Best Watch For Mountain Biking in 2021 | Reliable GPS Choices

Mountain biking requires you to follow trails and conquer rocky coastlines while keeping fit. The best watch for mountain biking comes with lots of features to find your way around the terrain as you ride. We have taken some time out to review some best cycling watches you can pick for your next mountain biking ride.


The best watches for mountain biking and cycling we discuss in this article


7 Things to Carry on Every Mountain Bike Ride

The element of exploration is the major experience you get from every mountain bike ride. Regardless of how far you go, it’s important to pack up a few essential things. Below is a quick list of 7 things to pack for an enjoyable experience without a breakdown.

things to carry for a mountain biking adventure

A Multi-tool with a Chain Tool

For an enjoyable experience, the number one tool to pack on every ride is a multi-tool. It helps you make most repairs and adjustments as you ride. We recommend you opt-in for a multi-tool with a built-in chain tool.

A patch kit

A patch tool comes handy when you’ve used your last tube. It takes up tiny space in your pack and it’s a great giveaway to stranded riders.

Minimal first aid kit

For the sake of a medical emergency, make sure you carry a small first aid kid along. Besides other items in your kit, make sure you add bandages, gauze, and disinfecting wipes.

Water & Some Food

Depending on the season, always carry water more than you need for the planned ride. This may be 1–2 liters depending on your needs. Also, your body needs some energy. Carry some actual food or power bars with you.

A mobile phone

In case of an emergency, a mobile phone can help you phone home. Smartphone apps like TrailFork can help you find your way and it works offline as long as your GPS is accurate.

A GPS watch

Getting a good gps watch for mountain biking can be a good game changer. The watches reviewed above can help you plan and keep track of your mountain ride.



Buying Guide: How to Choose The Best Watch for Mountain Biking

GPS Capability

One of the most important features to look for in a biking watch is GPS. Mountain biking is about planning and following trails. A GPS capable watch will allow you to navigate around your trail easily.

Some high-end watches like Fenix 5 even allow you to trackback your trail. Others use GLONASS to increase the accuracy of its navigation system.

Battery Life

While mountain biking is an outdoor sport, going for a watch that has a long battery life is important. It’s a good practice to check the battery life when the watch is in inactivity and when it uses its GPS and other features that heavily drain the battery.

With this, you can be sure that the watch you are investing in would not suddenly turn off in the middle of your ride.

Water Resistance

For every cycling enthusiast, we recommend a watch which will not be hurt by rain. Water-resistance is an important factor if you plan on taking your biking seriously.

Easy to Read Display

While it’s important to get a biking watch that comes with the best navigation and fitness features, it’s very important to pick one that is readable under good lighting conditions.

Otherwise, all its features are worthless since you can’t use them outdoor. So we recommend a biking watch that is readable under bright sunlight and in the dark.


For mountain cycling, it’s an excellent idea to pick a watch that supports smart notifications. This keeps you focused on your ride without stopping to view your messages/calls notification.

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When shopping for your cycling watch, select one that fits your style and blends easily with your everyday life. This makes it easier to use your watch both for mountain biking and everything in between.



Best Watch For Mountain Biking and Cycling

Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin fēnix 5, Premium and Rugged Multisport GPS Smartwatch, Slate Gray/Black Band, 47 MM
  • Premium Multisport GPS watch with Elevate wrist heart rate technology. Physical size 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.6 inches. Cockpit watch band compatible included (22 mm)
  • Fit for adventure with a rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case. Display type: sunlight visible, transflective memory in pixel (MIP)
  • Put key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows the effects and progress of your workouts. Case material : Fiber reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover
  • Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community and personalization through free watch faces and apps from our Connect IQ store. Display size: 1.2 inches (240 x 240)
  • Outdoor sensors, including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3 axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter. Battery life- Smartwatch mode-Up to 2 weeks. GPS/HR mode-Up to 24 hours. UltraTrac mode-Up to 60 hours without wrist heart rate

Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Garmin Fenix 5 features stainless steel black bezel held in place by 5 screws and a scratch-resistant sapphire dial. The watch has a very rugged design and can withstand the outdoor beatings.

This smartwatch gives every mountain biker the ability to pre-load maps before leaving. You can also connect with power meters. The information from your power meter is available on the watch dial once you make the connection.

The Garmin Fenix 5 is also a robust activity tracker. You can use it to track everything from running, biking to advance running dynamics.

With this timepiece, you also have the possibility of smart notifications like receiving local weather, calendar appointments, notifications from calls and texts, etc.

Also, one thing that puts this watch ahead of others on this list is its battery life with up to 20 hours in GPS mode. This timepiece also allows for easy customization. You can easily change the strap to blend in with your outfit.





Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin 010-01769-01 Vivoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-In Sports Apps, Black with Silver Hardware
  • Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch (available for supported cards from participating banks)
  • Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ store
  • More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more
  • Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness made estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress
  • Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, Live Track and more when paired with a compatible smartphone
  • Battery life: Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; 13 hours in GPS mode. Display size: 1.2 inch diameter

Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 shines in fitness tracking. It beats the Fitbit Iconic when it comes to tracking exercise. It is definitely one of the best mountain biking watches.

