In this Mio Cyclo 605 HC Review, we take a close look at Mio’s top-end Bikenav. If you want a LARGE format bike navigation device with just about every piece of functionality AND at a sensible price then…read on.
Mio Cyclo 605 HC – Background
Mio is a manufacturer of car & bike navigation products as well as car dashcams. The parent company is Mitac which, interestingly, has a corporate policy to pay fair taxes in all areas Mio operates….unlike some of its notable competitors. An honest and moral company in today’s world?
In the USA, MIO operates under the Magellan brand. Mio now focuses the sale of CYCLO devices on Eu markets where they are still active.
The Mio Cyclo 605 HC is the top-end model, released in June 2017. Previously the top-end model was the Cyclo 505 HC (reviewed here, which I quite liked). The Cyclo 605 HC is a revamped, extended and enlarged version of the 505 HC. I’ll cover some of the current models later but the 505 HC is now discontinued and the lower model is the 405 HC which is the same size format as the 605 HC but with slightly reduced functionality. Considering the probable size of Mio Cyclo’s market share, their range seems in need of some rationalisation.
Mio Cyclo 605 HC – Who is it for?
The Mio 605 HC has, pretty much, all the possible TRAINING and NAVIGATION features you be likely to use. And I’m including ALL the higher-end features like power meter calibration, NP metrics, Di2, POI-navigation and surprise-me routing with TBT. If you don’t know what those acronyms mean then I can say with near certainty that the 605HC will do whatever you want it to;-) … and more.
It’s also for someone looking for a bit-of-a-bargain. On a good day you will get this for under £300, yet on that same ‘good day‘ the comparable top-end Garmin Edge 1030 BUNDLE will set you back well over £500.
The top-end Garmin 1030 *IS* broadly comparable to the Mio Cyclo 605 HC. Although those of you who love acronyms will also know that only Garmin will support CdA and SmO2 via CIQ (more too, of course). But those of you who know that won’t be reading this review, as you will only ever buy Garmin as your main device.
For the rest of you who want a full pack of training and navigation features at a sensible price then read on…or skip to the chapter that most interests you (this is a bit of a long review).
Mio Cyclo 605 HC Review – Box Contents
The 605 HC is fully packed with free ANT+ sensors and mounts that, if they were made by Garmin, would cost you WELL over Eu/£100.
You get a speed sensor and a separate, magnet-less cadence sensor. You get a heart rate monitor and you get a stem mount.
It’s great that you don’t get one of those hard-to-fix and impossible-to-swap speed+cadence combo sensors but not-so-great that there is no out-front mount. There are other bits and pieces but here’s an image of the main items, excluding stem mount.
With the money you save over the Garmin 1030, you could probably JUST ABOUT go out and buy a cheap Stages/4iiii power meter crank and then you’d have all the bike electronics you’d most likely ever need.
Factette: HC stands for the inclusion of Heart & Cadence sensors.
Mio Cyclo 605 HC – Anything else it can do?
- Full, European, OSM maps and the intelligence to route you over your preferred MTB trails or roads to an address.
- Full STRAVA integration, including STRAVA’s starred and local Segments (paid-for STRAVA features)
- Links to Training Peaks, Endomondo and Today’s Plan.
- ANT+ FE-C support is stated for trainer control
- Smartphone call and app integration, you can even display WhatsApp and Facebook notifications if that’s your thing. It won’t stop you crashing when you read them whilst cycling tho (don’t do it) 😉
- Home WiFi upload after you come back from your workout.
- Shimano Di2 electronic gear compatibility
- Special routing features like: ‘Surprise Me’, take me to an address; round-trip; and POI routing.
Mio Cyclo 605 HC – Comparisons
The Cyclo 605 HC has got a BIG screen. That is SUPER-handy when you are navigating and highly useful if your eyesight is not as good as it used to be.
The Edge 1030 has the same size screen as the Cyclo 210HC in the following image 3rd from left). As you can see the 605HC has by far the biggest screen. Perhaps the biggest of any BIKENAV?
