4 Best Bike Computers For Triathlon (+ 4 Critical Buying Tips)


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Are you practicing to compete in a triathlon? You will need to start a planned training at least 12 weeks in advance of the event to ensure that you hit the bull’s eye when it comes to speed, stamina, and ultimate performance. Those who are healthy and physically fit may find an 8-week enough to practice.

Regardless of the type of bike you use for the event, you will need the best bike computer for triathlon to get all information you need at a glance. With a well-built cycling computer installed on your bike, you do not even need to take your hand off the handlebar.

As one of the best devices to track your progress on the road, the best quality cycling computer helps you maintain a record of your distance, speed, and location. As these devices are specifically built for triathletes, competitive cyclists, and bike commuters, it provides a good number of ride stats.

The biggest advantages of using a bike computer instead of a watch or smartphone are that they are accurate and even waterproof. Plus, you do not need to fiddle with it to make a call or check messages. Despite this, it’s not so easy to find the perfect bicycle computer out of so many options available.

To make it easier, our team has spent several hours analyzing, reviewing, and comparing products to find the most suitable one. Read on to find the unbiased reviews of each product handpicked by us, and if you are in a hurry to order then go with our editor’s pick – Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer (see Amazon) for easy setup and full integration with Strava Live Segments.

ProductWeightBattery LifeDisplaySupported Satellites
#1. Garmin Edge 530, Performance GPS Cycling/Bike Computer0.7 poundsUp to 20 hours2.6″GPS, GLONASS, GalileoShop Now
#2. Garmin Edge 520 Plus, Gps Cycling/Bike Computer0.7 poundsUp to 15 hours2.3″GPS, GLONASS, GalileoShop Now
#3. Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer0.8 poundsUp to 15 hours2.6″GPS, GLONASS, GalileoShop Now
#4. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer0.14 poundsUp to 15 hours2.2″GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU Galileo, and QZSSShop Now

#1. Garmin Edge 530, Performance GPS Cycling/Bike Computer

This GPS cycling computer comes from the house of Garmin Edge, and it’s perfectly compatible with Vector. With great mapping abilities and a wide touchscreen display, the monitor provides dynamic performance monitoring to give insight into various users’ stats when paired with sensors.

Equipped with the Garmin Cycle Map route, you can ride like a local and find detailed information about different trails. You can get easy user info such as training balance, VO2 max, recovery, nutrition, and altitude acclimation displayed on the screen. It also includes safety features like group messaging, bike alarm, and tracking assistance.

Users can integrate the Garmin Edge 530 with Trail forks data to include the trail difficulty ratings and customize free apps and widgets from the Connect IQ Store. The device offers good battery life up to hours with GPS connectivity and the Garmin Charge power pack offers 40 hours extra battery life.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 3.20 x 0.80 x 1.90 inches
  • Weighs 2.72 ounces
  • Compatible with Vector (power meter)
  • Dynamic performance monitoring
  • MTB dynamics track jump count
  • Battery life up to 20 hours w GPS

User/ Customer reviews

Users feel that Edge 530 is one of the best GPS-enabled bike computers that deliver exactly what is expected out of it, and with accuracy. Some customers have said that this is not a fancy bike computer but is much better than a speedometer. Customers have warned that they had problems pairing up the Garmin device with iPhone but they have good customer support.

Conclusion

The Garmin Edge 530 (shop now) is a marked improvement over its predecessors and it shows clearly in its design and performance. This is a no-frills bike computer with a big display and useful features needed to prepare for a big event like a triathlon. Overall, this is a great investment to improve your riding stats!

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#2. Garmin Edge 520 Plus, Gps Cycling/Bike Computer

This is an advanced GPS bike computer specifically built for competing for events and navigating through challenging terrains. It comes with advanced navigation features that include preloaded Garmin cycle maps, new rider alerts, and easy on/ off-road directions.

Equipped with preloaded Strava Live Segments, the cycling computer allows you to compete with your last best record or with another cyclist’s stats. You can see the results right on the display screen. It can also, give you additional information such as power and heart rate when paired with sensors.

