best mountain bike gps
Garmin GPS / wikimedia.org

A GPS device’s main use is to provide an accurate geolocation and time information of you anywhere on earth. Having one attached to your mountain bike is quite essential, as it’ll guide you while you’re cruising the harsh terrain, record data of your journey, and most importantly, eliminate the probability of you getting lost. It can also be useful in case you want to train yourself on all the different routes that are usually found on a mountain.

Comparison table: Best GPS Devices For Mountain Bike

Best choice
Edge 1000 with Bike Cadence Sensor
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
Garmin Edge 820 Bundle w/ Edge Remote
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS (includes Heart Rate Monitor Strap, Cadence sensor & Speed sensor)
Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
Edge 1000 with Bike Cadence Sensor
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
Garmin Edge 820 Bundle w/ Edge Remote
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS (includes Heart Rate Monitor Strap, Cadence sensor & Speed sensor)
Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
Screen
3.0"
2.7"
2.3"
2.3"
3.0"
Touchscreen
Smart notifications
Cadence sensor
Speed sensor
Route planner
Reviews
121 Reviews
154 Reviews
-
179 Reviews
120 Reviews
Ratings
-
Prime
-
-
-
Best choice
Edge 1000 with Bike Cadence Sensor
Edge 1000 with Bike Cadence Sensor
Screen
3.0"
Touchscreen
Smart notifications
Cadence sensor
Speed sensor
Route planner
Reviews
121 Reviews
Ratings
Prime
-
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
Screen
2.7"
Touchscreen
Smart notifications
Cadence sensor
Speed sensor
Route planner
Reviews
154 Reviews
Ratings
Prime
Garmin Edge 820 Bundle w/ Edge Remote
Garmin Edge 820 Bundle w/ Edge Remote
Screen
2.3"
Touchscreen
Smart notifications
Cadence sensor
Speed sensor
Route planner
Reviews
-
Ratings
-
Prime
-
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS (includes Heart Rate Monitor Strap, Cadence sensor & Speed sensor)
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS (includes Heart Rate Monitor Strap, Cadence sensor & Speed sensor)
Screen
2.3"
Touchscreen
Smart notifications
Cadence sensor
Speed sensor
Route planner
Reviews
179 Reviews
Ratings
Prime
Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
Screen
3.0"
Touchscreen
Smart notifications
Cadence sensor
Speed sensor
Route planner
Reviews
120 Reviews
Ratings
Prime
-

Most GPS units are very straightforward to use and easy to mount on your bike stem. To help you with picking one, we’ve put together this list of the five best mountain bike GPS devices that are available on the market right now.

1. Edge 1000 with Bike Cadence Sensor

If what you’re looking for is a dedicated GPS computer that comes with good connectivity to other smart devices, then look no further than the Edge 1000. It comes with a lot of features straight out of the box, for example, its Garmin Connect segments allows you to turn your ride into a race quickly. This is done by providing you with real-time results, all of your starts and finishes, and your rankings in all the different leader boards.

Edge 1000 with Bike Cadence Sensor
121 Reviews
Edge 1000 with Bike Cadence Sensor
  • Large 3.0" Display - See what you need with ease, and stay focused on the road ahead. Edge 1000 uses a glove-friendly, touchscreen Display that adjusts automatically for low-light areas, such as shade and tunnels
  • Segments - Turn every ride into a race by competing on Garmin Connect Segments and seeing Real-time results on your Edge 1000, including alerts for segment start and finish and leaderboard rankings

The device comes with a durable 3″ touch-screen display that has dual orientation integrated into it and is waterproof. Moreover, the display adjusts all by itself in low light areas, providing you with the necessary information under any circumstances.

There is also the preloaded RoundTrip technology and the Garmin Cycling Map that comes with the device offers you the best biking paths to navigate around the area where you’re currently staying.

