Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

BUYER'S GUIDE

Best cycling computers 2024 — track rides in real-time, analyse data, navigate and more with a quality bike GPS unit

Nowadays, it's easy and relatively affordable to get all that vital ride info in front of you and navigate to where you want to go. Here are the top bike computers currently recommended by road.cc reviewers

This article contains links to retailers. Purchases made after clicking on those links may help support road.cc by earning us a commission but all of our reviews are fully independent. Find out more about road.cc buyer's guides.

Cycling computers, particularly those that have GPS technology, have helped to open up a wide range of possibilities and change with regards to recording, planning and comparing bike rides. The best cycling computers can really enhance your riding experience, which is why a good one is nowadays considered essential by any cyclist who isn't just using their bike to nip to the shops. 


Cycling computers can also make following a route easier and hassle-free, thanks to bigger, more visible colour screens. With the ability to connect and customise data screens from smartphone apps, and also share with your favourite third-party apps like Strava, it’s made a once tricky piece of equipment far more user-friendly and customisable. Not only that, but in recent times the battery life of these gadgets has rapidly improved, meaning some more deluxe units will run for pretty much a full day before needing a recharge. 

Given everyone rides a bike for a different reason, different riders will therefore need a cycling computer to match both their individual riding needs as well as budget. It means that cycling computers can be a rather controversial category, because one person's dream computer could have a missing feature (or one that is sub-optimal) that another cyclist may find is a fatal flaw. That's why we've picked our recommended computers based off numerous different metrics, so you can check over the specs and read the full reviews to inform your choice... if you find navigation absolutely essential, it's no use opting for a cheap unit that doesn't offer this at all! 

Most bike computers cost in the hundreds of pounds, which is a pretty significant purchase; however, pretty much all road.cc staffers and, we suspect, the majority of cyclists would agree that it will be a very worthwhile investment to invest a little more and opt for a GPS-equipped computer. That said, if you really don't feel like you need to record your rides and analyse the data, or just want to track your heart rate to make sure you're keeping within your zones, then you can always check out our guides to the best cheap cycling computers and best heart rate monitors

How we review cycling computers

We believe that products should be reviewed by their target customers here at road.cc, so when it comes to bike computers, we only send them to reviewers who would otherwise consider buying one. To clarify, that means a reviewer who only wants a computer for basic features and wouldn't dream of spending hundreds of pounds on one won't be getting to review a top-of-the-range flagship GPS device! 

We'll rate computers on quality of construction, durability, performance, ease of use and value. With almost all bike computers being GPS-enabled nowadays, it's also important to ensure they're accurate, so reviewers will always check the data against another unit they know to be reliable during the test period. That test period is always at least a month, so you know when you get a road.cc recommendation, it's not based off an hour or so of fiddling with the settings. We take computers out in all conditions, and try to use as many of the settings as possible to arrive at our final verdicts. 

Why you can trust us

road.cc buyer's guides only ever include products that are rated as at least 'good', although most of the bike computers in this guide have 4/5 stars or more, indicating a 'very good' or 'excellent' score - some have also scooped road.cc Recommends awards, the section of the site where you'll find all our very top-scoring products.  

The long and short of it is that we won't include a cycling computer that has scored average or lower in its full review, regardless of how popular it is or any other external forces. If we don't like it, it ain't going in. 

Our reviewers are all experienced riders, as are the staff who write these guides, so you can be sure you're getting genuine advice and proper recommendations, not round-ups devised based on what will make us a commission or AI-generated drivel. 

Hopefully there is something for everyone in our picks below to suit all budgets! You'll find our overall top six first, followed by plenty more recommendations and finally, some extra handy buying advice. 

The best cycling computers

Hammerhead Karoo 3

Hammerhead Karoo 3

9
Best cycling computer overall
Buy now for £450 from Tredz
Awesome touchscreen
Impressive clarity
Quick processing
Robust build quality
Easy to pair with various devices

The Hammerhead Karoo is now in its third iteration, and has been refined once more with a super-clear screen, great battery life, lots of compatibility with third-party apps and excellent navigation. 

