GPS computers have become incredibly intelligent in recent years. You can now carry out a whole host of activities in one go: ride the bike, check your emails, measure your gigantic wattage and see how you’re doing on the Strava leaderboard. All this is possible from your handlebars, provided your multitasking capacity is superhuman.
If you prefer to keep your metrics simple – speed, distance, elevation, calories – and don’t want a cycling computer the size of a tablet that takes a degree in IT to get your head around, then the Lezyne GPS mini might be for you.
Measuring less than 6cm by 4cm, the GPS Mini is one of the smallest options on the market, and it weighs less than 30g. It’ll set you back £109.99 and comes with access to the free Lezyne Root ride reading software - which for those well versed in the market leaders is a lot like Garmin Connect.
Before we go on, we should be clear that the computer doesn’t have ANT+ or Bluetooth capabilities. To measure cadence, heart rate or power, you’ll need to step up to the Lezyne Power (£139.99) or Super GPS (£159.99). This is very much a computer that’s all about completing the simple task of informing you about your ride – it doesn’t give you the sort of athlete feedback more sophisticated units do.
Like a great many cyclists, I’ve got an aversion to reading instructions. If I can work out how something operates with minimal input from the slip inside the packaging, we’re doing well.
Attaching the unit to my bike required no references to the guide – the unit comes with an X-Lock standard mount, and a selection of elastic bands which fix it to your handlebars. There are various sizes included to suit different handlebar and stem widths, and you can upgrade and buy a forward facing arm extension if you want your stats right in front of you.
The X-Lock is a selling point in itself. To get the unit to click in, you need to press down quite hard, before twisting in to the lock position. This means that the mount is a little bigger than the closest competitor (the Garmin 20), but the design was created to make the computer much less likely to pop out in the event that you and the bike fail to stay upright at any point.
The Mini has three buttons – one that turns it on and off, which doubles up as an ‘enter’ or ‘select’ when in use, plus two arrow buttons for scrolling in the settings. These also function as ‘Menu’ and ‘Go/Pause’ when you press and hold them or use them during a ride.
Getting the unit going was easy to figure out without referring to the manual, and I only needed to delve into the instructions when it came time to set up my screen preferences. You can choose between one and four fields for your display, and even if you go for four, you can press ‘menu’ mid-ride to scroll between all other available data if you feel like you’re missing a piece of the puzzle whilst in full flow.
Your unit can be personalised with your age, weight and gender to help determine calorie burning and you can also add a backlight and set up ‘alerts’ when you reach a certain ride distance, time or calorie burn (STOP – you need the cake NOW!).
I really like that you can see, graded out of four, the strength of your GPS signal and how much battery you have left in percentage form. This came particularly in handy when I rode out with 15 per cent left - but I was pleased to find I still had 4 per cent after a 90 minute excursion (total battery life is 10 hours). I will add that though I like having both these extra bits of info on screen, I could only really see them when moving slowly, as the numbers are quite small (admittedly I am a bit short sighted and tend to ride without my contacts in!)
All in all, the unit displays the key metrics in an easy to read format and works pretty instinctively.
Uploading a ride
Charging and uploading all happens via USB, and Lezyne have included a small rubber flap that sits securely under two plastic grooves to make sure that the port is always covered when not in use (one of the key reasons for bike computer fails is water damage via USB port).
With the unit connected, it will appear ready for you to access in your computer library. At this point – there are a few options. If you just want to load the ride to Strava, or indeed any other ride keeping software, you can find the .fit file in ‘Activities’ and simply upload. I found this a pretty simple process.
However, when venturing into GPS units, Lezyne were adamant they wanted to create intuitive software that works with their systems so that people could view and analyse rides with them. So, they created Lezyne Root.
Free to sign up to, the software displays a calendar with all your rides, the key metrics, as well as your route on a map and charts to show your speed and elevation throughout (pretty erratic in this example due to the nature of the ride!)
The software is pretty technophobe friendly, and has some more zooty features for those using the Power and Super GPS’ who are also measuring power and heart rate.
I did find that elevation differed by 100 feet compared to the figure when uploaded to Strava - and riding this route on a regular basis I know it's also usually a tad higher on Garmin Connect as well. However, nearly all units see this sort of slight differentiation and 100 feet is a pretty minor outage.
For someone who wants an easy to use cycling computer that doesn't cost the earth and records basic information, the Lezyne Mini GPS could well be the answer.
Before buying, however, it is worth doing some comparison shopping. The nearest competitor in this case is the Garmin 20. It does also have an RRP of £109.99, but there are quite a few reductions available at some of the major retailers. The Garmin version also has the added function of displaying mapping instructions for routes created via Garmin Connect. However, it doesn't have quite the same stunning aluminium machined body. The choice is yours...
Confused about what you want? Aren't we all. Check out our cycling computer buying guide for some pointers.