Calimoto: could this be the end for the dedicated SatNav device?

by MotoGusto Editor

Calimoto is an all-in-one motorcycle App that provide bikers with a platform to discover remote, motorcycle-friendly roads as well as giving a cost-efficient navigation tool. o75 puts it through its paces.

As motorcyclists, we love an open road with lots of twists, hills, dips and turns. With Calimoto’s unique winding roads algorithm, it can plan routes with the curviest and scenic roads making each ride a thrilling experience. You can be off on a random route in just a few clicks. No more ‘where shall I ride today?’.

Random Round Trips: This inspirational route finder is excellent if you just want to jump out of bed for an early Sunday morning ride out; program the App and ride. 

The process is simple. Head into the App, select ‘Planner’ and ‘Round Trip’ at the top of the screen. Then pick a direction, how many miles you would like to cover, hit ‘random’ and it will do the rest. Moments later, you will be ‘route-ready’. If you don’t fancy a particular section, simply move the waypoint. It couldn’t be easier. The only downside you may need to head back into ‘Planner’ so you can adjust the route type between each waypoint. You have a choice of:

  • fastest route
  • the fastest route avoiding highways
  • twisty route (default)
  • super twisty route (Premium version only).

Ride, relax and enjoy. I usually aim for 35-40 miles for each hour I want to spend in the saddle.

Can it be a simple Satellite Navigation tool? Absolutely. Firstly, head into ‘Planner’ then, next to ‘Round Trip’ is ‘Destination’ mode. I think many users miss this mode. It could do with being more prominent to be fair. 

Enter your destination or type in the postcode, which it starts to predict. Enter house number. Add in via points, select the variety of route or just hit ‘fastest route’ if you just want to get there. Start navigation and you’re away. Relevant POIs such as petrol stations, food places, and accommodation can be integrated into the trip.

Planning a tour? I’ve heard many a person on Facebook saying Calimoto isn’t a route planning tool. It certainly is and more. You can still have fun planning the routes way in advance of your next several-day tour, and no, you don’t need to do it on the phone. As it is a cloud-based system, simply log into your account using any web browser. Here you can plan routes similarly as you would with the App.

I am very tempted to head to Spain without the need to plan any routes then just let Calimoto do its stuff once I leave the ferry.

Simply create your ideal itinerary by adding routes and applying different route option between each waypoint then save. Made a mistake, simply undo. You can tweak them later and all the while it will automatically sync with your phone. No more faffing or frustration of moving maps from your route planning tools to your SatNav device. Hoorah! On this note alone, I am very tempted to head to Spain without the need to plan any routes then just let Calimoto do its stuff once I leave the ferry.

Oh, and if you want to log back into your computer the night before your next day’s ride, you can check any precipitation that is likely to occur within the next 24 hours ahead; although basic, it’s a rather nifty feature.

Can I share routes with my biking buddies? Absolutely! As long as they have upgraded to the premium version for the super-twisty routes, then simply select ‘share’ and enter their username. Et voilà! The route should show in their ‘My Rides’ list. From the browser version, it would be good to see some kind of confirmation the route was successfully sent.

Will it work where there’s no phone signal? With the free version, there is a good chance you would experience intermittent loss of service as a phone signal is required. While connected, it won’t chew up much data either using approximately 1Mb of data every 60 miles. The premium version of £39.99 per annum allows maps to be downloaded so you can use your phone offline. Smartphones have a GPS device built-in so it will work as expected – especially out in the sticks where phone signals are sparse.

How long will the phone last without being connected to a power source? Basically, around three to four hours; good enough for a Sunday morning ride out. For anything longer, I would plug it into a battery pack or power into your bike’s power source or, it’s a great excuse to stop for lunch to charge your phone in time for the afternoon.

Calimoto finds roads you never knew existed; for me, it is the pièce de résistance.

Using Calimoto on the road: Calimoto’s maps are specifically designed for riders. Visual and audio turn-by-turn navigation allows the rider to shift the focus away from the screen to enjoy the riding experience. That said, I do find the road legends tiny if you need to get clarification with road numbers or town names. While on the road though, Calimoto finds roads you never knew existed; for me, it is the pièce de résistance.

Adding POIs en route? For POIs, such as leisure breaks or fuel, searching of ‘gas stations’ is quickly done. It offers the direction and miles of nearest POIs but, unless you’re wearing smartphone-friendly gloves, you’ll need to stop to program (which is safer to be fair).

Stats as you ride? Yes, a brilliant feature that offers audible stats while you ride, such as how long you have been on the road, how many miles you have ridden and altitude differences. You’ll encounter other biker-specific commentaries too.

The features just go on and on and on… The logbook is the user’s individual collection of future and past rides, including statistics like max speed, gain and lean angle calculation. Tracked and navigated routes are automatically saved, and can be rated according to fun factor, scenery and road condition. For more riding fun together, users can share trips with their friends or the whole community, allowing motorcyclists from all over the world to find the best rides. Or you can keep them private.

Recommended Rides is made possible with the contribution of other Calimoto users all over the world. In the App or on the web, users can get inspired to discover a new area or search for the perfect ride with Calimoto’s detailed ‘sort & filter’ function. All trips can be edited individually to suit you.

What are the advantages of smartphone navigation over dedicated GPS devices? Navigation with the smartphone is a budget-friendly alternative to GPS devices. Because everybody carries a smartphone anyway, it reduces the number of devices to one-for-all, which is convenient when being out for a ride. The maps are always up to date, and smartphone software is extendable.

Have I retired my SatNav? Oh yes! I retired it once I knew I would save hours planning tours. It just does it better and offers a whole lot more. More importantly, I can relax knowing Calimoto has me covered.

What phone mounts would we recommend? We will soon be doing a comparison test with SP Connect, Quad Lock and Oxford Products’ Cliqr. While there are fears with vibration issues destroying image stabilisation, this only affects less than 1% of all users. SP Connect has an anti-vibration device available while Quad Lock is due to release their version from around September 2020. I added a second video to explain more.

Pros: Features and price. More fun when it comes to planning tours with zero time transferring to your device.

Cons: Legends are far too small. If you receive stubborn notifications covering the screen, you would need to stop to remove them.

Overall though and appreciating it can still be developed, it’s a whopping five-stars from me. Well done Calimoto. The App is free but many features described above won’t be available; such as offline maps and super twisty routes. The premium version’s annual subscription is only £39.99. Download direct from Apple or GooglePlay.

#bestsatnav #calimoto #satnavapp #bikersapp #motogusto #o75

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