Best Watches for Mountain Biking
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For serious mountain bikers, a handlebar-mounted bike computer was the only reliable option for storing correct ride data and GPS route tracking until recently. However, with technological advancements, you can now find watches with biking-specific features and those with compatible biking apps and a dedicated cycling mode.

Sale
Best Watches For Mountain Biking
Our Pick

Our top pick for the best watches for mountain biking is SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak Watch. With its wide range of features, excellent navigation, improved battery life, and off-road styling, this watch is a cracking mountain biking watch. The watch is designed to be durable and comfortable with a sleek design that utilizes comfortable and robust materials.

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The best watches for mountain biking are versatile and have additional body metrics. Some can track your heart rate while others can measure optimal and V02 max recovery time. In this guide, we have included everything from the very affordable watches to the high-end options.

Best Mountain Biking Watches – A Comparison Table

Preview
Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features GLONASS and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-axis Compass, Tundra
Garmin Forerunner 645, GPS Running Watch with Pay Contactless Payments and Wrist-Based Heart Rate, Black
SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010
Garmin vvoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-In Sports Apps, Black with Silver Hardware
Our Pick
SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak HR Monitor Running GPS Unit, Black
Battery Life
14 days
7 days
12 – 18 months
7 days
200 hours
GPS Enabled
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance (meters)
100
50
30
50
100
Band Material
Silicone
Silicone/Stainless Steel
Metallic-fiber
Silicone
Elastomer
Smartphone Compatible
Preview
Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features GLONASS and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-axis Compass, Tundra
Battery Life
14 days
GPS Enabled
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance (meters)
100
Band Material
Silicone
Smartphone Compatible
Preview
Garmin Forerunner 645, GPS Running Watch with Pay Contactless Payments and Wrist-Based Heart Rate, Black
Battery Life
7 days
GPS Enabled
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance (meters)
50
Band Material
Silicone/Stainless Steel
Smartphone Compatible
Preview
SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010
Battery Life
12 – 18 months
GPS Enabled
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance (meters)
30
Band Material
Metallic-fiber
Smartphone Compatible
Preview
Garmin vvoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-In Sports Apps, Black with Silver Hardware
Battery Life
7 days
GPS Enabled
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance (meters)
50
Band Material
Silicone
Smartphone Compatible
Our Pick
Preview
SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak HR Monitor Running GPS Unit, Black
Battery Life
200 hours
GPS Enabled
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance (meters)
100
Band Material
Elastomer
Smartphone Compatible
Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

What to Look for?

Mountain Biking

A) Comfort

Most smartwatches bands are made of rubber or silicone for ultimate comfort. However, for classier and sleeker design, some options would still come with fabric and leather bands. Whichever you decide to go for, ensure the band is breathable even during cycling, and it fits you well.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

B) Battery Life

Given all the features the best watches for mountain biking must-have, battery life is an essential factor that every rider must consider. Can your watch match your lifestyle, or will it turn off suddenly in the middle of the ride? Most watches claim their battery lasts up to 5 or 7 days. However, it is vital to check its battery life when it is “inactive” or when the GPS and other features that drain batteries heavily are in use.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

C) Water Resistance

Since you would be using this watch for mountain biking, we advise that you choose a water-resistant option. A water-resistant option is very convenient in case you get caught in the rain while on the trail.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

D) Hardware Design

Since the screens of these watches are usually small, it’s important to check this aspect (particularly for riders with fat fingers). Make sure the user interface of the watch matches the screen size and the size of your fingers, so it can be less frustrating to use. Since you had already considered the water-resistance of the watch, it is also vital to examine if the touchscreen will still work even when it’s wet.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

E) Easy to Read Display

The screen of your watch must be readable; otherwise, all the data it displays are worthless. Its size doesn’t matter significantly, provided that the design of its user interface fits well. Also, it should be easy to read in the dark or under the bright sun.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

F) Reliable GPS

Similar to snowboarding and skiing, an important feature you would look for as a mountain biker is a reliable GPS that will enable you to easily navigate around your trail. Some high-end watches come with breadcrumb style navigation, which helps riders trace back their route to the starting point.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

G) Heart Monitor

Optical heart rate sensors are now a standard feature you will find in the best watches for mountain biking. This feature is majorly wrist-based, so some readings may be incorrect, especially when you are riding over rugged terrains, or the watch is not tightly worn.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

Best Watches for Mountain Biking

Here are the top 6 best watches for mountain biking on the market today:

1. Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch with GPS

The Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch is an affordable, adventure-focused watch that is housed in a rugged- and good-looking package.

Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features GLONASS and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-axis Compass, Tundra

  • It has a crisp white and black display.
  • Thanks to its military standard (MIL-STD) 810G credentials, it is super rugged and waterproof to 100 meters.
  • This watch is a bit different as it comes with many of the features you would typically associate with Garmin’s Fenix Series, such as 14-day battery life, navigation tools, and GPS tracking.
  • Plus, it includes a wide range of tracking and sensors tech, including an altimeter, a 3-axis compass, and a heart rate monitor.
  • There is also Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, so users can connect the watch to their phone and other external sensors.
  • The Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch is well-built and robust, as you would expect from a device that is made to accompany you on different outdoor expeditions.
Pros
  • Lots of outdoor features.
  • Affordable
  • Superb battery life
  • Rugged MIL-STD design
Cons
  • Low-resolution display
Check Price on Amazon

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

2. Garmin Forerunner 645 GPS Watch

Despite its name, Garmin Forerunner 645 GPS Watch is more than just a running watch.

