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Best Triathlon Bike Computers in 2021

 

Have you ever tried to check your metrics on a GPS watch while you’re speeding along on your bike on a ride?

It’s not easy to monitor your data on a watch while riding. Even less so on a phone. If you want your data front and center and also like having advanced cycling dynamics on hand, then a bike computer is your best bet.

We’ve reviewed 8 of the best triathlon bike computers on the market. Although they’re all excellent tools, we recommend the Garmin Edge 1030. It has an easy-to-see 3.5-inch color touchscreen, advanced cycling metrics, and an extended battery life.

Look through them all and find one that appeals to you. You may be surprised at how much difference it makes to your riding performance!

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

 

  • 3.5-inch color touchscreen display
  • Advanced cycling metrics
  • Extended battery life
Check Price

 

Bryton Rider 420

 

  • Turn-by-turn directions
  • Customizable data display
  • Anti-glare display
Check Price

 

Bontrager RIDEtime Elite Cycling Computer

 

  • Customizable tri-field display
  • ANT+ connectivity
  • Large and easy-to-read display
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Garmin has been around in the navigation world for ages, and they’re also well-known in the sports world. So it makes sense that they’d make awesome bike computers.

The Edge 1030 offers a 3.5-inch screen, more than enough space to catch all the info you need at a glance. It’s a little less streamlined than some, but it’s up to you as to whether that’s an issue or not.

The screen is a touch screen, but isn’t very sensitive to gloved fingers. A power button on the left side and start/stop and lap buttons underneath are easy to access if you use the included mount.

The internal memory allows for the storage of 100 different courses, 200 hours of ride data, and 200 waypoints.

Pretty much every metric can be tracked on this bike computer, although the screen can only display 10 at a time. It also features all the usual GPS tracking software, as well as an altimeter, accelerometer, and ambient light sensor.

It’s easy to connect to third-party apps like TrainingPeaks and Strava, both of which come preloaded on the device. The computer is also compatible with most power meters, as well as Varia radar and rear-facing lights.

You can set an alarm to alert you when you reach cycling goals like target heart rate, time, or distance. You can also create courses on-the-go, on the device.

Download training plans, use the interval training feature, or create advanced workouts on your own. You can also connect via Bluetooth to your phone and get notifications on your bike computer while you’re riding.

24 hours of battery life isn’t any different from other similar models, but it’s perfectly adequate for both training and competitive rides.

PROS:

  • 3.5-inch color touchscreen display
  • Advanced cycling metrics
  • Extended battery life
  • Daily ride suggestions

CONS:

  • Touch screen may be difficult to operate with full-fingered gloves
 

Top Value

2. Bryton Rider 420

The Bryton is a surprisingly full-featured device for its price range.

It supports all satellite systems to allow for precise positioning no matter where you are, and gives turn-by-turn directions. It’s also IPX7 waterproof rated, so it’s a robust machine.

The 2.3-inch LCD screen is a decent enough size to see things easily as you’re riding, and can display up to 8 different metrics at once. You can swipe between 7 different data screens, so no matter how many bits of data you want to display, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.

Another function we like a lot is the ability to save settings for two different bikes, which is excellent if you switch between bikes regularly.

Pair to your phone to integrate seamlessly with Strava or TrainingPeaks. Download the Bryton app to your phone to build your own routes, create your own workouts, and view your metrics. It also has a preloaded “Bryton test” to challenge you and give an indication of your fitness level!

Other useful features include compatibility with a wide variety of heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, power meters, and other accessories, the ability to store data of up to 300 hours of ride history, 7 heart rate zones, an anti-glare display, and backlighting for night rides.

It also claims to have a battery life of up to 35 hours, but it does depend on what functions you have going on while you’re riding.

PROS:

  • Turn-by-turn directions
  • Up to 35 hours of battery life
  • Customizable data display
  • Anti-glare display

CONS:

  • Bit of a clunky user interface
 

Most Aerodynamic

3. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt

Chunky bike computers can create drag. Not all riders will necessarily notice this, but if you’re serious about your cycling it may be enough of a problem for you to want a new computer.

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is created to be aerodynamic. It was created with bike designer Dimitris Katsanis, with the express aim of reducing drag. What resulted is a sloped front-end design that cuts through the air and doesn’t catch on anything, which apparently creates 50% less drag than the Garmin Edge.

Apart from its streamlined design, the Elemnt Bolt has a 2.2-inch color screen with an ambient light sensor that makes it easy to see in all light. 16GB of internal memory allows you to keep routes close by for easy access.

You can customize your data display for a personal riding experience. Full integration with third-party apps makes life easier no matter what apps you’re using. QuickLook LED indicators give you turn-by-turn navigation.

If you don’t like riding with your phone, no worries. The Bolt saves everything onboard and can download it to your phone app later on.

A fully-charged battery will get you around 15 hours of use. But thanks to USB-C charging, you can actually charge the battery while riding, which gets a thumbs-up from us!

