Watches have had an interesting journey. From being intricate mechanical devices made of little gears, watches have now transformed into chip-powered computers capable of performing a variety of applications.
Cycling is a hobby for minimalists and thus, smartwatches for cycling need to exude minimalism in both design and function, packing powerful features in a case that’s both fun to use and easy to carry around.
Nowadays, a smart watch for cycling is filled to the brim with a variety of sensors to aid the biker. These sensors include GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, thermometers, and weather forecasting.
Cycling watches are expensive and there’s a lot of options on the market. For a one time investment, one would want to make sure that the watch they’ve selected is perfectly in line with their needs.
Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best smartwatches for cycling available today. While there are a lot of options from different companies, I believe the 10 below represent the best of the best when it comes to features, ease of use, and cost.
- At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Smartwatches for Cycling
- Top 10 Best Smartwatches for Cycling – Our Reviews:
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Smartwatches for Cycling
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the smartwatches for cycling that most people buy).
- Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Top Pick
- Apple Watch Series 5 Runner-up
- Polar Ignite Runner-up
Top 10 Best Smartwatches for Cycling – Our Reviews:
1. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
Garmin has been in the business of making cycling accessories for a long time and their Fenix 6 Pro is a beast, packing a high number of sensors in a compact case that’s both stylish and ergonomic.
There is a wrist-based heart rate analyzer, a GPS tracker, an oxygen spirometer, and GPS/GLONASS support. In addition, this GPS watch can seamlessly connect to most smartphones with ease, displaying texts and incoming calls on its 1.3-inch display.
The battery life can last for up to 2 weeks if GPS isn’t used. With GPS, 36 hours of battery use is assured.
Made of a waterproof glass and metal body, the watch can survive anywhere (even underwater up to a depth of 50 meters).
Garmin goes a step further here and ensures that the heart rate accuracy is high even when the rider is underwater. ANT and Bluetooth support are included as well.
One downside though is that the Garmin Fenix 6 is a little heavier than its counterparts.
The Fenix 6 Pro retails for around $600. While this is a bit on the expensive end, I believe the cost to be justified given the plethora of features offered in what’s arguably the best smartwatch for cycling today.
- Powerful features in a stylish design make it the best cycling smartwatch today
- Extremely high accuracy of heart rate analyzer
- No negative aspect other than its sky-high cost
2. Apple Watch Series 5
Known more for smartphones and computers, Apple stunned the world with its foray into the world of smart watches.
One of the best cycling watches in existence, the Series 5 Apple Watch continues the company’s tradition of combining cutting edge tech with beautiful designs. Featuring a glass and metal frame with a rubber wristband, the Series 5 smartwatch is a sight to behold.
The smartwatch seamlessly connects to the iPhone and even includes support for Apple Pay, for customers who don’t want to take out their credit card every time they wish to make a purchase.
GPS connectivity is offered and so is Bluetooth compatibility. However, support for ANT+ based devices such as power meters is not built into the device.
The optical heart rate monitor embedded into the smartwatch is so accurate that even the US FDA has given the device its seal of approval. With the accurate measurement of fitness levels, the device doubles as a fitness watch as well.
Costing around $500, the Apple Series 5 is a formidable smartwatch sure to be embraced by the younger tech-savvy generation. Just like its signature iPhone design, this smartwatch cements Apple’s reputation of revolutionizing the end-user experience.
- Beautiful casing incorporates Apple’s minimalist design approach
- Support for Apple Pay included
- Lack of ANT+ support
3. Polar Ignite
A highly affordable smartwatch for cycling, the Polar Ignite combines most of the features found in competitors in a small and sturdy package built for the outdoors.
Sporting a glass touchscreen display, the Ignite is made of a polymer and metal composite for endurance and durability. As a consequence, the Ignite weighs only 35 grams and barely even feels it’s there on the wrist.
GPS connectivity is provided as is Bluetooth support and a heart rate monitor. In addition, 20 different languages are available, making the watch accessible to a high proportion of the global population.
If used in watch-only mode, the battery life can easily last more than 5 days. With GPS turned on, 17 hours of battery time is assured.
Support for third-party apps such as Strava is included as well. However, connectivity with a cycling computer is sadly not available.
