Best cycling computers 2024: GPS units for routing and training

We round up the best cycling computers on the market to help you to record and analyse your rides and performance

Male cyclist using a Wahoo head unit, one of the best cycling computers.
(Image credit: Future)

The best cycling computers can give you a lot of data to both track your ride and your performance. However, all units are not created equal. So what's the best cycling computer for you?

Full mapping and navigation functionality may mean you will need a larger and more expensive cycle computer, with a more sophisticated display. 

Those interested in data like heart rate, cadence and power will need connectivity to peripheral sensor devices; fortunately the days of cables and wires are over and even the more modestly priced units will have wireless capabilities as standard. Paired with one of the best cheap smart trainers it's a great way to ramp up your indoor training without spending a fortune.

If you want more detail on what to look for in a cycling computer and suggested alternatives, head to the buyer's guide at the bottom of the page. Alternatively read on for our pick of the best cycling computers we've tested and links to more detailed reviews.

The quick list

Best cycling computers

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The best cycling computer overall

Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS cycling computer

Hammerhead's Karoo 2 boasts a smartphone-like touchscreen that's easy to use

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best overall

Specifications

Dimensions : 2.4" x 0.76" x 4.0" (60.8mm x 19.3mm x 100.6mm)
Touch screen: Yes
Color display: Yes
Display size: 3.2" (81.3mm)
Weight : 131g
Battery life: Up to 12hrs (Claimed)
Compatibility/ features: Android OS, maps, Bluetooth/ANT+/WiFi/GSM

Reasons to buy

+
High screen resolution
+
Android-based functionality
+
Multi-touch display
+
Solid mount system

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life isn’t great
-
No dust cover for the charge port

Now owned by SRAM, Hammerhead makes the Karoo 2, which works a bit differently from other cycling computers, with the ease of use and responsiveness of a smartphone that other cycling computers can't match. 

That starts off with an Android operating system rather than something proprietary and Hammerhead releases regular updates to its software, so it's likely to be futureproof. It's also more fully integrated with your smartphone.

The touchscreen is also much more smartphone-like. It's super-responsive and you can pinch to zoom and, like a smartphone, navigate quickly between screens via shortcuts. The Karoo 2 is also quick to charge via its USB C port.

Read more: Hammerhead Karoo 2 full review

The best cycling computer for training tools

Garmin's latest Edge 1040 Solar GPS cycling computer

As the name suggests the Edge 1040 Solar can be recharged by the sun's rays

(Image credit: Garmin)
Best cycling computer for training tools

Specifications

Dimensions : 2.3″ x 4.6″ x 0.8″ (59.3 x 117.6 x 20.0 mm)
Touch screen: Yes
Color display: Yes
Display size: 3.5″ (88.9 mm) diagonal
Weight : 4.7 oz (133 g)
Battery life: Up to 45 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Solar recharging
+
Smart pacing features
+
Intuitive user experience
+
Great GPS accuracy

Reasons to avoid

-
Top-tier performance comes at a price
-
Needs a power meter to get the most out of it

The ability to charge the Edge 1040 Solar via the sun is quite the attention grabber. Garmin says the Power Glass™ solar charging extends battery life up to 42 minutes per hour in battery saver mode, giving you up to 45 hours of battery life in what it describes as "demanding use cases" and up to 100 hours in battery saver mode. 

It's worth nothing that this is based on an assumption of a continuous 75,000 lux conditions during daytime rides. Essentially that means consistently bright sunshine that you may well enjoy during summer rides but, depending on where you live, are less likely to experience during the cooler seasons. Naturally your expectations should match the amount of cloud cover.

The Garmin Edge 1040 Solar also features a revamped user interface that we found to be far easier to navigate that other Garmin models. The home page feature customisable data fields so you can easily scroll through your recent activity history, training schedule, weather forecast and more. You can also use the 'glances' feature to view data such as your recovery time.

Other interesting features include the Power Guide, which generate a pacing strategy for your chosen route to help you best manage your efforts. Naturally all this tech doesn't come cheap, but if you're after an all singing, all dancing cycling computer you're unlikely to be disappointed. 

Read more: Garmin Edge 1040 Solar first ride

The best integration with smartphone app

Wahoo Elemnt Roam

The Elemnt Roam is Wahoo's 'navigation first' cycling computer

(Image credit: Wahoo)
Best cycling computer for switching from trail adventures to road racing

Specifications

Dimensions : 3.5"x2.3"x0.7" (89mmx54.4mmx17.8mm)
Touch screen: No
Color display: Yes
Display size: 2.7" (68.6mm
Weight : 93.5g
Battery life: Up to 17hrs (Claimed)
Compatibility/ features: Integrates with smartphone app for turn-by-turn navigation, Bluetooth communication for text/call alerts, speed/distance/time/elevation, structured training

Reasons to buy

+
Cheaper than its rivals
+
Stylish and easy to use
+
Route-planning is intuitive.
+
Great for off road adventures
+
Data features 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be tricky to reroute on longer routes. 
-
Battery life shorter than rivals

The Wahoo Elemnt Roam brings what we know and love from the Elemnt Bolt in a slightly larger format.  Function and compatibility wise the Roam covers all the basics as well as phone communication alerts, live tracking, and structured training, to name but a few.

It's the best rival for the more pricey Garmin Edge 830, but doesn't get a touchscreen, which is actually a benefit for some riders who ride in wet weather and find this feature far from ideal. The three main control buttons are well sited too, at the bottom of the unit's face; they're large and easier to use than the small side-mounted buttons of many cycling GPSs.

The battery isn't as long lasting as some of the other computers' claimed times, but it's a handful of extra hours over the Bolt. 

