9 Best Smart Watches for Cycling 2021 Review

Cycling requires total focus on movement and direction to ensure fitness and progress. However, since the activity can be tedious at times, a lot of cyclists can’t help but listen to music and other forms of entertainment.

That’s why most cyclists need a handy “assistant” to track their route and performance while they’re entertaining themselves. Since bringing multiple devices for different purposes is such a hassle, more and more cyclists are using smart watches.

Smart watches are packed with various features. They generally have a set of apps for cycling and other essential uses as well as Bluetooth compatibility for tracking, notifications, and musical experience. It’s simply impressive how such a small thing can do so much.

This type of watch is also specifically designed for people with active lifestyles. It’s generally resistant to water, sweat, and weather conditions. Learn more about its capabilities below.

Best Smart Watches for Cycling Review

Polar Vantage V – Premium GPS Multisport Watch for Multisport & Triathlon Training

Polar Vantage V – Premium GPS Multisport Watch for Multisport & Triathlon Training

Even when its Global Positioning System (GPS) feature is active, the Polar Vantage V Premium Watch can still work nonstop for 40 hours max because of its heavy-duty battery with an extremely long lifespan. Another reason why it’s ideal for triathlons and other similar competitions is its super-tough casing with highly water-resistant surfaces.

If you just need a smart watch that can track your health for your fitness goals, this option contains precise heart rate sensors to guarantee accuracy. Another precise feature is the running power that can increase the success rate of your training by tracking all the crucial aspects of the activity.

More about the tracking abilities of this device, its Training Load Pro can separate the data about your muscle and cardio load as well as the load detected by the sensors. Meanwhile, the Recovery Pro can analyze external factors for a more thorough reading of your progress and a more accurate guide for your next sessions.

Despite the number of features we’ve highlighted, it’s still fewer than what most models have in the same price range. This product is quite expensive, and a lot of users are expecting more. Its screen is also slightly darker than expected, making it almost unusable if you’re riding your bike in the late afternoon or early evening.

One of the most important features of this smart watch can be faulty as well. Its Bluetooth feature can be inconsistent because some units require several reconnecting attempts every time they’re disconnected, which is supposed to be easier after the initial connection.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Waterproof
  • Precise heart rate monitor
  • Thorough tracker
  • Organized data

Cons:

  • Not enough features for the price
  • Dark display
  • Inconsistent Bluetooth

 

 

Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5

As expected from a smart watch for cycling, the Apple Watch Series 5 has GPS. The main purpose of GPS is to be the ultimate guide of your journey so you can surely reach your destination even when you’re exploring.

While GPS is such a common feature, this smart watch has something unique. It has a special app that can work like an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure your heartbeat’s electrical activity.

You can easily use the GPS and ECG functions because of the device’s screen that’s 30% bigger than the standard. It also has an Always-On feature so you can instantly see the watch face and the time without touching the surface.

If you’re swimming a lot aside from cycling, good news! This smart watch is extremely waterproof.

As the first option is known for its impressive battery, this one needs improvement. While other high-quality smart watches only need one charge weekly, some units of this model can only last for a day, which leads to daily recharging.

When it comes to the touchscreen feature, it’s not responsive enough. It might result in constant lagging.

The GPS accuracy is slightly off, too. Some users have ended up looking at zigzags even though they’ve travelled straight to their destination.

Pros:

  • Guaranteed to help you reach your destination
  • Can monitor the electrical activity of every heartbeat
  • Bigger screen
  • Allows constant monitoring of time without any hassle
  • Can be used even while you’re swimming

Cons:

  • Frequent recharging
  • Inefficient touchscreen
  • Inconsistent GPS

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Aiming to help you become physically and mentally healthier, the Samsung Galaxy Watch has features that can monitor your progress every single day. It can also keep you updated and entertained because of its Bluetooth compatibility. Most of your essentials on your phone can be accessed by this small device.

The quality of this smart watch when it comes to graphics is exceptional, too. Its face is so vivid and detailed that it can appear like a classic wristwatch, not a digital one.

Because of the wireless charger of this product, the system can still function perfectly even while charging. And, once it’s fully charged, it can last for several days despite continuous use.

Since style can be a priority, this smart watch comes in three color choices. You can even buy multiple wristbands for they’re all removable for customization.

