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road.cc's Cycling Gadgets of the Year 2020/21

Check out the very best cycling gadgets that we've reviewed on road.cc over the past 12 months

Our reviewers have tried out loads of bike-related gadgets over the past year and here are the very best of them.

This category covers everything from bike computers to power meters, from cameras to smart trainers. An app has also sneaked in – not technically a gadget, we know, but closely related so let it slide.

All of these reviews scored at least eight out of 10 in initial testing, so if you’re looking for some great new technology in your life, you've come to the right place.

We’re not ranking these accessories as we did for our various Bike of the Year categories, but we are giving out three awards:

Bargain Buy This goes to a product that we feel gives the biggest bang for the least buck; a superb performance but with an emphasis on value for money. 

Editor's Choice This goes to a product that gives the best combination of performance and value for money. 

Benchmark Product This goes to a product that offers the highest level of performance outright – one that sets the technical and performance standards against which all the rest are judged, and price doesn’t even come into it. Think of it as the money-no-object award.

The prices given here are the ones in place when we reviewed each product, whether or no they’ve altered since.

Right, that's enough chat; let's get down to business…

Bryton Rider 420E GPS computer £109.99

Buy it here 

Bryton Rider 420E GPS computer - mounted 2

The Bryton Rider 420E is an easy-to-use, compact GPS unit that offers loads of data, durability and basic mapping for not a lot of money. If you want a computer that is simple to set up, use and that works with all of your ancillary devices, you won't really be disappointed.

You can set the 2.3in mono LCD screen to show eight pieces of data on each of the seven pages.

You get all the usual data fields (77 in total) like time, speed and altitude with maximums and averages for you to study while on the bike or when you get home.

You also get power meter compatibility and – thanks to ANT+ and Bluetooth – you never struggle to get a connection to heart rate monitors, cadence sensors and the like.

The 420E has the ability to give you turn-by-turn navigation when following pre-defined routes that can be created in the Active app, uploaded as .gpx files or auto synced from the likes of Strava, Komoot and Ride. There are no maps as such, so it gives you a breadcrumb trail but with a countdown distance to your next turn, and street names too.

Bryton’s Active app allows you to customise screens, and set up smart notifications to the device for when your phone receives an email, call or text. You can also upload your rides over Bluetooth to your phone and go through all of the data – something that the app shows in lots of detail.

Read the review 

Praxis Zayante CarbonX 4iiii Power Crank £700

Buy it here 

Praxis Zayante Carbon and Power Crank.jpg

The Praxis Zayante CarbonX 4iiii Power Crank gives a relatively cheap route into power measurement for the racer or data enthusiast who wants to see their wattage. It's a very good chainset in its own right, with crisp shifting, and you are getting the complete package too, including chainrings. 

The Zayante CarbonX is based around a pair of carbon fibre cranks that are impressively stiff and keep the weight down. It uses a 30mm/28mm spindle which does mean you'll need a specific Praxis M30 bottom bracket.

The spider holding the chainrings is separate to the drive-side crank. This means you could swap to other chainrings in the Praxis range with ease.

The Zayante Carbon+ comes with a 4iiii power meter fitted to the inside of the non-driveside crank and it's a neat little unit, adding barely any weight.

We found the 4iiii to be reliable, closely tracking other power meters we’ve been using. More importantly, it is consistent. The only downside is that it only measures one leg and then doubles it, so the figures will be skewed if your output is uneven.

Read the review 

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smartwatch £289.99

Buy it here 

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 main image.jpg

This is a well-rounded smartwatch that's built on the Google Wear OS platform, and it features lots of good features out of the box with the option to add third party apps for mapping, navigation and recording.

The TicWatch Pro 3 has a dual screen. There’s a touch-enabled AMOLED screen that is bright enough for viewing in all conditions, and the touch sensitivity is good. 

On top of that is layered a more basic LCD screen that most of the time just shows the time and date, your step count and a three-bar battery indicator; if you're exercising it'll also display heart rate, distance and such. The idea is to preserve battery life: it requires a fraction of the power of the AMOLED screen. Mobvoi says that the TicWatch Pro 3 will give you up to 72 hours between charges in normal use, but we managed only about 48 hours,

The watch has a microphone and speaker, so it's possible to take calls on the watch, and talk to the Google Assistant.

