Keep it simple Schwinn

5 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Follow the arrows.

To go along with its uncomplicated bicycles, Schwinn is introducing the CycleNav, a simple bike navigation display that pairs with your iOS or Android phone (check the minimum specs before you buy, though). It sits on your handlebars and speaks to you, telling you to turn left or right and backing it up with big green flashing arrows. No detailed maps or screens or routes to distract your attention. That’s a very good thing, because letting your attention wander while you’re riding a bike can have fatal consequences, usually for yourself.

The CycleNav app is tailored to bike travel, giving extra attention to bike paths and back roads, unlike navigation services designed for cars or generic smart phone apps. The CycleNav also captures data from a ride – distance, time, pace – and lets you review it afterwards or upload it to social media platforms like MapMyRide. Strava – the currently coolest crowd source platform for cyclists – isn’t supported yet, but it’s supposedly in the works.

What appears at first glance to be its biggest weakness might actually turn out to be its greatest strength. It’s big and clunky, the sort of thing that you’d put on a $100 Walmart bike, not a high end, carbon fiber road machine. But Walmart sells a hell of a lot of bikes and, not coincidentally, will also be one of the first retailers to stock the CycleNav. It’s a mass market play, not a bicycle shop specialty.

The CycleNav is scheduled to be available in March and costs $60. The app and, so far, the service are free.