First Impressions: Lezyne Mini GPS

Does Garmin finally have some competition?

LEZYNE MINI GPS | $140 | LEZYNE.COM

 

The Lezyne Mini GPS is the smallest stand-alone GPS unit we’ve seen, but the California-based brand has big goals. Ever since GPS units started making their way onto bicycles, there’s been one clear market leader: Garmin. There are some other nice units out there, but Garmin is slaying it with a whopping seven cycling-specific computers starting at just $130. Lezyne recently announced the release of three new computers in an effort to grab a piece of the global positioning pie, starting with the Mini GPS.

The Mini GPS fits neatly on the bar using the supplied direct mount. For a more streamlined look, a forward mount is also available. The mount sits a touch higher that some others, but is very secure.

The Mini GPS fits neatly on the bar using the supplied direct mount. For a more streamlined look, a forward mount is also available. The mount sits a touch higher that some others, but is very secure.

This thing is small. At just 2 inches tall and under an inch wide, it won’t take up much more real estate than a normal cycling computer, but it offers much more. Lets start with what the Mini GPS isn’t. It’s not a navigation device. There’s no base map whatsoever, you can’t see your tracks on the device, or even find out your coordinates. In other words, this computer isn’t meant for route finding. What the Mini GPS is, is a super-compact cycling computer that records your rides. The computer has enough space store about 100 hours of ride data, so you can store multiple rides without worrying about dumping your data after each one. Lezyne claims that the GPS Mini has a 10-our battery life, but I can’t verify. The unit I borrowed from Lezyne for the day was only recording for about 3 hours. In that time, I used 20 percent of the battery.

The display is set up to show two lines here, but it'll also display 3 or 4 lines of data.

The display is set up to show two lines here, but it’ll also display 3 or 4 lines of data.

The Mini shows you all the basic stuff that a cycling computer does, such as current, average and max speed, trip time and distance, and so forth, but it also shows temperature, current elevation, elevation gain and loss, and estimated calories burned. And since it’s a GPS unit, there’s virtually no setup. If you’re like me and couldn’t care less about calories burned, you can take it off the menu. It’s up to you how much information shows up on the screen, too. With the ability to show 2, 3 or 4 lines of info, you can keep it to the basics or tap into your inner geek and see it all. Even when displaying all 4 lines, the layout is clear and easy to read. The screen itself is nice as well. It’s viewable in direct sunlight, at extreme angles, and theres a backlight for low-light situations.

I’ve never been terribly interested in the data of my rides. I ride for fun and to get away from the world, and it really doesn’t matter how many miles I rode or what my max speed was. But I love maps. I’ll sometimes play on Google Maps for hours, scrolling around, zooming in on stuff, looking for unmarked trails–and seeing my ride on a map makes it even more fun for me. The Mini is perfect for me because it cuts down on the clutter and distraction while I’m riding, but lets me geek out afterwards. The more “features” there are on my computer, the more I’m going to mess around with it. The beautiful thing about the Mini is that there’s not much to futz with. Hit record, go riding, upload. After just one ride with this simple little device, I’m thinking that maybe digitizing my rides isn’t such a bad idea.

 

LEZYNE GPS ROOT

 

The ride track is overlaid on a Google map, with all pertinent data listed above.

The ride track is overlaid on a Google map, with all pertinent data listed above.

To support its GPS units, Lezyne has created a site to see and share your data. Since the units record in the popular .fit format, you’re not pigeonholed into the GPS Root site, but it does work quite well. Signup is incredibly simple, and completely free of charge. All they want from you is your name and email address, so it takes less than a minute to join. Once in, it takes seconds to upload your ride. Your computer will recognize the GPS unit just like a flash drive, so accessing your ride files is easy and familiar. The Mini GPS doesn’t support power meters or heart rate monitors, but Lezyne’s other models do. Unlike other services, all your data can be seen and manipulated for free without a need to upgrade your subscription.

Hovering over the chart will display your stats during any part of the ride. You can even zoom in on a particular section to see exactly what was happening at any given point.

Hovering over the chart will display your stats during any part of the ride. You can even zoom in on a particular section to see exactly what was happening at any given point.

Your ride gets overlaid on Google Maps, so that’s familiar as well. There’s a calendar at the top of the screen that sticks either a mountain or road bike icon in the day you rode, so you can easily glance at how much you’re riding. I typically just look down at the size of my stomach to see how much I’ve been riding, but this way works too. With the Mini GPS, the multi chart displays elevation, speed and temperature, but if you’re running power or heart rate, those will show up as well. You can also hide a channel if you want a less cluttered view. With GPS Root, Lezyne offers a high quality and intuitive way to keep track of all your rides, and it’s available to anyone to join for free. Whether you’re new to the GPS game, or an experienced ride recorder, the Lezyne Mini GPS and supporting web service, GPS Root, are worth checking out.