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Best Cycling Watch of 2021 Complete Reviews with Comparisons

Photo by Hu Chen

Originally Posted On: Best Cycling Watch of 2021 Complete Reviews with Comparisons – Bike Vortex


Do you want a great fitness tracker, smartwatch, heart rate monitor, and more to help you track and improve your fitness level, specifically for cycling? If so, you have come to the right place. Let’s get down to business and help you find the best cycling watch.


Comparison Chart

Fitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch, Charcoal/Smoke Gray, One Size (S and L Bands Included)
POLAR M430 GPS Running Watch, Black (90066335),Medium/Large
Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running Watch, Black/Gray
Garmin fēnix 5, Premium and Rugged Multisport GPS Smartwatch, Slate Gray/Black Band, 47 MM
Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features GLONASS and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-Axis Compass, Flame Red

Best Cycling Watches: Reviews

Fitbit Ionic Watch

This Ionic Watch from Fitbit is a  mid- to high-end smartwatch designed for cycling, running, and other sports. It comes loaded with excellent features, and all for a reasonable price.


First off, the Fitbit Ionic Watch functions as a regular fitness tracker. It can track various fitness factors, including steps taken, calories burned, active minutes, and more. Even better is that this model is GPS enabled.

This means that you can sync it with your phone to set and examine the routes you take, plus it also can track your distance, pace, speed, and elevation.

The Fitbit Ionic Watch helps you monitor and improve your fitness level by serving as a heart rate monitor. It features accurate and real-time wrist-based heart rate monitoring.

The Fitbit Ionic Watch has various coaching programs to help improve your overall fitness level. It can be used for cycling, running, swimming, and many other activities and sports. It also comes with many sport modes built into it.

In terms of overall durability, this watch is an absolute tank, as it has a Gorilla glass screen, which is super resistant to impacts and scratching; the watch as a whole is very impact resistant. The Fitbit Ionic Watch is designed for swimmers as well, which is why it is waterproof.

This watch can be synced with the Fitbit app, which can store all of your relevant data in one place and organize it, so it is easy for you to analyze. There are also many health and fitness tips. The app can track your sleep patterns and quality of sleep.

The Fitbit Ionic Watch can store and play up to 300 songs, plus you can also make quick payments using the integrated NFC chip. Unless you are using the GPS mode, which eats through power, this smartwatch’s battery life is somewhere over four days. To finish it all off, the Fitbit Ionic Watch comes with a really nice display that is easy to read, even on dark days.


  • Great durability
  • Waterproof
  • Many sport modes
  • Coaching features
  • Basic fitness tracking
  • HR monitoring
  • Sleep tracking
  • GPS enabled
  • NFC payments
  • Stores and plays music


  • A little bulky
  • Bluetooth connection issues

Polar M430 GPS Running Watch

If you are a runner and a cyclist, you might be interested in the Polar M430 GPS Running Watch. It is technically designed for running, but it can also be used for biking, and it does come with some nifty features.


One thing that stands out about this fitness tracker/smartwatch is that although it may not be the most attractive looking option, it is lightweight and compact, not to mention that it features a soft, durable, and adjustable wristband. Simply put, it’s exceptionally comfortable to wear and small enough so that it won’t get in your way while you exercise.

On a side note, the Polar M430 GPS Running Watch functions as a regular watch with time, date, and more. The other thing worth mentioning is that this watch will run for well over 30 hours on a single charge.

As the name states, this unit is GPS enabled. This means that no matter where you go, whether running or cycling, you can always keep track of your pace, distance, altitude, and route. On that same note, this watch also features constant, real-time, and very accurate wrist-based heart rate monitoring.

Moreover, this smartwatch also features all-day fitness tracking to keep track of your time spent active, calories burned, steps taken, and more. This watch has an advanced sleep-tracking mode to ensure you get adequate rest from one day to the next.

Keep in mind that this is primarily a running watch, which is why it keeps track of indoor running metrics such as pace and distance, particularly for running on a track or treadmill. It features an integrated Polar running program that helps you train with personalized programs. It also integrates fitness tests, comes with a comprehensive running index, and tons of info regarding recovery time.

The Polar M430 GPS Running Watch can connect to your smartphone to use the polar app, and when you have it connected to your phone, it can receive notifications about calls, texts, social media, and more.


  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Integrated GPS
  • Accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Fitness tracking
  • Sleep tracking
  • Advanced running metrics and programs
  • Decent battery life


  • Better for runners than for cyclists
  • Some buttons can get stuck at times

Garmin Forerunner 235

Here we have another moderately priced fitness tracker and smartwatch that is technically designed for runners; however, it can also be an effective fitness monitoring tool for cyclists. For a reasonable price, it comes loaded with features.


The Garmin Forerunner 235 features a very large and bright color display with backlighting and a lot of contrast; you can easily read it no matter the weather conditions. Although the screen is quite large, it’s also relatively thin, so it’s pretty sleek and lightweight, making it comfortable to wear no matter what kind of activity you are doing.

