Best Garmin Watches For Cycling Reviews

Updated June 19, 2020

We all know Garmin as the company that brought us GPS technology to allow us to travel with confidence. But the famous GPS company also makes smartwatches that are ideal for fitness enthusiasts, including cyclists.

A Garmin cycling watch can be a great addition to your cycling gear, for any level of cycling enthusiast. But with the multitude of choices available in the Garmin sports watch repertoire, it’s hard to know which is the best cycling watch.

There are certain features that are important to have when you’re looking for a cycling GPS watch, which include the ability to read it, the battery life, and the fitness tracking features, among others. We’ve compiled those important features, along with a list of the top choices to allow you to pick your best Garmin bike watch.

Best Garmin Watches For Cycling

#PREVIEWProduct
1 Garmin - Fenix 6 Premium Garmin Fenix 6 Premium Cycling Watch
Hide other buying options

2 Garmin Forerunner 235 Cycling Watch
Hide other buying options

3 Garmin - Vivomove 3 Garmin Vivomove 3 Cycling Watch
Hide other buying options

4 Garmin Vivoactive 3 Cycling Watch
Hide other buying options

5 Garmin - Venu
Best Overall
Garmin Venu Cycling Watch
Hide other buying options

6 Garmin - Fenix 5 Garmin Fenix 5 Cycling Watch
Hide other buying options

1. Garmin Fenix 6 Premium Cycling Watch

Highlights

This outdoor sportwatch has GPS, and other navigation features that make it ideal for multiple outdoor sports. The crystal is protected by a rugged stainless steel bezel (the top ring on the watch that surrounds the crystal) and the watch is tested to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock and water resistance.

There are satellite navigation and tracking functions, along with a 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter.

The GPS combines with GLONASS and Galileo to track your position more accurately than GPS alone, meaning you can hike or trail ride in more challenging environments.

Activity features include enhanced wrist heart rate, built-in activity profiles, Vo2 Max estimates and more. The built-in activity profiles are for trail running, swimming, running, biking, hiking, rowing, skiing, golfing and more.  There’s also performance metrics and training load balance readings, advanced sleep monitoring and the ability to read altitude acclimation at high elevations. Use the watch to track your training load balance, training status, and running and cycling dynamics.

A great feature is the customizable power manager, where you can monitor how various settings and sensors impact battery life, allowing you to adjust to extend your battery life. The battery has four modes with different performance life depending how you use it: up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 36 hours in GPS mode, up to 28 days in expedition GPS activity mode, and up to 48 days in battery saver watch mode.

The display is readable in sunlight and is “always on,” meaning you can easily check it while climbing or cycling. When paired with a compatible smartphone, you can receive notifications and use Garmin Pay™ contactless payments. Also when paired with a smartphone, the watch will sense an incident and send your location to emergency contacts.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel Bezel and Black Band
Size:
1.85 x 1.85 x 0.58 inches
Weight:
2.82 ounces

Pros

  • GPS combines with two other systems to provide accurate tracking capability.
  • A multitude of activity monitoring, including built-in activity profiles.
  • Customize what features you’re using to extend battery life.
  • Garmin is known for its GPS products.

Cons

  • Despite the ability to adjust battery modes, this watch will need lithium battery replacement on a regular basis if you use the advanced features on a regular basis.
  • The multitude of features may be too much for some users.

Why We Chose This

Besides the Garmin name being synonymous with GPS capabilities, this watch has a multitude of fitness features for the outdoor enthusiast. It has rugged construction with a stainless steel bezel to protect the crystal. A bonus is being able to monitor battery life and adjust settings to extend it.

2. Garmin Forerunner 235 Cycling Watch

Highlights

The Forerunner 235 from Garmin is an eye-catching smartwatch designed with active people in mind. The device is durable (5 ATM water rating), lightweight, and features a slim design with a user-friendly interface. 

It can accurately track the heart rate 24/7 due to the wrist-based sensor and it has a built-in GPS feature that tracks distance, pace, location, and more. All the data tracked with the watch are stored and processed by the phone app, so you can get up to 200 hours of useful information.   

The screen is large, with a 1.23” in diameter display that supports 215 x 180 pixels resolution. Also, the battery can give users up to 12 hours in training mode and up to 12 weeks in watch mode. 

Lastly, the Forerunner 235 receives and displays notifications and smart updates from your phone.

Specifications

Material:
Silicone

Pros

  • A solid and good-looking design
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Good battery life
  • It is waterproof
  • It has a wide range of fitness-oriented apps
  • Built-in GPS and heart rate monitor

Cons

  • Widgets slow down the responsiveness of the device
  • Heart rate accuracy gets spotty with exercises that involve the wrists
  • The display could be brighter

Why We Chose This

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is lightweight, compact, and can be used as a fitness tracker and a watch. Since it is waterproof, you can use it to keep track of your swimming performance and the silicone band will keep it in place.

