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Ordnance Survey launch cycling-specific GPS devices

The mapping agency have launched four handheld units in total, with the Velo and Horizon models both including bike mounts

It might seem like an unlikely rival to the likes of Garmin and Wahoo, but the national mapping agency Ordnance Survey have launched a line of GPS devices promising advanced navigation and high-resolution touchscreen, with the Velo and Horizon models aimed specifically at off-road cycling. 

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The computers mark a new era in Ordnance Survey's storied 227-year history, being the first handheld units they've ever produced. There are four in total: Velo (£369.99), Horizon (£424.99), Trail (£434.99) and Aventura (£499.99). We'll focus on the first two which have the most cycle-friendly credentials... 

OS Velo

The Velo is the most compact and least expensive device in the range, weighing just 110g. It comes with both the OS 'QuickLock' out-front and stem mounts for a streamlined appearance, and has a rugged body for weather protection with an IP67 water resistance rating. You can connect to all your usual apps and pair with heart rate monitors and cadence sensors with Bluetooth, ANT+ and WiFi, and you also get a six-month subscription to the SeeMee service. This lets you broadcast your location to others, and also send email and/or SMS alerts to chosen contacts if you get lost in the woods. 

ordnace velo out front mount.png

Being from the Ordance Survey mapping is going to be the big sell, and you get OS 1:250k base mapping for the whole of the UK included in the Velo plus a three-year subscription to OS Maps. You can use the inbuilt WiFi to sync routes to OS Maps, and the screen is 3" with a 240 x 400px screen. You can operate it via touchscreen or by using the buttons. Here is the full spec list: 

3" transflective touchscreen (240 x 400px) with backlight
Touchscreen and button control
10-hour battery life - 1650 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery
16GB internal memory
Water & dust resistant (IP67)
Extreme temperature resistant: -10° to 60°C
3-axis compass
Barometric altimeter
FullConnect™: ANT+™, Bluetooth® Smart, GPRS, Wi-Fi
Physical dimensions: 60mm W x 105mm H x 20mm D
Weight: 110g
QuickLock attachment
Operating memory: 2GB (RAM)
USB 2.0 port

OS Horizon

ordnance horizon.png

The Horizon model is £424.99, slightly larger and weighing in at 125g. This one has unlimited routes and tracks, and you can also swap out the battery easily and add a micro SD card to increase the memory. You can switch between the QuickLock mount for cycling and also a flat back cover if you're using it for hiking. 

For some, the battery life on both the Velo and Horizon models could be a deal-breaker: it's quoted at 10 hours, and while we're assuming that's with all the powerful mapping functions turned on we're unsure as of yet if you can get more juice out of it just running the GPS (check back for updates soon). 

All of the computers are available to buy now directly from Ordnance Survey's online leisure shop with delivery UK-only,  and you can also get 10% off your order by signing up to their newsletter. If you want to wait for a recommendation first, we're looking to get a test unit or two in very soon between ourselves and our sister title  

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
1 like

Yet more overpriced crap.

I bought a unit that new is 1/3 the price, 3.5" screen, better resolution (480x800) and able to upload maps from any country you want direct from the website for free.

It'll sell a few on the back of the name but the reality is there's a lot of other units out there that do much better in virtually all departments but are much, much better value. 

HowardR | 6 years ago

Of maps & the Ordance Survey ..... The National Libary of Scotland has on-line digitized copies of OS maps from the 1840's~>1960 which if, like me, you have your head stuck in the past - and- enjoy finding & exploring tracks that used to count as roads.


for details.....

Personaly I find the option : "As indervidual sheets using a zoomable map...."  from the set of: "Ordnance Survey Maps - Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952"

the most useful.

As an aside..... if you take a look at the 1900 map of Bedford you'll see that it used to have a velodrom (just to the east of Kimbolton Road)

Over the course of time it became allotments & then a housing estate....which carries an echo of the velodroms shape

ktache | 6 years ago

I do love OS paper maps.  I believe my internal mapmaking thinks in OS 1:25K.

Anyone know how tough the "Active" range are?

