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I'm confused with different models of bike computers available in the market right now.

I actually want a bike computer which can log data including speed, distance, GPS (optional) etc. I'm not interested to take my smartphone while riding, but I want to upload the ride stats in Strava after my ride.

Is there any reliable bike computer available in the market which logs necessary ride stats which can be exported/synced with Strava once the ride is complete?

Is GPS necessary for uploading ride stats in Strava?

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    I'm a bit confused by this question. To the best of my knowledge there are no bike computers that actually REQUIRE a smartphone. Mostly you just plug them into your computer with a USB cable and upload the file to strava manually. Or are you looking for a computer with built in Wifi?
    – Andy P
    Oct 8, 2018 at 11:25
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    @AndyP But not all devices support a PC connectivity I think. Can you suggest some budget computers which does the job nicely? I want to upload the data in strava for my training purposes.
    – Vishnu N K
    Oct 8, 2018 at 11:33
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    @AndyP You don't need to tag a user in a comment on their own post, so the tag gets removed. Oct 8, 2018 at 12:32
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    GPS is required to provide the coordinates to log in the GPX file to upload to strava. WIthout location points and times, strava can't calculate your speeds. What would you expect to upload without location points? Total time riding and distance covered? That won't be able to match any segments.
    – Criggie
    Oct 9, 2018 at 8:57
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    @Criggie You can upload files with no GPS data and only data from sensors - people do this routinely for indoor trainer rides. Since the OP states (in comments) he wants the data for training purposes, then a .fit file containing only Power/HR/Cadence would be a perfectly valid upload. Although if this is the only data of interest, i'd suggest there is better analysis software for it than strava
    – Andy P
    Oct 9, 2018 at 9:40

3 Answers 3

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Specific product recomendations are off topic but some general info:

Garmin and Wahoo bike computers at least do not need a phone with the respective apps present when tracking rides. Some features that require phone or Internet connection obviously don't work though.

Wahoo computers allow direct USB connection to a PC and route files can be downloaded manually.

Trying to cut the smartphone out of the loop is a battle you

https://support.wahoofitness.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000209170-Do-I-need-to-have-my-phone-with-me-while-using-the-ELEMNT-BOLT-

https://support.wahoofitness.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000127910-Connecting-the-ELEMNT-and-BOLT-to-Desktop-or-Laptop-Computers

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    A couple of things worth pointing out regarding Wahoo computers: The RFLKT does require a phone on rides (it's a bit of weird computer, that one); the ELEMNT BOLT doesn't require a phone during rides, but also can upload ride data via WiFi without a phone present (but requires a phone to configure the wifi connection initially). I had a RFLKT previously and have a BOLT currently.
    – Diado
    Oct 8, 2018 at 15:46
  • Thanks for the info. Any idea about Lezyne Super GPS?
    – Vishnu N K
    Oct 9, 2018 at 4:35
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    Google is often handy for answering questions I find: lezyne.com/product-gps-supergpsY11.php "Instant download of ride files (.fit) via plug-and-play flash drive technology (Windows/Mac) and upload directly to GPS Root website for ride analysis"
    – Andy P
    Oct 9, 2018 at 8:20
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The new Lezyne Macro Easy GPS is specifically described as a one-time, on the device setup that does not require a smartphone for setup or for use at all. It generates .fit files which can be downloaded to a computer (PC/Mac) and then uploaded to Strava or Lezyne's GPS Root website. It will record basic GPS data, and HR data via Bluetooth Smart.

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  • I have this computer. You can use the app to setup the screens like you want it, and export the tracks, but it's not needed during the ride. You can do those things without phone, but it's easier. I really like it. It's also quite solid. I dropped it a few times already :s Jul 28, 2019 at 19:57
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In the years since this question was asked, there are some new technologies that offer better solutions.

Hammerhead Karoo 2

For a completely smartphone-free bike GPS experience, Hammerhead's Karoo 2 is your best bet. It doesn't even have a smartphone companion app, and can run entirely off WiFi (for data syncing only in WiFi range) or use an installed SIM card for an always-on cellular connection with live tracking during your rides.

At $399 it's pricy, but not far off less-capable options from Garmin and Wahoo.

It's regularly updated (more frequently than Garmin or Wahoo's devices), but as of this moment one of its missing features is that it'll only let you use Karoo's live-tracking app, and doesn't integrate with Strava's live track service. The key difference is that Strava's service will message your contacts when you start and finish a ride, and show your progress during the ride, whereas Karoo's live tracking is just a map that shows your current location, and won't allow you to auto-notify anyone, or show your progress for your current ride.

Wahoo ELEMENT Roam & Bolt

If you're not worried about live tracking without a smartphone during your rides, Wahoo's bike computers are the other option for riding without the need to connect to a smartphone during, or after your ride.

From a features standpoint, they're similar to Garmin's Edge line of computers, but the Wahoo ELEMNT Roam & Bolt both have WiFi to upload rides to Strava, and other services without syncing to a companion app.

You'll still need to pair an iOS or Android device for the initial setup, but after that, you can largely forget about it.

There are a few features you'll miss if you leave your smartphone at home during your ride, like live tracking, but they're fairly minor.

Smartwatches

The other options are WiFi enabled smartwatches. For example, Apple's Watch devices with cellular will allow you to use Strava's Apple Watch app to record and live-track your rides while leaving your smartphone at home. (Though, notably, Strava's app won't work with "Family Setup", which allows you to setup an Apple Watch without linking it to an iPhone).

Other smartwatches from Garmin and other manufacturers have similar functionality. However, I get the impression that the original question was looking for bike computers specifically, not wrist-mounted devices.

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    Ironically, as far as I understand the Karoo is a full Android device with mobile network connection on its own. It's just a microphone and speaker away from smartphone.
    – ojs
    Mar 30, 2022 at 19:02
  • Yes - that's correct. It's basically a specialized Android device. You can even "Side Load" APKs to it if you'd like.
    – Andrew
    Mar 31, 2022 at 20:18

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