The Best Bike Computers & Bike GPS Units | Review
A bike navigation system makes it easier for you to always stay on course when cycling in your free time or in everyday life. The bike computer attached to the bike shows you the right route via GPS signal and helps you not to get lost even on unknown and confusing terrain. Regardless of whether position, orientation or route planning – classic bike computers cannot compete with these modern high-performance devices.
In order to filter the right device for your needs from the huge selection in the area of bicycle navigation, it makes sense to compare the individual products with their advantages and disadvantages in detail. In our bike navigation comparison, we present the best models and give you valuable tips and extensive help.
The Best Computers & GPS Units for Bikes | Comparison
1. Garmin eTrex Touch 35
The Garmin eTrex Touch 35 outdoor bike navigation device is one of the most reliable bike GPS devices the market has to offer. It even supports GPX files for geocoaching if you don’t want to use it just as a bike computer.
This Garmin bike navigation system is the premium device of the eTrex product line, which also includes the eTrex 10, eTrex 20x, eTrex 30x and eTrex Touch 25 models. Demanding users will choose the eTrex Touch 35, as not only are various activity profiles preinstalled, but also a practical mount is included in the scope of delivery.
The following product features show that the Garmin eTrex Touch 35 outdoor bike GPS device also has a lot to offer:
- 2.6-inch capacitive color touchscreen display
- Internal memory (8 GB) and microSD card slot
- Biometric altimeter and 3-figure electronic compass
- Pre-installed maps
- Wireless connectivity (ANT +), smart notifications and live tracking
Enjoy paperless geocoaching with this multifunctional device. 250,000 pre-installed geocache locations are already waiting for you. The device is also waterproof to IPX7 and equipped with a high-quality GPS receiver.
Get started with your bike & outdoor navigation device immediately after delivery, because in addition to the Garmin eTrex Touch 35 outdoor bike navigation device, as already indicated, a bike mount is included. In terms of price, this model is in the middle to upper segment. Last but not least, it impresses with its versatile application options.
2. Garmin Edge 520 Plus
With the Garmin Edge Touring you get a bicycle navigation system that was specially developed for the requirements of cyclists. No matter whether you prefer shorter or longer tours, with this robust device you can get to your destination relaxed and without detours. The navigation device is suitable for:
- Recreational cyclists
- Touring cyclists
- Mountain bikers
Its easy operation ensures that even beginners can handle the device well. Most functions are very intuitive and you can start cycling right away without having to spend a lot of time familiarizing yourself with it.
One of the highlights of this Garmin bicycle navigation system is the Garmin Round Trip Routing function. This does not simply calculate a route from the start to the destination, but you get three different tours as a suggestion from which you can choose your preferred route. The route planner supports you when navigating with several intermediate destinations.
The bright 2.6 inch display provides a clear view and thanks to up to 15 hours of battery life you don’t have to worry about charging.
Garmin bike maps are included with this bike navigation system as well as a bike mount. In terms of price, the Garmin Edge Touring is in the upper midfield.
3. Garmin Edge Explore 820
The Garmin Edge Explore 820 GPS bike navigation system is a compact navigation device with a 2.3-inch touchscreen. The capacitive and high-resolution display with a screen size of 5.8 centimeters is large enough to easily follow the route descriptions or call up other data.
Whether as a tour-oriented cyclist or as a mountain biker, this bike computer is full of useful functions such as the RoundTrip Routing function. This allows you to have exciting round tours presented. The pre-installed bike maps encourage you to get on your bike and explore the area even on vacation.
In normal GPS mode, the battery life is about 15 hours. However, you can make the battery last even longer. Simply switch to energy-saving mode – and the energy supply is guaranteed twice as long.
Automatic accident notifications, which you can have sent to predefined contacts in the event of a fall, provide additional safety. Simply connect the navigation device to your smartphone.
The Garmin Edge Explore 820 GPS has connected features such as Smart Notifications, Live & GroupTracks. ANT + connectivity is just as given as a barometric altimeter. The device’s bright display can be operated safely even with gloves.