Costing a little less than $200, the Ignite provides fantastic value for money and is comparable to any of the high-end models on this list. With built-in chest strap sensor connectivity, the rider can even pair it with other sensors for more comprehensive health analysis.
- Cheapest watch on this list
- Extremely light at only 35 g
- No ANT support means cycling computers cannot be used in tandem with the Ignite
4. Garmin Forerunner 945
Like the Fenix 6, the Garmin Forerunner 945 from Garmin is also jam-packed with sensors that elevate cycling to the next level.
WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth support are built-in while heart rate tracking, oximeter, and temperature checker are also included. There’s even support for fitness trackers such as Strava maps to keep track of journeys.
With GPS turned on, the battery life lasts two whole days and music plugins are also included to keep athletes entertained during their training sessions. The watch is waterproof up to a depth of 50 meters.
The Forerunner comes with companion software that has the potential to provide a detailed analysis of each training session, measuring a wide variety of physical characteristics to help athletes continually improve their performance.
More of a multisport watch than a cycling accessory, the Garmin Forerunner 945 has garnered fans from different fields due to its sheer versatility and dependability.
The Garmin 945 retails for around $550 and is lighter than its competitors at only 50 grams.
- A lightweight machine that packs a large punch
- A multitude of features included to analyze your fitness level
- High retail price of $550
5. Suunto 9 Baro
The 9 Baro is a capable sports watch from the Finnish conglomerate, Suunto. With several different sports modes built into its interface, including a dedicated cycling mode, the 9 Baro proves to be a reliable companion for any rider.
The large glass screen makes the vitals easy to read while the metal body protects the sensitive components against impacts. At more than 81 grams, it’s one of the heavier smart watches out there.
With a built-in GPS, getting lost in the woods is almost impossible. An optical heart rate sensor is also included in the machine for round the clock analysis of the athlete’s heart condition.
The watch can also easily pair with a chest strap heart rate sensor for more accurate measurements of the heart rate. The battery life lasts several days in basic mode, and almost a day with GPS turned on.
With its basic version costing around $430, the Suunto 9 Baro is a capable and dependable cycling watch that suits almost all the needs of cycling enthusiasts. Beautiful and sleek, the Suunto 9 makes for a resourceful companion on every journey.
- One of the most capable GPS watches out there
- Sensitive sensors included that take vitals accurately
- Its weight could be a little lighter
6. Polar Vantage V2
Encapsulated in an aluminum shell, the Vantage V2 is one of the most powerful smartwatches today whose features are comparable to most of its competitors.
The Vantage V2 can double as a fitness tracker as well with several sensors designed to analyze and record important characteristics of the human body, such as heart rate, oxygen level, and blood pressure.
Bluetooth and ANT+ support is included which means the V2 can be easily paired with other compatible devices such as power meters.
The glass touchscreen isn’t as sensitive as it should be which may make its users uncomfortable. With a weight of 50 grams, the V2 barely makes its presence felt on the wrist.
The battery life can be stretched out to 35 hours on GPS use while normal mode may see the battery last as long as a week. Also, support for third-party apps is included as well.
The one point of contention is its sky-high cost. At almost $500, the Vantage V2 is one of the priciest smartwatches out there.
Its high price aside, the watch is packed to the brim with powerful features bound to make any mountain biking experience worthwhile.
- Has a weight of only 50 g
- Beautiful sleek design with wide range of compatibility
- The sensitivity of the touch screen could be improved
7. Sigma iD.TRI
Sigma’s iD.TRI is a mean little machine that packs a big punch at a small cost. Enclosed in a glass and carbon fiber casing, the iD.TRI comes in several different colors.
Blutetooth connectivity is included and ANT+ support is provided as well, enabling the watch to connect to a power meter. Training features such as step measurement, trail mapping, and constant analysis of blood flow and heart rate are also included.
A rectangular touch display provides different snippets of data simultaneously while the companion app leaves much to be desired. A little revamp of the user interface and icons would go a long way to make it more presentable to consumers.
The battery lasts several days in basic mode while GPS use dents the battery significantly. Some people have also complained about the watch having difficulty in finding satellites to connect to.