This device is the first-ever Garmin GPS unit to come with the Shimano Di2 electronic shifting system which will show you your current gear on the screen. Edge 1000 also supports ANT+ sensors, which monitor your heart rate, your speed and cadence, and more.

The edge 1000 also has connected features such as the ability to receive incoming calls and text alerts, and wireless upload to Garmin connect. In case you’re planning on buying what we think is the best mountain bike GPS device out there, we recommend that you get it through the performance bundle which includes the device itself, both a standard and an extended out-front mount, a cadence/speed sensor, some preloaded maps, a high-quality heart rate monitor, a USB cable for charging, and of course, user manuals.

  • Garmin Cycle Map
  • Incident detection
  • Large 3” touch-screen display
  • Live tracking, call/text/email alerts, social media sharing, weather forecasts, uploading and receiving courses wirelessly
  • Supports WKO4 iLevels
  • Compatibility with Ant+ sensors
  • It has some Bluetooth connectivity issues.
  • The battery runs pretty fast
Check latest price

2. Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer

If what you’re mainly looking for in a device includes things like exceptionally good battery life, a clear screen, accurate maps, and many other great features, then look no further than the Wahoo ELEMNT. This GPS device is well equipped with a multitude of great features, for example, it comes with a perfect combination of Bluetooth and ANT+ which results is a seamless connection between your smart devices and the sensors on your bike. Almost anything can be uploaded anywhere you like via ANT+, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi.

Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
154 Reviews
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
  • 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).

Additionally, the device comes with a free companion App which allows you to create your own personal profile and customize it, it also gives you the ability to track your performance and to share it with others effortlessly.

The Wahoo ELEMNT rocks a 2.7″ (68.6mm) diagonal display that is larger than many of its competitors, for easy access to your data and routes. It also features several programmable LED indicators which can be super helpful, by mainly showing you if you’re on pace with power, speed, and heart rate.

The buttons, located on the side of the GPS unit, are used to zoom in and out of data fields while the three buttons found on the bottom of the device allow you to toggle between all the different menus/screens quickly.

Furthermore, the Wahoo ELEMNT has an integrated GPS with a bunch of pre-loaded routes that are available. The device also comes with a chargeable battery that can reportedly survive for more than 17 hours without charging. So if you’re looking for a more affordable option with greater battery life, then the ELEMNT is quite frankly the best mountain bike GPS unit out there right now.

  • The device allows you to compare yourself with others and compete
  • ANT+ sensors that monitor power, cadence, speed, and heart rate
  • A large 3.0” touch screen display that is waterproof and equipped with dual orientation
  • Comes with preloaded cycle maps provided by Garmin
  • Supports Garmin Connect
  • The battery runs pretty fast
  • Quite expensive
Check latest price

3. Garmin Edge 820 Bundle

Another unit from Garmin, the Edge 820 mountain bike computer has become more and more popular among bikers lately for its good look, its numerous user-friendly features, and its efficient navigation. It was released three years ago, and it’s packed with the characteristics of its bigger cousin, the Edge 1000, but in a much smaller and lighter form.

Garmin Edge 820 Bundle w/ Edge Remote
  • 1 of Garmin Edge 820 Bundle
  • 1 of Garmin Edge Remote

What you should expect from this device is a 2.3” touch-screen, Strava Live segments, advanced performance monitoring, notifications for texts and calls, and much more. Additionally, its GroupTrack feature keeps you updated with any necessary information about everyone in your biking group, in real-time. It also comes with a map that shows you where everyone else in your group is, provided they have a device that supports the LiveTrack feature.

The device is also compatible with ViRB action cameras, Garmin Varia bright lights, and more. All of these premium-like features make this device quite frankly one of the best mountain bike GPS units out there right now.