Clearly, a smartphone is bigger, apart from the smaller smartphones. Which will be smaller. 😉
So. Let’s say it again.
The Cyclo 605 HC has got a freakin’ big screen.
When you crank up the brightness it’s also a pretty nice resolution with nice colour depth.
But Mio has always had fairly nice-looking screens.
Controls & Touch Screen
From the image above, however, you can also see that, despite the interface appearing to be identical to previous models, the top-button on the screen has gone. Instead, the Cyclo 605 HC now has 3 side buttons to augment the touchscreen.
The buttons are not great. They’re fine but they need a positive press. Also, they are tricky to use with gloves on. You can operate the buttons with gloves but more sticky-out, nobbly buttons would have been better.
Talking of the touchscreen. It’s the same type as used by the Mio Cyclo 210 (reviewed Summer 2018) which I found, at the time, to be great. However, it’s not so great on the 605HC when it’s either cold or raining. It’s kinda-OK and usable in winter conditions but could be better.
I’m not a big fan of touchscreens anyway, except on my smartphone.
Mio’s ’tile-like’ interface is now starting to look a little bit dated but it’s perfectly fine and intuitive. In any case, once you get past the colourful, tiled home screen then Mio’s screens with maps & data are broadly as standard-looking as everyone else’s screens.
The screens all make clever and good use of the space available. For example, once you have finished with touching one screen, the screen navigation buttons disappear and the entire useful areas of the screen are re-sized to fit the full space available.
The map screen is clear and readable in the light conditions I tested it in. I had two configurable-data fields shown below the map as well as the current route’s elevation profile. Very nice.
MIO Cyclo 605 HC Specifications & Comparison
Here is an overview of some of the MIO models. Starting at the low-end you get the Cyclo 210 which is essentially a BIKENAV that can’t connect to any external sensors. More functionality is, unsurprisingly, added as you progress up the models.
The 405/405HC and 605HC are very similar being differentiated merely by the ability to upload via WiFi and the inclusion (or not) or specific external sensor types. The similarity of these 3 probably explains why they are all pretty much currently being sold on Amazon at the same price give or take a few Euros (Dec 2018). If the 605HC is not on sale then you might as well go for the 405 without losing anything too important, especially if you already own ANT+ sensors.
Let’s look in a bit more detail at some of the noteworthy specs. Of particular interest, as we’ve already said, is the super-large screen size. And there are a consequently greater number of pixels than the top-end Garmin Edge 1030 which comes in at 282x470px. Other than the screen you can see that this is a nice long list full of goodies.
|605 HC||405 HC||315 HC||215 HC|
|Display resolution||360x600px||360 x 600||240 x 400||320 x 480|
|Battery||up to 15h||up to 15h||?||?|
|OSM||Yes (Full EU Installed)||Yes (FEU Installed)||TeleAtlas||Yes|
|Workout Target Function||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Surprise Me Loop||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Surprise Me A to B||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Shake and Share Tracks||No||No||Yes||No|
|ANT+ – SAC Sensor Support||Yes||Yes (Included)||Yes||Yes|
|Magnet-less Speed Sensor Included||Yes||No||No||No|
|Magnet-less cadence sensor included||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|ANT+ Heart Rate Sensor Support||Yes (Included)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ – Power Sensor Support||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Bluetooth Low Energy (smartphone link)||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Incoming Message Alert||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Incoming Call Alert||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Where Am I Function||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Block Roads For Detour*||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Upload To Strava||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Strava Live Segments||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Strava Indoor Training||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Strava Outdoor Training||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Node option (Netherlands)||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Processor type||ARM Cortex-A7||ARM Cortex-A7||Samsung 6443||ARM Cortex-A7|
|GPS Chipset||U-blox 7||U-blox 7||SiRFstar III built-in||U-blox 7|
|Display Size||10.16cm (4″)||10.16cm (4″)||7.62cm (3″)||8.9cm (3.5″)|
|IP Rating (Waterproof)||iPX7||iPX7||?||?|
ACCURACY – Mio Cyclo 605 HC Review
Let’s take a quick peek at the accuracy of the 605HC’s GPS and barometric altimeter.
