Mountain Biking Tech

In the 21st century, mountain biking is now synonymous with virtually every other industry and activity with how technology is now part of everything. GPS units, smartphones, various applications targeted specifically to mountain biking, headphones, and even drones are all now common accessories that go hand-in-hand with the MTB experience. Although there are many examples of MTB tech, what are the essential tech items for mountain biking?

Mountain biking technology is most prominently recognized in either a GPS unit, such as the fitness trackers and GPS devices issued by Garmin, or a common smartphone with a range of applications and built-in GPS. Other popular MTB tech accessories are headphones, earbuds, and smartwatches. 

If you are currently wondering what the best tech items for mountain biking are, then this article is for you. In this guide, we will take a look at some of the most obvious MTB tech items, as well as offer some suggestions and reviews on certain tech items that are tailor-made for mountain biking. There are many types of tech devices to consider, so be sure to know what works best for your own needs before making a purchase. 

Best Earbuds For Mountain Biking

As we all know, exercising with music is always more effective: motivation increases, vigor increases, and the result improves. Many professional athletes and amateurs need particular sports Bluetooth earphones in order to keep this momentum going when out on the trail. 

Such a device will be an excellent companion wherever you go – to the gym, conquer mountain peaks or participate in a cross-country MTB ride. Sports headsets are designed for mobile people who lead a healthy lifestyle and extreme sports fans who want to get adrenaline with music. 

For mountain cyclists wearing headsets, comfort, and only partial sound insulation from the external environment are very important: runners often have to cross the road, and cyclists even have to ride on the track. For such conditions, in-ear headsets are most often used.

Peak climbers, snowboarders, skiers, and surfers need earphones for extreme sports, compact, durable, well-fitting in the ears, and, if necessary, with a high level of moisture protection. Wireless sports earphones need to be comfortable when paired with your gear. High-quality sound is also of great importance for an extreme.

When choosing wireless headphones for training, you should immediately test them on yourself. Even a state-of-the-art device can cause discomfort during use, in which case the training will not be practical. The volume in the buds should not go off the scale. However, it is worth paying attention to sound insulation and noise reduction: study the instructions and materials used in the headsets.

Moreover, not every wireless model is designed for cycling, but the good ones, even for fitness, are sweatproof (moisture resistant). The connection between your smartphone and sports headsets should be flawless. When choosing a device, consider the communication range and resistance to shock and vibration. With the right color and design of the Earbuds, you can add style and confidence to your look.

The world is now wireless, and there is no reason to listen to your tunes or capitalize on advances in wireless technology. While cycling in traffic with buds can still be dangerous, newer models allow for more surround sound or even use bone-conduction technology (the “buds” go to the temples, not the ear canal) so you can hear more about what’s going on around you. It makes them good options for mountain biking, bike trails, and gravel roads, in addition to using them on a trainer or gym. 

In addition, as the technology improves, cycling options become more durable and sweatproof and are offered with longer battery life as prices drop.

When exercising or riding a bike, many movements are often performed. If your earphones are not the right size and do not fit well, they will surely fall out constantly. Not only can this be quite annoying, but it can also be costly if you drop, run over, or lose them. Like any headset, the audio quality of your cycling headset is essential. The sound should be excellent and clear, without static or interference. Finding mountain biking earphones is not always easy, but keep these tips in mind when shopping. 

If you’re curious, we like the Jabra Elite Active earbuds.

Best Drone For Mountain Biking

The best drone for capturing nature while mountain biking that features a standard RGB visual light camera is the Mavic 2 Pro. This aircraft includes:

  • A 20-megapixel sensor that creates a still image size of 5472 x 3648. It can also shoot video in 4K, which makes it one of the best cameras on the drone market. 
  • Temperature operation is between 14deg F to 104deg F.

But what makes this an ideal mountain biking drone?

