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. Chris Ko on March 10, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Ridiculous to use the effin overpriced Apple stuff for comparison. If you are buying Apple’s stuff, you need lobotomy anyway.

  2. adhil sha on March 10, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Its better to use a android phone since it has more battery backup and give good performance and using strava app

  3. Perpetual Grin on March 10, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    The computer is lighter and much more aero than the phone. Every gram counts when you going to the shops.

  4. LUMIGOCHA on March 10, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Even while Connor is crouching, the tripod needs to be on a second floor.

  5. The Beast on March 10, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Im going go with phone as bike computers don’t seem to be the future with phones being faster and future proof

  6. Paul Kelly on March 10, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    I use an app on my iPhone. I start the app,shut down the screen, put the phone in my jersey pocket and go for a ride. I do that so I am not driven by numbers but by how I feel during the ride.

  7. Kalipengging on March 10, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    After 3-4 hours using Strava, Google Pixel in case display warm alert and battery drain fast.Got Edge 130, problem solved. 7-8 hours ride, phone battery still at 70%❤️

  8. Recep Tayyip on March 10, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    Which apps do you recommend for smartphones when cycling?

  9. LaLaObeRoT on March 10, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    My Galaxy M30s gets me through 6 hours of riding. With Komoot always on.

  10. Beau H on March 10, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    Since I am just getting back into cycling so to speak. My phone will have to due. However since I know my town I won’t need to use it as much. I will eventually get a bike computer. Especially since I have already ran over my phone once or twice. My only questions are these. How strong is the screen and casing of the computers? Have any of you ran over one by mistake or on purpose?

  11. Soultrain40 on March 10, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    "Getting away from your phone" = Order bike computer. Click. Done. Good video

  12. viffer94 on March 10, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    I’ve hit a pothole hard enough to pop my bike computer off its mount and bouncing down the road at 30 mph. Thankfully very little damage, they’re pretty rugged and designed for abuse. I’m not sure that $1500 iPhone would have survived as well. Even without the equivalent of taking your expensive phone and chucking it down the road as hard as you can, the constant pounding and vibration the phone takes while riding would probably shorten its life considerably whereas the bike computer is specifically designed to take this type of abuse. The modern smart phone is a wonder and can do many different things but sometimes a uni-tasker just makes a lot more sense.

  13. desaturated on March 10, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    aren’t most phone are water resistance?

  14. Cliff Forrest on March 10, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Ummm….if you need navigation to find your way home maybe what you really need is a new helmet.

  15. MuppetAlex1 on March 10, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    I used my phone for an audax. The problem is that the screen just burns through the battery. It was good, offering turn by turn from the gpx file I downloaded via Komoot. So on it’s own it lasted about 3 hrs. I then plugged in a mobile battery charger. That took the burn time to about 10 hrs. So it worked well. Still died 15 minutes before the end. But as a cheap conversion it worked well. That said, because of the battery limitations I had a plastic moment and got a wahoo roam bundle. Decent burn time making longer audaxes possible

  16. Tedolph Bundler on March 10, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    How do you use the touch screen with gloves?

  17. sedwarg on March 10, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Uses a shit phone for the entire comparison, highlighting lack of robustness

    Claims price is an issue with reference to top end £1,000 waterproof iPhone with ceramic screen

  18. J Potter on March 10, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    I use my old phone as my bike computer, means I don’t have to worry about breaking my £1000 phone, and the background app issue is not an issue as it is almost solely used as a bike computer/MP3/Video player these days.

  19. Groovy Bear on March 10, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    "rain is a guaranteed part of cycling", rather like "a guaranteed part of cycling in the UK…" ^^/

  20. Keith Dainton on March 10, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    I use Samsung health app on my phone while biking to record my rides don’t need anything else.

  21. Toshesh Daulta on March 10, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Is that gazoo’s helmet?

  22. jim jeffries on March 10, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    I watch your show while biking my commute, don’t think I can do that with a bike only tracker.

  23. Ja89Br on March 10, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    I get that I’m a bit late to this video but what is going on at 4:48? Is that Prisma or a similar app making the screen into a bit of arty-ness?

  24. M. H. on March 10, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    For me the bad point on GPS Bike Computer is the poor performance. Scrolling is slow, zooming is slow, recalculate the route is slow. Sorry Guys, we are in the 21 mth century not in the 90s. All chips and energy saving mobile CPUs have enough power. So use them!

  25. Mike Hammer on March 10, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    You can buy an inexpensive multifunction wireless bike computer for under 20 USD on Amazon but if your bike breaks or you are injured, only a cell phone will get you help. And as for rain, just wrap the phone in Sarah wrap.

  26. Bryan Baker on March 10, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    How do you get the Strava app on an iPhone to display HR from my Apple Watch during a ride?

  27. John Oconnor on March 10, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    Great video thank you from rep of Ireland 🍀🇨🇮👍

  28. craig woodgate on March 10, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    I’m thinking about buying a cycling computer I currently use my samsung galaxy watch and just get the data on my phone when i get back home but now I’m thinking about buying a computer co put on my handlebars as I don’t often take my phone as i have LTE on my watch the only reason I don’t use anything but my watch is because i know all the roads where i live so i can just head out and just know where I’m going the main reason why I don’t take my phone is just in case it rains where as my watch is water proof so I’m not bothered if it get wet

  29. Alex on March 10, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    I think the 1000 dollar phone is a little bit of a push. Get a cheap android for £100 as your dedicated bike computer with large 5kmah battery built in. I don’t understand the point in dedicated bike computers personally

  30. Schmotzky on March 10, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Most extra bike stuff are gimmicks and a waste of money (bike computers etc). Just more of a way to look like a blow hard. You should bring your phone with you anyway on a ride. So use it.

