A variety of convenient new cycling features come with watchOS 9. From heart rate zones, splits, pacer, custom workouts, and more, the Workout app offers a new experience when tracking rides. Here’s a hands-on look at the new Apple Watch cycling metrics in watchOS 9.
Whether you’re an avid cyclist, just starting out, or looking to make deliberate progress, watchOS 9 offers the most advanced Apple Watch cycling metrics yet. This comes with a big update for running metrics this year.
Getting more intentional with heart rate zones, getting extra motivation with a pacemaker, or creating personalized cycling workouts are all possible with watchOS 9.
Apple Watch cycle metrics: What’s new in watchOS 9?
Here are the top 6 new Apple Watch cycling metrics and features:
- Heart rate zones
- Altitude data (now displayed while cycling)
- Pacer with on-screen metrics and alerts
- Create custom cycling workouts with ‘warm-up’, ‘work’, ‘cool down’ and ‘cool down’ segments
- Multisport training that automatically switches between running, cycling and swimming for triathletes – this is a new training type for “Multisport Triathlon”
Here’s a look at the new Apple Watch cycling metrics in action:
Heart rate zones
After starting a cycling workout in watchOS 9, the first screen/main screen defaults to showing elapsed time, current heart rate, average speed, elevation gained, and distance. Apple says you’ll be able to customize the metrics displayed.
- Swipe up or down or use the digital crown to access new cycling metrics screens. The second screen when recording a cycling workout is the heart rate zones.
- Apple Watch automatically creates your 5 heart rate zones based on the Heart Rate Reserve method. And peak and resting values are updated automatically on the first day of every month.
- But you can manually enter heart rate zones by going to Settings > Training > Heart Rate Zones on your Apple Watch or on iPhone in the Apple Watch app > Training > Heart Rate Zones.
Splits, elevation and rings during a workout
There are three other screens that you can scroll vertically: Split, Elevation and Exercise Rings.
After your ride, you can see a more detailed breakdown of the estimated time you spent in each heart rate zone, your splits, and other details on the iPhone Fitness app.
Choose the workout in the Summary tab and press See more details next to Heart rate.
Pacer and personalized cycling workouts
From the Workout app on Apple Watch, if you tap the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of a cycling workout, you’ll get more options. These will include suggestions that were previously available like aperture, time, distance or calorie goals.
But the new options are found after pressing the “Create Workout” button at the bottom.
From there you can choose:
If you choose to use the pacer, you will select how many miles you wish to travel and at what speed. You’ll receive alerts and updates as you ride to keep you on track.
If you choose a custom workout, you can create a session with “warm-up”, “work”, “cool-down” and “cool-down” segments.
9to5Mac’s Take on Apple Watch cycling metrics
I think it’s great to see progress in cycling workouts with watchOS 9 similar to improved running metrics.
While it’s not a replacement for apps like Strava for competitive athletes, it does give everyday users more actionable workout tracking that can help them improve.
One feature I’d love to see come to cycling workouts in watchOS 9 is power output. This feature is included with the new watchOS 9 runtime metrics, so it seems like a logical next step to include for cycling (it’s also a premium feature for apps like Strava).
What excites you most about all the new Apple Watch cycle metrics in watchOS 9? Share your opinion in the comments!
For an overview of other Apple Watch health and fitness improvements for swimming, sleep and more with watchOS 9, check out the coverage from our sister site Connect The Watts:
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