By now using a GPS for bicycle, outdoor activities or trekking has become very important, let me say essential. We have been using it for 15 years now. We started with a non-cartographic GPS together with paper maps, in order to track our routes, to then switch to a cartographic GPS more similar to a cyclo-computer. Now we are using a more generic one, more outdoor-oriented than bicycle oriented. Enough talking: let's see which are the best bicycle GPS on the market in 2019 in my personal opinion and online research.
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Why using a bicycle GPS?
I'm not going to use this article to explain how to choose an outdoor bicycle GPS, because the reasons could be different and too many, and they deserve a dedicated article (which I promise I'm going to write as soon as I can). But at least let me say why we use a GPS in our MTB excursions and bicycle journeys.
In the beginning, we were skeptical because, mostly in our journeys, having a GPS device means having more weight to carry and another device to recharge. But then the desire to discover new roads and find, in every part of the world, some routes outside of the mainstream and known roads has prevailed. Let's quote the MTB routes as well, where trails and tracks are difficult to find and follow. Having a paper map gives a more complete vision, and when we manage to, we bring one along. But then, having a zoomable map on site, detailed and small, gives us the possibility to find the alternative roads and understand the type of terrain. There are a lot of reasons why we have chosen a GPS device for MTB and bicycle touring, but these are the main ones and I won't be too long.
The alternative which I am not suggesting for long day trips or longer journeys is using a smartphone with an outdoor App. We use this option with pleasure, but only in case of malfunctioning of our GPS device, or for short rides on the road or walks. These dedicated devices are realized for outdoor activities and so waterproof, log duration batteries, a strong GPS signal and superior to the phones. There are many more reasons why we use a dedicated GPS device for our outdoor activities. For now, let's focus on the best 10 bicycle GPS devices of 2019 in my opinion.
Garmin Edge Explore
If you say outdoor GPS device, you say Garmin! Let's be crystal clear: this is the main company for outdoor navigation systems in Italy and in many others countries of the world.
Solid, trustworthy, durable GPS devices. Garmin has become a leader company in producing outdoor GPS devices thanks to its high-quality products in constant innovation. In its vast product range, you can find trekking, bicycle, running, fitness outdoor GPS. Moreover, a very professional and great community of Garmin GPS owners can suggest you and guide through the choice and use of your first Garmin product... just search online.
For bicycle lovers, the Edge series is the main one, even if I personally find these more similar to a cyclo-computer, so dedicated to professionals more than a bicycle tourist or outdoor lover biker. Recently, however, Garmin has launched Edge Explore, more suitable for bicycle tourists and bikers.
The main features are a touch 3" screen (so not so big), waterproof IPX7, the possibility to connect with security devices by Garmin and with the smartphone, a Garmin Cycle map already loaded on the device and a rechargeable ion battery with duration up to 12 hours. The price for this device is 247,60$, plus the almost compulsory purchase of its stand for the handlebar.
Garmin Montana 610
Since 2015 we are two happy owners of the best gps garmin, a Garmin Montana 600: the device described in the following lines is the evolution of our device.
TheEdge series by Garmin was not for us, as stated previously, so, at the moment of the choice, we oriented our choice elsewhere. Among the numerous series, the one that suits our needs is the model Montana, today available with numerous models. There's one with an integrated camera, one with Topo maps loaded on it, or one where you can load your own maps (we personally use the OpenMTBmap maps and here we explain how to install them).
Montana 610 is the basic model of this series, but we are totally satisfied. The main features are: a 4" screen (the biggest on a Garmin device) where it's possible to see a good portion of a map at a decent detail, the reception of GPS and Glonass for a better and faster positioning, the presence of a barometric altimeter and a three axes compass, a ion battery with duration up to 16 hours, which can be replaced by 3 AA batteries (this saved us many times during our trips), IPX/ waterproof.
The only negative points are its weight and bulkiness, but if you don't mind carrying 300 g more on the handlebar, it's a great choice. The price for this device is 411,00$, but sometimes it's discounted.
TwoNav Trail Bike
A flourishing company in the GPS devices world is without any doubt the Catalan CompeGPS which with its TwoNav devices has made its success in Italy. Realized by sportsmen (the beginning was the paragliding), the bicycle GPS TwoNav are robust and light, becoming more and more specialized for different outdoor activities. My choice was the TwoNav Trail Bike mainly for the generous portion of the screen (3,7"), with lightweight and the handlebar stand included in the bundle (differently than Garmin, for example). Its main features are 3,7" screen, 4 front buttons, 2 side buttons and a joystick for the navigation, 4000 mAh battery with a standard autonomy of 20 hours and your country map. The price of this device is 299,00€.
