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Best GPS bike computers 2023 for training, navigation and data

Everything you need to know before buying your next bike computer

Paul Norman
24 Jan 2023

Few additions to your bike can make as big a difference as a GPS bike computer. With the right accessories, it can tell you where you are when you get lost, how many watts you’re struggling to put out, and even when it’s time to stop for a piece of cake.

Relying on GPS positioning satellites, the latest bike computers increasingly offer smartphone-style features and extensive ride and performance analysis alongside simple speed and distance data.

This might include mapping and navigation, previews of upcoming climbs, or even the ability to see the fastest times set by other riders on the stretch you’re currently pedalling along. And for riders searching for these features, the bike computer market has come to be dominated by Wahoo and Garmin.

However, there are still smaller brands worth considering. The main thing is to decide why you are buying a computer in the first place. If you want outstanding mapping that can guide you on and off-road, you’ll need to look towards options that boast navigation capabilities.

If you’re a data junkie, you will need to assess the connectivity of the device. However, if you are solely using the computer to upload your ride to Strava, you may be better served by a more budget option.

Below you’ll find our guide to what we consider the best bike computers on the market, alongside advice on understanding their features and picking the best one for you.

Why should you trust our advice? 

Photo: Lizzie Crabb

We’re riders just like you and our choices are based on our extensive experience reviewing a wide range of cycling computers, as well as riding with them day in and day out when testing and reviewing other cycling gear.

Our tech coverage is led by Cyclist tech editor and bike nerd Sam Challis, with input from a team of expert testers including website editor Matthew Loveridge.

Buyer’s guide to the best bike computers

Here are the key things to look for when buying a bike computer:

Maps and navigation: Most cycling computers will offer some form of on-screen mapping or, at the very least, turn-by-turn navigation. Most will also allow you to preload routes to follow and some will even allow you to renavigate on the fly.

Smart notifications: Smart notifications are when you sync the computer to your mobile phone and receive notifications on the go. Most will send through messages and call alerts allowing you to keep tabs on what’s going on without having to reach for your back pocket. Many will also transmit data back to your phone, letting your contacts follow your ride and alerting them if something is wrong.

Battery life: If you plan to spend long days in the saddle exploring then you will need to look at options with healthy battery life. Most cycling computers will last up to 18 hours albeit when used conservatively, many much longer.

Sensor compatibility: This could be an external power meter, heart rate monitor or cadence sensor. If you want to use any of these, you should check the computer’s ability to connect to sensors and devices. Some only allow connection to one at a time but most allow multiple connections using ANT+ and/or Bluetooth.

8 of the best GPS bike computers in 2022

  1. Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS: £350
  2. Garmin Edge 830: £350
  3. Hammerhead Karoo 2: £360
  4. Garmin Edge 1040 Solar: £630
  5. Bryton Rider S800: £340
  6. Garmin Edge 530: £260
  7. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt 2.0: £300
  8. Mio Cyclo 210: £200

Products appearing in Cyclist buyer's guides are independently selected by our editorial team. Cyclist may earn an affiliate commission if you make a purchase through a retailer link. Read our reviews policy here

1. Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS: The best bike computer for ease of use

  • Price: £349.99
  • Easy to configure and use
  • 32GB storage
  • Excellent app integration

The big boss of Wahoo’s GPS cycling computer range, the Roam had an upgrade in October 2022 and now includes multi-band GNSS satellite fixes for improved accuracy, a 64-colour screen and 32GB of memory.

Like the original, it boasts onboard rerouting and on-demand route generation that partners with existing functions such as routing you to a pre-downloaded course as well as a new climb profile when riding a pre-loaded route.

The new Roam has also received climbing profiles – or Summit Segments as Wahoo calls them. Much like the higher end Garmins, climbs are colour-graded according to steepness and pop up when approaching an ascent on a pre-mapped route.

On GPS setup, you are prompted to download the Elemnt app which acts as the central hub for all the necessary information and data.

The app integration is seamless and makes up for what the computer lacks in touch-screen technology. Screen profiles can be changed easily through the app and sync automatically when both devices are turned on.

Take mapping, for example. After creating my route on a third-party app such as Strava or Ride With GPS, the route automatically synced to my pre-downloaded Elemnt Roam App and then onto the computer through Bluetooth in a matter of seconds.

Wahoo says that the new dual-band GPS is more precise, good for riding under dense tree cover or around tall buildings. The navigation system works well, but lacks heatmaps, so can lead you out onto busier roads to get you from A to B.

The Roam has a respectable battery life of 17 hours, even at full functionality, despite the added storage capacity. A top-drawer product, but if you’re happy with a smaller screen the Bolt 2.0 still does pretty much the same job for £100 less. More details below.

