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GPS accuracy of cycling devices

The GPS accuracy of cycling devices is often discussed! Therefore, I show here some activity recordings of mountain bike trips in Germany, Italy and Switzerland – so that cyclists can evaluate the GPS accuracy of current Garmin, Hammerhead, Wahoo & TwoNav devices themselves.

One important point should be noted when comparing the cycling devices: Since the devices are mounted next to each other on the handlebar, it cannot be ruled out that the GPS receivers influence each other. In addition, the receivers are shielded by the body.

This is something to keep in mind when looking at the map!

GPS devices when mountain biking (Valle Maira, Italy)
GPS devices when mountain biking (Valle Maira, Italy)

Recording conditions:

  • Recording interval always 1s
  • Altimeter with manual calibration at startup (unless I forget …), auto calibration activated
  • GPS receiver with the GNSS listed below
  • Garmin Edge 1030 Plus: GPS + GLONASS
  • Garmin Edge 830: GPS + GLONASS
  • Garmin Edge 530: GPS + GLONASS
  • Garmin Edge Explore: GPS
  • Hammerhead Karoo 2: GPS + GLONASS + Beidou + OZSS (review)
  • Mio Cyclo Discover Connect: GPS
  • Sigma ROX 4.0: GPS + GLONASS
  • Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT 2: GPS + GLONASS + GALILEO + Beidou + OZSS
  • TwoNav Cross: GPS + GLONASS + GALILEO

GPS accuracy of cycling devices – Examples from mountain biking

In some examples, a Garmin GPSMAP 66sr outdoor handheld is used as a reference. Important: The GPSMAP is more favorably attached to the backpack in terms of GPS reception, which is clearly evident in some tracks!

Mountain bike regions:

  • Bavarian & Austrian Alps (Germany)
  • Odenwald (Germany)
  • Ascona, Lago Maggiore (Switzerland)
  • Valle Maira, Piedmont (Italy)

To display the color coding, move the mouse pointer to "Tracks", where you can also show/hide individual tracks. Full screen mode via the symbol in the upper right corner; map selection via the layer symbol on the right side.

Loading the data may take some time!

Elevation Profile

GPS accuracy of cycling devices – summary

In my opinion, there are no really drastic differences between the used cycling devices – all GPS devices provide convincing records in total. Each device weakens here and there, but the deviations are completely within the usual range and should be insignificant for mountain biking, gravel biking and touring.

How the GPS accuracy affects the recognition of Strava segments was not part of this review!

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5 thoughts on “GPS accuracy of cycling devices”

  1. Hi, and Thank you very much for providing this info & data…. Could you tell me your honest comparison between the Karoo 2 and your 66sr that you were using as your reference? I’m not concerned about all the different bike routing/mapping/connection options…. Only about the actual ACCURACY and Refresh rates between the two devices and your opinions on using both of them on the same rides… I’m looking for as accurate as possible gps Speedometer for short Sprint intervals. Thanks, any and all opinions & comments greatly appreciated! Roddy

    Reply
    • Hi Roddy,

      after analyzing many many tracks I would say, that both devices deliver very accurate results – sometimes the 66sr tracks are a little bit more "smoother"; I think because each track point is a little bit more accurate. If you need the most accurate device available go for the 66sr (hopefully we will see in 2022 a new Edge 1040 with Multi-Band & GNSS, would be great, my speculation).

      Today I added new tracks (19) – great results, especially for the Karoo 2 and GPSMAP 66sr.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  2. Thank you very much for this great data. It really looks rather pointless to compare these, AFTER your comparison. The only thing I am wondering is what the Bolt V2 (which would be my favourite) has done on track 8. It is often quite far OFF, AND it lost about 100m in elevation and even showed a drop where you went up.
    It even dropes quite clearly lower at mid track while having started higher!? Pretty strange and not that good :-/

    Reply
    • The bolt v2 showed 1595 while you have been at 1660 (65m too low) and earlier 1588 while you actually have been at 1530, which is 50m too much!? In comparison to the other devices it missed about 200m of elevation. This is really bad. Any idea what happened there?

      This is not "insignificant for mountain biking"…but just too much to tolerate. Strangely the performance on other tracks was not that bad but comparable to the others. What do you think?

      Reply
    • Hi,

      the drops are caused by the auto pause feature; the Bolt v2 does not recognize when you are moving on (at very low speeds, e.g. on difficult single trails); so I would suggest to turn auto pause off.

      Some examples (track 8; Bolt v2 = magenta)

      https://www.navigation-professionell.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/elemnt-bolt-v2-auto-pause-1.jpg

      https://www.navigation-professionell.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/elemnt-bolt-v2-auto-pause-2.jpg

      Reply