3. Garmin Vivomove 3 Cycling Watch

Highlights

Vivomove 3 is a series of hybrid smartwatches that combines the style of an analog design with the technology of a smart device. This means you get to be notified about text messages and other events while also enjoying the soothing view of analog hands on your watch display.

In addition, people who like an elegant piece on their wrist will be happy to know that the black case is thin and slim. Also, the band is comfortable and can be easily changed due to the quick-release system. This means that you can buy one watch and several bands to make it look new and interesting for every occasion. 

The display features a combination of analog and digital, with a hidden OLED touchscreen in the lower half of the screen. As such, the control of the information displayed is done via the touchscreen (there are no buttons on the side). Also, the touchscreen display is not visible at all times; only when you need it. 

In terms of smart features, Vivomove 3 has a variety of health and wellness features, it can connect with the GPS on your smartphone (to track walks and more), and it can track your body’s energy levels. 

The battery is estimated to last for about five days on one charge, but if you use it in watch mode, it will last for one week. Overall, Vivomove 3 is an elegant watch that looks analog but comes with a secret.

Specifications

Material:
Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Case, Stainless Steel Bezel, Chemically Strengthened Glass
Size:
44mm
Weight:
1.6 oz (46.1 g)

Pros

  • Elegant and lightweight design
  • The display looks like a regular analog watch
  • Easy to set up, even without side buttons
  • An impressive amount of smart features
  • It can connect with your smartphone’s GPS

Cons

  • Heart rate monitor is not accurate
  • It doesn’t connect with all devices (only compatible ones)
  • The app is a bit loaded with features and information

Why We Chose This

Garmin is well-known in the market of fitness-oriented wearable technology so there’s no reason to doubt their expertise. Vivomove 3 is a blend of classic and sport-ish, trying (and succeeding) to conceal the casual apps and trackers in an elegant design. So, if you’re looking for a smartwatch that looks like a watch, this may be it.

4. Garmin Vivoactive 3 Cycling Watch

Highlights

Garmin Vivoactive 3 is designed for people with an active life. Equipped with a wide range of sports-oriented features, this is the watch that lets you keep accurate track of your fitness level, heart rate (to measure stress levels), and keep up to date with the latest news through notifications. 

The watch is durable, waterproof, and elegant due to the chemically strengthened Corning Gorilla Glass lens, stainless steel bezel, and fiber-reinforced polymer case. Also, due to the Garmin Choma display, the watch is easy to read even in direct sunlight. This makes it the perfect workout companion in all kinds of weather. 

It comes with 15 sports apps for various activities such as yoga, running, swimming, or more and the built-in GPS lets you accurately record the distance, pace, and location for your outdoor activities. Moreover, you have access to a wide range of free watch faces so you can have fun personalizing the interface to your liking.

Other cool features you may enjoy are contactless payment using the watch,  free widgets and apps, and BT connectivity with your smartphone. The battery is designed to last up to seven days, depending on the features you use.

Lastly, the Vivoactive 3 features the Side Swipe interface which improves navigation through all the menus and widgets. This way, you don’t have to adjust your habits to the watch – you just use it the way it’s more convenient.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel

Pros

  • Elegant & durable design
  • Up to 7 days of battery life
  • Waterproof and resistant to all weather conditions
  • It features a wide array of apps and widgets
  • Side Swipe and contactless payment
  • It measures heart rate and provides accurate tracking history

Cons

  • Heart rate tracking is not available in swim mode
  • Side Swipe can be triggered involuntarily by loose clothing
  • GPS accuracy is not at 100%

Why We Chose This

It is comfortable to wear and has a lot of cool features and widgets that let you keep accurate track of your swimming! Even more, you have access to a nicely-drawn history of your performance, which lets you track progress.

5. Garmin Venu Cycling Watch

Highlights
Best Overall
Garmin - Venu

This watch is ideal for the fitness or health enthusiast, with the broadest range of all-day health monitoring features. You can track your energy levels, sleep, estimated heart rate, respiration, menstrual cycle, stress, and more. We like the unique functionality of the “Body Battery” energy monitor, which displays your body’s energy levels throughout the day. Use it to find the best times for you to be active and to rest.

When it’s time to workout, you get more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, pool swimming and more. There’s also the option to access workouts right on your watch screen, with easy-to-follow, animated cardio, strength, yoga and Pilates workouts. 

Connect to your smartphone as it’s compatible with iPhones and Android devices. Then you can receive emails, texts and alerts on your watch, and even respond to texts if you have an Android phone. You can also easily download songs to your watch, including playlists from subscription services like Spotify or Amazon music. Connect your watch with headphones so you can listen without your phone.

Working out and using the GPS is easy on this watch, which has a bright AMOLED display, a technology that creates a larger, higher definition display. It’s also unique with its  touchscreen functionality. 

The battery life is up to five days in smartwatch mode, and up to six hours in GPS and music mode.

The bonus features include a tracking function that will send your location to your contacts in the event of an incident; the ability to pay with Garmin Pay; the chance to download widgets and watch faces from the Garmin store; and, the chance to load a free personal running “coach” to your watch to train for a 5K, 10K or half-marathon race.

