Feature rich, including but not limited to: automatic wireless uploads, live tracking, di2 integration, smartphone alerts, relatively compact with a good-sized screen, Strava Live and more.
Basemap is not designed for full-on navigation and the battery only lasts for about 6-7 hours of riding.
The Garmin Edge 520 is a great choice for a cycling enthusiast looking for some of the more extensive and complex features but will also satisfy a more casual customer who is looking for some basic characteristics with a simple, user-friendly interface.
0~99.99 km/h (0~62.13 mph)
Current/Average/Top speed, Current/Average/Top cadence, Total/Trip distance, Total/Trip time, Clock
Strava live, recovery advisor based on the intensity and duration of your workout, V02 Max: estimated V02 max, watts per kilo calculation, functional threshold power, water resistance
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
2.9 x 0.8 x 1.9 inches, 2.1 oz
One of the smallest sizes with a very considerable set of basic functions. The battery is supposed to last for over six thousand miles.
Only one button makes it easy to accidentally scroll through the functions.
If you are looking for a product that will provide every necessary function at the smallest size and a modest price, this model might be the end of your search.
0~99.99 km/h (0~62.13 mph)
Current/Max/Average speed, Total/Two trip distance, Elapsed time, Pace arrow, and Clock
Automatic start and stop at the beginning and the end of the ride, Water resistance, Autoscan
1.26 x 1.85 x 0.47 inches, 0.42 oz
What Is a Bike Computer?
A bike computer is a really useful device, not only for professional cyclists but for bike enthusiasts, too. This device consists of two parts, the computer itself is mounted on a handlebar while the magnetic sensor is placed on the front fork to take the readings from the wheel. You can monitor your bicycle training easily with biking computers, they don't just track your speed and distance, but can also watch over your heart rate, tell you the time and temperature, and more. Sometimes, you can download all the training data to your computer afterward.
What Features to Compare
Firstly, you should decide what information you want to get from a bike computer. And depending on your level of training, the requirements will change. For example, if you are a recreational cyclist and ride a bike simply to keep fit, enjoy yourself or get to work, then you do not need to buy an expensive bike computer, the only data it should display are your speed, distance, and travel time. However, if you get your bicycle from storage as soon as the road is dry and keep using it till the first snow, spending all the free time on a bike, then you would probably want to get a bit more data. You should pay attention to the bike computer with features such as displaying average, maximum speed and trip distance in addition to its standard features. As for the pro cyclists, the more data the better; in addition to the abovementioned, we say that athletes should be aware of cadence (i.e. the frequency of pedaling), comparison of their current speed to the average value, maybe calories spending. Also, the ability to sync with a computer to graph statistics will come in handy.
Bike computers may have a variety of additional functions that are not essential but are very convenient and useful. To name a few, it can be a memory for two bikes, a built-in thermometer, backlight, a weatherproof case, a timer, etc.
Type and Size
There are two types of bike computers, wired and wireless. For a mountain bike, the best choice is a wireless computer as they do not have wires (obviously) and you won't damage anything accidentally. But as for road bikes, there is no difference as long as you feel comfortable. Bike computers also come in different sizes, and the more advanced features there are, the larger the computer is. This may result in increasing the weight of your bike which is very important in some cases.
Garmin Edge 520
Having established itself as the first name in cycling GPS computers, Garmin now finds itself in the position of determining which feature sets appeal to certain types of riders. At Edge 500 level, their computers have always been known for offering a compact handlebar device that’s large enough for easy viewing, yet small enough that it doesn’t look like a bulky and inconvenient ‘how to ride a bike’ manual sitting on your handlebars. The 520 iteration follows suit – measuring 1.9" wide, 2.9" tall and 0.8 inches deep. It doesn't have a touchscreen and instead uses seven external buttons to control all functions. All the buttons seem straightforward enough to navigate without having to consult with the instructions on multiple occasions. ‘On/off’ and ‘scroll up/down’ on the left, ‘ok’ and ‘back’ on the right. ‘Lap’ and ‘stop/pause’ are along the bottom of the unit. You can also utilize a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone that can provide automatic wireless uploads if your free Garmin Connect app is open on your tethered smartphone.