With the Garmin Edge 520 Plus installed on the handlebar, you can go handsfree and stay connected with compatible smartphone using features like smart notifications, Group Track, LiveTrack, and built-in Incident Detection. We are impressed to know that it offers a good battery life of up to 15 hours based on usage.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 2.9 x 0.8 x 1.9 inches
  • Weighs 2.08 ounces
  • 1 Lithium-ion battery required
  • Strava Live Segments
  • Advanced Navigation with Garmin Cycle Map
  • Advanced Performance Monitoring

User/ Customer reviews

Several users have mentioned that if you want to improve your cycling then you must try this device which makes routing on roads easy and effective. People are also impressed with the battery life that lasts good enough. A few customers have warned about the installation part and said that it took them more than 3 hours to set up and upgrade, so not out-of-the-box device.

Conclusion

It’s hard not to fall in love with this cute little Garmin Edge 500 bike, and this one comes with advanced mapping features. Although it’s a bit technical, you can get help from customer support and Youtube videos to get an idea about how to install and use.

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#3. Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer

For those who prefer a simple and solid bike computer, we recommend the Garmin Edge 810 that offers comprehensive performance monitoring for triathletes. It has a large screen that displays useful ride data including speed, time, heart rate, cadence2, location, and elevation.

 The bicycle computer comes with features that include instant upload, live-tracking, social network sharing, ride sharing capabilities, and quick weather updates to keep you well-informed and connected with other riders. You can do all these and more in the simple user interface offered by a customizable touchscreen.

We love the Garmin Connect feature that allows users to quickly upload any ride data using the Garmin Connect Mobile app that you can easily download on your smartphone. It also supports BirdsEye Satellite Imagery and Custom Maps. The kit includes a USB cable, Bike mount, AC charger, and user manual.

Product features and specifications

  • Measures 3.7 x 1 x 2 inches
  • Weighs 3.5 ounces
  • Garmin Connect
  • Improved navigation
  • 1 Lithium-ion battery required
  • Touchscreen and simple user interface

User/ Customer reviews

Those who have used this bike computer are impressed with its solid construction, built, decent battery life, and improved navigation. Some customers who had some issues with the purchase were happy with the solution offered by the support staff. A few users have warned that their web-based system for managing workouts and profiles are not properly streamlined.

Conclusion

When you are preparing for a big and prestigious event, you need nothing but the best and the Garmin Edge 810 (see Amazon) is a perfect bike computer you can rely on. Although slightly pricey than other competitive products available in the market, we feel that it’s worth every penny you spend.

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#4. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer

When you want to push your limits further and chase a specific goal, we suggest something aggressive like the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer (see Amazon). Once installed, you just need to download the free ELEMNT Companion App, configure, pair, and smoothly manage the configuration process.

This Wahoo cycle computer comes handy for route downloads and uploads when you want to discover a new trail. It is also extremely compatible with third-party apps such as Ride With GPS, Strava, Best Bike Split, MTB Project, Komoot, and Singletracks. You can build a route and get turn-by-turn notifications on your screen.

We are impressed to know that the Wahoo ELEMNT bike computer fully integrates with Strava Live Segments to provide updated progress status to help you achieve your goals. Equipped with a 1 Lithium-ion battery, it offers a battery life of up to 15 hours depending on usage.

Product features and specifications

  • Aerodynamic Design
  • KICKR/SNAP Control
  • Tactile Smart Buttons
  • Quicklook LED Indicators
  • Featured Integrations
  • Strava Live Segments

User/ Customer reviews

Most users have said that this is an amazing bundle that comes with a cadence sensor, speed sensor, and chest heart rate sensor to give you accurate stats. Cyclists have also praised the ease with which you can connect and integrate with Strava. A few users have mentioned one small issue that the buttons at the bottom are hard to press with gloves on.

Conclusion

From the ease of set-up and simple user interface to the LED indicators and perfect compatibility with apps, this is undoubtedly one of the best bike computers money can buy. If you are preparing for an important cycling event or race, we recommend this bicycle computer to monitor your progress and improve your performance.

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Buying Guide: 4 Things to consider

Undoubtedly the first and most important factor on your mind will be the amount you are willing to pay. Needless to say, the higher your budget, the most advanced features you will have in your bike computer. When you are preparing for an important event, you will certainly not want to skimp on quality.

So, when looking for a bike computer, you will basically need to consider the four important factors that we have discussed below – navigation and mapping, screen and user interface, data and connectivity, and battery life. Besides these you may want to look for additional perks like compatibility with third-party apps, screen size, and so on.

