Best Smartwatch For Cycling

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If cycling is one of your hobbies, you’ll know that having a good GPS signal is important to know where you’re going and log your miles.

Thankfully, there are a bunch of fantastic smartwatches designed to accommodate cyclists, often with tracking as you move and built in GPS, among other things.

A smartwatch will add a lot of versatility to your workout routine, tracking heart rates and burned calories, which is especially healthy if you’re trying to lose weight and cycling is your primary form of exercise.

Naturally, there are a lot of smartwatches on the market. Because of this it can be difficult sometimes to choose the right thing to buy. We’re here to make that decision easier for you.

Read on to find out about some of the best smartwatches for cycling, and some things to look out for as you make your decision.

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Best Smartwatch For Cycling - Comparison Table

Best Smartwatch For Cycling - Reviews

Fitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch, Charcoal/Smoke Gray, One Size (S and L Bands Included)

Our Top Pick

Our rating

Fitbit are well known in the fitness industry and the world at large for providing high quality fitness equipment for those who are constantly on the move. The Fitbit Ionic is another great option in their line of fitness smartwatches for cyclists.

The watch is fairly lightweight, with a build constructed of aluminum and comfortable leather or plastic bans. It’s also fairly simple to switch out the bands for an alternative look and design. If you’re working out you don’t need to worry about feeling like the watch will weigh you down and ruin the exercise for you. 

You can also wear this watch in the shower and take it swimming if you like as it’s waterproof. The watch as a whole is quite attractive though this does come down to personal preference.

The watch is suitable for a range of activities. As we’ve already mentioned, you can wear it while swimming. You can also wear it for doing weights, for running, and most importantly, for cycling. The watch comes with a heart rate tracker that’s impressively accurate due to the new algorithms used. 

It’s also got a GPS built in, and if you’re running you can choose to make the watch pause automatically so the watch will understand when you’ve stopped. It even includes tailored workouts to help you achieve your ultimate performance. It also tracks pace, distance and length when swimming. 

The watch has a decent battery life, lasting between 4 to 5 days. It does have a slightly low loading interface. It also works on a range of devices, primarily iOS, Android, and Windows phone devices.

Pros

  • Includes Fitbit Pay
  • Lots of fitness features

  • Decent battery life

  • Can be used for a range of activities

Cons

  • Can be slightly slow

Though this Garmin watch is a little older, it does manage to keep up with a lot of the other contenders on this list. It’s fairly affordable, so if you’re a cyclist on a budget then this may be the one for you. 

The watch consists of a round-face and a 1.32-inch diameter screen, which is quite crisp and clear in most lighting, making it readable. It doesn’t have a touchscreen which if that’s important to you it may be a bit of a disappointment, but it does have an easy to use interface with 5 different side buttons that will help you to work your way around the watch. 

The watch is quite comfortable as a result of the silicone strap. It also provides 24/7 heart rate tracking directly from the wrist, but it’s possible to get a more accurate reading by pairing it with ANT+ chest straps. 

The watch provides a very consistent performance overall and even monitors your VO2. It’s a fantastic fitness companion for any cyclist.

Pros

  • Easy to use interface
  • Clear screen

  • Accurate heart rate readings

  • Affordable for Garmin

Cons

  • No touchscreen

This smartwatch can withstand some serious damage. It’s extremely hard wearing with a bunch of training features available, and a whopping 120-hour battery life. And that’s not even half of it! 

This watch is ideal for those out there that like adventure sports due to its durable construction. It comes with a GPS tracking system that’s incredibly accurate and it has a range of things it can track, including sleep and activity tracking. This includes tracking triathlon, mountain biking and general cycling.

As far as sensors are concerned, it comes with the ability to track barometric and obvious the heart rate. With looks, it’s quite stylish sporting a circular face with a sizable screen. 

It’s a little expensive but either way what it offers may well be worth the price.

Pros

  • Big screen
  • 120 hour battery life

  • Durable

Cons

  • Expensive

The Apple brand is a household name, and their smartwatches are a testament to their technological prowess. The Apple Watch Series 5 is another fantastic watch in the company’s range of smartwatches that is perfect for a cyclist. 

The watch has a fairly decent screen display size and it even goes on loudspeaker for when you’re trying to play music on it. It operates very fast owing to the 64-bit dual-core processor.

It has a range of workout modes and automatically detects certain workouts like hiking and yoga. This spares a lot of hassle with trying to manually set up your workout on the device. It’s also able to detect cadence and pace if you’re running, and it will send you regular alerts to remind you of how you’re performing.

The watch comes with a heart rate tracker so you can easily monitor your heart rate, and it also alerts you to any irregular rhythms that you may need to explore further with a GP. It can even be connected with an ECG app with good effect. 

The watch has a fashionable look as well, so you can wear this in style wherever you are. If you like swimming the watch also comes with 50 meters of water resistance too.

Pros

  • Automatically detects certain workouts
  • Wide display

  • Ability to play music

Cons

  • Not compatible with non iOS devices

The Fitbit Versa is an affordable, lightweight alternative to the Ionic. It comes with a decent 4 day battery life and it comes in what the company calls a ‘squircle’ design. Though this may sound a little weird, it is essentially a watch with a square face and rounded edges, and it looks quite stylish. 

Aesthetics aside, the watch also provides oodles of comfort and you can easily change the straps if you want to try out something new and change up your style. The display is very clear and bright, even underwater or in sunlight. 

If you’ve got a favourite workout, the chances are that there’s a mode for it on the Fitbit Versa. It can track a range of activities from running to cycling, to swimming and HIIT.

