There are tons that are out there for recording routes, and such. There's also the physical mounting. Is the iPhone actually good/useful for bikers?
I love the strava app (and the strava.com website)
The app will record your ride and map the route via GPS and upload to the strava website for further analysis. Strava will auto-detect any significant climb and mark it as a segment, or match sections of your ride against already existing segments.
Once you upload a few rides and see how cool the segments are, you will love their segment explorer on the website to find new routes that are popular in your area, or search for new areas to ride while on vacation.
I use runkeeper app for iphone. The app has an option to pick which type of activity and cycling is an option.
I keep the iphone in my running armband. I didn't want to buy a mount just because of my luck with riding in poor weather and the running band does provide a small amount of protection
The one catch is batter power. On my old 3G I had to turn off wifi and make sure I had a full charge before heading out. I haven't done any long rides with the iphone 4 but in general the battery last much longer.
A lot of the jogging apps will work well for on the bicycle as well, since most of the data collection is done via the GPS. As for the mounts, I've seen this one used a bit and it looks fairly sturdy. Not sure about the attachment to the bars, though.
I would just be careful with the kind of riding you're doing. An iPhone costs $400 to $600 dollars if you aren't signing a new contract, so if you're doing mountain biking, I would stray away from it. Anything mounted to your bars needs to be able to take a beating. If I take my iPhone on a mountain ride, I usually have it tucked way deep in my Camelbak.
For my bikes, I use a simple bike computer (for mileage, time moving, etc), and an iPod Shuffle (first generation) for music. The Shuffle actually attaches to the back of my helmet quite well, keeping it and the headphones cables out of my way.
There is a great article on MTBR about their best iPhone apps, here is what they found:
5 - “The Bike Computer” ( http://www.everytrail.com/iphone.php) FREE - Provides a large display of speed and distance based on your iPhone’s GPS. Also contains a bunch of other GPS based features, but the clean and simple bike computer is the best part.
4 - iTunes - keeps you rockin’ in the woods! It’s already on your iPhone, just load it up with your favorite songs and go.
3 - “Clinometer” ( http://www.plaincode.com/products/clinometer/ ) $.99 - For measuring head angles, seat tube angles, etc… (thanks to Scot Nicol for the tip on this one)
2 - “MotionX GPS” ( http://gps.motionx.com/video/ ) $2.99 (free lite version also available) - For biking and almost any outdoor sport enthusiast. This is a well developed application with tons of features but is still easy to use. Very slick user interface.
1 - “Bicycle Gear Calculator - Bike Gears” ( http://www.jpmartineau.com/iphone/bicycle-gear-calculator/ ) $4.99 - A classic bike app, use it to calculate gear ratios, gear inches, and more.
Have a look at the original article on MTBR.
I use http://www.everytrail.com/ service. They have blackberry and iphone apps. I stash the iphone under the seat (in a under the seat pouch) and it records all my movements and then I can upload it to the server and facebook share ;-)
I've tried Runkeeper also but I'm much happier with Runmeter: http://www.abvio.com/runmeter/
It does the same GPS tracking that other apps do, but its interface is the nicest I've seen (especially important when you just want to start riding!). It has nifty data export features, too -- you can get all of your data as a CSV file if you want. Because I'm a nerd, I've written a few tools to plot the data and visualize my improvement offline -- I'll share them if anyone's interested.
The developer has three apps with slightly different names, but I think that's a marketing thing. As far as I know, all three work identically (allowing you to track any kind if activity).
With reference to the physical mounting, I use the Breffo Spiderpodium to grip my smartphone to the handlebar stem.
At first I was sceptical that it would hold, but was impressed that it stuck for a number of 80+ mile training rides and was inexpensive. It also didn't judder the phone, and was flexible enough to absorb vibrations along the way (although this was on a touring bike, so I wasn't off-road).
Without wanting to expand the scope of the question (my phone is an Android) and with reference to the app, I used Google My Tracks to log my route. It had all the profiling I needed and tight integration with my Google Maps account (ask for link, I can't post a 3rd until 10 rep), but isn't available for iPhone.
I have tried many apps on my phone-- MapMyRide, MyTreks, Endomondo, Strava-- and there are pros and cons associated with using an iPhone in this capacity.
Basically, it boils down to ride duration. If you're riding for a short distance/time, you're probably going to be satisfied with a variety of apps, depending on what you want them for. You like to compete with others? Try Strava. If you like just recording your route, speed, elevation (not very precise), try Endomondo or MapMyRide.
If you ride for longer distances/times, you're probably going to find the iPhone is rather limited. The battery is drained rapidly by the screen, so if you like to use your phone in place of a cyclocomputer for speed, heart rate (requires additional hardware), you will find that your phone will die on you, unless you have an external battery of some kind.
