Bike computer vs watch for mountain biking?

For my gravel rides, I use the garmin edge 530. It makes sense for navigation when needed but also power numbers if I’m doing intervals.

But for mtb, I’m doing general trail riding and not really doing any type of intervals there and I can’t really glance down at the screen very much while riding mtb trails.

I’m wondering if others here use just a watch for tracking mtb rides. It seems the garmin instinct 2 or fenix watches are pretty popular.

It’s not a big deal to use the edge but it might be slightly less of a hassle to just use a watch I wear 24/7. I wear an Apple Watch but that doesn’t have all the same data a garmin device has or support for a power meter.

I train enough on the MTB to make the head units crucial. I have some friends who prefer the watches so if you don’t need real time data, they’re good

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I clip my Fenix 6 pro to the bars and find it is totally useful for mapping and for the general data fields. I don’t use power pedals or train seriously on the MTB so this is more than enough. I have the option of spending the cash for a head unit etc on the MTB but don’t think i’d gain anything compared to using my watch.

I’m if doing a workout or need a map, I use my edge. If I’m just out screwing around on the local trails, my fenix is more than enough. I have my PM paired to it to track CTL but not anything I care about when riding

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Yeah. For the most part when I’m on my mtb on my local trails I’m not doing structured workouts. I might pick some sections to go hard on but it’s all by feel so I don’t need to see the data screen right in front of me. And most of the trails I really don’t need any type of navigation.

I like the grit and flow data but it’s not something I need to be on display throughout the ride. I might glance at it while stopping but that’s about it.

I use my Instinct 2 to record some MTB rides on my hardtail or my commutes, it’s definitely not as useful as a display.

It’s super useful having the Instinct 2 when you really don’t care what any of the numbers say, and you can use it as your HRM when you’re using the 530, or even for TR.

This is really a majority of my rides. I’m too busy trying to stay upright to look at a display. Occasionally when I go to a larger park or something where I might have some more gravel like connector trails or climbs or something I might be interested in the display. But that’s pretty rare and in that case I’d just use my edge

Everybody seems to like the garmin instinct 2. I doubt I’d spend money on a fenix 7 but might go with fenix 6 or instinct 2.

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I used a Fenix for about two years. it was fine for the most part, but since putting it on a handle bar required it to have a band that opened all the way up limited the bands I could use.

I’ve since switched to a 1030 and on to a 1040. The additional data is very useful on training during ultra endurance races.

I don’t pay much attention to the flow and grit, but it was interesting to see the 1040 pickup jumps.

I tried using a Fenix for gravel and road mostly for tracking but nice to have maps too but as pointed out, it’s too small and inconvenient to look at in motion and limited and clunky to navigate “on the fly” so I ended up getting the Explore 2.

For “tracking rides” the Instinct will do perfectly fine, the Fenix can be useful for mapping in a pinch out on the trail - but IIRC, the Instinct has the ability to both reverse a route and a go to start function.

I use my forerunner 55. Works great & does everything I need it to do.

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