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Log your rides in minute detail from less than £50

GPS-enabled cycling computers can record where you've been on your ride, logging your speed and other data every second or so, and providing you with a rich and complete log of each bike trip.

That's useful whether you're training and want to track effort and hills against speed, or whether you're exploring and want to know where you've been. There are probably as many ways of using GPS on a bike as there are cyclists.

GPS-enabled bike computers work by picking up signals from a network of satellites that orbit the earth at an altitude of about 20,000km. These Global Positioning System satellites use atomic clocks to transmit time and position very accurately. A GPS receiver uses the signals from several satellites to work out its position to within five metres.

US-based company Garmin dominates the field of GPS-enabled cycling computers, partly because it has a wide range of good quality products, partly because it was first to market with the Edge 205 and 305 models in 2006.

As GPS receiver chips have become more widely available in the last few years, more manufacturers have entered the market. GPS-enabled computers are available from traditional bike computer makers such as CatEye and Sigma, as well as new players like Lezyne, Bryton, and Mio.

If you have multiple bikes, a big advantage of GPS computers is that you can swap them from one to another without faffing changing set-up.

There are two types of GPS bike computer. Less expensive units use GPS to replace the sensors of a traditional bike computer and display data such as speed, trip distance and time, as well as recording your ride for later analysis.

More expensive GPS units have full satellite navigation functions, with map display and turn-by-turn navigation of a preset route, or one the computer generates on the fly.

Some GPS units are able to pick up signals from heart rate monitor straps and on-bike sensors to log additional data such as heart rate and cadence.

You can get started with on-bike GPS logging for as little as £50 if you shop around. Mapping GPS units start around £200 because of the larger screen and battery and more sophisticated electronics.

Memory Map 250 — £43.65

Memory map 250 gps.jpg

Memory map 250 gps.jpg

For this price we don't expect it to be amazing, but Memory Map's base model on-bike GPS is a bargain if what you want is a simple bike computer and data recorder without bells or whistles. If very long rides are your thing, it'll go 28 hours.

iGPSPORT iGS10 — £51

igpsport_igs10.jpg

igpsport_igs10.jpg

Either this GPS unit with ANT+ for your heart rate and cdence sensors, Bluetooth to talk to your phone and an altimeter is an incredible bargain, or someone has stuffed up and set the wrong price. We suspect the latter as it's also listed for £79, in which case if a data GPS is what you need, grab one of these quick before they notice.

iGSSPORT 20E — £57.89

igpsport_20e_gps.jpg

igpsport_20e_gps.jpg

If you want a bigger screen that displays more data at any given time, this inexpensive unit could be just what you're looking for.

Memory Map 270 Pro — £79.99

Memory Map 270 Pro GPS

Memory Map 270 Pro GPS

Unusually for a budget GPS, the Memory Map 270 has a barometric altimeter for an accurate indication of how much climbing your rides include. It's ANT+ compatible too, so you can add a heart rate sensor or speed/cadence sensors. This isn't a bad price, but shop around: Amazon has previously listed it for as little as £50.

Bryton Rider 100E — £61.41

Bryton Rider 100E.jpg

Bryton Rider 100E.jpg

Another good-value base model from one of Garmin's competitors, the Rider 100E has a decent-sized, customisable screen, and works with Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors so you can add heart rate and speed/cadence measurement. There's also a version — the 100T — with a heart rate strap and cadence sensor for about £100, but we've not been able to find any retailers who claim to have it in stock.

Geonaute Onmove 500 GPS Watch — £79.99

Geonaute Onmove 500.jpg

Geonaute Onmove 500.jpg

If you just want to log your rides then this GPS watch from French sport store giant Decathlon provides a basic set of GPS functions, has a built-in heart rate monitor (and works with a Bluetooth Smart heart rate strap), communicates with your Android or iOS phone and outputs GPX files so you can upload to Strava or your other favourite activity website.

