The Cyclo is Mio's first foray into bicycle GPS navigation, but is it a wrong turn?
The Cyclo is Mio's first effort at a satellite navigation device for cyclists, and the 300 is the cheapest of the three-model range. The next model up includes European mapping, while the top model adds sensors for heart rate, speed and cadence (the rate at which you're pedalling). It's good looking and is built to withstand the elements, but it's quite chunky: weight-obsessives might baulk at adding its 156-gram heft to their bike. It only takes a minute to mount, after which it stays put nicely.
The Cyclo works both as a navigation aid and as a GPS tracker that records the route, speed and elevation of a ride. The route guidance includes a unique Surprise Me mode, designed to uncover new routes in a familiar location. We tested this by requesting an 11-mile round-trip route from the centre of Brighton and Hove, which managed to turn up many unfamiliar backroads.
While the route was certainly a surprise, it wasn't entirely welcome. Although we told the Cyclo we had a mountain bike (as opposed to 'race' or 'city' bikes) it didn't include any off-road sections or cycle path in our trip, and didn't seem concerned about avoiding main roads. It did include cycle paths when we abandoned the surprise route and navigated home, but this route wasn't very direct, didn't appear to take account of intervening hills, and tried to take us to a wrong address half a mile up the road.
This was a frustration, but we encountered two more serious issues. Four times in a 10-mile trip we followed the unit's exact instructions at a junction, only for it to subsequently tell us that we had gone the wrong way. This was annoying enough, but it seemed slow to react to any deviation, doggedly returning us directly to the original route, even when a shorter path would intersect it further on.
We had real concerns about Cyclo's directions at larger roundabouts where, rather than telling us in advance which exit to take, it navigated painstakingly around with a 'slight left' followed by repeated 'slight right' instructions, until telling us to exit with a final 'slight left'. Such directions make it impossible to choose the correct lane and signals to use before entering and navigating a roundabout, and they require repeated glances at the screen while on the roundabout. On busy roads this left us feeling vulnerable to other traffic.
If the Cyclo's navigation wasn't confidence-inspiring on the road, off the road it was mostly useless. The supplied maps don't include distance cross-country routes such as the Downs Link or the South Downs Way, and while there are some bridleways the Cyclo didn't seem to include them in route planning. At least the battery lasted a lengthy 12 hours.
While the Cyclo's tracking information was useful, the Mio Share application for Windows provides only limited ways to compare multiple rides or monitor activities and performance over time. We've used free smartphone apps that are more comprehensive.
Overall the Cyclo 300 is very disappointing. It's likely that future software updates will significantly improve its performance, but until then we can't recommend it.
Read more reviews
It's rugged and weatherproof, but we weren't impressed with the Cyclo 300 as a navigation aid
Built to survive the elements; Long battery life
Expensive; Poor road navigation; Very poor off-road navigation
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