A 480 x 800-pixel screen is crystal clear in all light conditions, and following a route is simple with the device giving you full details of the route ahead of you. Multi-band connectivity means you will connect to satellites quickly and probably never lose signal, even when riding in the woods. 

The unit is very easy to set up and use, and you get double the processing capacity and storage space of the previous model, with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage respectively.

£450 is a lot of money for a cycling computer, but it's less than top-of-the-range Garmin units and competitive with flagship computers from other brands. Overall, the Karoo 3 is a seriously impressive bit of tech, and the high score means we're happy for it to replace its predecessor as our top-recommended GPS unit right away. 

Read our review:
Garmin Edge 1040 Solar

Garmin Edge 1040 Solar

9
Best money-no-object cycling computer
Buy now for £579.99 from Tredz
Unbeatable battery life
Clear and large screen
Loads of customisation
Price
Size

If you were wanting the best money-no-object cycling computer that pretty much does everything, then the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar is a brilliant choice for you. The clear large screen, with a resolution of 282x470 pixels, is super easy to read and follow routes, and it’s essentially the updated version of the popular Garmin Edge 1030 with some issues ironed out. 

Not only does this computer offer a large screen that has an easy to read display, the battery life is also fantastic. Offering roughly around 100 hours on battery saving mode, you will hardly need to charge this device, even on bikepacking adventures. Additionally, the screen itself is super easy to use and straightforward:, from the rider profile page you can easily add or remove screens, and navigating between them will require you to simply swipe across the device.

Although it is expensive and therefore may be priced out of most people's budget, the Edge 1040 Solar is a really impressive device that is well worth the investment if you have the cash. 

Read our review:
Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

8
Best cycling computer for customisation
Buy now for £249.99 from Amazon
Colour screen
Automatic re-routing
On-device navigation features
Improved storage capacity
Small screen
Increased price
Buttons can be fiddly in long-fingered gloves

The second version of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt has a 64-colour screen that improves clarity, and a couple of neat navigation features improve the user experience and justify the extra cash. Not only that, but the Elemnt Bolt also allows you to customise your data screen through the app with real ease. Just a bit of rearranging using the phone app and your computer will sort itself out in real time while synced up. 

The smart navigation from this device means that the software will re-route you when you go wrong. When you go off course, rather than having a meltdown about it, the Elemnt Bolt just beeps and you get an amended route which usually occurs within seconds, sometimes a little longer. 

Things are made a whole lot easier compared to the previous Bolt now the maps feature coloured roads. Coupled with the new on-device navigation features, the Bolt is a top choice that is road.cc-approved and an increasingly common site in the pro peloton.  

Read our review:
Garmin Edge Explore 2

Garmin Edge Explore 2

8
Best cycling computer for navigation
Buy now for £247 from Merlin Cycles
Plenty of sensor pairing options
Large screen is easy to read
Good battery life
Preloaded maps included
Mapping can send you down private roads/tracks
No out-front mount included in the price
No wifi

If maps and navigation is the main thing you want from a cycling computer, then the Garmin Edge Explore 2 is hard to beat. The large screen is perfect for following the detailed maps that can easily reroute you if you do happen to take a wrong turn, and the colour screen makes following routes easy and effortless.

The Explore 2 is a very capable unit for following routes on: the directions are super easy to follow regardless of what data page you are on, which is thanks to the map pinging up with the route, which also usefully countdowns to any turns, which helps to reduce any confusion when riding up to a busy road with multiple junctions. Additionally, the Explore 2 will also quickly and efficiently reroute you if you do happen to take a wrong turn. You can also use this computer as you would a standard sat-nav by just entering the postcode of where you’d like to go.

Overall, the Garmin Edge Explore 2 with its large screen and clear navigation is a great option for anyone wanting to be able to follow routes, and battery life is decent at 16 hours.  It has many features that the more expensive units from Garmin benefit from, and although it lacks the ability to offer structured training, its GPS abilities are fast and efficient.

