Discover the best smartwatches for cycling in 2023, featuring GPS tracking, advanced fitness metrics, and seamless connectivity. Upgrade your ride today!
Are you ready to elevate your cycling game in 2023? The world of smartwatches has evolved tremendously, and cyclists can now benefit from cutting-edge features that improve performance, safety, and enjoyment on the road or trail.
From seamless connectivity to popular cycling apps to advanced navigation systems and robust health tracking, the latest smartwatches are designed with the modern cyclist in mind. Join us as we explore the best smartwatches for cyclists in 2023, guaranteed to enhance your riding experience and help you conquer your fitness goals. Say goodbye to the limitations of the past, and get ready to embrace the future of cycling technology!
The benefits of using a smartwatch while cycling are numerous: they help keep track of your heart rate, they can be used as a bike computer or GPS tracker (if you have the right model), they allow you to listen to music without carrying around an extra device in your pocket or strapped onto your arm, and they’re generally quite stylish!
There are many different types of watches available on the market today – here’s an overview of some popular options:
Design and Features
Display size and type
The display is a key element of any smartwatch, and it can make or break your experience. While the Apple Watch Series 4 has a larger screen than previous versions, it’s still not as big as the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active or Huawei Fit Pro. The latter two have 1.2-inch AMOLED displays that easily read in direct sunlight (the Apple Watch does not). If you want something bigger than 1 inch but don’t want to opt for an actual watch face, consider getting one of these two devices instead!
Water resistance refers to how much liquid can pass through an object before causing damage–and it’s important when considering whether or not your device will survive being submerged under water during a swim session or rainstorm ride home from work on your bike. Most smartwatches these days offer some degree of protection against water damage. However, some exceptions exist: The Apple Watch Series 4 is only splash-resistant, while Garmin’s Fenix 5X lacks waterproofing!
GPS tracking. This is a must-have feature for any serious cyclist, and it’s an area where smartwatches shine.
Heart rate monitoring. Your heart rate provides valuable information about how hard you’re working out–and it can help prevent injuries by letting you know when to ease up on the intensity of your ride or rest after an intense session (or both). All three devices mentioned above can track heart rate during workouts.
When it comes to smartwatches, connectivity is king. The best smartwatches for cycling can connect to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and have NFC capabilities for contactless payments. Some even have cellular service built in so you don’t need to carry your phone with you on rides (though we recommend doing this anyway).
If you’re seeking a wallet-friendly option, numerous affordable smartwatches are on the market. The top budget-friendly smartwatches, priced under $100, are compatible with any smartphone or tablet. For those willing to invest more in a wearable device, consider exploring our recommendations for mid-range and high-end selections below.
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Best Smartwatches for Cycling in 2023
Garmin Fenix 7: The Ultimate Multisport Watch
The Garmin Fenix 7 is an excellent choice for cyclists who need a multisport watch with exceptional battery life and accurate GPS tracking. With dedicated cycling modes and compatibility with popular cycling apps like Strava, this watch offers an unparalleled experience for riders.
The Garmin Fenix 7 is a premium multisport smartwatch with various features tailored for cycling enthusiasts. Key cycling features include:
Real-Time Stamina: Monitor your exertion level during rides based on heart rate, power, and speed, providing insights into remaining stamina and sustainable effort duration.
Downloadable Maps: Preloaded TopoActive maps cover the globe and are freely updatable. Additional maps can be downloaded from Garmin Connect or third-party sources, featuring cycling-specific points of interest.
Touchscreen Navigation: Easy map navigation with a touchscreen display and physical buttons, supporting turn-by-turn directions, round-trip routing, and breadcrumb trails.
Power Meter Compatibility: Connect with ANT+ and Bluetooth power meters to display metrics like average power, normalized power, intensity factor, and training stress score. Calibrate your power meter and set up power zones with the Fenix 7.
Cycling Dynamics: Pair with compatible Garmin sensors (such as Vector pedals or HRM-Pro chest strap) to display advanced cycling dynamics like pedal balance, platform center offset, power phase, seated/standing position, and respiration rate.
Check out: Garmin Fenix 7X Review: Unleash Your Adventurous Side
Apple Watch Ultra: The Best Smartwatch for Cycling
The Apple Watch Ultra is a top contender in the smartwatch market, especially for cyclists. Its built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring, and robust fitness tracking features make it the perfect companion for any cyclist. The Apple Watch Ultra seamlessly integrates with the Apple ecosystem, making it even more convenient for iPhone users.
