How Do I Choose the Best Cycling GPS?

Choosing the best cycling global positioning system (GPS) device can depend on your budget, and on the specific feature set you are interested in. If all you want to do is track your rides, then a simple running GPS that includes a cycling setting is an inexpensive option that could suit your needs. Otherwise you may want to look for a cycling GPS that includes features such as base maps, a memory card expansion slot, touchscreen, and other options. Base maps are especially important if navigation is a feature you want, in which case you will need to find a device that either includes base maps for your region, or which allows you to load them from a memory card. Other advanced features such as heart rate monitors are also built in to the best cycling GPS units.

The global positioning system is a network of satellites that can be used to triangulate the location of an object on Earth. Devices that make use of GPS can be used to track stolen items, monitor the migratory patterns of birds, sharks and other animals, and also for navigation. The most complex navigation GPS systems have typically been designed for automobiles and boats, while running, cycling and other devices mainly tracked and recorded paths. Cycling GPS units have become available in much more complex configurations though, which can make it tough to select the best unit without doing some research.

You may want to begin your search for the best cycling GPS by thinking about your budget. These devices are available in a wide range of price points, so the amount of money you want to spend will narrow down what options are available to you. If you do not want to spend a lot of money on your GPS unit, and just want to track, record, and log where and how long you rode your bike, then a simple running GPS may be enough. These devices are typically low-priced and sometimes come with a specific cycling option that you can turn on. If you want a more complicated unit, then there are a number of other features to consider.

If you want to use your cycling GPS for navigation, there are many different units that can serve that purpose. The main feature you will want to look for are base maps of your region, which should include all of the areas where you plan on riding your bike. If a GPS unit lacks the proper base maps but includes the necessary functionality to load additional maps, that will typically work just fine as well. If you will primarily ride on public roads, and are mostly interested in navigation, then a GPS unit designed for cars may suffice if a compatible bike mount is available.

Some cycling GPS units include other advanced features that may help you make a choice. If you want to know how you are doing on your rides, then you may want to look for a cycling GPS that features a heart rate monitor. These units can keep a record your heart rate throughout a ride, allowing you to examine the effectiveness of your route after you get home. You may also want to base your decision on the size of the screen and the user interface (UI), since a big screen and clean interface can make it much easier to use these devices when cycling.