The Best Cycling Watches for Beginners and Semi-Pros

Right now, there are some fantastic cycling watches on the market.

We’ve learned to anticipate data from all of our devices, and tracking your fitness progress has become the new norm. However, athletes aren’t the only ones interested in analyzing their fitness data. Beginners want to keep track of their data so that they can create objectives and progress.

When it comes to riding, the vast majority of individuals begin by downloading Strava. This is an excellent program for calculating distances, speeds, and personal bests. Apps like this, on the other hand, run continuously during your session and are a significant drain on a phone’s battery. Because many don’t allow you to monitor your heart rate, cyclists have begun to turn to wearable technology as an alternative to phone apps.

Here are some fantastic cycling watch recommendations for individuals who are new to riding and have discovered a passion for it, as well as more experienced riders.

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit’s fitness trackers revolutionised the realm of everyday activity monitoring, and the company has continued to enhance them, making them more sophisticated and enticing to riders looking for sport-specific features.

The Versa 3 has over 20 sport modes (including biking), inbuilt GPS (as opposed to previous Fitbits’ reliance on smartphone GPS), and cardiac fitness tracking thanks to its wrist-based heart rate sensor. Sleep monitor, as well as step counts and calorie expenditure, are all included.

There’s also Fitbit Pay and music streaming.

The Versa 3 is now available thanks to Google’s acquisition of Fitbit. It is consistent with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, possible to control your smart devices with your speech.

Finally, the battery capacity is excellent, and charging time is minimal.

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit is the brand that people think of when they want to go into fitness. The Fitbit Versa 3 is a fantastic wearable with built-in GPS and a few design tweaks. Like its predecessor, it’s more of a fitness tracker than a smartwatch. This Apple Watch competitor has a long battery life, a better display than previously, and a plethora of fitness information.

It comes with a comprehensive number of fitness tracking capabilities, including a SpO2 sensor that monitors blood oxygen levels overnight.

The Versa 3 now has an indent on the left side of the shell that appears like the Fitbit Charge 3’s inductive button, rather than a physical button like the Versa 2. The Versa 3 is a nice wearable that can perform a lot of what the Fitbit Sense can do, except stress management and increased cardiac monitoring. That implies it’s cheaper than the Sense but more expensive than the Versa 2. Built-in GPS, a larger 1.58-inch AMOLED display (the same as the Sense), and a SpO2 sensor more than make up for the somewhat higher launch price.

Performance is excellent, as one would expect from a Fitbit device. The battery lasts around 6 days. The GPS isn’t as accurate as it is on some of the other bands we’ve looked at, but that won’t be a concern for most users. The Versa 2’s heart rate monitor is more accurate.

Alexa and Google Assistant are also available to help you manage your smart home and respond to questions.

Polar Vantage V2

The Polar Vantage V2 appears to be an unabashedly athletic fitness watch that’s so light (51g) and comfortable to wear that you’ll forget it’s on your wrist. The battery life is exceptional (up to 40 hours with GPS and seven days without). If charging your battery isn’t part of your routine, you can end up with a dead battery. The Vantage V2 can link to BLE-compatible sensors like power meters, as well as external heart rate straps, which is standard stuff at this point.

The watch is simple to use, with simple buttons and an app that walks you through the setup procedure. It syncs training data with third-party sites such as Strava and Training Peaks, and it contains sleep, recovery, and stress monitoring features that are compatible with the Whoop Strap. After three months of use, the battery life of our sample has not deteriorated. The optical heart rate sensor appears to be less prone to false readings than comparable watches when compared to wearing a chest strap.

Polar Grit X

Because of its adventure-specific features, Polar’s Grit X, which is priced in the middle of the market, will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. The ability to separate your uphill and downhill efforts is one of the most striking features of the Hill Splitter tool, which is ideal for traveling to far-flung corners of the globe.

Automated splits are generated whenever the gradient changes, so you won’t have to remember to hit any buttons at the bottom of the climb to keep track of your progress. Its ability to send you reminders about when you should eat and drink is based on the information it gathers. The ability of the watch to warn the wearer of incoming weather fronts is also quite useful.

It will also provide turn-by-turn directions when used in conjunction with the route-planning application Komoot. Even if you don’t get a map on your wrist, only a compass, and a breadcrumb trail, it’s still a useful function — provided, of course, that you have the required membership.

