Last updated: August 9, 2021

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We have made it our goal to provide you with important purchasing aspects with our comprehensive bicycle navigation test 2021, so that the decision regarding your future bicycle navigation will be easier for you. With the help of the following information, it should be possible for you to choose a suitable and inexpensive bicycle navigation.

Our product comparison is ideal for this purpose. Whether from Vienna to Berlin, with your mountain bike to the nearest mountain lake or rather geocaching? Your future bike navigator will take you to your next destination and keep you well informed about your physical activity. We have researched various providers and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages for you.

Do you have general questions about using a bike navigation system or do you want to know what alternatives there are? In our guide you will find frequently asked questions that we have answered for you.




Summary

  • A bicycle navigation system is a faithful guide and fitness companion. The extensive map network makes it easy to explore new routes at home and abroad. Additional functions save routes travelled and provide information on physical well-being. Alternatively, there are apps for smartphones.
  • In use, a distinction is made between bicycle navigation, bicycle computers with GPS and outdoor GPS devices. Thanks to their integrated GPS, some bicycle navigation devices are also used for geocaching, skiing, boating and hiking.
  • Important factors that influence riding comfort include waterproofness, display quality, battery life, memory capacity, data transfer and offline function. You can find out more about this in the section on buying and evaluation criteria.

The Best Bicycle Navigation: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for a bicycle navigation system

In the following, we will show you criteria that should make your purchase decision easier. In summary, these are:

Display

The display should be able to optimally adjust the contrast and brightness in direct sunlight, bad weather and shade. The size of the display is also important. Make sure that changes on the route and information are clear to you and that the device has an understandable voice output.

Map material

Most bicycle navigation devices now have an extensive map network. We recommend that you buy a bicycle navigation system that has at least the latest national map material already stored on the device. Navigation devices that also have a Europe-wide map network are ideal. If your bike should ever accompany you abroad, you will have no local restrictions afterwards.

Battery life

If you like to go on longer bike tours, make sure you have a long battery life. Some navigation devices already have a power-saving mode, whereby the display brightness is dimmed when the battery level is low. It is also important to have extra batteries so that you can charge your navigation device in an emergency and not be left in the wilderness.

Mount

Most manufacturers deliver the device together with the corresponding bicycle handlebar mount, which can be mounted on the bicycle handlebar according to the respective instructions. Make sure that the mount is robust.

If a manufacturer only offers the device for sale, you can also purchase a mount from another manufacturer. Mount the device so that it cannot slip while you are riding and so that it is in the best possible view.

Waterproofing

To ensure that your navigation device can be used in all weathers, it is advisable to buy a device that is waterproof. Especially as your navigation device is intended to serve you as a guide for a longer period of time. Alternatively, there are protective cases that you can use as covers. It is important that the touch function on the screen is not restricted.

Touch screen

The touch function of your navigation system is not impaired if you wear gloves.

The touch screen deserves its own subsection in addition to the display. It is important that the navigation system can be switched on and off and operated easily using the touch function. You should be able to operate the touchscreen without much pressure, in rainy weather and even with gloves on.

Data transmission

For passionate cyclists, with or without fitness in mind, data recording is recommended. Data transfer has two benefits:

  • Your route, including the metres of altitude covered, the gradient and the distance, is recorded. You can easily recall this data another time. In addition, you are informed about your cadence and physical activity.
  • To enhance your fitness, some manufacturers offer a chest strap that records your physical activity such as pulse, heart rate and calories burned.

Depending on the device and manufacturer, you can transfer the data transfer either with the Bluetooth function, USB, ANT+ or live tracking from your device to your mobile phone, computer.

Memory types

If you like to go on new and longer trips, the memory capacity is important. The more memory you have, the more maps and data you can store and retrieve. You can also easily add a micro SD memory card later to increase the storage capacity. It is important that your device has a connection for the micro SD memory card.

Decision: What types of bike navigation are there and which is the right one for me?

We have taken a closer look at three different types of bicycle navigation devices and listed their advantages and disadvantages for you. Below you will find the results of our research.

Classic bicycle navigation

Considered the most common navigation system aimed at all cycling enthusiasts. The devices differ by size, function and weight depending on the manufacturer. The main question is the area of use.

If you want the navigation system to display your activity, then go for one that has data transmission. The integrated navigation system usually has a pre-installed map network that can be easily expanded. It has the corresponding battery or rechargeable battery.

Advantages
  • Route planner
  • Has a pre-stored map network
  • Informs about speed and physical activity
  • Stable device
Disadvantages
  • Battery life varies depending on manufacturer
  • Map network extension is not always free of charge
  • More expensive than an app alternative

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Bike computer with GPS

This is an overlapping function of a classic navigation system and a bicycle computer that also has an integrated GPS. This option is mainly used by racing cyclists and mountain bikers. The difference is that they are mainly oriented towards physical fitness and route recording. You can record the distance you have cycled, the metres of altitude and your speed.

