Before technology placed most of the outdoor activity features on our wrists, serious mountain bikers used handlebar-mounted bike computers to track, record and store ride data. Today, a GPS route tracking can be done seamlessly from the bikers wrist watch, that is designed with biking-specific features. There are many smart sport watches out there for biking, cycling and running. But the best watch for mountain biking, is a timepiece with reliable and compatible biking apps and dedicated cycling modes.
Smartwatch or smartphone for mountain biking?
The best watch for mountain biking
best smartwatch for mountain biking and cycling under $1000
Let dive straight into the best watches for mountain biking under 1000 dollars. One think to note is that this list includes Strava Compatible watches. You will equally find some best wrist watches for mountain biking with LTE, and music control features.
Every biker, like many outdoor sports men, want to get entertained with music and favorite songs during their workouts, What is your best smartwatch for mountain biking with music, for your next solo biking adventure?
Polar Vantage V Premium Watch – Best multisport GPS watch for mountain biking, cycling, running under 500 dollars
- Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro
- Running power from the wrist
- Swimming metrics, cycling ad triathlon data
- Ultra long battery life: 40h in training mode
- Integrated GPS,
- Built-in barometer
- Nightly Recharge and Sleep Plus Stages
- 130+ sports profiles;
- always-on color touch display
POLAR VANTAGE V is a multisport mountain bike gps watch that is exceptionally designed to be lightweight, and comfortable for outdoor fitness enthusiasts. With this strava compatible polar vantage mtb watch, you can ride several hours without noticing you had got a watch on your wrist.
Like other polar vantage V2 watch, this vantage V is also a mountain gps smartwatch that is BLE-compatible sensors like the power meters. One amazing advantage is, you can pair the polar V to external heart rate straps.
Specifically design for outdoor like vantage V2, this bicycle sport watch comes with a durable battery life of up to 40 hours in GPS mode and about 7 days in normal watch mode. This battery juice can support location, route and distance tracking, through out your outdoor adventures.
While the polar training smartwatch for mountain biking can support syncing ride data to Strava and Training Peaks, it also monitors your sleep, recovery, and stress when you are off-route or resting. It can also monitor heart rate, swimming style, pacde, stroke and rest time.
You won’t get any faulty optical heart rate readings with this biking watch. I guess that is the kind of accuracy most bikers would expect from a smart watch for mountain biking, and triathlon training under 1000 dollars.
This polar smartwatch for mtb is a great option for bikers and cyclists who want a really lightweight smart watch for basic fitness tracking when riding, running or cycling.
Furthermore, if you are going to need a smart navigation watch that comes with integrated GPS, this polar is accurate for speed, distance and route tracking. It is always ready for the outdoor thanks to its barometric altitude, incline, ascent and descent features.
No swatch is ready for outdoor without waterproofing feature. You can wear this gps watch for mtb and for innovative tracking of swimming
If you want more, here is the newer model of this watch – POLAR Vantage V2 Wrist-Based Heart Rate Measurement for Running, Swimming, Cycling, Strength Training.
Apple Watch series 5 – best apple watch for cycling, running and biking
- Navigation: GPS + Cellular
- Screen: Always-On Retina display
- Design: arger screen, Swimproof
- ECG app
- Compartible ANT+, Strava,
- Electrical and optical heart sensors
- Built-in compass, Elevation
- Health: Emergency SOS, Fall detection
- Standalone: International emergency calling
We could not be fair enough without including an apple watch for mountain biking. Here is an apple watch 5 for cycling and running, features 40mm and 44mm case dimension. This 40mm apple watch 5 can be a great smartwatch for small wrists mountain bikers.
While this apple watch has outdoor sports features, it doubles also as the best medical smartwatch with safety features like fall detection for seniors, Electrocardiogram(ECG) and optical heart rate tracking.
For those cyclists who truly want a iOS standalone smartwatch for cycling, this apple watch can make and receive calls without phone since it supports cellular services.
Not only that, this smart apple watch is waterproof up to 50 meters, tracks mountain biking workout, it also streams music while you are riding. This is the best gps apple watch you can take for outdoor biking and hiking trails if you want to get entertained with favorite songs, text and make phone-free calls.
The “always on” display screen and a compass, in addition to built-in GPS system, makes this apple watch, the best smartwatch with navigation functions. It has all the connectivity and navigation features that any outdoorsman would ever want for outdoor explorations.
The most challenging feature is the apple watch battery life. With these tonnes of power hungry features, your apple cycling watch is never going to keep battery for long.
If you are going to keep the watch working through out your biking workouts, turning off some of the functions – cellular data, always-on-display, Bluetooth, GPS will extend battery life up to six to ten hours.
