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6 of the best bike computers

A user-friendly bike computer enables you to collect vital ride stats and track your progress. James tests and rates 6 from £20

GIANT NEOSTRACK

£149.99

Only a brand as powerful as Giant would branch out from their bread-and-butter of bikes and ride into the crowded bike-computer market, but they’ve wisely collaborated with Bryton to add credibility to their marketing reach. You also get a lot for your money, its GPS picking up standards like distance ridden, speed, average speed, plus a host of altitude metrics. With the necessary add-ons, you can tap into power, heart rate and even Shimano Di2, where the easy-to-read screen displays which gear you’re in. Connection for each is via Bluetooth or ANT+.

A feather in its navigation cap is its mapping capabilities – impressive at this price – that you can upload via a GPX file from Strava, from previous rides or via the NeosTrack app. The app’s not as intuitive as Garmin’s so allow time to acclimatise. The unit displays up to six pages with 10 data fields each, and is mounted via a standard stem/bar mount or an out-in-front mount. On paper, again that’s impressive for the price, though the out-in-front mount isn’t the most stable, especially on potholed roads. The Neostrack has an excellent battery life of 30hrs. giant-bicycles.com

Verdict: A feature-loaded bike computer at a good price and excellent battery life 86%

Buy from www.rutlandcycling.com

POLAR V650

£229.00 (£189.50 without HR chest strap)

The Finnish training tech experts have gone large with the V650 – it’s capable of storing up to 10,000hrs of ride info. By our reckoning, that’s the most we’ve come across. Then again, post-ride you’ll soon be uploading and analysing on the Polar FlowSync app, which is more usable than times gone by. But it’s the usability of the actual computer that’s more impressive; the vivid 2.8in screen is clear to view and the colourful touchscreen works seamlessly, with or without gloves. It’s also a good-looking beast.

Unfortunately, GPS pick-up and maintenance is erratic, especially when riding in built-up areas. It features a neat routes section, and you can find and import new routes from the Flow app as long as they’re GPX or TCX files. Basic navigation prompts also keep you on track. Our test model came with a chest-strap, which synced swiftly with the unit, although it lacks ANT+, which could cause issues with some users, particularly with power-meter hook-up. The offering’s finished off with Strava Live segments and a neat safety light that’s constant or flashing. But it has a disappointing battery life of fewer than 10hrs. 

Verdict: Impressive list of features but the GPS is a touch erratic and battery is poor 81%

Buy from www.ribblecycles.co.uk

CATEYE PADRONE

£99.99

Cateye has seemingly been making computers since before the wheel rolled onto this mortal land, and in the Padrone Digital they’ve created a slick and lightweight number. The price intimates its lack of GPS, and explains why it comes with speed, cadence sensors and a magnet. Like the B’Twin 500, wheel sizes are pre-programmed; physical set-up’s easy, too, with the unit clamped into place via an old-school thumbscrew system. For such a small unit, it packs a visual punch with three rows of data, and up to four fields, clearly presented and including standard speed and cadence metrics, yet it has heart-rate for an extra outlay. That’s down to its Bluetooth capabilities – an upgrade on the original Padrone – which also means you can download your ride data to Cateye’s Cycling app before migrating it further to either Training Peaks or Strava. The app’s rudimentary, serving more as a conduit than analytic platform. Auto start and stop’s always appreciated, in cities especially, and, by eschewing GPS, there’s a claimed four-month battery life via a simple coin cell. On the downside, the narrow button interface along its base is fiddly with gloves on. zyrofisher.co.uk 

Verdict: A solid enough bike computer that’s let down by the inefficient scrolling 77%

Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk


 
 

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