Best Bike Computers for Monitoring Your Performance

Last updated: February 04, 2020
Best Overall
Affordable and Easy to Set Up
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Best Budget
Best for Value, Environmentally-Friendly
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Best Wireless
Lightweight with Clear Display
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Best Wired
Weatherproof and Highly-Functional
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Best Waterproof
Lightweight, Durable, and Waterproof
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Your guide

Biking can be one of the most fun activities out there, but the more you use your bike for errands and daily commutes, the more you might feel the need to track the miles you do, determine your speed, use your GPS, and maybe even sharing your biking activities on social media.

Of course, picking a bike computer that fits your needs can be a bit challenging, and some might not even think it’s that important. Nothing could be further from the truth though, since not only does a bike computer help you on the road, it’s also great motivation if biking is your main form of exercise.

For example, it can track how much time you have spent on the bike (much like an exercise bike would), which would certainly push you to keep biking and as well as keeping your head in the game.

woman using bike computer

Whether you’re looking for something specific in a bike computer, like water resistance or wireless tracking, or something just as simple as GPS, we’re pretty sure we have the pick for you. And if you’re looking for some more useful bike accessories, check out our guides on the best phone mounts, or cycling shoes.

Top 5 Bike Computers

Biking computers is a little sub-universe of its own in the biking world. Some use it for safety, some use it for tracking, and some use it for fun. Before you pick the perfect bike computer for your needs, you have to stop and ask yourself a few questions, just to ensure you are not putting your money and time into something that does not exactly fit your needs.

What type of rider are you?

Everyone bikes for a different reason. Some do it for sport, some use it for commuting. Some do it weekly, while others do it daily. Naturally, people who use their bike for a weekly ride around the park with some friends do not need the same functions as people who bike to and from their errands.

Why are you getting the bike computer?

Are you buying it to record data or your rides and use GPS? Or do you need other tracking features like heart rate display and speed meter? Maybe you’re somebody who uses it to share and compare their rides on social apps like Strava and Zwift.

How much are you willing to spend on this?

Once you got the above questions figured out, are you willing to make a significant investment in your bike computer, or is it not as important as some other stuff to you, such as bike locks or lights?

1. Best Overall - Cat Eye Velo 7

Specifications: 

  • Weight: 28 grams
  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Battery type: CR2

Key Features: 

  • Auto start and stop
  • Wired sensor
  • Display shows up to 7 functions
  • Power saving mode
  • Great battery life

Cat Eye Velo 7 Bike Computer Review

When choosing from a roster of brands and their products for what is best overall, we try to balance technical performance, budget and compatibility with features. CAT EYE is one of the leading names in biking gear so it’s no surprise it shows up again on the list.

It’s a japanese company that was one of the first to release a bike computer all the way back in 1981. CAT EYE offers a full range of bike computers from entry level and budget friendly ones to elite and professional ones.

It is not exactly easy to find a bike computer that offers the most important functions within a reasonable budget. The Velo 7 is specifically made for those of us who are not looking for a lavish multi-function bike computer, but rather something easy to set up, is long lasting and has the main important functions and features we want.

Interestingly, this device happens to be one of the most popular among both beginners and professional bikers alike.

The Velo 7 is extremely easy to set up. It only takes ten minutes, and explained step by step from the manual. The CR2 batteries are the most efficient type, given that its average life span is three years if you bike an average of one hour per day.

Also, when you’re setting up the computer, accuracy increases if you measure the wheel’s circumference by marking off and measuring the distance the wheel travels in one rotation, while sitting on the bike.

Once the setup is out of the way, you no longer have to worry about the bike computer. With auto start and stop, it works perfectly on its own. It also detects small stops, meaning if you take a small break during your trip, it detects it and pauses you ride without ending it.

CAT EYE’s bike computers all offer the same wide and clear display. It has a limpid screen and one button to control its functions perfectly. It gives you the most valuable data with a glimpse while riding, making it pretty hassle-free

While it’s not the fanciest or the most advanced, it still offers a ton of value. It’s very easy to use, simple to install and its design is modern and slick. It also manages to deliver the most important functions in a bike computer, all while being budget friendly.

