ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE GPSMOUNTAIN BIKE GPS REVIEWSGARMIN EDGE 1000POLAR V650POLAR M450GARMIN EDGE 820GARMIN EDGE 520LEZYNE MICRO COLORBRYTON RIDER 310CATEYE STEALTH EVO PLUSMAGELLAN 505BRYTON RIDER 100ECOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE GPSHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE GPSBATTERY LIFEINTERFACES AND ADD-ONSAUDIO AND ROUTINGSCREEN SIZE AND STYLETRAINING TOOLS AND SOFTWAREMOUNTINGHOW YOU’LL USE ITWEIGHT Ever wonder what’s over the next ridge? Want to record your rides? You need a dedicated GPS unit for your mountain bike. The best mountain bike GPS devices have full-color maps, touch screens, ride logging, heart rate monitors and other built-in fitness tools. Most smartphones can log rides, but not as well as a dedicated device. Adventures don’t follow cell towers. Phone GPS tends to be inaccurate off-road, and poor data coverage will drain the battery quicker, leaving you with a dead phone and a poorly logged ride. One of our goals at The Adventure Junkies is to help you find the right tools for your own adventures. We’ve prepared this guide to set you on the right path to the perfect GPS for your next ride. For more of out top mountain bike gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Men’s Bikes | Women’s Bikes Pedals | Wheels | Tires | Brakes | Saddles Chains | Cranksets | Derailleurs | Gear Shifters Helmets | Lights | Computers | GPS | Pumps Shorts | Jackets | Shoes | Gloves CLICK HERE to Download our FREE Quick Starter Guide to Mountain Biking Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/tutyePhoto by istockphoto.com/portfolio/highluxphoto QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE GPS 1. Garmin Edge 1000 2. Polar V650 3. Polar M450 4. Garmin Edge 820 5. Garmin Edge 520 6. Lezyne Micro Color 7. Bryton Rider 310 8. Cateye Stealth Evo Plus 9. Magellan 505 10. Bryton Rider 100E MOUNTAIN BIKE GPS REVIEWS GARMIN EDGE 1000 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Seasoned adventurers who want full color maps and mid-ride routing tools SCREEN TYPE: Color Touch DISPLAY SIZE: 3.0″ BATTERY LIFE: 15 Hours WEIGHT: 114.5g PROS: Speakers, software, display, included sensors CONS: Price, weight, size POLAR V650 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Anyone seeking a well-designed and easy-to-use GPS SCREEN TYPE: Color Touch DISPLAY SIZE: 2.8″ BATTERY LIFE: 10 Hours WEIGHT: 120.0g PROS: Display, heart rate monitor, barometric sensors CONS: Weight, price, battery life POLAR M450 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Budget racers who don’t mind black and white SCREEN TYPE: Mono DISPLAY SIZE: 1.9″ BATTERY LIFE: 16 Hours WEIGHT: 51.0g PROS: Barometric sensors, weight, price, fitness tests, heart rate monitor CONS: Display, unintuitive interface GARMIN EDGE 820 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Racers who want a GPS that talks to Strava, their phone, and even their electronic shifters SCREEN TYPE: Color Touch DISPLAY SIZE: 2.3″ BATTERY LIFE: 15 Hours WEIGHT: 67.7g PROS: WiFi, Strava Live, heart rate monitor and sensors, Garmin group riding app and fitness apps CONS: Price, touch screen glitches and bugs GARMIN EDGE 520 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Racers who gave up on the 820’s touch screen issues SCREEN TYPE: Color Touch DISPLAY SIZE: 1.9″ BATTERY LIFE: 15 Hours WEIGHT: 59.6g PROS: Strava and other live features through phone, display, fitness tools and apps CONS: Price, no WiFi, no sensors included LEZYNE MICRO COLOR Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Budget riders who want a color screen and hard buttons SCREEN TYPE: Color DISPLAY SIZE: 1.4″ BATTERY LIFE: 14 Hours WEIGHT: 29.0g PROS: Light-weight, price CONS: Mount, sensor glitches, screen BRYTON RIDER 310 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Riders who want the best battery life and high-end features in a budget unit SCREEN TYPE: Mono DISPLAY SIZE: 1.8″ BATTERY LIFE: 36 Hours WEIGHT: 56.0g PROS: Light-weight, battery, price, display, heart rate monitor, barometer CONS: Poor support, file format to share rides, unintuitive settings CATEYE STEALTH EVO PLUS Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Riders who want a simple, no-fuss unit with a basic screen SCREEN TYPE: Mono DISPLAY SIZE: Not Available BATTERY LIFE: 10 Hours WEIGHT: 50.0g PROS: Light-weight, price, display, reliability CONS: Battery, hard to upload data MAGELLAN 505 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Budget riders who need a full color touch screen SCREEN TYPE: Color Touch DISPLAY SIZE: 3.0″ BATTERY LIFE: 12 Hours WEIGHT: 129.0g PROS: Screen, electronic shifter integration, WiFi, phone integration CONS: Incompatibility issues, battery, weight BRYTON RIDER 100E Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: New riders skipping the bike computer and going straight to a GPS SCREEN TYPE: Mono DISPLAY SIZE: 1.6″ BATTERY LIFE: 25 Hours WEIGHT: 40.0g PROS: Price, weight, battery CONS: Unreliable build quality, low quality charging ports, export functionality COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE GPS PICTUREGPSBEST USECOLOR SCREEN?DISPLAY SIZEBATTERY LIFEWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTUREGPSBEST USECOLOR SCREEN?DISPLAY SIZEBATTERY LIFEWEIGHTPRICERATING Garmin Edge 1000OverallYes3.0"15 Hours114.5g$$$4.2 Polar V650OverallYes2.8"10 Hours120.0g$$$3.4 Polar M450CompetitionNo1.9"16 Hours51.0g$$4.3 Garmin Edge 820CompetitionYes2.3"15 Hours67.7g$$$$3.9 Garmin Edge 520CompetitionYes1.9"15 Hours59.6g$$$4.3 Lezyne Micro ColorBudgetYes1.4"14 Hours29.0g$2.8 Bryton Rider 