Lezyne is a relative newcomer to the cycling world, but it’s roots run deep with talent that have created top-tier brands and stunning products. The primary driver of the Lezyne brand is to engineer the highest quality products. ‘Engineered Design’ is visible in every aspect of their products from form to function. This approach lead them down the road of joining the cycling GPS world in 2015. I got the chance to crank out a load of miles with their flagship Super GPS model at the helm. Here’s what I thought.
Since testing and writing a review on the Lezyne Super GPS, Lezyne has released a major update to their GPS line in celebration of their 10 year anniversary. The new models are a huge jump forward for Lezyne, and have added many additional functions to their GPS units. Lezyne has maintained the simplicity, robustness, and aesthetic of the current line of GPS, but added in features like live tracking, Strava segments, turn-by-turn navigation, 5 pages of metrics, color screens, and more. Further, they have reduced the prices of all their GPS devices and are introducing a 2 versions of a GPS watch. The new Super GPS starts at $149.99. I’ve got a test unit on the way, and will write a follow up review as soon as possible. Click to Learn More.
The cycling computer market is a filled with many offerings ranging from classic-style cyclo-computers up to ultra-high tech GPS devices with more functions than most riders will be able to decipher. It is also a space that has been dominated by some big names for many years. Lezyne knew that getting a foothold in this market would not be an easy task. As such, they looked for areas where current offerings were either too complicated or missing key features. They took the approach of creating a robust chassis with simple controls and interface that could be bolstered to add performance by linking to your smartphone. If all that sounds tempting, then the ultra-competitive price tag is the cherry on the top.
GPS Design and Build Quality
Falling right in line with the rest of their products, the Lezyne Super GPS is a built around solid build quality, reliable function, and clean aesthetics. Its chassis creates one of the most robust feeling GPS units that I have ever used. It exudes a demeanor of being tough while still attractive. This robustness does make the unit a touch heavier than the competition, coming in at 85g. However, this is still not a heavy device unless you are the weeniest of weight weenies.
The screen on this device is not color or touch, but it is very clear and easy to read even at speed on rough trails. Further, I’ve found touch screens to lack sensitivity while wearing gloves (even touch-compatible versions), and I find that touchscreens pick up fingerprints and smudges which can make clarity an issue. There is also a back light that you can configure in your settings so that you can see your stats during night rides. The rider utilizes 4 buttons (2 on each side) to control the power, menu, start/lap, and enter functions.
Continuing the theme of build quality, the Super has been tested up to IPX7 waterproof standards. This means that the GPS is protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.2ft) for up to 30 mins. For me, personally, it has performed flawlessly in very wet conditions, and should hold up to any inclement weather you will experience on the bike. There is a rubber seal that covers the Micro USB port that you do need to ensure is closed properly to keep moisture at bay. It is very easy to see if this seal is properly in place, and just as simple to close up any gaps.
It may sound silly, but the mount is a shining example of “engineered design” from Lezyne. The mount is reminiscent of what you have seen from Garmin, with a ¼ turn locking the device into place. However, Lezyne opted to make a taller mounting plate and interface which is good since I have personally experience broken tabs on other devices from some competitors. In talking with Lezyne, they informed me that ensuring those tabs would hold up to serious abuse was one of the key factors in their design. Further, Lezyne built in a second security measure by requiring the device to be pushed down before you can turn it both when installing or uninstalling from the mount. This locks the device in place very solidly, and has held up to everything I have thrown at it with gusto. I have even ridden DH park trails with the unit, and never once did I feel it was at risk of popping off.
Lezyne ships the Super GPS with the standard handlebar/stem mount with several sets of rubber o-rings so that you can find the right fit for wherever you want to mount your device (fits my 35mm clamp bars). They also sell an out-front style mount that works with standard 31.8mm diameter bars. I was a bit surprised to see that there were no additional mount options from 3rd party manufacturers, but I imagine that we will see that change as Lezyne continues to gain market share. It is also likely that Lezyne will add additional mounting options as they continue down the GPS road.
User Interface Experience
For me, the user interface is where the Lezyne really stood out against the competition. I love having a GPS that gives me solid data, easy use, and clear information. But, I don’t feel the need to monitor every aspect of my rides. I actually feel that sometimes all the various bells and whistles of high-end GPS units can distract from the joy of just riding a bike. I found that the Super GPS fit my approach to riding; keep it simple.
Lezyne has limited the number of functions that can be displayed on the home screen so that you get the information that is most important to you with just a glance. You can set which options you want to display on the home screen, but you are limited to either 2, 3 or 4 lines of ride stats. One of the lines of data will be a scroll line where you can access more information during a ride. This approach may frustrate users who want to monitor every data point, but I found the set-it-and-forget-it approach very appealing.
Programming and Set-up
Continuing the theme of simplicity, the setup for this device is quite easy. One simply utilizes the clearly labeled buttons to edit various screen info, hide unnecessary data fields and personal profile settings. Since there is not an overwhelming number of options and they are grouped into categories this is not a long process in the least.
While this process was simple, I found two aspects a bit frustrating. The first was a simple layout issue with the physical buttons. Coming from using several Garmin devices, I was “trained to expect” to find the buttons in a different layout. This made for some moments of pushing the wrong button and having to redo the action again to input the correct info. However, this isn’t so much an issue of the GPS and more of a user error on my part.