For starters, it has an Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing system, which allows it to swiftly avoid the many obstacles along the trail. Whether it is forward, backward, up, down, left or right, this system makes the Mavic 2 Pro perfect for forests.

Currently, no other drone on the market avoids obstacles in every direction while taking stills with a 20-megapixel sensor.

It is lightweight, just under 2lbs, and foldable so that it can fit in your cargo pocket or a small hard case.

  • Tip: Add the DJI Goggles to get a first person view of what your drone sees, and you will have a solid system for filming nature. What ties it all together is that having these features don’t bump up the price considerably.

Best Garmin For Mountain Biking

Garmin is a fantastic company in terms of GPS devices geared towards fitness and sports. For MTB, the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Edition features many new updates to the previous solar models geared towards MTB. For one, the watch itself is completely changed in its design scheme from a more square-shaped design to a circular shape. The new key stats showing on the screen are more in line with traditional smartwatches for rugged cycling. 

The watch is well-calibrated to handle the influx of new features. The Power Glass lens combines the best of solar technology with powerful battery-saving performance. But perhaps the biggest standout of the Tactix Delta Solar Edition is the comfort and size variations that make the watch great for running. The watch feels incredibly lightweight against the wrist. In addition to this, the personalized workout features are enhanced as well. 

What is also great about this model is the two available sizes that you can choose from, 42mm or 39mm. Not all runners wish to have a large and bulky wristwatch, even though the display screen is the same size, which works well with the many different types of performance capabilities that are compatible with this model.  

Additionally, the Tactix Delta Solar has more pushable buttons, which eliminates the need to go through an app to change settings. You can now interchange settings and customizations through a simple push of a button. 

With just five convenient button settings, you are able to navigate the menu and customize the watch with a few simple pushes to your desired settings. There are no complex patterns to figure out with this model, you will likely have the routine down pat after one running session. 

The Garmin Tactix Delta Solar is brimming with many additional features, and the improvements upon the design scheme of the watch are also great. With new additions to measure training effect, recovery time, and race prediction for triathlons, the Tactix Delta Solar stands atop the series.

Should You Get This Garmin Watch?

The Garmin Tactix Delta Solar is all about variety; variety in fitness selections and variety when it comes to what you need to be tracked and monitored and how. The Tactix series is all about energy savings, but this model is the one that many Garmin enthusiasts have been waiting for. You get the benefits of incredible battery life with the advanced features of the Tactix line. 

The Tactix Delta Solar is all about improving upon past exclusions in this popular Garmin line. With this in mind, this makes this model a great investment as this will likely turn out to be the only Garmin model that you will ever need considering that the long-awaited ability to harness the power of the sun into battery performance is fully realized with this model. 

Why the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Edition Is Worth It

The Tactix Delta Solar is all about convenience; this model is a complete evolutionary upgrade in the line. This means that some previous concerns with other models have been improved upon for your convenience. Such as the inclusion of various types of sports and fitness performance dynamics as opposed to just running or jogging. The barometric altimeter is perfect for capturing ambient pressure while mountain biking.

As well as a music upgrade, the inclusion of pulse oximetry data for more comprehensive and dynamic performance readings is also here. 

The technology is improved upon, which goes beyond simple velocity to even pinpoint performance targets in various areas of the body as opposed to just an overall assessment. The watch is comfortable and lightweight, therefore, you can rest assured that this model is definitely worth the purchase. 

mountain biking tech

Image credit: Deposit Photos

The Downsides

Negatives are always a factor for any product but the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar does not have many downsides to mention. The substantial price is likely going to be the big sticking point to many potential buyers. This can be easily overcome once you consider some of the useful and innovative technologies that you get with this model. 

Some users report difficulty in properly calibrating the new and improved GPS and navigation protocols. Additionally, the need to spend hours outside to unlock all the benefits of solar technology can also be a burden to some, but this is certainly not a cause for concern for mountain bikers. 

