Mount.
Best Cycling Computer For Road Bikes
The best cycling computer for road bikes is the Wahoo Bolt. It has a 2.2 inch screen, slightly smaller than the Roam. Visibility is not an issue with the smaller screen thanks to 64 colors and an ambient light sensor. Seeing your screen on a sunny day through your cycling glasses is no longer an issue.
The Bolt’s features don’t end there. This GPS bike computer can store maps and routes with on-screen turn-by-turn navigation. Battery life is extremely impressive at 15 hours. Using a cell phone for GPS will run the battery down faster, which is another reason bike computers are the way to go. The Bolt will pair with Strava and other third party apps or devices.
Best Bike Computer For Bikepacking
The best bike computer for bikepackers is the Garmin Edge 530. Bikepacking takes you into remote areas, so the best bikepacking GPS is a computer. Your cell phone definitely won’t cut it. The Edge 530 is the perfect balance of features, convenience and value.
If you insist on a touchscreen the Garmin Edge 830 is an option too, but bikepacking trips are long with unpredictable weather. Having buttons to navigate means you can easily work your computer with cloves on, with a wet screen or both. If you don’t already have a speed and cadence sensor to sync with, get the Garmin Edge 530 Sensor Bundle. (Check Current Price of Edge 530 Sensor Bundle on Amazon).
Best Cycling Computer For Beginners
I’d recommend pairing your computer with the Garmin Varia RTL515 Tail Light (Read: Varia RTL515 Review). The Varia is compatible with both Garmin and Wahoo computers, which is awesome! The Varia is a radar tail light that gives you an indication of where cars and other cyclists are behind you. It ignores your riding partners on group rides and only indicates cyclists or vehicles getting closer to you.
Now that the Varia is out of the way, the best cycling computer to pair it with, and the best bike computer for beginners is the Garmin Edge 130. (Check Current Price of Edge 130 on Amazon). The Edge 130 has a great price point coming in under $200. That is impressive for a GPS capable unit.
Best Cycling Computer For The Money
The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus (Check Current Price on Amazon Here) is the best cycling computer for the money. If you are willing to spend a couple hundred bucks on a computer then you should get the best computer available. The Edge 1030 Plus is loaded with cool features. The touchscreen works great in both wet and dry conditions, too.
The Edge 1030 Plus is not the cheapest computer, in fact its one of the most expensive bike computers on the market. The price is justified by the convenience it offers owners. The Edge will automatically upload your ride data to Strava. Data that will be far more accurate on a GPS computer than it will be on your cell phone.
In the end, the best cycling computer is the one that allows you to keep your cell phone charged. Whether you need to see your speed, climbing data, or turn by turn directions, there is a computer to fit those needs. It will be more reliable than GPS apps on your phone, and it will keep your phone available for emergencies.