PROS:

  • Aerodynamic design
  • 16GB of memory
  • Can be charged mid-ride
  • LED QuickLook Indicators

CONS:

  • The screen may be a little small for some
 

Best Basic Computer

4. Bontrager RIDEtime Elite Cycling Computer

If you don’t need all the fancy metrics and you’re happy with a basic bike computer, we recommend the Bontrager RIDEtime Elite.

It has a 2-inch black and white screen with a tri-field display. Choose from metrics like speed, cadence, distance, power, calories, and heart rate. You can program the backlight to your own specifications.

The computer pairs easily with a range of ANT+ sensors, which allow you to track your metrics in real-time. It’s super easy to use, with a two-button design and auto start/stop, clear, and light control. You can also set a variety of customizable hands-free modes.

It takes a single CR2032 count battery, which has a low battery indicator so you know exactly when to charge it.

PROS:

  • Customizable tri-field display
  • ANT+ connectivity
  • Auto start/stop and auto-clear feature
  • Large and easy-to-read display

CONS:

  • Backlight must be manually enabled or disabled
 

Top For Battery Life

5. Lezyne Super Pro GPS

Although the Bryton Rider 450 supposedly has a battery life of 32 hours, actual user reviews vary from 19 hours per charge. With that in mind, we’ve chosen the Lezyne Super Pro GPS as our best triathlon bike computer for battery life.

You can get up to 28 hours out of a single charge of the lithium-polymer battery on this bike computer. It’s chargeable via micro USB.

It’s a medium-sized device but packs a full bunch of features into its round-edged frame. The 1.5 x 1.25-inch screen is black and white but has an improved resolution over the last model and is backlit and high contrast for easy reading.

A really nice feature is the ability to mount this bike computer both vertically and horizontally on your handlebars.

Another impressive characteristic of this bike computer is the storage space. You can store up to 400 hours of data. You can also store routes and import .tcx and .gpx files. It’s also possible to set up multiple bike profiles, which is ideal if you switch bikes often.

It’s ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible, and easy to pair with a range of HRMs, power meters, wireless drivetrains, and even smart trainers.

Set custom alerts, build your own routes, and take this machine out in all weather with its IPX7 rating. Customize your screen to show up to 8 different data fields at a time.

Download the Lezyne Ally phone app to really supercharge the power of this bike computer. When linked to the app, you can unlock complete navigation features, live tracking, training integration, and phone notifications.

PROS:

  • Up to 28 hours of battery life
  • Can be rotated horizontally
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible
  • Stores up to 400 hours of ride data

CONS:

  • Four-button operation isn’t totally intuitive
 

Best Readable Screen

6. Wahoo Elemnt Roam

The Wahoo Elemnt Roam has an amazing color screen that’s easy to see in just about any weather condition. Gorilla Glass makes it tough as nails and crystal clear, and 2.7 inches is more than enough space to check out your data and maps on-the-go.

An ambient light sensor helps the screen adjust to your conditions, so you don’t need to change settings if you switch from cycling outdoors to cycling indoors (it’s compatible with electronic drivetrains.) You can customize your LED notifications to suit your preferences.

Turn-by-turn navigation and Back on Track rerouting ensure that you’ll never lose your way. You’ll also get up to 17 hours of use on a single charge, which is more than enough for training rides and competitive events.

The Elemnt Companion app allows you to create workouts, upload your favorite routes, and sync to external devices.

Other excellent features include live tracking, Perfect View zoom for a closer look, QuickLook LED notifications, ad a useful Back to Start feature which gets you home as fast as possible.

PROS:

  • 2.7-inch color display with Gorilla Glass
  • Programmable Quicklook LED displays
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Compatible with electronic drivetrains

CONS:

  • Slower than others
 

Top Mid-Priced Garmin

7. Garmin Edge 530

If you’re a Garmin fan but don’t want to shell out top dollar for their elite models, this is a great mid-priced option.

It features an easy-to-read 2.6-inch color display and a round-edged and fairly aerodynamic design. The manufacturer claims that GPS mode can last up to 20 hours on a single battery charge, and there’s an option to use an external battery to extend it.

There are features built-in for both road cyclists and mountain bikers. Dynamic performance monitoring offers metrics such as VO2 max, training load, recovery time, and workout balance.

You can also set up custom conditions, such as bike setup, ride duration, and even nutrition.

In addition, MTB Dynamics allows you to track things like jump count, hang time, and jump distance. ClimbPro Assistant helps you to plan for uphill/downhill rides much more easily.

Other features include smart notifications, customizable rider profiles, Live Track, group tracking, accident detection and notifications, and third-party app integration. Rider-to-rider messages make it fun if you and a friend have the same bike computer.

