Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review 🚲 OS TwoNav 🚲

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Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review 🚲 TwoNav | OS

This Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review looks at a bikenav with a difference. The difference is the inclusion of the UK’s ‘best‘ maps from Ordnance Survey. These maps are partly constructed from surveys on the ground and so should better reflect the reality you encounter in your most demanding sporting scenarios.

In Europe, this is the TwoNav Trail 2 Bike – same hardware, different maps.

  • Price - 75%
    75%
  • Apparent Accuracy - 90%
    90%
  • Build Quality & Design - 80%
    80%
  • Features, Including App - 85%
    85%
  • Openness & Compatability - 80%
    80%
82%

Summary

TwoNav Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike ReviewThis is a good piece of physical hardware that has been inserted into a map and software ecosystem that’s a wee bit complex. Couple that with a non-traditional cycling software interface on the bikenav itself and the cyclist may well find the whole OS/TwoNav experience takes some getting used to. Having said that, if YOU are coming to the platform from a hiking background with similar products then the learning curve will be easier for you.

Despite the complexity of the platform, all the navigational features that are offered are good-to-excellent. And if you add onto that the competencies around supporting 3rd party sensors then you have a bikenav that should handle many of your more complex data recording/display needs too.

If you are an ‘athlete’ expecting to be able to do what an advanced Garmin performance bike computer can do, you will be disappointed. Then again, that same Garmin bike computer won’t be as suitable as a rugged handheld nor will it have OS maps onboard.

So this CAN be the right bikenav for the right kind of cyclist. Let’s look at that in more detail.

 

Pros

  • Rugged construction great for outdoors usage, especially as a handheld
  • A highly-featured device with many unusual & useful options not typically found on BikeNavs
  • ‘Unique’ GPS+Glonass+Galileo mode, usually giving more accurate positioning than other BikeNavs
  • OS Maps give a deep, accurate understanding of where you are
  • The free, included 1:50,000 OS maps are fine – the paid-for 1:25,000 are too detailed for cyclists but great for demanding walkers and hikers.

Cons

  • OS Maps (raster) are perhaps not the best visual format for trail bike navigation and are not routable but they can be overlaid with TomTom’s routable map layer
  • The interface and overall platform offering could be better designed and more streamlined at all levels; it takes some getting used to but is worth the effort.

Ordnance Survey and TwoNav – Some Background

TwoNav Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike ReviewTwoNav originally started as a navigation software company for precision para-gliding. In a nutshell, they expanded to other sports and incorporated the maps of many providers into their product offering which now also includes several pieces of trail hardware. The UK’s Ordnance Survey (OS) used TwoNav as their partner to deliver digital OS maps in the UK that cover hiking and now this has morphed to cover various forms of cycling and support other maps such as TomTom’s road maps.

I’m intrigued to look at the digital OS maps that I’ve known and used the paper versions of for many years and at the same time, I’m also intrigued by a cycling solution that has morphed out of a hiking product (digital/paper) rather than a piece of road cycling tech that has been adapted to fit navigational needs over several years.

Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike OVERVIEW

This OS Trail 2 Bike is a large screen bikenav with a 3.7″ Gorilla Glass touchscreen, its claimed 20-hour battery life will give you plenty of time to enjoy good positional accuracy with GPS+GLONASS+Galileo, unusually all together in one GNSS-mode.

The high-spec ABC comprises Barometer, Altimeter, 3-axis magnetic Compass and accelerometer, all packed into a ruggedised IP67 resistant case.

It supports many sensor types, including ANT+ power meters and it includes 1:250k Base maps and 1:50k Landranger maps with 6 free 1:25k tiles (Explorer maps). Superficially at least, this might satisfy both the performance cyclist as well as the adventurer.

Ordnance Survey OS Trail 2 Bike Specifications

    • Size: 80mm x 131mm x 20mm
    • Weight: 220g
    • Screen: 3.7″ multitouch capacitive Gorilla Glass touchscreen (640 x 480px)
    • Battery life: up to 20 hours – 4000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion (fixed)
    • Satellite networks: GPS, Galileo and GLONASS (plus combinations)
    • QuickLock bike stem attachment, twist and lock
    • Memory: 16GB internal (12GB free)
    • Water & dust resistant: IP67
    • Extreme temperature resistant: -10° to 50°C
    • 3-axis magnetic compass
    • Accelerometer
    • Barometric altimeter
    • Performance tracking
    • FullConnect: ANT+, Bluetooth, GPRS, Wi-Fi
    • MicroUSB connector
    • Tether point
    • Speaker for audio feedback

Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike – What You Get

You get the bikenav a few bits of paper and plastic and several online accounts you need to activate. In more detail, you get this…

  • OS Trail 2 Bike GPS/GNSS bikenav
  • OS 1:250k GB base map (pre-installed)
  • OS 1:50k Landranger GB mapping (pre-installed)
  • QuickLock Stem Bike Mount
  • MicroUSB cable
  • 3-year OS Maps subscription – find & create maps (to redeem)
  • 6-month SeeMe subscription for emergency alerting (to redeem)
  • 6 x OS 1:25k Explorer map tiles (to redeem)
  • Extra Cost: other country maps and TomTom UK routable road maps (not tested)

You also get a free account with GoCloud to link and sync to other online services namely dropbox, Google Drive, Strava and Training Peaks.

If you are buying this outside of the UK, you will have bought the TwoNav brand which would have appropriate country maps and be otherwise identical. You can add maps for your travels at any time.

Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike -Who Will Buy This?

OS Maps app

This is a tricky one.

The OS Trail 2 Bike product is a hiking product that has morphed on to bikes and, as such, it’s not the best bikenav money can buy. However, for just the right kind of adventure cyclist, it will be a great purchase. The right kind of adventurer would include:

  • Someone who loves Ordnance Survey maps and who often relies on them
  • Perhaps a hiker who also trail rides and wants one device to do both
  • Someone already invested in the Ordnance Survey platform who, for example, already creates routes using OS Maps (paid for service)
  • Someone who wants OS maps without having to rely on their smartphone or a paper version
  • Someone who wants a mostly accurate and rugged device

You can create bike routes exactly like the one shown below with OS Maps (Source, me: here) and you’ll already know that a route created online can also be viewed on your OS Maps app (to right). So you just want an extra bit of bike hardware with its own battery that’s a bit more rugged than your phone. Hence you buy the Trail 2 Bike. If that doesn’t describe you…think more closely!

OS Maps route creation – web

This image gives you an idea of the size, compared to two other large-format bikenavs. Please ignore the relatively poor map image on the OS Trail2Bike it IS nicely readable…just hard to photograph.

Hopefully, you can see that these kinds of devices have MASSIVELY superior screen real estate than a Garmin Fenix-type watch (Forerunner 945 model is shown). I don’t think ANY watch is well-suited to any navigational task at speed, other than super-casual bike navigation – just for safety and readability, you need a bikenav.

TwoNav Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review

Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review – Platform Openness & Connectivity

The OS/TwoNav platform IS sufficiently open to let you get your routes IN and your workout data OUT. For example, you can link the GO Cloud service to STRAVA and Dropbox to get your data out; and you can import GPX route files via the Go Cloud too.

Within the platform there is a complete offering for route creation however there is minimal performance analysis in ‘Go’, you’ll need a free STRAVA account for a more detailed look at your workout. The platform is a little confusing and there is often more than one way of achieving a particular end result, for example, you can import routes into OS maps (paid for) and then WiFi sync to your device or you can sync them to your device after importing to the GO Cloud. ie it comprises several differently-named bits and pieces of software, requiring separate logins and setup.

Whilst you can export GPX files, you can’t export power data in a GPX file and instead, you should use TRK format – as FIT and TCX formats are not supported either.

There was a way to do nearly everything I wanted…it just wasn’t initially obvious and sometimes required additional maps like those from TomTom.

OS Trail 2 Bike – Using It On a Bike

I’ve used the OS Trail 2 Bike for WELL OVER a hundred miles. Probably two or three hundred if I added it all up. But that’s only included just under 50km of trail usage. Most of the time I had two other bikenavs and/or a watch active as well.

The buttons work well with gloves and the screen is clear, even in the bright winter sun. The touchscreen is not so great with gloves but, hey, that’s touchscreens for you. Of the 4 devices on the following image, with some reservations, I DO prefer the Trail 2 Bike for trail-based navigation as 1) the Garmin watch is just rubbishly small for proper navigation 2) the Hammerhead Karoo is not sufficiently robust for off-road usage and 3) the Polar V650 requires too much of its interaction via the touchscreen.