Read our review:
Coospo BC107 GPS Bike Computer

Coospo BC107 GPS Bike Computer

8
Cheapest road.cc-recommended bike computer with GPS
Buy now for £49.99 from Amazon
Easy to use
Inexpensive
Long battery life
Included out-front mount
Calorie algorithm ignores power
Time zone setting requires app

A GPS bike computer for 50 quid?? Our expectations weren't exactly high when we received the Coospo BC107 in for review, but our reviewer's expectations were far exceeded with how reliable and easy it is to use for the price. 

You get a basic set of GPS bike computer functions including altitude, gradient and calorie calculation, plus basics like speed and distance. It is compatible with ANT+ sensors, so with a single-sided crank power sensor you could be training with power for less than £300 when paired with this unit. 

It's also straightforward to use and accurate, finding our reviewer's sensors easily and it's quick to find satellites, reducing pre-ride faff time which is particularly welcome when it's chilly out. You don't get any navigation, but if you just want essential ride data and don't want to faff with the sensors you'll need to add for even cheaper computers without GPS, it's a great shout. You could also use it as a second screen alongside a mapping computer. 

Read our review:
Bryton S500E GPS Cycle Computer

Bryton S500E GPS Cycle Computer

8
A great Garmin alternative
Buy now for £199.99 from Merlin Cycles
Long battery life
Highly customisable Climb Challenge feature
Live Tracking for safe adventuring alone
Supports notifications
Small screen for the device size
No Strava Live Segments
Touchscreen not that responsive

The Bryton S500E GPS Cycle Computer is a great option for anyone wanting a deluxe device that offers a long battery life and some interesting additional features, and it's available under the £300 mark. 

You can change the data fields shown on the display pretty easily and the navigation is easy to follow, and one of the best features that this computer offers is the highly customisable climb challenge feature. This allows you to detect climbs while riding, and knowing what climbs are coming up on a ride and how the gradient varies is incredibly useful and can definitely help you get the most out of your riding.

The Bryton S500E performs very well in terms of navigation thanks to useful features such as reversing and retracing routes. Pair this with its impressive battery life of around 24 hours, which easily serves you well on multi-day trips, and you have a really solid choice of cycling computer that can pretty much fulfil all of your needs for a reasonable price.

Read our review:

More of our top cycling computer recommendations

Lezyne Mega XL GPS computer

Lezyne Mega XL GPS computer

8
Buy now for £168.99 from Amazon
Massive battery life
Offline mapping and routing
Easy to configure from the app
Slow activity uploads
Desktop route creation is poor
Not as intuitive as some competitors

The Lezyne Mega XL might be just the ticket for you if you're into long rides and want to follow a route from your handlebars, but don’t want to be spending a small fortune on a smaller device that does the same things. 

For the price, you will struggle to find a computer with the run time or GPS and mapping abilities that this offers. The routing function works pretty well and the maps are easy to follow but you need to download them from your smartphone. In addition to this, the GPS runs for an impressively long time before it needs recharging: you can easily expect up to 30 hours out of it be it with sensors paired or sometimes with the phone paired. Lezyne also offers a free tracking functionality which allows you to share your location with friends or family, which is a great function for safety.

The Lezyne Mega XL is a very good option if you want long battery life and mapping without the huge price tag. It's not the most intuitive to use, but if you can get over that and like your tech then you'll most likely appreciate it for for audax and distance riding.

Read our review:
Garmin Edge 130 Plus

Garmin Edge 130 Plus

8
Buy now for £139.99 from Tredz
Small and light
Easy to use and reliable
Good connectivity and fun features
No maps and basic navigation
Incident Detection is a bit sensitive

The Garmin Edge 130 Plus is an updated 130 with a load of extra features and connectivity. This computer is not only good for road, but also gravel and mountain biking with metrics that measure how far you jump.

This small and mighty device has a lot of the features that much more expensive Garmin units have, including pairing with ANT+ and Bluetooth devices and the option to customise all your data fields. It allows you to reliably record all the statistics and allows for easy sensor integration so you can effortlessly track your performance and rides. With only two buttons, it’s also without the use of sometimes unreliable and temperamental touch screens.

