A best cylcing smartwatch must have an onboard GPS and navigation along with health tracking. Here is a list of best cycling watches with GPS in 2021
You’ve found this article because you’re looking for the best cycling watches in 2021. A GPS watch fits your wrist, which is one of the most significant advantages they offer to people on the go.
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A GPS computer is handlebar-mounted and offers the benefit of a bigger screen and clearer ride information. Other than this one main difference, a dedicated smartwatch with built-in GPS can be a powerful tool. If you’re looking for the best cycling watches, we’re going to run through a list of recommendations.
6 Best Cycling Watches in 2021: Handpicked List
- Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Suunto 9
- Garmin Forerunner 945
- Garmin Venu
Garmin is the undisputed king of sports watches.
There’s no doubt the Fenix 6 Pro belongs to the Garmin range. Similarly, to its siblings, it’s another large watch. And it’s supposed to be. Because it’s aimed at people who need a large screen that they can see quickly at a glance.
Specifically, it’s 1.3 inches bigger than its predecessor. Additionally, you get buttons that are easy to press, even with gloves on.
In terms of design, it’s not an evolution, but there are improvements from previous versions. What’s more, you can opt for a steel or titanium for ultimate durability and longevity.
There are different sizes on offer; the slimmer 42mm 6S, the 47mm Pro and Solar and the 51mm 6X.
The 260 x 260-pixel LCD screen is translative and offers crisp graphics.
Further, there are different styles, material, colors and straps to choose from to make the Garmin your own. Additionally, the Fenix 6 Pro offers a 10ATM water-resistance rating.
Garmin’s new Power Manager feature can be found on this device. This tells you how many hours and days of battery life is left, rather than a percentage. This is great for cyclists, who can check how many hours of life are left before setting off.
If needed, you can adjust features to reduce the battery drain, for example, turning off the HRM. In fact, it’ll recommend what features to turn off. Perhaps this is superfluous, though, as you’ll get 36 hours of battery life between charges, which is more than you’ll need for one ride!
What makes the Fenix 6 Pro one of the best cycling watches is the built-in GPS. Accurately track your location using GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites.
What’s more, you get a host of sensors including the Elevate HRM, Pulse Ox sensor, and barometric altimeter. Using Bluetooth, you can connect to external sensors if you use a cycling power meter.
If you enjoy listening to music as you ride, you’re able to integrate the Fenix 6 Pro with Spotify and store playlists without needing your phone or an internet connection.
- 36 hours of battery, even in GPS mode
- The most comprehensive sports tracking and analysis
- HRM isn’t as accurate as others on the list
New to cycling? Then these quick tips will help you reach ahead…
Where Garmin rules the sports watch market, can the king of smartwatches offer cyclists something special?
To look at, the Apple Watch 6 doesn’t differ much from its predecessors in terms of the rounded rectangular metal body. However, there are two new colors, red and blue, to choose from.
The display is OLED and incredibly bright, which is useful for those outdoor rides on sunny days.
As usual, you can choose between 40mm and 42mm sizing, with various interchangeable strap options. In particular, the silicone band that comes in the box is lightweight, comfortable and sits nicely on the wrist.
The most significant benefit to using an Apple Watch 6 as a cycling watch is the software options on offer. If you like using Strava, as many keen cyclists do, you can use it with this device. Track your data and share success stories using the social side of the app.
Granted, this tracker only covers the basics and a few other things, such as speed, distance, and heart rate. After your session, it will tell you about your heart rate cool down time.
Also, there’s a pulse oximeter and altimeter inside, meaning you can find out more about your oxygen saturation and absorption including over elevated ground. Perfect for the times you’re pushing your legs and lungs to their limits on a hilly ride!
You can use the GPS on your wrist so long as you have your iPhone with you, which can be a pain. Or, you can opt for the slightly more expensive cellular option, which gives you the luxury of total freedom from a cumbersome phone.
Finally, Apple Maps offers a cycling mode which is noted as being incredibly accurate. Some say it’s even better than Google maps when it comes to the consideration of rider safety.
- Designated cycling maps
- Excellent sensors included
- Battery life isn’t great
- Benefits iPhone users most
A traditional-looking timepiece with unique features.
Most people opt for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 because they like how it resembles a traditional watch—differing from the Apple Watch (which screams that it’s a smartwatch). Conversely, Samsung offers a rounded OLED touchscreen with a more conventional face.
Specifically, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has a 360 x 360 display with rotating metal bezel. There are two buttons to the right user-friendly when you’re holding a handlebar and want to access your data quickly.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can track up to 40 different sports automatically, which is excellent if you want to saddle up and go.
