An Introduction to Bike Speedometers: What You Need to Know? | 2024

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Have you ever wondered about keeping all the relevant information right onto your bike? This is what a bike speedometer does!

Biking is one of the most popular rides, sports, and integration of strength and speed for decades. Hopefully, lots of rapid developments have changed the whole cycling era. One of them is the speedometer which is the most effective measuring device innovated to achieve the best movement effect.

According to an efficiency survey, a speedometer can measure up to 10% plus 4 km/h at a specified test ride. They display our speed rate, distance, real-time location, duration of riding, burnt calories, and many more on the screen.

But that’s not all. Speedometer is a lot more to explore. Read on to know what speedometers are how they function their needs, and their benefits.


The bike speedometer, one of the most useful instruments for all types of vehicles, was invented in the late 19th decade. It was originally patented by Croatian inventor Josip Belušić in 1888. In the early stage, it was called a “velocimeter”. In the next year, he presented his invention at Exposition Universelle in Paris.

Then German inventor Otto Schultze patented his version on 7 October 1902. In 1910, that became a standard fitting for most vehicles. After that, speedometers in the bike, like other vehicles, started to be used widely and also improved day by day.

Speedometers have now fitted to motor vehicles universally since the 20th century. And it has become one of the most desired bike equipment among riders. According to their demands, the speedometer has been modified several times. 

In 1979 they started with an updated version of the bicycle speedometer in the U.S. These NHTSA-required speedometers started to read up to 55mph of speed. And now they can monitor up to 85mph. So, you can see the revolution yourself. 

Cateye Velo 7_bike speedometer
Bike Speedometer-Cateye Velo 7, Photo: Cateye

What is a Bike Speedometer?

A speedometer is an instrument that measures and displays the speed of a vehicle. They are a kind of speedometer that allows you to see and read how quickly you’re traveling.

You can easily judge your bike speed with a simple bike speedometer based on how hard you’re pedaling. It’s a simple way for you if you are a speed enthusiast or a casual cyclist to monitor your mileage on a bike. Just add a bike speedometer to your handlebars.

Are they important for a cyclist? It is a helping driver that gives you all sorts of info you need when cycling. They provide relevant data on your cycling speed, traveled distance, travel time duration, how many calories burnt, and real-time location. So, Bike speedometers are essential for all cyclists. 

How does it work?

The functioning of a bicycle speedometer is simple and easy. Let me divide it into different sections for your better understanding.

Start with the head first. The head unit typically displays time, distance, and speed. But how does the head unit know all of this from just a single wire? And what if it’s wireless and just finds out everything with a single sensor?

Well, it’s the hardware you can find right on the speedometer which works as a navigator here. It acts as the media through which the information transfers. And we show clear outlines on your display.

Now you get to know how these readings are measured. You’ll find an industrial sensor inside the hardware. This sensor combines with a magnet and a wire and gets your work done. This cradle ultimately results in speed, temperature, and distance generators. 

Bike Speedometer VS Bike Computer

Now, what is a bike computer? What do they do? Bike computers are also helping drivers who need to attach to their handlebars and display various types of real-time information on your speed, distance, trip time, and much more. Mainly, it does the same operations as a bike speedometer but it additionally does some more different tasks in your ride.  

Moreover, these two terms are different, but actually, they do almost the same things. Let me clear this-

Bicycle Speedometer

  • As I mentioned above, the bicycle speedometer measures your speed, distance, calories burned, and time and it counts the laps.
  • Sometimes, the bike speedometer also displays your trip time, MAX speed, MAX pace, average speed & trip distance.
  • You can easily install a bicycle speedometer and the price is also reasonable. 

Bike Computer 

  • Your bike computer can do almost all the same tasks that speedometers do but it provides you also heart rate, power output (in watts), and temperature as well as offers additional functions such as pedaling cadence, a stopwatch, temperature, and even GPS navigation. 
  • The price is a little bit more than the speedometer. Sometimes very expensive.  
  • If you are a professional cyclist, you should choose a GPS bike computer instead of a bike speedometer.    
  • An alternative option for a bicycle speedometer? It can be a smartwatch.
Best Bike Computer Brands_karoo 2 gps bike computer
Karoo 2 Gps Bike Computer

Bicycle Speedometers vs. Bike GPS

Are you an adventurous biker? Do you go for a ride in an unknown place? If you are, bike GPS is a must-have device for you. The main function of GPS is to track your position as the elaborated term of it is Global Positioning System. 

Bike GPS generally uses satellites to track real-time location, and also show maps, the direction of your riding, additionally provide your heart rate, speed, power, distance covered, etc.   

