on its mission to make cycling safer and more enjoyable, UK-based bike navigation company beeline teamed up with pentagram to design a new companion app for cyclists. called ‘velo 2’, the simple, 4-button device allows you to navigate and track your route without having to dismount and check your phone. connected to the beeline app via bluetooth, it also does all the things you would expect from a bike computer, like recording speed, distance and time and is designed to look the part on any bike.
pentagram collaborated with beeline founders tom putnam and mark jenner and head of design sam lucas on the industrial design of beeline’s next-generation velo 2 device. the device partners with an updated beeline app and a new machine-learning algorithm. the algorithm is fuelled by road ratings from cyclists to help find the best cycling routes, optimizing for quieter roads with less traffic and pollution. the new routing algorithm means that for the first time, riders are able to contribute road ratings in real-time while cycling.
this required dedicated plus and minus rating buttons on the device and was the primary driver of initial industrial design development. after exploring multiple button options and form factors the industrial design team opted for an upside-down architecture where the whole device functions as a four-way button with the button actuators in the base component. this allowed for a much larger area for the device UI on the top of the device, easy operation without distracting from the road even with gloves on.
the outward simplicity of the beeline velo 2 was only possible through intensive technical development, prototyping and UI exploration between the beeline and pentagram teams. the new architecture of the device allowed a smaller form factor, screw-less assembly, full waterproofing and simpler twist lock mounting system as well as lower costs, which will make the device accessible to more people.
name: beeline velo 2
design: beeline and pentagram
edited by: lynne myers | designboom