Although apple boasts of this strava cycling watch lasting up to 18 hours, It’s better to turn off every feature except the GPS navigation function, to maximize power consumption.
With a cycling app installed, apple watch series 5 is great not only for biking, it is super good for cycling too. Just make sure you get the best cycling app for apple watch 5 installed correctly.
You don’t need up to half of 1000 dollars to pick this watch. With less than $500, you can go riding with this smart mtb watch on your next adventure. It is my best budget-friendly smartwatch for cyclists.
Though the apple mtb watch is tough and reliable, it does not have high specialized apps for some outdoor sports.
I like this apple watch for cycling because
- It has got a massive amount of cycling apps to choose from Apple store
- It supports 64-bit dual core processor
- feels very thin and lightweight on wrists,
Is apple watch good for mountain biking?
Mountain Biking With an LTE Apple Watch looks like a great decision to make but is sit Worth It? Having an apple watch for mountain biking is great, but is it worth the investment? Bikers have confirmed that apple watch is one of the best smartwatch for mountain biking that is reliable. You can wear it daily, for mountain biking, dirt biking, cycling, hiking and more. Check the video here
Garmin Fenix 5 – Best Strava-Compatible Cycling Watch under 1000 dollars
- Compatibility: iPhone and Android
- Fitness: GPS speed and distance tracking
- Workout: Downloadable training plans
- Bezel Material: Stainless Steel
- Strap material: Silicone or Steel
- Battery life Smartwatch mode: 2 weeks
- Battery life GPS/HR mode: 24 hours
- power management: UltraTrac™ mode offers 60 hours
- Water Rating: 10 ATM
- support: Connect IQ
- downloadable: watch faces, apps, widgets
Most of the mountain biking smartwatches in this review are compatible with strava but this Garmin Fenix 5 the Best Strava-Compatible Cycling Watch that is outstanding for biking adventures.
When I think of Garmin Fenix 5, another fitness sport watch comes to mind and that is Garmin Fenix 3 that was well received by most athletes and community of outdoor enthusiasts. The fenix 5 is an upgrade from fenix 3, with advanced features for outdoor activities.
In the list of the best cycling watches, garmin fenix 5 comes with interchangeable band, legible display, many sports profiles, 24/7 wrist based heart rate tracking and the VO2 max display. None of the mountain biking navigation watches is as exceptionally rugged and tough as this garmin fenix 5 mountain biking watch.
I am not too quick to qualify this watch as the best garmin smartwatch for cycling, because its design and built in sensors have great compatibility for cyclists as well as runners.
Think about this – this gps watch for strava comes with pre-loaded cycling profiles including -bike, indoor biking, and mountain biking(MTB). It also features many data fields for bike ride, which athletes that are data-driven would cherish.
Very typical of garmin navigation watches, is the TrackBack feature. This allows outdoor riders to retrace their route back the starting point. More importantly, if you want to explore your biking area and discover many routes and paths, this strava gps watch for running and cycling contains pre-loaded street and topo maps.
There are many garmin Fenix 5 cycling features, one of such is the compatibility with Varia Bike Light and Radar series. This connectivity is an added advantage for Fenix 5 cyclists, since this it is limited to just few mtb watches and Edge Bike computers.
This great garmin gps smartwatch is not only limited to mountain biking only. It is one of the best watches for hiking, running, mountain climbing, golfing, SUP paddle-boarding, swimming, and rowing.
It is not a claim, but Fenix is the best gps watch for strava since it supports bike and run Strava Light Segment, Shimano Di2 and ANT+ Gear Shifting.it also incorporate with power meters.
Although its expensive and has low-resolution screen, garmin fenix 5 still remains the best garmin smartwatch for cycling and mtb. If you had recently asked What is the best Garmin watch for mountain biking, don’t go far again. Just click now and check latest pricing on Amazon.
What i also like about it:
- Durable design
- Silicone or metal band options
- Outdoor-readable and customizable display
Apple series 4 Watch – best smartwatch for mountain bikers who are health-focused
- Screen: Always-on retina display
- Band: Interchangeable straps
- Wellness: Heart rhythm tracker with the ECG app
- Navigation System: GPS + Cellular
- Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope,fall detection
- Bezel Material: Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, or ceramic
- Watch Strap material: Leather, fluoroelastomer, flexible nylon weaves, or metal
- Battery life: Up to 18 hours
- Water resistance Rating: 5 ATM
Apple watch series 4 is an upgrade from Apple Watch 3. It is more of a smartwatch for mtb that most avid fan of Apple who go for mountain biking want to own. The watch is suitable for fitness enthusiasts and sports fans with stronger focus on health.