If you're one of those strange multi-sport types, you can use it for running too.

Garmin Edge 20 — £97.99

Garmin Edge 20 GPS Bike Computer.jpg

Garmin Edge 20 GPS Bike Computer.jpg

The base model in Garmin's GPS range seemed decent but a bit expensive at £110 when it was first launched, but you can now find it for around £90. Given you can get an Edge 25 for around the same price (see below), we'd get that instead.

The Edge 20 logs your route and standard bike computer speed and distance data, and lets you race yourself against previous rides on the same route.

It's otherwise fairly basic. It can't connect with a heart rate or wheel sensor, unlike more expensive units with ANT+ or Bluetooth connectivity. But it's easy to set up and use and works with Garmin's excellent Garmin Connect website, with which you can set goals, plan rides and track your training.

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 20
Find a Garmin dealer

Lezyne Mini GPS — £75.49

Lezyne-Mini-Cycle-GPS-with-Mapping-GPS-Cycle-Computers-L-1-GPS-MNI-V204.jpg

Lezyne-Mini-Cycle-GPS-with-Mapping-GPS-Cycle-Computers-L-1-GPS-MNI-V204.jpg

The Lezyne Mini GPS computer is an easy-to-use option that gives you basic ride information on your handlebar along with the ability to upload, store and analyse your rides on Lezyne's GPS Root website.

If you're a bit of a technophobe or you just aren't interested in masses of ride measurements, the Lezyne Mini GPS might be a good choice for you because it's very simple to use.

The 2017 version adds turn-by-turn directions and some mapping functions.

Read our review of the Lezyne Mini GPS
Find a Lezyne dealer

Cateye Stealth 50 — £97.52

CatEye Stealth 50

CatEye Stealth 50

This Garmin 200 competitor is compatible with ANT+ sensors and is straightforward to use.

Its use of a USB cradle instead of simply plugging in a cable is a bit old school and it can take some fiddling to get the accompanying CatEye Sync software to work with a PC or Mac. For the price, though this is a decent little computer.

Read our review of the Cateye Stealth 50
Find a CatEye dealer

Garmin Edge 25 — £97

Garmin Edge 25.jpg

Garmin Edge 25.jpg

The Edge 25 is Garmin's smallest ever GPS computer, and along with its diminutive size, Garmin has nailed the user interface, which is a dream to use.

If you don't need route mapping and navigation and just want to track all the important metrics like speed, distance and elevation, the Edge 25 does everything you need.

It's light, just 25g, and takes up very little space on the stem using the supplied quarter-turn mount that Garmin has been using for years. The 128x160 pixel display is small and grayscale, but it's pin sharp and the new lighter font makes it easy to see at a glance how fast you're riding.

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 25
Find a Garmin dealer

Polar V650 — £142.98

Polar V650 GPS cycling computer - screen 2

Polar V650 GPS cycling computer - screen 2

As far as we know this is the cheapest bike-specific GPS with map display, and unlike some other inexpensive mapping GPS units it will also work with heart rate and other sensors and some power meters. It has a touchscreen too. For £174.50 you can get it with a heart rate strap.

It uses Open Street Map files for its mapping, which helps keep the cost down. This open source mapping effort has improved in leaps and bounds in the last few years, but it's still not quite as good as Ordnance Survey maps. For this price, though, you really can't grumble.

Since its launch, which was greeted with favourable but not gushing reviews, the V650 has acquired lots of functions via firmware updates. Riders who've had recent versions are generally very happy with the ease of use, bright screen and features.

One downside is that the V650 uses Bluetooth Smart to communicate with sensors rather than the more common ANT+. That means you don't have quite the range of options as with an ANT+ device like a Garmin, but there are still plenty of options. The only power meters that will work with the V650 are those made by Look, PowerTap, Stages and the Wahoo Kickr.

Oddly, the V650 doesn't work with the cheapest power meter we're aware of, the £350 4iii Precision, but its cheaper kid brother, the M450 does (£123.50 with a heart rate strap). That means the cost of entry of training with power is now under £500.

