January 20, 2021

7 Best Fitness Watches for Cycling for 2021 (Review)

January 20, 2021

Cycling is one of the best ways of getting a full-body workout and there are plenty of fitness watches that can help maximize all the benefits of cycling. Technology has progressed so much in the recent years that fitness watches can develop a cyclist’s full performance. 

Fitness trackers and smart fitness watches are now an integral part of exercising. It allows one to not only be more efficient, but also allows one to collect real data about their health including O2 stats, heart rates, and even REM sleep when resting. Whether or not you cycle out of necessity or out of seeking the adventurousness of a cycling work-out, having a fitness watch could be an amazing technological tool for you. 

We at Spring Bar have compiled a list of the best Garmin watches for cycling in the past, but due to the increasing  popularity of cycling and fitness watches in general, we have decided to help you get more out of your commute or work-out by finding out the best fitness watches for cycling in 2021.

1 Garmin Fenix Pro Solar

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The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is the priciest fitness smartwatch on our list, but is worth every  penny. What justifies the price of the Fenix 6 Pro is its hybrid use of a battery and solar energy resulting in a long battery life. Coupled with its different sport modes, its bluetooth and wifi capabilities, and activity tracking, it is definitely a solid fitness watch for both casual and serious cycling enthusiasts. Cycling can take you long distances without a ready source of power for recharging, so having a solar-powered smartwatch would definitely be a welcome quality of life improvement for any cyclist.

+PROS

  • Long battery life
  • Solar power extend battery life
  • Oxygen tracking

-CONS

  • Pricey
The Basics:

Brand: Garmin

Model:  Fenix 6 Pro Solar

Price: $699.99

Reference Number: 010-02410-10

Diameter: 47 mm

Case Material: Stainless Steel

Crystal Material: Power Glass Solar Charging lens

Water Resistance: 100m

Strap/Bracelet: Silicone

Strap/Bracelet Width: 22mm

Watch Type: Smart Watch

The Movement/Specifications:

Movement: battery w/ solar power support

Functions/Complications: 

  • Long battery life
  • Solar power extend battery life
  • Multisport modes
  • ANT+ / Bluetooth / Wi-Fi
  • Power manager
  • Activity tracking
  • Elevate wrist-based heart rate
  • Pulse Ox (oxygen tracking)
  • Body Battery energy monitoring
  • GPS / GLONASS / Galileo
  • altimeter / barometer / compass
  • Connect IQ
  • Music
  • Preloaded Detail Map
  • Hydration tracking

Thickness: 15.1 mm

Weight: 85g

Key Features:

Brand: Garmin

Model:  Fenix 6 Pro Solar

Price: $699.99

Reference Number: 010-02410-10

Diameter: 47 mm

Case Material: Stainless Steel

Crystal Material: Power Glass Solar Charging lens

Water Resistance: 100m

Strap/Bracelet: Silicone

Strap/Bracelet Width: 22mm

Watch Type: Smart Watch

2 Garmin Forerunner 945

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Another notable Garmin to appear on this list, just like many of our other athletic watch lists, is the Garmine Forerunner 945 – and deservedly so since apart from its robust features available in other smartwatches like GPS and data collection, it stands-out with its on-board maps and incident detection and assistance. These two features on the Forerunner 945 make it worth the price as this watch makes long distance cycling and cycling in remote locations more accessible, safer and less daunting. Similar to the Garmin Fenix Solar 6 Pro, its different battery saving modes also allow it to keep up with you on more remote rides.

+PROS

  • Training status adjusted for environment
  • Incident detection and assistance

-CONS

  • Pricey
The Basics:

Brand: Garmin

Model:  Forerunner 945

Price: $549.99

Reference Number: 010-02063-00

Diameter: 47mm

Case Material: fiber reinforced polymer

Crystal Material: corning gorilla glass 3 + dx coating 

Water Resistance: 50m

Strap/Bracelet: silicone 

Strap/Bracelet Width: 22mm

Watch Type: smart

The Movement/Specifications:

Movement: battery operated 

Functions/Complications: 

  • Sync music
  • VO2 max
  • Training status with adjustments for heat, altitude acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects
  • Full-color
  • On-board Maps
  • Incident detection (during select activities) and assistance; both send your real-time location to emergency contacts³
  • Battery life: up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music or up to 60 hours in UltraTrac mode

Thickness: 13.7mm

Weight: 48.19g

Key Features:

Brand: Garmin

Model:  Forerunner 945

Price: $549.99

Reference Number: 010-02063-00

Diameter: 47mm

Case Material: fiber reinforced polymer

Crystal Material: corning gorilla glass 3 + dx coating 

Water Resistance: 50m

Strap/Bracelet: silicone 

Strap/Bracelet Width: 22mm

Watch Type: smart

3 Garmin Forerunner 735XT

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The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is the more affordable version of other Garmins we have tackled in the past including a lot of the features we know and love, but what makes it stand out is its special bicycle focused feature which detects bicycle speed and cadence. The Forerunner 735XT automatically senses and records your cycling speed and cadence to help you keep track of your cycling performance – much like the stationary bikes you can find in gyms, but sitting comfortably on your wrist.