  • Pre-loaded newbie-friendly routes.
  • ANT+ dual-band technology, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
  • 7” display
  • Programmable LED indicators
  • 17+ hours battery life
  • Can only be mounted in a few specific parts of your bike
Check latest price

4. Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS

Yet another bike GPS computer from Garmin, the Edge 520 is one of the best mountain bike GPS units, especially for all the competitive cyclists out there. It is the first bike GPS computer that comes with a two months trial Premium membership of the Strava live segments service which automatically syncs with your GPS device for alerts of starts/finishes, your leaderboard rankings, and more.

Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS (includes Heart Rate Monitor Strap, Cadence sensor & Speed sensor)
179 Reviews
Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS (includes Heart Rate Monitor Strap, Cadence sensor & Speed sensor)
  • ADVANCED METRICS - Edge 520 provides new advanced performance and power analysis, including new time in zone, functional threshold power (FTP) and watts/kg tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery, and cycling dynamics.
  • Water rating IPX7.HIGH-RESOLUTION DISPLAY - Edge 520 offers a high-resolution, 2.3-inch color display, providing great visibility in a lightweight, compact device

Additionally, when you pair this device with an ANT+ indoor instructor, it’ll deliver you numerous training capabilities. Moreover, the FTP and watts/kg tracking feature helps you compare and compete with others.

There is also the large 2.3 inches high-resolution color screen that has a fantastic level of screen clarity, which is super useful in all lighting conditions. The Edge 520 also comes packed with a lot of features that you’ll need and appreciate when mountain biking, these include: compatibility with ANT+ sensors, speed/cadence, Varia bike radar, Edge & ViRB remotes, heart rate monitoring, weight scales, and much more. It also supports the Shimano Di2 electronic shifting system to help show you your current gear on the screen.

  • Support Garmin Varia
  • ANT+
  • 3 inches high-resolution touch screen.
  • Functional in temperatures of -20 up to +55 C° (-4 to +131 Fahrenheit)
  • Has three separate screen settings
  • Has a 16 GB internal memory for easy and quick storage
  • +15 hours battery life
  • Only supports phones (through Bluetooth)
  • Quite expensive
Check latest price

5. Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS

The Garmin Edge 1000 comes with numerous excellent features for cycling. It provides you with advanced navigation and mapping, alongside a preloaded Garmin cycle, address search, elevation data, and more. It comes with a 3” high-resolution color display equipped with dual orientation. It also has an ambient light sensor which automatically adjusts your screen brightness depending on the situation you’re in.

Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
120 Reviews
Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
  • Large 3.0" Display - See what you need with ease, and stay focused on the road ahead. Edge 1000 uses a glove-friendly, touchscreen Display that adjusts automatically for low-light areas, such as shade and tunnels
  • Segments - Turn every ride into a race by competing on Garmin Connect Segments and seeing Real-time results on your Edge 1000, including alerts for segment start and finish and leaderboard rankings

Additionally, the device is compatible with ANT+ sensors, including a heart rate monitor, speed, cadence, and weight scale. It also works with WKO4 iLevels and the Pmax tracking and Functional Reserve Capacity, introduced to you by coaches and athletes. Upon pairing this device with the Garmin Connect App, you get a number of different features including calls/texts/emails alerts, live tracking, the ability to share your data to social media, uploading and receiving courses, weather forecasts, segments, and more.

Furthermore, Livetrack provides both your friends and family with your exact location in real-time while you’re biking. It also automatically detects when you start your ride and when you stop. To conclude, this device is basically an upgrade of the Garmin Edge 1000 that we’ve reviewed earlier, making it well worthy of the title of the best mountain bike GPS device.

  • Supports Strava live segments
  • 3″ high-resolution color display
  • ANT+ sensors compatibility
  • Works perfectly with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting systems
  • Compatible with iLevels
  • Like its bigger brothers, this device is more on the expensive side of things
Check latest price

Choosing the Best Mountain Bike GPS: A Quick Buying Guide

When browsing the market and looking for what might be the best mountain bike GPS device for you, you should probably focus on looking for how well the unit performs in these following things:

Battery Life

Most mountain bike GPS systems run for more than ten hours at the lowest end, and of course, more is always welcome. People sometimes forget to charge their unit after a long tiring ride, and the bonus hours a longer-lasting device offers will prove very helpful in such cases. Maybe you are not the type of person who would forget to charge their unit, but that still doesn’t neglect the fact that battery life still matters.

