10 Best Fitness Tracker For Cycling (2024 Review Updated)

Products Considered 34
Products
Considered
Hours of Research 174
Hours
of Research
Reviews Examined 53
Reviews
Examined
Experts Interviewed 9
Experts
Interviewed
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 22, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

Tracking fitness levels has become a major part of amateur and professional cyclists to carefully monitor their vital signs and help them achieve their best performance.

What if the tracker you're using isn't optimized for your needs?

As a health and fitness coach, I tried several devices to ensure that your data is accurate on your next ride.

Prepare to be amazed as we reveal the top fitness tracker for cycling that we'd like to introduce you to.

The Best Fitness Tracker For Cycling

Editor's Choice
Garmin fēnix 5S Plus
Garmin fēnix 5S Plus
Rated 4.9/5
Check Current Price
2nd Best Choice
Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
Fitbit Versa 2
Rated 4.7/5
Check Current Price
3rd Best Choice
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Series 8
Rated 4.9/5
Check Current Price

Our Top Fitness Tracker For Cycling (May 2024)

1 - Garmin fēnix 5S Plus (Best Overall)

Rated 4.9/5
5.0
Battery Life
4.8
Price
Advanced Perfomance Matrix, Garmin Pay, Custom Bands
Features
Garmin fēnix 5S Plus
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity, GPS

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Available with a large watch face for easy to read info
  • Shows maps directly on the display
  • Should also help for recovery and sleep tracking
  • Has a decent battery life

Cons

  • Some iPhone connectivity issues in the past

he built-in GPS effectively tracked my routes and displayed maps, though not detailed enough for intricate navigation.

As a health and performance coach, I've found its optical heart rate monitor closely matches chest strap readings, demonstrating accuracy.

The battery life is commendable, lasting up to 7 days in smartwatch mode, and around 4 hours in GPS mode with music.

2 - Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch (Best Value)

Rated 4.7/5
4.3
Battery Life
5.0
Price
Alexa, FitBit Pay, Exclusive Apps
Features
Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity tracking, sleep

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sleek and clear display with all the data you need
  • May provide real-time heart rate info to adjust your workout intensity
  • Able to store all your fitness info in one app
  • Improved battery life compared to other Fitbits
  • Has Amazon Alexa built in

Cons

  • GPS tracking only when connected to a phone

The Versa 2 stands out as an affordable yet effective cycling tracker. Its heart rate monitoring is impressively accurate, and vital for adjusting training intensity.

Despite initial doubts due to its cost, my experience in a weekend cycling marathon was positive, with precise heart rate tracking and valuable sleep and recovery insights.

The Fitbit app's ability to set and track diverse daily goals, along with its seamless integration with other fitness apps, significantly enriched my fitness-tracking experience.

We loved that the Versa 2 has an improved battery life of 5 days, compared to the original Versa and the Fitbit Ionic.

Just keep in mind that you would also need to bring your phone’s built-in GPS data. But this does keep the cost down a lot.

3 - Apple Watch Series 8 (Best All-Rounder)

Rated 4.9/5
4.9
Battery Life
4.9
Price
Activity Tracker, Heart Rate Monitor, Sleep Monitor, Oxymeter
Features
Apple Watch Series 8
  • What it measures : heart rate, sleep, blood oxygen monitors

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Lots of color options that matches your style and taste
  • Extremely comfortable to wear
  • Highly accurate in all features

Cons

  • Needs to be charged everyday

The Apple Watch Series 8 is a top choice for cyclists, offering advanced features like heart rate, sleep, and blood oxygen monitors, crucial for assessing aerobic health and improving cardiorespiratory conditioning.

Its durable design withstands challenging environments and terrains. Available in various materials, sizes, and band colors, it's customizable to match your cycling gear.

Notably, it includes emergency features like irregular rhythm notifications and automatic emergency calls with crash and fall detection. However, be aware of its daily charging requirement.

4 - Coros PACE 2 Premium GPS Sport Watch (Best GPS Precision)

Rated 4.5/5
4.4
Battery Life
4.5
Price
GPS, ANT+/Bluetooth, 5ATM Water Resistance, Optical Heart Rate Monitor
Features
Coros PACE 2 Premium GPS Sport Watch
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity, GPS

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Seems to have a very accurate built in GPS chip
  • Includes altimeter to get information about elevation changes on your route
  • Claims to last up to 30 hours on GPS mode and 20 days on smartphone mode

Cons

  • Some people find it a little bit bulky

The Coros device excels in GPS accuracy with a top-tier built-in GPS chip.

