TL;DR – In a hurry and just want to know what is the best mountain computer? I recommend the Garmin Edge 810 GPS Unit with Heart Rate Monitor and Speed/Cadence Sensor as your top choice. The five best rated mountain bike computers available are (in my opinion):
- Garmin Edge 810 GPS Unit with Heart Rate Monitor and Speed/Cadence Sensor (Top pick)
- Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer (Best Waterproof GPS Computer)
- Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS, Base (Best Budget Computer)
- CATEYE - Strada Wireless Bike Computer, CC-RD300W
- CATEYE - Velo 7 Wired Bike Computer CC-VL520
Computers are becoming smaller and smaller and once we only used computers at home or in the office. However, technology is improving and so is mountain bike technology, bringing the computer from your home and office to your mountain bike. In this article, we have focused on some of the top rated mountain bike computers that will enhance your experience and make life a little easier as a cyclist.
Now, you can track all your important stats and pace yourself to make the most out of each trip.
If you watch any professional competition, you will notice the importance every rider places on the minicomputer. From navigating the terrain to helping them understand the output of power, it is possible to find out almost everything about your body and your bike. The best part of all is that they are also getting cheaper.
After hours of cycling and research, we have found some of the ultimate mountain bike computers and their features. Additionally, you can see which features we consider as the best in the subsequent buyer’s guide:
Round-Up Of Our Top Mountain Bike Computer Choices
With limited experience, it can be a daunting prospect to actually find one of these computers if you don’t have the right knowledge. Fortunately, our legwork was literally not for nothing and we have come up with some of the top available on the market today.
Here are the top 5 mountain bike computers:
Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer – Top Pick
It is no secret that Garmin is at the forefront when it comes to GPS technology and this can be seen in the Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer. With a design that emulates the mobile device, the computer is slightly smaller and can be used with simply 2 buttons that enable you to interact with all the top features.
The computer connects to the Garmin mobile app and features an innovative GPS that will allow live tracking of your location. It will measure all the basics like your peed, while constantly keeping you updated with the live weather changes. To simplify the control, you can use the touchscreen feature to actually monitor everything.
While the computer is capable of measuring things like the gradient and the temperature, it is not without its flaws. It has a tendency to crash occasionally and you need to make sure the APP is fully updated before venturing out on the road. However, Garmin is constantly updating the APP to help avoid the issues.
It might not be the cheapest model on the market today, but it certainly is not the most expensive either. With many newer models released, this is a reliable computer that will make it possible to measure all of your stats and keep you motivated. We would certainly recommend it for these features and the stylish design.
- Stylish touchscreen design
- Innovative GPS tracking
- Live sharing on social media
- Measures all the basics
- Reasonable price
- A tendency to crash occasionally
- Connected features: live-tracking, instant upload and ride sharing capabilities, social network sharing, plus weather updates
- Comprehensive performance monitoring: Displays market leading, comprehensive ride data (incl. speed, distance, time, heart rate1, cadence2, elevation, power3, location
- Touchscreen and simple user interface: a 2.6" rugged and customizable color touchscreen. Quickly find and view the most important data
- Garmin Connect: instantly upload ride data via the Garmin Connect Mobile app on your phone.Improved navigation: Bike friendly routing and optional street or topo maps Also supports Garmin Custom Maps and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer – Best For Pro Riders
The Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer is one of the better mountain bike computers on this list. It also comes with a companion APP and should not take you more than a couple of minutes to pair to the computer before you are ready. It also mounts to the included bracket in virtually no time at all if you want some versatility.
As for the computer itself, it is capable of tracking your location with the APP. You also have the ability to share this, but the main feature is the tracking of your stats seems really accurate. The GPS computer will allow you to set up your own route, warning you of any problems and steep gradients that need to be accounted for. Since it can be used with third-party APPS as well, you are not limited to the APP on the device and the brand. The device will integrate with Strava Live Segments, keeping you on pace with previous attempts.
We have found the “Final Push” feature really functional to ensure that you have the ability to actually beat your previous best. It might be really expensive, but the connectivity is definitely worth it. The device It durable with a coating and with such a large screen, you should not need to worry about any hassles when it comes to seeing all your stats.