Navigation And Mapping

So, the most important aspect is navigational functionality and some advanced bike computers just allow you to enter a destination and they will map the route for you. Some devices have software that enables riders to create their routes and upload/ share with fellow cyclists.  

If you like discovering new routes, we highly recommend you to choose a bicycle computer that offers turn-by-turn navigation. Although extra features put a strain on the battery usage, this always keeps you on a safe side on unknown trails.

Data and Connectivity

The basic bike computers will show simple data like speed (average and maximum), time and distance traveled, and so on. Advanced versions sport Bluetooth Smart or Ant+ connectivity (sometimes both) to allow you to pair the computer with numerous third-party devices such as power meters, heart rate monitors, and cadence sensors.

With the Bluetooth Smart feature, you can also tell your bike computer to display incoming calls, text someone, or show email alerts. Some devices come with built-in WiFi to upload ride stats automatically to Strava and similar apps.

Screen and user interface

The appearance of a bike computer matters to some cyclists, but more important is the user interface to help you enjoy a smooth ride. Sometimes, a black-and-white mobile screen may provide improved contrast, but the color displays are capable of giving you more detailed results. However, this will come down to a buyer’s preference and budget.

A bigger screen makes mapping and navigation easier but too big may make the installation troublesome. Coming to the user interface, most of the GPS bike computers will allow you to customize the way data is arranged on the screen so that you can have easy access within reach.

Most of the standard computers have physical operating buttons on the front side, however, the more expensive ones come with a touchscreen. It is a matter of personal preference too as some cyclists prefer buttons over touchscreen for easy control when you are wearing gloves.

Mounting option

The most common mounting system in recent years is the out-front mount that allows you to place the aftermarket mounting system ahead of the stem. These mounts have gained immense popularity because they can be easily adjusted by tilting up or down, based on your viewing preference.

Some products like Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, and Garmin Edge 830 come with the front mount. For other devices, you will need to purchase the mount separately.

Tips To Prepare For Your Triathlon Race

It’s usual to feel butterflies in the stomach before a big event so get enough sleep two nights before to stay mentally alert and physically fit.

Perform a thorough check-up of your racing bike to ensure it is perfectly fine tunes. Consider installing new tire tubes if they are old and make any adjustments in advance.

Check to ensure that your bike computer and other devices like fitness monitor are well charged so that the battery does not run out of juice during the race.

Make sure all your cycling gear is carefully labeled using an indelible marker. Mention your name and phone number inside your biking and running shoes, inside helmet and wetsuit too.

Never use a new cycling gear just before the race and always ensure everything is comfortable and easy to use. From a helmet to bike shoes, give them enough time to break in.

Be aware of the directions before the race starts and study the course to know what you can expect in the next turn – downhill, uphill, or flats. Where are the stations and how many are located?

Do not change your diet before the Triathlon race and follow the same usual diet comprising of rich protein, healthy fats, and a lot of carbohydrates.

If you are participating in a USA Triathlon (USAT), take your number to the officials and get yourself marked. You must ensure that you have photo identification and membership card.

Always make sure that the water bottles are properly filled with a nutrition drink or water. Have your sunglasses, helmet, and hydration belt checked.

Your bike computer is an important part of your game to keep you on the right track so make sure it is well charged and set properly for optimum benefit.

Related Questions

How does a wireless bike computer work

The method is which a bike cycle works is pretty simple. When a magnet on the wheel passes through a sensor situated on the fork, it generates a signal. The bicycle computer measures this time between the signals and determines how fast you are going.

Is it possible to put the bike computer on a rear wheel

Bike computers typically comprise a magnet and sensor unit attached to the bicycle front to track the movements of the front wheel. However, in some cases, the bicycle computer can be attaché to the rear wheel and work from there.

What is good battery life for bike computers

Some bike computers in the market can give you a battery life of over 30 hours. However, we feel that any device that can give you between 17 and 20 battery life with good usage and about 40 hours in saver mode is a good choice.

See Also:
How Many Gears Does A Road Bike Have
How Many Miles Should I Bike A Day

Ken

Cycling is my source of liberation. The love affair started more than a decade ago when I started cycling for fitness and soon it turned into a passion. The adrenalin rush you feel when you grab the handlebars, put on the helmet, and feel the speed in your nerves is unique in itself.

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