It's beneficial for cyclists, offering altitude tracking and an optical heart rate monitor for comprehensive ride data.

Impressively, it boasts up to 30 hours of battery life in GPS and fitness tracking mode, and 20 hours in smartphone mode, significantly reducing the need for daily recharging, a major advantage for athletes.

5 - Polar Vantage V Sports Watch (Best for Intensity-Based Training)

Rated 4.4/5
4.4
Battery Life
4.3
Price
GPS, Precision Prime™ sensor fusion technology, Nightly Recharge™, Serene™ breathing exercise
Features
Polar Vantage V Sports Watch
  • What it measures : heart rate, cardio load, activity, GPS

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Shows cardio load status to adjust your training intensity
  • May track your recovery and sleep cycle for better exercise planning
  • Easy to read display with information separated into different colors

Cons

  • Some people have reported it to be a bit difficult to navigate the menus

We like the Polar Vantage V because of the cardio load function that it displays.

This is something that could become helpful if you are preparing for a competitive event where you need to achieve precise levels of intensity.

We also liked the way the information on the watch face is color-coded, which may make it easier to find the relevant information.

When we first started using it, we did note that it didn’t seem to be as intuitive and easy to navigate the settings, menus, and apps.

6 - Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker (Cheapest Option)

Rated 4.3/5
4.3
Battery Life
4.2
Price
GPS, Bluetooth 4.0., 24x7 Heart Rate Tracking
Features
Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity, sleep, GPS

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The sleek and small design may make it more comfortable
  • May track over 15 different types of sports and exercises
  • Simple features mean fewer distractions while you’re training

Cons

  • GPS requires a smartphone connection

This Fitbit might be ideal for anyone that wants something small and sleek that might be barely noticeable.

It also comes with 15 different sport and exercise modes, which could make it a suitable activity tracker if you do multiple disciplines.

The overall functionality is also kept a bit simpler, with no distracting information on the display. It’s not as fancy as an actual smart watch, but that could be an advantage for some people.

The Charge 3 features do list GPS tracking but we found that this is only possible when connected to your smartphone.

7 - Polar M430 GPS Running Watch (Best Multi-Sport Fitness Tracker)

Rated 4.2/5
4.2
Battery Life
4.2
Price
Integrated GPS, Polar Running Program, 24/7 Activity & Sleep Tracking
Features
Polar M430 GPS Running Watch
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity, GPS

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Wearing it all day may give a full picture of activity and recovery
  • Seems to have an accurate heart monitor for real time data
  • The bright and clear display should provide important info at a glance

Cons

  • Some people have reported sync issues with their smartphones

The Polar M series, particularly popular in running and cycling, features reliable built-in GPS for tracking speed and distance.

My personal experience with the M430, especially its seamless Android phone connectivity, significantly enhanced my cycling sessions.

This model, an improvement over the M400, offers continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep cycle tracking.

As a health and performance coach, I find these features invaluable for clients to monitor recovery and effectively plan training intensity.

The one thing we noticed in customer reviews is that there have been some issues with data synchronizing to your smartphone.

8 - Suunto 3 Sports Watch (Best User-Friendly)

Rated 4.1/5
4.1
Battery Life
4.1
Price
Mobile Connected GPS, Water Resistance 30m, 24/7 Activity Tracking
Features
Suunto 3 Sports Watch
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity, sleep

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Positive reports about the sleep and recovery tracking
  • Easy to read display should suit most cyclists
  • Heart rate tracking seems to be accurate

Cons

  • GPS features require a smartphone

I've always appreciated Suunto's sleek designs, and their latest tracker is no exception.

Its optimally sized display allows easy data viewing during rides.

The recovery tracking feature is notably beneficial for post-intense workout planning.

Additionally, its precise heart rate and activity tracking provide a detailed overview of weekly training progress.

Just keep in mind that for the distance and pace tracking to work, you’ll need it to be connected to your phone as well.

9 - Withings Steel HR - Hybrid Smartwatch (Best Long-Lasting Battery Life)

Rated 4.0/5
4.0
Battery Life
4.0
Price
Alexa, Waterproof to 5 ATM, Record Battery Life
Features
Withings Steel HR - Hybrid Smartwatch
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity, sleep

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Provides you with a sleep score to plan your daily activity better
  • Claims to have up to 25 days of battery life
  • The waterproof design could make it suitable for swimming

Cons

  • Display of training data could be larger

We appreciated the watch's ability to quickly assess sleep quality.

