Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/12/review_mio_cyclo_300_cycling_satnav/

Review: Mio Cyclo 300 cycling satnav

On yer bike, mate

By Simon Rockman

Posted in Hardware, 12th December 2012 12:00 GMT

For some people cycling is about the exercise, for some it’s about the countryside and for some it’s about the gadgets. The carbon fibre water bottles and rare alloy spokes.

Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnav

Mio's Cyclo 300 all weather satnav

It’s easy to assume that a bike computer is something which is only right for those in the third category but even those in the first and second want to cycle without having to unfold an Ordnance Survey and will appreciate learning new routes. Mio is best known for budget car satnavs and the Cyclo 300 falls into a similar category for those who use two pedals rather than three.

It’s a chunky little device at 121 mm x 67 mm and 18mm, and 156g. A chunk which is heightened by the rubber coating which helps it bounce when dropped, which along with its IPX7 water resistance can survive a dunk of 1m for up to 30 minutes. Fine for dropping it in the largest of puddles and it might even survive a quick swim in a canal.

Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnavMio Cyclo 300 bike satnav

Main menu and Navigation options

Part of that weight is the battery, which combined with the fairly small 3in screen means it has a quoted 12hr lifespan and I saw nigh on 10hrs before losing at charger chicken. You might not want to cycle for ten hours straight but you may well want to spend a couple of days out with a night in a tent and no mains power.

Lots of bits of plastic spill out of the box along with a familiar mini USB cable. Those bits are the handlebar mount which is mostly good. We had one incident where it didn’t clip in properly and that’s probably how it picked up a scratch. It is, however, far from fragile.

The hardware is a GPS, of course, e-Compass and barometric altimeter. Cycling is enjoying a resurgence from Boris turning the city onto two wheels to Wiggins generating British pride and a fantastic resurgence in track cycling. This means cycle superhighways are as full as the M25 and your ordinary cyclist is getting into the gear and heading for the hills.

Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnavMio Cyclo 300 bike satnav

Navigation and Surprise Me route options

The Mio claims to be the answer with a slogan of 'explore more'. And to back this up has a Surprise Me mode. My experience of this is mixed, despite claiming to come with “bicycle and road maps pre-installed, ready to go out of the box”, it didn't follow the National Cycle route I tried which has a fabulous 10 mile stretch of converted disused railway track - it kept trying to take me off the track and follow the very busy road. That said, it did direct me along a lovely back road route from Tunbridge Wells to Groombridge.

Are you receiving?

The Mio Cyclo 300 occasionally seemed to lose the satellites, something I’ve heard experts refer to as satellite drift, and then of course lose track of where we were and say we’d made a wrong turn. It’s also not very good at looking ahead, treating a large roundabout as a series of turns rather than one complete manoeuvre.

Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnavMio Cyclo 300 bike satnav

Dashboard info and Track Detail

The user interface is clear, and easy with Dashboard, navigate, history, surprise me, workout, settings. Dashboard gives you speed, distance, calories, distance to turns, and altitude. Yet on rides I found the satnav kept flicking between dashboard and maps and quite often went to a menu screen or asked if I wanted to 'start recording'. This meant having to look down and try to get it back onto the right screen needed, pain when using the navigation and the buttons are not the most sensitive especially with cycling gloves.

The computer sync feels like work in progress, syncing with Windows was temperamental and didn’t provide anything as much data as I’ve seen from the Garmin derived Facebook postings from friends. If you want to do the same route regularly and compare performance you should look elsewhere.

Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnav

Mio's Cyclo 300: maps routes for speed or the road less travelled

The Reg Verdict

Touted at £260, the Mio Cyclo 300 can be found for around £200 with some Googling – less than a colour Garmin. So if you are the kind of rider, or shopping for a present for someone who is the kind of rider who is more interested in the exercise than the Gew Gaw, the Mio Cyclo 300 is great. If, however, you think always being in the right gear means Gortex and Lycra, the Mio Cyclo 300 is not for you. ®