+PROS

  • Bike speed/cadence sensor
  • Heart-rate based calorie computation
  • More affordable

-CONS

  • Less features than other Garmins
The Basics:

Brand: Garmin

Model:  Forerunner 735XT

Price: $209.99

Reference Number: 010-01614-26

Diameter: 44.5mm

Crystal Material: chemically strengthened glass

Water Resistance: 50 m 

Strap/Bracelet: Silicone

Strap/Bracelet Width: 22 mm

Watch Type: Smart

The Movement/Specifications:

Movement: Battery Operated

Functions/Complications: 

  • GPS/ GLONASS
  • Compatible with Vector™
  • Bike speed/cadence sensor
  • V02 max estimate
  • Auto multisport (switch sport modes with 1 button press)
  • Heart rate-based calorie computation
  • Garmin Connect™ 
  • ANT+™
  • UltraTrac
  • Connect IQ™

Thickness: 11.9

Weight: 40.2 g

Key Features:

Brand: Garmin

Model:  Forerunner 735XT

Price: $209.99

Reference Number: 010-01614-26

Diameter: 44.5mm

Crystal Material: chemically strengthened glass

Water Resistance: 50 m 

Strap/Bracelet: Silicone

Strap/Bracelet Width: 22 mm

Watch Type: Smart

4 Fitbit Iconic Watch

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Fitbit is one of the first brands to introduce wearable athletic technology and is respected in the industry with good reason: they know what they’re doing and with this expertise, they provide high quality products that deliver excellent results at a low price. Fitbit eventually entered into the field of smartwatches, and our favorite is the Fitbit Ionic which offers a number of features that fit perfectly for any activity including cycling. The Fitbit includes many popular applications that can provide excellent data like heart rates, oxygen levels, and calorie counts. What makes the Fitbit Ionic an excellent watch is the number of athletic features available at a very affordable price.

+PROS

  • Pioneer fitness tracker company
  • Includes popular exercise apps

-CONS

  • Reliant on other apps
The Basics:

Brand: Fitbit

Model: Ionic watch

Price: $189.99

Reference Number: FB503GYBK

Diameter: 30mm

Case Material: Aluminum 

Crystal Material: Corning Gorilla glass 3

Water Resistance: 50m

Strap/Bracelet: elastomer

Strap/Bracelet Width: 

Watch Type: smart

The Movement/Specifications:

Movement: battery operated

Functions/Complications: 

  • Dynamic Personal Coaching
  • PurePulse® Heart Rate
  • Popular Apps
  • SmartTrack™
  • Sleep Stages & Insights
  • Store & Play Music
  • Water Resistant up to 50M & Tracks Swims
  • Payments
  • All-Day Activity
  • Accessory Bands
  • Multi-Day Battery
  • Multi-Sport Modes
  • Smartphone Notifications
  • Syncs Wirelessly

Thickness: 21mm

Key Features:

Brand: Fitbit

Model: Ionic watch

Price: $189.99

Reference Number: FB503GYBK

Diameter: 30mm

Case Material: Aluminum 

Crystal Material: Corning Gorilla glass 3

Water Resistance: 50m

Strap/Bracelet: elastomer

Strap/Bracelet Width: 

Watch Type: smart

5 Polar IGNITE

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Polar is the watch brand famous for pioneering winter sport athletic wearable technology and wrist-heart rate monitoring, but fits right in with the other watches on this list with its Polar IGNITE Watch line. Apart from its nifty integrated GPS for more remote rides, it also includes the FitSpark daily training guide which is the WHO approved training guide for good health. The FitSpark feature helping more casual cyclists through their rides by guiding them to the training intensity that fits their needs.

+PROS

  • Integrated GPS
  • Includes FitSpark daily training guide

-CONS

  • No specific cycling functions
The Basics:

Brand: Polar

Model:  IGNITE

Price: $223.75

Reference Number: 90071065

Diameter: 43 mm

Case Material: Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer Case

Crystal Material: Dragontrail Glass lens

Water Resistance: 30m

Strap/Bracelet: Silicone

Strap/Bracelet Width: 20mm

Watch Type: Smart

The Movement/Specifications:

Movement: Battery Operated

Functions/Complications: 

  • Advanced wrist-based heart rate
  • Integrated GPS
  • Nightly Recharge
  • FitSpark training guide
  • Serene guided breathing exercise
  • Sleep Plus Stages
  • Smart calories
  • Swimming metrics / smart notifications

