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The Best Bike Computers

Best Bike Computer: What Are The Best Cycling Computers For 2021?

A good bike computer has quickly become an essential part of any cyclists set up. Over the last few years, the best bike computers have become much more advanced with clear displays, better connectivity and improved integration with other devices.

While there is a plethora of choice when it comes to cycling computers, it’s always important to keep in mind that the best cycling computer for you, always depends on your budget, the disciplines you ride and the metrics you wish to track.

In this article, we explain the differences between the various types of bike computers and then take a closer look at our recommendations for the best bike computers. Firstly, we’d like to reveal our list of the best bike computers.

The Best Bike Computers For 2021:

  1. Cateye Padrone Smart+ Cycling Computer
  2. Garmin Edge 1030 Bike Computer
  3. Lezyne Macro Plus Cycle Computer
  4. Stages Dash M50 Cycling Computer
  5. Garmin 520 Bike Computer
  6. Stages Dash L50 Bike Computer
  7. Garmin Edge 130 Cycling Computer
  8. Garmin Edge Explore Cycle Computer

What Is A Bike Computer? 

A bike computer is a device that tracks and displays your ride data. Most bike computers attach to your handlebars for easy reading, using either silicone rubber straps or an out-front mount. If you’re a beginner, then a basic bike computer will provide data such as time, speed and distance ridden. These metrics should be enough to test the water before you take the plunge and invest in a high-end cycling computer.  

More technical bike computers go several steps further and can display heart rate, power and maps. Many high-end bike computers even give you the ability to customise your screen so you can tailor your computer to display data that’s important for the riding you do. As a result, this type of bike computer is ideal for more advanced cyclists who either ride long distances or want to track technical performance metrics.   

Why Would You Use A Bike Computer? 

With more data available as you ride, the best bike computers allow you to understand performance, track efforts and map your rides. Vitally, bike computers display these metrics on the go, so you can cycle further, gauge your exertion level and adjust your efforts as you ride.

As a result, bike computers are a firm favourite for all types of riding, from casual commuting, performance racing and long-distance bike packing. Notably, the best bike computers can be used across various disciplines from track cycling to mountain biking.

What Types of Bike Computers Are There?

While there are many types of bike computers, they broadly fall into three groups based on price – basic bike computers which go up to £100, mid-range bike computers which are between £100 to £250, and high-end bike computers that tend to be over £250.

Basic Bike Computers 

In general, most basic bike computers will cost up to £100. They can display critical metrics such as speed, distance and time. Unfortunately, almost none have GPS capabilities, meaning you won’t be able to use maps or follow any pre-created routes.    

Bike computers with wired sensors are often the most economical but are generally harder to set up and transfer between bikes. As you spend more, bike computers become available with wireless sensors, making it easier to move between bikes. Most bike computers at this price point will be battery powered.  

While basic bike computers don’t offer the same amount of data as more higher-end models, they are less expensive and can be the best bike computers for beginners who want to track their key metrics.

Mid-Range Bike Computers 

Mid-range bike computers are available between £100 and £250, and at this price point, there’s a noticeable step-up in features. Not only do mid-range bike computers display speed, time and distance, but they also come equipped with a larger screen and GPS capabilities allowing you to display maps and follow routes designed on apps like Strava. 

You should also be able to customise your display too so that you can personalise your computer and prioritise specific metrics depending on your discipline and riding style. Notably, many of these bike computers are compatible with power meters and heart rate monitors to enhance your training even further. All this considered, these are the best bike computers for experienced riders and racers on a reasonably liberal budget. 

High-End Bike Computers 

As you’d expect, high-end bike computers come with all the essential features offered by their mid-range counterparts, like GPS mapping and tech integration but with a few impressive additional features.  At this price point, you can expect a lightweight head unit with a large colour display. Many (though not all) are touch screen and offer integration with electronic drivetrains and WIFI connectivity. Most are also bundled with heart rate monitors and cadence sensors, so you can get rolling right out the box.  

A couple of years ago, a common complaint with high-end bike computers was their battery life. With a large screen and a massive variety of features, you couldn’t make it through a big day out without taking a power bank for an extra charge. Thankfully, significant improvements have been made since, and now, most have a battery life of up to 20 hours. Priced between £250 and £600, these bike computers are the cream of the crop and are only really necessary for riders who need the best tech to support them out on the roads and trails. 

  1. Cateye Padrone Smart+ Cycling Computer
    £69.49 Buy now with Probikekit

    Cateye Padrone Smart+ Cycling Computer

    ✓   Fully customisable, large screen display.

    ✓   Compatible with Di2, heart rate monitors and power meters.

    ✓   Weighs just 40-grams.

       GPS & Bluetooth enabled.

    Despite the Cateye Padrone Smart+ being the cheapest bike computer on this list, it’s without doubt, one of the best. While displaying the standard data fields like speed, distance, time and altitude that you’d expect at this price point, it goes several steps further than many other economical cycle computers.  

