Wearable tech doesn’t have to be techy. Apple, Garmin, and many others make watches that can be linked to various ride tracking apps, yet I found myself drawn to the Suunto line, a lesser-known GPS watch brand. Part of my interest in Suunto was due to that they design and manufacture their watches in Finland, a country that seems to specialize in GPS watches and devices. For me, switching a computer from bike to bike, and managing the mounts for each, was too big of a pain in the ass. Convenience is king when your life revolves around riding, reviewing, and documenting bikes and bike rides. I’ve been making moves with the Suunto Traverse for three years now and truly believe these watches are worth their hefty price tag.
MovesCount is Suunto’s online portal. It’s where your “moves” are counted. Clever, huh? When you first buy a Traverse, or any other of Suunto’s GPS watches, MovesCount is where you set it up on either their web (via the charging cable) or app (via Bluetooth connectivity) portal. You can choose from any number of activities such as hiking, trail running, cycling, even kayaking, to add and create profiles within the watch. If you only ride bikes, you can strip the watch’s functionalities down to specifically record that one activity. This versatility and programmability are what drew me to the Suunto line. From MovesCount, you can link uploads to Strava or other social platforms.
Watches can be looked at as luxury items these days, especially when everyone is constantly glued to their phones, yet the Suunto Traverse is more than just a wristwatch. With weather alerts, a compass, sunrise/sunset, an altimeter, a flashlight (yep!), and other features, this smartwatch is highly intelligent. I use it to track trail runs, hikes, and bike rides. One feature that could use a bit of beefing up is the navigation. While you can technically navigate from the Traverse, the dot matrix screen can be confusing in convoluted networks of roads or trails. If you’re simply navigating cross-country, it’s great, but if there is a dense network of trails, you’re going to have to rely on a map or an iPhone app like Galileo. You can even link the watch to receive SMS!
Unlike other watches, Suunto uses a proprietary charging cable. This is the Achilles of the platform, as I have forgotten the cable before on road trips, and they’re not readily available at sporting goods stores. Luckily though, I’ve found the Traverse’s battery life being substantial, lasting for two weeks without a charge. As long as you don’t record a Move. For rides, I’ve had great luck with a single charge on a 100-mile ride. Typically, 8 to 10 hours is where the watch’s life tops out. If you’re going on a longer ride, I’d suggest bringing a small USB battery and the Suunto cable.
The Traverse’s look is rugged, yet very stylish. With a number of band options, ranging from rubber to leather, or a NATO strap pictured here, you can dress up or dress down the Traverse with ease. The face of the watch is approximately 50mm wide, which is on-par with the more modern, wider style of “men’s” watches. Unfortunately, this might be a bit bigger for “female” riders. I came from a 40mm watch prior to this and the extra 10mm was noticeable for a few weeks. I even snagged the watch on branches before while riding, due to its thicker 20mm total body height, including the strap.
We all lead very active lives and if you’re like me, your use of products borders on abuse. I’ve been physically put through the wringer with the Traverse, from Canyoneering in Utah, to outriding storms on White Mountain, braving the elements in Death Valley, death marches in South Africa, and much more. For the past three years, any ride that is documented here on the site has been recorded with the Traverse and It’s never had even a tech hiccup.
Used, abused, and still ticking.
The Suunto Traverse normally retails for $419 but is on sale now for $293! It’s proven to be a reliable, fashionable, and functional addition. I can’t see myself ever wanting to use a standard bike-mounted GPS again. No more bike mounts to clutter your cockpit or interfere with your handlebar bags. No more losing that expensive little computer, no more forgetting it at home. You can replace your wristwatch with an active, wearable tech watch, and not feel like an adventure dork.
Got any questions? Drop them below!