The time taken to get an initial GNSS/GPS fix is not great and takes perhaps a minute. After that, though all is good and the positional accuracy CAN be really good but is usually on par with other devices. (See later section on GNSS/GPS accuracy)

The 1:25000 maps were TOO detailed for me! IMHO, the full GBP 1:50000 Landranger maps (included ) were much better scaled for route navigation. I wasn’t entirely convinced that Landranger maps presented the image in the best way for cyclists. However, I would concede that in more adventurous surroundings than the Middle-Class-Cotswolds or Royal Richmond Park, London they do have their uses!

Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review – Using It On Foot

I don’t profess to be a great walker or hiker and this review is intended to primarily support cyclists. I’ve used the OS Trail 2 Bike for maybe 4 hours of walking in the Cotswolds and around London Parks. ie NON-demanding navigational scenarios.

The size is great and it feels rugged. The touchscreen is alright but that is compensated for by the buttons which perform well for many of the in-walk tasks. However, it’s best to set up POIs and the like before you head off on a cold day as entering POI coordinates is a bit finickity on the touchscreen.

I was EASILY able to zoom in and out as I followed pre-loaded courses as well as impromptu detours, for once I never got lost 😉 We also branched out into a little bit of Geocaching and found a stash or two. The Trail2Bike’s GNSS/GPS is MORE than accurate enough for this purpose as, oftentimes, the cache is not at the exact co-ordinates in any case.

One particularly cool feature I noted here is that you can have MORE THAN one pre-loaded route active at any given time. I’ve never seen that before and I could imagine that is a good option to give you contingencies if  you progress further than you initially planned on your adventures.

The OS maps were great and, unlike when cycling, I did enjoy using the super-detailed 1:25000 scale Explorer maps. It reminded me of Geography field trips and orienteering in years gone by (Ok, MANY years have gone by)

OS Trail 2 Bike – Lots of Unusual & Specialist Features

This section is just a bullet-pointed dump of specific features that struck me as being unusual and I’ve added a comment or two if I have something worth saying about any of them.

 

  • 3D map view lets you see your planned route trailing off into the distance. I don’t like these in my car’s satnav but I guess the manufacturers include these kinds of views because OTHER people like them – MEH
  • Multiple ways to enter co-ordinates X/Y, elliptical Mercator, spherical Mercator, AITM2000, AKTM2000,  BGN, M28/M31-M34 plus MANY other national variations – IMPRESSIVE
  • Interesting single screen showing a graphical compass, bearing and co-ordinate – SWEET
  • Several pre-canned sports profiles including GeoCaching, Hiking, Para Gliding, 4×4 & Trail Bike
  • Be mindful of the BRIGHTNESS control. This is a big screen and if you have 100% brightness you will use battery much more quickly. Similarly, using the GPS+GLONASS+GALILEO mode will also eat the battery.
  • LOTS and LOTS of interesting data metrics that you can pack onto your data pages which include VDOP/PDOP/HDOP, satellite status, bearing at next waypoint, mean speed and partial mean speed, sunrise/sunset, time to next waypoint, barometric altitude and GPS altitude, deviation from route, air pressure, relative humidity, left pedal smoothness, cadence, power, speed, pace, hr, hr zone and many more – PRETTY GOOD
  • Ability to simultaneously display planned routes, previous workout routes, POIs – COOL
  • Customisable waypoint proximity alert – COOL
  • Autoroute – choose to ignore surface types
  • Autoroute – customisable recalculation parameters (ie to trigger it only when you are really off course)
  • Auto lap
  • Map – draw/shade relief, add contour lines, track Up vs. North Up
  • Supported file formats .trk, .igc (signed), .gpx …this is NOT a good choice of file formats for cyclists but just about adequate…tcx or FIT please.
  • Draw Route – customise colours, thickness and arrows on route lines
  • Graph views supported for power, speed, cadence, altitude and more.
  • Emergency broadcast (text/email)
  • Live Route broadcast with the SeeMe service
  • Gps – continuous vs intermittent (power saving), GPS and/or GLONASS and/or GALILEO
  • Bike sensors are supported including ANT+ power meters – GREAT

Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review – GNSS / GPS Accuracy

Here are 6 laps of the ROADS on my local 11km park with a few detours. The high-level image shows that all the 3 devices I used are at least recording broadly the same track. The subsequent images then show more zoomed-in views at some points of difficulty and there you can better see how the devices truly differ in their accuracy levels.

Key: Trail 2 (Blue, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo), Wahoo Bolt (Red, GPS), Garmin 945 (Green, GPS, GLONASS)

All tracks are sufficiently acceptable and sufficiently similar.