Looking at the following image, the Barometric altimeter in the 605 HC looks accurate enough and closely matches the top-end Garmin 935. At about 02:45 you can see the 3 main devices start to diverge from the correct altitude and this may well be due to a weather change causing changes to atmospheric pressure and the devices thinking it’s an altitude change. There is a 50m altitude difference at the start/finish location (same place).
Note that if you upload this data to STRAVA then STRAVA will probably correct the elevation profile in any case, so really this data is only going to be used on your Cyclo device itself.
I tend not to be that concerned by GPS Accuracy on bike devices. GPS accuracy will normally feed through into your speed readings as well as giving you a pretty track of where you’ve been after you finish and view your ride on STRAVA. But with the SPEED sensor that the 605 HC is supplied with then, once calibrated, speed figures will be super-accurate…even through tunnels.
Of course, we are dealing with a navigational device, so getting the correct location is going to be important for that aspect of the product. However, even more importantly with navigation is the responsiveness of the BIKENAV. I’ve used accurate BIKENAVs only to find the device sometimes useless because the device in question is underpowered (I can think of two Garmin examples of that).
I’m only mentioning that as the Mio is not quite as accurate as I would have liked. Even at a high level, you can see there were some notable deviations with the Mio.
Zooming closer in, it’s not too bad but the Garmin is clearly better on this section.
But that wasn’t always true on the same ride and here the Mio is truer to the track than Garmin
Bu this was a bad section that was missed completely. There was a fair amount of tree cover here IIRC.
In a more urban setting, there were still some issues.
But overall I would say the Mio was accurate enough except in the moments of madness that I showed above.
Let’s return in a minute to how this impacts on navigation
Sensors & Connectivity
I had no major issues pairing up with any ANT+ device. They were all paired pretty quickly and, once paired, could be renamed.
There is no sensor pool as such, so you can only have one sensor paired of each type for each profile. However, when re-pairing to a previously paired and named sensor, the 605 HC seemed to pick up the name I had previously given it. So there probably is some behind the scenes record kept of ANT+ IDs and what you have called them and/or the names are pulled across from other profiles. That’s actually quite a nice feature for someone like me who frequently re-pairs devices. Are you listening Garmin? That feature would be good, please.
Power meters were able to be calibrated.
Although the official specs cite Bluetooth/BLE connectivity, this really means you can only connect to a smartphone with BLE.
The unusual bits
- To get smartphone notifications requires you to download the CycloSmart app. All this seems to do is provide the connection to enable notifications to be passed to your phone. I couldn’t get this to work despite the 605 pairing up easily enough. If you are not bothered about smart notifications whilst riding with your phone then don’t worry about this.
- The Cyclo has stated FE-C compatibility which is enabled via a special screen (shown to the right) once a compatible trainer is paired. I have a Wahoo KICKR which would pair but I couldn’t get the KICKR to be controlled during a workout
- Trainer support is stated for: ANT+ FE-C; Elite Qubo Digital; Tacx-iGenius & Tacx Bushido
General Platform Connectivity
We’ve already seen that there is the CycloSmart app for smartphone connectivity.
There is also the CycloAgent software for windows that updates your map and firmware as well as uploading your completed workouts online to the MioShare website. The maps were last updated in late 2017 (over a year ago at the time of writing). so if you are using WiFi to upload your workouts instead of CycloAgent, then there is no real need to ever have to connect to a PC/MAC.
The Mioshare website is relatively basic but does the job covering these areas
- A log of your ride history. there are rudimentary stats, a graph and a map of your route as well as the ability to export data in GPX format.
- All your pre-made routes/tracks are listed and these are all auto-sync’d to the Cyclo
- Create, Plan and import new routes/tracks.
- The track creation facility is sweet, allowing you to choose roads and tracks for your route and the routing engine generally works quickly, smoothly and chooses a route well.
