Best GPS devices for cycling 2018

The best computers for riding, training, touring and navigation

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

GPS-equipped cycle computers are as popular now for use with social media apps such as Strava as they are for navigation and training purposes.

Garmin dominates the market, with units ranging from the diminutive Edge 20 to the smartphone-sized Edge 1030, but brands like Wahoo and Lezyne are  giving the GPS giant a run for the money with cool features and lower prices. 

Here we present the best GPS bike computers on the market, based on our testing in England, Colorado and Australia.

This article was last updated in March 2018.

Best for performance-minded riders: Garmin Edge 520

BikeRadar Score: 4.5/5

The Garmin Edge 520 is the best GPS computer for performance-minded cyclists

  • £239 / $299 / AU$449
  • Navigation: Good, with turn-by-turn directions, color mapping and back-to-start feature
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, sunset time, workout counters and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap
  • Size: 49mm x 73mm 
  • Screen: 35mm x 47mm, 200 x 265 pixels, color

The Garmin Edge 520 targets competitive riders with features such as Strava Live Segments, FTP testing, Di2 integration, a VO2 Max calculation and recommended recovery time.

The compact unit covers all the standard variations of metrics such as distance, speed, elevation and — with the use of a heart-rate strap and a power meter — heart rate and power. The 520 has seven buttons, not a touchscreen like the outgoing 510 it replaces or the new Edge 820.

A Bluetooth connection to your smartphone can provide automatic wireless uploads to Garmin Connect, Strava, TrainingPeaks and more, plus on-screen notifications of incoming texts and calls.

While the 520 has turn-by-turn directions and color maps, its real strength is as a full-feature training tool in a compact size.

Best for the smartphone generation: Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

BikeRadar Score: 4.5/5

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is a streamlined version of the original Elemnt. Love your smartphone? You'll probably like the Bolt

  • £199 / $249 / AU$399
  • Navigation: Good, with turn-by-turn directions and 'take me anywhere' feature you can use on the fly
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, sunset time, workout counters and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth, WiFi
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap, EPS, Moxy, Best Bike Split
  • Size: 48mm x 74.5mm 
  • Screen: 33.5mm x 44.6mm, 240 x 320 pixels, black/white

While Wahoo claims its new Elemnt Bolt GPS computer and sculpted mount are aerodynamically superior to the comparably sized Garmin Edge 520 and 820 with their respective mounts, the real selling points are the Bolt's easy-but-robust functionality, compact size, killer battery life (triple the Edge computers when using navigation) and decent price.

The Bolt has all the normal metrics plus turn-by-turn navigation, Strava Live Segments, Live Track and a feature called 'take me anywhere' where you use your phone and Google's search power to find a destination, then the Elemnt Bolt guides you there.

The Elemnt Bolt is easily configured with a smartphone app (iPhone or Android), and six buttons drive daily use, while LEDs can be configured for navigation or training alerts.

Best mid-range Garmin alternative: Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS

BikeRadar Score: 4/5

The Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS computer offers good functionality at a great price

  • £130 / $150 / AU$220
  • Navigation: Good, with turn-by-turn directions and GPS Ally on-the-fly destination finding 
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, sunset time, workout counters and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap
  • Size: 42.9mm x 67.8mm
  • Screen: 31.7mm x 40.1mm, black/white

The Enhanced Super GPS looks a little clunky compared to Lezyne's ultra-sleek tools and pumps, but it generally works well. The 45-degree X-Lock mount is more secure than Garmin's, and the wealth of data on offer is impressive.

You can have up to five pages of it with up to four fields on each, with seemingly every metric imaginable available. Turn-by-turn navigation, Strava Live Segments and incoming call/text notification? Check, check and check.

Similar to the Elemnt Bolt, you can use Lezyne app to find a destination and use the computer to navigate to it.

Best for touring and training: Garmin Edge 1030

BikeRadar Score: 4/5

The Garmin Edge 1030 is huge in terms of performance, features, size... and price

  • £499 / $599 / AU$749
  • Navigation: Best in class
  • Training data: All the metrics you can think of, plus a few dozen more, displayed in standard numeric form or, with Connect IQ apps, in a variety of infographics
  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap, Campagnolo EPS
  • Size: 59mm x 114mm 
  • Screen: 3.5in / 89mm color touchscreen, 282 x 470 pixels

Bursting with features and connectivity, the Edge 1030 replaced the Edge 1000, bringing the top-of-the-range device in line with the Edge 820's clean, modern aesthetic. 

The 1030 will display up to ten fields per page of data, customizable on the fly by holding down any field on your screen and selecting another.

Navigation with the Edge 1030 is about as advanced as you can get on a dedicated bike computer, with detailed maps, proper turn-by-turn instructions and warnings for sharp bends.

After the Wahoo Elemnt spanked the Edge 1000 on battery life, Garmin upped its game considerably with the 1030, which will run 20 hours.

Compared to a smartphone, the screen isn't as bright or responsive. But compared to other bike computers, it is superior.

The size, price and performance offerings are all about as large as you can get for a cycling computer.

Best full-featured Garmin alternative: Mio Cyclo505HC (Magellan Cyclo505HC in North America)

BikeRadar Score: 4.5/5

Mio Cyclo505CH is known as Magellan Cyclo505CH in North America

  • £399 / $429 / AU$479
  • Navigation: Easy to follow. Can direct to a destination or follow uploaded route
  • Training data: Speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for electronic drivetrains), distance, time, temperature, workout plans and more
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth, WiFi
  • Compatibility: ANT+, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap
  • Size: 61mm x 103mm
  • Screen: 240 x 400 pixels, touchscreen color

The Cyclo505HC suits a broad range of road and off-road users. It offers enough power meter, heart rate and interval training features to be an effective training tool, yet its mapping functionality will also be appreciated by cyclists who like to explore.

It has ANT+, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility and can talk to your phone, home computer and even your gears.

Best for minimalists: Garmin Edge 25

BikeRadar Score: 4/5

The Garmin Edge 25 is an excellent minimalist option

  • £140 / $170 / AU$229
  • Navigation: Breadcrumb trail via Garmin Connect 
  • Training data: Speed, distance, time, calories, elevation, heart rate and cadence (but not power)
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Compatibility: ANT+
  • Size: 40mm x 42mm
  • Screen: 23mm x 23mm, 128 x 160 pixels, black/white

The new Edge 25 is the Garmin's second cheapest bike computer, sitting one rung above the Edge 20 in the range.

It's a spiritual successor to the Edge 200, but smaller, lighter and slightly more capable.

You may also want to consider...

For some cyclists, especially those who are also runners, a modern GPS watch is a good option.

The following GPS cycling units scored three or more stars (out of five).

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