In addition to the navigation system itself, the scope of delivery also includes a standard bracket, an aero handlebar bracket, a fastening loop, a USB cable and user manuals.
4. Garmin eTrex Touch 25
The Garmin eTrex Touch 25 outdoor bike navigation device is one of the devices with a particularly harmonious price-performance ratio. For a comparatively low amount, you get a GPS unit that is impressive. In addition, the operation of the device is simple and intuitive.
We have put together the key data so that you can quickly get an overview of the most important product features:
- High-resolution 2.6 inch touchscreen display (6.6 cm diagonal)
- Activity-based operation
- Pre-installed Garmin TopoActive maps
- Paperless geocoaching
- Up to 16 hours of battery life
If you want to order a bike computer that can do a little more, this model is the right choice. Because the activity-based operation based on pre-installed profiles not only works perfectly when cycling, but also during other activities such as hiking.
If you are enthusiastic about geocoaching, you are also right with this Garmin GPS unit. Up to 250,000 pre-installed geocache locations ensure an entertaining pastime.
Maps for 46 different European countries are pre-installed. Update the maps for free in no time via Garmin Express.
A bike mount is included with your Garmin eTrex Touch 25 device, so all you have to do is attach it to your bike and then set off straight away for your first tour.
5. Garmin Edge Explore
With the Garmin Edge Explore GPS bike computer, you are opting for a state-of-the-art bike navigation system that is not one of the cheapest of its kind, but also has a lot to offer in terms of functionality.
The touchscreen display of this device for bicycle navigation is 2.3 inches tall (5.8 centimeters). It is a high-resolution, capacitive screen that enables numerous data displays. The energy-saving mode, which can be used to extend the life of the battery noticeably, is particularly advantageous on longer trips.
The bicycle navigation system has ANT + connectivity and enables you to perform detailed performance analyzes, for example in terms of performance or load value.
Connected features such as Smart Notifications, Live & Group Track, Strave Live segments or accident notifications can be used via Bluetooth or WLAN. GPS, GLONASS, a barometric altimeter and pre-installed maps of Europe are also included. Innovative navigation functions such as Active or RoundTrip Routing open up a wide range of options.
Not only the required lithium-ion battery for your Garmin Edge Explore GPS bike computer is already included, but also a mount for your bike is included in the package.
6. Garmin Edge 820
When it comes to bike computers, the Garmin Edge 820 should not be missing. With its simple operation and intuitive interface, it is not only suitable for professional users, but also for beginners who buy such a device for the first time.
The main product features of this bicycle navigation system are:
- 3-inch, color touchscreen display (7.6 centimeters diagonal)
- Pre-installed maps of Europe
- RoundTrip Routing and Trendline Popularity Routing
- Connecting features
- Tour planning and analysis via PC and App thanks to Garmin Connect
If you use the Trendline Popularity Routing function, the navigation device lets you benefit from the experiences of other users. No matter which terrain you are on, you will receive an optimized route, on which you will reach your destination quickly and safely.
Various customization options give you free choice when designing the screen. Adding data fields, apps and widgets is no problem at all via the Garmin Connect IQ Store. Automatic accident notifications provide a whole new feeling of safety, even if you are traveling in lonely and rough areas.
The scope of delivery of your Garmin Edge 820 device includes the navigation system itself, a standard bracket, a fastening strap and a charging and data cable. A quick start guide is also included in the package.
7. Sigma ROX GPS 7.0
The Sigma Rox 7.0 Basic bike computer is a reasonably priced navigation device that is characterized by a timeless and clear design and simple handling. Gimmicks have been completely dispensed with here, and the developers have concentrated on the essentials.
Your routes are tracked by GPS. An arrow navigation leads you safely to your intended destination via individual waypoints. The ANT + compatibility of the bicycle navigation system makes it possible to display the performance data of a power meter on the display. Via the data center you can have your current tour graphically displayed with all relevant information.
This bike computer is waterproof to IPX7 and has a backlight. Other product features are a 3-axis compass and a barometric height measurement. There are three preset sport profiles, which you can individually expand and adapt. If desired, all values can also be transferred to Bluetooth Smart compatible devices. You can also connect the bike navigation system to the Sigma Link app. Strava Live Segments inspire you to always set new best times.