ConcordeCX replied to ktache | 6 years ago
1 like

ktache wrote:

I do love OS paper maps.  I believe my internal mapmaking thinks in OS 1:25K.

Anyone know how tough the "Active" range are?

very tough. But very bulky. Great when you’re walking, but not good for cycling, because of the bulk.

handlebarcam | 6 years ago

1:250,000? That's a scale designed for road atlases. I'd rather have OpenStreetMap.

ConcordeCX replied to handlebarcam | 6 years ago

handlebarcam wrote:

1:250,000? That's a scale designed for road atlases. I'd rather have OpenStreetMap.

that’s to make you pay for the 50k and the 25k mapping, and you don’t need an OS device for it. 

In my opinion the best cycle touring maps are the French IGN Top 100 series. I use them as my paper backup / large-scale planners along with the Garmin City maps on the device - a really good combination.

I wish OS would bring out an equivalent set of 100k maps for the UK.

EDIT. And while I’m at it, I also wish they wouldn’t put that cardboard cover on the maps, which damages them if you try to remove it, and that they would bring some out in the same kind of waterproof untestable material as some of the IGN maps. It’s not 1953 any more.

EDIT AGAIN. ‘Untestable ‘ should be ‘untearable’ 

janusz0 | 6 years ago

EDIT: 3 days ago, I wrote:

I'm a bit confused by what OS says about the price of maps.  On the one hand I see the prices quoted by "Cycling DAG", on the other I see "3-year OS Maps subscription (to redeem)".  Doesn't the subscription mean that you get access to all the map tiles?

I like what I've just read about the Horizon, but the big sticking point would be use abroad.

I've written to Customer Support at OS for clarification.

EDIT: Today OS have replied to the effect that the 3 year subscription is to the maps via browser or 'phone app.

You can't load it with Open Cycle Maps when abroad, but you can choose from a limited range of maps in Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa, supplied by TwoNav<>  So tough if you're going to the rest of the Americas and Africa, Asia and many parts of Europe!

You can transfer routes as GPX files to the device.

Sorry OS, I think that's not good enough.  I like OS Maps, but I'd like a device that's a Garmin beater.  (Not really that hard, is it?)

FURTHER EDIT:  I've just noticed that Spanish company CompeGPS  makes the TwoNav/OS GPS units:


2015 review in which BikeRumor! (sic) was quite impressed

so perhaps could pick up the baton and do a detailed comparison of CompeGPS with Garmin/Acer/<name your favourite bike satnav>?


Cycling DAG | 6 years ago

Can't see that this is a close alternative to the Garmin range.

For the Velo:

What's in the box?

OS Velo handheld GPS device with QuickLock attachment
QuickLock stem bike mount
QuickLock upfront bike mount
OS 1:250k base mapping (installed on device)
USB cable for data transfer and charging
Wall charger
Documentation including: Quick Guide and Warranty
3-year OS Maps subscription (to redeem)
6-month SeeMe subscription (to redeem)
6 x OS 1:25k map tiles (to redeem)

Adding maps
All OS GPS have OS 1:250k scale mapping included

Your OS Veo GPS includes six free map tiles, each of which covers 625km² (25km x 25km) - you can access these as soon as you register your new device. You can also purchase additional map tiles as required.

OS Explorer (1: 25 000 scale): £5.00 each
OS Landranger (1: 50 000 scale): £1.00 each

Tiles with large amounts of sea are discounted.

On that basis, mapping is so restrictive - 6 x OS 1:25k map tiles for detailed routing will get me nowhere and 1:250k is not that usable. This device will rapidly get expensive if you regularly need mapping for a wider area.

There does not appear to be any means of uploading other maps (OSM?) so the device becomes totally redundant for riding in France, or wherever else.

crazy-legs | 6 years ago

Can't wait to see a proper review of these. Ordnance Survey mapping is the best in the world, if this actually has some decent navigation and route planning software it could blow Garmin out of the water.

My major bugbear with GPS bike computers is how much they've focussed on performance rather than route finding, mapping and navigation. Knowing that I'm putting out 400W is useless if I have to stop and read a paper map or get the phone out to find out where I'm actually going because the bloody Garmin has crashed again while trying to negotiate a junction.

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