Specifications

Material:
Silicone Band
Size:
1.7 x 1.7 x 0.49 inches
Weight:
1.6 ounces

Pros

  • All the bells and whistles of a smartwatch with a bright display featuring AMOLED technology.
  • Interesting functionality that tracks your energy levels, so you know when to exercise and when to rest.
  • Access to preloaded GPS apps and workouts, including a running “coach” to train for race day.
  • Add music subscriptions and headphones and you can listen without your phone.

Cons

  • You need to plug this phone in to charge it, which may need to be done often if you’re using GPS capacity or the music mode.
  • Might be too many features for some users who prefer a basic digital watch.
  • Not everyone likes the touchscreen functionality.

Why We Chose This

This watch brings together a lot of health and fitness functionality with a bright, easy-to-read display and touchscreen capability. You get preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, access to a running “coach,” and the ability to listen to music right from your watch. You can also connect to your smartphone to get notifications and texts to your watch.

6. Garmin Fenix 5 Cycling Watch

Highlights

This GPS multisport watch has Elevate wrist heart rate technology that lets you monitor your heart rate without wearing a chest strap. It will count steps taken, monitor your sleep, and use your heart rate to tell you how many calories you’ve burned as well as quantify the intensity of your many fitness activities.

The watch has outdoor sensors, including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception. It also has a 3-axis compass with a gyroscope and a barometric altimeter. The Fenix 5 has functions that make it ideal for cycling and running, but also has special feature sets to help with other sports, including swim training, skiing, golf and paddle sports. 

A performance widget allows you to have key stats at your fingertips. It shows the effects and progress of your workouts. 

The features when connected include smart notifications, automatic uploads to the Garmin Connect online fitness community, and the ability to personalize your watch with free watch faces and apps at the Connect IQ store.

The Fenix 5 is built for any type of sport or adventure with a rugged design that includes a stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case. The display is easy to view in the sunlight with the transflective memory in pixel (MIP) design. It comes with a QuickFit band that changes without any tools required. It makes it easy to change your band to suit your style, with choices of leather, metal or silicone.

Specifications

Material:
Fiber Reinforced Polymer With Stainless Steel Bezel, Buttons and Rear Cover
Size:
1.8 x 1.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight:
2.36 ounces

Pros

  • Has GPS and GLONASS satellite reception for advanced tracking capability.
  • Elevate wrist heart rate technology allows you to monitor your heart rate without a chest strap, or you can pair it with a chest strap to get more in-depth data.
  • Easily change the watch band to suit your style.
  • Ideal for a multitude of sports, including the standard cycling and running, and also has feature sets for other sports, including golf and skiing.

Cons

  • Battery life is questionable.
  • You have to plug it in to charge it, which some users won’t like if they use it a lot and the battery drains often.

Why We Chose This

You’ll get outstanding tracking capacity with this watch, which brings together GPS capability with GLONASS satellite reception. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the 3-axis compass with a gyroscope and the barometric altimeter. Use this watch for a multitude of sports, including cycling, running, skiing, paddle sports, golf, and swim training.

Garmin Cycling Watch Buying Guide

Garmin Watch Faces

The best garmin smartwatch for you will be the one that you can read most easily, particularly when you’re on your bike. So the watch face is an important factor. Look for watch faces that can be read in sunlight, as well as in darker conditions. 

The amount of detail displayed on the watch face is also a factor. Some people like to have as much functionality as possible displayed on the screen. Others find it distracting.

And some Garmin watches have advanced technology like touchscreen watch faces – preferred by some but not by others – or the AMOLED display technology, which creates a larger, higher definition display.

Fitness Tracking

Garmin is known for GPS, but for a cyclist, the best Garmin fitness tracker will provide the health data needed for training and improvement. Different watches will offer different functionality, so it’s up to you to decide what’s most important.

Here are some top functions in the best Garmin watch for cycling. 

The Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate monitor is a good option, and some watches will also pair with a chest strap to give you even greater data that comes with a heart rate monitor.

A more in-depth functionalist is pulse oximetry, which displays the level of oxygen saturated in your blood, which will tell you how your body is reacting to different training situations. 

Some Garmin watches also include functionality for golfing, paddle sports, skiing and more, which may be important to cyclists who like to cross train. 

The type and number of fitness tracking functions will be an individual choice depending on how you’ll use your Garmin watch.

Garmin Watch Battery

This is a key factor for cyclists, particularly if you want to use tracking capacity much of the time. 

Battery life in a new Garmin watch will allow you to spend more time cycling, or head home because your watch is dying. You also need strong battery life to be able to get the data you want from the fitness tracking functions on the watch.

Garmin Watch Price

If price is a factor for you, there is a range among Garmin watches that should suit every budget. 

You can start with an entry-level fitness tracker and work your way up to premium watches with GPS, mapping technology, and even diving computer capacity.

As with anything, more features will mean higher prices. So decide what features you must have, figure out a budget, and you’ll find a Garmin watch that suits your needs.

Related Posts