I usually do a 50-ish mile ride about 3-4 times per month, and it takes about 3 hours. I've tried using my iPhone to record the ride, and it died on me before the ride was over. It was in my jersey pocket-- I have a cyclocomputer, so I don't use the phone in that capacity-- and it was probably 95% charged at the start of the ride, but it was still dead before the end of the ride. I know I can make it work-- quit other apps that are not being used, make sure the app is not displaying my position on a map, so the screen can go dark and save some battery-- but for longer rides, say, 70 miles, the phone simply does not hold enough charge in the battery to permit me to record the ride. A 70-mile ride for me is around 4.5 hours on the bike, plus stops.
There are a bunch of various cases/mounts which allow you to put your iPhone on the cap of your steering tube or on your stem/bars, some of which are waterproof, some which are not, some with an external battery, some without. Personally, I can't use that kind of a case unless it is waterproof, equipped with an external battery, and easily removed (I don't want my phone getting stolen when my bike is parked). Too, if you typically carry your iPhone in a case-- I use an Otterbox-- you need to remove it from that case before you put it into your handlebar/stem/steering-tube-cap-mounted case. Taking an iPhone out of an Otterbox Defender case is a hassle.
What works best for me, riding around 2500 miles per year on/off road, is a Ziploc bag. I put my phone into a Ziploc bag, and carry it in my jersey pocket or my Camelbak. If you ride a decent amount and want to get data from your rides, you should get a Garmin. You'll get enough battery life to record a century, and then some, plus you'll get a device which is actually designed for the job of recording the route/helping you navigate, recording heart rate, cadence, elevation, grade, you name it. Everyone I know who has a Garmin loves it.
i have really been liking the garmin app. It tracks the best for my area, maintains solid connection, and seems like its accurate overall. Also good on battery.
The MP3 player feature is great. I love listening to music while I am cycling.
I love MapMyRide (I have tried a few others but keep coming back to this ~ if I forget to turn it on or off, etc... it is easy to edit online) I have a USB Charger that I keep my iPhone plugged into while riding (and keep both in a water proof handlebar bag. I am not a bike racer so the bag doesn't bother me) and can go for 20 hours with the external charger plugged in. It does add an extra pound - again I am not worried about weight.
When I need to see my phone while riding - maybe to use a map in an unknown City... I use this holder - love how simple it is and it is wasy to take off and put on https://www.modernbike.com/nite-ize-handleband-universal-smart-phone-handlebar-mount-black
No music - I need to hear the cars coming (I ride 90% on roads)
Ride with GPS app is one of my favorites. https://ridewithgps.com/
You can use the website to create routes, and the app to follow them. It's the best route creation and editing solution I've found. It also integrates with Wahoo Elemnt and Wahoo RFLKT+ computers.
It also allows you to record a ride whether you are following a route or not. It will try to add photos to your ride record if you take them with your phone during the ride.
The website will also let you export as .gpx or .tcx with turn-by-turn prompts and cues.
I add another app to this question : CoachMyRide
CoachMyRide is an iOS (iPhone and iPhone Touch) application dedicated to improve your training.
With the technology advanced, the short answer in 2016 is a clear yes. E.g. it can be used for route planning, navigation, maps, detailed track recording, detailed weather forecast to run away from rain clouds.
If you prefer to attach the phone to the steering bar, so it can be operated, and if you like to have the App open and running all the time, then I'd recommend the following setup.
Mounting For good weather, I use Finn, a sylicone strap. It holds the iPhone, or any other phone, even together with a shell. Very flexible, since this also allows to use power-shells, or rainproof shells for the phone. Easy to detach.
For longer tours, I have a steering bar bag (Ortlieb) with a window. Rainproof, still allows operating the phone, and allows storing more powerpacks than you will probably need. USB cable and everything stays inside the bag, so no problem even with heavy rainfall (of course display will be difficult to read and operate when the window is wet) Lockable, and (if not locked) detachable in seconds.
Power supply During typical biking activities, one rides with 100W-150W... with all the energy transformation, a smartphone needs easily 10W to keep running. That seems a lot of a drain. Thus, I'd recommend a power case (Mophie, 2Ah) for small tours (3-5h), and a huge 26Ah (=96Wh) EasyAcc for multiple-day tours. I did not yet hit the limit of that one.
When charging a phone mounted to the handlebar, I think lighting cables are superior to micro UBS. All the shaking might loose the micro usb. Maybe vendor specific. With the iPhone you don't need to care about this, but when trying to charge e.g. the Mophie via the hub, it happened to me.
Navigation All of the following three Apps do track recording and allow sharing tracks. Plus, they show a cycle map, and do route calculation in different modes.
- BikeCitizen If available in your city. Provides great routes. Either to avoid cars (save, coisy routes), or to get a fast bicycle route. Good visualization of cycle paths. Avoids coublestones, uses shortcuts. Best for navigation in Berlin (I did not try other cities)
- Komoot Most versatile. Offline maps, cycle maps, online community. Also good for running, hiking and others.
- Naviki Energy saving (dims screen when route is easy to follow), bicycle routes tempt to include the official routes. There is an far distance bicycle road network in Germany, the Netherlands, and many other countries, that sends you from city to city. Nakiki does a great job to utilize this.