If you're looking for a GPS watch that is perfect for mountain biking, our guide will help you find the best GPS watches out there. Whether you're a competitive mountain biker looking for that extra edge in competition or if you like to bike leisurely through nature on your own time, GPS watches are a great way to track your elevation and speed.

Many of these watches also have a stopwatch function so you can track how long it's taken to reach the top of a hill or the length of your biking trip. These watches usually come with pre-programmed routes, but you can create your custom routes if you're more adventurous.

Mountain bikers will especially like how many of these models come with an altimeter that can track your ascent or descent as you go through hills and mountains (or move up and down the stairs inside your house).

Best Mountain Bike GPS Watches

Garmin ForeRunner 945

Polar Vantage V2

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Suunto 9 Baro

Apple Watch Series 6

Garmin Fenix 6 - Pro Solar Edition

Garmin Forerunner 945


The Garmin Forerunner 945 includes physiological insights like balance, stress, and fatigue. It also offers a personal training plan that adjusts to the user's goals and fitness level. The watch is dustproof, waterproof, and retains full GPS functionality even if wet. The Forerunner 945 also comes with an integrated heart rate tracking monitor for monitoring workouts.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 offers several benefits. The GPS watch is waterproof up to a depth of 50 meters, making it resistant to water damage almost completely. It also has a "Cardio Fitness Level," which provides longer battery life in endurance mode by taking into account individual fitness levels.

In addition, the heart rate monitor tracks VO2 max, which gives an estimate for one's cardiovascular performance potential when combined with other data like age and gender. Overall, this product is well designed and will be beneficial for monitoring your rides.

Pros

  • The V02 Max updates are stellar.
  • Overall possibly the best for all fitness metrics (especially if you love you're a data junky).
  • A true fitness-first watch, as opposed to smart watches that are also track fitness.

Cons

  • If your heart rate has to be as accurate as possible to you, don't trust just this watch, consider getting a dedicated HR monitor as well.
  • Buttons seem a bit soft.

Polar Vantage V2


The Polar Vantage V2 is a multisport GPS watch with everything you need to track and improve your fitness. It’s waterproof and can be used in any weather condition. And with its wrist-based heart rate monitor, it provides accurate data on how hard you are working during training sessions. Plus, the performance tests and recovery tracking will help you set goals and stay motivated to reach them.

So what’s new in this edition of the Polar Vantage V2 compared to its predecessor? The biggest change is that the Vantage V2 has been given a makeover in preparation for Vector 4, which promises higher quality power measurements. This means it now comes with an optical heart rate sensor rather than traditional contact points – good news if you’re looking to buy a Polar watch that lets you use the new power meters.

An important part of training is seeing your progress. So with the Garmin Connect™ app, you can connect your Polar watch to a compatible smartphone and get automatic uploads for easy access to your data online. And when you sync it with the Polar Flow web service, you can see how all of your activities are stacking up against each other.

Pros

  • Easy to view your data right on the watch
  • The Polar Flow app is superior to many other watch apps
  • The hill splitter feature can help you with knowing how much you've climbed right from the watch.

Cons

  • The watch vibration can be a bit loud.
  • The screen can be a bit laggy.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3


UPDATE: Yes, the Galaxy Watch 4 has just been released, and we will be updating our list to include it. However, this means you can get deals on the Galaxy Watch 3, which is still a great GPS watch for mountain biking.

If you're looking for a smartwatch that has all the bells and whistles, then this is it. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is an excellent device with tons of features: GPS, heart rate monitor, water resistance up to 50 meters deep in fresh water or 5 atm pressure (meaning it can be used while swimming), NFC support for mobile payments, Bluetooth technology so you can connect your phone wirelessly without having to take out your wallet every time you want to make a call-all wrapped into one sleek watch body.

There are some negatives though; since it's not compatible with iPhones, if you have an iPhone then this may not be the best choice for you. If however, like most people who use Android phones as their primary devices, the Galaxy Watch is a great choice.

As far as the battery life goes, you should be able to make it two days if used lightly (takes about 40 minutes to charge completely). If you're using it too often with GPS or Bluetooth, then expect it to last a bit less.

Overall, when compared to other smartwatches out there on the market like the Apple Watch which costs more but doesn't have many of these features at all, this may very well be worth looking into.

Pros

  • Responsive touch screen – The watch responds to your commands quickly and is very responsive.
  • Menu customization – You can customize various aspects of the menu to suit your personal needs.
  • The dedicated app is very well designed.