    With fully customisable, large screen display, you can personalise this computer to suit you and the riding that you do most. It’s also compatible with a massive range of cycling tech such as Di2, heart rate monitors and power meters so that you can train smarter.  

    While it is GPS compatible and does offer navigation of sorts in the form of a simple compass pointing you in the right direction, it’s probably not suitable if you want to tackle some real long distances riding. As a Bluetooth compatible device, you can also pair it with your phone and get text, email and call notifications.  

    While it’s not USB rechargeable, it does offer a whopping four months of ride time on a fresh coin cell battery. And if that wasn’t enough, all this performance is packed into a neat 40-gram package to keep your set up as light as possible. 

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. Garmin Edge 1030 GPS Cycling Computer
    £399.99 Buy now with Probikekit

    Garmin Edge 1030 GPS Cycling Computer

    ✓   89mm full-colour touch-screen display.

    ✓   Supports mapping, turn-by-turn navigation, off-course calculations.

      Compatible with heart rate monitors, power meters and Di2.

      Bluetooth and WIFI compatibility to receive text and call notifications.

    In many ways, the Garmin 1030 is as good as it gets when it comes to bike computers. By replacing the Garmin Edge 1000, this updated top-of the range bike computer comes with a sleek new case and a host of new and updated features.   

    With detailed maps, turn-by-turn navigation, off-course calculations and an 89mm full-colour touch-screen display, this is easily the best bike computer for out-and-out adventure riding. Displaying up to 10 data fields per page and fully customisable using the Garmin app, you can perfectly tailor this bike computer for you and the riding you do most.  

    As you should expect at this price point, it’s fully compatible with a massive range of cycling tech like heart rate monitors, power meters, turbo trainers and even electronic groupsets, to satisfy even the most dedicated performance cyclists. 

    Of course, it’s topped off with Bluetooth and WIFI compatibility, so you can pair your phone and receive text and call notifications on the go. Finally, to combat some bad press Garmin has received about the battery life of their larger computers, the Garmin 1030 offers up to 20-hours of ride time on a full charge, making it well suited to even the longest days in the saddle. 

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. Lezyne Mega Colour GPS Cycle Computer
    £180.00 Buy now with Probikekit

    Lezyne Mega Colour GPS Cycle Computer

    ✓   Solid, waterproof case.

    ✓   Clear display with a prominent backlight.

    ✓   Simple mapping capabilities.

    ✓   USB rechargeable with 28-hours battery life.

    If you’re on a tight budget, but want the best bike computer to display your critical metrics with essential GPS functions, then the Lezyne Macro Plus could be the ultimate choice. 

    Boasting a solid, waterproof case, it’s supremely reliable for all-weather riding and even has 4 big rubber button controls on the side which are easy to operate, even when wearing thick winter gloves. The clear display with a prominent backlight makes this bike computer easy to read whether you’re riding day or night. 

    Using the dedicated companion app, you can download and follow the pre-planned route. However, it’s worth saying that it’s a little clunky compared with other computers on this list. Still, then again, you’re unlikely to find the same mapping capabilities on another bike computer at this price.  

    Being USB rechargeable and offering 28-hours battery life, the Lezyne Macro Plus bike computer is an excellent choice for all-day riding.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. Stages Dash M50 GPS Cycling Computer
    £198.99 Buy now with Probikekit

    Stages Dash M50 GPS Cycling Computer

    ✓   Large display and clear graphics.

    ✓   Robust, durable case with easy-to-use rubber buttons.

    ✓   GPS-capable and detailed maps for road cycling and mountain biking.

    ✓   Compatible with heart rate monitors and power meters.

    Stages bike computers were probably most famously used by Bradley Wiggins way back in 2012 – and for good reason. With a large display and clear graphics, the Stages Dash M50 bike computer is easy to read in low light and when you’re right on the rivet. Similarly, with a huge array of simple, easy to read metrics, it’s a winner for those performance-orientated cyclists.

    Equipped with a robust, durable case, this case promises lasting reliability. While the rubber buttons won’t be to everyone’s taste, they certainly make this computer incredibly easy to operate on the bike, even when wearing thick winter gloves. Considering all the features on offer, the USB-rechargeable Stages M50 offers an impressive battery life too.

    As you’d expect, it’s compatible with heart rate monitors, power meters and other assorted cycling tech. Again, with GPS-capabilities and maps, the Stages Dash M50 is an excellent choice for adventure and long-distance cycling too. As a bonus, it provides excellent detail for trails and bridleways for mountain bikers.

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. Garmin Edge 520 Plus GPS Cycling Computer
    £199.99 Buy now with Probikekit

    Garmin Edge 520 Plus GPS Cycling Computer

    ✓   Midsize screen.

    ✓   GPS maps, turn-by-turn functionality and off-course calculations.

    ✓   Bluetooth-capable so that you can connect your phone.