Garmin Forerunner 645, GPS Running Watch with Pay Contactless Payments and Wrist-Based Heart Rate, Black

  • It’s a very comprehensive activity tracker with four sports modes: cycle, run, run indoor, and other.
  • Just like other sports watches, this watch allows you to see your time, distances, heart rate, and calories.
  • This watch is housed under chemically strengthened glass and is very easy to read, even in direct sunlight.
  • One key feature it boasts is the maximum volume of oxygen or the V02 Max Reading.
  • It is a crucial indicator of your progress and current fitness level.
  • With up to 12 hours in GPS mode and 7 days battery life in smartwatch mode, the Garmin Forerunner 645 GPS Watch is the biking partner that can keep up with you.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight design
  • Awesome activity metrics
Cons
  • Prone to error device pairing.
Check Price on Amazon

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

3. SUUNTO Core Outdoor Sports Watch

SUUNTO Core Outdoor Sports Watch is a timepiece specially designed for outdoor activities.

SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010

  • It features a sturdy, water-resistant casing, and its design combines the modern and dynamic look with the reliability of SUUNTO watches.
  • This watch is characterized by a digital display and round bezel protected by a scratch-resistant crystal window.
  • Combining a barometer, altimeter, and a compass, it will bring out the adventurer in you.
  • The altimeter will help determine your current elevation, track your descent or ascent, and gauge your progress on a climb.
  • By keeping a close eye on the air pressure trend, the barometer forecasts sudden alterations in the weather.
  • Additionally, the compass will help you navigate and pinpoint locations to find your way in whiteout conditions and through wilderness safely.
Pros
  • Easy to read display.
  • Good battery life
  • Rugged and durable design.
  • Stylish designs, variations, and color.
Cons
  • No GPS
  • Lacks heart rate monitor.
Check Price on Amazon

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

4. Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch is a durable and attractive watch that hits the sweet spot between smartwatch functionality and fitness tracker.

Garmin vvoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-In Sports Apps, Black with Silver Hardware

  • Its design reflects its smart yet sporty credentials, as it appears more like a watch than a fitness tracker.
  • In keeping with the sports tech legacy of Garmin, this watch has GPS tracking, a heart rate sensor, and a wide range of built-in apps dedicated to helping you keep tabs on your activities while on the trail.
  • Thanks to the Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, this watch allows you to monitor vital aspects of your fitness.
  • The watch is also waterproof, and the screen comes with Gorilla Glass 3, so it is scuff and scratch-resistant.
  • The Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch is comfy to wear and lightweight, and it is packed with practical features.
Pros
  • Great battery life
  • Lightweight design
  • 24/7 heart-rate monitoring
Cons
  • Lacks onboard music storage.
Check Price on Amazon

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

5. Coros Pace GPS Watch

The Coros Pace GPS Watch attempts to fill the niche between consumer-oriented trackers and high-end GPS watches.

Coros PACE GPS Sports Watch with Wrist-Based Heart Rate Monitoring | Includes Running, Cycling, Swimming and Triathlon Features. Barometric Altimeter, Strava Compatible, One Size, Black

  • It has a screen that is big enough for a quick glance at critical metrics while riding, but not too big that it becomes so uncomfortable.
  • Thanks to the choice of materials, it is also lightweight: the case is made of plastic material, and the band is made of a silicone material that is ventilated to minimize sweat and soft to the touch.
  • While it’s plastic, this watch has a reliable build quality.
  • The glass is scratch-resistant, and the housing is durable.
  • The PACE has a built-in heart rate monitor that records while riding.
  • It features a barometer which uses the atmospheric pressure of the earth to determine your altitude, making it great for mountain biking.
  • With the Coros Pace GPS Watch, you need not worry about charging your watch continually as the battery can last up to 30 days in smartwatch mode.
Pros
  • Lightweight design
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Reasonably priced
Cons
  • No music controls or playback.
Check Price on Amazon

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

6. SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak Watch

SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak Watch is a great all-round watch. Its GPS capability, combined with its accuracy, makes this unit one of our favorites.

SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak HR Monitor Running GPS Unit, Black

  • While tracking your typical speed, distance, and duration, this watch goes one step further as it allows users to monitor heart rate and plan routes.
  • Also, the watch gives you extra help by providing storm alerts as the weather is changing and daylight hours, so you don’t get stuck in the dark.
  • There is also the FindBack feature that navigates the rider back to the starting point, so they don’t get lost.
  • This comfortable and sleek watch is both highly accurate and durable, allowing riders to feel secure wearing this watch.
  • SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak Watch is relatively easy to use and provides useful features with a clear and simple display.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable
  • Measures elevation, barometric pressure, and altitude.
  • Rechargeable battery
Cons
  • A bit pricey for some mountain bikers.
Check Price on Amazon

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

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Top-Rated Watches For Mountain Biking
Our Pick

Our top recommendation for the best watches for mountain biking is SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak Watch. This GPS watch features excellent navigation, improved battery life, and off-road styling, and it is a cracking watch for mountain biking.

Having a watch with biking activity tracking apps and built-in cycling features can make your mountain biking more enjoyable. Being to track your heart rate or access GPS while riding your bike gives you additional convenience.

Hopefully, our review of the best watches for mountain biking has helped you to make an informed decision.

Top 6 BEST Watches For Mountain Biking 1

Key References

  • “Using Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches to Measure Physical Activity in Research: Analysis of Consumer Wrist-Worn Wearables”. Accessed March 15, 2020. Link.

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