It might not be for every rider, but if you consider yourself an elite mountain bike competitor, this is the ideal option for you.
- Integrates with third-party APPS
- Accurate stat tracking
- Helps you improve previous records
- Stylish design
- A little expensive
- Download, pair, configure and ride! Wahoo's free companion app automates pairing and manages the configuration process for fast, frustration free setup.
- Automatic route downloads and uploads when sync'd with compatible third party apps (Strava, RideWithGPS, Best Bike Split, Komoot, and more).
- Automatic route downloads and uploads with compatible third party apps -Strava, RideWithGPS, Best Bike Split, Komoot, Singletracks, MTB Project+
- Build a route and get pop-up and LED notifications on screen so you never miss a turn. Use the ELEMNT to control non-Wahoo Smart Trainers that are equipped with ANT+ FE-C.
- Fully integrates with Strava Live Segments to give you accurate progress status and the Final Push to beat your goals.
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS – Best Waterproof GPS Computer
Garmin is definitely one of the leaders when it comes to mountain bike computers and to help you with navigation and they do excel in these smaller computers. The Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS is quite large and it features an excellent resolution. According to the manufacturer, the waterproof rating of IPX7 is also great for added durability and all-weather control.
Once again, the unit will connect and integrate with Strava Live Segments, which has been designed to actually give you multiple challenges when you are training. Since it also connects to the Garmin Mobile APP, you have the ability to share your location and your traveling experiences on Social Media with friends and family.
While it does have excellent features, we had a few issues when it comes to correctly measure the gradient. It also makes it tough to zoom in on the map and actually scout the terrain. However, Garmin does allow you to receive notifications of any hazards that might be in the road, giving the rider the ability to adjust.
Since this is a Garmin model, you might think it is really expensive. However, that is not the case. This GPS computer is one of the older and more affordable models. The connectivity feature is really simple and easy to use, making this GPS perfect for all beginners and intermediates. We would recommend it for durability.
- Extremely durable and waterproof
- Connects to the Strava Live Segments
- Accurate navigation
- Reasonably priced
- A couple of lagging issues
- The zoom function is a little tough to use
- Offers in-ride challenges through Strava live segments ; Water rating is IPX7. Reports cycling-specific VO2 max and recovery time when used with power and heart rate
- Pairs with compatible ANT+ indoor trainers for data display and control.Battery life up to 15 hours
- Tracks Functional Threshold Power (FTP), watts/kg and cycling dynamics when used with Vector or Vector 2 power meters. On-device segment compatibility for dynamic and engaging in-ride competition
- Connected features: automatic uploads, live tracking, smart notifications, send/receive courses, social media sharing, weather
- Display resolution is 200 x 265 pixels. Android requirements is 4.4 os or later. Bluetooth 4.0 or later. Apple requirements is ios 10.0 or later, compatible with iphone, ipad and ipod touch
CatEye Strada Wireless Cycle Computer – Best Budget Computer
If you are looking for something a little more basic, the CatEye Strada Wireless Cycle Computer should be the perfect option for you to consider. It is much more basic than the Garmin designs, but will still keep you in the loop with all the most important stats. It even helps you maintain time accuracy when you need to stop.
With only one button that you need to use, you don’t need to worry about navigating features with special buttons. It makes it much easier to keep all your focus on the road while glancing at some of the features. The mounting is quite easy and you have an advanced bracket making this possible and locking in the computer.
Since it does not have the GPS feature integrated, it is one of the most affordable options on the market today. The computer might be phasing out slowly and not everyone will enjoy the basic simplicity. However, we still recommend it for those who don’t need any fancy features and simply want to focus on improving.
- Basic design
- One-button operation
- Accurate stat tracking
- Really affordable
- No GPS features
- ALL YOUR FAVORITE STATS: Displays current, max, and average speed, total distance, two trip distances, elapsed time, pace arrow, and clock.
- DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STOPS: Caught at a red light? Stopping for coffee? We've got you covered. Your CatEye computer knows when you've stopped and automatically stops counting time and averaging speed.
- FOCUS ON THE RIDE, NOT THE SCREEN: Don't let navigating menus or buttons get in the way of enjoying your ride. Simply press the base of the unit to toggle through functions.
- SECURE AND GO: With our FlexTight Bracket, you can easily mount, adjust, and move your computer by hand. Spend less time setting up your gear and more time on the road.
- SWITCH BETWEEN BIKES: Dual tire size lets you use one computer for two bikes.
CAT EYE Velo 7 Bike Computer
Last but certainly not least, we have the CAT EYE Velo 7 Bike Computer and this computer is much similar to the previous model. However, it does not have the wired that need to be connected and you have a battery that will keep it going for around three years before it needs to be replaced and the model changed.
It also keeps track of all your basic stats and the computer will also stop tracking if you need to make an emergency stop to give you more accuracy. With this model, you can actually receive an additional set of lights if you are riding in the dark. It is also worth noting that the computer does have an odometer for when riding at altitude.
As we have already mentioned, it is a lot like the previous model from CAT EYE. Since it does not have the GPS feature integrated, you can simply pick it up at a really affordable price. It might not bode well for those technical stat junkies, but for beginners, we would definitely recommend it for all the basic stat tracking capabilities.
- Basic design
- Wireless with a battery that lasts up to 3-years
- Includes an odometer
- Really affordable
- No GPS integration
- All your favorite stats: Displays current, max, and average speed, total distance, trip distance, elapsed time, pace arrow, and clock.
- Don't sweat the small stops: Caught at a red light? Stopping for coffee? We've got you covered. Your CatEye computer knows when you've stopped and automatically stops counting time and averaging speed.
- Wired sensor: The Velo 7 comes with a wired speed sensor.
- Go the distance: With a battery that lasts up to three years, you can install it and forget about it.
- Perfect for beginners: The Velo 7 is an entry-level computer that is perfect for beginner cyclists looking to take their riding to the next level.
Key Features To Consider When Choosing The A Mountain Bike Computer
Having seen the top 5 models, we have promised to share the features we considered the most important. If none of these computers are what you are looking for, you can use these features as your own personal buying guide.
Here are the top features to consider when choosing a computer for your mountain bike:
Wired vs. Wireless
One of the first areas of concern is how you will go about mounting the GPS. If it needs to be mounted to your bike, you need to put in some effort to have it fully installed. However, you can find those with a simple bracket and no wiring needed. If you choose the latter, you need to keep the battery power in mind and how often it needs to be charged.
We all know that these computers should have a few basic features included. These basic features include simply tracking your basic stats and helping you to improve. Having an odometer also means that you can track the altitude, while many top models will allow you to navigate the gradient efficiently and reduce the power output.
For a bike computer, GPS technology is not as important as many other tech models. However, having it will make a massive difference. With GPS technology, you can effectively measure your distance and also see where you are on the map. Brands like Garmin specialize in GPS technology to make it easier for you to keep your location data accurate.
The bike computer has been evolving and can almost rival your mobile device. With APP integration, users are allowed to share some of their stats and data on social media directly using the APP. You need to ensure that you choose an APP that will be compatible with your device. Additionally, Strava Live Segment will help you set up small challenges and this could motivate you to push even harder and potentially improve your own records.
Since we can’t always predict what will happen, the durability factor is something that needs to be kept in mind. You might not fall, but when you do, you want the computer to hold up and this is why top brands are adding rubber coatings. Additionally, you might need to look for a waterproof rating that is included. Most Garmin bike computers already have a waterproof rating of around IPX7 to keep you protected.
A bike computer is not an essential part of the bike and might not even have the same importance as something like the chain or your grips. However, it does make life a little easier when it comes to stat tracking.
When it comes to choosing the best mountain bike computers, we have found the Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer to be elite in all aspects and it has an affordable price.
We would like to thank you for reading this article and encourage you to share some of your thoughts. Let us know which of these mountain bike computers have served you the best and if we might have missed any of your favorites.