Pros
  • Clear display
  • Easy to install
  • Affordable
  • Shows distance, clock, trip time and more
  • Lightweight
  • Long lasting battery
Cons
  • Computer hard to secure on stem handlebar

2. Best Budget - Cat Eye Velo 9

Specifications:

  • Weight: 28 grams
  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 3 x 1.5 inches
  • Battery type: CR2

Key Features:

  • Wired speed sensor
  • Lightweight
  • Display shows distance, time, calories and carbon offset count
  • Battery life lasts up to three year with an average of one hour use per day
  • Power saving mode automatically activated

Cat Eye Velo 9 Wired Bike Computer Review

Finding a bike computer that can tick all your boxes while being quite affordable might be a bit of a struggle.

CAT EYE has not maintained its strong name in the market for nothing and if there is something they certainly know how to do, it’s to provide the perfect budget-friendly bike computer. The CAT EYE Velo 9 Wired Bike Computer does the job at a fairly affordable price.

Thankfully, the Velo 9 does not really require much work when it comes to set up, the user manual explains the simple process step by step. Once you get the initial setup out of the way, you only have to ensure that the wire is tied properly to the tire and the computer is gripped tightly to the handles.

The display for the computer covers most bikers’ needs. It shows total distance and individual trip distance as well as time elapsed.

However, it does not show the total time of separate trips as it does with distance, so if you want to keep track of how much time you spend on the bike throughout a specific period it has to be done manually.

The display is also quite clear and not at all hard to read in the sun, so manual control shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

An interesting feature of the Velo 9 is the carbon offset counter, which is great for those of you who have an interest in their environmental impact.

The carbon offset tracker shows how much emissions you’ve saved by taking the bike rather than a car or train, which is a great way to keep you motivated to keep biking.

It also has a calorie tracker for those who bike as exercise (and those of us who would also like to know they burned some fat on their way to town).

As any user-friendly bike gear should be, the Velo 9 weighs around 28 grams, making it one of the lightest on the market. This lighter weight doesn’t affect the balance or stability of your biking experience or indeed the overall quality and build.

The battery is rated to live up to three years, meaning once you set it up, you can pretty much completely forget about it.

The CR2 batteries are also quite common and not hard to find, meaning that once it is expired you can easily replace it.

However, keep in mind the battery’s three-year life expectancy is based on an average of one hour usage per day. So if you happen to be more on the heavy biking side it might last a little less than three years.

You must also be aware that when replacing the battery, all previous data saved completely vanishes, so if you are aiming to keep track of your progress yearly, you must do that manually before replacing your battery.

The Velo 9 is also advanced in terms of power saving. Once the bike stops, it automatically switches to power saving mode. It also has an automatic start and stop feature, so you never really have to worry about turning it on and off at all.

Similarly, it also detects momentary pauses, so if you stop for a short break during your trip, it pauses all trip tracking until you use it again.

All in all, the Velo 9 is the ultimate budget-friendly computer bike. It has all the essentials and main functions that most bikers need in their computers, is offered at an unbeatable price and from the most prominent bike computers brand in the market, CAT EYE.

Pros
  • Easy to set up and attach to bike
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Clear display
  • Great battery life
  • Automatic start and stop
  • Calorie and carbon offset count
Cons
  • Relatively short wire
  • No backlight
  • No total time counter

3. Best For Wireless - Cat Eye Padron

Specifications:

  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Dimensions: 1.7 x 0.6 x 2.6 inches
  • Battery type: Lithium metal batteries

Key Features: 

  • Clear display with distance, time and clock
  • Save your miles feature
  • FlexTight bracket to easily mount, adjust or move the unit
  • Optional out-front mount
  • Press the base of the unit to go through features without being distracted

Cat Eye Padron Wireless Bike Computer Review 

This model on CAT EYE’s roster of wireless bike computers offers the same clear and easy to read display, except that you do not have to struggle with the wires like with some other models. This wireless version makes the computer even easier to set up, and leaves more room to move the unit freely as you wish.

