A watch would probably be the last thing cyclists would wear. Doing so can be a nuisance for others. Like, it can be a hassle when getting into and out of kit or can get mixed up with the arm warmers. What’s worse is, not only you, but your watch would get scratched (or smashed!) the moment you fall off, as well.

A couple of years ago, this fact was correct. But gone are those days when you carry a watch for timekeeping. Nowadays, ‘smart’ watches are used as a tracker for distance, pacing, health status, and location, all playing an essential role when you’re cycling.

Smartwatch versus Handlebar Computer

As a beginner, you might find handlebar-mounted computers as cool accessories on your bicycles. However, it shows biking data and maps in a broader screen. By contrast, smartwatches can track almost everything, including your health, location, and running modes. Specifically, here are three features that make a smartwatch a must-have in terms of athletic purposes.

Connectivity and Compatibility

Connectivity and compatibility should be taken into account when selecting a suitable smartwatch for you. Most of them have ANT+ protocol, Bluetooth, and WiFi connectivity. Compatibility, on the other hand, is the main issue here.

For example, you own a power-meter made from Quarq or Garmin, which only broadcast with ANT+ signal. This gadget can’t be compatible with smartwatches that only have Bluetooth connectivity. You have to look for other pieces that can work with devices with ANT+ signal protocol. Also, other more stylish watches with ‘activity tracker’ lack the power-meter compatibility feature, while some may be limited to specific units.

Choose a smartwatch that can connect with the sensors you already have. If neither Bluetooth or ANT+ signal isn’t helping you, you can always rely on a WiFi network. For cyclists, you want to have a piece that can sync and operate well with your phone, heart rate strap or cadence, power meter, speed sensor, and the like.

Navigation-related Sensors

Many high-end smartwatches have a high definition of style built-in sensors. Others can even connect to the Global Satellite Navigation System (GLONASS) for accurate data. In general, these devices have built-in features that are helpful for cyclists, such as:

Pedometers ( measures one’s physical activity level, including steps)
Accelerometers (measures acceleration)
Gyroscopes (measures orientation and angular velocity)
Barometers (measures atmospheric pressure)
Altimeters (measures altitude)

Additionally, another typical feature of a smartwatch is its breadcrumb style of navigation. After pre-loading routes, it can alert you as you reach on specific points of interest in your courses.
A smartwatch can also track your daily progress. It records the distance you’ve traveled and the time you spent in achieving it. In assessing your daily training goals, timer and stopwatch features are utilized. These two can be found both in digital watches and smartwatches.

Smartwatches would let you know how poor or well your daily performance, allowing you to realize how much you improve and what you should develop more next time. You can say that smartwatches are like goal setters.

Health and Fitness-focused Features

Not only your performance, but smartwatches can record any health-related data through an integrated functionality that’s typically employed in our fitness trackers. Listed below is a roundup of a smartwatch health and fitness features that every cyclist must consider:

Electrocardiogram (ECG)/Heart Rate Monitor. It can identify heart rate from your wrist. Also, through reliable artificial intelligence (AI), it can determine abnormal heart rhythms, which can result in lead to cardiac-related issues. Apple Watch Series 4 has this feature, but it’s mostly common to many smartwatches nowadays.

Oscillometric Blood Pressure. It works as almost perfectly the same as hospital blood pressure gauge. One example of FDA certified smartwatch with this feature is the Omron HeartGuide Smartwatch.

Emergency SOS. As mentioned earlier, AI can now be integrated into your smartwatch. Let’s say, if the AI detected an abnormality in your body, it would notify you. However, if you didn’t respond, it can alert responsible medical professionals. Specifically, Apple Watch has this feature.

Calories Burned Calculator. This feature works the same as a pedometer, which gives an estimated number of steps that you made throughout the day. The calories you burned are measured through your logged activities like walking or running, as well as the time duration spent in every action.

Moreover, several smartwatches can track the quality and length of sleep. This feature varies depending on different manufacturers. Most of these companies have their algorithms in assessing your sleep. However, it’s typically integrated with other features, such as the electrocardiogram, timer, and accelerometer monitor. You can find most of these watches at and other credible timepiece retailers online.


A smartwatch does more than how a traditional watch works. It does health monitoring and fitness tracking, which are both beneficial to every person, not only cyclists, athletes, or fitness enthusiasts. If you’re just after time reading, you might not find it useful. However, if you’re health-conscious, it can surely aid you in many ways.