The most useful mobile apps for mountain bikers: if you use an app not listed here, tell us about it

In alphabetical order here are the 14 apps that we use the most often before, during and after riding our mountain bikes.

(Apologies for the distressingly low 16% battery. Rest assured, the phone is on charge now.)

>>> 15 Best road cycling apps for iPhone and Android

Altimeter+

Altimeter+ app

Altimeter+ app

This is a great one for when you’re in the higher-than-normal hills. Whether it’s a daytrip to the Lake District or during a holiday in the Alps it’s cool to whip out your phone and check just how how you are. On a more serious note it can be a really useful for navigation too – it can help confirm/deny that you are where you think you are on a map.

Available for: iOS
Price: £0.79
Website: www.sichtwerk.com

Bike Doctor

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Stop relying on YouTube to fix your bike. Sometimes you’ll be in the middle of nowhere and won’t be able to get phone signal and then where will you be (other than the middle of nowhere)? You’ll be knacked, that’s where. It feels a bit pricey at £4 but forego that massive Starbucks latte – this app may save your ride one day.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: £3.99
Website: bikedoctorapp.com

Bike Gear Calculator

Bike Gear Calculator app

Bike Gear Calculator app

These sort of things used to be passed around via fancy Excel spreadsheets amongst singlespeeding/fixie riding freaks. But now there’s an app instead of an Excel file and there’s an audience of 1x drivetrain users (or those yet to jump ship to 1x) who are permanently pondering what chainring to use. This app helps you work out what chainring size or crank arm length to buy.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: Free or £1.49 for paid version
Website: www.bikegearcalculator.com

Cane Creek – Dialed

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Cane Creek Dialed app

Okay so this is only really for owners of Cane Creek rear shocks so feel free to skip this one if you haven’t got a CC shock on your bike, although it does have some good general advice applicable to all suspension. Suspension setup apps like this are going to be more common. Some will just be a walk-through step-by-step guide of setting up suspension (like this app) others will connect to a bit of hardware attached to your fork and/or rear shock.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Website: www.canecreek.com

Clinometer

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Clinometer app

Is your head angle as slack as you think it is? What is the head angle on that interesting looking bike in the bike shop? Most importantly, do you have the slackest head angle in your riding group? Answer all the questions AND be able to check if you’ve hung that picture up straight in the hallway.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: £1.49
Website: www.plaincode.com

Coordination

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Coordination app

No frills. Boring. But fast, accurate and extremely useful. Fire this app up and it immediately gives you your grid reference and a visual representation of where you are in the Ordnance Survey mapping grid. And that’s it. You can even export the info as a pic that that you can send to Mountain Rescue, for example.

Available for: iOS
Price: Free
Website: danieltull.co.uk

Dark Sky

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Dark sky app

Everyone has their own preferred weather app but mountain bikers need this one. As well as the usual multi-day forecast that all weather apps have, the great thing about Dark Sky is the alerts it sends you. Basically it tells you when rain is on its way (or when it’s stopping) so you can plan your next rest stop and/or get your jacket on at a convenient time before the rain starts. The satellite imagery ‘recent timeline’ is excellent for working out what weather is passing over you within the next couple of hours or so.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: £2.99
Website: darksky.net

Dirt School

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Dirt School app

Dirt School’s app is like having a pocket skills coach on your person. Stuffed with easy to follow instructions and no-nonsense informative videos it’s by far the best skills app for MTB out there. At a fiver it’s not cheap but compared to a day’s in-person coaching at around £100…

Available for: iOS
Price: £4.99
Website: www.dirtschool.co.uk

GPX Viewer

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GPX Viewer app

The screenshot above is actually a bit out of date now as there’s a newer version that looks a bit more swish. Anyway, the functionality and point of the app remains the same. Draw up your own .gpx route file (via a site like bikehike.co.uk) or download a .gpx route file, load it up into GPX Viewer and follow the blue line. You can alternate between satellite imagery view or stripped down basic line map view or a combo of the two. The trickiest thing is getting a .gpx file into an iPhone. The solution is either to use Google Drive file-hosting app or just email the .gpx to yourself and open up the email in your file. The iPhone will then automatically choose to open it in GPX-Viewer. Sorted.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: £0.79
Website: gpx.modesittsoftware.com

Magic Hour

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This is intended for photographers actually but it can be really useful for mountain bikers too. Not only will help you find the best light of the day for your Instabangers and YouTube smashes (the ‘photo hour’) but it can be used to work the absolute latest time you can still be out riding your bike without requiring lights to light the trail. Using the example above, although the sun goes down at 9:26pm it’s actually possible to ride until 10pm (provided you’re not on the road or under heavy tree cover!)

Available for: iOS
Price: Free
Website: www.magichourapp.net

OS Mapfinder

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OS Mapfinder app

There’s no getting away from the fact that if you want the best mapping you need to pay Ordnance Survey some money. That’s just the way it is. It’s not as if their product isn’t worth the cash or anything is it? It may feel unusual paying for ‘digital content’ but it’s only like buying a paper map. And there’s a case for saying that the way OS Mapfinder works is actually loads better than having a paper map. The scaleability, the compass orientation, the search facility, the track following, the .gpx file integration, you only ever buy the exact map grids you need. It’s all extremely slick. Keep an eye out for the frequent deals on bulk mapping that OS do and stock up then to save a bit of money.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: Free for the app but 100 km2 tiles cost from £0.69
Website: www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Peakfinder Earth

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Peakfinder Earth app

This is a bit frivolous but it is quite fun. You could make an argument for it being an aid in navigation but it’s not really. It’s a piece of augmented reality overlay; hold your phone camera up and point it at the horizon around you and it shows you what lumps are what. Not so great in Norfolk perhaps but it comes into its own in the more mountainous areas of the world.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: £2.99
Website: www.peakfinder.org

St John’s Ambulance First Aid

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St John’s Ambulance First Aid app

This is probably the most vital app on this whole list (well other than Strava, obvs). It’s free. It can stop panic. It can remind of stuff that you already know but forget about during an incident. It can stop someone getting even more injured. It’s just something you should have.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Website: www.sja.org.uk

Strava

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Strava app

You should at least try Strava. It’s not just for raceheads. Most people on there use it for tracking their progress (fitness, mileage, times etc) and for the community support vibe – it is nice to receive kudos and encouraging comments on your rides, just as it is to leave them on others’. It’s also incredibly useful for finding new trails to ride – even in areas that you thought you knew well. If you’re good then by all means chase some Segment KOMs/QOMs but don’t think that the Segment hunting is the be-all and end-all of Strava. That may well be the case for roadies but Strava is much more than that for mountain bikers. It’s also worth logging into the desktop version too as that unlocks some powerful route plotting/downloading features as well.

Available for: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Website: www.strava.com

>>> 15 Best road cycling apps for iPhone and Android

Have we missed your favourite?

These are our 14 most useful mobile apps for mountain bikers: if you use an app not listed here, tell us about it in the comments below.