The display offers tracking of the distance you have ridden, time you spent collectively and individually biking, as well as a clock. The new Save Your Miles feature completely eliminates the problem some users have had with previous models, which reset all previous trips and data once the battery is replaced.

Of course, it sort of makes sense that CAT EYE do that with this specific model. Unlike the Velo 7 and Velo 9, this model does not have the long lasting CR2 battery, so the battery requires regular replacement, which are two lithium batteries.

However, they are pretty affordable, and no one has to worry about losing all their data anymore in the process of changing them, so that’s certainly appreciated.

In terms of design and colors, this model has quite a bit of variety, giving bikers several options to pick from. The optional out-front mounts (which some bikers prefer to just placing the unit on the handles) are also offered in different colors and shapes.

If you have ever had a problem going through the menu while biking, then you’ll be pretty happy here. The Padron model offers bikers an option to toggle through the functions by just swiping the control button on the base of the unit, which means less hassle and generally safer rides.

Another pleasant surprise that comes with the Padron model is the FlexTight bracket. It basically makes it so much easier to move around, meaning you can change its placement or even remove it just by tying and untying it on the back.

If you switch the unit between different bikes, the FlexTight bracket can save you a ton of time moving your Padron around. Overall, the CAT EYE Padron Wireless offers a variety of functions that every biker might be looking for in a bike computer, but still keeping a modern, slick look, and a user-friendly set up with some awesome features.

Pros
  • Clear display
  • FlexTight bracket
  • Save your miles in case of battery change
  • Affordable
  • Great design and available in many colors
Cons
  • Interference issue with LED lights for some bikers
  • Constant battery change

4. Best Wired - Planet Bike Protégé 9.0

Specifications:

  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 2 x 5.9 inches
  • Battery type: Lithium metal

Key Features:

  • Dual odometer
  • 9 functions
  • Temperature
  • Weatherproof

Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Bike Computer Review 

If you are more on the traditional side and looking for a wired bike computer, the Planet Bike Protege 9.0 is one of the most eye-grabbing computers out there. When compared to other contentenders in the market, the product’s 5-function display is incredibly pragmatic. Bikers can see the speed, miles, clock, temperature and time all at once on its slick screen.

The dual odometer makes the miles and speed tracking super accurate, although this feature does require an extra little bit of setup. However, that tends to be the case with most wired computer bikes, so you’ll be used to it.

Another obstacle that has faced bikers while setting up their Protege 9.0 is the difficulty in keeping the grip on the handle tight. To avoid facing this problem, we advise measuring the dimensions of your handles and wheel circumference and compare them to the dimensions of the device.

If you happen to bike in challenging conditions, the Protege 9.0 is offered with a weather-proof guarantee, meaning its built to survive extreme heat, cold, rain and wind. Planet Bike also offers lifetime guarantee on the product. So really, it’s literally is built to last.

Moreover, it happens to be one of the few bike computers in the market that show temperature alongside other features like miles or clock. With the clear display, you can set a bunch of data to show throughout your ride.

At the end of the day, Planet Bike ensures that customers who are into the traditional wired bike computer get the most advanced features they can, while still maintaining the joy of biking that has gotten them this far..

Pros
  • Shows up to 9 functions
  • Up to 5 pieces of data can be shown at once on display
  • Weatherproof
  • Fits 25.0 to 31.8 millimeter handlebars
Cons
  • Harder to secure on handles

5. Best Waterproof - Garmin Edge 25

Specifications:

  • Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Battery type: Lithium metal

Key Features:

  • Tracks time, distance and heart rate
  • ANT+ compatible
  • Garmin’s ConnecttM
  • Water-resistant
  • GPS
  • GLONASS
  • Livetrack and different instant data upload

Garmin Edge 25 Cycling GPS Review 

It’s a little tricky getting your hands on the perfect waterproof bike computer that does not compromise on other features. Thankfully, the Garmin Edge 25 Cycling Computer Bike is by far one of the most overall perfect products on the market.

