If you ask anyone what he or she would recommend as a commendable activity tracker, there’s a high chance Fitbit would appear on top of the list. But can Fitbit track cycling and return accurate results?
Fitbit can track cycling using the SmartTrack and GPS integration. The SmartTrack features automatically detects and logs the type of workout for you and goes as far as to show how long you were active. The GPS element allows you to map your routes and have a fun ride as you bike.
What I love about Fitbit when it comes to biking is its ability to record significant metrics such as average speed, calories burned, and distance covered, and then making these stats available in a clean, readable presentation in the Fitbit app.
How Does Fitbit Track Cycling?
An activity tracker has to have three distinct and equally unique features to track bike rides. For a Fitbit, this is the availability of SmartTrack, GPS integration, and data tracking.
The combination works together to deliver the best results, so you can have fun riding your bike while tracking the metrics necessary to keep your health and fitness in check.
So how does a Fitbit use these smart features to track cycling?
Fitbit’s ability to track bike rides starts with the SmartTrack technology, and it works exactly as intended.
Say you forgot to log cycling as your activity in the app before you stepped on the bike and started pedaling.
What SmartTrack does is to detect the type of exercise automatically, and then it logs it in the app on your behalf.
Unfortunately, it takes at least 15 minutes for SmartTrack to recognize the type of activity you’re currently performing. So you have to keep cycling for 100% of that time or the technology won’t be as useful.
2. GPS Integration
The GPS integration is equally an important feature that supplements the SmartTrack to make it possible for you to track your bike rides with a Fitbit.
To be abundantly clear, the built-in GPS technology is available only on a few Fitbit models.
Built into Fitbit Charge 5, Sense, Charge 4, and Versa 3, the built-in GPS technology takes away the need to pair Fitbit with a smartphone to monitor cycling stats.
3. Comprehensive Data Tracking
The built-in GPS stands out as the most sophisticated and equally comprehensive technology that gives you just enough stats about your cycling binge.
In addition to allowing to mapping your routes, the built-in GPS can record and display distance traveled, and average speed.
You can view your cycling stats in the Fitbit App, and the best part is that the data you get is more accurate thanks to the improved GPS technology built into Fitbit trackers and smartwatches.
Best Fitbit for Cycling: 4 Picks for Serious Cyclists
There aren’t as many Fitbit models in active production, but the options we have currently are just as good for cyclists as they are for other types of activities.
The best Fitbit for cycling is any model that features the SmartTrack technology and a built-in GPS. Models with connected GPS aren’t bad, but they’re only a consideration if you would like to bring your smartphone with you.
1. Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4 became popular right after its release, and that’s because of its cutting-edge features for its price point.
I strongly recommend Fitbit Charge 4 because it includes exactly what you need to track your cycling metrics without doing any prior settings.
Charge 4 is one of the models that features a built-in GPS and the SmartTrack technology, so you get the benefits of both worlds. In other words, the model can detect what exercise you’re doing and use the GPS signals to track distance and speed while mapping your biking route in the process.
The Charge 4 is a waterproof Fitbit with 5ATM rating, which means it can stand up to light rain as well as heavy downpour.
While it can run for 7 days on a single, full charge, the battery life lasts only 5 hours if the GPS system is active.
- SmartTrack feature included
- Built-in GPS takes away the need for a smartphone
- Cheaper than other Fitbit models
- Poor visibility under direct sunlight
- It takes longer for the GPS to lock properly
- Poor battery life with the GPS active
2. Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Sense is equally a good activity tracker to consider if you need an option with more than just the SmartTrack technology and the built-in GPS.
As you ride your bike, Sense will monitor distance traveled, cycling speed, and pace.
In addition to mapping your route as you cycle, the device can check your stress levels based on your heart rate and cycling level. The data you get can help you reflect and see the connection between your score and the way you feel.
- Decent battery life with the GPS system turned off
- An attractive model for a fashionable look when you aren’t biking
- Can’t store music, so you can’t listen to Spotify hits on your bike rides
- Expensive unlike Charge 4 and 5
3. Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Charge 5 debut recently, but it has become a popular pick so fast that it’s currently the big thing in the activity tracker space.
One unique feature that makes Charge 5 stand out from the previous releases is the inclusion of stress management, a feature missing in other Charge series.
The model is a good pick for cyclists because it includes the SmartTrack feature as well as a built-in GPS technology.
Once the SmartTrack has detected your activity after 15 minutes of cycling, the built-in GPS will monitor and log your route, distance traveled, pace and elevations climbed.
You can then check the visual data for traveled route via the mobile app or Fitbit dashboard on the web application.
- It has a bright and always-on display
- The GPS connects fast
- Battery only lasts 5 hours with GPS active
- It’s not compatible with Spotify
- Some people may find the lack of buttons frustrating
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does Fitbit Automatically Track Cycling?
Your Fitbit can automatically detect cycling with the help of SmartTrack and GPS technology.
The combination of the two features make it possible to get important outdoor cycling stats, including distance covered and cycling speed.
2. How Do I Get My Fitbit to Track Cycling?
Fitbit detects cycling after 15 minutes of active biking. If you want to be sure you’re tracking your activities the best way possible, create an activity log in your Fitbit account.
- Log in to your Fitbit dashboard
- Click “Log” and then select “Activities”
- Scroll to the bottom
- Enter “Cycling” and provide the necessary detail
Your model should track your biking as an activity.
3. Why Doesn’t Fitbit Track My Bike Rides?
If your Fitbit fails to track your bike rides, it might be possible that the built-in GPS is off.
You might want to turn off the SmartTrack feature and log cycling activity manually in the Fitbit app and make sure the built-in GPS is active.
4. How Does Fitbit Count Steps When Cycling?
Your Fitbit will count your steps based on the motions of your arms as well as your body swings. So you might want to consider setting your activity log to swinging.
You don’t really have to wear a fitness tracker when cycling if you’re just biking for fun. However, if you’re a serious athlete who wants to track their performance when biking, you’ll find my recommended Fitbit models extremely useful.
Remember that the best Fitbit for cycling is the one that features the SmartTrack technology and a built-in GPS, which work together to give you the cycling stats required to gauge your overall performance.