What can you expect from this product? Aside from the smart watch itself and the wireless charger, each box contains two wrist straps in different sizes and a travel adaptor.

While wearing bulky watches can be stylish, some people just don’t like this large 42-millimeter model. Another downside is how risky it can be to update its system because of all the possible missed calls and notifications right after the process. You might also have a hard time navigating due to the faulty touchscreen.

Pros:

  • Designed for a healthier mind and body
  • Works like a tiny smart phone
  • Looks classy despite being a hi-tech watch
  • Clear graphics
  • Can be used for several days before the need to recharge

Cons:

  • Too large for smaller wrists
  • Risky updates
  • Defective touchscreen

 

 

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar, Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar, Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Here’s an option you’d love to try. The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar Watch is so unique because of its system that can rely on solar power, which is extremely helpful if you’re going to spend several days outdoors in remote areas.

The high-quality lithium battery also helps by having a 21-day lifespan before the next recharge. Just remember that using GPS can significantly shorten it.

Specifically designed for outdoor adventures, this smart watch is full of features like the barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass, GPS, and a collection of at least 2,000 maps.

It goes without saying that this device can also focus on health and fitness. Aside from the usual heart rate sensors, it has a special feature called the Pulse Ox that can help you monitor the quality of your sleep.

Going back to the fact that this smart watch can be powered through solar energy, you should know that there better options out there based on that feature alone. That’s because other models can last longer even with multiple functions activated at the same time.

Since easier navigation is crucial to quickly access a lot of apps on a small screen, a lot of users aren’t satisfied with the interface of this product. It will require you to spend more time customizing it.

The wristband can be uncomfortable, too. For some reason, its silicone material feels dry and worn-out despite being brand-new.

Pros:

  • Solar power
  • Features for outdoor use
  • Days of battery life
  • Can provide you with access to thousands of maps
  • Can be used to analyze your condition while sleeping

Cons:

  • Not the best when it comes to being solar-powered
  • Confusing interface
  • Strange texture of the wristband

 

 

POLAR Grit X – Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Compass, Altimeter and Military-Level Durability

POLAR Grit X – Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Compass, Altimeter and Military-Level Durability

A significantly more durable outdoor watch than the previous option, the POLAR Grit X follows the standard of the U.S. Military when it comes to gadgets like this one. It can endure both scorching and freezing temperatures, high drops, and water pressure within 100 meters.

Surprisingly, this product is considered to be one of the most lightweight outdoor watches. That’s a big deal since it has a rugged quality.

Meanwhile, a real outdoor enthusiast is fully aware that weather is always a major concern. No wonder they need watches like this model that can display real-time weather and even forecasts within at least two days.

If you’re regularly going uphill or downhill with your bike, you need a feature that can analyze your performance while doing that. After all, elevation has a different effect on the average human body. Fortunately, this smart watch can calculate altitude data.

However, this product can be inaccurate sometimes, especially on your pacing and distance. It’s very expensive, so it’s only natural for the users to expect perfection on the basic features.

Also, durability and battery life are never the same. This smart watch is highly durable but not guaranteed to last for a week.

Pros:

  • Durable enough for extreme conditions
  • Won’t break easily if dropped
  • Can survive water pressure
  • Can give weather forecasts
  • Ideal for elevations

Cons:

  • Inaccurate data
  • Very expensive
  • Not enough battery life for a military-grade outdoor watch

 

 

Coros APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Coros APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Just like traditional Rolex wristwatches, the Coros APEX Premium Watch uses sapphire glass for its face and stainless steel for its bezel finish. Another similarity is how they can survive being underwater for 100 meters or 328 feet max.
When it comes to its GPS feature, that kind of technology usually gets affected by situations wherein it’s harder for the satellites to locate you. The system of this smart watch can be foolproof, though. It uses the right satellites and training apps to stay accurate most of the time even if you’re covered by trees.

To ensure maximum convenience while using any feature on this smart watch, it has a knob similar to a typical wristwatch. However, it’s designed to be digital so you control the device with just one finger.

We’ve mentioned how amazing this product is mainly because of its GPS feature, but it’s not perfect at all. There are times when it’s still difficult to track the user if he’s not totally exposed to the satellites.

And, worse, updating this device can be risky. Some units have completely malfunctioned after a certain update.