It offers all the advanced features, and a little more, all while maintaining the image of the traditional old-school computer bike.

The computer has two features for tracking and roads, GPS and GLONASS respectively, both operating perfectly to ensure you have the most accurate location tracking while biking. Interestingly, the Edge 25 is the first within this price range and size to add GLONASS, so that’s pretty cool.

If you want to keep track of your heart rate and body performance, the Ant+ compatibility means you can connect the device to your body or heart monitor and it keeps track of your performance throughout your workout. This gives you better informational overall, which you can use to improve not only your exercise, but your biking experience as well.

The Garmin Edge 25 is one of the few devices that allow you to connect socially on biking and health applications.

You are pretty much just a click away from sharing your ride details and progress with other bikers, and it goes as far as sharing special routes or even co-riding with someone. It helps make the biking experience more social and personalized to your individual needs.

Of course, weight is extremely important when it comes to bike computers and gear in general. The Edge 25 is only 0.8 ounces, so it is one of the lightest bike devices around, giving you more stability than ever. However, its lightweight and size causes a bit of contention among its user base.

At just 0.9 x 0.9 inches, the device can be hard to read for some,although you might enjoy the compact size and weight. Really, it’s very much a case of what works best for you, so be sure to check its dimensions and compare it to something you already own to get an idea of the size.

Garmin is one of the most solid names for bike computers and general technology in the market right now, as well as one of the oldest. The brand has had room to experiment and come up with different ways to engage users and make biking more of an experience rather than an activity.

One of the pros of the Edge 25 is the ConnecttM, a platform that allows you to keep track of your milestones, download educational courses on biking that offer advice and information, as well ass analyze post-ride stats and personal records to get the best out of your training.

Granted, Garmin is certainly on the expensive side of bike devices, but you definitely get what you pay for. With all the pros above – and very little cons in comparison, it is the perfect waterproof bike device, and even manages to exceed all the functions offered by other top contenders in the market.

Pros
  • Display with time, distance and heart rate
  • GPS
  • GLONASS
  • Live updates and instant data upload
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Small so it is a bit hard to read

Bike Computers: Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know Which Bike Computer Suits Me the Most?

It all depends on what kind of biker you are. If biking is your form of exercise, it means functions like heart monitor and calorie count are a must have for you. If you use your bike to go to work or run errands, then you would definitely need GPS and a clock. There are also black and white, colored, and even touch-screen bike computers, and it all depends on user preference and priorities.

However, all bike computers determine speed, distance and trip time, so if you are not big on biking, you can go ahead and buy what works best functionally from the list above. We recommend double checking bike dimensions in comparison to computer size in order to ensure it is the perfect look and size for you and your bike.

How Do Bike Computers Work Accurately?

The way bike computers function, wired or wireless, is through two devices, one that is placed to the front wheel and another that is placed to one of the fork legs. The rotation time and frequency determines how many miles and time have passed throughout your ride. Most bike computers use magnetic sensors to record and transmit data to the main device.

What’s the Difference Between a Bike Computer and a GPS Unit?

Bike computers offer less options than GPS, but they all measure distance, speed and time. While bike computers work with magnetic sensors to record data, devices with GPS and GLONASS are operated through satellites. There has been a boom in GPS bike computers in the last few years, and they are offered in relatively cheaper prices than when they were first launched. Still, bikers who prefer a simpler, straight to the point bike computer might a traditional option.

What’s the Best Battery Type for a Bike Computer?

Most brands use lithium batteries for their bike computers, which aren’t very costly, are easy to find, and easy to change. However, there are longer lasting battery types are like CR2, which might need to be replaced in more or less three years, meaning you have to worry about it less.

Best Bike Computers for Monitoring Your Performance (2020) — Bike Hacks