You can select most of these from the main screen of the watch too. If you want to go swimming the device will show you how many lengths and meters you’ve swam in that session. It’s also totally waterproof, as you may have guessed.

The device will also track your sleep to help you gauge how well you’re sleeping. It does this automatically through a range of algorithms. It provides a fast and efficient performance that any cyclist would be happy with.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

  • Customizable

Cons

  • No GPS

Best Smartwatch For Cycling - Buyers Guide

There are a lot of things to take into account when it comes to purchasing technology, and this is no different when it comes to buying a smartwatch. Some things will be more important to you than others, but here are some general things to look out for.

GPS

One of the main features to look out for in a smartwatch is a good GPS that will help with moving around the trail much easier. Certain smartwatches will also help you to get back to where you came from by monitoring where you’ve come from, and this can be particularly helpful if you’re exploring a new area. 

Some of the newer smart watches also aid your navigation with a more advanced GLONASS system, and this is usually more accurate than a traditional GPS.

Comfort

For the most part smartwatches are made using rubber or silicone to give the most possible comfort. Some do come with fabric or leather bands to look more fashionable though.

Ideally, your watch needs to be comfortable, coming with a good fit and it needs to be breathable, especially for when you’re cycling. 

App Access

A lot of smartwatches will provide you with the ability to be able to use a full range of apps directly from the watch screen. This is an important feature, as it will allow you to see things like texts and calls. However, some smart watches only tend to give you the option to view ‘fitness based’ apps, so you don’t get as much access to other apps. What you choose depends on your lifestyle and preferences.

The absolute bare minimum you need is the ability to access calls and text notifications and access to fitness apps. 

Battery Life

Cyclists are often outside of the house a lot. Knowing that, it’s not always possible to just plug your device in every five minutes to put it on charge. It’s important to be able to have a good long lasting battery life that will match your always on the move lifestyle. Something that turns off randomly mid ride is no good to you.

Easy to Read

Your display needs to be easy to read. If it isn’t then the data on it is practically redundant. You should be able to read the screen both when it’s bright and dark.

Waterproof and Water Resistance

If you’re caught in the rain or end up doing something like a triathlon, it’s best that your watch doesn’t take a hit from the water penetration. This is why it’s a good idea to opt for a smartwatch that’s water resistant.

It’s even more of a good idea if you enjoy swimming as well as running. Some smartwatches are able to be submerged in water up to a degree without being damaged and this is particularly helpful for swimmers. 

Design of the Interface

Smartwatch screens can be fairly small, so if you have big fingers this may be a bit of a problem. The size of the interface should ideally match how big the screen is. You should also consider whether you can touch the screen when it’s wet, tying in with the previous point of water resistance. 

As you may imagine, the size of your display on your smartwatch will depend on the watch you buy. Generally, wristbands have smaller displays as they’re designed to be compact. 

You can often customize the displays on your smartwatch too, and you can alter how many statistics you can see on the screen. If the screen is smaller then you may not be able to fit as much information on the screen as you would be able to with a larger screen. If this is something important to you, then it’s worth keeping this in mind as you make your decision. 

Sensors

This is especially useful if you want to see how hard you’ve been working and how many calories you’ve lost while cycling. This tends to be the main reason most people buy a smartwatch. Sensors will allow you to monitor your performance on a range of workout activities. If you’re looking to improve your overall fitness, this is perfect to monitor your progress.

As a rule, the more sensors that you have on the smartwatch, the more you can detect on it. Every sensor is optimized to be able to calculate a certain statistic, or a certain body movement. 

One such sensor is the HRM. This will track your heart rate, and how often your heart beats per minute.

Then you have the accelerometer which will calculate how many steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned throughout the day or through exercise, and will track your sleep patterns for you to see if you’ve had a good night's sleep. 

The gyroscope will track activities you’ve done such as things like cycling or any rotational movements.

Compatibility

There’s not much point in buying a smart watch if you can’t properly use it. Most smartwatches on the market require some connectivity with a smart device of some kind. If your device isn’t compatible with the watch then it’s a little redundant. Not all smartwatches require smartphone connection, but the majority do.

Some devices are able to connect with a whole range of different devices, whereas some are designed to link with only one type of smartphone system. The Apple watch, for example, is only compatible with iOS.

Another thing to remember is that the watches usually require WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity to complete certain functions. 

Color and Design

Though aesthetics are not that important to some people, for others having a stylish watch is essential. Smartwatches can come in a whole range of designs and colors, and not all will be a good fit for your preferences.

It’s possible to change the straps of your smartwatch in most products. A lot of them will come with options of straps, but often you can find different designs online in a whole range of options. You can also choose a couple of different colors for the face, such as metal black, rose gold, black, gold, rose gold, white, and so on. 

The other thing to consider is the overall design. There are three main types of smartwatch designs. These are the round shaped watches, rectangular watches, and square watches. 

Following from this, there’s the classic and the digital watch. Classic watches are usually more circular in shape, whereas digital watches are usually more rectangular. You can often change these designs.

Smartwatches also come with buttons that function on the side of the watch that will turn the screen on and off, a heart rate sensor placed on the back, and as we’ve already mentioned there will be two straps. 

Additional Features

This category comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a smart watch, but certain smart watches come with additional features. One such feature is the ability to connect your card information to the watch so you can pay using only the watch, so if you’re going out and about while cycling you don’t really need to bring your wallet with you. Some watches may come with a front facing camera, while others may have a fall detection sensor. There are also a lot of other features worth looking out for.

Finally, the other thing to consider is the warranty package that the watch comes with. With any electronic item or otherwise warranties are important layers of protection for the buyer. Always check over the warranty policy and what it offers, as you never know when the time may come that you’ll need it.

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