When you order the Sigma Rox 7.0 Basic bike computer, a mount and a micro USB charging cable are included. The battery life of this GPS unit is approximately 13 hours.
8. Teasi one Extend
The Teasi one Extend outdoor navigation device is more than just a simple bike navigation system. You get a high-quality product at a fair price, which you can use not only for bicycle navigation, but also for hiking, skiing or boating. The device was equipped with Bluetooth and a 3D compass, which enables particularly clear views.
This GPS for the bike has been equipped with special outdoor navigation software, maps are already on board.
The 8.8 centimeter (3.5 inch) large, high-resolution and transflective touch display ensures a good overview. From the screen size, this bike navigation system is therefore particularly recommended. A splash-proof housing guarantees that the sensitive technology is not in danger if it rains.
With the help of Bluetooth 4.0, you can quickly and easily connect the device to sensors such as heart rate monitors. This makes the navigation device a reliable partner for your regular training, whether on a bike or on foot. The 2,650 mAh battery has a runtime of up to 12 hours.
The 8 GB internal memory can be expanded up to 32 GB thanks to microSD.
In addition to the device itself, the scope of delivery also includes an instruction manual, a USB cable and a mount for your bicycle handlebar.
The Teasi one Extend outdoor navigation device not only scores with its pleasantly large display, but also impresses with its versatility. In addition, the price-performance ratio is simply right here.
FAQ - Bike Computers & GPS Systems
What is a bike computer?
A bike computer is a sensible investment in any case if you like to get around by bike. It does not matter whether you simply want to go on excursions near your home or even plan extensive cycling tours at home and abroad. With a navigation device for your bike, you are well equipped and no longer have to study conventional maps.
A bike computer is a device that was specially developed for the needs of cyclists. Basically, it hardly differs from a classic car navigation system, except that it has just been optimized for use on a bike. The devices were designed accordingly and are not least characterized by their compactness and robustness. A good bike computer should definitely be waterproof.
The functionality of a bike computer is comparable to that of a classic navigation system. The built-in GPS allows your location to be determined precisely and calculating the optimal route to your desired destination is easy for the device. It is common for it to be operated via a touchscreen screen. The operation should not be a big challenge even for amateurs.
Why do I need a bike computer?
Depending on which model you choose, the range of functions of your bike computer will differ. It is therefore important that you get a good understanding of the devices before you buy. You should also think about which functions are most important to you personally. Typical features of a recommended bike computers are:
- Navigation via GPS
- Electronic barometer for height measurement
- Electronic compass
- Round trip function
- ANT + connectivity
- Micro USB connection
In addition, ideally, the largest possible map material should already be pre-installed so that you do not have any additional effort in this regard. Connected features such as smart notifications are also practical and help you make handling a little easier. It is also highly recommended to opt for a bicycle navigation system with an integrated accident notification. If you have a crash with your bike, certain people will be automatically informed about this incident in advance. This is not only great for your sense of security, but can even save your life if in doubt.
Most modern bike computers are designed in such a way that they are expressly not only suitable for cycling, but can also be used for all kinds of other activities. Whether you like hiking or geocoaching, the navigation device can provide you with valuable services for these hobbies. Simply select the appropriate activity profile such as cycling, mountain biking, geocoaching or hiking and get the ideal support in terms of navigation.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Bike Computers
Before you buy a GPS device for your bike, you will surely think about what actually speaks for and what speaks against it. For this reason, we have summarized the most important advantages of such a device for you in an overview:
- Assistance in planning bike tours
- Intelligent navigation on the ideal route
- Call up and evaluate information on distance and speed
- Localize rest areas and restaurants along the route in no time
- Suitable for activities such as geocoaching or hiking
Ultimately, these undeniable advantages are offset by very few disadvantages. The battery life of some devices is still expandable and of course you have an additional valuable item with you on your tours, which you should always keep a close eye on. If you take a longer break, when you cannot see the bike directly, you should rather take off the navigation system and carry it with you.
What is the best Bike Computer?