- The extent of other shared routes provided online by other Mio users seems limited to me. Mio would have been better off providing route sharing with software links to STRAVA or RideWithGPS rather than trying to do it themselves. Thus to get a route from a friend’s Garmin Connect account to your Cyclo 605 HC device is a somewhat tortuous process and files uploaded from your desktop (as part of that process) do not always pass validation. #Annoying.
- The ability to grab a track/route from a URL would be great – like Hammerhead’s Karoo can grab a Google MAPS route URL.
My overall view of the platform is that it is somewhat cobbled together rather than sweetly integrated. I would even criticise Garmin Connect with that same brush although not to the same degree as I would for Mio. Your impression of Mio’s overall platform will depend on how you intend to use it
- If you do little navigation and all of your analysis on STRAVA then you will probably be unaware of Mioshare’s shortcomings
- If you create a lot of routes yourself from scratch, you’ll probably be happy with Mioshare.
- If you gather and re-share routes, say with friends, and like to perform your own analyses in the same piece of software then Mioshare will probably not be best for you
I would class the on-device navigational features as ‘Good’ overall. But that’s good compared to the competition.
BIKENAVs, in general, need a bit of a kickstart and for all of them up their game a little. By way of an example I could criticise the 605 HC for being a bit slow when loading up a 100-mile route, however, I know from bitter experience that quite a few other BIKENAVS are MUCH slower than the Mio. I appreciate that navigation is probably intensive on the processing power of the BIKENAV but I just expect better (from everyone).
You will probably also find that, when navigating, ALL BIKENAVs fail to live up to their stated battery life. In the case of the Mio 605 HC, that’s 15 hours. It will probably be halved if you: continually have the screen on; continually go off course; and continually have the map on display – the latter of which is NOT an unreasonable thing to do when navigating if you think about it! (It’s the same for other BIKENAVSs being used the same way)
So you will probably end up resorting to the assistance of an external battery pack. That’s fine. But with the Mio, you can’t charge it as you cycle if you are using a stem mount (there’s not enough room for the USB cable). On an out-front mount, it is feasible to charge as you cycle but you still have to find somewhere to stow the battery pack and run the cable to the 605. Garmin’s solution for their Edge 1030 is elegant, where the battery pack attaches underneath an out-front mount…but that will be another Eu100 for each extra ‘special’ Garmin-only battery pack. But, if you already navigate a lot, you will be aware of battery issues and probably already have your own solution. Luckily I only undertake infrequent long rides following routes.
Mio has a great set of navigation features and have put a great deal of thought and effort into this part of their offering.
Whilst you can follow a pre-loaded route, which you’ve either created or copied from somewhere, your Mio Cyclo 605 HC is also highly similar to a car’s SATNAV in the sense that it can direct you to all sorts of places in all sorts of ways.
Coffee? Cake? or a replacement tyre? No problems!
Mio have some awesome POIs on the Cyclo that can enable you to be directed to other destinations en route. For example, this image shows the nearest bike shops, very handy when mechanical disaster strikes in uncharted territory.
Here I typed in a UK postcode somewhere close to Buckingham Palace (why not?) a nice route is created and I’m presented with this screen to summarise the route ahead. It’s nice that it shows the level of difficulty introduced by elevation changes (one red mountain icon).
OK I’m not on holiday now but I tend to go to new holiday destinations each year rather than go to the same place every year. One thing I’ve always loved about the Mio is its ability to create round trips in areas that I am not familiar with. In the example shown below I can select from the 3 calculated routes that are each of a broadly similar distance.
New Route To Work
The ‘Surprise Me’ function seems to create an unusual route from A to B. The ‘usual‘ route would be the quickest one so, if familiarity breed contempt, then the ‘Surprise Me’ function will be the ideal way to try a new route to work. There is some degree of control that you can set to limit the distance of the route.
Point on Map
Another way to enter a destination is to tap a point on the map view and you are directed there.