The Edge 130 Plus may be a tiny package in comparison to other devices, but it’s straightforward to use and will be suited to most riders and their needs. 

Read our review:
Bryton Rider 15E Neo GPS cycle computer

Bryton Rider 15

8
Buy now for £47.99 from Amazon
Very well priced
Easy to read screen
Quick Bluetooth upload to Strava etc
No ANT+ connectivity
Buttons can be a bit tricky to push when new

If you don't want or need all the bells and whistles of much more expensive units, the Bryton Rider 15E Neo is a compact, easy-to-use GPS computer to consider that doesn't cost the earth.

It's quick to set up, and our reviewer was impressed with the battery life at well over 12 hours with typical use. It's waterproof to the IPX7 standard and charging is via micro-USB. Overall, the Rider 15E Neo is a great companion if you just want to record your ride and upload it to Strava without loads of graphs or data as you go, and is difficult to fault at this price. 

Read our review:
Beeline Velo 2 Cycling Computer

Beeline Velo 2 Cycle Navigation Computer

8
Buy now for £99.99 from Beeline Bicycles
Easy to use
Small
Can't connect sensors
App doesn't give elevations – yet

The Beeline Velo 2 is simple, easy to use and is very good for the RRP of £99.99. It’s also seriously small, so if you don't appreciate bar clutter but want to track your rides it should be right up your wishlist. 

Although it’s compact, the Beeline Velo 2 Cycling Computer does a great job at being a very small sat-nav. The directions, which are set via the app in your smartphone, are impressively easy to follow. The battery life is also decent, providing up to 11 hours of use. 

The Beeline Velo has also seen some software updates added since we reviewed it, such as elevation of rides in-app and GPX export and import functionality.

If you weren’t wanting a massive phone-sized device protruding from your bars, or you really care about keeping weight down (this computer weighs just 28g), then this is undoubtedly the compact bike computer for you.

Read our review:
Sigma Rox 12.1 Evo

Sigma Rox 12.1 Evo

8
Buy now for £285.49 from Bike Inn
Great mapping and navigation
Plan routes on the fly
Gets GPS signal quickly
Handy accompanying app
Some features hard to find
Doesn't sync with Ride with GPS
Handlebar mount issues
Touchscreen erratic

Sigma's latest top-of-the-range GPS unit has an impressively colourful display, which certainly helps when you're trying to follow a route. 

Our reviewer also praised the "lightening fast" GPS signal acquisition, and the great route planning options. The ability to key in a location and ride there with built-in mapping is very useful, and as easy as using your mobile. 

All your buttons are on the side, and the user experience is generally intuitive, but some of the features are a little hard to find. When you've got to grips with the slightly over-sensitive touchscreen, the Rox 12.1 Evo is a good alternative to the other major players in the GPS market. 

Read our review:
Bryton Rider S800E GPS Cycle Computer

Bryton Rider S800E GPS Cycle Computer

8
Buy now for £299 from Merlin Cycles
Very clear, large display
Impressive battery life
Loads of data can be displayed
Not the smoothest for navigation
A bit sluggish at responding to changes in speed
Reliant on app for some functions

With its big, clear colour screen and ability to display as many or as few data fields as you like, the S800E is Bryton's deluxe offering and impressed our reviewer. 

The crisp screen is easy to read in all conditions, and the mapping is very good for local rides, big adventures or whatever type of riding you fancy. It might take a while to get used to it if you're switching from another brand, but once you've got to grips with the S800E it's intuitive and simple to operate. 

While it's quite reliant on the phone app to change your settings, if that's ok with you then the S800E is a very capable bike computer, priced lower than some rivals' top-end units. 

Read our review:

How to choose from the best cycling computers

faq-icon
Is a cycling computer worth it?