Anyone who has not yet dealt with this topic will surely ask the question: What is the best bike computer? It is clear that a general purchase recommendation for such a product cannot really be given. After all, every consumer has their own preferences and expectations for such a device. So it definitely makes sense to take a look at the different types of bike computers that are currently on the market. A distinction is essentially made between three different variants:
- Bike GPS Navigation Systems – these devices have been specially developed for cyclists and are optimized for weight, size and features.
- Outdoor GPS Navigation Systems – they can not only be used for bicycle navigation, but can also be used for other purposes such as hiking or geocoaching.
- Classic Bike Computers – these devices are characterized by their compactness and offer various basic functions such as measuring the length and speed of the route. However, they are usually not suitable for correct bicycle navigation.
So if it is only important to you to know how fast you drive and how many kilometers you cover on your bike tours, then a simple bike computer will be sufficient. A proper bike computer, on the other hand, should be interesting if you are concerned with things like professional route planning and quick and accurate navigation. If you not only like cycling, but also do other sporting activities, it is worth considering the purchase of a multifunctional GPS navigation system.
Who are the main manufacturers of Bike Computers?
Before buying a bicycle navigation system, you will also deal with the question of which manufacturers offer such devices at all. There is now a pleasing variety here, so that you are not dependent on just a few brands. For example, the Garmin bike computers are among the most popular, but other companies are also represented with various models. The most important manufacturers in terms of bicycle navigation systems include:
- Cat eye
But names like Polar, VDO or Xplova and many more are also represented in this segment. Most manufacturers offer a wide range of simple and inexpensive navigation devices to more expensive, highly professional models.
What are the decisive purchase criteria?
Before you make your purchase decision, it makes sense to examine the most important criteria again. This is the only way to find out whether the selected GPS device really complies with your wishes and requirements. Pay particular attention to these points:
- Is the device of high quality and waterproof?
- Is the battery or battery life sufficient for your tours?
- Does the device have a high-contrast touchscreen display that can be easily operated even when wearing gloves?
- Does it have all the functions you want, such as recording, navigation, creating personal profiles, route suggestions, POI (Points of Interest) etc.?
- Can the internal memory be expanded with a microSD card?
- Is extensive map material included and what about future updates?
- Is a mount included?
If you have taken all of these purchase criteria into account, then a limited selection of devices should quickly emerge from which you then only have to choose the final favorite. Of course, the price-performance ratio should also play a role in this process.
Which bike computer accessories are recommended?
Under certain circumstances, it may make sense to think about buying bike computer accessories. Are you planning longer bike tours, for example, where you would like to use your navigation device more intensively? Then it could be a smart investment to buy an additional battery so that you don’t run out of juice on the go.
As far as the mounts are concerned, it may be worth replacing the supplied parts with something of a higher quality. Whether a handlebar mount or an adjustable stem mount, various manufacturers offer convenient and robust alternatives. If you want to safely transport your device beyond bike tours, you should consider buying a protective bag.
How to maintain a bike computer?
So that you can enjoy your bike computer for as long as possible, you should value careful and regular maintenance. A microfiber cloth is recommended for cleaning the touchscreen display, which can be used to remove light dirt and fingerprints in no time. An eyeglass cleaning cloth is also suitable for this purpose. In any case, proceed as carefully as possible so that the screen is not scratched when cleaning.
To clean the mount of the navigation device thoroughly, you can also moisten the cloth a little. In order to achieve the best results, we recommend that you remove the bike computer beforehand so that you can get to every corner better. If the device is not being used, ideally store it in a protective cover so that it does not become dusty. You may also want to consider purchasing a display film to protect the sensitive screen and increase its lifespan.
Bike Computer Alternatives: Which Bike App is the best?
As an alternative to a real bike computer, you may have thought about simply downloading a bicycle navigation app to your smartphone and using it. This is a practice that cannot be generally discouraged. Especially as an occasional user, this variant can make sense for you.
However, you should keep in mind that a conventional bicycle navigation system will generally be significantly more reliable than the available apps. Especially in wind and weather, it is also better to have a robust device attached to the handlebar and not a sensitive smartphone that can quickly be damaged by the rain.