You can also receive notifications, and Wear OS allows you to choose which apps send notifications to the phone. You can reply to messages too, and you can get Google Calendar reminders, check the weather... many of the things you'd habitually do on your phone.

As well as Google's own ecosystem, Mobvoi has its own app which runs in tandem with the Wear OS app on your phone. This is where you'll get all the usual activity data that you'd associate with a smartwatch.

The TicWatch Pro 3 is capable of continuously monitoring your heart rate through the day. If you've enabled the TicSleep app then you'll get a sleep chart. It’ll also measure your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2).

Mobvoi's Exercise watch app allows you to track your active lifestyle through your phone. Anything that's outdoors, including cycling, will make use of the in-built GPS for distance tracking, and you can collate all your activities in the Mobvoi phone app.

Read the review 

Suunto 5 GPS Sports Watch £299

Buy it here 

2020 Suunto 5 GPS Sports Watch - on wrist.jpg

The Suunto 5 is a mid-range multisport watch that combines a chunky aesthetic with an intricate, feature-packed functionality that will set an individualised, adaptive training programme for you and track your fitness.

This watch offers cycle computer functionality, including GPS navigation and the ability to pair with peripheral sensors via Bluetooth, along with step counting, calorie burn, sleep analysis, stress and recovery status. There's a serious amount of tech packed into a unit that's just 45mm in diameter and 15.7mm thick.

However, reviewer Simon Smythe found the wrist-based optical heart-rate monitor to be slightly unpredictable when compared with a Polar H10 chest strap (optical heart rate monitor performance can be athlete-dependent).

If you don't already have an idea of what you're training for and when you need to train, you can choose your own fitness goals and set the Suunto 5's adaptive training plan to 'maintain', 'improve' or ‘boost'.

The GPS performance is probably one of the most impressive aspects of the Suunto 5. Recording is absolutely spot on for distance and keeping the trace on the actual route. Plotting a route on the Suunto phone app is also incredibly simple. You can view a heatmap of where other Suunto users have been or where you've been yourself.

Syncing happens automatically once you've finished your activity and returned to 'watch face' mode. Crucially, the Suunto app – which is excellent and very easy to use – links to Strava, so activities get uploaded automatically there too. Training Peaks and Endomondo are also supported.

Battery life is long. Doing an activity most days and wearing it at night for the sleep tracking, it manages close to a full week without needing to be charged. 

Read the review 

Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer £849.99 

Buy one here 

SarisH3DirectDriveSmartTrainer

The Saris H3 takes over from the H2 as the company's top-end direct drive trainer. It's better than the H2, which was already excellent, and cheaper, so there's a lot to like here.

The H3 is a doddle to set up, once you’ve added your own cassette. Connecting it to various training platforms on various hardware platforms is simple enough; it supports ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS.

At 21kg it's a heavy old thing so it's not too easy to lug about, but it feels very solid once you've attached your bike and hopped aboard.

One of the main things you want a smart trainer to be is accurate, and that's not something you have to worry about here. The H3 is capable of producing 2,000W of resistance and simulating a gradient of up to 20%, and our testing shows it to be pretty much spot on. It reads power highly accurately, certainly within the claimed +/- 2%. Most importantly, it's repeatable – 300W on day one is going to be the same as 300W on day 99, meaning that you can accurately track changes in your fitness. 

The H3 responds really well when you increase effort, and when using Zwift the changes in gradient are swiftly applied. The result is a very realistic feel.

The 9kg flywheel and sturdy frame make for a solid and reassuring feel when you're in the saddle. 

The H3 is quiet too, and doesn’t vibrate much in use at all, even when you're really going for it.

Read the review 

Tacx Neo Bike Smart £2,299

Buy it here 

Gadgets-Benchmark-TacxNeoBike

A gym-quality build coupled with what's probably the best resistance unit out there at the moment means that this is a pretty special bit of kit – and that's why it gets our Benchmark Product award.. If you have room for a permanent training station – and especially if more than one person wants to train – it's certainly one for the short list.

The Neo Bike is adjustable through a huge range of sizes, and even the cranks have replaceable inserts for different lengths.

Hop aboard and the first thing you notice is that the enclosed singlespeed transmission is almost silent.

At the front of the bike there's a dedicated screen, two fans, a mount for an iPad, a tray for your mobile phone and two USB ports so you can charge your devices as you ride. 

The screen gives you a graphical display of the available gears, and also tells you what ratio you're in. If you're not connected to an app it'll also give you a power readout, speed and gradient.

