Everything gets better when related data is available. Same goes for cycling. You can buy one of the best Santa Cruz mountain bikes having all the features you want. However, this is not enough if you want to measure your performance, have some goals to achieve and want to keep track of improvements. You need data for that.

To get that data, some people download and install cycling apps on their smartphone and some people buy bike computers. These apps and bike computers make your ride data available to you. Before buying a bike computer or using one of its alternatives, ask yourself the following questions:

What is the information you want to collect?

What is your budget?

What are the other functionalities you want?

Different Options Available to You:

Following are the data devices you can use:

Bike computer:

This sport-specific device has the following pros and cons:


  • Mounted on the bike
  • Weatherproof
  • Compact
  • Less prone to damage  


  • Has no other use


If you have a GPS-enabled smartphone then you can install a cycling app.


  • Large screen
  • Easy to read
  • Mapping option
  • Data capture and display


  • Needs an ancillary case for weatherproofing
  • Needs a mounting bracket
  • GPS consumes more battery
  • More prone to damage due to an accident

Fitness monitor:

It is a GPS sports watch you can mount to the handlebar of your bike. This watch comes with a bike mode.


  • Multi-use device
  • Weatherproof


  • Less compact and more prone to damage

Type of rider:

Usually, there are the following three types of cyclists:

  • Casual
  • Enthusiast
  • Competitive

Casual cyclists want to know about speed, time and distance.

Cycling enthusiasts want to know about maximum speed, average speed, trip distance, total odometer and some other information.

In addition to these pieces of information, competitive cyclists also want to know about their elevation gained, heart rate and power output.

Factors to consider while buying a bike computer: 

We all consider a lot of things while buying Santa Cruz mountain bikes. Similarly, we need to consider some important factors before buying a bike computer.

Type of sensors:


A magnet is attached to the wheel spoke and a sensor is attached to the front fork. It is cheaper and has longer battery life. However, it has no GPS functionality.


It is GPS enabled with a satellite receiver. It has more data option. You can transfer data to your computer. You can also customize the screen. However, it is heavier and also costs high. You need to recharge it regularly.         

Wired or wireless:

In a wired transmission, a wire is used to transmit signals to the display. It is simple, lightweight and also inexpensive. However, the wire might get caught. And, it is not swappable between bikes.        

In a wireless bike computer, no wire is used to transmit the signal. It is easy to install. However, it is expensive.   

Other things you need consider:

  • Backlight   
  • Battery life of up to 20 hours
  • Multiple data screens
  • Data transfer
  • Readability
  • Multi-bike use
  • Additional mounts


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