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Best bike computer 2020: The ultimate cycle navigation and tracking

Best Bike Computer
(Image credit: Garmin )

The best bike computer for you could make the difference between a decent ride and the ride of your life. From navigation and tracking to smartphone alerts and gearing – cycle computers can do it all to help you improve your ride performance and enjoyment.

Finding the best bike computer is no longer an easy task. The might of Garmin as the leader in cycle computers, with its Edge devices, has been met by the likes of Wahoo with its Elemnt range. Also, as app competition grows, the range of cycle computers to fit every price bracket has grown to make it even more complicated to pick one.

The first thing to decide is that you want one, over an app for your phone. For connecting ANT+ sensors, compatibility with lots of service, toughness, bike-to-bike communication, battery life and more, a cycle computer is still the best option.

If you want a bike computer purely for training metrics there are lots of budget options that will read out your data, connect to sensors and some even display smartphone notifications. For this list we've stuck to a range that all also offer navigation. 

So which is the best cycle computer for you?

1. Garmin Edge 530: Best overall bike computer

Garmin Edge 530

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Edge 530

Does it all without the top-end price

Display: Color | Touchscreen: No | Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | Battery life: 20+ **Weight:** 2.7oz

ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Superb mapping
Faster and larger
Button menu faff

The Garmin Edge 530 does it all without the top-end price. That means complete connectivity with ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, a full color screen with adaptive brightness, a decent 20 hours of battery with optional expansion pack for 80 hours, plus all of Garmin's ever advancing Connect IQ apps. Connect sensors and enjoy Garmin's analytics to help you actually use that data to see visible improvements in performance.

The turn-by-turn navigation is the best you can get on a cycle computer with smart rerouting should you go off track and very clear maps on the color display. The only thing you don't get is touchscreen and address specific routing, but if they're not deal breakers then this is a great way to have it all without breaking the bank.

2. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt: Best for aerodynamics

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

(Image credit: Wahoo)

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

Designed to be super aerodynamic so it's works with your bike

Display: Monochrome | Touchscreen: No | Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | Battery life: 20+ hours | Weight: 2.2oz

Aerodynamically built
Excellent battery performance
Superb display clarity and fields
No color display

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is one of the rare bike computers that's been designed to be super aerodynamic so it's works with your bike. It's also light at 2.2oz and - as you'd imagine from those speed focused specs - it's crammed with features for the serious rider. 

The screen might be monochrome but it's super clear and offers turn-by-turn navigation routing with smart rerouting if you go off course. There are also lots of app customizable data fields, with 11 per screen, for the many sensors this can connect to via ANT+ or Bluetooth. Button controls are fantastically intuitive and this is Strava Live Segment friendly too. If you can live without a color display this is one of the best bike computers you can buy that really gives it all for a lower than top-end price. 

3. Garmin Edge 1030: Best do-it-all high-end performer

Garmin Edge 1030

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Edge 1030

Garmin's flagship bike computer that does it all

Display: Color | Touchscreen: Yes | Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | Battery life: 20+ hours | Weight: 4.3oz

Advanced navigation mapping
Large color touchscreen
20+ hour battery
Larger and weightier than some

The Garmin Edge 1030 is the company's flagship bike computer meaning this does it all. It might not be the smallest or lightest at 4.3oz but it uses every bit of that to cram in everything you could want on a ride. That means a large color touchscreen display, ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, advanced turn-by-turn navigation that works well plus a 20-hour battery life that can be extended with an add-on pack. 

Constant updates with this hardware backing mean you are future-proofed here which helps to justify the price tag on this to-end cycle computer. With Strava, TrainingPeaks and other apps pre-installed plus Garmin's ClimbPro this does it all with a good-looking finish too.

4. Wahoo Elemnt Roam: Best for alerts

Wahoo Elemnt Roam

(Image credit: Wahoo)

Wahoo Elemnt Roam

A very capable device that earns its price easily

Display: Color | Touchscreen: No | Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | Battery life: 17 hours | Weight: 3.3oz

Color display
17-hour battery life
App integration
Mapping needs improvements

The Wahoo Elemnt Roam is the company's top-end bike computer which means you get a color display as well as app support on this Gorilla Glass protected 3.3oz unit. Aside from the usual data fields, wide sensor connectivity and turn-by-turn navigation you'd expect from a  top end device, this has LED light strips for notifications. These can be set to alert you to turns, training zones and more for at-a-glance information that's ideal for those pushing limits without much time to gaze at a screen. Kickr trainer support and Strava backing make this a very capable device that earns its price easily.