310BudgetNo1.8"36 Hours56.0g$$3.5 Cateye Stealth Evo PlusBudgetNoN/A10 Hours50.0g$3.7 Magellan 505BudgetYes3.0"12Hours129.0g$$3.2 Bryton Rider 100eBudgetNo1.6"25Hours40.0g$3.6 HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE GPS BATTERY LIFE How long will this thing last? Bike GPS systems can run for 10 or more hours at the lowest end, and more is always better. You will occasionally forget to charge your unit after a ride, and the bonus time a longer-lasting unit offers will come in handy. Maybe you never forget to charge your device or call mom on her birthday, but battery life still matters. Even if you’re perfect, the device isn’t. Some units may perform under average; others may lose battery capacity with time. Maybe a particular route drains the battery quicker, or there was an issue with the charging connection. Sometimes, a ride just goes places you didn’t expect and a short hop home becomes an odyssey. For all these reasons, it’s best to look for the highest battery life possible even if you’re not planning an all-day ride. INTERFACES AND ADD-ONS Modern GPS units have ANT+ compatibility. According to BikeRumor, this is the technology of the present and the future, quickly replacing the similar but less efficient Bluetooth standard. ANT+ works with everything from exotic heads-up-displays on sunglasses to your typical heart rate monitors and speed and cadence sensors. The best units come with the fitness devices, and many of them can even link to your smartphone. This makes updating software or using third-party services and apps easy. AUDIO AND ROUTING One big advantage to a dedicated GPS device is audio cuing and navigation. While any smartphone will give here to there directions, the best GPS devices have complex mapping and routing systems that work on or off road. Popular cycling smartphone apps like Strava even work with GPS devices, providing turn-by-turn directions on any compatible dedicated device. Best of all, your display won’t be interrupted by a call from the office in the middle of a complicated stretch of turns. SCREEN SIZE AND STYLE Size is straightforward. A bigger screen will display more information and is easier to read at a glance. The downside will be in battery life and cost, both of which are heavily affected by screen size. At the high end, the screen may double as an interface, working like your smartphone touch screen. This may pose a problem for foul weather riders. The screens use the same capacitive touch screen technology as smartphones. Because of this, they may not work well in rain or with full finger gloves. Some of the best GPS units have add-on remotes which mitigate this problem. Most manufacturers claim that their device works with any gloves in any weather, but very few riders have had that experience. Riders who plan to ride in foul weather may want to skip the hassle and stick to units without a touch screen. These devices will be controlled by multiple buttons or a multi-use single button. TRAINING TOOLS AND SOFTWARE The best fitness apps are on smartphones, but GPS fitness tools aren’t far behind. They also offer sophisticated training profiles and data that cost a premium on the phone. Best of all, modern GPS units sync up with most smartphone apps, like Strava or MapMyRide, and many can use them directly from the device itself. Some of the Garmin devices even work with live segments, a popular premium Strava feature, to give you real-time information on how quick you are compared to other riders. Most devices can save multiple bike profiles, even for your spinning bike at the gym, and sync that data separately. When looking at a GPS, make sure it has the features and software you want, and double-check that it’s fully compatible with your phone model. The budget models will perform worst with exporting and compatibility. MOUNTING Mounting the GPS unit will vary greatly by brand. BikeRadar gives Garmin the edge in this category; the overall popularity of Garmin means a wide array of aftermarket mounts are available for any position on the bike. HOW YOU’LL USE IT At the highest end, the devices work for planning routes as much as they work for logging them. Competitive LCD displays offer full-color topographic maps, letting you plan ahead on course, or even create a whole route at home. Of course, these are the devices that cost more and have worse battery life. So, it’s worth asking yourself if you really need all that functionality. Most cyclists just want a reliable recording, something they can upload to a fitness app and share with friends. Thankfully, all the devices do this well, even at the lowest end. The upgrade in battery life for the simpler devices makes them a great choice for most riders. WEIGHT GPS unit weight isn’t crucial unless you’re racing. As Velonews reported, a 3-pound reduction in bike weight could mean as little as a seven-second advantage. If you’re racing, that could mean the difference between winning and losing so you’ll want to look at the lighter-weight units we ranked as best for competition. Most of the units we evaluated were around 50 grams, but even the heaviest at 129 grams isn’t going to cut into your finish. MOUNTAIN BIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSMOUNTAIN BIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. MTB BASICS 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 2. MTB CLOTHING 5. MTB SKILLS 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 6. MTB TRAINING 1. MTB BASICS 2. MTB CLOTHING 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 5. MTB SKILLS 6. MTB TRAINING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.