Topeak’s free PanoBike app turns your iPhone 4S/5 into a GPS bike computer. What sets it apart from similar software is the range of optional accessories.
These include a heart rate strap, a chainstay-mounted speed and cadence sensor and a protective RideCase. This has a waterproof silicone cover that allows touchscreen and camera operation, and clips onto a hinged arm that can be bolted to your stem in place of the top cap or attached via a standard bar/stem band.
Using PanoBike is as simple as starting the app, inputting some personal info, hitting start and riding off. The iPhone’s accelerometers and GPS trace your route and measure your current gradient, altitude and speed. The two main screens show up to nine displays, and there’s a camera shortcut so you don’t miss any photo opportunities.
The system connects via Bluetooth and the optional cadence/speed sensor can record ride info without the phone present, synchronising with it later. You can share ride details on Facebook, and the app links to your phone contacts and music library.
We found that a three-hour ride uses about a quarter of the battery life, although it depends on how many functions you’re using. Saved data includes a ride overview, graphs, maps and photos. If you’re already an iPhone user, PanoBike is a good alternative to a pricy standalone GPS unit.
Topeak RideCase for iPhone