Find a Polar dealer

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

49 comments

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a1white [91 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I notice on the Wiggle link on the Polar V650, you can get a Garmin Edge Touring for the same price. Has anyone had experience of using either?

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Chrisbpr [33 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

The Garmin touring is a bag of wank,it feels like a work in progress which is how most Garmin stuff feels like.

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996ducati [11 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Garmin Touring does not have ANT+ connectivity, so you cant use a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor or external wheel speed sensor.

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ashliejay [74 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

you sure the bryton works with bluetooth sensors? as nowhere on amazon or bryton's site says it does, and only lists that it works with ANT+ sensors.

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JimD666 [72 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
ashliejay wrote:

you sure the bryton works with bluetooth sensors? as nowhere on amazon or bryton's site says it does, and only lists that it works with ANT+ sensors.

 

You sure you're looking in the right place? Both Amazon ans Bryton webiste include the info. Amazon has it in the Product description and the Bryton site has a nice little Bluetooth 4.0 Icon under it's feature set.

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STiG911 [295 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Chrisbpr wrote:

The Garmin touring is a bag of wank

Avatar
ashliejay [74 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
JimD666 wrote:
ashliejay wrote:

you sure the bryton works with bluetooth sensors? as nowhere on amazon or bryton's site says it does, and only lists that it works with ANT+ sensors.

 

You sure you're looking in the right place? Both Amazon ans Bryton webiste include the info. Amazon has it in the Product description and the Bryton site has a nice little Bluetooth 4.0 Icon under it's feature set.

yeah, it's not mentioned that it works with bluetooth sensors, but even at the £50 it'll be worth getting and trying out if it does.

Avatar
StraelGuy [1357 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Chrisbpr wrote:

The Garmin touring is a bag of wank,it feels like a work in progress which is how most Garmin stuff feels like.

 

Agreed, I've got one and 'pile of wank' describes it quite aptly!

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Gizzard [29 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Any linux users care to offer an opinion?

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reippuert [86 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Love my V650 - and hapy to have left buggy Garmins behind that never works as intended with its buggy firmware ( have a few 705@s and a 305 in the drawer...)

Unbeliveable that garmin never managed to get the barometric+GPS calculated altiude meter working in fog, rain and atmospheric pressure chnages (like riding uphill thorug a cloud).

Everything just works as intended on the V650 and im haypp y that i didnt go for a 810 or 1000... And battery life is astonishing.

BLE support instead of proprioty (and inferior) ANT(+) is a feature, not a limitation. Best cycle specific GPS out there.

Compare it to the difference between a Mac and Windows OS - the later may have more features but half of it is just too poorly designed in a way that you never use them. Less is more...

 

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reippuert [86 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Chrisbpr wrote:

The Garmin touring is a bag of wank,it feels like a work in progress which is how most Garmin stuff feels like.

yes...Garmins are bloatware and they keepmissing out on the main feature: That it works all the time and added features are actually useable... they keep adding add all kinds of features but never manges to get it right - and tehy never fix the basics.

'work in progress' is a pretty accurate decription.

V650 is a steal and Polar actuallay has managed to get it right form the beginning, if Garmin had a similar ambitions reg quality control their product could actually warranet the cost (approx 2x Polar)

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multimodal [56 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Does anyone have a Garmin 25? Looking for something simple to capture ride data. I use the Strava app but it kills my phone battery on longer rides. Is it easy to sync the Garmin's data over to Strava?

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reippuert [86 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Gizzard wrote:

Any linux users care to offer an opinion?

V650 actually runs linux (android)... But it feels like a Mac.

Avatar
reippuert [86 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
multimodal wrote:

Does anyone have a Garmin 25? Looking for something simple to capture ride data. I use the Strava app but it kills my phone battery on longer rides. Is it easy to sync the Garmin's data over to Strava?

