Written by Julie

The differences between a bike computer and bike navigation

Maybe you are someone who only uses his bike when the sun shines. Or maybe you are a cyclist who travels dozens of kilometers in any type of weather condition. Whatever type of cyclist you are, there is a suitable bike computer for everyone. But which do you need? Active cyclists need more options than those who only step on their bike sporadically. But how do you decide what your best choice is? We help you compare bike computers and bicycle navigation.

In short

Which product do you choose for your bike? Cyclocomputer Bike navigation
Do you want to see the most important ride data such as distance, speed and ride time? Yes Yes
Do you want a device that's as compact as possible? Yes No
Do you want to navigate without using a telephone? No Yes
Do you think it's important to be able to connect sensors, such as for your heart rate? No Yes
Do you want to analyze your cycling data in an app? No Yes

Type of cyclist

Bike computer: for the nice weather cyclist

As soon as the weather is nice, you go to the shed to take out your bike. You're not concerned with improving your performance, but you would like to have insights into your bike tour. This way, you can also brag about the number of kilometers you have traveled. You don't need too much fuss: you are mainly looking for a compact bike computer that has good value for money. There are devices with basic data, but also variants with integrated GPS or the possibility to connect a sensor. This way, you can exactly adapt your bike computer to your own wishes.

Bicycle navigation: the fanatic cyclist

Every week, you step on the bike to ride a nice route. The faster the better. You think it's important to keep track of your performance, so that every ride is a bit better. Because what would your weekly round be without a challenge? What you need is bike navigation. Thanks to the GPS, your data is extra accurate and you receive information about height profile. Many navigation systems can be connected to apps such as Strava, so you can see exactly where you have cycled and on which part of the route you've had more difficulty. Next time, you'll be fully prepared at the start.

Navigation

Bike computer: navigation is less important

Bike navigation is not that important to you. You mainly cycle in places that you know or drive along with a group. Are you thinking about navigation every now and then, but don't want to purchase a navigation system? Some bike computers can be connected to your smartphone. You can put your phone away, and your bike computer will function as a second screen. Thanks to this, you won't get lost in that new environment. Keep in mind that the battery is drained quickly by this function.

Bike navigation: navigation is absolutely essential

Getting lost? We don't do that. That's why you're looking for a device with bike navigation. This way, you have turn-by-turn navigation, which calculates its own route and brings you home safely. Are you cycling in the wrong direction? The bike navigation calculates how you can still reach your destination. There are also navigation systems with a mapped route. If you take a wrong turn, you have to make your way back to a point along the route to be able to resume your journey. Do you think all those models are too expensive? Cheaper models often don't have any maps. You navigate by following a line via an arrow. Extra adventurous!

Sensors

Bike computer: often no sensors possible

You've made up your mind: you want a bike computer without bike navigation. But you do want to be able to connect extra sensors. Do you still have to purchase a more expensive model? Not necessarily. Many bike computers indeed don't have the possibility to connect an external sensor. There are models that can connect to a cadence or speed sensor via a digital signal or wiring. Do you think it's important to see information about your heart rate? Bike computers are often not linked with a chest strap. One solution is to wear a sports watch or activity tracker - or opt for bike navigation after all.

Bike navigation: external sensors are often possible

Ride time, distance, and speed. All very nice, but you want to know more. Many bike navigation systems have ANT+ and/or Bluetooth. You can easily connect the device with an external sensor. All information from a heart rate, cadence, or speed sensor can be seen directly on the screen. Great, because now you immediately see whether you're working out in the good heart rate zone or can take a step further. This way, you're a little faster every time, and you have a good excuse to reward yourself with a piece of apple pie afterwards. Because hard work makes you hungry, right?

Conclusion

Bike navigation is actually a bike computer with just a little extra. But do you also need those extras? A bike computer is enough for people who occasionally go out and want to have insight in their rides. No fuss, useful information instead. Do you often use your bike and easily reach eighty kilometers? A device with bike navigation doesn't only help you find new routes, but also measures your data more accurately thanks to the GPS. And after your bike ride, you can load all ride data to an app like Strava, so you can immediately learn how you can go faster the next time. But whether you are a nice weather cyclist or an active cyclist: carefully consider what your wishes are exactly, and next time, you'll be cycling with a handy gadget at your steering wheel!

Article by:
Julie Bike Navigation Expert.

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