Beeline's Velo 2 keeps cycling navigation simple
While many cyclists use apps such as Google Maps to navigate city streets, glancing down at that cluttered map display can be confusing. The Beeline Velo 2, however, is designed to keep things simple and easy to read.
First of all, as the Velo 2's name implies, it is not Beeline's first product. The British company previously released a device that was originally called the Beeline, and is now known as the Velo.
That product was attached to the bike's handlebar stem, and had a digital compass display that simply showed which direction the cyclist needed to go in order to reach their destination. It also indicated how far away that destination was – as the crow flies – but it did not provide any instructions on how to get there.
Users of the new Velo 2 can still opt for that free-wheeling Compass Mode, or they can switch over to a more traditional Route Mode (as is already possible on Beeline's motorcycle-specific Moto model). Although Route Mode still doesn't display a map, it does provide precise turn-by-turn directions.
That said, within Route Mode, users have three options. They can choose a Quiet route to their destination, in which overly busy roads are avoided; a Fast route, which is simply the fastest way to get there; or a Balanced route, which is kind of quiet and kind of fast.
If they end up really liking or disliking a particular route, pressing either a plus or minus button on the device will let it know, which will in turn guide future suggestions. Users can also import GPX route files, if they don't want to go with any of Beeline's routes.
By pressing the Velo 2's other two buttons, it's additionally possible to access data such as current speed, distance travelled, and estimated time of arrival. It should be noted that the device does need to be paired with an internet-connected smartphone when routes are initially being selected. Once the rider gets pedalling, though, the phone doesn't require a data connection – just a GPS signal.
The device itself is shock- and water-resistant, it attaches to a stem-mounted bracket via a hand twist (the original model was attached directly via silicone straps), and should reportedly run for up to 20 hours per USB charge of its 350-mAh lithium battery.
It's presently on Kickstarter, where a pledge of US$79 will get you one – assuming it reaches production, that is. The planned retail price is $109.
More of its features are described in the video below.
UPDATE (June 8/21): Beeline has informed us that the original model also offered Route Mode.