There’s a funny joke among cyclist and it goes like this: “What do you call extreme cycling? Riding without a cycling computer.”
Cyclist like their data. They like their bikes, their bike parts, and they like knowing they are performing their best.
While the use of a smartphone to collect ride data is increasingly popular, a bike computer can still make sense for any rider, especially if you’re a data-hungry enthusiast. Given that, know that all cycling computers are not created equal. So how can you select the best one for you?
Determining the best computer for you starts with self awareness. What kind of rider are you? Casual? Weekend warrior? Competitive? If you are a casual rider, you may just need the basics. If you just want to know how far you rode and how fast, a basic unit may be appropriate. It will be smaller, lighter and usually have a longer battery life than a pricier option. You will want to look for computers sans GPS and data transfer.
However, cycling enthusiast and competitive cyclists may be looking for more features. On the upper end of the cycling computer spectrum are units that are both ANT+ enabled and have a built-in GPS receiver. These computers can receive data from ANT+ sensors, including power, speed, heart rate, and cadence. They also track your position using GPS, allowing you not only to see a map of your ride once transferred to a companion app, smartphone, or computer but also to compare your time on established segments using a service such as Strava.
When evaluating cycling computer features, you also have to have a clear picture of how much are you willing to spend? You will need to prioritize the functionality that is most important to you. Maybe it is computer connectivity or multi-bike options. Regardless, the best thing you can do before purchasing or upgrading your cycling computer, is to have a clear idea of what you want to use it for. This will make your wallet happy and your riding experience all you want it to be.
Technology is improving all the time with more and more features to consider in your selection. Check out the cycling computers we have online or stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and let us help you select the best computer for your type of riding. While you’re at it, check out our bike parts, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel. There’s nothing like launching into the cycling season than with fresh gear and bike parts!