A Few Additional Features
The Edge 520 has a myriad of features designed to improve your training and give you accurate data. Some of the more conventional characteristics that allow you to track the standard metrics like speed, distance, ride time, temperature, and elevation, of course, come as no surprise to biking enthusiasts, and are basically a given when it comes to biking computers of this kind of complexity. But do they justify this kind of purchase? Some biking aficionados claim that Garmin’s dual-satellite system of GPS and Glonass is so good that using a sensor for speed and distance is unnecessary for the majority of riders. And you could find all of these features in a variety of much cheaper alternatives, including a couple from this very same company. Which is exactly why Garmin went one step ahead and added some unique additional features that will make this kind of purchase worth your money. For starters, power can be recorded and analyzed in a variety of ways: real-time, 3sec, 10sec, Normalized, Intensity Factor, TSS, left/right balance and — if you have Garmin Vector pedals — time seated vs time out of the saddle. When paired with a heart rate monitor strap, this device is capable of calculating your heart rate. With Strava Live Segments, you can track your progress in real time over Segments that you have starred on Strava, and your Edge 520 will alert you when the Segment is about to start, a relevant best time (yours, someone you follow, or the KOM/QOM), how long the segment is and how you are doing in relation to that best time.
A Worthy Purchase
This product is an outstanding cycling computer. It has all of the features that cyclists have been asking for and more. The Edge 520 seems to be aimed at the serious cyclist who is engrossed in organized riding. That being said, it is also well-suited for anyone who is looking to track ride data. It has tons of advanced features, but it can also provide basic ride tracking with no sensors attached. It is small enough if some additional weight and size are a concern for you, but can carry detailed maps for those who want or need them.
SHANREN Raptor II Wireless Bike Cycling Computer
Day and Night
The SHANREN Raptor II is an incredibly functional, convenient cycling computer with a variety of extra features. This is the second generation of the famous functional cycling computer SHANREN Raptor. But this one is the embodiment of all the necessities, and even more. The SHANREN Raptor II is a wireless cyclo-computer with seventeen different features. It has the functionality of both a bike light and a computer in a single device. A built-in tri-mode LED flashlight has excellent brightness of 300 lm that will become your helping hand in all-day-round riding. This built-in flashlight has three modes: High, Low, and Flash and works for 3, 6 or 12 hours, respectively. It can work so long thanks to the built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery of 2800 mAh. What is more, full recharging takes only 4.5 hours via standard Micro USB port. All things considered, even during the dark night your trip will be as safe and comfortable as during the day. Another significant benefit of the Raptor II is that you can remove it from the handlebar and use it as a flashlight. Very convenient.
When it comes to measurements, SHANREN Raptor II has excellent features for the most demanding cyclists. This cyclo-computer can measure almost everything from speed to pedal turning per minute and display the calories you've burned. Know how effective your workout is!
More Products to Consider
REMA TT 01 tour patch kit, large is a kit which every cyclist must have for a quick repair of flat tires.
Raniaco Bike Computer
Simple as It Is
Bike computer from Raniaco is one of the most common among the devices. It is an excellent choice for cyclists of beginning and intermediate levels who want or need to know the details of their travels. This bicycle computer is very simple in operation. The computer can perform all the main tasks - for example, measure your speed and compare it to the average number. So, you will be aware of your results and able to maintain the correct movement rate. Raniaco automatically turns on and starts the program as soon as you start moving and stops when you stop. In other words, everything is computerized. This bicycle computer is compact and fits perfectly on any bike handlebars. But speaking of its moisture protection, you should remove and hide it when it rains. On these grounds, this bike computer will be a good addition to your bicycle for a relatively little price.
- The most important tools for the trip: a hexagon (preferably the whole set), a patch for the camera, and a pump.
- Check the tire pressure before every ride, especially if the tires are tubeless.
- Sealant in tubeless tires should be changed at least every three months.
- Regularly (at least once a month) check the tightness of the connecting rods, and if you have a new bike, do it before every trip during the first week of using it.
- If you care about the bike, you should not ignore squeaks, clicks, crackles and other signs of failure.
More Products to Consider
Finish Line DRY teflon bicycle chain lube is a lubricant that will help you keep the chain in a good condition for a long time and reduce its wear-and-tear.