The design of apple watches with many medical features keeps people wondering about the performance of an apple watch for cycling, biking and outdoor sports. In addition to its medical functionality, this apple fitness watch automatically tracks your exercise, speed and active calories.
This apple watch is great for mountain biking although the expensive timepiece is feature- packed with health functions. That is why until now, the apple watch for mountain bike workout is still attracted not only to Apple fans but to many outdoor sports enthusiasts.
With sleek unisex design, this beautiful smartwatch comes with optical heart rate sensor, fall detection, emergency SOS calling, blood sugar monitoring and ECG. These features, including the fact that the watch is cleared by US Food and Drugs for the ECG app, has made this apple watch for running and cycling gained medical attention all over the world.
I trust it when it comes to keeping track of outdoor sports data and records from fitness daily activities. With just a single button and a display screen that features a second hand for taking vital signs,
Another good feature is the possibility to extend the apple watch functionality. You can install almost limitless apps for multi sports including cycling, mountain biking and running.
Other features that makes this mountain bikers apple watch is the waterproof values of 50m and a long lasting battery life of up to 18 hours as claimed by apple themselves.
The unisex design is suitable for both men and women bikers and cyclists. Furthermore, standard size of 40mm and 44mm makes it comfortable with snug fit for both large and small wrists athletes.
The apple series 4 smart watch also support third-party app to record and analyze cycling data – Cyclemeter Cycling Running GPS.
Garmin vivoactive 4 – best garmin fitness watch for cycling and running under 300 dollars
- Brand: Garmin
- case Diameter: 45.1mm
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Dial window Material: Gorilla glass
- Water Resistance: 50m
- Strap Bracelet: 20mm Silicone
- Connectivity: GPS
If your are looking for the best watch for mountain biking for a low price under $300, Garmin vivoactive 4 is budget friendly sports smartwatch with all the required features to track outdoor activities and exercises.
This cheap vivoactive 4 is an upgrade from the vivoactive garmin fitness watch, the additional functionality still keep the watch affordable only like the garmin fenix series.
A mountain biking sports smartwatch offers the best navigation which is always exceptional for garmin products. I don’t think one can go physically missing in the mountain while having a garmin watch on wrist.
The affordable vivoactive 4 cycling watch Keeps track of bikers energy levels, Pulse Ox, stress, sleep, estimated heart rate and hydration level. It would read your blood oxygen monitoring values unlike the previous models of vivoactive series.
Another thing about this garmin gps smartwatch for mtb is its built in incident detection system. This exceptional features will send alerts including real time location, to the cyclist’s emergency contacts if anything like unforeseen circumstances comes his way.
Moreover, for bikers that like to go on long rides, this fitness garmin gps smartwatch has 8 days battery life in smartwatch mode and 6 hours GPS mode including music playing.
To me, for someone looking for outdoor sports value in a biking garmin watch under 300 dollars, this vivoactive is the best gps route tracking smartwatch that is very affordable to people who are cash trapped or on budget.
SUUNTO 9 BARO – best outdoor smart watch for biking
- durable multisport GPS watch
- Apps: favorite sports app
- Water resistant to 100 meters;
- Great for running, hiking, cycling
Another tough, ruggedly designed watch that comes with full outdoor features for mtb, is the Suunto Baro 9 smartwatch. Its outstanding battery life is thanks to it automatic power management modes.
Set the outdoor watch to performance mode , and it will deliver you accurate GPS values, but this will exhaust the most battery juice before your mountain biking trip is over.
As Suunto – the watch band claims, baro 9 keeps up to 25 hours battery life. In the Ultra mode, you are going to be riding with a watch having dims screen, and with wrist-based heart rate and Bluetooth turned off. You would have to turned these mountain biking functions only when you absolutely need them.
It is acceptable that when most of these features are turned off, you get reduced GPS accuracy, but that is minimal. As you bike down the mountain, bikers confirm receiving notifications on the watch’s remaining power. This power alert helps athletes on long rides to switch power modes to avoid running out of juice.
Another feature in this Suunto mountain bike watch includes barometric altimeter and the Optical sensors that reads bikers heart rate. The good think is that you can connect this smartwatch to a heart-rate strap for more accurate ride and heart performance data.
The latest update from suunto allows bikers and outdoor users to create routes inside the suunto app.