The Grit X, on the other hand, offers all of the normal sports watch features, including heart rate monitoring, GPS, Bluetooth connectivity with a power meter, and the ability to guide you through daily activities. There’s a lot of cycling-specific functionality here, but because there’s no ANT+ connection, older sensors won’t work. The lack of numerous wristwatch features, like contactless payments and Spotify track skipping, are also minor connection limitations.

The Grit X is powered by a long-lasting battery. The battery life can be extended up to seven days in training mode with GPS and wrist-based heart rate by choosing one of the numerous power-saving modes offered.

The entire system is housed in a tough, water-resistant housing that features a 1.2-inch screen and weighs only 64 grams.

Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Granted, it’s more pricey, but this watch is ideal for riders. The Garmin Forerunner 920XT is a watch that is recommended for cyclists who have progressed from novice to semi-pro status. It provides you with a coach who stays with you at all times.

This cycling watch will not only help you improve your cycling skills, but it will also track your sleep and steps. It contains a GPS feature that allows you to compare your ride to that of your friends and others on the internet. If you want to add a heart rate monitor, you can do so.

If you have the money to spend on an ANT+ power meter and/or a speed sensor, the 920XT can be a great cycling companion.

The advanced features, such as VO2 maximum, which learns as you use it, make it ideal for individuals who are just starting to start in their sport. It tells you how much your fitness is increasing and becomes better over time at predicting your skills. By the time it has gathered this information about you, it will be able to anticipate race times and establish a reasonable goal based on where you are in your preparation. It’s something a pro would be able to perform on their own, and it’ll teach you how to do it.

Garmin Fenix 6 Series

The Fenix 6 Pro is Garmin’s most recent product, which includes the Elevate heart rate sensor. This is ideal for those who like to keep track of their fitness. Make use of the Body Battery, which keeps track of your energy levels. Advanced sleep and stress tracking can be quite beneficial. To gain a good picture of your current fitness level, use the continuous heart rate monitor.

Without a question, the Fenix 6 Pro is one of the best multisport smartwatches on the market right now. It includes both adventure tracking and general performance. There’s a fantastic GPS mapping feature that will cover you for any outdoor activity you desire to do.

For an adventure watch, the battery life is adequate, with 36 hours in GPS mode and 336 hours without the bells and whistles. A barometer, thermometer, accelerometer, pedometer, and gyroscope are among them.

It has 32GB of inbuilt storage and can be used with Spotify and Deezer, among other music apps.

The sole difference between the 6 and the 6 Pro is that the crown is made of titanium, making the watch lighter. In terms of functionality, the Pro Solar model is identical to the Pro and Sapphire models. The Pro Solar, on the other hand, is the only model with Solar Power Glass, which can use solar energy to extend battery life.

It measures 47mm by 47mm and is 1.47cm thick. The case is composed of carbon fiber with Gorilla Glass (to protect the 260 x 260-pixel display), which is excellent at repelling scratches and bumps. It’s also waterproof, with a rating of 10ATM.

Garmin Enduro

Garmin’s latest premium multisport watch can last up to 80 hours in GPS mode and 65 days in smartwatch mode thanks to Power Glass solar charging.

The Enduro is great for a day of riding or a few nights of camping outdoors.

Of course, at this price, you’d anticipate a lot of features, but the Fenix 6 series has a few extras, especially in terms of mapping. There is no offline music storage as well. Despite having the same button layout as the Fenix 6, the Enduro has additional trail running features inherited from the Garmin Forerunner.

The craftsmanship is amazing, and it appears to be as rugged as the name suggests.

Garmin Forerunner 945

The Forerunner 945 borrows features from the Fenix 5 Plus, including a plastic bezel that replaces the metal one, as well as internal music storage and contactless payments.

It supports Bluetooth ANT+ and WiFi connectivity and can connect to numerous satellite location networks, as well as Garmin’s ClimbPro, altitude, and heat acclimation capabilities. It also works with several sensors, including power meters, and can connect to different satellite location networks. The Edge 530 and 830 cycle computers were the first to feature them.

The watch boasts a 36-hour battery life in ultra-track mode, as well as an Elevate optical HR sensor with Pulse Ox data, and is significantly less expensive than Fenix smartwatches.

Suunto 7

The Suunto 7 is a watch that can be worn daily. It’s also a dependable companion on adventures. This is the ideal watch for someone who engages in sports daily. It has over 70 different sports modes, as well as a heart rate monitor and a GPS mode. It provides the user with a one-of-a-kind sporting experience. It will thoroughly examine everything in your training.