After reading this guide and seeing our extensive archive of bike computer reviews, hopefully you've gathered that there isn't anyone on the road.cc team who thinks that a bike computer is not a worthwhile investment! The way a modern cycling computer can transform your riding is impressive, from motivating you to dig deeper thanks to the accurate display of time, distance and power (when paired with one of the best power meters) to navigating you exactly where you want to ride with turn-by-turn notifications and high quality on-screen mapping. 

Recording all your data is great to track progress as well, and a bike computer is simply the best way to do this at the time of writing due to the rich cycling-specific features on them. With GPS-enabled units now started at around £50, and phone apps still not being quite as good as the real deal compared to most bike computers, there are fewer and fewer reasons not to invest in a decent bike computer nowadays. 

faq-icon
What is the most accurate cycling computer?

If we're talking about how accurate basic measurements like time and distance are, then you'll be glad to know that almost all cycling computers with GPS (Global Positioning System) functionality will have very similar levels of accuracy. In terms of how much distance your computer will record compared to the actual distance, this will depend mostly on the satellite strength in the area you're riding in. Luckily most areas of the world are pretty well covered nowadays, and there are increasingly few places where you can expect significant GPS dropouts once you've locked on. 

While early GPS receivers were slow to get a positional fix and struggled to pick up the signals from satellites if there was anything in the way, like tree cover or buildings, advances in electronics have improved performance dramatically. Modern GPS units can even pick up indoors, and some use other satellites like the Russian GLONASS system, as well as the American GPS satellites, improving speed and accuracy even further.

If you want the ultimate in accuracy and reliability then choose a high-end cycling computer that picks up at least GPS and GLONASS; however, if you just want to record the time and distance of your ride in a developed country like the UK or US and that route isn't really remote with loads of tunnels, our very cheapest GPS computer in this guide will probably record almost exactly the same as our most expensive. 

faq-icon
Who makes the best bicycle computer?

While we've chosen a relatively new player in the market as our best cycling computer overall in Hammerhead's excellent Karoo 2, we have to acknowledge that Garmin is still the biggest name in bike computers by quite some distance at the time of writing. The number of inclusions Garmin has in this guide will probably tell you that the tech giant has a big range at various price points, and we've never reviewed one that we've completely disliked. 

To answer the question more plainly, at the time of writing we're crowning the Karoo 2 as 'the' best bike computer all things considered, but other brands will offer features and functions you might prefer: want a big screen? You can't go wrong with the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar. Want to be able to customise your screen really quickly with an intuitive companion app? Wahoo's Bolt is a great shout, and is very easy to use. 

faq-icon
What computers do pro cyclists use?

As we've already mentioned, Garmin is the biggest name in bike computers, so it makes sense that more pro cyclists use them than any other device; in fact, Garmin sponsored no fewer than 15 pro cycling teams and hundreds more influencers and individual pro cyclists in 2022. Of course, this doesn't mean that the sponsored riders wouldn't use other devices if they didn't have obligations, and they will only be able to use sponsor-friendly equipment when under contract for a pro team. 

Wahoo sponsors lots of pro teams too, including Bora-Hansgrohe, Team DSM and Le Col Wahoo at the time of writing. Bryton, Sigma and SRM also sponsor pro teams, with the latter being one of the first to offer high-end power meters and GPS units to the peloton over two decades ago. 

faq-icon
How long does a bike computer last?

How long a bike computer lasts will largely be down to how well you look after it, of course; however, modern computers will be highly water-resistant, will work in a huge temperature range and will be pretty hard-wearing. So even after riding in all weathers and enduring the odd bump or dropping incident every now and then, your bike computer should always last you years rather than months. 

We've known of road.cc staffers that have got five years or more out of their computers; so although deluxe ones aren't cheap, the investment will pay off over time if you get a high quality unit. Even so, check your warranty before you buy if you're concerned about longevity. Garmin, to give one example, offers a two-year warranty to cover defects in materials or workmanship from the date of purchase. 

faq-icon
What are some common functions on cycling computers?

Standard computer functions

Like any conventional non-GPS computer, a GPS unit will tell you your current speed, distance, ride distance, average speed, maximum speed and so on.