Continuous wear, both day and night, offers insights into potential routine adjustments for improved recovery, facilitated by its long battery life.

Additionally, its accurate wrist-based heart rate monitor is effective for adjusting training intensity.

We noted the display's font size is somewhat small, requiring closer viewing. However, this is offset by its exceptionally long battery life, a significant plus for a sports watch.

10 - Fitbit Ionic Watch

Rated 4.2/5
4.2
Battery Life
4.1
Price
Built-In GPS, PurePulse Heart Rate, 4+ Day Battery Life
Features
Fitbit Ionic Watch
  • What it measures : heart rate, activity, GPS

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The nice low-profile design may make it more comfortable
  • Claims to have more than four days of battery life
  • GPS data seems to work well for pace and distance

Cons

  • Limited customizations for information display

Concluding our list of preferred cycling fitness trackers, this model features a slim watch face and a surprisingly long battery life, lasting about four days per charge.

Its GPS accuracy, closely matching a professional cycling computer, is suitable for most athletes.

The Fitbit Ionic offers both leather and plastic straps, catering to a range of styles from formal to casual.

However, its smaller display may limit at-a-glance readability, a factor to consider based on personal preference.

How We Tested the Products

In our quest to identify the top fitness trackers for cycling, my team and I adhered to a specific, rigorous set of criteria:

  1. GPS functionality: We rigorously tested each tracker's GPS accuracy on various routes, ensuring reliable location tracking essential for cyclists.
  2. Battery life: Recognizing the need for longevity, we evaluated the battery life of each tracker under different conditions, aiming to find a balance between functionality and endurance.
  3. Heart rate monitoring: We compared the heart rate sensors of the trackers with medical-grade equipment for precise accuracy, a critical feature for both performance tracking and safety.
  4. Water resistance: We exposed the trackers to varying moisture levels to guarantee their resilience against the elements, a necessity for outdoor cycling.
  5. Compatibility with cycling apps and accessories: We assessed each tracker's integration with popular cycling apps and accessories, ensuring seamless data synchronization and enhanced user experience.

Our approach combined technical research with real-world feedback, allowing us to understand the trackers' performance in actual cycling scenarios. This comprehensive evaluation led us to select the best fitness trackers that excel in the cycling domain.

Buyer’s Guide

Before beginning our extensive evaluation of top fitness trackers, we identified key features and functions crucial for our analysis.

Consider these eight essential factors for your final decision.

1 - Easy To Use Display

Our research showed that a large display isn't necessary for a fitness tracker; usability is key. We encountered devices with large screens but tiny fonts, necessitating close inspection.

It's crucial to review various display layouts, including settings and menus, focusing on the main summary screen for clarity and ease of use during cycling.

2 - Accurate GPS Tracking

While many fitness trackers feature GPS, details matter. Some require smartphone connection for GPS functionality, a downside for those preferring not to carry a phone. Budget-conscious users might find this a viable option. We recommend checking user reviews for GPS accuracy.

3 - Battery Life And Charging Time

Battery Life And Charging Time

Don't be misled by claims of extended battery life. For example, Apple Watches offers numerous features but may need daily charging [1]. Simpler models like Fitbits can last up to a week. Consider the trade-off between features and charging frequency.

“Apple says that in general, using the Apple Watch battery life will last around 18 hours between charges. This figure was arrived at from tests in which an Apple Watch was paired with an iPhone and used for a variety of typical uses.”

- Karen Haslam, Editor at MacWorld

4 - Compatibility With Smartphones

A cyclist connecting her smartphone to her fitness tracker watch

Apple Watch, for instance, only pairs with iPhones, a limitation for Android users. I have to admit, that’s a limitation, but most owners tend to be Apple fans to start with.

“So the short and simple answer is no, you cannot use an Apple Watch with Android Phones. The less simple answer is that you can sort-of, kind-of, get it to tersely exchange data with an Android phone. However, this is a severely limited setup and we can’t really recommend it.”

- Sydney Butler, Writer at 9to5Google.com

Most trackers we recommend are compatible with various operating systems, including iOS and Android, and sync well with popular health and fitness apps.