It runs on Wear OS, so you won’t have to worry about being linked to your phone to get essential notifications.

It’s a fantastic unisex watch with a lot of customization options. There are numerous useful solutions for both sports and everyday use. You may, of course, utilise it with your favourite apps as well. It comes with smartwatch capabilities that are generally Android compatible (being a Wear OS device).

Contactless payment is one of them.

Offline outdoor maps that interact with Strava and Endomondo are easily accessible.

In terms of design, it’s solid. Steel with a silicone strap, it measures 50mm x 50mm x 15.3mm. It sports a high-resolution touchscreen that is scratch-resistant thanks to Gorilla Glass. In smartwatch mode, the battery lasts up to 48 hours, and in GPS mode, it lasts up to 12 hours. It has a water resistance rating of 50ATM.

Suunto 9 Baro

Suunto’s 9 Baro is a high-end touchscreen wearable that measures barometric pressure.

This Finnish device crams a lot of functionality into a small, user-friendly design. This will provide you with all of the data you’ll ever need to measure your activity, fitness, and non-exercise activities throughout the day. Cycling is, of course, possible with the Suunto 9 Baro. There are over 80 sports profiles to pick from, including running, swimming, trekking, and mountaineering.

Suunto’s battery management system is fantastic. Consumers who use it for a range of activity tracking 24/7 wear are continually impressed with the battery life (including sleep monitoring). You should expect to wait at least seven days before charging.

Coros Apex

The Coros Apex is a high-end sports watch that features a data-driven design. Would you like to increase your cadence? Are you curious as to how much training you’ll be undertaking this week? Everything you require is within easy reach.

This multi-sports watch has a simple, clever design that hides a slew of features that help runners, cyclists, swimmers, and other athletes track and improve their performance. It’s chock-full of smart features that make life easier on the water or in the mountains, and it comes with a terrific companion app for subsequent data analysis.

The Apex isn’t meant to compete with an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Watch for wrist real estate; it’s a watch designed for running, cycling, and swimming. There are no payment alternatives, no Spotify connectivity, and no third-party apps.

Spec

There are two sizes available, each with a little different price. The 42mm version is significantly less expensive than the 46mm version. Both are pricey for a sports watch, but not quite as costly as Garmin’s top-of-the-line Fenix range.

Regardless of which model you choose, the Coros Apex sports a color LCD screen with durable sapphire glass. The band is silicone with a quick-release clasp, as you’d expect from a multi-sport watch.

GPS, GLONASS, and BDS are used for navigation, as well as a compass, gyroscope, altimeter, and accelerometer for accurate activity tracking, to ensure the best possible coverage throughout the world. On the back of the watch is an optical heart rate sensor that monitors your pulse throughout the day, but there is no ECG.

The watch is water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters, making it suitable for both pool and open water swimming. A small package of rubber plugs is included to hide the charging socket, which is a lovely touch (presumably in case you lose one). We’d expect the water/dust cover to be attached to the watch in some way, thus this is a surprising alternative.

The battery is expected to last 25 hours in full GPS mode and 24 days when worn casually, according to Coros. Over many weeks, we put the watch through its paces, including daily runs, and only had to charge it once.

Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE

The Forerunner 945 LTE and the Forerunner 945 are quite similar. Except that it has a narrower case and includes the latest version of the Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, as well as LTE cellular connectivity. It’s also less expensive at first than the 945. The LTE, on the other hand, is the device’s major focus, and it works well for assuring the safety and awareness of your friends and family when you go outside to participate in an activity.

The most noteworthy new feature is the inbuilt LTE cellular connection, which allows runners to cycle while using a smartphone. Over time, Garmin watches added features like onboard music and Garmin Pay, but getting in touch with someone in an emergency still required carrying your smartphone along on a run, hike, bike ride, stroll, or other outdoor activity. The new Forerunner 945 LTE can be used to send important information to local emergency services or data to family and friends so they can keep track of your movements or respond to an incident detection event.

Summary

When it comes to purchasing accessories for a sport, it’s a good idea to start at the low end of the price spectrum. Cyclists have special data needs, and newcomers should take it slowly at first to prevent becoming overwhelmed. Starting with a Fitbit and progressing up to a Garmin or Polar, this list includes progressive recommendations. All of the watches mentioned are designed to meet the needs of cyclists, but they also provide the user time to develop their sport, train and learn.

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