The Best GPS Cycling Watch Reviews for 2019

These days, sport watches are more advanced than ever before. These cycling watches aren’t like the simple, stopwatch timepieces that used to be the ‘go-to’ for athletes of yesteryear. Now, some of the best cycling watches have a variety of features, and one of the most useful is GPS. If you want to upgrade your cycling watch, these are the best GPS cycling watches out there.

Product

Summary

Garmin Forerunner 945

Overall Rating - 3.5/5

This watch does more than read your location and help you find directions; one of the best things about this watch is that it includes the entertainment that makes a long ride even better. 

 

Fitbit Blaze

Fitbit Blaze

Overall Rating - 3.5/5

This is a great all around watch. It comes in at a decent price and will accurately track heart rate data. If connected to your phone it can track GPS and cycling data from Strava. Comes with some smartwatch features.


Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

Overall Rating - 4.5/5

The Garmin Fenix 5X is highly durable, making it perfect for people that like to take their rides on more rugged routes.


Suunto Spartan Ultra

Overall Rating - 5/5

The GPS in this watch is fast, and reliable, which is something that any cycling enthusiast needs.


Suunto Traverse

Overall Rating - 4.5/5

This is a cycling watch that you can count on to let you get up, get your bike, and get going.

Polar V800 GPS

Polar V800 GPS Watch

Overall Rating - 4/5

This is an easy to read cycling watch that you can count on for smooth GPS performance with an added dose of motivation.


Tom Tom Spark 3 Cardio

Overall Rating - 3.5/5

This a bundle you can't beat, whether you're an off-road or on-road type of bicyclist.


Garmin Vivoactive 3

Overall Rating - 4/5

It's extremely durable, and intuitively designed, so there's no adjustment period.



PRODUCT REVIEWS

Garmin has been a leader in GPS technology since it came into common use. This legacy has resulted in products, like their Forerunner 945 watch, that combine world class GPS service with a plethora of upgraded features. This watch does more than read your location and help you find directions; one of the best things about this watch is that it includes the entertainment that makes a long ride even better. You can store up to 1,000 songs on it, or pair it with a streaming service for limitless listening. It also has plenty of ways to monitor your performance, so it’s great for training athletes.

Garmin Runner 945 


Pros

  • Includes incident detection for safety
  • Full color maps make navigation easier
  • Battery life lasts up to 60 hours

Cons

  • Less battery life on certain modes

The Fitbit Blaze is a great option if you want a budget friendly cycling watch that helps you keep an eye on your stats. Even better, you won’t need to take your eyes off your workout so you can figure out the charts. That’s because they now show a simplified view, and are easier to read. This is also a good option if you cycle and dabble in other sports; with multi-sport tracking you can keep track of your rides, map your routes, track cardio, and even track cross training. With SmartTrack technology you can count on having a log of your workout, even if you forget to track it yourself.

Fitbit Blaze 


Pros

  • Multi-sport tracking mode
  • Connects with FitBit app for more workout planning
  • Includes FitStar workouts with training assistance

Cons

  • Needs phone nearby to connect to GPS and other features

The Garmin Fenix 5X is highly durable, making it perfect for people that like to take their rides on more rugged routes. You won’t find this piece scratched and scuffed after a day of hard riding, so you can rest assured it’s a lasting investment. The watch itself can stream music (if you have subscription music services), or you can load and store up to 500 of your favorite songs.

Another cool feature that Garmin includes is the heart rate monitor. Yes, many smart sport watches now include this, but the Fenix’s heart rate monitor can also help you get an idea of your blood oxygen saturation levels; a great thing to keep an eye on when you’re riding at altitude or really pushing yourself.

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus 


Pros

  • Estimates blood oxygen saturation levels
  • TOPO maps show popular routes
  • Scratch resistant and durable

Cons

  • Connects better with Androids

This is a cycling watch that really lives up to the ‘spartan’ name, in the best ways. You’d be hard pressed to find a more durable, functional, and all around usable watch; and that’s not just for cycling, but any sport. Even in training mode, you can count on a full 26 hours of battery, that's beyond most cycling watches.

The GPS in this watch is fast, and reliable, which is something that any cycling enthusiast needs (especially when you’ve accidentally just taken a wrong turn). You’ll love the incredible amount of support it gives you during cycling (as well as 80 other sports!).

Suunto Spartan Ultra 


Pros

  • Super fast 1 second GPS rate
  • Up to 26 hours of battery in training mode
  • Water resistant to 300 feet

Cons

  • Workout summaries extend only to 30 days

This is a cycling watch that you can count on to let you get up, get your bike, and get going. That’s because the innovative GPS system automatically begins a ‘breadcrumb’ trail. That means that even if you haven’t planned a route, you can be spontaneous, and know you’ll find your way back. It begins tracking your movements so it can lead you back, even without programming it in, or waiting for new directions to load. You can plan out a variety of different routes, and set your altitude using the watch, no extra programming needed.

Suunto Traverse 


Pros

  • Red backlight for night use
  • Has barometric graphs and storm alarms
  • Includes built-in flashlight

Cons

  • Does not change time zones automatically

This is an easy to read cycling watch that you can count on for smooth GPS performance with an added dose of motivation! The Smart Coaching helps you gain insight into your workouts, provides motivational inspiration after every workout. This is an ideal watch for cycling fan that wants to get better with each training session. You can even create profiles for different sports when you're not out bicycling.