Priced at around $220, the Sigma iD is a neat little smart watch that may only suit those starting out. Seasoned professionals will sadly not be impressed by this smartwatch.
- Very affordable at only $220
- Perfect for newbies and habitual riders
- Companion phone app needs significant improvement
8. Huawei Watch G2
Chinese smartphone conglomerate Huawei is the latest mobile phone brand to enter the smartwatch market. The brand’s G2 smartwatch combines complexity and dexterity in a sleek grey metal design.
The biggest strength of the G2 is its battery life which lasts as long as two whole weeks if used on normal mode. In GPS mode, the G2 will last as long as 30 hours.
The 500 x 500 pixel 1.3-inch touch screen is both extremely sensitive and highly sharp, providing a High Definition display for cycling mode.
The G2 can also tell how fast the rider is going. Built-in GPS tracking allows riders to know their bearings even in remote areas while a heart rate meter, accelerometer, gyroscope, and oximeter are also included in this GPS watch.
Unfortunately, support for third-party apps such as Strava fitness tracker isn’t included. The watch’s weight of 60 grams makes it feel to the rider that the watch isn’t even there.
Available at a base price of less than $260, the G2 smartwatches combine elegance and high specs to deliver products that are both beautiful and high powered.
- Highest battery capacity
- Crystal clear HD display
- Support for third-party apps not included
9. Suunto 7 GPS Sports
The Suunto 7 is a sleek and stylish smartwatch that’s filled to the brim with features like a heart monitor, altimeter, GPS, and Google Pay.
One of the few smartwatches to include a Gorilla Glass screen, its touch screen is protected against all threats, while the metal and polymer frame ensures that the cycling watch works perfectly in every weather and environment.
The battery lasts two days if used in normal mode and only 12 hours if used in GPS mode. One can even toggle between different sports modes (including cycling modes) to find the perfect interface suiting his or her particular needs.
The watch face is customizable as well so that riders can select different interfaces according to their moods while WiFi ensures seamless connectivity with local maps.
The main point of contention of the Suunto 7 is its high retail price of $400. Although the smartwatch is quite capable, its low battery life and high cost mean a significant portion of prospective customers will choose alternatives.
- Gorilla glass provided added protection
- Customizable watch face
- High retail price
10. Fitbit Ionic
Made from an aluminum body with either leather or plastic straps to complement the design, the Fitbit Ionic is a compact and sturdy little GPS smartwatch.
A high definition rectangular screen makes the illustrated data easy to read. Battery life of almost 7 days on basic mode and 15 hours on GPS mode makes this cyclic watch perfect for a nature retreat as well.
Water-resistant up to a depth of 50 m, the Ionic is perfect for swimming as well. Heart rate sensors and fitness tracking is embedded into the device as well.
With built-in support for both Android and iOS devices, the device connects seamlessly to almost every phone out there.
Retailing for around $210, the Fitbit Ionic is a durable and dependable smartwatch that will fulfill its intended purpose. The watch’s design has its fair share of admirers and detractors but with a plethora of features offered at such an affordable cost, the Ionic is bound to quickly become an athlete favorite.
- Very affordable at only $210
- 7-day battery life in normal use mode
- Simple design of these watches may not win over customers who value style over performance
Smartwatches have become the latest accessory to reach stratospheric popularity amongst the cycling crowd due to both their style and the sheer number of powerful tools they provide to analyze and improve fitness and health.
The provision to check features like blood flow monitoring, heart rate monitoring, and oxygen level in a small little box provides a powerful tool for cyclists to monitor their performance anywhere on the planet.
As far as the best smartwatches for cycling that don’t break the bank are concerned, I would recommend the Polar Ignite. At only $200, this is undoubtedly the best smartwatch for those who want the same features as other pricier models but don’t want to spend a large amount of money in doing so.
For individuals unfazed by large price tags, the best smartwatch for cycling is the Garmin Fenix 6 (although the Apple Watch might be a close second as well). Powerful features, beautiful design, and high endurance have made these watches quite popular among pro bikers.
Smartwatches are, in essence, small computers that riders can carry on their wrists as they venture out into nature. Selecting the right watch for cycling is thus important as each watch differs in its capabilities and the range of features it offers.