After struggling with the idea of having one watch for work and another one for cycling. I wanted to find a utility device that would fit seamlessly into the workplace and track my activities as well. Being a keen cyclist meant that there were things that the watch would have to follow. You cannot possibly consider a sports watch without looking into Garmin. What I had in mind was a device that would help me improve my cycling times by providing me with actionable data.
If you didn’t already know Garmin is a technology company founded by Gary Burrell and Min Kao back in 1989 in the United States of America but only assumed the name Garmin in 1991. The company mostly focuses on GPS receivers for motor vehicles, aviation, marine and outdoor sports services, among others. Their first product was a GPS unit priced at $2,500. Today, they make the best tracking devices which are used by elite sportspeople to practice and for recreational purposes. Not so long ago, they launched a GPS navigation software for laptops and computers to track when they are lost.
After doing some considerable digging both online and in stores, I was able to create this list. It will serve as a guideline for purchasing the best Garmin watch for cycling. There are features that I considered when looking at these devices. We will discuss them throughout.
Today there are a lot of companies making smartwatches all with different specifications, goals and prices, some might think its good to have a broad spectrum to choose from, but this only creates more confusion. If you don’t have a sports watch and never had one you are probably wondering why it is in your best interest to get yourself one. A lot of people’s life expectancy falls due to eating unhealthy food and not getting much exercise.
We need plenty of exercises to keep our bodies healthy. To exercise effectively, you need someone to watch over you and point out whatever is not apparent to you. If you think of it most people are busy with whatever so you won’t find that guardian angel to watch over you while you exercise day in day out, now that is the reason you need a sports watch.
A sports watch will tell you how many calories you burnt and how much you performed compared to your previous records. There are a lot of brands making sports watches, but few are as old and have the experience Garmin has.
Garmin produces the best GPS tracking systems which you need to monitor your route, time is taken and speed for every session. Garmin is also well established online through the Garmin Connect which is a whole community of people using the Garmin wearables to aid in various sports. This cloud base also allows you to retrieve your information, assuming you get a new watch. The sport watches from Garmin are smartwatches as well. It means you can rock them all day without feeling out of place to suppose you are in the office. If you are thinking of buying a performance watch, then think Garmin. It certainly gives you value for you and remembers you need to spend that dollar wisely because you only get to spend it once. Below are some of the best watches you can use for cycling which Garmin has to offer.
Best Garmin Watch for Cycling
OUR TOP PICK
Expand the benefits you get from your cycling with the Fenix 5S plus. It is smaller in size to fit snug and feel less bulky. It includes colour TOPO maps which help you find the best paths which best suits your exercise plan. The display is not only large but readable in the sunlight with slim steel bezels.
This user-friendly gadget understands that you need motivation and entertainment while you cycle, which is why it can store up to 500 songs which you can listen to via Bluetooth headphones. If you prefer playlists already made ready for you, the watch also supports and synchronises with Spotify.
Easily purchase anything you might need along the way like a bottle of energy drink with Garmin Pay which reduces the risk of carrying cash. Go for long bike rides with peace of mind as the watch’s battery can easily give you 4 hours of accurate GPS tracking.
Its navigation sensors include a three-axis compass, gyroscope, barometer altimeter and multiple satellite system which can simultaneously use GPS, GLONASS and Galileo. All of these working together can track your movements in more challenging environments which GPS can not manage alone. While being tracked, you need other reading to aid in your performance.
With this in mind, you will have your heart rate, and average speed tracked. In the long term, the watch will compile information from all your sessions to deduce if you are maintaining, peaking or overtraining. It will also categorise your activities like biking, running and swimming, among others, all the information from each of these will be analysed for you by smart software.
If you are into other sports like swimming, you can still rock the Fenix 5S Plus in the pool as it is waterproof. However, swimming would be restricted to the pool not too deep like scuba diving as it is only rated 10 atm. It supports a variety of other sports as well which you can get an app tailor-made for them like the Golf app for golfing. Get the best experience from your watch with a variety of watch faces to choose from and custom bands which will allow you to rock different bands for different occasions. As a cyclist, this is a must-have gadget which has performance as its top priority.
