These days, it seems like most new cycling GPS computers are getting more expensive and complicated with advanced data metrics and capabilities. The new Beeline Velo 2 bucks that trend and offers a minimalist and intuitive cycling computer and routing software that utilizes user feedback for optimal routing. With the Velo 2, Beeline has retained the features that made the original Velo such a hit on Kickstarter but updated the user interface and added optional detailed navigation prompts. The Velo 2 retails for $97 and offers a new RockerTop interface with a LCD IPS circular display. In addition to the clever “compass” mode style navigation display that simply points in the direction of your destination, Beeline has incorporated a turn-by-turn navigation option with simple prompts.
The Beeline Velo 2 offers a refreshingly simpler approach to GPS cycling computers with a minimalist design and optional compass mode.
|Rating||9.3 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||24 (head unit), 4 (mount)|
|Likes||+ Minimalist design|
+ Intuitive navigation options with simple display and prompts
+ Allows you to rate roads to improve routing
|Dislikes||– Proprietary mount|
– Requires cell phone app to initiate and plan rides
|Where to Buy (US)||Beeline|
The Beeline Velo 2 comes in an attractive cardboard box with bright yellow / black graphics printed on it. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Velo 2 GPS
- Handlebar mount + 2 sets of O-rings
- Instruction manual
- USB-C charging cable
Although you’re just tossing the packaging away, we found the graphics and illustrations to be attractive and well thought out. Beeline has even kept everything environmentally friendly by using a simple cardboard internal organizer instead of plastic trays.
Beeline has retained the modified twist on style mount for the Velo 2. It’s nearly identical to a Garmin quarter turn style mount but features four tabs instead of two, and only requires a 45 degree rotation instead of a 90 degree rotation to install or remove. That unfortunately means that the Velo 2 can’t be used with traditional Garmin mounts unless you have an appropriate adapter. Included with the Velo 2 is a basic handlebar mount that uses two o-rings to easily mount on handlebars or stems. There are two different length o-rings included to accommodate different handlebar diameters. It’s an effective design that keeps the lightweight Velo 2 securely in place even over rough roads.
FIT & FINISH
Visually, the Beeline Velo 2 looks more like a smart watch than a traditional GPS computer. The Velo 2 has a compact round design with plastic housing and a circular LCD IPS display. With a 1.28 inch / 32.4 mm diameter, it’s quite a bit smaller than the round CYCPLUS M2 and has a minimalist design and interface. Rather than using a touch screen interface or traditional spring loaded buttons, the Velo 2 uses what they call a RockerTop interface. It’s similar to a D pad on a gaming controller and allows the Velo 2 to be slightly depressed in the top / bottom / left / right directions to activate the four buttons. We were impressed with the tactile feedback as each button has a distinct response when used, a big advantage over touch screen designs. Aside from the yellow underside of the Velo 2, it’s a sleek looking GPS with minimal bezels.
The Velo 2 was designed for simplicity which means the user interface is also simple and easy. Unlike computers from Bryton or Coospo which have multi-level menus and customization, the Velo 2 is designed to only work with GPS and is ready to use out of the box. The main page boots up to a “Let’s Ride” screen which displays current time and total ride distance when connected to the app. A small bicycle graphic slides along the edges of the circular display based on the orientation of the computer which is fun to play with. Using the RockerTop interface you can simply push down on the top / bottom / left / right corners of the display to cycle through pages and options. The main page displays the odometer + time / battery status (and your cellphone battery status) and an option page (about + unpair from phone + legal). You can also adjust the screen brightness by pressing the left/right button on the battery display page.
During a ride recording, the Velo 2 defaults to either a compass / prompt view (for rides with a designation) or a current speed / average speed display. Pushing down on the top/bottom cycles through the available display pages which are all limited to speed / time / battery related data. There is no way to connect secondary sensors or customize the display. Although that may be a deal breaker for data-driven cyclists, the minimalist approach and large white on black text is intuitive to use and fun to ride with. While riding, you can also rate the current road segment by simply holding down the left (sad) or right (happy) sides for a few seconds. The Beeline app offers a few basic options such as time format and the ability to toggle auto-pause on or off.
Beeline isn’t just a hardware company, they are also focused on creating improved navigation routes by incorporating user ratings into their routing algorithm. It’s a clever idea that allows Beeline to incrementally improve cycling routes by avoiding poorly rated roads and leverages user feedback. How it works is that you can rate each segment on your route as good or bad by holding the left or right buttons down. Good roads receive a green smiley face while bad roads get a red sad face overlay. Over time, Beeline incorporates your ratings into the route creation by favoring positively rated routes over those with poor ratings. This crowdsourced approach works best in urban settings with a lot of cyclists such as London where Beeline is based.
There are two options when it comes to navigation, you can simply start a recording with no destination or select a destination with or without waypoints. A destination free ride is referred to as a “free ride” and can be activated via the Beeline app by simply pressing “record.” It’s a great way to track basic stats such as ride distance and view speed data. It’s a useful feature but we would have liked to see the record option also available directly on the GPS computer though instead of relying on the app. To set up a ride with a destination, Beeline has a simple map interface that allows you to input an address or choose it off the map. For each route you can select between Beeline’s unique compass mode (a direct “as the crow flies”) option that simply gives you a direction or a traditional turn by turn route. Thanks to Beeline’s routing algorithm the app can provide multiple routes from “fast” to “quiet” using user and road information. Within the app you can also view a heatmap compilation of your previous trips and route history.
Overall, we found the Beeline Velo 2 to be a fun and minimalist GPS cycling computer. The unique round design and compass navigation mode options make the Velo 2 perfect for urban riders or those looking for easy to use GPS computers. The Velo 2 improves upon the original by incorporating a RockerTop button interface that has great feedback and more traditional turn-by-turn navigation option. The Velo 2 isn’t for all cyclists though, as it cannot connect to any external sensors or show full map displays. We appreciated the road rating feature which allows Beeline to crowdsource information on route quality and improve navigation routes for cyclists. Aside from the lack of sensor connectivity, the main downsides of the Velo 2 is that it isn’t compatible with Garmin quarter turn mounts and requires using the Beeline app to create and start rides (e.g. even free-rides have to be started via the app). That said, the Beeline Velo 2 is a refreshingly simple cycling computer with a modern design and intuitive interface.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Beeline. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.