What are some good cycling apps

Bicycle navigation apps: 5 groundbreaking recommendations for large and small bike tours


We have put together the 5 best bike navigation apps for iOS and Android for you. Everyone knows Komoot - but do you also have the alternatives on your radar?

Google Maps on a bike or an e-bike? It works, but is only recommendable under certain conditions. Anyone looking for the best bike routes shouldn't just rely on the free classic. Bike navigation apps for Android and iPhone that specialize in bike tours do this job much better, use the GPS integrated in the smartphone and support you with route planning.

  1. Why not just use Google Maps for bike navigation?
  2. Online or offline maps, cycling in the border area
  3. Find the right bike cell phone holder
  4. (Anti) motivation aid: bike computer
  5. The best navigation apps: our recommendations

Why not just use Google Maps for bike navigation?

The danger with Google Maps is that Google will send you along busy main roads, even though a beautiful dirt road would not have brought you to your destination far away. The apps presented here can do that better, as our bicycle navigation system test shows. Some of the navigation apps presented here are not explicitly designed for cycling, but also guide hikers and sometimes drivers to their destination.

Operation and the graphical representation are of course important, but the best navigation app is not worth the money or the subscription if the map material used is insufficient. So make sure that the maps do not come exclusively from Google Maps. Good apps integrate map material from different providers, such as different versions of the Open Street Map (OSM), topographic or local traffic maps.

Topographic maps with a height profile are irreplaceable in open terrain. Sure: Where there are no roads or bike paths, Google Maps is sufficient for a very rough orientation at best.

Online or offline maps, cycling in the border area

It doesn't always have to be a physical bicycle sat nav from Garmin and Co. on the handlebars: GPS apps for smartphones often also offer the option of downloading maps via the home WiFi connection and viewing them on the smartphone without the Internet. Pay attention to this possibility! On the one hand, you save valuable data volume when you are on the move - in times of flat rates this may be only important abroad. But the availability of offline map material has other advantages.

Since no cellular connection has to be established, the cell phone battery lasts much longer. The GPS connection is already gnawing heavily at the battery. On the other hand, there is often only limited cell phone reception in the most beautiful areas such as the Alps. Navi apps with offline maps show you the way to the campsite or the next alpine hut.

Many providers pay for the download via in-app purchase. The crux of the matter is that the maps are mostly divided into regions. If you cycle in the border area of ‚Äč‚Äčthese regions, you may have to download several map packages. Providers like Komoot sometimes offer "lifetime activation" for the entire area covered. Such packages are expensive, but can be worthwhile for power users.

Find the right bike cell phone holder

For this article, the author has downloaded a whole bunch of map apps from the app stores. To attach the iPhone 12 used, a suitable bicycle cell phone holder was ordered, in this case the Wicked Chili QuickMount, and installed. Advantage: The large iPhone, including the rain cover, can be attached to this holder in both portrait and landscape format.

When we tried out the bicycle navigation apps for the iPhone for the first time, this advantage seemed less important to us. Reason: Most navigation apps do not support the landscape view. It's a shame, because we actually find the horizontal view practical. Finally, Google Maps can still score points here, because a landscape view is also possible with the Google navigation system.

(Anti) motivation aid: bike computer

Many apps offer the option of showing a kind of bike computer or trip master. In this view you can see at a glance the distance already covered, the kilometers still to be mastered or the upcoming turns. That can motivate. However, experience has shown that the constant view of the average speed or the remaining distance can also be annoying. Instead of cycling relaxed and enjoying the landscape, all you have to do is look at the remaining kilometers. A matter of taste!

The best navigation apps: our recommendations

Bicycle navigation apps and hardware in the test
Bicycle navigation apps and hardware in the test

Click in the gallery above to view and download what we believe to be the best navigation apps. If you prefer to go on a long tour with a classic hardware navigation device for your bike, you will also find recommendations for different devices in the photo gallery.

What most of the navigation apps for bicycles presented here can only do rudimentary, if at all, is the weather forecast. Special apps from the Apple and Google apps stores are much better suited for this. At this point we present you in detail what we believe to be the best weather apps.

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