Gearing is virtual: you click the buttons and the resistance changes almost instantly. Sometimes the pedal action can get a bit choppy if you're pedalling fast with a low resistance, but for the most part the experience is incredibly realistic. In Zwift the changes to resistance when the road ramps up are near-instant.

What's not quite so good is the actual physical process of changing gear. The two buttons on the brake levers aren't distinct enough. 

We compared power data from the Neo resistance unit with that of Garmin Vector 2 pedals and found them to be very similar in most circumstances. It is one of the most reliable and repeatable resistance units there is. Cadence sensing is also very accurate.

Read the review 

Elite Suito Turbo Trainer £649.99

Buy it here 

Gadgets-EditorsChoice-EliteSuito

Elite's Suito sits at the cheaper end of the direct drive smart trainer market but it's well made and the performance is great. As the basis for a lower-budget setup it's an excellent starting point.

The Suito comes with a Shimano 11-speed cassette already installed so all you need to do is hoick it out of the box, unfold the legs, fit your bike using the correct end caps and plug it in. It takes less than five minutes to be up and running on your favourite training app.

The Suito transmits on both Bluetooth Smart FTMS and ANT+ FE-C, as well as non-controllable Bluetooth and ANT+ profiles. 

Comparing the Elite Suito’s power measurement to that of Garmin Vector 2 pedals, we’d say that it's not quite as accurate as higher-end direct-drive options, but it's plenty good enough for meaningful training.

In ERG mode (where the system automatically sets the resistance regardless of your cadence) the Suito responds well to changes in intensity, and it also does a good job of adjusting the resistance to keep you at the level you want. It's a bit choppier than most top-end trainers, but again, it’s plenty good enough most of the time. 

When you're riding around in Zwift the resistance changes are quick enough and Elite’s maximum claimed resistance of 1,900W is easily enough for pretty much everyone. As for measuring cadence, the Suito is as good as any smart trainer out there.

The Suito isn’t as quiet as many higher end trainers but it's not especially loud either. 

With a strong performance at a reasonable price, the Elite Suito is the winner of our Editor's Choice award.

Read the review 

Tacx Neo 2T Smart trainer £1,199

Buy it here 

2020 Tacx Neo 2T Smart trainer.jpg

The Tacx NEO 2T Smart is the next generation of what's already a well-regarded trainer. The new unit offers more powerful resistance at low speeds and is capable of very quick ERG power changes. It's quiet and capable, with accurate power numbers, and continues the trend of NEO trainers being excellent.

Tacx claims the NEO 2T can simulate a flywheel up to 125kg – way above the physical flywheels on other units – and the design also allows the trainer to directly drive the rear wheel, so it'll keep up speed when you're resting on descents, ready to pick up your effort again at the bottom. It's able to generate its own power, so if you like to take your trainer to warm up before races then you can get full interactivity with your favourite training app in the middle of a field if you want.

The Neo 2T is ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible for both reporting and for trainer control. It can simulate up to a 25% gradient and offers up to 2,200W of resistance at an accuracy of +/- 1%.

The resistance unit is capable of replicating road conditions. So if you're on Zwift and riding across a wooden bridge you'll feel the thunk-thunk-thunk of the planks underneath your wheels. It adds a layer of realism to the ride that you don't get with other trainers.

The Neo 2T is very good at giving repeatable power figures that you can trust to be pretty close to what you're actually putting out.

The redesigned internals make it capable of making big resistance changes almost instantly, and that's what it does in ERG intervals. It's pretty brutal: as soon as you hit the interval it's just a wall of resistance, and you have to really push to get going.

Overall, the NEO 2T is certainly up there with the best direct drive trainers in terms of build quality, power accuracy and ride feel.

Read the review 

Bespoke Rocker Plate R1 Black Edition £295

Buy one here 

2020 R1 rocker - with bike.jpg

The Bespoke Rocker Plate R1 Black Edition is a high quality indoor training rocker for a good price. If you want to feel a bit more natural on the turbo and take a little bit of the stress off your bike, it's an excellent investment.

The R1 Black Edition is CNC-machined from Buffalo Board. It's a heavy-duty plywood with a non-slip patterned vinyl coating, and it's solid stuff: the R1 weighs 18kg, so you're going to need dedicated space for your trainer setup. There is a smaller half-length board if you struggle for space.