Garmin Instinct For Mountain Biking

The Garmin Instinct Solar is a powerful and large smartwatch that is designed for long, outdoor fitness sessions which is perfect for MTB. The solar-charging capabilities of this model are unprecedented in terms of charge longevity. The watch is also durable and built-to-last with military-grade toughness. 

This sports and fitness watch scores high marks in all the important key points for rating a fitness watch. This article will explore everything that needs to be known about this product, including its pros and cons as well as if the watch is worth buying for your fitness needs. Read on to find out more. 

Pros the Garmin Instinct Solar:

  • Long-lasting battery performance. The main feature of the Instinct Solar is definitely the power of the battery. This model is designed for solar power charging capabilities, which are activated by UV rays with adequate outdoor experiences. You can now enjoy longer periods outdoors without having to worry about quickly finding a charging station to keep your watch running. 
  • Increased performance tracking capabilities. Many watches that are fashioned for runners and joggers promise technology that can monitor your heart rate, yet this can be an inconvenience in most models. With the Garmin Instinct Solar, the smart technology keeps in sync with your heart rate through your wrist, which displays on the screen for easy monitoring. 
  • Improved GPS, Glonass, and Galileo. One of the many things to appreciate about a treadmill is the convenience of your distance stats on a monitor right in front of you. With the Garmin Instinct Solar, you can now have all of these great GPS features like pace, distance run, and customizable intervals that light up with frequency during your run. Gone are the inconveniences of having to keep a mental note of your distance running. 
  • New and improved adaptive training plans. For some of Garmin’s most select watch models, adaptive training plans through a Garmin coach of your choice are available to help guide you through your run. The Instinct Solar is one of the watches that includes this convenient coaching, which works well to help you reach your goals on those days when running or any fitness regime seems like a chore. 
  • Advanced tactical features. One of the other standout features of the Garmin Instinct Solar is the new editions to the tactical performance tracking features. You can now sync your watch with enhancements such as night visions, which syncs to a pair of compatible goggles. The Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) is also convenient for advanced tracking of longitude and latitude coordinates.  

Cons of the Garmin Instinct Solar:

  • Information overload. It is hard to call any of the state-of-the-art new features that come with the Garmin Instinct Solar a con. With this said, sometimes the number of notifications for all the features can be overwhelming. Even if you choose to limit the notifications coming in, the data from the features will still sync consistently to provide notifications. This can become annoying if you have many features running at once. 
  • The battery needs a lot of sunlight. Although the new and improved solar technology lens is the standout feature, it can be a bit inconvenient. In order to reap the full benefits, the lens needs about 3 full hours of direct sunlight. Therefore, unless you plan on being in direct sunlight for hours, you won’t get the full benefits. This is not going to be a problem for fitness enthusiasts who spend a few hours outdoors each day. 
  • The GPS features can be confusing. While this model does feature some great addition to GPS and navigation, the design is flawed. There are far too many instances where multiple buttons need to be pressed to navigate properly. If you need to zoom in on a location to see the terrain, you will have to navigate a slew of buttons. Manual entry can be convenient for smartwatches, but this is an instance that would be great for a touchscreen. 

Best GPS Mountain Biking

Besides not getting lost in the woods, GPS gadgets give you a ton of other information that can make you a better rider. You can focus and plan your training and track your progress. Most models have plenty of memory to see how your performance changes over time. Plus, online MTB workout apps can store your data for easy visualization. 

The tiny GPS screen isn’t the best for looking at long range trends, so it’s better to sync to an app or just opt for a GPS smartwatch like one of the Garmin watches mentioned above. The interactive nature of the best devices allows you to make riding more social. For instance, the Garmin Edge 520 lets you send and receive riding courses digitally. How cool is that? But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start back with the basics.

With a GPS device, there are some basic features that you’ll look at on nearly every ride, such as ride time and distance. Built upon those parameters, these amazing devices can now do so much more. 