Screen size: 2.7in; Battery life: Up to 17 hours; Location: Multi-band GNSS, GPS, Glonass, Galileo; Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi; Weight: 95g; Other features: Easy setup

2. Garmin Edge 830: The most usable Garmin GPS computer 

  • Price: £350
  • All the functionality of Garmin’s larger units
  • Touchscreen interface

The Garmin 830 is essentially a much smaller version of the brand’s top-end Edge 1030 Plus computer, complete with live segments, live tracking, ultra-fast route planning, incident detection, nutrition tracking and even a bike alarm – all while punching out 20 hours of battery life.

Despite being relatively compact at 82g and with a 2.6-inch screen, the Edge 830 is still packed with an abundance of functions. In fact, it’s really just a smaller version of the Edge 1030 Plus. It contains live segments via third-party app Strava, live tracking, on-board route planning, rerouting capabilities alongside safety features like Incident Detection and even a pin-locked bike alarm.

The unit will tell you when you need to eat and drink and also sync to your Shimano Di2 groupset to let you toggle through the computer’s screens from the levers of your bike. Impressive! Controlled mainly via its touchscreen, a full-size feature set and handy size make this our go-to Garmin.

Screen size: 2.6in; Battery life: Up to 20 hours; Location: GPS, Glonass, Galileo; Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi; Weight: 82g; Other features: N/A

3. Hammerhead Karoo 2: The most smartphone-like experience 

  • Price: £359
  • Works like a smartphone
  • Hill climb profiles on the fly

Jumping straight from OS paper maps to a cycling GPS for navigation would have been fine, if it weren’t for smartphones having arrived in the meantime. As it is, switching from mapping on your phone to that on a cycling computer is like going from an iMac to an Amstrad.

Based on the Android operating system, with 32GB of storage, and including free access to worldwide mapping, the Karoo aims to bridge the gap between the two experiences.

Offering turn-by-turn navigation both on and off-road, the Karoo’s base map offers a significant level of detail, with nearby points of interest from cafes to toilets all flagged. Hit a climb and it will bring up the oncoming elevation, while it’s also possible to drop a pin and have the unit quickly create a route to it. Unlike other units, searching and sorting routes and locations is easy, partly thanks to the unit’s in-built QWERTY keyboard. If you aren’t riding a preplanned route, you still get climb profiles on the fly.

Happy to ping notifications from your phone, the Karoo also stands out thanks to its GSM cellular SIM card slot. With 3G and 4G capability sitting alongside more standard Bluetooth, ANT+ and Wi-Fi connectivity, you’re able to get on the internet without a smartphone, and can import routes directly from your favourite app, while also pulling in real-time data from things like Strava segments.

Very much positioning itself as a tech firm rather than a hardware maker, Karoo promises to provide fortnightly updates to the unit’s firmware and functionality. That means its capabilities are likely to grow in the near future, and as such the Hammerhead 2 already has the making of a capable rival to more established brands.

Screen size: 3.2in; Battery life: Up to 14 hours; Location: GPS, Glonass, Galileo; Connectivity: GSM cellular, Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi; Weight: 167g; Other features: High-res screen

4. Garmin Edge 1040 Solar: The most full-featured bike computer with the longest battery life

  • Price: £630
  • Solar charging contributes to huge runtime
  • Multi-band GNSS for position accuracy

The Garmin 1040’s party trick is its solar charging (there’s also a cheaper non-solar version) which adds significantly to its already long battery life, giving you 45 hours claimed runtime with all functions running and up to 100 hours in its most pared-down GPS mode. The solar screen is slightly difficult to read though, due to its internal coating.

It also comes with multi-band GNSS satellite tracking, which ups the accuracy of its GPS trace (something that’s included in the latest version of the Wahoo Elemnt Roam too).

Garmin’s touchscreen works really well wet or dry, with or without gloves and the large 3.5-inch diagonal means that you can see plenty of data fields. The maps have lots of detail and it’s very quick to upload a course to follow. Popularity-based routing means that you’ll be kept to cycle-friendly routes.

The Edge 1040 gives you loads of ride stats, including Stamina, which keeps tabs on your energy expenditure as your ride and tells you how much you’ve got left in the tank. It automatically switches to a climb profile when you hit a hill on a pre-planned route and shows your progress as you tackle it.

All the standard GPS computer functions you’d expect are included too, along with access to Garmin’s extensive Connect ecosystem. If you want all the features and don’t mind the increased cost and size, this is probably the computer to go for.

Screen size: 3.5in; Battery life: Up to 100 hours; Location: Multi-band GNSS, GPS, Glonass, Galileo; Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi; Weight: 133g; Other features: Solar charging

5. Bryton Rider S800: Best for battery life on a budget 

  • Price: £339.99
  • Up to 36 hours battery life
  • Multiple satellite constellations for worldwide coverage

The Bryton Rider S800 is the latest version of the brand’s top bike computer. Its main boast is an extremely long battery life – up to 36 hours – coming close to rivalling the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar at a much lower price.

