Product review GPS Beeline Moto

We give you an extended product review of the GPS Beeline Moto after about 2 years of using it in all sort of situations: advantages and disadvantages, user experience, robustness, we cover everything! 

In a previous article (here), we listed the most suitable candidates to help bikers navigate. Indeed, the ability to navigate safely in traffic is crucial for all bikers. But the needs can be radically different: road trip in remote areas versus commuting in (peri-)urban areas.

And it is clear that this article has aroused the interest of readers in one of the tools presented in the article: the Beeline GPS.

Is it just a gadget or a real alternative to traditional systems such as the TomTom Rider?

After nearly two years of use, in all sorts of conditions, we can begin to answer this question.

In a nutshell for our busy readers

Pros

Cons

  • Access to basic information in real time
  • Stay focus on the road
  • Possibility of easily importing routes in .GPX
  • Cheaper than Motorcycle GPS (from 190€/200$)
  • IP67 certified (dust and waterproof);
  • 1h of charge gives you 30h of autonomy
  • Physical buttons -> easy to handle with gloves on
  • Different finishes (e.g. brushed metal)
  • Very easy mount and can be easily used/transposed on several motorcycles.

 

  • Display only basic info (no traffic e.g.)
  • Cannot set up the device screens and custom the info on display. 
  • The application is very basic and does not allow a lot of set up (e.g. custom the gradient of the itinerary)
  • Not necessarily suitable for city trips (with frequent changes of direction)
  • Uses the smartphone’s battery (but less than if phone was used as the main GPS)
  • Re-routing impossible when the route is imported in .GPX
  • Takes a little bit of handling to get used to the concept, but afterwards it’s very easy
  • No sapphire glass, beware of scratches with keys/gloves.

product review GPS Beeline

Beeline, what’s that?

Beeline is some sort of a hybrid apparatus, which consists of a small device (mounted on the bike) with basic information and a smartphone app. You have the best of both worlds in a sense. You can plan your itinerary on your smartphone and then share it with the device over Bluetooth.

You can also create a route on your computer (e.g. in TomTom MyDrive) and export it as .GPX to the Beeline via the app. The device will then tell you the minimum information:

  • Arrow indicating the direction to follow
  • Distance to the next junction
  • General direction
  • And additional screens (speed, journey time, elapsed time and time to destination, etc.)

The device also has a compass function, which shows you the general direction to follow and lets you progress to the destination as you wish.

What’s in the box? 

  • The Beeline
  • A standard clip (with 2 sets of elastic bands)
  • A self-adhesive clip
  • A charging cable (proprietary)
  • A small start-up manual
Cruizador Beeline unboxing

Device, prices and accessories

The Beeline is available in a variety of finishes. Basic, plastic or metal, black or brushed metal. Note that all versions are shock and water resistant (IP67 certification).

The basic version is €191/$205 and the metal versions are €239/$256, plus shipping and possibly customs, if you order directly from their website.

Les différentes versions du Beeline
Different version of the Beeline

For Swiss readers, who would like to avoid paying extra, Louis-Moto offers this item in their range, and last I heard they had a few in their shop in Zürich. In addition, Triumph-Motorcycles has partnered with Beeline to brand their system with the Hinckley company colors. So, you will probably be able to find this item at selected dealers, but with the brand’s logo. It’s up to you to decide if this is a deal breaker or not.

On the online shop you will find various accessories such as

  • Other mounting systems (for handlebars, retro, ram ball, etc.)
  • Carrying case
  • Extra cable
  • Etc. 


product review GPS Beeline

Personally, we bought the metal clamp for cylindrical handlebars. Not that we weren’t happy with the system that came in the box. It does the job perfectly. But it was more to do with being able to leave the clamp on the handlebars permanently, especially when the bike is parked unattended. You can never be sure that some a-hole would steal the clamp just to annoy you. Better safe than sorry…

Unboxing, mounting and using

First of all, and this is one of the advantages of the system, it is easily transposable from one motorbike to another. Also, if you have several motorbikes, there is no need to install all the connectivity on each vehicle. The basic clamp can be removed and reinstalled in seconds. And for the perfectionist, you can purchase multiple clamps.

In terms of autonomy, 1 hour of charging gives about 30 hours of autonomy. So, your needs will be covered. And for those who would go camping without access to electricity, note that the charging cable has a USB-A connector, so you can charge it on the same external battery that you use for your smartphone. Convenient!

However, your Beeline must be paired with your smartphone to function. The Beeline will use the GPS chip of your smartphone as it does not have one, which will have an impact on the battery of your smartphone. But as the phone screen does not have to be switched on, you can put it on standby, the impact will be much less than if you use it as a main navigation tool, with a quadlock for example. Not having done a dedicated test, it is difficult to give you a precise value. But roughly speaking, count -20 to -30% of phone battery for 3-5h of use.

Risk of theft and robustness

Avoid leaving the Beeline on the bike. A quarter turn to the left and it’s gone. So take it with you when you get off the bike. But as it weighs only 30 grams, you don’t feel it in your pocket. But that also means that you can lose it without noticing it. So, beware of it!

As the device is water/shock resistant, you won’t have to worry about that either, even if you’re riding in the pouring rain.

Note that the screen is not made of sapphire glass. This means that it can be scratched by keys for example. So be careful not to carry it anywhere!