Lastly, the screen isn’t readable enough. It’s just too dark sometimes even when it’s working perfectly.

Pros:

  • High-quality materials
  • Classic look
  • Waterproof
  • Higher accuracy
  • Convenient and handy

Cons:

  • Low precision
  • Possible malfunctions after updates
  • Too dim

 

 

POLAR Unite Waterproof Fitness Watch (Includes Wrist-Based Heart Rate and Sleep Tracking)

POLAR Unite Waterproof Fitness Watch (Includes Wrist-Based Heart Rate and Sleep Tracking)

As long as it’s in the right mode and not overwhelmed by apps, the POLAR Unite Waterproof Fitness Watch can last for up to 50 hours before the battery totally drains. It has the usual features like the GPS and heart rate monitor, but it can still be unique with its Smart Calories function among others.

The next special feature we want to highlight is the Sleep Plus Stages. You can monitor each stage of your sleep cycle and analyze the crucial data displayed once you’re wide awake.

Lastly, before you can even start your day, this smart watch can be your ultimate guide on how you can spend your time wisely as a cyclist or just a person with fitness goals in general. Its Nightly Recharge feature will provide you with feedback on the level of recovery you’ve achieved after a long day.

You should know, however, that you can’t fully rely on this smart watch as your go-to alarm. It simply has a single alarm, and you can only set it daily, during weekdays, or weekends, not a specific schedule.

The battery can be a hassle, too. Its lifespan is significantly affected if you’re going to use a certain set of features at once. Also, it can’t be recharged quickly.

Before we proceed to the next option, are you using Strava? It turns out that this smart watch can only export workouts, not import them.

Pros:

  • Can work for 50 hours straight with simple features
  • Includes a feature focusing on calories
  • Helpful even while you’re sleeping
  • Can assist you while you’re planning your day
  • Provides essential feedback

Cons:

  • Limited alarm settings
  • Slow recharging
  • Not the best option if you’re relying too much on Strava

 

 

Garmin Forerunner 735 XT Turquoise-Blue GPS 2016

Garmin Forerunner 735 XT Turquoise-Blue GPS 2016

Known as the lightest sports watch from the brand, the Garmin Forerunner 735 XT 2016 is ideal for a wide range of activities aside from cycling. It can be used for running, swimming, skiing, and hiking among others.

This product has that timeless look of a conventional wristwatch mainly because of its shape. It also feels super-comfortable, thanks to its silicone strap that’s soft to touch.

Since the heart works 24/7, this smart watch is designed to monitor it all the time. Whether you’re awake or not, it will work endlessly so you’ll have an idea of your overall health status.

Just don’t expect the heart rate monitor to be 100% accurate. There are several external factors that can affect your heartbeat or the device’s system.

You might also need to adjust the strap if you have small wrists. Another possible issue is the battery that can deteriorate in just a few months based on some claims.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight for a sports watch
  • Versatile
  • Timeless style
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Reliable heart rate sensors

Cons:

  • Not foolproof
  • Long strap
  • Low-quality battery

 

 

Suunto 5, Lightweight and Compact GPS Sports Watch

Suunto 5, Lightweight and Compact GPS Sports Watch

A handy device for your cycling needs, the Suunto 5 GPS Sports Watch has a compact form to stay light and comfortable around your wrist. You can either customize your training program on it or just use any of the 80 modes already set for activities like cycling, running, and swimming.

To further help you with your training, this smart watch can provide you with data regarding intensity and intervals. It also has features that can read uphill rides, sprints, and loops.

The number one issue with this product, however, is its readability. Some users can’t read anything quickly because of the dim display. They can’t even increase the brightness level since there’s no setting for that.

And, despite claims that this smart watch can be used underwater, some users have noticed signs of malfunction after showering.

Pros:

  • Compact shape
  • Comes with a lot of settings, modes, or programs
  • Great support for different exercises
  • Can track loops
  • Allows customization

Cons:

  • Low readability
  • No available setting for screen brightness
  • Not guaranteed to resist nonstop splashes of water

 

 

How to Choose Good Smart Watches for Cycling

Type

Standard

If you prefer something simpler, then you should definitely choose a smart watch specifically designed for cyclists, not necessarily fitness enthusiasts and athletes. A typical wristwatch for cycling is simply made for daily use, especially for people who are commuting, running errands, or riding their bikes for leisure.