This time we have some different devices with all the bikenav’s mounted on my TRAIL bike’s handlebars. The route covers trails and paths this time and so a lot more tree cover and some proximity to buildings is brought into the mix. At the high level, you can again see that all devices record similarly.

Key Trail 2 Bike (Blue, GPS, GLONASS, galileo), Polar V650 (red, GPS), Hammerhead Karoo (Yellow, GPS), Green (Garmin 945, GLONASS)

Looking in detail on that ride, the Trail 2 Bike is actually the best performer almost all the time with the Karoo being most inaccurate. The Garmin 945 is sometimes better under tree cover.

Finally, here I am going DOWN Boxhilll on a road bike. This time I had the Trail 2 Bike in my BACK POCKET. This is not ideal but I couldn’t get it on my handlebars. Although the track is fine, you can see in the detail that the back-pocket location causes the Trail 2 Bike some degree of inaccuracy (as it would do for any of the other devices in the same pocket)

Key: Trail 2 Bike (Blue, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo), Garmin 945 (Green, GPS, GLONASS), Wahoo Bolt (Yellow, GPS)

Here is the back-pocket detail!

GNSS Accuracy – Summary & Thoughts

Overall the accuracy is better than most other Bikenavs when all 3 satellite constellations are simultaneously enabled. Don’t put it in your back pocket if you want this super level of accuracy but if you have to do that, only enable GPS to keep the power consumption down.

Anecdotally, in walking modes, the Trail 2 Bike was mostly spot on when compared to the position shown on the Explorer maps. Of course, buildings and the like introduce some forms of imprecision at other times.

As part of the GPS testing for this Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike Review I recommend that you should perhaps also consider the accuracy of the map itself when you are in more demanding situations, for example, would your map accurately show the position of a trail through a heavily wooded area when it’s only based on plane/satellite imagery? The OS maps include actual land surveys as well as from planes and so should generally be more correct. But even if the OS maps are likely to be more correct than others, will your GPS device actually get your correct position when near a large hill or in a heavily wooded area?

OS Trail 2 Bike – Price, Discounts & Availability

The Trail 2 products (Bike and non-Bike) were released at the back-end of 2019 and are not currently discounted. However, there ARE discounts on the products they are replacing.

Availability in the UK seems only to be directly from Ordnance Survey but in the Eu, there is available both at TwoNav and Amazon.

There is NO availability outside the EU

For extended battery life, it might be worth waiting to see if there is a new AVENTURA model coming out. The current model has a replaceable/rechargeable battery pack.

  • UK: Price £399, not on Amazon
  • Eu: On Amazon Eu379 (will NOT include UK maps)

 

  • Price - 75%
    75%
  • Apparent Accuracy - 90%
    90%
  • Build Quality & Design - 80%
    80%
  • Features, Including App - 85%
    85%
  • Openness & Compatability - 80%
    80%
82%

Summary

TwoNav Ordnance Survey Trail 2 Bike ReviewThis is a good piece of physical hardware that has been inserted into a map and software ecosystem that’s a wee bit complex. Couple that with a non-traditional cycling software interface on the bikenav itself and the cyclist may well find the whole OS/TwoNav experience takes some getting used to. Having said that, if YOU are coming to the platform from a hiking background with similar products then the learning curve will be easier for you.

Despite the complexity of the platform, all the navigational features that are offered are good-to-excellent. And if you add onto that the competencies around supporting 3rd party sensors then you have a bikenav that should handle many of your more complex data recording/display needs too.

If you are an ‘athlete’ expecting to be able to do what an advanced Garmin performance bike computer can do, you will be disappointed. Then again, that same Garmin bike computer won’t be as suitable as a rugged handheld nor will it have OS maps onboard.

So this CAN be the right bikenav for the right kind of cyclist. Let’s look at that in more detail.

 

Pros

  • Rugged construction great for outdoors usage, especially as a handheld
  • A highly-featured device with many unusual & useful options not typically found on BikeNavs
  • ‘Unique’ GPS+Glonass+Galileo mode, usually giving more accurate positioning than other BikeNavs
  • OS Maps give a deep, accurate understanding of where you are
  • The free, included 1:50,000 OS maps are fine – the paid-for 1:25,000 are too detailed for cyclists but great for demanding walkers and hikers.

Cons

  • OS Maps (raster) are perhaps not the best visual format for trail bike navigation and are not routable but they can be overlaid with TomTom’s routable map layer
  • The interface and overall platform offering could be better designed and more streamlined at all levels; it takes some getting used to but is worth the effort.
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