Read more: Wahoo Elemnt Roam full review

The best budget cycling computer

Garmin Edge 130 plus

The Edge 130 Plus is stripped back and simple but still very capable

(Image credit: Future)
Best Garmin Edge computer on a budget

Specifications

Dimensions : 4.1 x 6.3 x 1.6 cm
Touchscreen : No
Color display: No
Display size : 27.0 x 36.0 mm; 1.8" diag (45 mm)
Weight: 33 g
Battery life: Up to 12 hours (claimed)
Compatibility/ features: Power, lights, live track, GPS, navigation, text messages

Reasons to buy

+
Small size looks great on the front of a bike
+
Crisp, easy-to-read screen
+
Controlled by buttons, not touchscreen
+
Top-end features

Reasons to avoid

-
Mapping is black and white
-
Maps use a breadcrumb trail

We know that this buyer's guide is looking very much like a best Garmin cycling computer guide, but it just goes to show the brand's domination in the field, with the Garmin Edge 130 Plus no exception, having gained a Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice Award. 

The Edge 130 Plus is stripped back and simple, yet a very capable cycling computer. Using buttons instead of a touchscreen, it's easy to set up and changing data fields is a breeze to do, even on the fly.

It can pair with ANT+ and Bluetooth accessories like heart rate monitors, cadence sensors and the best power meters. It is a device that would suit those who want to push their performance, chase Strava Live segments and train, but who don't need the top-end features offered at higher prices.

Read more: Garmin Edge 130 Plus full review

The best value overall

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2 mounted on a bike

Wahoo's Elemnt Bolt V2 expands on the original now featuring a color screen

(Image credit: Future)
Best value cycling computer overall

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.05" x 1.86" x .84"
Touchscreen : No
Color display : Yes
Display size: 2.2 in
Weight : 2.4oz / 68.38 g (Claimed)
Battery life: 15 Hours (claimed)
Compatibility / features: Power, GPS Navigation, Call/ text/ email, 15 county maps, SoS, Workouts, + more

Reasons to buy

+
Costs less than a Garmin 530
+
Aerodynamic design
+
Good battery life
+
Data easy to read on screen
+
Comes with 15 country maps
+
Strava Live enabled
+
Significant features & compatibility 

Reasons to avoid

-
You can't see the LEDs in sunlight
-
Requires a smartphone

We are big fans of Wahoo's cycle computers for their ease of setup and bombproof software. 

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt has received an upgrade with more memory and a color screen. It's still button operated rather than its 2.2 inch screen being touch sensitive, but the buttons are now convex for easier operation, particularly when wearing gloves. 

Set-up, pairing to a smartphone and configuration remain super-easy though and data is clear and legible. The LED array can help guide you too, although we didn't find it very useful.

Mapping and route management have been upgraded as well and there's clear turn-by-turn navigation and plenty of on-board map coverage without needing to download more basemaps. Navigation can be hit-and-miss though.

Other features include structured workouts, Strava Live integration and multisport handovers, as well as the newly-added Summit Climbs that give you a gradient profile for a pre-mapped route. Battery life is around 15 hours and there's quick USB-C charging.

Read more: Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2 full review

The best value cycling computer for navigation

Garmin Edge Explore 2 cycling computer mounted on a bike

(Image credit: Simon Smythe)

6. Garmin Edge Explore 2

Best Garmin Edge computer for navigating on a budget

Specifications

Dimensions: 106.1x 55.7 x 20.6mm
Touchscreen: Yes
Color display: Yes
Display size: 3in
Weight: 105g
Battery life: 16 hours
Compatibility/features: Bluetooth/ANT+, 16GB storage, IPX7 waterproof

Reasons to buy

+
Big, clear display
+
Easy to set up and use
+
Excellent navigation
+
Enough training metrics for most people

Reasons to avoid

-
Only three activity profiles
-
No outfront mount included

The Edge Explore 2 is a kind of antidote to the all-singing, all-dancing, solar-powered Edge 1040 Solar. It costs less than half as much as the 1040 and it’s aimed at the rider who doesn’t need all the performance metrics or the outdoor structured workouts. There’s also no Strava Live Segments. That said, it will pair with Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors, syncs everything with Garmin Connect (via Bluetooth; it doesn’t have WiFi), uploads to Strava and other training apps and gives you smart notifications, group ride messaging and incident detection - always handy.

If you've been using a heart rate monitor and power meter you'll get 'Highlights' after finishing your ride - a new V02max (if applicable) and recovery time - which feeds into Garmin Connect once synced and adds to your overall fitness data if you're tracking it.

So although navigation is the Edge Explore 2's primary function - and it does it incredibly well - training is by no means neglected.

In testing we found the Edge Explore 2 easy to set up, easy to use, easy to afford (relatively speaking) and ideal for most cyclists most of the time. It doesn't have the range of options (only three activity profiles for example) or the latest version of ClimbPro, and it's a shame you don't get an out-front mount in the box, but overall it's a great unit for the money.

Read more: Garmin Edge Explore 2 full review

Bryton Rider 420 E cycling computer

Bryton Rider 420 E cycling computer

Bryton's Rider 420 E delivers an impressive price-to-performance ratio

(Image credit: Wiggle)
A cycling computer packed with features for a reasonable price

Specifications

Dimensions : 9.4 x 9.4 x 4.57 cm
Touchscreen: No
Color display: No
Display size : 2.3" /5.8cm
Weight : 227g
Battery life: 35-hours (claimed) 12-14hrs riding (tested)
Compatibility / features : Power, GPS Navigation, text alert,