There are two layers of board separated by heavy duty rubber washers held in place by good quality stainless hardware, and on either side of the rocker axis there's an adjustable air-sprung toric rubber cushion; that sounds better than 'wheelbarrow inner tube'. It's perfect for the job, anyway: the valve is angled so it's easily accessible.

The R1 is drilled to accept most popular trainers; there's a whole range of holes to choose from and it's just a case of looping the supplied Velcro straps through the top plate and over the legs. If your turbo doesn't fit, it's possible to get a custom version.

In use, the rocker plate feels solid but also offers enough movement to make indoor riding feel natural and comfortable. Out of the saddle there's plenty of side-to-side movement but the progressive nature of the resistance from the springs means it never feels out of control, and you can add more air if it feels too floppy, or take some out if it's a bit rigid.

The finish of the boards is a bit rough in places, but in terms of function it's hard to fault.

Read the review 

Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor £39.99

Buy it here 

Gadgets-BargainBuy-WahooHRM

This is a well-designed chest strap that you can connect to up to three Bluetooth devices at once. It also supports the ANT+ protocol. The dual-band connectivity is stable and the LED status lights are useful to check everything is working as it should.

Most heart rate monitor (HRM) chest straps have two sensor pads on a strap and you press the electronic pod onto the front using two poppers. The TICKR is similar, but instead of clipping the pod on the front of the strap it acts as the bridge between the two ends.

This works well. The thick bit of the pod sits between the straps rather than on top, so it doesn't protrude as far. It's just a bit neater.

The TICKR has two status LEDs. The red one flashes in time with your heart rate, so you can see if it's picking up your heart activity, and the blue one shows you the connection status.

There are certainly cheaper HRMs out there, but the TICKR is far better than most and that's why it wins our Bargain Buy award.

Read the review

Tail it Bike GPS tracking device £72 (+ sub from £5 per month)

Buy it here 

2020 Tailit Bike GPS Tracker - contents 2.jpg

Tail it Bike is a tracker that makes use of GPS, Wi-Fi and GSM to enable you to trace your bike if it is stolen. It works very well, and offers decent battery life.

The tracker is pushed into your handlebar, fitting flush with the end just like a bar tape plug. It works easily on flat bars and also on most road drop handlebars, although it isn’t compatible with some internal routing systems. Tail it does offer a 30-day trial, so if it doesn't fit you can always return it.

The Tail it Bike comes with a SIM card and once that is registered and you've downloaded the app, you are ready to go. If your bike is taken, you’ll be able to track it accurately.

The battery life is several weeks and you’ll receive a text from Tail it letting you know when it’s running low.

Read the review 

Techalogic DC-1 Dual Lens Helmet Camera £179.95

Buy it here 

Techalogic DC-1 Dual Lens helmet Camera 2.jpg

The Techalogic DC-1 is a helmet-mounted camera that films in front and behind in quality that’s plenty good enough for recording poor driving.

Operation is pretty straightforward and we got 2:42 hours from one charge. You can also plug a battery into the USB socket, at which point the recording time becomes whatever size battery you care to carry around with you.

The whole assembly initially feels a bit of a lump once you’ve mounted it on the helmet, but you soon stop noticing and we found that it never moved about in use.

The system uses generic software called VF Cam which we were able to download and install on a smartphone without issue. The pictures from both cameras appear live on your screen. You can also record this footage onto your phone.

The picture does pixellate a little when you or other objects are moving at speed, and there’s no image stabilisation, but we were always able to read car registration numbers when we needed to.

Read the review 

The Sufferfest indoor training app £10.94 per month

Buy it here 

The Sufferfest - All Devices.jpg

Okay, an app isn’t a gadget as such, but it’s closely related to one so we’re shoehorning The Sufferfest’s offering in here!

The Sufferfest is an excellent indoor training environment with immersive videos and a unique power profile. It has some unique features, and it will appeal to riders who are targeting a season goal and who want to look beyond just a single power metric.

Structured training is integrated with footage of bike riding and racing. It's a slightly different approach to the interactivity and gamification of the likes of Zwift and Rouvy, and it gives you a little bit more to look at than TrainerRoad.

The Sufferfest app tailors your workouts according to a whole range of measurements (go to our review for all the details on those), rather than pinning everything on your functional threshold power, like many other apps. 

If it's your intention to do the meat of your training indoors then we’d certainly recommend The Sufferfest.

Read the review

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