7 Free and Inexpensive Apps that Turn Your Smartphone into a GPS for Mountain Biking

Strava (free)

strava

Strava tends to be a polarizing app among mountain bikers, but whatever you think about the app, chances are you have friends who use it. Actually, many riders use the Strava service but don’t actually use the free app on their phones, which is a shame because it’s a great app. In fact, we found it to be even more accurate than many standalone GPS units in a test a couple years ago.

Strava is designed around the concept of virtual racing and fitness training, though the app does include some basic trail navigation features that can come in handy. It pairs nicely with external sensors like heart rate monitors and is super simple to use.

After the ride, Strava makes it easy to analyze rides and to share routes with friends. Some features–like the ability to export GPX data–are only available to premium members ($59.99 annually).

Use this if: You’re competitive and want to get even faster, or you just want a simple, reliable way to log your rides.

One final note: Don’t pass over the paid GPS apps on this list in favor of the free ones! Consider what you need out of a GPS app and remember, even a $10 app costs much less than an inexpensive GPS unit.

Of course these are just some of the GPS apps mountain bikers are using in place of dedicated GPS units. Which one do you use?

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