Cons

  • Have an iPhone?  The compatibility with iPhone is buggy
  • Some have reported the heart rate monitor can be spotty.
  • It's a bit bulky

Suunto 9 Baro


Suunto 9 Baro is the perfect companion for any mountain biker. It’s rugged, durable and built to last – just like you! With up to 7 days of continuous GPS tracking, it will be there with you every step of the way. And when you need a break from all that training, it can also tell time as a traditional watch. The intelligent battery life management system ensures your watch will last just as long as you need it to.

This multisport GPS watch is made for athletes who demand the best from their sports watch. Intelligent battery life management system with smart reminders ensures your watch will last just as long as you need it to. The robust Suunto 9 is made for long arduous training and racing and extreme adventures too

Pros

  • Water resistance to 100 meters
  • Highly customizable watch face
  • Comes preloaded with a lot of maps (up to or over 41 countries)

Cons

  • The pedometer isn't the most accurate.
  • The watch face itself isn't as bright as competitor watches

Apple Watch Series 6


UPDATE: Apple has just announced the Apple Watch Series 7, meaning we will be updating this post with a Series 7 review soon. In the meantime, if you are willing to purchase the last version, you will likely be able to find deals on the Series 6 now or very soon.

If you’re looking for a watch that will help you track your health and fitness, the Apple Watch Series 6 is worth considering. The GPS chip on this device can be used to find out how far away from where you started running or walking.

It also has an ECG app which allows doctors to see your heart rate continuously during exercise so they can keep tabs on any sudden changes in rhythm. You won't have to worry about charging it every day either because of its 18-hour battery life - perfect for those who want a smartwatch but don't want it taking up their entire evening charge time!
 
If all these features sound good, just make sure when purchasing one that the size fits well with what you're wearing now: small wrists? Try the 42mm model; large wrists? Go for the 44mm one.

Pros

  • As someone with a heart condition, I find the ECG app a huge plus.
  • Fall detection has already reportedly saved lives.
  • Using the watch for calls is surprisingly good and simple.

Cons

  • Sleep tracking is not great.
  • If you're still with an iPhone 6 or older, avoid this watch! It is not compatible

Garmin Fenix 6 - PRO SOLAR EDITION


With Fēnix® 6 - PRO Solar Edition, you’ll be able to get more out of your adventures off the grid. The world’s first Solar Watch from Garmin is powered by sunlight, giving it a battery life that lasts months instead of days. With a solar charging system that’s not only innovative but also high-performing, the Fēnix® 6 - PRO Solar Edition provides you with all the freedom and independence of any outdoor explorer.

The Fenix 6 Pro Solar is less bulky than its predecessor, and it's loaded with plenty of sports tracking features. But there are some catches; specifically, data uploads are not supported without Wi-Fi or cellular service. If you're primarily looking for an outdoor fitness companion to track your activities on the trail, this is a tough watch to beat.

The Fenix 6 Pro Solar Edition lets you explore without worrying about your battery life as it uses power from the sun by day and charges naturally under artificial light overnight. It also works with Garmin's Firstbeat technology and provides metrics such as VO2max, which helps estimate your fitness level and V02 Max. Ultimately the biggest selling point will be it has GPS/GLONASS support but now comes with an expanded feature set for those living an active lifestyle

Pros

  • Battery life is amazing
  • Very durable.  Heavy use has produced almost no signs of wear.

Cons

  • Heart rate accuracy might not be as accurate as previous versions
  • Screen isn't touch screen

Conclusion

You really can't go wrong with any of the GPS watches we've listed for mountain bikers.  That being said, our two favorites are the Garmin Forerunner 945 because of the strong focus on pure fitness data, as well as the Apple Watch 6 if you have an iPhone due to it's excellent integration with your phone.


So what are you waiting for! Get a GPS watch today and get out riding!


More To Think About

Using GPS to Track Your Mountain Biking Route

The first thing to consider when looking for a mountain bike watch is whether you want it to connect to your smartphone so you can track your route without worrying about bringing along a third piece of technology on your ride. If you're interested in having this capability, you'll need one of the watches on our list with Bluetooth.

Aside from this, however, there are a few other things you should look for in your GPS watch. You'll want to make sure it is durable and water resistant so that it can withstand the rough conditions of mountain biking. Keep in mind that most of these watches need to be charged regularly because the GPS mode is a drain on it. Make sure you don't forget your charging cable on a ride Finally, consider how long the battery will last – some of these watches have a very short battery life – perfect if you only plan to use them occasionally but not great for regular usage.