Moreover, the Garmin Forerunner 235 has a decent battery life. If you are using it in regular watch or fitness tracking mode, a single charge can last for up to nine days. However, keep in mind that if you are using the GPS, the battery life will top out at around 11 hours.

As mentioned above, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is GPS enabled, which means that you can connect it to your phone to track various metrics, including elevation, distance, and speed. It can be used to set and monitor your route.

When connected to your phone, you can use the app to provide you with various audio prompts and running programs. On that same note, when connected to your phone, the Garmin Forerunner 235 will also receive call, text, and social media alerts.

Moreover, this smartwatch also serves as a basic fitness tracker because it monitors steps taken, calories burned, and time spent active; it also provides comprehensive sleep tracking. The Garmin Forerunner 235 can also monitor your heart rate, as well as VO2 max.


  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Fairly durable
  • Receives notifications
  • Sleep tracking
  • Advanced fitness tracking
  • HR and VO2 max monitoring
  • GPS enabled
  • Garmin app is functional
  • Decent battery life
  • Nice display


  • Better for runners than cyclists
  • Not waterproof

Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport Smartwatch

If you are looking for an advanced smartwatch that can be used for various sports, comes loaded with features, and you are willing to pay extra for it, the Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport Smartwatch is something to take a look at.


The Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport Smartwatch comes with various sport modes for running, cycling, and more, with specialized tips, prompts, and training program for each.

Moreover, this unit also keeps track of important metrics for particular sports such as cycling. It monitors your heart rate and VO2 max, so you know exactly how much energy you expend.

Next, the Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport Smartwatch engages in basic fitness tracking, including steps taken, calories burned, time spent active, and more. Thanks to the integrated GPS, you can also set and track routes and keep track of distance, speed, and elevation when connected to your phone.

This unit also comes with advanced running programs and metrics, something that runners will appreciate. It also features a 3-axis compass, a gyroscope, and a barometric altimeter

What really stands out about the Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport Smartwatch is its high level of durability. It is made with fiber-reinforced stainless steel combined with an impact and scratch-resistant display. Although this watch is very durable, it’s also designed for user-friendliness, which is why it has a relatively compact and lightweight design, combined with a bright, colorful, and easy-to-read display.


  • Made for many types of sports
  • Advanced GPS functions
  • Basic fitness tracking
  • Superior durability
  • Accurate HR & VO2 max readouts
  • Sleek and lightweight
  • Very nice display
  • Can get notifications


  • Not waterproof
  • Battery life could be better

Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch

When it comes down to it, the Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch might be the most advanced outdoor and fitness watch on the list today. It’s got more features than you could possibly imagine.


What stands out about the Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch is how durable it is. This watch is built to US military standards. It has an amazing amount of impact resistance, it is shock-resistant, and it can be submerged 100 meters. Not only is it tough as nails, but it’s exceptionally comfortable to wear due to its super sleek and lightweight design.

What’s also impressive about the Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch is that it can run up to 14 days on smartwatch mode, up to 40 hours in the battery saver mode, and about 16 hours in GPS mode. The battery life is actually very good.

The Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch features basic fitness tracking to monitor steps taken, calories burned, and time spent active. It also has advanced GPS functionality to set and track your route and track distance, pace, and elevation. It comes with a 3-axis compass and a barometric altimeter. It can even monitor your heart rate and stress.

What’s cool is that this smartwatch features various sport modes, such as cycling, running, hiking, swimming, and more, and will track your fitness level for each type of activity. When paired with your phone, you can use the Garmin app to track, analyze, and organize your data and access tons of tips and training programs.


  • Extreme durability
  • Waterproof
  • Very nice display
  • Great battery life
  • Advanced GPS functionality
  • Basic fitness tracking
  • HR tracking
  • Great Garmin app
  • Smartphone notifications


  • Quite expensive
  • Does not perform sleep tracking

Buyer’s Guide

Before you go shopping for a smartwatch for cycling, let’s look at some of the main factors and features you should consider.

Easy-to-Read Display

You want a display that is easy to read, which means a bright display with lots of contrast, good resolution, and preferably an anti-glare coating. The size of the display should also be considered.

Water Resistance

We are talking about cycling watches, so water resistance is not a huge deal, but it does help if it rains while you are out biking. Some models reviewed today are totally waterproof, which is excellent if you want to also use the same watch for swimming.

Heart Rate Monitor

One thing to look for is a heart rate monitor and even a VO2 max monitor. Remember, the accuracy of the monitoring may be the most important aspect of all.

Battery Life

As you can probably tell, the battery life differs significantly across these watches. If possible, go for one that lasts for at least 10 hours in GPS mode and for several days when the GPS is not activated.


Finally, you want a watch that features a soft and adjustable wristband, as well as one that is not too clunky or heavy. You don’t want your smartwatch getting in the way of your exercise.

Final Verdict

If you want the best of the best, we recommend checking out either the Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch or the Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport Smartwatch. Both are a bit pricey, but they’re also the most advanced watches in this review by far.

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