- Slim metal bezels
- Completely customisable with detachable bands and variety of cock faces
- Good battery life
- Easy view display
The Fenix 5X is made from stainless steel. It looks very durable with a polished metallic finish. From this watch, you get all the features you need and more. It is the first from the Fenix series to feature full-colour TOPO mapping which takes navigation to the next level as you can quickly pinpoint your location at a glance. Its screen is protected by a PVD-coating with stainless steel bezels and buttons all of this in a reinforced housing for the durability of a lifetime. You can have it looking good for the longest time as well as this sapphire edition has a scratch-resistant sapphire lens. The high-resolution full-colour bright Chroma display ensures outstanding readability viewing experience. On top of that, it also features a transflective technology that reflects and transmits light at the same time. This highly sophisticated technology makes the watch face to be easily readable under intense sunlight. Worry less as you cycle knowing that your heart rate is continuously being monitored on your wrist, for other activities like jogging and hiking the watch uses the heart rate sensor to count the number of steps. It is also this heart rate sensor which calculates the number of calories burnt to quantify the intensity of your activities.
The watch is well equipped with all the sensors, which include GPS, three-axis compass, gyroscope, barometer altimeter capability, which allows tracking in environments hostile for GPS to be able to provide accurate information. For convenience, it comes preloaded with profiles like running, treadmill running, trail running, cycling and hiking, among others, you create your custom profiles as well.
Stay in touch while on the go with the watch’s smart notifications. Go from the cycling track to the water without worrying about your watch as it is very water-resistant, up to 100 metres of water resistance but I won’t take it that deep if I were you as the range decreases slightly with wear and tear. The watch can easily sync all your performance data on Garmin Connect which allows you to access it from any device or if you happen to get a new watch which I doubt you will get a reason to do unless your watch gets run over by a train.
You can rock the Fenix 5X anywhere with a variety of watch faces to choose from and interchangeable bands allowing you to pick the band that matches the theme of wherever you will be headed. Sleep with the watch on and let it collect information about your sleep. It will help you adjust to the best lifestyle for your body. Beyond the functions, you will use on the bike the watch has a lot of other features tailor-made for other sports like skiing, golfing and paddle sports like rowing. In sports like skiing, it tracks speed, distance, vertical drop and runs counter with auto-pause for the lift line. In paddle sports, it counts strokes to get the stroke rate and distance per stroke. In golf, it also offers some useful information like yardage to the front. For entertainment, while you exercise, the watch can play all your favourite songs via wireless Bluetooth headphones.
- Scratch resistant
- Good battery life
- Slim metal bezels
- Easy view display, especially in the sun
- Interchangeable watch bands
- A variety of watch faces
Garmin initially developed this watch for hostile environments which require the highest possible endurance. You can take it cycling in the mountains or the city and depend on it to deliver the desired results. It has a thermal resistance of up to 810G coupled with shock resistance which means you don’t need to worry about your watch when you have faulty shock absorbers on your mountain bike while manoeuvring a rough terrain.
Still, on the endurance note, it features a fibre reinforced polymer case coupled with a chemically strengthened scratch-resistant display. If you have a short memory then you will be best friends with this baby, it comes with a traceback feature which will take you back the same way you came from to your starting point, with this technology you can easily trace something you lost along the way while cycling.
The battery life on this baby quickly turns it into a beast on my list. It can take a whopping 14 days on smartwatch mode and up to 16 hours on GPS mode and has another mode called UltraTrac battery saver mode which saves battery while keeping GPS on. In this mode, you can get a good 40 hours of performance. Hence, if you are on the outskirts where there is no power supply, this is the best buy for you. To keep you connected and up to date the watch also has smart notifications which are compatible to any phone you might have on you but assuming that you don’t carry a phone while cycling it’s the best way to stay updated.
The watch features all the sensors you need for the best biking experience and more. The sensors on-board include a 3-axis compass, barometer altimeter, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and multiple global navigation systems. All these sensors working in coordination can locate you in the most difficult of environments where GPS would be sloppy. It comes preloaded with a couple of profiles like running, biking and swimming, but the profiles are not limited to that as you can make custom ones.
The heart rate sensor does not only give your average heartbeat. Still, it collects a lot of other useful information like stress level and calories burnt, through data collected from the heart rate sensor the watch can deduce whether you are peaking, stagnant, slacking or overtraining. You can sleep with the watch on to allow it to track your sleep and collect some information which might be useful health-wise. Swimmers don’t be left out the thermal resistance doesn’t mean you lose water-resistance, you can dive into the pool with no fear as your watch is resistant up to 100 metres, but I would strongly advise you to take it off when you go scuba diving as it most likely won’t survive that depth. Still, it will give you some information in the open water swimming.