You can get around 50% charge in an hour which, combined with the battery life, make it a good option for long days out on the bike or multi-day trips.

The Rider S800 features a decent sized colour touchscreen, which is easy to read and use whilst riding. It covers standard functions well, with pop-up climbing profiles and clear map navigation, and even has a voice recognition feature – though this is not perfect.

Connecting to a full range of GPS constellations, not just GPS and Galileo, but also Glonass, Beidou and the Japanese QZSS, you’ll be covered wherever you ride.

There’s also Wi-Fi sync and Bluetooth built-in, while peripherals link up using ANT+. If you carry your phone with you, you’ll get incoming messages and call alerts.

The base map is clear and easy to follow with turn-by-turn directions from uploaded routes, while the unit’s data screens are easily configurable.

The S800 is good value as standard but another £50 will also get you an additional ANT+/Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor plus a heart rate strap, making it an even better deal.

Screen size: 3.4in; Battery life: Up to 36 hours; Location: GPS, Glonass, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS; Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi; Weight: 104g; Other features: Touchscreen

6. Garmin Edge 530: The best value Garmin bike computer 

  • Price: £260
  • All Garmin's functionality at a budget price
  • Impressive 20 hour battery life 

The Garmin Edge 530 is the button-operated baby sibling of the more expensive touchscreen Edge 830.

It’s been designed as a true companion for riders who train, seamlessly syncing to third-party power meters, providing biometric information into whether you are training too hard and even informing you when to eat and drink when riding.

Despite more basic on-bike mapping than Garmin’s more expensive models, navigation is still good thanks to the pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map that provided turn-by-turn directions and notifications as well as off-road mapping for the gravel/mtb riders out there.

Ride safety is also considered paramount with Incident Detection that notifies pre-determined contacts of any potential incident while also acting as an alarm that notifies your smartphone if your bike is being moved if you are elsewhere.

Battery life weighs in at 20 hours, which is also impressive. What you don’t get is touchscreen control. However, if you can manage without that the Edge 530 is something of a bargain.

Screen size: 2.6in; Battery life: Up to 20 hours; Location: GPS, Glonass, Galileo; Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi; Weight: 76g; Other features: Non-touchscreen

7. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt 2.0: The best bike computer for racers 

  • Price: £300
  • Compact aerodynamic shape
  • LED lights can be programmed for additional information in-ride

The Elemnt Bolt is a GPS computer for those who race. Similar to its bigger brother the Roam, the Bolt offers turn-by-turn navigation, seamless route syncing from the companion app, as well as on-board and on-demand navigation through its impressive mapping system.

It also gives live text and call alerts, relays Strava live and fully links to all Wahoo accessories. There is also the capability to sync the LED lights across the top of the unit to act as a visual reference for things such as speed.

The Bolt 2.0 now benefits from a 64-colour display and ever so slightly rejigged ergonomics. It also now has a huge 16GB of internal storage.

In terms of features, this update has also improved its functionality to the point that it’s much more like a miniature version of the firm’s Roam halo model than the former version. This means you now get additions like live tracking and rerouting, plus on device route planning. It’ll even act as a remote for your Wahoo brand turbo trainer. Despite these upgrades, the smaller and more aerodynamic shape remains, which should keep racers happy. 

Screen size: 2.2in; Battery life: Up to 15 hours; Location: GPS, Glonass, Galileo; Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi; Weight: 68g; Other features: Colour screen

7. Mio Cyclo 210: Best bike computer for the back of beyond

  • Price: £200
  • Extensive mapping
  • Zero fuss functionality

With no sensor connectivity, the Mio Cyclo 210 is aimed squarely at riders who prioritise navigating, and are happy to make do with just the stats that a location-sensing GPS can generate.

Still, anyone who doesn’t care about heart rate zones or hitting their FTP will find plenty to like. Ideally suited to cycle tourists or those on long-distance journeys, the Mio arrives with all of Europe loaded and ready to ride over.

Its maps are available free of charge via OpenStreet, with an SD card slot letting you add any further continent you fancy cycling through. Able to autoroute as you ride, much like a GPS in a car, you can pop in an address anywhere in Europe, select the level of traffic you’re happy to deal with, and it’ll guide you to your destination.

Its ‘surprise me’ function will even generate a route at a length of your choosing from anywhere you happen to be, although these can sometimes throw up odd choices.

It’ll also conventionally store any GPX routes you fancy following. The graphics are a little clunky, as is the size of the unit itself. As there’s no connectivity option other than via a USB cable, you’ll need to plug it into a computer to get your data out. Regardless, we think this zero-fuss unit with massive mapping capability will suit more than just Luddites.

Screen size: 3.5in; Battery life: Up to 10 hours; Location: GPS; Connectivity: N/A; Weight: 154g; Other features: Won’t work with additional sensors, Full European base map

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Main image: Joseph Branston