Phone VS Cycling Computer: Does A Smart Phone Do The Job?

Cycling computers have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. Gone are the days of a rats nest of wires twisted down your fork blade to a magnet on your spoke. Now we have Gorilla glass, GPS mapping, and enormous battery lives! But, Smartphones have improved a lot as well. For many people, they represent a great alternative to a specific bike computer and most of us own one already. There are pros and cons to each set up and, in this video, Conor finds out what works best, and whether you really need a bike specific computer.

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50 Comments

  1. Larry Scott on July 22, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    My iPhones in direct sunlight get scorching hot very fast.

    I cannot imagine for an instant mounting an iPhone on the handle bar. Bright sun and screen display and heat? Forget about it.

  2. Nick Davies on July 22, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    Nice video, but are you sponsored by Wahoo at all? 😂

  3. Philip Zwick on July 22, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    I use a sports watch on my wrist for speed, distance, and heart rate and also have my phone recording on the handlebar so I can access calls when riding. A big problem with the phone, though, is that I cannot see the screen with my sunglasses on. Nice that it talks to me each mile with stats so it still worth using.

  4. Barney Fife on July 22, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    A bike computer doesn’t play music while you ride, advantage phone. I have had so many people join me while I ride because they like listening to music while riding. Not only that, it serves as a waring when I come up on pedestrians and the get out of the way if I am on a trail. If you use an iWatch for a heart rate monitor that will not pair with a bike computer, advantage iPhone. If you have your phone in a lifeproof case you don’t need to worry about things like rain, snow or dropping it.

  5. Dave in Japan on July 22, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    *Video summary:* If you ride an hour or less, a phone will work fine. Any more than that: *BUY A BIKE COMPUTER!*

  6. lee Taylor on July 22, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    Welcome to the Topeak show!!!

  7. Paul Grant on July 22, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    Bike computer over a phone 📲 any day.

  8. Cyrille Mouret on July 22, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    I use Cyclope because I am connected directly with other cyclists. I know their position and I can discuss with them.

  9. Noju Kuramu on July 22, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    I actually use a $5 speedometer, $10 smart watch to track my heart rate, and my phone and i feel like im a pro

  10. SolarReturn on July 22, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    I have to say…
    This is one of the best honest reviews I have seen!
    Very well done my friend!
    New subscriber here!

  11. ussling on July 22, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    I don’t need all this electronic felgercarb. My 1980 Gios Torino Super Record with the first generation Campagnolo Athena group has a 1990 CicloMaster CM 37 computer that is connected to nothing but the wire to the magnetic sensor on the fork. That thirty-one-year-old computer still works fine and has no bells or whistles. It tells me exactly what I need to know. No more, no less. The 2032 lithium battery lasts for a lot of years. I do carry a cell phone in a saddle pack.

  12. Jensen Orofino on July 22, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Here in PH, it’s not advisable to put your phone on your bike as it may be snatched by a crook on a motorcycle or by someone waiting near a stoplight. Sad.

  13. Rob Van65 on July 22, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    Cycling computers have really progressed in the last 5-10 years. If I just want to ride and know simple info from my rides a wireless analog computer ranging from $25 – $75 will work great. But if I train using a power meter, heart rate monitor, speed and cadence sensors then a dedicated GPS bike computer ranging from $150-$600 would be the best bet. It all depends how much money you’ve got and how geeky and tech-ee you are.

  14. Big Texas on July 22, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    *I just bought a nice Shimano folding bike and started back bike riding 2 months ago. I use my phone, an old galaxy S9+ and it is excellent. Large easy to read screen with internet, free google maps, FREE speed and distance app, as well as I still receive all my calls, texts, etc and I can listen to music if desired. Since I’m using my phone for a bike computer all I have to pay is my phone bill every month which I have to do anyways bike or no bike. A good bike computer cost $300+ and has limited capabilities. No limits on phone except battery life, longest I’ve ridden so far was 4 hours with the phone going on the whole time and battery was still over 20% when I arrived back home.I just dim the screen as low as possible to save battery.*

  15. Alan Herrera on July 22, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    A good battery and ultra saving mode can do the job, but the accuraciry may diverge more…

  16. Aarhus ForFreedom on July 22, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    Good stuff useful video. But the price of those bike computers are ridiculous. I might aswell buy a new phone. What is the cheapest one with gps map?