But the downsides to a GPS device can be pertinent if the wearability of the devices conflicts with a rider’s performance and focus. This is why it is more attractive to opt for a GPS smartwatch or a fitness tracker that also has GPS since this does not interfere with the rhythm and dynamics of MTB. 

Best GoPro For Mountain Biking

For MTB, GoPro is one of the premiere companies. 

A great GoPro mount to consider is the 3-Way 2.0. This incredible camera mount is 2.0 is three essential mounts in one. It’s an ergonomic camera grip that transforms into a tripod, plus an extension arm for selfies or follow shots. A built-in ball joint even lets you tilt your camera or swivel 360 degrees, and an integrated ball joint lets you change your camera angle without having to reposition the mount. 

Some key standout features of the 3-Way 2.0 are: 

  • Built-in tripod quickly folds out to provide a stable shooting platform for time lapse shots, group photos and more
  • Ergonomic design makes the grip comfortable to use even during all-day adventures
  • Folding extension arm acts as a handheld boom for selfies, overhead shots, follow-cam footage and getting closer to the action
  • Captive hardware makes it impossible to lose individual pieces
  • Standard GoPro mounting base makes it easy to switch your camera between mounts
  • Waterproof construction for use in and out of the water
  • Measures 19.5in (49.53cm) when fully extended and collapses to 8in (20.32cm)

The key to capturing the best images with a GoPro is found in the mounting. Each mounting position allows you to catch a different angle on the action, creating a more dynamic view and a more compelling story with your footage. For example, take a look at some of your favorite YouTube videos involving Mountain Biking. What do you notice about the POV shots?

While there’s definitely more to it, these few features give you a base understanding as to why the videos are so engaging.

For starters, having a subject (the rider) in frame gives us a reference point for the action. This allows us to relate to the scene and can almost feel like an immersive experience if edited correctly. In addition to the subject, you also get a great view of the trail around them. GoPro’s are great at taking wide-framed videos, which helps riders capture the environment around them. 

And the beauty of nature when mountain biking is one of the top reasons to ride in the first place. This is why GoPro’s are so important to a rider’s MTB camera setup. Lastly, you can get a better sense for the rider’s speed on videos where the camera angle is lower to the ground, as opposed to higher. 

A good way to imagine this is to imagine a jet flying in front of you and in the skyline, although a jet is flying hundreds of miles per hour, the fact that it’s so far away makes it look like it’s moving at a crawl. Compare that to a hand waving in front of your face, which seems like it’s moving a lot faster than the jet. This is simply due to the fact that your hand is closer to your view, although it’s a lot slower than the jet. Keep this in mind when you start filming.

Best Fitness Watch For Mountain Biking

In terms of fitness for MTB, The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a marked upgrade from the already perfect Forerunner 745. I have written passionately about this watch, and the same level of passion holds steady when analyzing the Forerunner 945’s cycling prowess. The Forerunner 945 monitors your cycling performance and can even offer personalized insight, so you can ride smarter, not harder. 

The smartwatch tracks your VO2 max and adjusts the value based on heat and altitude. Training status evaluates your recent cycling history and performance indicators to let you know if you’re training productively, peaking, or overreaching. You can see how your workouts influence the development of endurance, speed, and power with aerobic and anaerobic training effect feedback, even from cycling statistics. 

Recovery time helps you maximize the benefit of your efforts by predicting when you will be ready for your next tough ride. You can even view your overall training load, which measures your exercise volume from the last 7 days and compares it to the optimal range for your fitness and recent training history. Additionally, the new Forerunner 945 training load focus sorts your recent training history into different categories based on activity structure and intensity.

The Forerunner 945 is still a great choice for cycling but the Forerunner 945 takes it to a new level of performance tracking expertise. 

Pros:

  • Performance monitoring features include Vo2 Max and training status with adjustments for heat, altitude Acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects
  • Full color, onboard maps guide you on your run so you never get lost during your workout
  • Safety and tracking features include incident detection (during select activities) which sends your real-time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone
  • The battery life lasts up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music, or up to 60 hours in ultratrac mode. 