Polar V800 GPS 


Pros

  • Creates advanced training modules
  • Tracks fitness 24/7
  • Make profiles for different sports

Cons

  • Not water resistant

While some sport watches can play music, hardly any actually provide you with the headphones too. That's not the only standout feature of this GPS cycling watch, you'll love the smooth navigation, backtracking, and route planning, all of which give you the freedom and confidence to take your rides as structured, or freeform, as you like. This a bundle you can't beat, whether you're an off-road or on-road type of bicyclist.

Tom Tom Spark 3 Cardio 


Pros

  • Includes headphones
  • Routing, tracking and planning
  • Durable, scratch resistant

Cons

  • Battery life could be improved

This Garmin cycling watch comes with everything you need, and things you didn't even know you wanted! First, it solves one of the biggest issues with smartwatches for outdoorsy types: you can actually read in sunlight (even bright). It's extremely durable, and intuitively designed, so there's no adjustment period. You're also going to love all the built in fitness apps and GPS features.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 


Pros

  • Easily read in direct sunlight
  • Battery life up to 7 days
  • Extensive customization ablities

Cons

  • Less battery life on GPS mode

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Navigation

If you want to go off trail or just want to check out a new area, navigation is a key feature for your watch. This will keep you from getting lost as you go and avoids needing to worry about paper maps or phone signal.


Battery Life

You need to make sure that the battery life of your watch is long enough to handle your journeys. There is no charging once you start biking, so it is important to guarantee that the battery will keep the watch powered for your entire ride and get you home safely.


GPS

GPS provides an exact location for where you are as you go. This is what makes keeping your pace and mapping your route possible. But it is important to make sure that the GPS system used in the watch is high quality to guarantee it will work as it should when needed.


Pace

If you are trying to increase your workout results or are training for a race, being able to figure out your pace is very helpful. It lets you see improvement as you go and can help you to determine where you may need improvement.


Bluetooth or ANT+

Bluetooth and ANT+ technology allows you to transfer your information from device to another. If you have a smartphone or laptop it will most likely be easier to see and analyze results from the watch on a bigger screen. This also allows more security because you can count on your information being backed up.


Heart Rate Monitor

Whether you want to train, get in shape, or just want to have the information, your heart rate is a good bit of information to have as you cycle. It allows you to see if you need to be pedaling harder to get your heart rate up, or if you need to cool down more before stopping your ride.


Touchscreen

Depending on your personal preference, you may want a watch with a touch screen, or one with buttons. It all comes down to how easy it is to use the controls and if the design works for you.


Adaptability

Depending on how often you are cycling, you may not think it is going to be worth the money to have a GPS watch. But just because it is a cycling watch doesn’t mean it is only for cycling. GPS watches are designed to work for any outdoor movement, no matter how fast or slow you are going. Look for a watch that you can wear for a lot of different outdoor activities.


Tips For GPS Cycling Watches

If you have never used a GPS cycling watch before then it is beneficial to take advantage of the tips and trick other users have discovered.


Skip Instant Pace

Instant pace is an incredibly convenient feature built into GPS cycling watches to show you your pace times. But it can fluctuate in accuracy and make it difficult to determine what your true pace is. To get the most accurate record of your pace, we recommend that you turn off the instant pace setting and switch to average lap pace.

The average lap pace can be customized for different increments of a mile. By setting it to every ¼ mile you will get an accurate and up to date pace update.


Turn on the Watch Inside

While technology has come so far, there are still some downsides to it. With GPS watches, the biggest downside is that it needs to be given time to get your location as it pings of satellites. To prevent this issue from cutting into your cycling time, it is recommended that you turn your watch on while you are still inside. This allows it to set up before you get started and keeps you on schedule.


Don’t Be Afraid To Reset

Some users of GPS cycling watches have noticed that the screen can randomly freeze up on you. But there is no need to panic if this happens. Simply press the reset button and let the watch reboot and it will get right back to working.


Switch Up Your Locations

The bike track can be a great way to get your exercise in a controlled area, but can get boring after a while. With a GPS watch you are able to widen the variety of locations you can go biking. Whether it is the street, a trail or anything else, you can feel free to switch up where you choose to cycle to

add some variety to your workout.


Get Exploring

A GPS system on your wrist allows you the freedom to not only take on biking trails, but anywhere you want to go. This means that there is no need to plan out your cycling trips, just bring your bike, your watch and your supplies and you are free to go wherever you please. This allows you to be more adventurous and explore the areas around you, not just stick to the basic tracks.


Use It for More Than Cycling

Because the GPS watch is designed to track your location whenever it is on and outside, you can use it for a wide range of different activities. From cycling to running, and even kayaking, as long as you are moving your watch will work. This is regardless of speed or activity, you just need to be outside and the sky’s the limit.

CONCLUSION

GPS cycling watches are a fantastic device to include on your next bike ride for many reasons. The simple and sleek design prevents you from being weighed down as you peddle and is stylish enough to wear for a wide range of uses. If you are on the fence about whether or not it is worth investing in a cycling watch, just think of the freedom of cycling new places without worrying about maps or phone signals. Just turn your watch on, grab your bike and go.

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