The most important feature of standard cycling watches is Bluetooth compatibility. It should be able to pair with your smart phone so you’ll stop checking your pocket or bag from time to time just to check notifications, adjust your playlist, or track your progress.

A minor downside is the basic design. It’s not very stylish or eye-catching compared to other types of cycling watches.

Athletic

For cyclists who are really particular about their progress and performance, they need smart watches that can meticulously monitor all the most important aspects of their workout such as heart rate. This will help them plan their training better for more efficient results.

Outdoor

If you’re using your bike mainly for adventures in the mountains and other remote places, you need a smart watch that can help you monitor your location without going online. It should have an altimeter, barometer, and compass for measuring altitude, forecasting the weather through air pressure, and monitoring your direction.

Hybrid

Why settle for just one variation if you can have all of their major features in a single smart watch? Hybrid wristwatches generally include Bluetooth compatibility, heart rate sensors, GPS, and a compass in the same system. Some cyclists still don’t prefer them, though, since this type of watch can be too expensive and complicated.

Display

Size

No matter which type of smart watch you prefer, it doesn’t change the fact that each variation has multiple features, which also means a wide variety of data and graphics can be presented. That’s why it’s essential for a cycling watch to have a much bigger face than ordinary wristwatches. The watch face will serve as a touchscreen display, which doesn’t require the classic circular shape.

Touchscreen

Speaking of the touchscreen display, it should be as responsive as smart phone screens. The significantly smaller surface can easily make you tap the wrong button or press the command more times than necessary, which might mess up the system and lead to a malfunction.

Readability

What good is a big display if the texts or data are too small or unorganized? Every important detail shown on the screen should be clear and big enough for you to see even if you won’t put it closer to your eyes. This will let you pedal nonstop even when you’re quickly checking your stats or location.

The screen should also be bright enough to read outdoors. One common issue is the dim display.

User Interface

The smart watch should let you customize the order of the apps or programmed features. Navigation should always be smooth and fast for your own convenience on the road. No cyclist wants to spend several minutes tapping on the screen just to find something. They can use that time for more productive things like going further in their journey.

Wristband

Silicone

Cycling involves being outdoors a lot, so your smart watch’s band should be able to endure extreme factors like heat. Silicone is definitely the ideal material for that. It also dries quickly, which is perfect after riding your bike in the rain. That’s why it’s highly recommended for active people.

As a plus, silicone isn’t a toxic material. So, it can be hypoallergenic. It can keep you comfortable for hours.

Rubber

This material is pretty much similar to silicone, hence the popularity of silicone rubber wristbands nowadays. They’re both effective for sports and outdoor conditions because of their resistance to heat and water. They also dry faster than other common strap materials.

Rubber, however, feels stickier when it’s humid outside. Silicone is generally more comfortable.

Leather

While silicone and rubber are good materials for sporty wristbands, leather is a bad choice despite being more stylish. It only feels comfortable when dry. And, worse, it wears out so quickly if exposed to harsh elements.

We suggest wearing leather watchbands only in formal settings. You really should buy a separate watch or strap for cycling and other intense activities.

Fabric

Usually nylon or NATO, fabric watchstraps are still designed to be durable enough for outdoor use. They can also be cleaned quickly, not to mention being easily removable as well for customization. As a plus, they’re very comfortable since they won’t stick to your skin no matter how humid the weather is.

However, since smart watches have a significantly more complex system than ordinary wristwatches, they tend to have a bigger and heavier case. They need sturdier bands, and fabric is definitely not the right material.

Conclusion

Since cycling can be a daily thing and you’ll probably forget to recharge your devices sometimes, we recommend the POLAR Unite Waterproof Fitness Watch mainly because of its 50-hour battery life. Another reason why it’s so helpful is that it will allow you to monitor your health better by tracking your calories burned and sleep quality.

Just remember that you can’t rely on this smart watch for your daily alarm because of its limited settings. You might also get impatient waiting for it to be fully charged since it needs more time compared to other options.

Since the functionality of a cycling watch is heavily based on the user’s needs and preferences, we’re focusing on the common factors that make a wristwatch good for cyclists. Think about the type of smart watch you want as well as the quality of its display and band/strap.