PROS:

  • Customizable profiles
  • Rider-to-rider messages
  • 2.6-inch color display
  • Performance analysis

CONS:

  • Can’t use turn-by-turn and Strava segments at the same time
 

Best Storage/Display

8. Lezyne Mega XL

The Lezyne Mega XL has substantial storage of up to 800 hours of ride data. This is twice as much as any of the others on this list!

A 2.7-inch, 240x 400 high-res screen offers excellent viewing, and can be used in either a vertical or horizontal position.

The manufacturer claims that the battery can run for up to 48 hours, but other sources reference 32 hours, which is a significant difference. Either way, Lezyne bike computers have a decent battery life that would be sufficient for both events and training rides.

For best results, use it in conjunction with the Lezyne Ally app. This will allow you to get real-time notifications of incoming calls, message notifications, preloaded maps, offline navigation, and customization.

You can also activate the extremely handy live tracking, which allows friends and family to keep track of where you are and make sure you’re safe.

Pair with a variety of different sensors to get all the metrics you need for enhancing your performance. Features like Intensity Factor, Normalized Power, Trainer Mode, and navigation with illustrated maps make using it a fun and informative experience.

Build your own routes or download maps in .gpx and .tcx form. You can also set custom alarms to alert you when you’ve reached a target, such as heart rate, time, or distance. To keep an eye on these while you’re riding, you can display up to 10 data fields at a time on your screen.

PROS:

  • Navigation with map illustration
  • Use vertically or horizontally
  • Stores up to 800 hours of ride data
  • Multiple bike profiles

CONS:

  • May take time to sync again after an extended break (15+ minutes)
 

FAQs

Wondering how to choose the best triathlon bike computer for your needs?

Here are some of the questions we get the most so you can make a well-rounded, informed decision about which one would work best.

Why Use a Bike Computer?

Not all cyclists will need a bike computer. But if you’re serious about improving your performance on the bike, a bike computer can be a hugely advantageous tool.

You’ll gain valuable insights into your cycling metrics, which, when used correctly, can supercharge your training and give you a performance boost.

Most bike computers not only track your metrics, but also offer some form of analysis to give you an idea of how to use them.

How Does a Wireless Bike Computer Work?

Bike computers are superbly designed. Inside, there’s a small magnet on a wheel. This magnet moves through a sensor with every rotation of this wheel, which generates a signal.

The computer measures the amount of time between each one of these signals. In this way, it figures out your speed on the bike. Note that this is only accurate if you set the computer up with the right numbers in the beginning, like your wheel dimensions.

Once your computer has that number, it can then work out things like distance, time, and maximum/average speed. Most can also measure cadence, but some may need an extra sensor for this.

How to Choose the Right Size Bike Computer

Size is quite a personal choice, but there are some pros and cons to both large and small bike computers.

Large screens are easier to read, so if you want to be able to glance at your stats on the go, you may prefer something with a bigger screen.

On the other hand, smaller screens are more aerodynamic, creating less drag than a large one.

Typically, a larger bike computer comes with more features and a slightly higher cost. In the end, it’s up to you and your requirements as to which works for you.

What Features Should You Look for in a Bike Computer?

Not all bike computers are the same. The following features are useful for the bike leg of a triathlon as well as training, and whichever bike computer you choose should offer these functions.

Navigation and Mapping

Navigation might not be a big deal if you’re following a route that’s been set out for you during a triathlon. But a bike computer wouldn’t be a great one if it didn’t offer this feature!

It’s more of a training feature than an event feature. Having a navigation feature allows you to create training routes, find your way around no matter where you are, and share routes with fellow cyclists.

Connectivity

Many bike computers allow you to pair with third-party apps and devices. If you have a smartphone, smartwatch, or use an app to track and analyze your data, it’s important that your bike computer can connect to it to integrate your data.

Also, if you use a power meter or a heart rate monitor, your bike computer will need to connect easily with them so you have an unbroken chain to measure your metrics.

Some bike computers can also link up to your phone and show incoming calls, messages, and emails.

Most devices use Bluetooth, but some come with built-in Wi-Fi to allow for quick and uninterrupted uploading of data.

Screen and User Interface

Obviously, you need to be able to see what’s happening on your screen. For some, this may mean getting a larger screen in order to be able to eyeball stats at a glance. Others may be okay with a smaller one, but it’s up to you.

If your biggest priority is navigation, then a slightly bigger screen may work better. On the other hand, if you simply want to track your cycling stats and glance at them every now and then, a smaller one should be fine.

Most manufacturers take care to place their buttons in easy-to-reach places on the side or front of the computer. The more pricey and advanced bike computers come with touchscreens, which are easy to operate but a little more fragile.

Mounting Options

Most modern bike computers have an easy mounting system that has the computer mounted ahead of the bicycle stem. This is easy to see without having to shift your position on the handlebars or aero bars.

They’re also super easy to adjust by tilting so you can get it at the perfect angle for you. Not all bike computers come with this mount, but the majority do. Check before you buy!

The Wired Runner