The best cycling smartwatch must have an onboard GPS and navigation along with health tracking. Here is a list of the best cycling watches with GPS in 2021
Cycling enthusiasts are always looking for ways to improve their cycling experience. One way is by wearing a smartwatch that can help them accurately track their stats and fitness information.
In this article, let us discuss the many benefits of using a smartwatch when cycling and an overview of some of the best smartwatches for cycling on the market right now. We hope this will help you make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase one.
7 Best Smartwatches for Cycling in 2021: Handpicked List
- Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Suunto 9
- Garmin Forerunner 945
- Suunto 9 Peak
- Garmin Venu
Garmin is the undisputed king of sports watches, especially when it comes to tracking outdoor activities like cycling. In addition to that, it is a complete package of both health and fitness tracking features.
There is no doubt that the Fenix 6 Pro is one of the best Garmin watches in 2021. Similar to its siblings, it’s another large watch. And it’s supposed to be because it is aimed at people who need a large screen watch to see data on display 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 is not an evolution, but there are improvements from previous versions. What’s more, you can opt for 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, materials, colors, and straps to choose from to make the Garmin your own. Additionally, the Fenix 6 Pro offers a 10 ATM water-resistance rating.
Garmin’s new Power Manager feature can be found on this GPS watch. This tells you how many hours and days of battery life is left, rather than a percentage. This is an excellent feature on a cycling smartwatch, so you 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 will recommend what features to turn off to save more battery. Perhaps this is superfluous, though, as you will get 36 hours of battery life between charges, which is more than you’ll need for one ride!
What makes the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro one of the best cycling watches is its built-in GPS tracking feature. It accurately tracks your location in real-time using GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellites.
What’s more, you get a host of sensors, including the Elevate HRM, Pulse Ox sensor, barometric altimeter, and many more. 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.
Related Post: Best Smartwatches with Music in 2021
- 36 hours of battery, even in GPS mode
- The most comprehensive sports tracking and analysis
- Huge Battery Life (Solar Model)
- Contactless Payments
- High GPS accuracy
- 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, the Apple watch, offer cyclists something special? Let us check!
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 helpful for those outdoor rides on sunny days.
As usual, you can choose between 40mm and 42mm sizes 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 Series 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 fitness tracking device. It also allows you to track your data and share success stories using the social side of the app.
Granted, this fitness tracker watch 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 downtime.
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 if 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
- Durable mountain bike designed for trails and...
- Alloy crank provides steady gearing and less...
- Twist shifters with rear derailleur for quick gear...
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a smartwatch suitable for many outdoor activities like outdoor running, cycling, hiking, and many more. It comes with many features and functionalities which are not present in Galaxy Watch 3.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is available in two modes – the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. The Galaxy Watch 4 looks like the Galaxy Watch Active 2, while the other option is more reminiscent of the Galaxy Watch 3. However, the difference between these two watches is that the classic version has a physical rotating bezel while the other has a digital bezel.
When it comes to the display, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has a wide AMOLED display protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass DX+, making it perfect for outdoor use.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is a smartwatch that comes with a built-in GPS, making it perfect for many outdoor activities like cycling, running, and hiking. It lets you track your speed and distance traveled in real-time.
This smartwatch does not have an onboard map which will make it challenging to explore unknown routes. Fortunately, you can download Navigation Pro App into your Galaxy Watch. The Navigation Pro app is a navigation app that has been designed to work on the Samsung Galaxy Watches.
The features of this app include turn-by-turn navigation, which you can set up with Google Maps. There are voice support and vibration alerts that will guide you throughout your exercise sessions.
The health tracking features of this smartwatch include 24/7 heart rate monitoring, SpO2 monitoring, sleep tracking, and much more. Samsung has also included a BIA sensor for monitoring body composition in this smartwatch. It is beneficial if you are into cycling or other activities to lose weight.
- Attractive rugged design
- Powered by the Wear OS 3.0
- Available in different sizes and models
- Built-in GPS for accurate activity tracking
- Advanced health tracking features
- Supports music storage and streaming
- It is costly
- No pre-installed map(need to be installed separately)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is one of the best alternatives to the Apple Watch Series 6. It is a traditional-looking timepiece with unique features.
Most people opt for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 for cycling and mountain biking 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 Galaxy Watch 3 has a 360 x 360 display with a rotating metal bezel. There are two buttons on the smartwatch’s right-hand side that allow you to access your data while you’re holding the handlebar conveniently.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can automatically track up to 40 different sports, which is excellent if you want to saddle up and go.
We included the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 on our best smartwatch for cycling because of its GPS tracking feature and durable design.
What’s more, it has a range of new health features, including the 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 isn’t very disappointing compared to the 18 hours battery life of the Apple Watch Series 6.
- Built-in GPS
- Superb fitness and health tracking
- Clear and larger display
- Supports contactless payments
- Low battery life compared to alternatives
Sunnto 9 is another best smartwatch for cycling in 2021. This GPS sports watch is built to last and provides all the best features a cyclist will need.
As a built-in GPS multisport device, the Suunto 9 is chunky and robust, coming in 50mm by 24mm. However, it is comfortable on the wrist as you ride, thanks to the silicone band.
The stainless-steel bezel resists scratches and knocks thanks to the sapphire crystal that protecting the 320 x 320 touchscreen LED display. This cycling smartwatch is 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 highly reliable.
