Professional cycling has long had a link with watches, right from some of the earliest days of the sport. Historically, luxury watch brands have sponsored major cycling events around the world including Tag Heuer whose products have been worn by well-known international cyclists. But why are cyclists so determined to wear a specialist cycling watch? Surely any old watch would do?
Why Are Cycling Watches Important?
Being able to track your fitness progress while cycling is standard these days. Keen cyclists, both amateur and professional, are used to being able to track their ride stats and share them with friends and family. They’re also useful to perfect future training regimes. Smartphone apps like Strava are excellent for this kind of tracking, however, they can drain a smartphone battery very quickly! They also lack the potential to track other things like your heart rate. Not to mention the fact that carrying a phone around while you’re riding can be difficult. It’s no wonder, then, that so many cyclists started to look for a suitable and more convenient alternative. That alternative comes in the form of a cycling watch.
Which Features Does A Cycling Watch Need?
When you start looking for your first cycling watch, you need to know which features you should be looking for. Over the past few years, technology has progressed in leaps and bounds and smartwatches are now commonplace. Devices are now available which offer both smartwatch and fitness tracking functionality. Many companies have taken advantage of this trend and flooded the market. It’s important to know what you need to consider when choosing a cycling watch to avoid making an expensive mistake. Some of the key features that a cycling watch simply must have include:
· Water resistance – cyclists are on the road or trail in all weathers, and that means you need a watch that’s suitable to wear in all weathers. Finding a waterproof or water-resistant watch is important, otherwise, you could find that your watch is damaged the first time you’re caught in a storm.
· GPS functionality – mobile phones usually offer GPS capability, but you probably don’t want to take your phone everywhere with you when you’re cycling. A cycling watch with integrated GPS capability allows you to track your route accurately on longer rides.
Notifications – A cycling watch that shows notifications allows you to look at your messages or receive calls. You won’t need to pause to answer or check texts.
· A comfortable strap – the best cycling watches aren’t just high performance, they’re also suitable to wear every day. If you’re out on the road or trail for hours on end, you need to have a watch strap that fits comfortably. Choose a watch with a strap that is easily adjustable and easy to wear.
· A heart rate monitor – many of the top-selling cycling watches feature an integrated heart rate monitor. This allows you to continually assess your fitness throughout the day whether you’re exercising or not. It’ll also help you to keep on top of your fitness goals when you’re cycling so you can make improvements.
Read more on which features to look for in a cycling smartwatch in our guide.
Which Are The Best Cycling Watches?
There are many excellent cycling watches on the market today which offer high performance as well as style. Some of the best include:
The TomTom Spark 3 Cardio
This cycling watch from well-known brand TomTom has a simple design. It’s easy to wear and comes in a range of watch band colours to suit every outfit or mood. It’s lightweight, comfortable and easy to wear while you’re cycling. With its seven different sports modes, it’s ideal for keeping on top of your fitness stats. It features sleep tracking as well as integrated GPS and boasts an accurate integrated heart rate monitor. One top feature of this watch is its zone-based training functionality. This allows you to track whether you’re in Fat Burn, Endurance, Speed or Sprint zone. Even better, you can stream music through this watch. With 3GB of onboard storage, you’ll have room for all your favorite tunes without the need for an internet connection!
Garmin Vivoactive 3
The Garmin brand is well-known for its high-quality fitness trackers and sports watches, and this model is no exception. Despite its bulkier design, it’s stylish and comfortable to wear. This cycling watch comes with a choice of three styles to suit your taste. It boasts plenty of sports functions and tracking features for a wide range of physical activities including cycling. It also has integrated GPS to track your cycle rides. Two other excellent features of this model are its ability to receive notifications, reply to them through your watch interface, and take your stress reading!
Should I Buy A Cycling Watch?
Are you a keen cyclist? Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, if you enjoy nothing more than working out on two wheels, a cycling watch could be ideal for you. A model with integrated GPS will help you to track your routes effectively. A heart rate monitor and other fitness tracking capabilities will help you to stay on top of your fitness level. With so many stylish models available, it’s certainly worth considering making the purchase.