The smartphone app

Available on Android and iOS, the app is your link between the smartphone and the Beeline. In concrete terms, it allows you to :

  • Plan a route directly from the app, adding the stages one by one.
  • Import a route in .GPX format previously created on Google Maps, TomTom Mydrive, etc.

As for importing a .GPX file, the manoeuvre only requires knowing how to import the .GPX file on your smartphone. For example, you can use a cloud service like Dropbox, then by clicking on the file, select the Beeline app to open it. For Android users, it’s even easier as they can save the file in this format directly to their smartphone’s memory.

Creating the route directly in the app is relatively easy. Select the starting point and the end point, adding the stages one-by-one. In the options you can set the following things:

  • Avoiding motorways
  • Avoiding tolls
  • Avoiding ferries

However, unlike TomTom Mydrive, the application does not allow you to set the sinuosity or gradient of the route.

Cruizador Beeline iOS App screenshots

So, you will say that you can create the file and then import it as a .GPX. Yes, it is quite possible. But, and there is a big BUT, and this is one of the main shortcomings of the current system, the system does not allow re-routing for imported routes.

In practice, if you deviate from the route, it will want to take you back to the last checkpoint, which is very frustrating and almost prohibitive to use in these conditions. So, we found ourselves setting up the itinerary directly in the app to avoid this problem. Even if it means making a first version of the route on MyDrive and then repeating it step by step on Beeline. It’s a bit of a duplication but it’s the only way to get around this.

Riding experience

This is probably the most important thing and the reason for this long introduction. Because some of you may still be wondering what the point of the Beeline is. Not as complete as a classic GPS? More expensive than a Quadlock mount for using your smartphone when you really need assistance? Wouldn’t we be stuck in the middle as marketers say?

Well no, at least not in our opinion. Indeed, one of the main problems of classic GPS, in addition to their high price, is that they have the annoying tendency to divert the attention of the biker from the road. You often find yourself lost in the plethora of information provided by the tool: traffic, danger, points of interest, next cheapest petrol station, etc. And the same applies to smartphones.

The main advantage of Beeline is that it distils the most important information for you in a non-intrusive and minimalist way. So, you keep your attention on the road, which is ultimately the most important thing.

product review GPS Beeline

test produit GPS Beeline
The information displayed on the Beeline

So, of course, it takes a little time to get used to the ecosystem. But once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll see that it’s very easy to use.

And to awaken the adventurer in you, or for all those who think that there is nothing better than a good old-fashioned paper map, because that’s how you really set out to discover new horizons, you can activate the compass function.

In concrete terms, you indicate the final destination, and the system will just tell you the general direction to get there. And that’s really cool!

What about urban and suburban navigation?

Clearly, this is not the Beeline’s strong point either. Indeed, as the system has no GPS chip, and there is inevitably a little lag due to the Bluetooth connection, the Beeline does not excel when there are many changes of direction over short distances. And the probability of missing a turn is significant.

In addition, the rider may need additional information to help him or her find his or her way and make the right decisions: traffic situation, road works, one-way streets, etc. This is where your smartphone comes into play and where an application like Waze can do a remarkable job.

And that brings us to the following points in conclusion. 

Pros and cons compared to a smartphone

Pros

Cons

  • Water and shock resistant. As vibrations and water can cause serious damage to your smartphone, the Beeline is the preferred choice for driving in difficult conditions. Not to mention if you drive a big twin with a lot of engine vibrations!
  • Only the main info, we stay focused on the road
  • Autonomy (1 hour of charging gives 30 hours of use)

 

  • More expensive than a Quadlock mount.
  • Only the main info, which can be a handicap when travelling in town.
  • Also less suitable for urban travel because of the connection lag

product review GPS Beeline

However, you’ll note that there’s nothing to stop you from having both, and that’s what we did. A Quadlock  mount for urban navigation situations, and the Beeline for navigation in the great outdoors. And that way you get the best of both worlds!

test produit GPS Beeline

Best of both worlds! Quadlock (smartphone) + Beeline

Pros and cons compared to traditional GPS systems 

Pros

Cons

  • Less expensive and no complicated installation.
  • Easily transferable from one vehicle to another
  • Only the main info, you stay focused on the road
  • Autonomy (1h charge gives 30h use). And no need to connect it to the motorbike battery.

 

  • Only the main news, which can be a handicap when travelling in town.
  • Also less suitable for urban travel due to lag
  • With their own GPS chip, classic navigation tools such as TomTom Rider or Garmin Zumo, allow you to navigate in remote areas even when there is no cell signal/reception
  • Possibility of setting up routes are much more advanced on classical GPS: gradient, sinuosity, etc.  

product review GPS Beeline

And that’s it for this feedback in real life conditions. We hope you find it useful. And don’t hesitate to ask us questions if you need more detailed explanations on certain aspects.

Ride on !

Link : https://beeline.co/

product review GPS Beeline

Cruizador

Hey! Je suis le fondateur et le Chief Biker Officer chez Cruizador. Motard et passionné de voyage depuis longtemps, c'est en 2018 que j'ai décidé de lancer ce nouveau service, en espérant qu'il parle aux plus grands nombres de motard(e)s qui partagent la même philosophie et la même soif de grands espaces. C'est avec plaisir que je prends note de vos commentaires, idées d'amélioration, etc. Ride on!

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