This smartwatch has an inbuilt GPS and GLONASS positional radios you can readily use for tracking. Besides this, you can accurately track your heart rate during your ride.

It uses its heart rate sensor to measure your V02 max score which is a measurement of your general cardiovascular fitness levels.

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Other sensors in this timepiece include a barometric, altimeter, compass, accelerometer and thermometer. All these sensors work together to feed you with every data you need for our mountain bike ride.

This watch comes with a water-resistant rating of 50 meters so you can be sure rain won’t ruin it if the weather changes quickly.

Though its appearance doesn’t convince that much, its display is super bright and easy to see under all light conditions. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 lasts for 13 hours of GPS tracking – another plus for outdoor activities..


  • Has an always-on display.
  • Round design.
  • Has an advance workout-tracking capability.
  • No on-watch music playback.



Suunto 9

SUUNTO 9 GPS Sports Watch
  • SUUNTO 9 Baro: This durable multisport GPS watch is designed for athletes who demand the best; Featuring over 80 sports modes, a barometer for accurate altitude info, and wrist heart rate monitor
  • Built To Last: Made for training, racing and extreme adventures, this GPS watch delivers up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking; Water resistant to 100 meters; Great for running, hiking, cycling and more
  • Get Connected: Connect to your favorite sports apps and services from the SUUNTO app to get more from your watch; Share with your sports communities and access specific training analysis and guidance
  • Adventure Starts Here: Combining Scandinavian design with ultra durable materials, our watches track your sports, daily activity, and sleep to help you keep life, training and recovery in balance
  • Authentic Heritage: Founded in 1936, SUUNTO brings over 80 years of high quality heritage, craftsmanship, relentless accuracy, and pioneering innovation to our watches, compasses, and dive products

Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Suunto 9 comes with lots of options for mountain biking and cycling. It has a stainless steel bezel with a sapphire glass crystal to protect the dial.

Its case material features glass fiber reinforced polyamide, which gives it the strength to withstand the outdoor beating.

On the feature side, this watch comes with super cool GPS tracking modes. Its FusedTrack mode gives the watch the ability to get GPS tracks without GPS data. This saves on battery life.

It also comes with an optical heart rate sensor from Valencell. Another update to the Suunto Spartan series. The sensor is placed at the rear and measures heart rate accurately.

There’s a significant improvement to its battery life. The Suunto 9 offers three new battery performance options: Power, Endurance, and Ultra.

It has the option to change battery options mid-workout to get to finish. You can also go into super-low power Chrono mode to finish workout.

Other sensors in this smartwatch include an altimeter, a barometer, and a digital compass. It’s also water-resistant to 100 meters.


  • ​Touch screen display.
  • Its altimeter is consistent.
  • Has ​clear graphs.
  • Has a rugged design.
  • Hard to read under direct sunlight



Polar M430

POLAR M430 GPS Running Watch, Black (90066335),Medium/Large
  • Optical heart rate monitor - continuous, accurate heart rate without a chest strap via a 6 LED optical sensor
  • Integrated GPS - running watch tracks speed, distance, pace and routes. Display resolution: 128 x 128
  • 24/7 activity tracking - Track your daily activity, including steps, calories and sleep with the guidance to help you reach your activity goal
  • Vibration alerts - be alerted with vibrating notifications of incoming calls, messages or during training and periods of inactivity
  • Rechargeable Battery - three different GPS watch recording options to choose from allow for 8 hours to nearly 30 hours of training time. Rechargeable 240 mAh lithium polymer battery
  • Combining a best-in-class GPS watch with advanced running metrics and the freedom of optical heart rate technology, the Polar M430 stands as our flagship running product. With a personalized running program to support your goals for the season and enhance

Last update on 2021-05-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This Polar M430 targets all running and cycling enthusiasts. This smartwatch comes with softer silicone bands and a Gorilla glass display. It’s a robust running watch and can withstand all outdoor impacts.

See Also:   6 Best Fitness Trackers For Cycling In 2021

The screen is readable under bright light and the Gorilla glass gives it an added protection to go with. You also get vibration alert and a heart rate sensor with this model. A significant improvement from the M400.

The M430 also comes with a new Low Power GPS mode. The High Accuracy Mode plots GPS points every 1 second.

Its Medium Accuracy Recording Mode plots GPS points every 30 seconds and its Low Power Recording Mode does that every 60 seconds. In all three modes, the Heart Rate (HR) reading is done every second.

The battery life of this timepiece depends on which mode you use. You can get 8 hours of training with GPS and optical heart rate and up to 30 hours in Low-Power Mode.

You need not worry if you are caught by poor weather as the watch supports water resistance of up to 30 meters.


  • Comes with vibrating alerts.
  • New low-power GPS modes.
  • Improved wrist strap design.
  • Frequent sync errors.



How to Get The Most Out Of Your GPS Device




The best watch for mountain biking should be fully GPS enabled. The watches in this article have passed that test and come with additional features.

While picking a watch is a matter of preference, we recommend the Garmin Fenix 5 as the best all-round for your cycling adventure. It boasts a long battery life that will help you keep track of your race long enough.



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