- Deep and Thorough Reviews of 5 Top-rated Best Mountain Bike GPS
- 1 Garmin Edge 820
- 2 Lezyne Micro Color GPS
- 3 CAT EYE – Strada Slim Wireless Bike Computer
- 4 Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS
- 5 Bryton Rider 310 GPS Bike Computer
- What You Need to Know Before Purchasing A New Mountain Bike GPS
Mountain biking has a decent level of adventure in it. Although this is what pulls in riders, it also causes a number of potential problems for whoever joins it.
To keep you safe and make your journey more enjoyable, a bike GPS is what you need. However, many people will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices out there, which may lead to a rush decision.
To help you navigate through all the extra choices, Sarah gathered this list of the best mountain bike GPS, plus a buying guide for those who do not know what to look for in a device like this.
Deep and Thorough Reviews of 5 Top-rated Best Mountain Bike GPS
What You Need to Know Before Purchasing A New Mountain Bike GPS
As with anything else you buy, the best MTB GPS should be the one that meets your needs and suitable for your budget.
The things you need to consider are:
Nowadays, even the basic entry-level devices are able to plan and track a certain route. The data you can expect from them are distance, time tracking, location, and speed.
As the price goes up, you will get more features.
There is one thing I want to mention here,
If you need your heart rate data to be extremely accurate, think about a torso-worn HRMs (short for heart-rate monitors).
These are way more reliable than the one that is built-in with smartwatches.
For devices of the higher price range, expect to have turn-by-turn navigation which provides you with directions to the destination you need. This system is more precise and effective than the old breadcrumb style navigation.
Up to the price scale, the map on these devices shows more details, including attractions, road names, places for a quick meal.
Weight and Design
Mountain bike GPS comes in a wide variety of different designs.
Some advanced models have colored and interactive interfaces. A lot of these devices can work as well as a smartphone.
The screen size is also a feature to consider. A wider screen allows for more information to be displayed while a smaller one will make the device looks more compact.
The weight might not be a concern for a typical rider but for competitive XC riders, this feature is vital. Professional bikers know well that extra weight means extra seconds to their time.
This may not sound like a significant feature but actually, it is important.
How the device is attached to your bike will give you an idea of whether it can remain on the bike when you are on bumpy roads.
The two most common spots for a bike GPS is on the handlebar or the stem.
A good device will stay fixed on the bike no matter how rough the terrain is. The more options you have when it comes to mounting, the more control you have over where and when to attach it on.
Those who are planning to bike for a long-distance, battery life is crucial in picking a bike GPS.
Long battery life is convenient, especially when it does not allow you to take it off and switch to another device.
The average battery can last from 13 to 15 hours. The most durable one can operate in the course of 24 hours.
The rule here is that the more features the GPS has, the shorter the battery life.
You have a choice over a type with replaceable batteries or rechargeable batteries. The latter is more common as it does not add extra weight to the device.
For those interested in even longer rides, the options range from dynamo hub generators, external battery expanders, and solar technology.
Why Do You Need A Bike GPS?
Bike GPS has to compete with a wide range of wearables such as fitness bands, smartwatches, cell phones with GPS apps. Therefore it may not be clear why you need a separate device while you can have dozens of features on one.
Some of the prominent apps for smartphones include STRAVA and Map My Ride. They have all the cool functionality like speed, directions, altitude, distances.
These wearables challenge the existence of a bike GPS.
These features might sound tempting. Who wants an extra expense on a GPS while you can download an app to your phone in a few minutes, right?
However, for now, a smartphone has not been able to beat a bike GPS yet.
Here is why:
Compatibility To The Terrain
A GPS allows you to mount it on the handlebar so that you can glance at it whenever you need to check for anything.
A smartphone, on the other hand, is usually kept in the pocket. You will have to pull it out to check when you need it.
Some people will argue that there are plenty of mounts for phones on the market.
It is true, but:
A phone is more vulnerable to shock and rough terrain. Mountain biking means that most of your time is spent off-road. Imagine a crash and your phone will be broken.
A smartphone also tends to be bulkier and does not have a distinctively professional look to it.
Bike GPS, even the budget-friendly model, definitely has a longer battery life than most smartphones. A phone’s battery must power a bunch of features that are not really related to what you are doing (mountain biking).
Try to bring a phone with you on a touring ride and you will feel the pain of not being able to use the GPS on your phone because the battery cannot hold up to the length of the journey.
Let’s be realistic:
Just Not Sports are talking about 15 hours of a bike GPS and 3 hours max of a smartphone.
Value For Money
So we have had enough argument to disapprove of the idea of using a smartphone as a GPS. So what about smartwatches or wristbands?
They are compact and lightweight. Some of them can be mounted on the handlebar just like a bike GPS does.
Now imagine you need to check the speed or the distance on a smartwatch, sometimes you need to take both hands off the bar, which is not always feasible on mountain roads.
The more features one device has, the more expensive it is. A smartwatch may not be a good investment if all you need is the GPS.
Have you ever used one of the models I list above? What do you think about them? If you have your own best mountain bike GPS, remember to share it with me in the comment section below.