Magellan Explorist 710
Magellan Explorist is one of those outdoor and bicycle GPS which I'd like to try. The devices produced by this company, MiTac from Taiwan, are simple and high-quality products: the Explorist 110 or the Explorist 710. The Cyclo series is, like Garmin, more amateur oriented than excursionist oriented. Like the previous, the top line Magellan GPS devices have a touch screen and offer outdoor cartography which covers mainly and only Europe. This wasn't a big problem for us, using OpenStreetMap.
The main features of the Explorist 710 are 3" screen, battery duration of 16 hours, three axes compass, barometric altimeter, IPX7 waterproof and 3,2 MP camera for fixing the points of interest. The negative aspect is the absence of a handlebar stand, exclusive of the Cyclo series Magellan. It costs 508,00€.
Despite I'm not a fan of "all-in-one" devices, this bicycle GPS device made me curious: it integrates a camera inside of a GPS device, and you are able to record movies (low-quality ones) automatically set it for a certain speed, or heart rate, or a certain point of interest. Then you can put together data and video and pair them to other Apps like Strava. It also features a live tracking with a graphic view of your data and a 3G communication integrated. On the device, you find the OSM maps and this should help you further updates.
I repeat: I usually think that a device should do its job well, so a GPS should be a GPS navigator, and an action camera should be an action camera, but the curiosity overcomes the reticence, and I'd like to try this device, in the EVO version, maybe. Its main features are a 3" screen, IPX7 waterproof, WiFi connectivity, 720px 30fps movie camera, 1500 mAh battery with 12 hours duration, barometric altimeter and GPS/Glonass System. It costs 449,00$.
Light and compact, maybe in this case more suitable for an amateur public, I'd like to add this device amongst the 10 best bicycle GPS because it features top quality aspects. It weighs only 99g, it's IPX7 waterproof, its battery lasts 17 hours: a great device. The connectivity with sensors and apps is the same as the other companies products. Moreover, this device Wahoo uses GPS, Glonass and Galileo systems for the reception. The handlebar stand is included in the price of 299,99€.
Mio Cyclo 200
The company is the same as the Magellan GPS devices, MiTec from Taiwan. Mio Cyclo 200 has a 3,5" screen, a pretty intuitive interface, preinstalled cycling paths maps and OSM roads, a 10 hours duration battery, IPX5 waterproof system, and a desktop app to manage your data, all for 179,90€.
This company might be known more for its cardio frequency meter than for GPS devices. However, in these last years, it realized some outdoor products like Polar V650, a bicycle GPS with good features for who already knows this company. V650 is waterproof (IPX7), lightweight and handly, touch display 320x240, rechargeable battery with 10 hours duration, connectivity with popular apps, OSM maps available. It costs 248,95$.
Lezyne Mega XL
More popular for its lights than for GPS devices, this German company born in 2007 recently developed some good products in this field. The most recent amongst its products is the Mega XL GPS device, with a 2,7" rotating screen and can be used easily in both positions without dismounting and mounting anew the handlebar stand (like with Garmin). With all the connectivity equipment, this bicycle GPS beats all the best devices, on paper at least, for the duration of its battery (up to 48 hours!), with GPS and Glonass system, barometer and accelerometer, dedicated app included in the cost, 199,99$ for the only GPS device.
Bryton Rider 450
This company too produces numerous GPS models for outdoor activities. This one, Rider 450, is more suitable for offroad trips and adventures. It has a 2,3" display and an OpenStreetMap cartography loaded. It can be connected with a smartphone or electronic shifters and features a complete satellites system GNSS (GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BDS, and QZSS) which should guarantee the maximum precision and a very accurate signal. Its battery lasts 32 hours and can be charged mid-activity with a power bank (very interesting for long journeys). In this case, too, there is an app for connecting it with Strava... The handlebar stand is included in the bundle that costs only 199,95$.
This is my personal list of the best GPS for bicycle and outdoor activities... what about you? Which GPS are you using or planning to use? Can you suggest one? Leave a comment down below!
I'm from Piedmont and I'm 30 years old, I have been living and working in Lombardy for a few years. After a start without any competence in this field, I then approached the bicycle world more and more. Today I can call myself a bicycle traveller and videomaker who would never ever stop. I ride my bike trying to understand why it is so beautiful, rich, therapeutic. And every time I try, I do not understand it. So I must leave again...
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