On the heels of its LINK heart rate wristband launched earlier this year, Mio today launched the VELO wristband for cyclists. The VELO monitors heart rate with LEDs on the arm, and can convert speed and cadence data from ANT+ sensors to Bluetooth Smart, which is how the VELO communicates with smartphones. This allows riders with a smartphone to use it as a bike computer.
Riders can use Mio’s GO app, or other apps like Strava.
“Mio VELO is a great option for cyclists who want to monitor heart rate and cycling data, but aren’t willing to invest in a pricey bike computer,” Mio spokesman Duane Franks said in a press release.
The US$129 VELO is part of new waves of heart-rate monitors that don’t require the traditional chest strap, but instead measure heart rate with LEDs on the underside of the silicone strap. Lazer’s Genesis LifeBEAM helmet, for instance, measures heart rate with LEDs at the forehead.
Instead of capturing the electrical signal like a chest strap, the VELO’s optical sensor monitors blood volume and uses algorithms to convert that to a heart rate.
Communicating on Bluetooth Smart is also a relatively new trend for cycling products. A few companies have heart-rate monitors with the traditional strap but BT compatibility, such as Wahoo or Biologic. (We’d recommend Wahoo, based on our testing.) Wahoo’s latest Tickr chest strap can broadcast on both ANT+ and Bluetooth. Stages showed some progressive thinking when it debuted its power meter two years ago with BT as well as ANT+.
Perhaps most similar to VELO, the Viiiiva heart-rate monitor connects ANT+ devices like power meters and speed sensors with Bluetooth-compatible smartphones.
The Mio VELO can be used without ANT+ sensors, of course. It has configurable heart rate zones and a color-coded LEDs to indicate current heart rate zone.
Read our review on the Mio LINK here.