If you are naughty enough to ignore the 605 HC and go off-course then the Mio has sufficient intelligence to be able to ROUTE you back to the course ie rather than pointing you in the right direction or getting you to retrace your steps. This is because, like your car’s satnav, this BIKENAV has full ‘understanding’ of its maps roads and trails.
Normal Routing Behaviour
The Mio Cyclo 605 HC gives more than sufficiently clear indication of where next to turn – both visually and audibly. And the on-screen route is also pretty clear. You can orientate the route based on your direction of travel or ‘North Up’ and there is automatic zoom functionality which adjust the level of map detail, seemingly, based on your speed and proximity to the next turning point.
I don’t want to dwell on the training features too much as those offered by the Mio 605 HC are broadly what a ‘good training device’ should offer. In that sense, the Mio is similar to many other devices available to you.
A couple of things are worth highlighting that are specific to training and, of course, these training features and screens can be simultaneously used when you are navigating somewhere.
- Zones – you can set HR zones based on HRmax and power zones based on FTP. There are some variations on those themes too.
- Bike Profiles – you can create numerous bike profiles where you specify the wheel size, sensors to be used, GPS, zones and a few other factors.
- Laps – manual, by distance or by position. the latter is unusual/rare.
- Alerts – there are many alerts and these include Zone alerts, segment alerts and Di2 alerts
- Metrics – many are available including the usual ones plus ones such as segment metrics (eg KOM), Di2 metrics (eg Gear graph), and power (eg lap average and NP, tho LAP NP is missing).
- FE-C trainer control – simple resistance control from the 605 HC.
- Up to 8 fields per screen with 4 of those types of screens. There are further screens which can also be customised to a degree for TRAINER control, STRAVA, NAVIGATION, MAP, WORKOUT and HISTORY.
I’ve already mentioned the alternative of the Garmin Edge 1030. That is significantly more expensive. Try these too
- Polar V650 – This is probably a better training device than the 605 HC but the 605 probably wins when looking at the breadth of navigational functionality and size of the screen. A possible downside of the V650 is that it only supports BLE sensors ie NOT ANT+
- Hammerhead Karoo – The Hammerhead Karoo has better management and creation of routes and is slicker at what it does whilst also looking cool. However, the Karoo are behind Mio when you consider the breadth of navigational functionality on the device. Also, the Karoo needs to up its game a little more with training functionality to match Mio.
- Garmin Edge 820 – This is technically a better option all-round in terms of functionality. However, I am not impressed with the robustness of the screen nor the overall speed of the device. It’s also a much smaller form factor than the 605 HC
- Wahoo Elemnt – Definitely a better training device with a smaller screen and much lower resolution. Some nice links to STRAVA and RideWithGPS though.
User Manual: Mio Cyclo 605HC Manual
I like the large-format of the 605 HC. It’s a nice size with good navigation and training functionality on the device.
The responsiveness of the touchscreen could be better in inclement weather.
Generally, Mio is right to create a rich experience on the device. However, the platform that supports the device could capture, share and manage routes a little bit better. Having said that, Mio’s custom route creation is good.
I used the previous 505 HC model a fair amount over the years as my main BIKENAV for ‘special occasions’, like holidays or one-off trips. It navigated well and I trusted it to get me there. From what I’ve seen so far, the 605 HC matches the 505 HC and adds lots of fancy new bits.
So, on paper, I would have some doubts about the Mio. HOWEVER, the reality of using the 605 HC is that those doubts quickly fade away and the Mio Cyclo 605 HC reviewed here does a good job with navigation and training.
Price Availability & Discount
General EU availability is good but there appears to be no USA availability at all. All the following links are to the best prices on your local Amazon store and any purchase there helps support this blog, thank you.
|MIO Cyclo 605 HC (Bundle)||£285.00/Eu350/$?|
|Garmin Edge 1000 Explore (non-bundle)||£/Eu/$449.00|
|Garmin Edge 1030 Explore (non-bundle)||£/Eu/$499.00|