Beeline Moto II review | Still not a full sat nav replacement but even better at what it does well

4 out of 5

Beeline Moto II

from Sportsbike Shop
£179.99 View offer
Published: 29 May 2024 Updated: 03 June 2024

The Beeline Moto II is the much-anticipated and improved follow-up to the Beeline Moto sat nav with a bigger screen, more detailed map view and a raft of other features and developments.

You could say that the original Moto is a bit of a Marmite product (comments on our social media channels back this up) but what I think this boils down to is user expectation.

Pros

  • Sleek and minimal design
  • Simple interface that’s easy to use
  • Flashing light to prompt rider turn is coming up
  • 3D map in display instead of symbols
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Relies on smartphone connection
  • Still not as clear to follow as a full sat nav
  • ‘Fun’ routes need work
  • Ease of use
    5.0
  • Screen quality
    4.0
  • Looks
    5.0
  • Quality
    5.0
  • Value
    5.0
  • Verdict
    4.0
Weight 42g
Screen area 1064sqmm
Resolution 412x412
Battery 600 mAh
Waterproofing IP67
  • Smartphone app
  • LED indicator
  • IPS TFT, anti-glare, hydrophobic display
  • New advanced turn-by-turn navigation
  • Easy fitment

If, like me, you want a subtle reminder of the route ahead that doesn’t ruin the look of your motorbike and distract you from the road, then you will love the Beeline. If you want a full sat nav with all of the features and benefits that brings, you’ll be frustrated.

I tend to think of the Beeline as being like having a pillion that knows the way. It’ll give you a little tap on the shoulder or point out the way when you need it, but you can pretty much forget about it the rest of the time.

Having said that, Beeline have moved the game on a long way with the second generation and it’s closer than ever to being a proper sat nav replacement… but it still isn’t.

Is the Beeline Moto II easy to use?

Beeline Moto II elastic band attachment

The Beeline Moto II is joyfully simple to fit. Because the unit itself is so light, the bracket you use to attach it doesn’t need to be a full Meccano set on your handlebar. It’s as simple as lashing a small back plate to the ‘bar using two black rubber bands that come included.

Because of this, you can be up and running in a matter of seconds. In my line of work I tend to swap bikes quite a lot and swapping the Beeline over couldn’t be easier. There’s a bevvy of other mounting options to be purchased separately including ram balls, mirror mounts, powered adapters and plenty more besides.

Once you’ve paired the device with your app (smartphone required) then running updates, setting routes and seeing where you’ve been are also very easy. You can tailor your route to be ‘fast’ or ‘fun’ and even dictate how many miles you would like the latter to cover.

Beeline Moto II phone app

This is where the Moto II starts to get a bit out of its depth. Beeline have created their own in-house mapping and use an algorithm to determine how ‘fun’ a road is based on how twisty it is.

The issue with this is that a very twisty road on a map may, in fact, be a 20mph stretch through a village. Conversely, a gorgeous stretch of sweeping bends with great visibility and a national speed limit would appear less fun to the app.

I set the route to fun mode to get home from MCN Towers, for example, and it took me straight through the middle of Whittlesey – a painfully boring string of 30mph and 40mph limits with average speed cameras. Then, once I reached the A47 which I know full well has several fun alternatives, it just brought me straight along the main road.

Beeline Moto II simple bracket

I also experimented with the minimum distance function in the planner and thought I was losing my mind when I saw the same village twice in opposite directions. I pulled over to check the route and it had popped in a quick loop just to reach the right mileage. Not ideal.

Beeline’s saving grace here is that no one else has truly nailed a fun route algorithm and they do have a lot of ideas for how they can improve it over time. You can import GPX files (and share your own) like you can with a ‘proper’ sat nav. Beeline have also introduced an optional premium version of the app called Beeline Plus where they can add extra features for paying users (£3.99/mo or £39.99/year). What you get will change and develop over time as Beeline creates new add-ons but at the moment it includes audio directions (with compatible headset) and a loop route generator.

Once you’re up and running, the Beeline Moto II gives a really simple map view of the road ahead with you on it. As you approach a junction, roundabout or slip road, the unit flashes LED lights (disturbingly similar to the colour of a Gatso in the corner of your eye) to remind you that you need to do something and shows you a more detailed road layout.

Beeline Moto II revised rear mount

For users of the original Beeline, this functionality is a massive step up. I loved the original version (it’s part of my ‘gear I can’t stop using’ kit list) and so the improved display on this one blows my mind.

The timing of the directions and the way they are delivered take a little getting used to if you’ve not had a Beeline before, but once you dial into what it’s asking (took me a couple of longer journeys to do this) you will rarely put a wheel wrong.

You can still opt for the original’s arrow mode that just points towards your destination as the crow flies and lets you choose your own route, too.

Does the Beeline Moto II have good screen quality?

Beeline Moto II new TFT screen

The Moto II is only 3mm wider overall than the original device but a swap from LCD to TFT tech and a thinner bezel mean the screen size has more than doubled from 507sqmm to 1064sqmm.

It’s like upgrading from a 32-in LCD TV in your lounge to a 62-in OLED (I suppose a proper sat nav is an iMAX cinema screen in this analogy). And it’s not just the tech and scale that’s improved, the things the dash can now do have been upgraded, too. As much as I like the original, there were plenty of times at awkward junctions or inner-city locations with complicated layouts where I wished it had a more detailed map view. And it’s like Beeline were listening when they designed this second version.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still not perfect. A common situation in the Fens where I often ride is for a road to cross a dyke or river with a junction before the water and a T-junction after. A few times, the Beeline hasn’t been able to distinguish that there are two roads to choose and I’ve ended up on the wrong riverbank up until the unit instructed me to turn into the water.