  17. Ramil Macahilas on July 22, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    i have been my phone ever since, there are several models of android phone that have ant + connectivity. i have connected all my sensors in this app ie. HRM, speed/ cadence and even my power meter, it even displays torque efficiency and pedal smoothness. the only funny thing the application does is when i synched my ride data on strava, it emulated that i am using a garmin edge unit.

  18. Frank Leurs on July 22, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    I use my phone everywhere.
    I also use it to save my runs.
    I ALSO use the Sigma BC5.16 bicycle computer. This computer is wired. I have problems with wireless bicycle-computers.
    I use a holder on my bike. It’s a bag for my phone, that I can take of the handle bars. The mount for this bag stays on my bike.

  19. Fer Nando on July 22, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    weight? have my phone on me anyways. features? usability? phones surely! sturdiness? weather proofing? a good IPX7 phone in a good case goes a long way. gorilla glass? check. protective screen over it? check. battery life? agh you’ve got me there but, for all before said, just add the extra weight of the bike computer as a small battery pack and you’ve got it. and if you want lots of power you get a bigger battery pack! on my phone I get navigation for 3 bikepacking days just with a 3 cell battery pack.
    and bike computer navigation is not better in my opinion to a phone… I’ve run my phone with komoot side by side my garmin edge explore, same route, and while the phone talks to you, garmin beeps, phone turns on its big screen and shows you a full color map, garmin shows 4 lines and an arrow, and in my case rerouting was way way better on komoot than the garmin, and komoot warns you well when you’re out while garmin only beeps once. while on multiday tours, I bring my garmin… in a bag as a backup 🙂

  20. LI-CHIANG HSIAO on July 22, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Don’t ever use your phone. I did and I regret it. You will have a ghosting screen. Unless you have a spare phone to use but then you are always going to carry two phones then might as well just get a proper cycling computer.

  21. Christopher L on July 22, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    I’m using quad lock to mount my iPhone! It’s nice to use

  22. Abisha Akmal on July 22, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    god damn, that 700c tires looks small compared to the frame

  23. Carl Doby on July 22, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    The app Jepster has replaced my bike computer. It uses ant+ sensors and Bluetooth. I also use my garmin fenix 5 to record the ride.

  24. Samrat Chakraboorty on July 22, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Why the hell phones have ip68 rating and 5000 mamp battery then..use it wisely 😜

  25. Mark Osullivan on July 22, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Love a separate bike computer but too expensive when my phone is top of range Cubot < €165 including delivery. Get a bike computer want it read power then have to lay another big amount so stuck with phone I like my phone and chances getting time more 100km (or fitness) not likely.

  26. Mathieu Terriault on July 22, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Dig the new bike

  27. Mark Hintze on July 22, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you for this video. I was considering on using my phone. I am now going to invest in a nice bike computer.
    Thank you

  28. Kenny Westone on July 22, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Please help, which app should I use so I can measure the distances I’ve made?

  29. Ulrich Z on July 22, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    That bike looks gorgeous

  30. Deryck L on July 22, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    XOSS G+ for me is a great entry in to bike computers, I am also able to connect to HRM, speed and cadence sensors. I memorize the route before I ride, dont really need the turn by turn navigation.

  31. Mark Byrne on July 22, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    I use my phone with waterproof cover. 4 hour cycle using maps and strava would use 50% battery. Huawei p30 pro new edition. I even got a free sports watch with it. Huawei gt2 and its amazing. Dynamically tracks your rides, and gathers loads of other information.

  32. Jeff Robinson on July 22, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    There is a crude but highly accurate phone "power meter" app from Intuitive App Design called Cycle Power Meter. Not pretty but great results without paying $1K+ for new pedals or cranks.

  33. Inara Fideles on July 22, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    In Brazil is quite the opposite… My phone (Moto G8 Power) was about R$1k. While a Wahoo Element Bolt costs R$3,8k.