So, can all the same functions of bike GPS be done by the bike speedometer? Though many of the roles of these two instruments are the same, they have some dissimilarities-

Bike GPS

  • Bike GPS is an instrument that mainly provides you the real-time location, and shows maps and directions to the destination. 
  • GPS also provides some good features such as anti-theft alarms, daily reporting, emergency roadside support, surveying, and can record your route, and many more. 
  • They can also show all the measurements that the bicycle speedometer does: speed, power, distance covered, pedaling cadence, calorie consumption, etc. 
  • Some bike GPS can notify us of every detail of our vehicle and enable an over-speed alarm to avoid any further accidents and maintain our safe journey. 

Bike Speedometer

  • Unlike bike GPS, cycle speedometers can’t track the real-time location of riders. 
  • They can determine the speed of your bike, power output, riding distance, duration, and so on. 
  • The price of a bike speedometer is surely cheaper than a bike GPS. 

Bike Speedometer App

The good thing is, you can use the bike speedometer app on your phone to track cycling data. In some cases, you can connect your bike speedometer with the app. For instance, if you buy a Cateye speedometer, you can connect the device to their app.

Who needs a bike speedometer?

I think for every cyclist, a bike speedometer is a must-needed device. Whether you are a casual or professional cyclist, you surely need a bike speedometer.

What is your purpose for having a cycling speedometer? A cycle speedometer estimates all types of riding stats and it arranges that information right in front of you on a little digital screen. You can easily gauge your speed, the utmost or lowest speed of your bike, calories burned, distance traveled, heart rate, and more by it.

When I bought my first bike, I was most panicked about setting the bike speedometer on my bike. Because some models of new bike speedometers permit sharing data with friends. I launched one of them and it was fun.


What to consider when buying a bike speedometer?

Is buying a bike speedometer an easy job? I think not. You must need to consider some issues when buying a cycling speedometer- 

Battery life 

Firstly, you must be concerned about the battery life of a bike speedometer. It is one of the most important factors of any type of speedometer. 

The longer battery life of your bike speedometer means you can enjoy it for longer rides and thus it can give you more flexibility. The best bike speedometers must offer you long battery life and you need to choose one of them. 

Depending on the manufacturer, a bike speedometer can last anywhere from 30 hours to months. Some batteries are USB-rechargeable, so it is easy to charge by using your USB cable when they turn low. 


The price of a bike speedometer varies with all the functions. If you want to purchase one that can do all the things like a GPS bike computer or multi-use product, you need to pay more than $30 for that. Price varies between $30 and $50 for this type of speedometer. They can offer you more accurate data, more lifetime, more battery, also better functionality. 

Is the price a little bit higher for you? Don’t worry.

Also, some cheaper bike speedometers are available in the market. Additionally, you can find most of the speedometers in the market at a lower price, less than $20. Both analog and digital types of bike speedometers are available in this price range.  But they can’t serve you with good features. They only focus on one or a few specific features. 

As the topic of features has come out, let’s consider some features now-


  • Must go for a bike speedometer with a big screen that you can smoothly read. If you can’t look over the data of your speedometer displays appropriately and easily, it isn’t very effective. So, make sure you will choose one with an easy-to-read screen with clear numbers. 
  • Select a waterproof one, that assists you by providing data even in the worst weather. Also, they are more stable than a simple one. Nowadays, most modern bike speedometers are waterproof.
  • How and where does your chosen bike speedometer mount? It will be a wise decision for you to choose a speedometer that offers multiple mounting options. This gives you versatility and more customization opportunities, allowing you to change where and how your device mounts. Thus, it can help you perfectly place your bike speedometer for comfortable reading during your journey.
  • Your bike surely takes a lot of hits when riding, right? A quality bike speedometer will be able to resist brutal impacts and all kinds of weather. If you are an off-road cyclist, having a durable speedometer will ensure that it holds up during storms, harsh winds, and heat.


For retaining the worthy speed of the bike, the bike speedometer can support you. It can also show you the traveled distance, traveling time, calories burnt, and so on. So, for a promising riding experience, a cycling speedometer can help you a lot. Choose a suitable bicycle speedometer for you considering the matters I mentioned above and enjoy your journey.

Ferdy Wilson
Ferdy Wilson

Hello, I'm Ferdy. I've been passionate about cycling since I was ten years old, and it remains a major part of my life. As a cycling enthusiast, I am constantly inspired by the sense of movement and freedom it offers.

Previously, I worked for a tech company that specializes in creating cutting-edge cycling smart devices, including bike computers, GPS, and HRM. During my time there, I had the privilege of working alongside a highly successful CEO.

In addition to cycling, I have a keen interest in reading and typically enjoy a few cups of coffee each day. Writing for my personal blog is also a favorite pastime of mine whenever I have free time.

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