Garmin Fēnix 6X Pro Solar – best smartwatch for cycling and mtb with map
- Navigation : GPS, GLONASS
- Solar Charging Multisport GPS watch
- Supports topo mapping
- Supports: Garmin Pay contactless payments
- Lithium Battery life: 21 days
Another mountain biking watch for under $1000, is the Fēnix 6X Pro Solar multisport watch. Built as a premium watch with advanced sport and fitness-specific functions, this smartwatch for mountain biking has all that a biker would want to have for professional bike races.
This garmin mountain bike watch is one of the best Garmin watches for general cycling, with an insanely durable battery life. Garmin claims this premium gps smartwatch for mtb has two weeks battery life, but more importantly, you can keep it charging under direct sunlight.
With the solar charging built-in cells, you don’t need to carry power banks for a ride. With continuous exposure to solar light, I believe a biker would keep the smartwatch GPS on, for continuous tracking his bike riding activity, without fear of battery drainage.
If you add power management to the solar charging, you get consistently 21 days battery usage after a single charge. Its durable enough to support music streaming on the go, GPS tracking when riding.
Garmin fenix 6 pro solar is one of the Strava, and TrainingPeaks compatible watches for cycling. You can pair the mtb smartwatch to ANT+ sensors and Bluetooth devices, if you want to share ride data.
If you want the best gps smartwatch for mountain biking under 1000 dollars which can also replace your bike computer. Other features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors as well as the adjusted VO2 max and training status estimates.
The garmin cycling watch supports outdoors adventures with preloaded colored TOPO maps and ski maps. Added to its multiple global navigation satellite system (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support and built-in sensors ( 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter), Garmin Fenix pro is the best navigation watch for mountain biking, cycling, hiking and hunting.
Further more, the Customizable power Manager modes, like the ultralow-powered GPS mode can keep you going without the need to carry power cords for charging or power banks.
Finally, this gps garmin watch for mountain biking records sleep and stress data, which you can easily access in the Garmin Connect app. The mtb smartwatch support auto-sync with a wide variety of third-party apps, that is going to include MyFitnessPal.
Why I cherish this mountain bike gps watch:
- Garmin is a trusted brand of outdoor watches with great navigation features.
- Although it cost slightly under $1,000, you would have everything that is needed for an adventure
- the solar charger means, you can keep GPS to continuously track your mountain riding and cycling sports until you are done for the day
- the colored maps is great for discovering new biking destination, paths, routes and tracks in the woods
Garmin Forerunner 945 Triathlon Smartwatch with Music – best garmin watch for running and mountain biking
- Tracking: Vo2 Max and training status
- altitude Acclimation status,
- Navigation: onboard maps
- Safety : incident detection
- compatible with smartphone
- Battery life: 2 weeks smartwatch mode, 10 hours GPS mode
Another most talked about gps garmin smartwatch for biking is the Forerunner 945 – an upgrade from the 935 model. Its a great smart watch, with many functions for athletes.
The built-in Wi-Fi, ANT+, and Bluetooth connectivity are the most demanding function when it comes to sharing and syncing mountain sports workout data.
Since garmin watches are trusted timepieces when we think of outdoor navigation watches, Forerunner 945 has an accurate GPS which you are not going to regret even in poor network areas.
The pulse oximeter, the Strava integration and live segments, are some features every fitness enthusiast expect to find here.The watch comes with downloadable workouts, so if you are a bikers that has been familiar to carrying bike computer for riding, this time, you can keep it at home.
This Premium GPS Running watch is the best garmin mountain biking watch for elite-level athletes who enjoy hard training. Although it is more expensive than other mtb watches,it comes lightweight in design.
For exciting outdoor trails, this running watch is great for entertainment while cycling. All you need is to download songs to your watch, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer.
There is a full color, onboard maps in addition to GPS system. This guide bikers to explore their biking or cycling environment before heading out on a trip.
The battery life is impressive since you can record multiple rides with the watch, on a single charge. To me, it is my best garmin watch for running and mountain biking sport activities. Please check its latest price on Amazon
What to consider when buying the best smartwatch for mountain biking and cycling?
You have decided to pick a mountain bike gps watch under $1,000, lets take a look how to pick a suitable one is a long list of best watches for mountain bikers.
1. Biking and Cycling modes
A smartwatch that comes with multiple sport modes for cycling, biking, running, golf and more, is the best options to go for. While searching for your cycling watch, you may come across smart sports watches with riding profiles including MTB and indoor cycling. A watch with such specific type of riding features is great for bikers performance.
2. Navigation Sensors
The best smartwatch for mountain biking is one that tracks your rides,with an onboard GPS. Most low priced mtb watches may lack built-in GPS sensors and so, they piggyback from your phone. As the best recommendation, a mountain biking watch with GPS, GLONASS, BieDou and Galileo satellite networks is a great timepiece for profession, rugged and strenuous biking adventures. One thing to note is that these satellite connections drains the battery juice faster.