 

Get a Polar if you want somthing that works every time - incl with your IOS phone.

Avatar
JimD666 [72 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
ashliejay wrote:
JimD666 wrote:
ashliejay wrote:

you sure the bryton works with bluetooth sensors? as nowhere on amazon or bryton's site says it does, and only lists that it works with ANT+ sensors.

 

You sure you're looking in the right place? Both Amazon ans Bryton webiste include the info. Amazon has it in the Product description and the Bryton site has a nice little Bluetooth 4.0 Icon under it's feature set.

yeah, it's not mentioned that it works with bluetooth sensors, but even at the £50 it'll be worth getting and trying out if it does.

My fault. I missed the word "sensors" on your post. Only the bluetooth bit registered...

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multimodal [56 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
reippuert wrote:

Get a Polar if you want somthing that works every time - incl with your IOS phone.

Thanks, I'll take a look.

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ososxe [59 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
multimodal wrote:

Does anyone have a Garmin 25? Looking for something simple to capture ride data. I use the Strava app but it kills my phone battery on longer rides. Is it easy to sync the Garmin's data over to Strava?

 

I do. It syncs with Garmin app (android or ios) and the ride is uploaded to strava automatically.

I use Garmin candence and speed sensor, and a decathlon heart strap, never had any issue with it. 

if you ride with your phone, you can receive sms and call notifications on the Garmin, but it drains the battery too much, so i have it off. Besides that, battery last around 6 to 8 hours, with GPS and GLONASS on, and the aformentioned sensors.

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rdmp2 [39 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have the Edge 20 (same as 25 but lacking sensor compatability). Works perfectly to log data and uploads data to Garmin connect. Syncs perfectly (almost always) to Strava- very occasionally have to do it manually. Battery has coped for century rides with GPS/GLONASS + following breadcrumb route. Recommended if you are happy just to log data and don't need advanced mapping etc

 

multimodal wrote:

Does anyone have a Garmin 25? Looking for something simple to capture ride data. I use the Strava app but it kills my phone battery on longer rides. Is it easy to sync the Garmin's data over to Strava?

Avatar
antonio [1168 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
rdmp2 wrote:

I have the Edge 20 (same as 25 but lacking sensor compatability). Works perfectly to log data and uploads data to Garmin connect. Syncs perfectly (almost always) to Strava- very occasionally have to do it manually. Battery has coped for century rides with GPS/GLONASS + following breadcrumb route. Recommended if you are happy just to log data and don't need advanced mapping etc

 

multimodal wrote:

Does anyone have a Garmin 25? Looking for something simple to capture ride data. I use the Strava app but it kills my phone battery on longer rides. Is it easy to sync the Garmin's data over to Strava?

I have the Edge 25, use it with heart rate monitor, it does all I want to track my rides, never bother to load anything up as I like to keep it simple. I haven't had any issues with it at all, even got it for £49.00. at Aldi sale, bought the heart monitor seperate off ebay, links without a problem to Strava as well.

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Rider42 [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
reippuert wrote:
Gizzard wrote:

Any linux users care to offer an opinion?

V650 actually runs linux (android)... But it feels like a Mac.

Mac is also really just a skin over Linux so it's not surprising that it feels like a Mac

Avatar
MandaiMetric [131 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Rider42 wrote:

Mac is also really just a skin over Linux

It's really not.

 

MacOS (OS X) and iOS are not based on Linux.

Google's Android OS is based on Linux, perhaps that's what you meant?

 

 

 

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brooksby [3131 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
MandaiMetric wrote:
Rider42 wrote:

Mac is also really just a skin over Linux

It's really not.

 

MacOS (OS X) and iOS are not based on Linux.

Google's Android OS is based on Linux, perhaps that's what you meant?

 

 

 

I think Linux and MacOS both trace their origins to UNIX, actually. They're siblings. And then Android came out of Linux.