One reason this is one of the best cycling watches in 2021 is the built-in GPS. What’s more it has a range of new health features including SpO2 app for oxygen saturation levels, ECG, advanced sleep tracking, blood-pressure monitoring, post-run analysis and, for those who menstruate, cycle tracking.
However, the battery life could do with some improvement. But, if you don’t mind charging your watch for 2 hours, every couple of days, then you won’t mind this. But it’s disappointing compared to the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and even the Apple Watch 6.
- Built-in GPS
- Superb fitness and health tracking
- Clear display
- Low battery life compared to alternatives
The best touchscreen sports watch for cyclists?
As with GPS multisport devices, the Suunto 9 is chunky and robust, coming in at 50mm by 24mm. However, it is comfortable on the wrist as you ride thanks to the silicone band. It’s not concerned with how it looks, so if you don’t like black or white, then there are no other options for you.
The stainless-steel bezel resists scratches and knocks thanks to sapphire crystal protecting the 320 x 320 touchscreen LED display. It’s also water-resistant up to 100m; perfect for those rainy rides.
Essentially the Suunto is a reformed Spartan. It has an optical heart rate monitor, better battery life and a Sony GPS chipset.
The most important feature of note for cyclists is FuseTrack. This is a revolutionary feature that creates a GPS location where no GPS data currently exists. It takes a GPS point every 1-2 minutes using the gyro, accelerometer and compass to fill in any gaps. As such, it’s been noted as extremely reliable.
And the best part… How does 120 hours battery life in GPS mode sound?
- FuseTrack GPS feature is perfect for off the beaten track rides
- Unbeatable battery life
- Chunky design, could get caught on clothing
A slimmed-down Garmin for a lightweight experience
The Forerunner 945 is a much sleeker option compared to the Fenix 6 Pro. Coming in one size only, 47mm x 13.7mm with a 1.2-inch screen and in just two colors. It’s neither as big or flashy as the 6 Pro, but it still makes a statement.
There are 5 physical buttons surrounding the screen; three to the left, two to the right. These are used for navigation and can come in handy when you need quick navigation.
It’s got a 5ATM waterproof rating, which is enough to be confident if you get caught in the rain.
The Forerunner 945 has a list of 30 supported activities, which includes cycling.
The Garmin Forerunner 945 supports more than 30 different activities. What’s useful is the Body Battery feature, which will tell you the optimum time for you to go on your ride to best utilize what energy you’ve got in the tank. As with the Fenix 6 Pro, you can pair it to an external power meter for cycling.
What makes this one of the best cycling watches is the map routing feature. It offers full-color maps which you can set a route on. Tell it how far you want to go and the watch will offer you a suggested route. As with the other Garmin models, it comes with GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites. You can listen to music and follow GPS for 10 hours battery life, or 36 without music.
- One of the best GPS offerings on the list
- The Body Battery feature can tell you precisely when it is best to go on a ride
- The battery life could be better
No one said a sports watch couldn’t be stylish.
Finally, we have a 43.2mm x 12.4mm case with a 1.3-inch AMOLED 390 by 390 resolution screen. Altogether, it’s a decent-looking timepiece with a grooved stainless-steel band surrounding the bezel. Essentially, this is a sporty-looking fitness tracker with smart features.
It has a water-resistance of 5ATM, which, again, is absolutely fine for rides on rainy days.
Smart features aside, because you’re here to learn if the Venu is a good cycling watch; this device is a great fitness tracker.
What’s best is what you get with the other Garmin devices; GPS, GLONASS and Galileo. Your route is well-presented for onscreen navigation, even if you like to ride off-track in the woods. Also, there’s a built-in barometric altimeter which will track your elevation across different terrains.
It’ll also keep an eye on your blood oxygen, sleep quality, heart rate and stress levels.
You can get up to 5 days between charges in smartwatch mode, and a rather sad 6 hours with GPS mode on. So, whilst the accuracy of the GPS is fantastic for the more adventurous cyclist who likes to get muddy; you’ll not be able to track an all-day ride.
- Good-looking watch
- Excellent GPS offering
- Well-known sports watch brand
- Battery life with GPS on isn’t great
There we have it, your list of the best cycling watches for 202, covering the design and features focusing on the GPS and battery life so you can focus on what’s necessary; enjoying your ride. We hope this has helped you to make a decision on which model is right for you.
Maygen is an expert content writer with exceptional knowledge of the smartwatch and fitness tracker market.