Beeline Velo 2 Navigation Device Review - simple to set up and fun to use

A navigation and speedo device that utilises the power of your smartphone to good effect

Beeline Velo 2
(Image credit: Paul Grele)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

An excellent small and light device that gives you all the info that you need - as long as you're not a sports rider wanting multiple output stats: the Beeline Velo 2 gives directions and speed only! Very straightforward to set up and use. One key capability missing, however, is the ability to link to a rear radar unit which can inform you of approaching traffic. Otherwise a simple and clear device to use.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Small

  • +

    Light

  • +

    Relatively inexpensive

  • +

    Can use whilst wearing gloves

  • +

    Simple and clear display with audio warnings

  • +

    Primarily shows routing and speed

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can't interact with other sensors, such as displaying info from a Garmin/Bryton rear radar unit (for example)

  • -

    Doesn't show or record performance stats

  • -

    Uses a propriety 'quarter turn' mount

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The Beeline Velo 2 is a navigation aid that uses your smart phone to do the heavy lifting. By that, I mean, you can't use it as a standalone GPS unit / bike computer - you need to have it paired to your phone. If left unpaired, it will only display the time, functioning essentially as a bar-mounted clock, rather than a navigation device.

When it is paired, though, it shows your speed and directions for a chosen route. The benefit of the drawing on the processing power of your phone is that the weight and cost of the Beeline Velo 2 is kept lower than it would otherwise be.

It has a compact design that will look discreet on any bike. It provides the appropriate info that you need to find your way around, with easy to use route planning in the Beeline app. You can plot your own route within the app or import a GPX from another source, as well as exporting and sending a route to a friend. 

Construction

The Beeline Velo 2 is the world’s first carbon and plastic negative cycling computer! It is designed to last and is also fully repairable via their refurbishment scheme, so its sustainability footprint has been thought about. That it can be repaired should be reassuring both in a 'keeping it working' as well as a 'not having to throw it away because it's broken' sense. Much more environmentally sound!

It has four sensors; Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and an ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment. To reduce location errors when in areas of unreliable phone signal, the Velo 2 uses sensor fusion from combining the sensors' information output, and this in turn improves the ride-data quality and accuracy.

The waterproof USB-C port allows fast charging, with 30 per cent charge available in 20 minutes. This is roughly two hours riding time. The rechargeable lithium polymer battery has 11 hours life and 18 months in standby. The four RockerTop™ buttons are also weatherproofed.

The device measures 46.4 mm (1.82 inches) in diameter and has an active area diameter of 32.4 mm (1.28 inch). The LCD IPS display has an LED backlight with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels (266 PPI), and there is an anti-scratch coating used (PMMA) to keep the device looking good for longer.

Beeline Velo 2

(Image credit: Paul Grele)

The Ride

This compact and lightweight device is barely wider than the stem top cap on a 1 1/8" threadless headset and it will comfortably sit in a cupped palm when carrying. It measured 46.4 mm (1.82 inches) diameter and 17.3mm (0.68 inches) deep. At 25 grams/0.8 oz it is barely noticeable weight wise either. 

It is very simple to power up, just a four second hold on the 'south' quadrant of the screen, and then it links very quickly to your phone. The Beeline App has to be installed and then opened on the phone of course! It will work with either an iPhone running iOS 15.0 and above or an Android phone with Google Play running 8.0 Oreo and above. Also, Bluetooth 4.0 capability is required. 

I paired it to an iPhone SE (mk 1) running iOS 15.8 with no issues. It paired seamlessly and quickly each time I used it, despite switching either the app or the device on first, and it held connection without any issues.

Initially powered up (before pairing to the app) the Beeline Velo 2 shows the time and battery charge on the primary screen view, then by clicking the screen either at the top or bottom, it will scroll through 2 additional screens, which show battery charge for the device and phone (once paired), and then an 'options' screen which allows you to unpair or reset the device, as well as some info.

Once the phone app has been opened, the Beeline shows a paired icon. Finally, once a route has been selected in the app and set to 'Go', the Velo 2 device starts to show the directions to follow. The phone (screen) can be shut down and placed safely in a pocket or backpack.

Beeline Velo 2

(Image credit: Paul Grele)

The screen shown in the picture above indicates that there is 30 meters to the next turn and that there will be a right turn required at that point. Quite simple but clear, I found. The addition of sounds I found to be really helpful, although you can switch them off in the app. The device will beep once when you are 90 meters from a turn and then it will beep twice when you are 20 meters away. This felt the correct amount of notice to me, and I found the beeps useful and not intrusive.

There are other screen views available to you once you are running in direction guidance mode. Time & distance to destination; speed (miles or kilometers); a stopwatch; both devices' battery charge; An End or Stop screen to stop the route without having to open up your phone. I particularly liked that in the speed settings that you can choose 'miles and meters' as one of the options, as it works the best for me!

You can also click 'East' or' West' (right or left) on the screen to access a green and happy, or red and sad smiley face icon. This is done to rate the section of road that you're on. This will be used by other riders who are planning their routes, as when lots of people tell the app that there is a poor or dangerous bit of road, then it will try and avoid that section.

Beeline Velo 2

(Image credit: Paul Grele)

The picture above shows what it comes with:

Velo 2 device, USB-C charge cable, Universal Handlebar Mount, Quickstart Guide.