  31. Mike Hall on March 10, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    I always have my phone hooked up to a battery charger when riding so it won’t drain the battery. Mike

  32. 23bogarka on March 10, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Yup.. Buy a second phone.. 200 bucs, for ex. IPhone 7,waterproof,vey good specs even today standard’s and you are good to goooo.. For me, that’s better,then a bike computer, especially having multiple phones around..

  33. fendermon on March 10, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Very confusing. I just want strong visual and audio alerts from my Varia radar. Preferably without my phone bouncing off my handlebars or ripping through its battery. Any tips appreciated.

  34. Achmad Fadil on March 10, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    Why not both

  35. Tmac1701 on March 10, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    My Galaxy Note 10 with a top notch cycle app is my choice. My Note 10 is never out of it’s otterbox case, because of the occasional drops, accidents and weather. All my music is on my phone, which makes my ride a lot better. Most of the time I drive to my ride location, park or cycle trail and after 45min to an hour of riding, my phone battery is only down to 85%. All While using my cycle app, my music app, and answering the occasional call while riding. When I get back to car, phone goes back on it’s charge. So, it’s the phone for me.

  36. LUMIGOCHA on March 10, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    I started riding last year, and have been using my phone just for recording the total distance and time, and the overall route to keep track of my rides (speed, elevation, gradient, etc. are not stats I trust much with my phone). So I decided to get a GPS bike computer with sensors to know more about my conditions, such as cadence and speed, and gradient, so I can train better knowing my in-real-time stats.

  37. jim jeffries on March 10, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    I am in the US, and I found that Google was tracking how much time I spent in a car, per month; or on a bike. As I got faster and stronger, gave up on driving all together, I found it awesome when Google thinks my rides are motorized.
    I have made use of the boomerang bike alarm, great alarm, decent tracking available through their dashboard, easy to use app on my phone.

  38. BAHADIR ERCAN on March 10, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    add a powerbank 🙂

  39. Syed Ahmed on March 10, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    The final analysis is a false comparison. This is not a choice between an expensive phone OR a bike computer, it’s a choice between a bike phone mount or a bike computer. 99% of cyclists will already have an expensive smart phone.

    The question is, does the added functionality, resilience and battery life of a bike computer justify the ADDITIONAL cost? Having cycled in a few rain deluges with an expensive quadlock and spare battery I think a moderately priced bike computer might be a good option on top (sub £200). I need to be able to have a functioning GPS device whilst it’s pouring down. The phone screen becomes unusable when drenched with water.

  40. Simon Gates on March 10, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    I just my phone which is a
    Samsung XCover Pro. While not official rated for water proof. It does hold up to being submerge in water for 30mins. Does what I need. And I also use the wahoo cadence sensor.

  41. Mingology on March 10, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    Hey Dude you got a very nice bike! 👍🏻

  42. Richard K on March 10, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    The throw the cat among the pigeons, a GPS watch is also a possibility for any cyclist. They have huge battery life and can be used for running, hiking, walking, swimming etc if you are into that. Some are even compatible with Strava live segments. The only downside is the small screen and awkward position when riding. A watch + phone combo might work better for some people.

  43. eyevin cast on March 10, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    Well I like having music with me so I take my phone along with blutooth ear buds and use a smartwatch for data I care about such as distance total time heart rate calories and that sort of thing. I use strava or samsung health both work great! Atleast for my needs simple data.
    Bike computers seem nice and all but I think a smart watch is far simpler and leaves my cockpit clean otherwise I think I’d spend more money 💰to get it setup to look cool.

  44. D 20 on March 10, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    i prefer computer for all the reasons you mentioned.

  45. Pascal Renner on March 10, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    If you are navigating with Komoot you can download the route and then turn flight mode on and just leave gps on so you won’t get distracted and the battery life increases

  46. SlaveLaboringKid on March 10, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    99% of the time you arent looking at the computer anyways, they are only good when you are pushing for a top speed

  47. Raymond Yadusky on March 10, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Why get into a clown outfit to go ride your bike?

  48. Michal Wiktorow on March 10, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    1. Wrong – Phone is design to navigate and have Always-On Screen (tests show "Screen ON Time – test is depicting how log battery will last in such scenario)
    2. Wrong – phones do have much better signal and chipsets integrated into them for GPS purposes – bear in mind those comments regarding WAHOO failing to track location & speed properly in forest (L5 band is available in Phones, but not in Wahoo/Garmin)
    3. Wrong – screen – you can buy OLED equpped smartphone with bright as hell screen, not this ’90 crappy few color screen
    4. Wrong – again – most phones are IP65 at the very least, some IP67 certified (and tested on the YT like S9+)
    5. Wrong – "easy to use buttons" will never replace whole touch screeen
    6. Wrong – "unreliable GPS" – now this one GCN has gone waaaaaay to far with this b$it, there are limits of ‘paid reviews’ and ‘paid b$it’ – on what basis you create this assumption: "bike computer will be accurate to 2 feet, and phones up to 6 feet" this is just ‘ANOTHER LVL of b$itting! Do you have knowledge of Android GPS API and how L5 differ from L2C are you serius?, ‘ "good job", and yes phones can connect via BT to speed-sensors, cadence sensors
    7. Yes – phones have much more distractions (that can be turned off mostly)

  49. tunafish on March 10, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    I use a map and compass

  50. GCN Tech on March 10, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Which do you prefer to use when cycling?

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