Some models are infamous for performing well under average, others might provide a decent battery life, but the capacity will decay over time rather quickly. Sometimes a ride gets interesting all of a sudden, and you happen to try new routes that you never dared to go through before. And for reasons such as this, we recommend that you look for the highest battery life possible in a device, even if you’re not the type of person who’d go on all-day rides. For us, the best mountain bike GPS device that you could get your hands on should have a battery that’s somewhere in the 15-20 hours range.

Interface & Add-ons

Most modern GPS units have ANT+, and according to many professional bikers and biking blogs alike (like BikeRumor), this technology is the future. It is slowly replacing the less efficient Bluetooth tech, and it works with pretty much any electronic device.

The best mountain bike GPS units come with fitness devices that can be easily linked to your smartphone, providing you with informative details and making it way easier for you to update the software of the unit.

Style and Screen Size

The aspect of size is somewhat straightforward when it comes to this sort of things, the bigger, the easier it is to grasp what information is written on there on first glance. The only downside to having a bigger screen is the fact that usually means a quicker battery life.

The price of the device, too, is heavily influenced by the size of its screen. But if that’s not an issue for you, then we recommend you get something high-end, where the screen doubles as an intractable interface, similar to that of your smartphone. However, this too has a limit, the exact same one that most smartphones suffer from today, weather conditions, and most prominently, rain.

As a result, riders who plan to ride during rainy days and such might want to skip the whole thing, and just stick to devices without a touch screen instead. In conclusion, the best mountain bike GPS device is a combination of both screen size and battery life, in other words, something that resides in the

Audio and Routing

One big advantage of grabbing one of the best mountain bike GPS devices out there is audio queuing and navigation. While almost any smartphone’s GPS app will give you directions on roads, the best mountain bike GPS devices offer a complex mapping and routing system that works both on and off the road. Furthermore, many GPS devices support famous cycling apps like MapMyRide, which provides turn-by-turn directions with perfectly synced sound queues.

Software and Training Tools

While the best fitness apps out there are usually found on smartphones, GPS devices aren’t that far behind. Most of them offer the features you’d find in a smartphone app such as training profiles, data saving, and more.

The best mountain bike GPS units out there can sync up with most fitness apps like MapMyRide or Strava, and some even allow you to use the apps directly from the device itself. Most of these devices are also capable of saving several bike profiles – even for your spinning bike at the gym! So when you’re looking for a GPS that might be worthy of the title of the best mountain biking GPS device, make sure that it has all the features and software that you want/need.

Weight

A GPS unit’s weight isn’t crucial unless you plan on doing some racing. Some reports have proven that something as little as a three-pound reduction in weight could mean a seven-second advantage, and those 7 seconds can be the difference between winning and losing for race bikers. But, it is essential to mention that most GPS units are around 50 grams. That said, even the heaviest one of them all, weighing about 130 grams, won’t be that much of an issue.

To conclude, if you’re a biker, the best mountain bike GPS unit for your liking should probably by something on the lighter side of things, but if you’re not, it’s not that big of an issue.

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
You May Also Like
Best Mountain Bikes Under $500

Best Mountain Bikes Under $500 in 2019 (Reviews & Comparison)

Do you want to hit the trails on a brand-new bike? If so, you’ll need to equip yourself with a good mountain bike. Read this guide and learn about the best mountain bikes that will not break the bank.
Best Mountain Bikes Under $300

Best Mountain Bikes Under $300 in 2019 (Reviews & Comparison)

Are you considering buying a mountain bike? This can be a daunting task. With that being said, you should read this guide thoroughly and learn about the best mountain bikes under $300. Then, you can make your decision.