Since there’s a fairly powerful little processor sitting in most GPS units, designers tend to include just about every speed/distance/time function you can think of.

For example, some of Garmin’s GPS units have a feature called ‘virtual training partner’ which pits you against an electronic competitor who’s doing a set average speed, or against yourself the last time you rode a course.

Heart rate functions
Many GPS units come with a heart rate strap, or will work with one, usually using the ANT+ protocol. 

Power functions
If you have a power meter, many GPS units will work with it to record your power data along with your ride and heart rate data, and display a range of measurements and averages so you can confirm that the reason you feel like you’re working your arse off is that you’re working your arse off. 

Training functions
With a programmed workout sequence, many GPS units can do the brain work of counting intervals or timing efforts for you, feeing you up to concentrate on the effort itself. Some also have in-built fitness tests or can monitor your training effort and load so you don’t overdo it.

Geographical functions
These include both navigation and route recording, functions that are unique to GPS units. If you simply want to get somewhere, almost all mapping GPS units let you put in a destination as a postcode, name of a village or point of interest and will then give you directions to it, usually with turn-by-turn warnings as you approach junctions. However, even when you use a setting like ‘avoid major roads’ GPS map data often doesn’t differentiate between a quiet minor road and a dual carriageway A road, which can lead to some interesting route choices.

A better idea is to plan your route in advance using either the GPS maker’s own tools, such as Garmin Connect, or one of the many route-planning websites out there. Transfer the route to your GPS and you can then follow it exactly.

Recording a route lets you follow it exactly on a future ride — handy if you’re being guided — and has opened the door to competing against friends and strangers online through Strava. If you’re following a planned route, then the unit can tell you how far it is to your destination or to the next landmark. It can usually also work out how long you’ll take to get there based on your speed so far.

If you’re happy to really roll the dice on where your ride takes you, some GPS units can generate a random route of a specified length, an entertaining gimmick that can be useful for exploring new areas. Routing GPS units will still give you turn-by-turn directions so you can follow a pre-loaded route. The display in these situations is usually a line showing you the upcoming turn.

Time functions
As well as the obvious — time of day, ride time, stopwatch and so on — GPS units often have extra time functions that depend on satellite data. These include sunset and sunrise times and automatic lap time functions based on detecting the spot where you started.

Altitude functions
GPS units can work out your altitude from satellite data, but this doesn’t tend to be very accurate. Altitude data usually comes from a barometric altimeter, which uses atmospheric pressure to determine your height above sea level.

Barometric altimeters are susceptible to errors caused by changes in the weather, but if you upload your ride data to a ride-sharing site you will often be able to correct the elevation readings. Having an altimeter lets you see extra information like how fast you’re climbing and the gradient so you can confirm that killer hill really is insanely steep. Or that you're just hideously unfit.

Wireless communication functions
It’s common for GPS units to have the ability to communicate wirelessly with other devices or sensors, using low-power wireless communication protocols such as Bluetooth and ANT+. This is usually how GPS units communicate with cadence sensors, heart rate monitor straps, power meters, phones and even other GPS units. Some GPS units are able to use your home wi-fi to upload your ride, and will do so automatically for you. If you have electronic gears many GPS units can get data from them and tell you which gear you're in too.

The advent of Bluetooth Smart means many units are in constant contact with your phone, and can display text and call alerts.

Having learnt to ride a bike in order to race as a child, Charlotte is no stranger to life on two wheels. Racing across multiple disciplines over the years, she now focuses her time on road racing. Racing with her Belgium based team. Not only that, but Charlotte has many years experience working within the cycling industry alongside her racing endeavours. Therefore, it’s fair to say that anything with two wheels is right up her street.

Add new comment

1 comments

Avatar
pneves | 5 days ago
1 like

Yes, Edge 1040 is a big bike computer. But compared to the karoo 3 (this article primary choice) is very svelte, much thinner. Also, even the non solar reaches 40h of real use with 4 sensors, livetrack and notifications, something that the karoo 3 cannot do even in dreams. 

Not to mention the multiple metrics one can measure with the 1040. Less biased articles please...