Advantages
  • Additional GPS function
  • Ideally suited for racing and touring cyclists as well as mountain bikers
  • Integrated performance check
  • Additional functions
Disadvantages
  • Battery life varies depending on manufacturer
  • Map network extension is not always free of charge
  • More expensive than an app alternative

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Outdoor GPS devices

The field of application is universal. Bikers, hikers and geocaching enthusiasts often use this type of GPS device. Mostly, such GPS devices offer an extended additional function and have an integrated training function.

Advantages
  • Ideal for geocaching use
  • additional and training functions
  • universal range of use
Disadvantages
  • Battery life varies depending on manufacturer
  • map network extension is not always free of charge
  • more expensive than an app alternative

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Guide: Frequently asked questions about bicycle navigation answered in detail

Do you still have questions about using a bicycle navigation system? In the following we have selected and answered the most frequently asked and most important questions for you.

Who is a bicycle navigation system suitable for?

If you can answer yes to at least one of the following aspects, then a bicycle navigation system is just right for you.

  • Do you like to take your bike on longer journeys at home and abroad and explore new routes?
  • Cycling, geocaching and hiking are among your hobbies?
  • Cycling also serves as your fitness and you want to be informed about your physical activity?

Fahrradnavigation-1

With a bicycle GPS device you can venture into unknown territory without worrying about getting lost. We therefore advise you to keep a good eye on an extensive map network.
(Image source: chriskendall / unsplash)

What bike navigation app alternatives are there?

  • Runtastic Mountainbike (Pro) is one of the classic apps that, in addition to the standard features, also has a GPS and offline map function.
  • Use the app Radbonus and collect bonus points with every kilometre you ride. You can use these points for example with Lieferando. If you manage to cover an exact number of kilometres within a defined period, you can also take part in prize draws.
  • With the help of the alternative app Komoot, you can easily create any route you want according to the criteria of distance, degree of difficulty, trail conditions and metres in altitude. The app can be used offline and has voice output.

Is a bike sat nav suitable for geocaching?

Yes, the classic navigation systems already have an integrated geocaching function.

Fahrradnavigation-2

Geocaching is considered the treasure hunt of the 20th century and is an increasingly popular outdoor game. Before you get your sat nav, play it safe and get informed. Scavenger hunts can be an exciting change from cycling.
(Image source: Oscar Ivan Esquivel Arteaga / unsplash)

How much does a bicycle navigation system cost?

The price range for a new bicycle navigation device varies greatly between 80 and 300 euros depending on the function and manufacturer. It should also be noted that any additional costs may be added. For example, a handlebar mount, protective cover or the addition of new map material.

Type Price range
Classic bicycle navigation approx. 70 - 140€
GPS bike computers approx. 80 - 220€
Outdoor GPS devices approx. 160 - 290€

What bicycle navigation accessories are available?

In the following table we show you which accessories you can buy for your bicycle navigation.

Accessories Description
Chest strap Configure a chest strap for your navigation device and keep up to date with your heart rate and pulse.
Additional battery indispensable if you like to ride longer distances and have many routes stored on your device.
Holder if your navigation device does not have one, you can easily buy one and mount it according to the instructions.
Micro SD memory card Your navigation device has too little memory capacity? With an extended memory card, you can save your routes there and call them up again.
Insight display attach the display to the temple of your (sunglasses). The information from the navigation display is reflected on the lower edge of the glasses.

Which bike navi manufacturers are there?

Of course there are various manufacturers of bicycle navigation systems. We will briefly introduce you to the two best-known ones in this section.

Garmin

Garmin is an American manufacturer and is considered the global market leader in navigation and GPS devices. The market leader is the most experienced manufacturer of mobile navigation devices in Europe. The easy condition and versatile functionality speaks for the manufacturer.

Komoot

The German-Austrian manufacturer Komoot not only produces navigation devices, but also compatible mobile phone apps. The brand stands for simplifying route planning. Routes for cycling, hiking, climbing and running can also be designed on their online website.

What are the differences in bicycle navigation devices?

We have already told you about the different types of navigation devices in the decision section. In general, however, it depends on what you want to use your bike navigator for and what functions you value.

Are map updates free?

When buying, make sure that your future navigation device also has a free update function. This ensures that you always have the latest map material. Alternatively, some manufacturers offer you the option of updating your map material online.

It is worth taking a look at the manufacturer's website from time to time. They often offer free updates for your map material.

Image source: srphotography/ 123rf.com

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