Smartwatch for Unipacking

For my Unipacking trips I usually will have my phone tracking the route but was looking at possibly getting a smart watch for a screen to more easily check directions. What’s everyone riding with and any good recommendations?

I do have my phone easily accessible in my front pocket too but figured I’d see what everyone is using. Another option would be a bike computer on my handlebar as I’ll be using it for most trips I imagine.

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Garmin worked pretty well for me. If you won’t be having access to electricity for quite a while, Fenix 7 series would be a good choice. Its battery lasts for weeks (depending on the model and your usage), even longer if you get the solar version. And by itself it is already a great bike computer.

I’ve had a Fenix 5 and Polar top level watch years ago. It might be different now, but I found the watches couldn’t be charged after a couple of years.

I recently bought a Wahoo Bolt2 Bike computer packaged with chest heart rate monitor, speed sensor (mounts on hub) and Cadence sensor (mounts on crank)… using accelerometers.

I was worried about mounting the computer unit on the unicycle due to the shocks of upds on the unit.

I mount the unit as in below photos. The mount is cable tied to a glove and locates it exactly where I can quickly glance at it.

I also have a Garmin Rear light/ Radar which is high on the list as a game changing device.
It sensors anything approaching me from behind… range 140m… transmits to the Wahoo Bolt. There is a green bar down the side of the screen and approaching car symbols show cars up to 6 in their relative position. I rely more on the buzzer sounds to indicate cars approaching and road being clear. It allows me to ride in the middle of the lane when I know I can. Great for higher speed riding… away from parked cars.

For hill climbing wahoo also displays the Strava segment as a graph with gradients.

Since having the Wahoo, I’ve had a few UPDs off the KH36, landing on my hands (wearing wrist guards) and the computer good as new.
It also charges by the latest usb-c connector.


If it fits your handlebar setup, I think a bike computer might be the nicer choice - probably better battery life and nicer map features for the money. (At least last time I looked, so maybe double check if that’s still the case).

Since I’m using a watch for running anyway, I’ve been using my Suunto (Spartan Trainer I believe) watch for some Muni and bike rides on new routes, which has rudimentary navigation features. No turning directions and no map, just the track/points of interest you set and your position relative to it. It works okay for some places (especially as just a quick check if I’m still on the right path), but in a city it’s not great for example, if you just see the track it’s sometimes tricky to figure out which exact road you should turn into.

Hopefully not too off topic, but @Unicyc, I guess you’re using a Schlumpf hub? On a normal 1:1 hub both speed and cadence sensors can be triggered by the same spoke magnet, but when I got a Schlumpf and wanted to record my cadence separately for high gear I didn’t manage to fit a magnet to the cranks very well (I’d got the sensors etc second hand - I suspect they may have originally come with a crank fitting method that had got lost/used), and I gave up in the end. How have you attached the magnet to the cranks?

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The Wahoo Bolt has 8 leds at the top of the unit that flash to indicate directions for following a route. I have’s tried it yet but the leds are multicolor and are quite bright. I use them to indicate heart rate zone.

It is easy to zoom in and out on the map. I still need to get used to it though.
There is a larger model “Roam”

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Still awaiting Schlumpf hub… and should be able to set up sensors on it.
Speed sensor needs input of wheel circumference so I have to remember to set it when transferring sensors to KH29.

The cadence sensor is inside a rubber housing which has holes for two cable ties.

Cable tie on speed sensor is just an extra precaution.


My cadence sensor is attached to my shoe. So just one sensor is used on all my unicycles (and bikes) and never has to be moved.


I think I must be behind the times with sensors… Do these have a separate magnet that they pass once per revolution, or does the sensor itself detect rotation without any external reference point?

Similar thought for your setup Bruce, is the sensor a self contained unit or does it need to ‘pass’ another trigger point? I would be interested to see a photo

Stand alone sensor, no nagnet. Works great, set and forget .


Thanks Bruce - fortunately I have a dog too, just in case that’s an integral part of the set-up :laughing:. Now to end this thread hijack - but I’ve found it helpful :slight_smile:

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Do you need Gps navigation? If not a bike computer will give you all the data you need at a glance as well as keep an odometer record . I have a Amazfit smart watch from Amazon that keeps my health stats as well as my mileage and time it also alerts me of phone calls and text messages . The model I have was only $50, this watch has a similar look to an apple watch and many of the same features at a fraction of the cost. I have had mine about 8 months and has proven a good investment.
I used to have my phone mounted on my touring bar with the map my ride app until a UPD sent my phone flying across a parking lot. I know where I’m riding so gps navigation is a waste for me

Yeah it’s mostly for turn by turn directions and I like seeing my speed and stays at the end of the day

The manual says the speed and cadence sensors have accelerometers inside. They must sense a rotation. No magnets.
For speed sensor in cycle mode I have to enter wheel circumference to get correct speed.

I’m not sure how having speed sensor on shoe works for measuring speed for cycling mode.

Using the Garmin there is an auto wheel size option. It takes about 5km to adjust to a new wheel size but there is no need to change the setting with a change of wheel size.

That would make lots of sense, they both send the same data. Unfortunately the GPS unit is not smart enough to know there is a fixed 1:1 on a unicycle (well most unicycles) so I use both sensors. I only have a cadence sensor as they came as set. I mean really, what’s the point of a cadence sensor on a unicycle, it’s not like you have much choice about how fast you pedal. Makes your Strava look really cool.

Back on topic. I prefer to use a proper bike GPS. Mine is Garmin Edge 130, same size as your average smart watch. I mount it on the T-bar but @Unicyc glove mount is just an excellent option. The screen is too small on a watch, and my eyes too old, to use most of the navigation features. A small GPS works for me.

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