Being a cyclist I rely heavily on navigation from point a to point b more so than someone in a car for a variety of reasons; with cycling its so important to be aware of the changes in the road well before they happen, this so the rider can safely be in the correct position at all times. This particular product was designed to provide navigation at the push of a button letting the rider focus on what really matters. Often when you’re cycling there will be so many more unexpected turns and odd routes to navigate. Until recently I would use my phone attached to either my handle bars or in a bag sitting on the top tube of the frame. Now, I don’t think a phone is that bad because we live in the age of 4G, and with a great variety of phone-based applications I’ve always had something to aid me in my journeys. Personally I use applications like Strava or Google maps, but the Mio cyclo 200 is an alternative to all of this that won’t require the use of an internet connection, therefore it won’t rack up large bills for those without hefty data plans. This being the first huge selling point of this product – you can use it literally anywhere in the world and it doesn’t require an internet connection.
The Cyclo 200 comes with a 3.5″ screen which has great clarity allowing the user to see the product during those long rides regardless of the time of day, although I would note the brightness will have to be turned up during those sunny days. For those who are looking for a product that works even in bad weather? The Cyclo 200 is also waterproof and packs a ten-hour battery life, which means you can have some very interesting adventures. However, if your planning on an even longer ride you can charge it via an external battery pack to extend the battery life significantly.
The first thing that really took me by surprise was a feature called “Surprise me” which automatically creates routes for you that are completely randomised! How cool is that?! Sometimes you want to just enjoy the ride and not to focus so much on the most optimal route. You can still use the product like a sat nav, inputting your destination, but for those seeking an adventure it’s a feature they will love. And as a cyclist I think variety is something that will not only make you a better rider, but keep you from trading in the bike for a pizza at home.
For those who are interested to know the Cyclo 200 is also powered by OpenStreetMaps, so it comes preinstalled with all of the cycle path routes out of the box meaning you shouldn’t be bound to the roads when other quicker routes are accessible, which is a nice feature to have. Although this won’t include every “MTB” route, all of those cycle paths and bridleways will be on the device ready to go. Something I really enjoyed straight away with the Cyclo 200 is its ability to be so easy to use, including the setup process, everything is simply amazing.
THE RIDE ITSELF
To test the product was actually quite easy and a fun experience, basically it meant getting out on the bike and racking up some miles. Whilst in the English weather this is something that can be a challenge at times I don’t mind getting a little bit wet, and with the IPX5 rating it handles a little rain just fine. Mio were kind enough to send me a mounting bracket to affix the device to the handlebars and not the stem, however along with the device you’ll find a simpler mounting kit. I decided to not use this due to having a waterproof GPS bag mounted on my bike, however in the past I’ve tried the included mounting bracket and think that it provides a firm secure grip to the GPS, however I personally like being able to store all of my cycling stuff in the same bag that the GPS lives in, this is so that I can easily take off everything at once. I’d also say as a keen 1X10 rider I like the feeling of having clean handlebars at all times, it enables me to pay attention to the road and obstacles easier, but for those without a GPS bag to put on their top tube, the included system will work perfectly and for reference this is how it looks:
Now this bracket simply cable ties onto the location you want to mount the device, but for the sake of having a nice clean setup I wanted to show you the alternative mounting mechanism that Mio create for their products, its simple and I love it.
I found this to be a much better alternative, because as mentioned before you really want your handlebars to be clean and tidy, it’s also worth noting you can change the orientation of the Cyclo 200 and other units to landscape which is a nice feature if you perhaps want to see more of whats in front of you. It’s a great alternative for those, who like me run a really short stem on their bike. Also for those with a short stem please note you’ll struggle to put the GPS on in the center of the bike and I would really recommend the additional mounting kit you can find here, I think it’s a reasonable cost for the more secure fixture.
Now the general feedback you get from the product is fantastic, it keeps track of pretty much everything going on during the ride from speed to calories used. Literally no complaints in that department. Compared to Strava it provides as much information as you need, and if you require more information regarding the riders performance in terms of cadence and BPM you’ll want to check out the 505HC review that will be published soon. However I’ve included a few screenshots of the data the product collects and how it can be used:
As you can see the product collects a huge amount of data, in comparison to Strava you literally won’t have any complaints with the device. I also really enjoyed the fact you could simply download tracks straight to the device, it makes riding so much easier. Now in case you want to actually use Strava instead of the Mioshare website to track your data, then why don’t you? Simply download the .GPX file and upload it into Strava.
On to the actual tracking, and how it navigated. I had no problems with the unit except for it being a little slow to recalculate at times, but this was alleviated by checking the map and making manual adjustments. In fact with the turn by turn feature the sat nav felt easy to use in terms of finding my way around, but if you want to get a better look of the route you can simply zoom out on the map which is nice if you plan on taking a detour. For the testing of this product, I went on several rides using the “Surprise me” feature and it really did plan out some fantastic adventures that took me by surprise, I discovered some amazing routes that I’ll definitely be riding again.
In terms of point A to point B riding it handled everything well and I found it easy to input new locations, the routes seemed to be the fastest to ride however it does struggle sometimes, for instance when you’re going down a one way street but on a cycling path it will tell you to turn around, but this isn’t really a problem with the GPS. Now when you take a step back and look at the product, it does everything a GPS unit should do and a little more.
This has been one of the most exciting products to test for me personally because it has taken me on some interesting adventures, allowing me to explore my local area and realising just how much of it I have not seen before. Now this is all down to this fantastic little GPS, they could have simply not included the “Suprise me” feature but I think it’s what makes this one of the best products you can own for your bike. Overall this product has been interesting to review, it has given me an insight into what an actual cycling GPS is like, especially in comparison to my usual setup. However with this said, is it better than a phone armed with a 4G connection and Strava? Well, £150 buys you the Cyclo 200, but at Plexus we’ve reviewed phones that cost £80 and offer 4G capability coupled with a 5″ IPS screen. So basically, would you rather spend a little extra on data and use an application like Strava, or spend the £150 on the Cyclo 200? I think I’d choose the Cyclo 200, it feels like a product that will outlast a phone in every aspect, from the updateable OpenStreetMaps to the rugged design of the product. However there will always be those who would rather a mobile phone because of the simplicity, the Cyclo 200 doesn’t offer the same integration that a mobile running Strava can, for instance loading your tracks, your data, wirelessly without having to connect it to a computer but I didn’t feel it was big chore due to the brilliant design of the desktop program.
Bottom line: It provides you with all the real-time data and information on your ride that you could need. It adds a huge amount of fun to your adventures, mixing up your bike rides and helping you explore places you would have never seen otherwise. Overall I can’t fault the product, everything works perfectly, and I’m incredibly happy to recommend this product at Plexushub because it simply redefines how much fun riding your bike can really be. In regards to awards? This product hands down wins the editors choice, and a full 5-star rating.
Thanks Mio for sending me this product to review, it’s been a pleasure.
Check out all of the Mio products on their website: http://eu.mio.com/en_gb/