The first of the 21 Tour de France stages starts this weekend. While you might not be ready to conquer the 3,500km course, or the punishing climbs and switchbacks of L’Alpe D’Huez or Mont Ventoux, there are a whole host of cycling events taking place across the UK this summer and one of these wearables could help you prepare.
The fitness watches and smartwatches below all have features designed to help you break away from the peloton and get closer to your cycling goals.
So whether you’re dreaming of the yellow jersey, planning to take part in a ride for charity, or want to track and improve your mountain biking or road cycle to work, we’ve found a device for you.
Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers – find out which all-rounders topped our test
Garmin Forerunner 935 – for the serious road cyclist
If you like to don your Lycra and hit the tarmac at the weekend, you’ll want a fitness watch that can keep up. The top-of-the-line Forerunner 935 can do just that, and has built-in GPS for tracking your route and setting distance goals, plus a heart-rate monitor for recording improvements.
It’s advertised as a running and triathlon watch, and there are plenty of biking pursuits to pick from. This includes both road cycling and cycling on a stationary bike, so it’s got you covered whatever the weather. You can also use it while mountain biking, when a handy built-in compass will come in useful.
During your ride you can view live heart-rate and training zone data. On the Garmin Connect app you can view graphs with splits on speed, elevation and distance, too. It’s a pricey prospect, though, so does it successfully combine all these features in to a user-friendly, comfortable and accurate fitness watch? Find out in our full Garmin Forerunner 935 review.
Suunto 3 Fitness – for the mountain biker
If you’re planning to get out of the city and hit the countryside trails, then you’ll want a fitness watch that promises reliable GPS plus cycle profiles. Suunto specialises in making precision navigation instruments. In the 1930s, its founder produced a compact, lightweight military compass for the wrist and now this background is used in the brand’s fitness watches – such as the Suunto 3 Fitness.
It has a built-in heart-rate monitor, and the GPS can be used to see real-time maps while you’re out and about – great if you’re trying out a new trail or end up cycling further than planned. It’s fairly lightweight at 56 grams, too.
If you plan to wear your fitness watch during mountain biking, it needs to be able to survive being splattered with mud and the occasional tumble, too – we test every wearable for durability. Find out whether this fitness watch is built to last, and how well the GPS works, by heading to our full Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR review.
Apple Watch Series 3 GPS – for the cycle commute
The Apple Watch Series 3 isn’t an obvious choice when it comes to cycle tracking, but if you’re looking for a flexible smartwatch to track a variety of daily activity then it’s a good option. It provides useful data about your ride and health, thanks to built-in GPS and a heart-rate monitor, and is slimline enough to sit comfortably under a shirt or jacket sleeve for the office.
The data is a little limited compared to the Garmin Forerunner 935, but an added bonus is being able to install your favourite cycle app to really take your ride tracking to the next level. Whether you want to be King of the Mountain using Strava or search popular local routes using the cycle version of RunTracker, the Apple Watch gives you the option to track your ride from your wrist.
But is it worth picking up the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS? We reveal what this smartwatch has to offer, and whether it’s accurate and comfortable, in our full Apple Watch Series 3 GPS Review.
If cycling isn’t your sport, or you want to track multiple activities, then see our pick of the best fitness watches and activity trackers.