- Thermal resistance
- Shock resistant
- Non-scratch lens
- Easy view display
- The best battery life
- Limits choice as it is not customisable
If you thought Garmin products are expensive, you might want to reconsider that thought. The watch was released back in 2017 but still relevant as the latest ones. The watch is entirely customisable with thousands of watch faces from the Connect IQ store. The store is also where you will find a variety of apps like Spotify to deliver the best experience according to you. It’s the tool you need to connect with your activities on a deeper level, it hosts sports apps for running, cycling, strength training, swimming and yoga, among others.
Step into the shop and get fast service aided by the contactless Garmin pay. Garmin introduced this system through this watch before spilling to others. Stay connected to your friends and family through the smart notifications which deliver information to your fingertips. The watch even allows you to respond to text messages which is a great feature in case of an emergency. Bring your jams to the cycle track with the Vivo active 3. It can not only store your music but play it as well via a wireless Bluetooth headset.
Monitor the critical aspects of your fitness through information compiled by the heart rate sensor, it will show the amount of stress you put on yourself and how your body responds under various circumstances. Its heart rate sensor can give an almost accurate estimate of your VO2 and fitness age. With the Vivo active 3, you can identify the physical and emotional sources causing high-stress levels. With this information, you can then find ways to counter these.
The battery life is the best among smartwatches. It can easily last seven days on smartwatch mode while it will last 13 hours with GPS on, not that you will go biking for 13 straight hours, but if you get into a 13-hour long race, then you know the Vivoactive 3 got you covered. The watch is water-resistant, which means you can dive with it into the pool and get information about your performance.
Still, you won’t get any information in the open water swimming for now as there is no app for that. And to be safe, the watch is water-resistant up to 5 atm. The watch has several sensors which include a three-axis compass and GPS for positioning and tracking. The display features a sophisticated technology which gives it the desired brightness for easy viewing in direct sunlight.
- Long battery life
- Lacks GLONASS
If you have a little more to spend, you will get a lot more from this watch than the previous generation of itself. If you generally cycle in the city and don’t plan to go mountain biking anytime soon, then you will find peace of mind by purchasing this watch. With a 45 mm size, it fits nicely on the wrist and won’t feel bulky. Monitor your body’s vitals on and off the bike easily at a glance. It records your body’s energy levels throughout the day, using this information, you can find the best time to eat and rest, among other things. It comes pre-loaded with workout demonstrations which I find useful just before I leave the gym, if you love working out, then you can download more workout animations from the Garmin Connect online community. Most cyclists will agree with me that it’s hard to keep up with the world when cycling on rugged terrain, the Vivo active 4 solves that problem through the smart notifications which you can quickly glance at and be better informed in a split second.
Sync your subscriptions from Deezer, Amazon Music, Spotify and more. You don’t have to sacrifice your entertainment when you have the Vivo active 4 on you, listen to your favourite tunes through a wireless Bluetooth headset. The watch features an incident detector. For the cyclists, this feature was made for you as a bicycle accident might not be noticed soon enough on the mountains. The watch will automatically send your location to a contact of your choice if you happen to be involved in an accident.
More and more outlets are adapting the contactless payment solution, the watch comes with Garmin Pay which makes payments a wave of your hand. The Garmin coach is a useful feature for the athletes. It is an inbuilt running coach, but you can also get one for cycling from the store. The preloaded sports apps include yoga, running, swimming and more. Be productive as much as you can with the Vivo active 4’s enormous battery. The battery lasts about eight days in smartwatch mode and 6 hours on GPS mode.
For tracking the watch is equipped with a three-axis compass and GPS. Don’t worry about taking it into the pool as it is water-resistant. With this watch you can hit the office knowing you have a beauty on your wrist, it is one of the most beautiful pieces we have seen from Garmin with thin stainless steel bezels. It was released in 2019. It comes with very efficient Bluetooth technology which will deliver the best quality sound to your headset for the best experience.
This watch makes use of widgets which are great for putting information in your face, so you don’t miss it. The weather widget allows you to plan your route knowing the conditions and a little rain won’t stop you from going out since it's water-resistant. The other widgets display information from your previous sessions, including your training status and training load, among others. The Garmin Connect is a great way to interact with other people partaking in the same activity as you, using it, you can plan events and challenge each other.
- Incident detection
- Long battery life
- Garmin coach
- Rather expensive
- Does not support Galileo for tracking
All these watches are great because the best company makes them, but we all know even among the best there is the best of them. Our best pick is the Garmin instinct. It has the quickest response time seen on a smartwatch, all this coupled with an enormous battery makes it the best watch all for an affordable price as well. The other watches are great, but they do not rise to the occasion as much as the Instinct.