And the best part… How does 120 hours of 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
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the best GPS watches with many advanced health and fitness tracking features. It includes an optical heart rate sensor, Oxygen sensor, GPS tracking feature, and many more.
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 just two colors. It’s neither as big nor flashy as the 6 Pro, but it still makes a statement.
5 physical buttons are 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 5 ATM 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. This cycling smartwatch is equipped with a Body Battery feature, which will alert you when it’s time for your next ride based on how much energy you’ve got within you.
This smartwatch is equipped with a map routing feature, making it one of the best watches for cycling. It offers full-color maps on which you can set your route. Just tell this GPS watch how far you want to go, and the watch will provide you with a suggested route.
Like other Garmin fitness tracking watch models, it comes with GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellites. The music playback feature is another excellent feature that makes this smartwatch best for cycling. Just connect to a wireless headphone or earbuds through its Bluetooth connectivity and enjoy your favorite tracks on the go. With music and GPS, the battery can last up to 10 hours 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
- Sleep tracking feature
- Longer Battery life
- The battery life could be better
Suunto 9 Peak is the latest smartwatch by Suunto designed explicitly for outdoor activities such as running, biking, etc.
Suunto 9 Peak is the lightweight and sleek smartwatch ever built by Suunto. It is suitable for people with small wrists. It comes with a color touchscreen display protected by the Sapphire Cristal glass to prevent scratch.
It is a durable smartwatch with a waterproof rating of 100 meters.
It has all the essential features for cycling. It comes with onboard GPS to track your pace, distance traveled, and location.
Like advanced Garmin outdoor watches, it also comes with turn-by-turn navigation. It also has all the essential features to plan your routes, enabling you to mark important points on your route.
This smartwatch indeed has a smaller design compared to other Suunto watches. But it does not mean that it has poor battery life. It comes with intelligent battery modes to give maximum battery life.
The battery can even go up to 170 hours on GPS mode, which is very impressive.
- Lightweight and sleek design
- Longer battery life
- Advanced running and cycling metrics
- No Music storage
- No Payment support
No one said a sports tracking watch couldn’t be stylish. Yes, Garmin Venu is another best smartwatch for cycling in 2021.
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 for cycling outdoors.
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 that will track your elevation across different terrains.
It’ll also monitor 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 GPS accuracy 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
Cycling Smartwatch Buying Guide
Now you have a handpicked list of the best smartwatches for cycling in 2021. If you are a complete beginner, then check the following tips while choosing a cycling smartwatch.
There are many smartwatches available in the market today. All of them are come with many useful features to track your day-to-day activities.
When you are buying a smartwatch to track biking, you should choose a smartwatch with cycling-specific functionality. All the smartwatches discussed in this article comes with a dedicated training mode for cyclists. So, you can buy any smartwatch from this list without any worry or concern.
When looking for a fitness watch for cycling, you should choose a smartwatch with a larger and brighter display. It allows you to see your fitness data at a glance when you ride on a cycle.
In my opinion, a cycling watch has many advantages over a bar mount cycling computer in terms of health tracking features and convenience.
GPS and Navigation
In addition to sport-specific features, onboard GPS is essential for any smartwatch to track outdoor activities like cycling or trail running. So, you should always choose a smartwatch with an onboard GPS function, so you don’t need to carry a smartphone while exploring unknown routes, especially during mountain biking.
Besides, it allows you to track your cycling speed, real-time location, distance right on your wrist. Advanced smartwatches like Garmin offers high GPS accuracy.
A sports tracking smartwatch must have longer battery life. It allows you to explore more on a single charge. Generally, GPS watches drain the battery faster. If you are concerned about battery life, you should consider a solar-powered smartwatch.
For example, the Garmin Enduro, a solar Garmin watch, offers more than 120 hours of battery life on a single recharge. The battery can last even more if you activate the ultra-track mode.
Smartphone notifications, LTE connectivity, offline music storage, music streaming, water resistance, etc., are some of the essential features that you should consider while buying a smartwatch, especially outdoor enthusiasts.
Serious Athletes should buy a smartwatch or fitness tracker with essential health features such as heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen level monitoring, fall detection, etc. Apple Watch Series 6 and Garmin Forerunner 945 come with a fall detection feature.
If you are looking for a smartwatch that can help you recover, smartwatches with a sleep monitoring feature should be your first choice. A smartwatch equipped with a sleep tracking feature automatically records how long you sleep at night, when you fall asleep, etc.
- What is the Best Garmin Watch for Cycling?
Many Garmin smartwatches are explicitly designed for cyclists. Garmin Fenix 6 Series, Forerunner 945, Enduro are best for cycling.
- Are Apple watches any good for cycling?
Apple smartwatches are great for runners, but it is not the best smartwatch for cyclists. Apple smartwatch is a well-designed smartwatch with excellent GPS functionalities and health tracking features.
- Can Fitbit detect cycling?
Fitbit wearables with built-in GPS can track your cycling activities. Fitbit Versa 3, Sense, and Charge 4 come with onboard GPS.
- Can smartwatches replace bicycle computers?
Yes, smartwatches are more compact and work better than a bike computer. Some advanced smartwatches like Garmin Fenix 6 Series, Forerunner 945, Apple Series 6, etc., comes with onboard GPS.
There we have it, your list of the best cycling watches for 2021, 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.