Cons:

  • Spotty connectivity issues may require frequent power cycles to refresh

Best Smartwatch For Mountain Biking

Without sounding overly enthusiastic, I can say with clear sincerity that Garmin is the crowning achievement when it comes to smartwatches for cyclists. I am a passionate runner but I also enjoy cycling at high speeds, and mountain biking in rough terrain. Each of the following Garmin smartwatches is designed to appeal to cyclists of all fitness levels. 

Each watch can accurately track miles and riding distances covered, detailed performance metrics across a range of fitness and health categories, including sleep, as well as helpful features through the Garmin Connect App such as Garmin Pay and enhanced performance tracking. 

Since each watch is diverse in terms of battery power and GPS capabilities, the process of selecting which watch is right for you depends on what type of activity you will mainly do with the watch apart from cycling. But if you primarily only go cycling, each model offers top-tier performance tracking. 

Additionally, some of these models can track a wide range of other activities such as running and swimming. Let’s take a look at each watch more closely. 

Apart from being a great watch for cycling, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar is just a great watch overall. Building on the craftsmanship for solar power that was seen in the Fenix 6X, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar Edition contains a power glass lens material that covers the display screen of the watch. This new and improved panel increases the ability of the lens to absorb UV and transfer this power to the battery pack. 

You can now have a full solar charge to the battery that limits charging time, which is perfect for long cycling sessions. In addition to a stellar battery, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar is also packed with superb performance tracking features. 

Pace Pro is a more advanced version of the Garmin coaching app that improves upon the features of that app. Additionally, this watch also has barometric altimeter technology to measure altitude and changes in elevation affecting your ride. 

The MTB (mountain bike) dynamics of the Fenix 6 Pro Solar allows you to track the details of every ride with mountain biking metrics plus specialized grit and flow measurements that rate trail difficulty and how smoothly you descend, giving you a score to beat next time. You can also view advanced training metrics that include running dynamics, recovery advisor, and more; you can even estimate your heat- and altitude-adjusted VO2 max.

The MTB feature alone is what pushes this watch over the edge when it comes to cycling. 

Pros:

  • Solar Powered Multisport GPS watch with large 1.4 inches display that uses the sun’s energy to extend battery life and assure more on-wrist time for your off-grid activities
  • Train with a rugged yet sophisticated watch, featuring 1.3 inches display and titanium, stainless steel or DLC coated bezel
  • Upgraded activity profiles now let you track more, such as specialized grit and flow measurements while mountain biking
  • Get improved performance data to help you endure tough challenges, including the acclimation 2.0 widget to analyze additional data and see how your body is holding up to the current elevation
  • Navigate the outdoors with preloaded TOPO maps, ski maps for 2,000 worldwide ski resorts, multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) support, and built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Solar power technology requires lots of outdoor activity exclusively

At the end of the day, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar finds a nice balance between a cross-section of all the features with each of these models. It falls at the higher end of the price spectrum once the overall costs of all 9 models are aggregated, which is worth the cost due to the watch’s durability and overall performance. 

The performance tracking features find a perfect balance between beginner, intermediate, and advanced fitness levels. The battery performance is superb and more than enough no matter what GPS mode or length of cycling session you undertake. 

Apple Watch For Mountain Biking

Another great, and highly popular option is an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Series 7 is especially good for mountain biking.

This watch comes with a workout app that is accessible from the home screen, allowing you to track all your mountain biking workouts and view your stats. 

Apple Watch Series 7 is a product made by Apple, meaning it can sync to other products made by Apple. The iPhone has an Apple Watch app making it easy for you to customize your data and add other stats you would like to track (calories burned, average speed, etc). 

This watch also offers third-party apps, including Strava. Strava is a popular app for mountain bikers, however, not all smartwatches offer it.