Can You Use Your Phone As a Bike Computer? | 2024

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The smartphone has become an essential part of human life, and we can’t imagine a day without it. Modern phones have replaced many popular components of our daily lives, such as Radios, cameras, calculators, Compasses, Traditional Landline Phones, and Televisions. It’s even possible to replace a bike computer with a smartphone.

The number of smartphone users is increasing day by day. According to Statista, the global number of smartphone users is forecast to continuously increase between 2023 and 2028, with a total of 910.3 million users (+17.33 percent).

In this article, I will go over the possible uses of a phone and smartwatch as bike computers, as well as their drawbacks and benefits.

Can You Use Your Phone As a Bike Computer?

Mordan’s smartphone boasts an extensive app library that enables downloading any kind of application to the device. In various contexts, you can find a variety of apps such as banking apps, productivity apps, and fitness apps.

Within the fitness apps category, a subcategory of apps allows you to track most of the fundamental bike computer metrics, including time, maps, distance, speed, average speed, etc. Furthermore, most of Mordan’s phone models feature GPS integration, which enables the tracking of location.

If you wish to use your phone as a bike computer, it is indeed possible. You can conveniently transform it into one through the Strava App, which provides all the basic cycling data such as time, maps, distance, speed, average speed, etc. The Strava app is available on both popular smartphone operating systems, Android and iOS, through their respective app stores.

Another essential item required to use your phone as a bike computer is a Bike Phone Mount. This mount holds your phone in the same way a bike computer would be held, ensuring your phone stays securely in place while you ride. Once you have a bike phone mount, you are ready to hit the road!

To gain further insight into the topic of phone versus bike computer, you can refer to my detailed guide on the subject in my article titled “Phone vs Bike Computer: Which One Should You Use?

Smartphone Icon (Photo by Canva)

What Apps Replace Bike Computers?

If you are wondering which app can replace a bike computer, it’s not a simple answer. One single app cannot replace an entire device. However, you can use multiple apps to access most of the bike computer features on your smartphone.

The IOS and Android Play Store offers a plethora of cycling apps that serve different purposes. If you require only basic cycling data, the Strava App is a comprehensive solution. 

Additionally, you can refer to my article titled “Best Cycling Apps 2023 – The Complete Guide for All Types of Cyclists” to gain insight into the various types of cycling apps available.

Can Smartwatch Replace Bike Computer?

Before asking whether to use a bike computer or a smartwatch, it’s essential to consider their respective uses. Smartwatches can also track most cycling data like smartphones do, but you cannot access all bike computer features on your smartphone. If interested, you can refer to my detailed article “Comparing Bike Computers Vs Watch In The Cycling World.

If you are a professional cyclist, a smartwatch or smartphone may not be the ideal choice for you. However, if you cycle occasionally, a smartwatch or smartphone can provide basic data.

It’s not possible to replace a bike computer with a smartphone or smartwatch as a bike computer is a dedicated device built specifically for cycling. It offers a wide range of features, data, software, and connectivity to enhance the cycling experience.

In contrast, smartphones and smartwatches are designed to improve productivity and track health and fitness. Knowing the difference between these devices can help you decide which one will work best for you.

Bike Computer_Bikecomputer Icon
Bike Computer

How Do I Turn My iPhone Into A bike Computer?

To turn your iPhone into a bike computer, you will need:

  1. A Bike Phone Holder
  2. A Cycling App

Bike Phone Holder:

To set up your iPhone or any smartphone as a bike computer, you will require a Bike Phone Mount. This mount will allow you to replace your bike computer with your phone and view basic cycling data while you ride.

Cycling App:

The Apple App Store offers numerous cycling apps, so you must determine which data you require. If you require turn-by-turn map navigation, then the Google Maps or Waze app may be the ideal choice.

Alternatively, if you need more detailed information, you can use the Strava app while cycling.

Phone And Smartwatch Benefit As A Bike computer

As I mentioned earlier, it’s very easy to turn your phone into a bike computer, and you can get all of the basic data you need to analyze your ride. Here’s what data a phone can provide:

  1. GPS: Most smartphones nowadays have GPS features, so you can get detailed data about your ride, including distance and route taken.
  2. Speed: In a smartphone, you can get speed data while you’re riding. You can also get maximum speed and average speed from your phone.
  3. Map: Whether you’re using Android or iOS, you can use Google Maps or Apple Maps to get navigational data.
  4. HRM: If you use a smartwatch, you can get a heart rate monitor data on your smartwatch, which can provide insights into your fitness level.
  5. Weather: Both phones and smartwatches can give you weather updates while you’re riding, allowing you to plan your route accordingly.
bike computer vs watch
Smartwatches (Photo By

Phone And Smartwatch Drawback As A Bike computer

As a cyclist, I have experimented with using a phone and smartwatch instead of a bike computer. The truth is, I am not comfortable using a smartwatch while riding. Although smartwatches provide a wealth of data similar to a bike computer, I do not enjoy looking at my wrist repeatedly while cycling. Also, I found it hard to read the data on a tiny screen.

Additionally, I am not a fan of packing a polythene bag to protect my smartphone during rainy weather while trying to obtain basic cycling data when I can spend a few hundred dollars on a waterproof bike computer.

As for pairing sensors such as a cadence, power meter, or speed sensor to obtain accurate data, it’s impossible with a phone or smartwatch. Therefore, sometimes your ride will end with inaccurate data. However, a bike computer can pair with various sensors to provide you with precise fitness data.

In summary, while a phone or smartwatch may offer some benefits as a bike computer replacement, they do come with some drawbacks, such as discomfort while riding, difficulty reading data on a small screen, and the inability to pair with sensors for accurate data. A dedicated bike computer may be a better option for serious cyclists who value accuracy and convenience.

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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