5. Lezyne Mega XL GPS: Best for battery life

Lezyne Mega XL GPS

(Image credit: Lezyne)

Lezyne Mega XL GPS

Battery life that leaves the competition long behind

Display: Monochrome | Touchscreen: No | Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth | Battery life: 48 hours | Weight: 2.9oz

Huge display
Offline navigation
Landscape mode
Slow activity uploads

The Lezyne Mega XL GPS has a battery life that leaves the competition long behind, spanning a whopping 48 hours on a charge. Despite this, it still remains lighter than the top-end devices, at 2.9oz yet manages to cram in a 2.7-inch monochrome display that's super clear and can work in both portrait and landscape modes with up to 10 data fields at once. Connect up to most sensors and trainers with the ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity but you'll need to upload data via the app as there's no Wi-Fi. This is Strava, TrainingPeaks and Today's Plan compatible and you can upload navigation routes made via GPX files or those made on GPS Root which are stored offline. This does all that and undercuts the competition on price too.

6. Hammerhead Karoo GPS: Best for display navigation

Hammerhead Karoo GPS

(Image credit: Hammerhead)

Hammerhead Karoo GPS

The best looking bike computer when it comes to display

Display: 3.5-inch high-res color | Touchscreen: Yes | Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and SIM | Battery life: 15 hours | Weight: 6.5oz

Huge high-res color touchscreen
Superb navigation
Great design
Weight and size

The Hammerhead Karoo GPS is the best looking bike computer when it comes to display. You get a massive 3.5-inch full color and high resolution 229ppi touchscreen on this beauty. That means 12 data fields per page but also beautiful navigation and routing that works really well. SIM onboard means the option to be connected, for new routes mid-ride, without taking a phone. It works with Strava and TrainingPeaks, connects to lots of sensors including ANT+ and Bluetooth and lets you upload routes from files with over 8GB of storage. The downside is there could be more training plan options for the hardcore rider - but since this is aimed at the explorer type that may not be a big deal.

7. Garmin Edge 520 Plus: Best for many features on a budget

Garmin Edge 520 Plus Review

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Edge 520 Plus

A great way to get all the excellent Garmin apps and features without spending too much

Display: Color | Touchscreen: No | Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth | Battery life: 15 hours | Weight: 2.2oz

Excellent turn-by-turn navigation
Strava compatible
ANT+, Bluetooth and HR
No Wi-Fi

The Garmin Edge 520 Plus is a great way to get all the excellent Garmin apps and features without spending too much. You still get a full color display, ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity plus a 15-hour battery life. It just means you can't have Wi-Fi, touchscreen or address specific routing. Navigation is excellent for turn-by-turn guidance while features like GroupTrack and rider-to-rider messaging are nice live tracking touches. Smartphone notifications are plentiful and you get things like VO2 max and FTP tracking as standard.

8. Lezyne Super Pro GPS: Best for landscape use

Lezyne Super Pro GPS

(Image credit: Lezyne)

Lezyne Super Pro GPS

Best for landscape use

Display: Monochrome | Touchscreen: No | Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth | Battery life: 28 hours | Weight: 2.1oz

Decent battery life
Landscape mode
Good value
No color display

The Lezyne Super Pro GPS offers the rare-these-days option to view in landscape mode which makes the eight data fields super clear. You can also enjoy clear navigation on the monochrome screen and an impressive 28-hour battery life on a charge. Controls of the screen via the app are useful and the ANT+ with Bluetooth connectivity make sensor use easy as well as trainer pairing. Strava Live Segments is supported and data will auto sync via the app. 

9. Polar V650 GPS: Best for color touchscreen on a budget

Polar V650 GPS

(Image credit: Polar)

Polar V650 GPS

Best for color touchscreen on a budget

Display: Color | Touchscreen: Yes | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: 28 hours | Weight: 2.1oz

Color touchscreen display
Affordable
No ANT+
Computer based uploading

The Polar V650 GPS is a full color touchscreen bike computer that isn't damaging to your budget. You get navigation mapping with TOPO maps meaning real lay-of-the-land detail with your routing overlaid. It also means easy access to maps wherever you go. The downside is limited app support for routing, with it done on a computer and uploaded – but this does support Strava. What it doesn't support is ANT+, as this is Bluetooth only, which could be a deal breaker for those who have already invested in certain sensors. The Flow app has some great data layouts for looking at your progress and updates are regular.