The other, issue I would consider a bigger flaw, but one that Lezyne could easily fix with a future software update. Since this GPS vastly increases its functionality by tying into the Ally App running on your smartphone via a Bluetooth Smart connection, it would make sense that all users settings and profile stats could be setup using the app. Currently, this is not the case, but I hope to see this enhancement show up in a future software update.
Smart Phone Connectivity:
Bluetooth Smart allows the Super GPS to communicate with your smartphone through the Lezyne Ally App. This app is not overly fancy, but it is clean and simple to use. Connecting your phone to the GPS unit allows the GPS to display notifications of incoming calls, texts, and emails which can be handy if you need to stay connected with the ‘real world’. The app also allows you to easily sync your ride data to outside ride tracking services like Training Peaks or Strava. Lastly, the app gives you more ride data metrics to view and analyze than what will be displayed on the GPS unit itself.
Lezyne is establishing a whole new category for GPS computers.
While the app is simple and clean, I would like to see a future update that would allow you to update the GPS software and user profile information via Bluetooth instead of having to plug it into your PC. Further, while syncing with Strava is pretty seamless, the user has no ability to create bike profiles in the Ally app. This means that you must edit which bike you were riding in Strava itself. This is not a major issue as you can put notes on the rides that are being shared indicating which bike you rode, but it seems like a pretty simple fix for a much better user experience. Lastly, it would be nice to see some integration with some of Strava’s additional features like turn-by-turn navigation, live tracking, Strava segments, or mapping (more on this later).
Sensors and Connectivity
The Super GPS utilizes both GPS and GLONASS satellites to ensure fast and accurate tracking of location data. The user can choose to enable just GPS or both. Having both on does put more burden on the battery, but I found that I can go on 5+ rides in a row without getting close to running through the battery. With rides ranging around the 1.5-3hr mark, I’ve been finding that I use around 10% of the battery on each ride . This appears to fall in line with Lezynes claim of 22hrs of run time.
Satellite acquisition has been exceptionally quick, and doesn’t seem to be majorly affected by trees or bad weather. I have seen my signal strength dip while riding in thick coverage, but I have yet to lose satellite connection. I found satellite acquisition to be fast and reliable, and to produce similar results to the Garmin devices that I compared it against, and considerably more accurate results when compared to using my phone.
ANT+, Bluetooth Smart:
By choosing to incorporate both Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart into the Super GPS Lezyne has vastly opened up the number and type of peripheral sensors that can be used with the unit. Connecting your Super GPS to various peripherals is quick and easy, and adds a many more options for data metrics. It also helps to ensure backwards compatibility with peripherals that you may already own. I was able to connect multiple device quickly and easily, and the data tracking performed well. Currently, it is one of the few GPS units that incorporates both types of connectivity, and this is a big win for this device against the competition.
- Sensors: GPS/Glonass, Ant+, Bluetooth Smart
- Speed (GPS/sensor)
- Distance (GPS/sensor)
- Cadence (sensor)
- Power (power meter)
- Heart rate (sensor)
- Elevation (GPS)
- Overall dimensions: 46.5mm; x 73.2mm x 27mm
- Screensize: 30.4mm x 37.8mm
- 76 grams
- 22 hours of run time
- X-Lock handlebar mount (additional mounts available)
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- Micro USB charging/data cable included
- Receive text, email and phone call notifications when paired with Bluetooth® Smart enabled
- iOS or Android device compatibility
- Upload directly to GPS Root website for ride organizing and analysis
- Instant download of ride files (.fit) via plug-and-play flash drive technology (Windows/Mac)
- Compatible with third-party sites like Strava™ and TrainingPeaks®
- Reads Bluetooth® Smart or ANT+™ equipped heart rate, cadence/speed and power sensors
- Sync rides via Bluetooth®Smart to the Lezyne Ally phone app
The Final Spin
How does it stack up against the competition?
The Super GPS’s closest competitor is probably the Garmin Edge 520, but the Garmin comes in at $100 more than the $199 price of the Lezyne. While the Super GPS can compete head-to-head on many of the features that the Edge 520 has, it lacks some of the bells and whistles one would find in the Garmin. However, I found that I did not miss most of these features, and would only be beneficial to power users. Further, I found that the incorporation of both Bluetooth Smart and Ant+ made the compatibility of the Super with additional accessories much easier and more versatile.
In all reality, I actually find it a bit challenging to line up this GPS with a direct competitor. While other computers may have more advanced features, they also have a much steeper price tag. Further, Lezyne has really honed in on the most necessary or desired features to include to keep the GPS highly functional but not prohibitively expensive. In a sense, Lezyne is establishing a whole new category for GPS computers and a new customer base of users who want a GPS but don’t want to pay for functions that don’t pertain to them.
For riders who want performance at a reasonable price, but don’t find the need the most detailed ride metrics.
What we loved:
- Price to performance can’t be beat.
- Compatibility with both Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart
- Solid build quality and feel
- Robust mount (rated to 90kg!)
- Long battery life and fast satellite location
- Smartphone connectivity for uploading and notifications
- Auto-Strava linking
- Uses .fit files for easy 3rd party exchange
What we didn’t like:
- Lacking some features that some users would find useful
- Live tracking
- Strava Segments
- Only 2 mount types, and no 3rd party options
- Lacks color screen (not all users will want this, but nice for mapping)
- Ally app could be a much more powerful and refined tool