In the era of pandemic, Peloton and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, the popularity of two wheels has risen more sharply than a Tour De France climb.
Cycling has re-emerged as the primary means of exercise for millions. It taxes the lungs, boosts cardio fitness, and builds both power and strength (and once you’ve squeezed into those Lycra bib shorts there’s no hiding any work that needs to be done).
While there’s no substitute for putting in the work, technology is now on hand – from power meters to on-bike computers – to track real-time stats and take your cycling conditioning to the next level.
Clip in for our pick of the best.
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From £699, garmin.com
Garmin’s latest tracker is a big, rugged multisport watch rather than a dedicated cycling tool, but the Enduro packs plenty of tools and tracking smarts for two-wheel pursuits.
For a start, there are four cycling modes – including Indoor, Outdoor, Mountain Biking and Triathlon – plus daily suggested workouts based on your recent training and recovery.
But the big headline here is battery life. On paper, the Enduro packs an unrivalled 80-hour GPS battery life, extendable up to 300 hours in Endurance mode – all boosted by juice-saving solar charging skills that use the sun’s rays to top up the Enduro’s endurance.
In reality, the watch lasted a staggering 30 days, with 30 hours of indoor and out GPS-tracked workouts on a single charge. An eight-hour outdoor effort with full GPS burns just ten per cent.
Beyond that game-changing battery, you also get Garmin’s full suite of training and recovery insights, with post-ride training effect, training load monitoring and training status to help you build fitness and avoid overtraining.
It also plays nice with turbos, power meters, speed and cadence sensors, and pulls data from your stationary bikes like the Wattbike Atom. All that means you can boost the range of real-time and post-ride fitness data on the watch, including your Functional Threshold Power – provided you’ve got the right accessories.
The mid-workout screens are customisable on the watch itself, so you can tweak which metrics take priority, and the colour display is bright, sharp and easy to read in all lights.
On the flipside, you don’t get the maps – just turn-by-turn navigation – and music support is limited. But these are small sacrifices for a watch you might only need to charge 12 times a year.
Wahoo purchased Speedplay in 2019 and has just relaunched with a streamlined range of four pedals: the Speedplay Nano, Zero, Aero and Comp.
They offer varied weights and premium build materials, as well as countless internal and aerodynamic improvements.
They’re all dual-sided and compatible with your favourite cleats. The stainless steel Speedplay Zero stands out, as it’s paired with a dual-sensing power meter: the Powerlink Zero.
Garmin Vector 3
Garmin’s latest pedal-based power meter provides +/-1% accuracy and has a sleeker design, completely rebuilt in-house.
It provides data for individual pedals, plus a wealth of performance metrics from Garmin Cycling Dynamics.
The 120-hour battery life is great for enduro rides, while Vector 3 is easily transferable between bikes. ANT+/Bluetooth hooks up with your bike computer and watch.
This wonderfully simple, subtle and sleek bike computer is built for riders who just want basic data, such as speed and distance.
The Cateye Quick is minimal, lightweight (just 24g) and weatherproof, with an inverted LCD screen that’s visible in all conditions.
Perfect for commuters, Cateye Quick has an auto start/stop feature and can be easily detached when you’re locking up.
A massive upgrade for your stationary bike trainer, this visually striking platform replicates the feeling of outdoor cycling through natural motion on four axis.
An antidote to the stifling rigidity of stationary training, your virtual rides feel more like the real thing, while dramatically enhancing comfort. Not cheap, but a game-changing, one-of-a-kind device.
Hammerhead Karoo 2
The Karoo bike computer’s headline feature is a high-resolution, scratch- and glare-resistant touchscreen that’s highly responsive, but smart enough to ignore raindrops and mud.
Routing skills include planning, accurate navigation and automatic rerouting. Battery life is 14 hours and it’s also a connectivity king with Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi and a cellular SIM card. Naturally, it pairs with power meters and apps such as Strava.
Wattbike Atom Next Gen
The next-gen Atom adds an electromagnetic resistance monitor for a quieter and smoother ride, especially when shifting gears. Data points are now read 1,000 times a second (it doesn’t get more real-time than that) with accuracy levels of +/- 1%.
Instant resistance changes also prep virtual riders for steep gradient shifts during mountain stages. It’s a great-looking machine, too.
Echelon Connect Sport
A direct, calculated response to high-priced Peloton bikes, the Echelon offers indoor cyclists 32 magnetic resistance levels.
The compact yet heavy design is highly adjustable and sends Bluetooth data to the companion app that hosts your live and on-demand classes. There’s no built-in screen, but all class streams can be viewed on a companion phone or tablet.
Peloton Bike Plus
The ‘plus’ in Bike Plus adds strength and flexibility workouts to those wildly popular spin classes. Whether it’s yoga or bootcamp, varied sessions come via a larger 24-inch HD display – complete with powerful speakers – that can be rotated and tilted.
There’s also a front-facing camera for mid-workout banter among friends. The revolutionary Peloton bike remains the main event, but Bike Plus opens up doors to a more rounded training regimen.
Nohrd Indoor Bike
This ludicrously swanky indoor bike from the makers of Waterrower combines a premium, durable, hardwood build with cutting-edge tech like infinitely variable resistance to test all fitness levels.
It comes pre-built, there’s no mains connection and it requires just 0.44 metres square of floor space. There’s an optional laptop tray accessory, so you can work while you work out.
The walnut version is coming with us on the yacht. The oak bike can stay in the penthouse.