Author Topic: Cycling Computer Recommendations?  (Read 1923 times)


  • Stubble
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Cycling Computer Recommendations?
« on: September 30, 2017, 05:21:28 PM »
Hi All,
I bought a fancy road bike three weeks ago and have been having a blast riding around town. I've been using the Strava app on my phone to log rides, and enjoy looking at my stats. I enjoy the social aspect, and find it motivating trying to beat my PR for different segments. However, my phone's GPS is occasionally spotty, and has produced some bad data due to GPS drift. For instance, some of my rides report a max speed of 70 mph, and inflate some of my climbs by erroneously marking me as going off-road.

My primary goal is to have my rides accurately reported.

Are there any tips for improving GPS performance on my phone? I have a 1st gen Moto X.

If the phone is a lost cause, I'm in the market for a GPS cycling computer. I think something like a Garmin 20 might fit the bill. Any recommendations on basic GPS cycling computers? How much extra fun are cadence/heart-rate monitors? I'd rather not drop a few hundred on a computer with all the bells and whistles, but also don't want to be regretting purchasing a basic computer in 6 months.

Thanks in advance for any tips!

Mr Griz

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Texas
Re: Cycling Computer Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 06:18:32 PM »
I use a Garmin Edge 520. I run Powertap pedals and wanted the ability to display power output on the display. Iíve also had good luck with the Garmin Edge 500.  I use the Garmin Connect app on my iPhone which seamlessly uploads to strava after the ride.


  • Handlebar Stache
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  • Location: NJ
Re: Cycling Computer Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 07:49:21 PM »
I've had a Garmin Edge 500 since 2012, and it does all I need - measures heart rate, power, distance/speed.

I see plenty of them for sale under $100 now that people are upgrading to newer models. Here's one for $75 -


  • Bristles
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Re: Cycling Computer Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2017, 07:02:47 AM »
If you like reading crazily in-depth reviews, please see DC Rainmaker:

If not, please ignore!

Note on the Garmin GPS. I have a Moto G 3rd Gen and it picks up the satellite faster than my Garmin 500. Even a dedicated bike GPS will occasionally behave very strangely - particularly on mountain climbs shaded by trees it seems. Also, every now and then the Garmin takes about 15 minutes to find the satellite - whereas the phone never has an issue.

In short, if you are keen to improve your cycling and you love the data, then a dedicated GPS with cadence and heart rate is definitely fun to have, and will help you increase your strength and endurance, but it's by no means essential.

- Knowing your cadence at any given time and trying to hit a designated sweet spot can help your training - but then again, everyone's different and some people spin at a high cadence whereas others are better low.
My cadence magnets fell off and I'm waiting until the the revised sensor goes on sale before I buy another one. I'm surviving fine without it.

- Heart rate is great for training in different heart rate zones - but you need to understand the zones and develop a training routine to get the most out of it. I enjoyed wearing the heart rate monitor when I went to bed one night. Seeing the spikes in heart rate during REM sleep was pretty interesting.

Ultimately you can get fitter and stronger by using a GPS with cadence/heart rate tools to optimise your efforts. Or alternatively you can develop a route you enjoy and just keep on trying to beat your times.  Neither way is the right way - just depends on what you enjoy more.

I don't race but I regularly ride about 200-350kms a week, commuting, trail riding and climbing hills.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Cycling Computer Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2017, 07:52:15 AM »
I don't know if the GPS receiver in a cycling computer will be any better than that of a phone. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they were the exact same chip and antenna. 

FWIW, I occasionally use a garmin gpsmap 62 that has a fancy built in quad helix antenna. I don't find it to be significantly less error prone than the GPS in my iphone. (Both are prone to some error as I travel in areas of tree cover frequently).


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 130
Re: Cycling Computer Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 11:31:56 PM »
I did a little more research, and am trying to optimize my phone's GPS performance before making any purchase.

I downloaded an app called GPS Status & Toolbox. This app can clear cached GPS data and download fresh GPS assistance data. I don't fully understand, but this allegedly improves GPS performance. I also tried running the phone in airplane mode, and to make sure that the phone has a GPS signal prior to going for a ride.

So far so good. I rode yesterday and today, through urban areas and also up in the hills, and didn't lose signals once. Not sure what to attribute the success to, or if it will continue, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.