The Perfect Balance
Whether you are a biking enthusiast spending hundreds of hours riding every single month who is involved and interested in everything bike related or simply a casual fan that occasionally uses a bicycle as a mean of transportation and a source of entertainment, when looking for biking equipment to purchase, and, in this case, biking computers, the most important aspects of your purchase will always be proportions, functionality, and price. Let's face it, no matter how invested you are in your bicycle, some prices are just massively disproportionate regardless of what kind of functionality they provide. You have to be mindful of the proportions of your purchase since your bike, surprisingly enough, is not a tank and the available space tends to be rather limited. However, you do want your compact device to have all of the necessary features, which can be a rather wide range depending on your involvement into the biking realm. What we're getting at here is that it is necessary to maintain a proper balance and very few products on the market do this job better than the CatEye Strada Slim Cycle Computer.
The Way It's Done
Chasing that perfect balance was the main reason why people behind this particular CatEye product have shrunk their already tiny Strada down to almost unreachable proportions without losing any of its functionality. The head unit measures 1.26 x 1.85 x 0.47 inches and weighs 0.42 ounces.
The sensor has been shrunk too, measuring at 2.63 x 1.18 x 0.29 inches. Both will presumably reduce drag compared with larger units. But despite these changes and having a smaller battery than its larger brother, CatEye claim that it has the same battery life and the screen is twenty-three percent larger.
Setting up the Strada is pretty straightforward and takes no more than 10 or 15 minutes, a variety of zip-ties and rubber bands allowing quick installation of the head unit on the stem or bar. The controls to initially set the computer are all on the rear. A single button on the front scrolls through the various functions. All the usual functions are present and correct: 12 or 24-hour clock, elapsed time, trip distance, trip distance two, total distance, maximum speed and average speed. A little arrow on the display tells you whether you’re riding over or under your average speed.
The Better Purchase
The Strada Slim's greatest advantages are its light weight, ease of setup, and use. It’s not oversaturated with functions but has the ones that the majority of people use most of the time. One of the very few downsides is that it’s very stiff to get out of its bracket – but that’s about it. If you're looking to get the most out of a biking computer for the most sensible price, this product is definitely something you should consider.
Planet Bike Protege 9.0 9-Function Bike Computer
All at Once
The Planet Bike Protege 9.0 appears to be a nice little computer that will provide you with all the info you need on a single screen, no need to press any buttons to change the mode. This lowers the distraction quite a lot, doesn't it? LCD display, "buttonless" design, and overall compact size offer advantages to you that no other computer can match.
We would like to note the quality of this bike computer. Probably, its most important advantage is reliability. It seems nearly impossible to destroy the thing because the body material is of a really high quality. If you are still hesitating, look at its lifetime warranty - it clearly points to the fact that the manufacturer is confident enough. And we believe that this is a huge advantage of the bike computer because very few can boast of such a benefit. Also, we can not pass the opportunity to mention the ultrasonic sealing that prevents moisture from getting inside: this box is really perfectly protected.
Nice and Healthy
Cycling is a truly intensive way to workout but it is also a very efficient one; you will not only lose weight but strengthen all your muscles. Even the heart muscle benefits from bike riding. Such loads also help to improve breathing, and that is good for your metabolism. Having the right training load, even children and elderly people can do the exercises. As you know, there are many different ways to keep fit, but riding a bike is the best one among them. The load while riding is properly distributed on muscles, and you will notice a positive result after one week of riding if you cycle at least 1 hour a day. And surely, your condition will be improving as to breathing and overall health.
More Products to Consider
While riding, your bike must be marked for the drivers to see from the distance. And nothing can make it as good as this ultra bright bike ligh Blitzu cyborg 168T USB rechargeable bicycle tail light.
1. John Higgins Bike Computers: How to Choose, REI. March 6, 2015.
2. Curtis Smith How to Choose the Best Bike Computer for Cycling, OutdoorGearLab. January 2, 2016.
3. How to Choose a Bike Computer, Eastern Mountain Sports.
4. Michael Herlihy Choosing the Best Bike Computer for Your Needs, ACTIVE.
5. Cyclocomputer, Wikipedia. April 20, 2016
6. Sheldon Brown 17 Tips For Installing Cyclecomputers, Harris Cyclery.
7. Mike Anderson Buyer’s guide: GPS cycling computers, Road Cycling UK. March 27, 2015.
8. Bike Computer Buying Guide, eBay. March 10, 2016.