Thickness: 8.5mm

Weight: 35g

Key Features:

Brand: Polar

Model:  IGNITE

Price: $223.75

Reference Number: 90071065

Diameter: 43 mm

Case Material: Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer Case

Crystal Material: Dragontrail Glass lens

Water Resistance: 30m

Strap/Bracelet: Silicone

Strap/Bracelet Width: 20mm

Watch Type: Smart

6 Suunto Baro

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One of the main competitors of crowd-favorite Garmin in the fitness smartwatch market is Suunto. The Suunto 9 Baro doesn’t have the same level of emergency assistance features as Garmin watches, but competes well with its over 80 Sports Modes the cyclist can choose from and its built in barometer. This barometer is useful for more experienced and adventurous cyclists who may find themselves in high altitude environments in which information on air pressure will be necessary. The Suunto 9 Baro also has intelligent battery modes that will allow one to save on battery life depending on the mode the watch is set.

+PROS

  • Includes multiple sport modes
  • Different battery modes to save energy
  • Barometer

-CONS

  • Pricey
The Basics:

Brand: Suunto

Model:  Suunto 9 Baro

Price: $500.31

Reference Number:  SS050019000

Diameter: 50mm

Case Material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide

Crystal Material:  Sapphire

Water Resistance: 100m

Strap/Bracelet:  Silicone

Watch Type: smart

The Movement/Specifications:

Movement: battery operated

Functions/Complications: 

  • Intelligent Battery Mdoes
  • GPS navigation
  • FUSEDTRACK™
  • Over 80 Sport Modes
  • Wrist Heart Rate
  • 100m Water Resist
  • Barometer
  • Weather functions

Thickness: 16.8mm

Weight: 81g

Key Features:

Brand: Suunto

Model:  Suunto 9 Baro

Price: $500.31

Reference Number:  SS050019000

Diameter: 50mm

Case Material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide

Crystal Material:  Sapphire

Water Resistance: 100m

Strap/Bracelet:  Silicone

Watch Type: smart

7 Polar M430

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The next Polar watch that makes our list is the  Polar M430. It is the most inexpensive watch on this list but is a worthy product to look into because of its 24HR activity and sleep tracking which results in an excellent amount of data from your cycling or your sleep. This can help you monitor your progress or your health improvement from your training. True to Polar’s legacy of pioneering heart rate monitoring technology, it includes 6 LED optical heart rate sensors, and its trademark SiRFInstantFIx satellite technology that supports its intgrated GPS.

+PROS

  • Lowest price on the list
  • 24HR activity and sleep tracking
  • Very Affordable

-CONS

  • No Specific cycling features
The Basics:

Brand: Polar 

Model: M430

Price: $146.90

Case Material: Stainless Steel 

Water Resistance: 30m

Strap Bracelet: Silicone 

Strap Bracelet Width: 

Watch Type: Smart

The Movement/Specifications:

Movement: Digital 

Functions/Complications: 

  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Integrated GPS
  • Indoor running metrics
  • Polar Running Program
  • 24/7 activity & sleep tracking
  • Integrated GPS with SiRFInstantFix™ satellite prediction technology.
  • 6 LED optical heart rate sensor.
  • Activity sensor.
  • Manual and auto laps.

Thickness:  12mm

Weight: 51g

Key Features:

Brand: Polar 

Model: M430

Price: $146.90

Case Material: Stainless Steel 

Water Resistance: 30m

Strap Bracelet: Silicone 

Strap Bracelet Width: 

Watch Type: Smart

Best Cycling Watch Buyer's Guide and FAQs

Key Features to Consider In Buying a Fitness Watch for Cycling

In this guide, we compared the best options for cycling in terms of functionality and durability:

The first criteria considered for this is functionality which is a factor of what functions of the smartwatch are useful for cycling, the battery life of the watch for use during extended periods outdoors, and map and GPS functions which are important for cycling in more distant locations. Additional features are also considered like cycling specific functions, barometers, or even emergency assistance.

Durability is also considered as cycling is an outdoor activity and exposes the smartwatch to rough conditions which includes air pressure and shock from faster, rougher rides. Case material, strap, and crystal were considered.

 

How will a fitness watch improve my cycling performance?

A fitness watch will improve your cycling performance by tracking and monitoring multiple health indicators. These indicators can provide you with valuable data as to how your body is performing as you conduct your cycling routine. Here you can track if your body is becoming healthier through your workouts, and can also show improvements in your cycling through time.

What other Fitness Tracking apps can I download?

There are plenty of fitness tracking apps available but on the top of the list is the Strava app which offers its very own useful set features that allow one to track fitness through different workouts including cycling. Another useful app (although it is not an exclusively fitness tracking app) is the CityMapper app which shows different cycling routes across your city for city biking. It also shows bike rental locations for people who don’t yet own their own bicycle.