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The smartphone is the single most ubiquitous piece of technology today. These days, everyone from your 80-year-old grandma on down to your 12-year-old nephew is walking around with their head down, tapping away on their iPhone. While some have decried the smartphone as a distraction from real life and the natural world around us, these ever-present electronic devices can actually help enhance our mountain biking experience and subsequently, our love of nature.

To help you get the most out of your smartphone mountain biking experience, the Singletracks team has compiled a list of the best MTB apps that we’re using before, during, and after our rides. Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android device, or even a Windows phone, there are apps on this list for you.

We originally published this list over two years ago in early 2014, and even since that time the world of mobile technology has transformed. So, we knew this list was due for an update. Of the 10 apps you see here, only four remain from our original selections, and even those have changed dramatically. The rest are all new—check them out!

Avenza PDF Maps

OS: iOS, Android, Windows

Cost: Free

IMG_4042-pdf

Avenza PDF Maps allows you to download geospatial PDF files, know as GeoPDFs, and then navigate using those GeoPDFs out on the trail. Some of the available maps cost money, while others are free. Some local mountain bike clubs are looking to PDF Maps as an easy way to distribute their trail maps and allow users to navigate their trail systems with their smartphones, without those clubs having to create their own standalone app.

-Greg Heil

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# Comments

  • Ed Kroll

    Runtastic has two bike specific apps in both free and pro versions (at least for iPhone). Runtastic Mountain Bike and Runtastic Road Bike. And according to their website apps are available for all major platforms. Records your ride, weather conditions, photos, etc. can be hooked up to sensors for cadence and other data too.

    • Jerry Zeekaf

      I’ve been using Runtastic for almost 5yrs. It has its quirks but then what product doesn’t. I was really impressed when it tracked me FLYING from Seattle to San Diego, now that was neat! The only beef I have is that I have both the free and Pro versions but I can’t move history from free to pro.

  • williedillon

    Cool stuff. I’m glad you guys included Windows Phone in the lists of OSes, though you forgot to list Windows Phone on Instagram. I just wish more of these niche apps were available on WP (though it’s getting better with time). There are at least a lot of good activity trackers on Windows Phone.

  • Cutbert

    Where is Endomondo? Great App of choice for me, iOS and Android plus Internet interactive. Works with Wahoo & Polar HR Monitors, google maps, satellite view and more…

  • SCmtbDad

    I’ve found Google MyTracks to be a good, easy app. Uses very little battery, is pretty accurate, provides graphs on speed and altitude, and charts all your basic stats, in addition to providing the maps and route. It also syncs with Google Earth so you can replay a ride.

    EveryTrail is a good app for sharing with others. It also has the basic stats and some graphs, but is also web based so you can view a route before you ride it – seeing the speed and altitude at each point, and if you like to take pics while you ride, the photo will show at the appropriate place on the map. I’ve found the GPS to be not as reliable as MyTracks, but it’s still good.

    Last, I use a very simple weather radar called Rainy Days to see how the weather is looking. It’s very accurate and with the exception of those pop-up storms that you can’t predict easily, it’s extremely reliable. I always check Rainy Days before I go ride and have completed many great rides when our weather forecasters said it would rain all day.

  • SlimL

    A couple that I use are PDF Maps from Avenza and MTB Projects from the IMBA. The PDF Maps use the GeoPDF maps and are great for keeping track of where you are. The MTB projects uses GPX files that you can download right to your GPS. I have to admit that I use a iPod Touch and GPS not a smart phone with a data package but that is just a little toooooo expensive a habit for me to start.

  • hproctor

    As one that rides solo 95% of the time, I heavily rely on mapping apps. Avenza PDF maps is my go to app while riding new territory. You have to do some research but many maps are out there; on their store or other online sources. At last count I had 70+ trails from 14 states on my phone. “Maprika” is another good one. Some of the maps are not quite as detailed as the ones on Avenza, but there are more local user posted maps available. Additionally, the “current location” button on the Singletracks app has help guide me in the right direction frequently.

  • williedillon

    Windows Phone has some third-party options for Strava. I use Cyclers. It’s free and works great. There’s also Straver and Straza Mate. There are also multiple GPX viewers available. Still no Singletracks app on Windows, though, and GoPro has announced they are dropping support for Windows Phone (probably because of how badly they’re doing now), but you can still download and use the app.

  • chukt

    TrailForks and MTBproject both work well when navigating trails and you are out of cell service.
    I find TrailForks uses a lot less battery. In the backcountry, that can be a big factor.

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