Durable design: With a 49mm titanium case, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen, and 100-meter water resistance.
Long battery life: Up to 18 hours on a single charge, 50 hours in Ultra Mode, wireless, and fast charging.
Specialized apps: Built-in cycling apps like Trailforks, Komoot, and Strava, and compatibility with third-party apps.
Advanced sensors: GPS, heart rate monitor, ECG, SpO2, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, and compatibility with external sensors.
Customizable action button: Perform actions like starting/stopping a ride or sending an SOS signal.
Check out: Apple Watch Ultra: A Game Changer in the World of Smartwatches
Garmin Forerunner 945: The Advanced GPS Watch for Cyclists
For those who want a powerful GPS watch specifically designed for cycling, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the way to go. With a dedicated cycling mode and advanced navigation features, it’s the ideal smartwatch for cyclists.
Downloadable Maps: The Forerunner 945 comes with preloaded maps that cover the whole world and can be updated for free. You can also download additional maps from Garmin Connect or third-party sources. The maps show cycling-specific points of interest, such as bike shops, cafes, and trails.
Power Meter Compatibility: The Forerunner 945 can pair with ANT+ and Bluetooth power meters and display various power metrics, such as average power, normalized power, intensity factor, and training stress score. You can also use the watch to calibrate your power meter and set up power zones.
Cycling Dynamics: The Forerunner 945 can show advanced cycling dynamics when paired with compatible Garmin sensors like Vector pedals or HRM-Tri chest straps. These include pedal balance, platform center offset, power phase, seated/standing position, and respiration rate.
Music Storage and Streaming: The Forerunner 945 has 16GB of internal storage to hold up to 1,000 songs. You can stream music from Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon Music without your phone. You can control the music playback from the watch or with a paired headset.
Performance Monitoring: The Forerunner 945 can track your VO2 max, aerobic and anaerobic training effect, training load, and recovery time. It also has a new feature called Body Battery that shows your energy level throughout the day based on your activity, stress, and sleep.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
This premium multisport watch has advanced features for cyclings, such as GPS, mapping, power meter compatibility, training load analysis, and more.
Downloadable Maps: Preloaded TopoActive maps, cycling-specific points of interest, and third-party map compatibility.
Smart Trainer Control: Pairs with ANT+ smart trainers, displays power and cadence data, and offers multiple training modes.
Power Meter Compatibility: Pairs with ANT+ and Bluetooth power meters, displays various power metrics, and allows power meter calibration.
Cycling Dynamics: Compatible with Garmin sensors, it displays advanced cycling data like pedal balance and respiration rate.
Music Storage and Streaming: 32GB, streaming from Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon Music, and headset-compatible controls.
Check out: Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series Review – For Elite Athletes and Garmin Fenix 6 Series – The Best Multisport Watch
Apple Watch Series 6
This sleek and versatile smartwatch has a bright display, built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, ECG sensor, and Apple Fitness+ service.
Automatic Cycling Detection: Detects when you start riding and prompts you to record your ride with auto-pause and resume.
GPS and Elevation Data: Built-in GPS tracks speed, distance, route, and elevation, with an altimeter for current elevation and ascent/descent.
Heart Rate Monitor and Zones: Wrist-based monitor measures heart rate zones, resting heart rate, and cardio fitness level and checks for atrial fibrillation.
Pacer and Splits: Helps maintain consistent speed or pace, provides alerts, and displays split times and distances.
Custom Cycling Workouts: Allows the creation of custom workouts with different segments and supports multisport triathlon workout types.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
This stylish and lightweight smartwatch has GPS, a heart rate monitor, an ECG sensor, music streaming, and Samsung Pay.
GPS and Elevation Data: Built-in GPS tracks speed, distance, route, and elevation; altimeter measures current elevation and ascent/descent.
Heart Rate Monitor and Zones: Wrist-based monitor measures heart rate zones, resting heart rate, and cardio fitness level and checks for atrial fibrillation.
Automatic Cycling Detection: Detects when you start riding, prompts to record your ride, and auto-pauses/resumes workouts.