Beeline Moto II USB-C port

Some niggles still remain from the old unit where big, complicated roundabouts or junctions are concerned, too, but it’s a vast improvement over before. I’m willing to overlook this in exchange for all the unit’s benefits, but I can understand why some wouldn’t be happy.

Does the Beeline Moto II look good?

This is the Beeline’s biggest selling point, really. If you ride a classic or modern retro, or you’ve spent years customising your bike just how you want it, the last thing you want to do is mount a huge sat nav unit or smartphone holder to the handlebars.

The Beeline is so subtle, you barely notice it’s there. This is the base model (the plastic version in the old range, although it’s now part-aluminium) and it has Torx drive bolt heads around the circumference that are even more obvious on the new metal versions, reminiscent of an expensive watch or Smiths Clocks of old – not a coincidence.

Beeline Moto II showing battery levels

The looks are also improved by getting rid of the edge-mounted control buttons in favour of a rocker-top that turns the whole thing into its own control (although I have been overzealous from time to time and spun the whole unit around on the bar instead of pushing a button).

Is the Beeline Moto II good quality?

Device weight is up from 29g to 42g and this always helps to give a feeling of quality – but I’m confident in the Beeline’s longevity based on my experience with the original. It’s IP67 water/dustproof, despite switching to a new USB-C charge port, and all the mounts I’ve got hold of so far have felt sturdy, too.

Beeline have also worked to make the Moto II repairable, so the Torx bolts are functioning, not just for show. Circuitry components are clipped in rather than soldered for easy replacement if required and the 600 mAh battery can be swapped if it fails in years to come, too. This isn’t only good for users and Beeline, it’s better for the planet – win/win/win.

Is the Beeline Moto II good value?

Given that the Beeline Moto II does less than a traditional sat nav, you’d expect it to cost less. So, it’s a good job it does.

At £179.99 for a base model, it’s less than half the price of both the TomTom Rider 550 and Garmin Zumo XT. And when you consider just how much the device CAN do, that price seems even better.

Price: $514.00
Tested by Jim Blackstock

"As a sat nav, the TomTom Rider 550 is dead easy to operate; the touchscreen’s sensitivity can be adjusted depending on how thick your gloves are and works with every pair I tried. The screen is big enough to make destination input simple and once you’re rolling, it is clear and delivers instructions in plenty of time.

"The connection with your intercom for spoken instructions is easy and it pairs with your phone for traffic and even message alerts and call answering while on the move.

"It’s a proper bit of kit and if you are going on a big ride or a multi-day tour and want to plan ahead and then, know that your route and planning are ready for you, then it is a great option. That’s not to say it isn’t a brilliant navigator for day-to-day riding – it is but that sells it short – it has so much more to it than simply getting you from Peterborough to Penzance as quickly as possible. If you want a dedicated sat nav for your bike, the Rider 550 won’t disappoint."

Read our full TomTom Rider 550 review
Price: $425.99
Tested by Jim Blackstock

"The Zumo’s serious capability is both its strength and its weakness. It can do so much that you really need to properly study its functionality before you can even begin to scratch the surface of its possibilities.

"If you are a dedicated sat-nav fan and you enjoy the technology as much as you enjoy the riding, then this is definitely for you. If you like planning big trips that cover multiple days and different surfaces, then it is right up your green-lane.

"If, however, you just want to chuck it on the bars and get it to take you home as quickly as possible without sitting in traffic, then it’s not really for you.

"You would probably be better off with just a smartphone on the bars and a sat nav app – or even something native like Google maps. Just make sure you use a vibration-damping phone mount on your iPhone…"

Read our full Garmin Zumo XT review

Our Garmin Zumo XT2 review is also on its way!

MCN’s Beeline Moto II verdict

If you regard the Beeline Moto II as an updated version of the original, it’s a 5-star product all day long. Unfortunately, it’s the extra bits the firm have added that have earned it a 4-star rating overall.

I absolutely love this product and I will be using it long after I’ve finished reviewing it – just as I did the original. As a subtle reminder of the route that doesn’t intrude on your bike’s aesthetic or the riding experience, it’s hard to fault it.

And improvements in the map display and layout alone make the new model a worthwhile investment. On top of that, the new button design, LED indicator USB-C charge port and longer battery life are all marked improvements from before.

Pros

  • Sleek and minimal design
  • Simple interface that’s easy to use
  • Flashing light to prompt rider turn is coming up
  • 3D map in display instead of symbols
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Relies on smartphone connection
  • Still not as clear to follow as a full sat nav
  • ‘Fun’ routes need work
  • Ease of use
    5.0
  • Screen quality
    4.0
  • Looks
    5.0
  • Quality
    5.0
  • Value
    5.0
  • Verdict
    4.0
Weight 42g
Screen area 1064sqmm
Resolution 412x412
Battery 600 mAh
Waterproofing IP67
  • Smartphone app
  • LED indicator
  • IPS TFT, anti-glare, hydrophobic display
  • New advanced turn-by-turn navigation
  • Easy fitment

But the added routing features leave me a little cold and that’s a shame. That said, I really do believe Beeline when they say they are constantly working to improve these and – more importantly – I’d love the Moto II if it didn’t have them at all.