    ✓   Strava Live segments, FTP testing and tracking and Di2 integration.

    If you need a bike computer that provides great all-round bang for buck, then the Garmin Edge 520 Plus would be a solid choice. While it’s technically the old model (succeeded by the 530), it still offers great performance.

    As you’d expect, this bike computer offers so much more than the standard ‘speed, time and distance ridden’. With GPS-capabilities, Strava Live segments, FTP testing and tracking and Di2 Integration (which is pretty rare at this price point), the Garmin 520 will leave you wanting little else.  

    Similarly, with decent screen size, turn-by-turn functionality and maps, the Garmin 520 is one the best bike computers for big rides and all-day adventures. It even offers off-course calculations and ‘back-to-start’ routing so you can get back on track if you deviate from your pre-planned route.  

    It’s also Bluetooth-capable too so that you can connect your phone and receive text and call notifications on the go. With full-colour display, solid battery life, and being USB rechargeable, the Garmin 520 is a bike computer that packs one heck of a punch.

    Buy now with free delivery
  6. Stages Dash L50 GPS Cycling Computer
    £255.99 Buy now with Probikekit

    Stages Dash L50 GPS Cycling Computer

    ✓   Bright, high-resolution, easy-to-read colour screen.

    ✓   Detailed cycling-specific maps.

    ✓   Compatible with power meters and heart rate monitors.

    ✓   USB Rechargeable with 23-hour power reserve.

    Stages make another appearance on our list with their L50 head unit. In many ways, this computer can easily go toe-to-toe with other computers that are twice the price.

    A real highlight for the Stages L50 head unit is the screen. With a bright, high-resolution colour screen, this bike computer is easy to read even in dark conditions. Like other Stages bike computers, the thick rubber-buttons found on the sides ensure this computer is simple to use, even when wearing gloves.

    The mapping-capabilities of this computer is it’s USP. Using the large screen, the Stages L50 displays detailed cycling-specific maps. Road sizes are visible; key buildings are highlighted (including bike shops), even street names are displayed. As a result, this bike computer is a bike packers dream.

    Like many other devices on this list, the Stages L50 is compatible with training devices like power meters, and heart rate monitors too. With an impressive 23-hours of power from a single charge, this bike computer is a reliable choice for every cyclist.

    Buy now with free delivery
  7. Garmin Edge 130 Plus GPS Cycling Computer Bundle
    £206.49 Buy now with Probikekit

    Garmin Edge 130 Plus GPS Cycling Computer Bundle

    ✓   Weighs just 34-grams.

    ✓   Compatible with power meters, cadence and heart rate monitors.

    ✓   GPS-capable and maps.

    ✓   Supports training plans, sessions and Stravalive segments.

    Weighing just 34 grams, The Garmin 130 is a small, compact cycling computer. Although it doesn’t have a touchscreen, thanks to the large buttons on the side of the unit, the Garmin 130 is easy to use and control. With excellent Bluetooth connectivity, you can pair the device with power meters, heart rate monitors and cadence sensors, which will please most performance orientated cyclists.

    Thanks to the clear, black-and-white screen, the display (while small) is easy to read in a wide range of conditions. Thanks to the GPS-capabilities, the maps should suffice for most, with the ability to load and follow routes, as well as offering turn-by-turn navigation.

    The Garmin 130 goes well beyond displaying your regular ride data. By supporting structured training plans and sessions, and the ability to load Strava segments, it leaves you wanting little else out on the road. As a USB rechargeable unit, it stores plenty of power per charge so you should never come unstuck.

    Buy now with free delivery
  8. Garmin Edge Explore GPS Cycling Computer
    £187.49 Buy now with Probikekit

    Garmin Edge Explore GPS Cycling Computer

    ✓   Detailed maps and turn-by-turn navigation.

    ✓   Large, colour, touchscreen display.

    ✓   Customisable screen.

    ✓   Waterproof rating of IPX7 and a durable case.

    The Garmin Edge Explore computer is the best bike computer if – you’re on a reasonably tight budget, need detailed mapping and aren’t too bothered about high-level performance metrics. Aimed at the touring cyclist, the Garmin Explore offers detailed maps and turn-by-turn navigation so you can go on serious adventures with complete confidence. Thanks to the large, colour, touchscreen display, the screen is easy to read whether you’re riding day or night.

    Importantly, it tracks all your standard metrics like speed, distance, time and elevation, but you’re also able to customise the screen using Garmin IQ based on your preferences. It’s tough too. With a waterproof rating of IPX7 and a durable case, this is a bike computer you can really rely on. With 12-hour power reserve, it’s definitely capable of most big days out on the bike.

    Buy now with free delivery


Thomas Flynn

Thomas Flynn

Writer and expert

With almost a decade of riding under his belt, Tom has dabbled in almost every major cycling discipline. These days, he's usually found aboard his fixed-gear gravel bike tackling the best trails and towpaths around Manchester and the Peak District.