We all have a phone in our pocket when we go for a ride. And Calimoto turns that phone into an all-singing, all-dancing satnav with the simple installation of an app. It really is an impressive piece of kit.
Calimoto is an app you can download for free, but to have access to full maps (rather than just your immediate surroundings) and full functionality, you can pay £42.99/year. For the money, you really get a very robust navigation device. Paying for a navigation app might sound unappealing when you have free ones, such as Google Maps, available. But Calimoto offers a far superior tool for bikers to plan routes, select the types of riding they fancy, add points of interest, or simply choose from a vast amount of routes that others have uploaded.
It’s very easy to use the app to get from A to B by the most direct route, but ‘No more straight roads’ is Calimoto’s slogan, and the app really lets you play with just how twisty you want the roads you ride to be. My 40 minute ride down the A1 was turned into a one hour 16 minute ride on smaller roads with the winding option selected. It’s also very easy to add a stop at a petrol station to your route, or make it go via a place of interest, bike dealer, campsite, bike meet, etc. There are literally hundreds of interesting diversions you can add to your route with just a quick tap on the map.
Navigation with Calimoto is simple. You get the map and graphics of your next turn and distance shown on the screen very clearly, so you just need a phone mount to place your phone somewhere where it’s easy to see. Even if that’s a problem, there are audio instructions, so with a headset you’ll be able to listen to the instructions.
The app also has a number of routes for you to choose from. You can choose something listed under ‘Near my location’ if you want to explore some new roads around you, or you can dip into the ‘Worldwide rides’ if you fancy going further away or just getting some inspiration for your next trip.
Quite cleverly, the buttons on the screen turn much bigger when you are navigating, so it’s easy to poke at them with a gloved hand (although you need to make sure that your gloves work with the phone screen).
Naturally, since it’s an app on your phone, Calimoto doesn’t offer stuff like connecting to your phone for calls and music like old-school satnavs like Garmin or Tomtom — your phone is already there. Another consideration with a phone app is the battery life: you will use your phone’s battery quicker when you run the satnav on its screen, so you’ll need to be able to charge the phone on longer rides, but on the other hand you don’t have to worry about keeping a separate navigation device charged. For a more battery-friendly option, you might want to look at something like the Beeline Moto satnav.
Calimoto is a great tool for finding, riding and sharing interesting roads near and far. If you just want to get from one place to the next as fast as you can, you will be fine with something like Google Maps, but to really have fun on a motorcycle, and to enjoy roads that are more exciting, you will benefit from Calimoto.