Activities | Cycling

Casual Cyclists

Every GPS watch tracks pace, time, and distance. When biking it’s important that it displays speed in miles (or kilometers) per hour. Luckily, every watch on the market does this. If you’re a regular cyclist and want something more robust, check out the features in the intermediate and advanced sections.

Intermediate Cyclists

GPS watches designed for intermediate cyclists have some bicycle-specific accessories and features.Common to all of these is their ability to work with a bike speed and cadence sensor. This accessory measures bike speed when the GPS unit isn’t functioning – like going through a tunnel or indoors on a bike trainer. They are very similar to traditional cyclometers in that they measure the number of wheel rotations to calculate speed and distance. The cadence part of the sensor measures how fast you crank the pedals.

Most of these watches can also be customized for different bikes. This comes in handy if you own multiple bikes with different sized wheels; it saves you from having to readjust the wheel-size setting when using the speed and cadence accessory among different bikes.

Advanced Cyclists

GPS watches best for advanced cyclists are compatible with a power meter; and most have a quick-release mount.

A power meter is a great tool that measures power output at any given moment while cycling. This metric provides an instantaneous picture of how much force you are exerting while pedaling. A cadence sensor tells you crank rotation, but it doesn’t indicate power (i.e. there is a big difference between pedaling uphill and cruising downhill). A heart rate monitor is another valuable tool to measure intensity, but it’s slower to reflect increases and decreases in exertion. A power meter displays intensity in real-time.

The quick-release mount allows the watch to be popped off a wrist strap and quickly moved to a bike mount. Although it’s more suited for triathletes transitioning from swimming to biking to running, the quick-release mount is an easy way to move the watch between your bike and wrist.