There is also an optional carry case shown (top right) which has room for the cable and a key or two, and it can be clipped on to a bag with its karabiner.

I found the initial setup such as powering the Velo 2, downloading and registering the app and the pairing to be really straightforward with no glitches or arcana to deal with. The same was found with creating a route too. I downloaded a GPX file and it was uploaded easily by the app, as well as creating a GPX file from a ridden route. So the sharing of routes seemed to be a really good function to me. 

I did really like the creation of custom routes in the app. I wanted to map a lovely country lanes route that I ride. You add the waypoints that you want (I used pubs!) and then drag them up or down the list to get the correct order for your route. Again really easy. If Strava is your thing then it couldn't be simpler to upload your route onto that platform. Once you've connected to it (in the Beeline settings) then all you have to do is click on the 'view on Strava' button at the bottom of the chosen route and it will upload. It's then available to you in the Strava app. 

I lent the device to a colleague to try on a ride through South London where he didn't already know the route. He programmed in the waypoints and then set the route to 'Quiet' rather than 'Fast' or 'Balanced', which optimised a quieter route. He then discovered some lovely routes near the river Wandle, but it was maybe a little too quiet and slow, so the app was set to 'Fast' again as he needed to gain a little more speed to get to the destination in time. He thoroughly enjoyed using it and discovered some places that he didn't previously know.

Beeline Velo 2

The rear of the Velo 2 with the power icon on the 'south quadrant'

(Image credit: Paul Grele)

The waterproof USB-C is a great feature as the unit can and should be used in all weathers. The Moto version has an IP rating of 67 but the Velo 2 isn't graded similarly. However, I expect it to deal with rain easily, but not to go underwater to any depth. Having recently ridden an hour in torrential rain, along with upward spray from puddles and no mudguards, I can say that the Velo 2 didn't miss a beat and seemed unaffected by the conditions. Good to see.

With regard to battery life there is a claimed 11 hour life, however I found that I was getting 3.5 hours runtime using 50% battery, or roughly seven hours total runtime. I suspect that lowering the screen brightness manually would extend the runtime but I had the auto-brightness setting on. I couldn't see how you would extend runtime otherwise. 

When not showing a route the unit will power the screen down automatically, but remain active. This gives a long battery life, around 10% battery used over a four hour period, and means that the unit will power up very quickly when needed. It will preserve the battery life if you forget to power the unit down fully, too. There is good screen visibility when using the auto-brightness setting, however experimenting with the brightness may yield greater battery life if you require a longer runtime.

The proprietary mount is very secure both in the 1/4 turn locking sense as well as the mount being held on to the bars or stem. The bands are really stretchy and were some of the best of this type that I've used. However could the bike industry please use one standard for this kind of fitting? GoPro seems to be a standard that everyone adheres to, so why not 'Garmin bike computers' types? I've found Garmin, Bryton, Wahoo and now Beeline all look remarkably similar but won't work nicely together. You need a different bracket for each one! Anyway plea over! Luckily my other industry standards bugbear is dealt with, which is that it uses a USB-C plug! Brilliant stuff!

Value and Conclusion

Overall I really enjoyed using the Beeline Velo 2 navigation device. Given that most of us ride with a smartphone it makes sense to utilise its computing power and not duplicate those capabilities. If you're not in need of cadence, power, heart rate etc readings for training, then maybe just speed and guidance is all you need. If you're the sort of person who likes to ride in and explore unfamiliar areas or just need a bit of help for one section of a ride then the Beeline maybe all you need as opposed to a conventional bike computer. 

I would like if it could link to a Garmin Varia RCT715 or Bryton Gardia R300L and show the rear radar data output with approaching car speed and distance, like a conventional bike computer will. For me, these radar devices have become an indispensable aid to riding, and whilst I can happily ride with or without a bike computer generally, I feel much happier when I have a radar unit (and obviously a computer to display its output). 

As the radar units will output a BLE (bluetooth) signal as well as an ANT+ signal, and the Beeline app uses BLE to communicate to the Velo 2 unit, then it should be possible to do something, shouldn't it? It would, to my mind, be a perfect pairing. The safety of the radar unit linked with a great small form factor display showing speed and navigation as well as approaching cars. I'm sure it would appeal to wide set of riders...

It's good value at$99.99 / £99.99, although at the time of writing it's currently priced at £84.99 which is obviously better!

Sometimes you just need something to be simple and straightforward, however it has to work really well. I found the Velo 2 to be both simple to set up and enjoyable to use, and it did work well!

TECHNICAL SPEC:

Battery

Type: Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
Capacity: 400 mAh
Battery life in use: 11 hours
Battery life in standby: 18 months
Charging: Waterproof USB-C

Display

Screen technology: LCD IPS circular display with LED backlight
Resolution: 240 x 240 px (266 PPI)
Active area diameter: 32.4 mm (1.28 inch)
Display lens material: PMMA with anti-scratch coating

Sensors

Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment 

Connectivity:

Bluetooth 4.0 low energy

Materials

ABS
PMMA
Polycarbonate
TPU

Interface

4x physical RockerTopTM buttons.

Water and particle resistance

Weather-sealed, water and dust resistant.

Size and weight

46.4 mm (1.82 inches) diameter, 17.3mm (0.68 inches) deep
25 grams (0.8 oz)

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