Avatar
CygnusX1 [791 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
MandaiMetric wrote:
Rider42 wrote:

Mac is also really just a skin over Linux

It's really not.

 

MacOS (OS X) and iOS are not based on Linux.

Google's Android OS is based on Linux, perhaps that's what you meant?

 

 

 

I think Linux and MacOS both trace their origins to UNIX, actually. They're siblings. And then Android came out of Linux.

More like cousins than siblings,Mac Is was based upon BSD Unix, but replaced the kernel whereas Linux was based upon GNU Unix (again rewriting the kernel from scratch),but they are all POSIX compliant .

Avatar
CygnusX1 [791 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
antonio wrote:
rdmp2 wrote:

I have the Edge 20 (same as 25 but lacking sensor compatability). Works perfectly to log data and uploads data to Garmin connect. Syncs perfectly (almost always) to Strava- very occasionally have to do it manually. Battery has coped for century rides with GPS/GLONASS + following breadcrumb route. Recommended if you are happy just to log data and don't need advanced mapping etc

 

multimodal wrote:

Does anyone have a Garmin 25? Looking for something simple to capture ride data. I use the Strava app but it kills my phone battery on longer rides. Is it easy to sync the Garmin's data over to Strava?

I have the Edge 25, use it with heart rate monitor, it does all I want to track my rides, never bother to load anything up as I like to keep it simple. I haven't had any issues with it at all, even got it for £49.00. at Aldi sale, bought the heart monitor seperate off ebay, links without a problem to Strava as well.

Me too, also from Aldi though not at sale prices. Works a charm, links to my Wahoo cadence sensor and hrm strap, Connect app syncs to strava and mapmyride. Turn based routing works well for the odd occasion when not on familiar ground (with phone as backup for mapping).

Avatar
MandaiMetric [131 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

I think Linux and MacOS both trace their origins to UNIX, actually. They're siblings. And then Android came out of Linux.

Yes MacOS and Linux are Unix-like OSes (aka clones), but to the original point, Mac is in no way a skin over Linux.

It's conceivable to describe Android as a skin over Linux, since Google took some Linux kernel components to create Android kernel. Apple did not take any Linux kernel elements to create OS X or iOS.

:geek off:

Anyway, sorry for the sidetrack, I have a Garmin Edge 520, which works fine for me although the screen is a bit small to guide on the map (at least with my 50 yr old hyperopia). I run it at 20% brightness which I find readable day or night, even in the tropics - and I get ~10 hours+ from it @ 1 second tracking. It's also survived a it's fair share of falls and rainshowers.

 

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Chrisbpr [33 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I actually went back to an edge 200 which in my humble opinion is the best unit Garmin made.

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davel [2340 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Chrisbpr wrote:

The Garmin touring is a bag of wank,it feels like a work in progress which is how most Garmin stuff feels like.

Mine was buggy-ish until an update probably a year ago. Plus I had a proper look at the settings as it kept wanting to send me offroad and reroute inexplicably. Seems to have been ok since.

The time it really let me down was on a solo ride on a route I'd never done before in Mallorca. Fooking thing had a wobble right in the middle of it... 'route failure' or something. Still had the blue route line on the map, though, so I managed to feel my way round without turn-by-turn from that.

Garmin's multisport watches are good - I have a 910XT and a fenix 5X. Used the fenix to navigate the Sandstone Trail run on Saturday and it was inch perfect. Don't think it'd quite make the 'cheap' list though.

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alansmurphy [1781 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Multi - the Mio is a steal at £35, had it as my first bike computer when it was nearer £90 and it more than did the job!

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rkemb [64 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

That Lezyne is reporting a heartrate of 12.7 mph. How does that convert to bpm?

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Chrisbpr [33 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

like the look of the lezyne units....won't buy another edge if I can help it.funny thing is we have two forerunners at home and they are faultless.I think garmin shouldn't do touchscreens as this is when it seems to all go a bit wrong.

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