Third-Party Apps: Access to Galaxy Store for cycling apps like Strava, MapMyRide, and Endomondo.
Music Storage and Streaming: 4GB storage for up to 500 songs and Spotify streaming without a phone.
Suunto 9 Baro
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This is a rugged and durable smartwatch with GPS, barometric altimeter, wrist-based heart rate monitor, power meter compatibility, and over 80 sports modes.
GPS and Barometric Altimeter: Tracks speed, distance, route, and elevation and measures current elevation and ascent/descent.
Power Meter Compatibility: Pairs with Bluetooth power meters, displays power metrics, and sets up power zones.
Cycling Dynamics: Shows advanced cycling dynamics when paired with compatible Suunto sensors.
Music Control: Controls music playback on your phone.
Custom Cycling Workouts: Creates custom workouts with different segments and uses multisport mode for seamless transitions.
How to Choose the Right Smartwatch for Cycling – Key Features
Choosing the right smartwatch for cycling involves considering various essential factors for meeting your needs and preferences. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:
Look for a smartwatch with sufficient battery life to last through your longest rides. Consider devices with extended battery life or power-saving modes for multi-day adventures or long training sessions.
GPS and Navigation
Built-in GPS is crucial for tracking your rides and monitoring your progress. Some smartwatches offer advanced navigation features such as turn-by-turn directions, downloadable maps, and breadcrumb navigation, which can be helpful when exploring new routes or trails.
Heart Rate Monitoring
A built-in heart rate monitor can help you gauge workout intensity and adjust your training accordingly. Some smartwatches also support pairing with external chest strap sensors for even more accurate readings.
Compatibility with Cycling Apps and Sensors
Look for a smartwatch that integrates seamlessly with popular cycling apps like Strava or Komoot, making tracking, analyzing, and sharing your cycling data easier. Additionally, compatibility with external sensors such as power meters, cadence sensors, and speed sensors can provide more in-depth information about your rides.
Some smartwatches offer dedicated cycling modes, cycling dynamics, and custom cycling workouts, which can enhance your training experience. These features can help you create structured workouts and track advanced cycling metrics.
Durability and Water Resistance
A durable and water-resistant smartwatch can withstand the rigors of outdoor cycling and exposure to different weather conditions. Look for devices with a sturdy build and at least an IP68 or higher water resistance rating.
Price Range and Features
Consider your budget and prioritize the features most important to you. While some premium models offer advanced features, many affordable options still provide excellent functionality and performance for cyclists.
Ease of Use and Display
Look for a smartwatch with an easy-to-read display and user-friendly interface, especially while cycling. Touchscreen displays can be challenging to use with gloves or in wet conditions, so you may prefer devices with physical buttons for easier navigation.
Choose a smartwatch that supports Bluetooth and/or ANT+ connectivity, enabling you to connect with various sensors and accessories for a more comprehensive cycling experience.
Customization and Third-party Apps
Some smartwatches allow for extensive customization, enabling you to tailor the watch face, data fields, and alerts to your preferences. Additionally, support for third-party apps can enhance your cycling experience by providing specialized features or integrations.
Check out: Best Smartwatches for Runners in 2023
What to Look for in a Smartwatch for Cycling
When it comes to smartwatches for cycling, there are a few things you should look for. First and foremost is battery life. You don’t want your device dying on you halfway through a ride–or worse yet, during one!
Second, is the number of sensors included in the watch itself. The more sensors that come with your device, the better it can track all kinds of data about your workout and give you more information about how well (or poorly) it went.
Finally, consider wrist size when choosing which smartwatch will work best for you: if they’re too big or small for your wrists, they’ll be uncomfortable while riding or even fall off entirely!
Cycling enthusiasts have many options for finding the perfect smartwatch to enhance their riding experience. The Garmin Fenix 7, Apple Watch Ultra, and Garmin Forerunner 945 offer top-notch features and functionalities that cater to cyclists. By considering factors such as GPS, heart rate monitoring, battery life, and compatibility with cycling apps, you’ll be able to find the best smartwatch for your cycling needs.
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Alex is a passionate fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. He encourages small – sustainable changes over drastic transformations and works with people to create customized wellness plans. His mission is to help others benefit from the most effective methods available, sharing tips, strategies, and health & fitness tools on Gearuptofit.com to inspire people to live their best lives.