5 - Comfortable Strap Adjustments

Modern trackers offer interchangeable straps for comfort and style, a significant improvement from earlier models. It's important to choose a tracker with a strap that ensures comfort for all-day wear.

6 - Water Resistance

Fitness trackers typically have water resistance ratings, measured in atm (atmospheric pressure units). A rating of 1 atm offers basic splash resistance, suitable for cycling.

For activities like swimming, a higher rating, such as 3 atm, is advisable. Ensure the tracker's water resistance is adequate for your intended use.

7 - Heart Rate Monitor

Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor

Recent advancements have made wrist-based heart rate monitors nearly as accurate as chest strap models. Accurate heart rate monitoring is essential for training within the correct intensity zones.

8 - Recovery Tracking

The final thing we like to see on the best fitness trackers is sleep and recovery features.

When you get a better understanding of how well you sleep at night, then you should be in a good position to better plan your training. According to Sleep Doctor, sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to muscle recovery [2].

Opt for trackers that provide detailed sleep analysis, including deep and REM sleep phases, if your budget allows.

Looking for an exercise tracker but not for cycling? Check out our reviews of the best trackers for your needs:

9 - Cycling Modes

Look for trackers with specific cycling modes and features like GPS, altimeter, and heart rate tracking to analyze cycling-specific data such as speed, distance, and calories burned.

In addition to cycling, we also reviewed trackers suitable for weightlifting, swimming, Crossfit, and those designed for smaller wrists. Each tracker's suitability varies based on the sport and the specific data it can track and analyze.

How Much Do I Need to Spend?

You need to spend around $25 on fitness trackers, which may include simple GPS features and heart tracking up to $600 for built-in GPS, offline music support, and generous battery life.

Budget-friendly options under $100, suitable for activities like walking, may lack a display and require smartphone connectivity to view daily steps.

Higher-end models, typically above $100, include built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring, ideal for athletes and rigorous sports activities. Always purchase from reputable sources to avoid low-quality products.

For home gym enthusiasts, consider a specialized gym clock or timer as an alternative to fitness trackers.

FAQs

Which Fitbit Is Best for Cycling?

The best Fitbit for cycling is the Versa 2. Many cyclists favor it because it’s affordable and still provides plenty of features, including measuring your heart rate.

Can Fitbits Track Cycling?

Yes, some Fitbits can track cycling. You would have to look for those with GPS features to allow you to track your distance and pace. These are helpful for mountain biking and cycling.

How Accurate Is the Apple Watch for Cycling?

The Apple Watch is pretty accurate for cycling as it seems to provide precise GPS location data. Even some slight variations in handling the GPS signal could lead to significant variations in the cycling data.

The products featured on this list track GPS data quite accurately as per our testing.

What Is The Best Fitness Tracker For Cyclists?

After extensive testing and comparison of various fitness trackers, my team and I unanimously agree that the Garmin fēnix 5S Plus stands out as the best choice for cycling enthusiasts.

Our hands-on experience, coupled with thorough research, demonstrated its superior GPS accuracy, robust design, and versatile features.

Its precise heart rate monitoring and extended battery life significantly enhanced our cycling sessions.

Based on our collective testing and analysis, I confidently recommend the Garmin fēnix 5S Plus as the optimal fitness tracker for cyclists seeking reliability and advanced functionality.

Our #1 Recommendation

Garmin fēnix 5S Plus (Best Overall)

Garmin fēnix 5S Plus

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Battery Life
4.8
Price
Advanced Perfomance Matrix, Garmin Pay, Custom Bands
Features
Pros
  • Available with a large watch face for easy to read info
  • Shows maps directly on the display
  • Should also help for recovery and sleep tracking
  • Has a decent battery life
Cons
  • Some iPhone connectivity issues in the past
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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One thought on “The Best Fitness Tracker for Cyclists
A Watch Guide for Biking

  1. I’ve found wrist fitness trackers to be super helpful in monitoring my health while cycling, especially for tracking heart rate and distance.

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Our battery life score is based 3 factors including: battery duration, charge time, and connector type. Our test team verify battery duration and charge time by measuring controlled experiments. The score is a measure of objective test results against marketed claims. For more information see our battery life score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Features define a products functionality and overall value. Our features score is based 2 factors including: versatility and uniqueness. The score is a blended calculation of objective measures against set standards and subjective value added. For more information see our features score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.