    I know there are lots of options form both phones and cycling computers, but so far I did not find one that suits both my needs (that are pretty basic to be honest) and my wallet

  34. G on July 22, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    on the hot days, your phone will overheat in the sun. A cheap Garmin will be fine

  35. Totally Random Videos on July 22, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    it will drain your battery if you have iphone

  36. Rusty Schimelpfening on July 22, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    At some point you can not get any wetter

  37. Oliver Polden on July 22, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve never found a phone to be quite right on a bike. You can get metal mounts that interfere with the compass, rubber mounts where your phone doesn’t quite feel secure or they bob about, or they’re just not that nice a thing to have on your bike. I still don’t have a bike computer but I’m not that serious about cycling. I’ll commute and will use a bike as a mode of transport where I can so it’s most important for me just to get to where I need to go. I’ve found voice navigation with the phone in your pocket using using earphones mostly works but I never fully trust it. I have had a Beeline Velo which is a nice concept, essentially a GPS compass that points at your destination but the mount for that wasn’t good and it fell off. Beeline did sent me a replacement with a Garmin mount but the touch buttons were doing something in my pocket that would fully lock the software of the Beeline, I had to let the battery run out before I could use it again as it has no physical power button, nor can you even turn it off which would prevent the touch buttons being pressed. And also because you can’t turn it off, it will run out of battery unless you keep it on charge! It’s a shame because I would use it more if I knew it would have battery when I come to use it next. I have joined the Kickstarter project for Beeline Velo 2 and hopefully they’ve fixed these issues. Oh and before you say, yes there is a long press on one of the buttons to soft reset the beeline but even that didn’t work. Poor mount, no way to turn it off and a full lockup in my pocket meant the Beeline didn’t quite work for me. I will still use it on the odd outing but I’m constantly worried it will fall off.

  38. ALAIN BELLEMARE on July 22, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    most phones don t agree with water

  39. Greg Nixon on July 22, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    The phone works great as long as you don’t expect it to work.

  40. J Schaefer on July 22, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    If I turn off the Wi-Fi and the cellular service on my phone then use an app like ride with gps with the maps downloaded for offline use I can get at least 8 hours of battery life on an iPhone 12. The gps continues to work just fine without cell service on. I much prefer this to spending another $500 on a bike computer that will be outdated in several years (just like my phone or any other modern day electronic item). For longer rides I will carry a battery pack. True that phones don’t do well in bright sun and it is almost impossible to get touchscreen to work properly when it has water on it. But for general touring a quick stop to wipe off screen and find some shade is no big deal. I always carry my phone anyhow for emergencies, why have more gizmos to deal with ?

  41. Kwafo Acquaah Arhin on July 22, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Phone, because I ride to work while listening to podcasts or music in one ear and otherwise I have to take two devices with me. But I do see the advantages of a bike computer.

  42. Sean Ferguson on July 22, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    If I’m going to crash (and I am) I don’t want it to be with my phone.

  43. Tomek Kruk on July 22, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    There is absolutely no need in buying a bike computer, unless you’re into serious road cycling and you need all that data that is useless for 95% of riders out there. If you like bike touring or just love to cycle in general without the need of a good wank afterwards, while looking at your strava segments make yourself a favour, use your smartphone, and for the money you save buy a few pieces of decent cycling gear you will actually use. Especially if you like long bike rides that can take a few days – bike computer is another piece of electronics you need to carry a charger or a cable for and charge it. Makes no sense.

  44. GCN Tech on July 22, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    Which do you prefer to use when cycling?

  45. antonio iglesias on July 22, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    How about mobile data usage of bike GPS? Is it normal to use 5-5Gb mobile data for a 100km ride?

  46. Tamara Gosi on July 22, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    I use my phone as I have already purchased a fairly good phone not long ago and I cant really justify getting a designated bike computer at the moment. I will at some stage, just not now. There are so many different apps that you can download that give you the data that you need. Urban Biker is a pretty good one, and off course the Strava app. Not completely accurate but for beginners, its a good start.

  47. CyclingPerthWesternAustralia on July 22, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    My Garmin edge 1030 Plus :), AS I’m unable to find a phone mount for my phone

  48. Mickey Wakefield on July 22, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    What about no computer at all.

    Not a Luddite by any means – but I’ve found over time that all the futzing about with gear doesn’t improve my experience. I’ve stopped tracking my runs, rides….everything.
    Yes – I do on occasion get lost – but it’s never been a big issue and I’ve found a few new things along the way. I’ve also found that I have less injuries, because I do what my body is telling me instead of trying to peg some number on the screen.

    It’s strange how people think I’m from another planet without one though.

  49. bro yo on July 22, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    Why not using cheap chinese ones like bryton, magene or xoss?

  50. ALAIN BELLEMARE on July 22, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    can your computer make a call in case of emergency

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