Bluetooth compatible cycling watches are suitable for bikers who want to communicate with power meters, ANT+ and strava. Most higher end mtb watch for cyclists that are ANT+ compatible, also pair with WiFi connectivity so that bikers can seamlessly upload the ride data.
4. Wrist-based heart rate monitoring
Optical heart rate sensor is one of the basic requirements in the best cycling watch, because its inconvenient to wear a chest strap. Some heart rate tracking watches provide inaccurate data not because they have faulty optical sensor but because there’s no solid contact with the biker’s wrist. Such watches should be worn so tightly.
5. Outdoor sensors – Altimeters and accelerometers
Biking and cycling are one of the best outdoor sports. The best outdoor watches must feature barometric altimeters, built-in compass, accelerometers and gyroscopes. If you are going to need to know your mountain biking altitude data, an accurate altimeter is a necessity. Again, weather condition is one important factor to consider when heading for an outdoor adventure. To avoid being caught up in bad weathers or storm, your biking smartwatch must have an onboard barometer to measure air pressure,or issue warning if air pressure suddenly drops(if storm is eminent).
6. Smartwatch battery life
The best outdoor smart sports watch for riding in the mountain will charge faster and keep its juice for longer time. GPS Tracking of biking location, route or path in the jungle, is very important but it runs down battery life. Looking for a high end smartwatch with excellent power management functions is a suitable way to extend battery life during the bike rides. All the same, bikers often just turn off some power hungry features to conserve battery through out their cycling trip.
7. Standalone features
I don’t think a serious bikers would want to carry a $1500 smartphone into mountain biking or climbing. If you want your wife to still be able to contact while you are gone cycling, a standalone smartwatch with cellular connectivity is the option to go for. Such smart watches may come with sim card slots, giving you options to receive, make calls right from the wrist. Some of the standalone mtb watches can receive phone calls without the smartphone around.
Most modern smartwatch for outdoor come with the most needed feature – music control, song storage memory and bluetooth compatible phone free listening. If you want to enjoy a favorite playlist or tunes while on the ride, pick a sports watch for mountain biking that support bluetooth earbud or headset to help you listen to songs. If the outdoor smart watch can stream music from online(pandora, spotify, Amazon), that is pretty great entertainment watch for solo biking trip.
9 Other smart features
The best watch for strava mountain biking supports Strava Live segments, and may also support contactless payment in addition to music control. Such watches are truly the best for cycling, climbing, running and hiking sports.
FAQ For Mountain Bikers
Is mountain biking the best sports?
Many people often seam to wonder if mtb is the best sports. Most people are so afraid of falling that a great outdoor adventure like the mountain biking is not well known to be an excellent form of cardio work-out. Although it may not feel like it as you’re dying a death on the way up some , biking offers and improves your blood oxygen circulation. Again, biking help your blood vessels dilate.
Which Garmin watch is best for mountain biking?
Here are some of the best garmin watches for mountain biking – Garmin Forerunner 945, Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and Garmin Fenix 5. These best garmin watch for cycling are pretty expensive over $500 and If you are on budget, and need a more affordable watch, check this review for garmin forerunner mountain bike watch.
Is Apple watch good for mountain biking?
If you are going to need a watch with LTE for emergency calls, strava, built-in GPS, HR, ecg, fall detection, AirPod music streaming, that’s when you know an apple watch is great for mountain bike workout. All you need have a customizable power management system to save battery from these energy hungry features while you keep up on your longer rides.
Many outdoor sports lovers have reported use Apple watches for riding – pretty much the apple series 4 and series 5 which have been utterly reliable when tracking in cycling mode. They are more multi purpose as you can use it in sports including mountain biking, dirt biking, 4-wheeling. If a mountain biker is health focused, the best smartwatch for mountain biking is the Apple watch series 5 for cycling tracking. It is top rated smartwatch for medical features.
Which fitness tracker is best for cycling and mountain biking?
Fitbit makes great bicycle activity trackers. Just like some very affordable garmin fitness watches that work with strava, fitbit Ionic and Fitbit versa are the best fitness trackers for running and cycling sports. They are inexpensive as compared to a smartwatch for mountain biking. Luckily, these mountain bike fitness trackers are included in this budget friendly biking watch review.
Now you get it all – hope you have selected your best watch for mountain biking and cycling. Your next ride is going to be full of excitement thanks to picking the best smartwatch for mountain biking which accompanies your every riding workout. Keep it up buddy.