Disastrous at cycling navigation
I thought I’d share my feedback after using the Suunto 9 Baro during a long cycling route using the route navigation:
Preparing the route was rather easy using the phone app. I can’t judge if the route suggested was the best for cycling, but in comparison to Google Maps, it was definitely better, not taking me trough gravel paths. +1
Although instead of following the “normal” road, it often cut across the center of towns, going through not as good road, pedestrian crossings and very steep hills. -1
During the navigation, the watch has 3 type of navigation helps: the map, the elevation chart and the notifications. The elevation chart is quite useful and I liked it, particularly the fact that it shows the elevation gain left. +1
The map it has 2 problems in my view.
First of all, the map doesn’t zoom in and out according to the speed and even if paying full attention, I often missed the exist while going above 30km/h. It just doesn’t show the next exit until the very last moment. -1
The second problem is that it only shows the path to follow, but it doesn’t show the other paths at all, so even if it shows the direction, it is very hard to understand which exist to take in a junction. This is really bad for a navigation app! -1
The navigation notification feature is a mess. A big one!
The first notifications appear well in advance, which is good as a hint to be prepared. +1 but when getting closer to the turn, they appear too late, already at the turn (maybe this is related to the speed problem mentioned earlier for the map). -1 this is very annoying, because in my case, I kept paying attention at the map to follow the path and suddenly the map disappears with a notification that is not helpful at that time. -1
Furthermore, when I’m still in a junction, trying to figure out which exist to take between the too late notification and the disappeared map which doesn’t show all the paths, another notification pops up, to inform about the following jonction in several km! This notification is obviously far too early! -1
The notification interface is really bad. It shows pretty big the distance to the next turn, but the text indicating which exist to take is far too small and I was generally unable to read it. What about putting a big icon instead? -1
Another issue I had was with WhatsApp notifications. While I was riding, I received several messages which popped up, hiding the map. I had to stop and to wait until the notifications disappear to read the map to choose the direction. Maybe notifications should be disabled while navigating or to just blink, I don’t know. -1
There is no option to navigate backwards. Let me explain this:
I created a route from A to B. When I arrived in B, I wanted to return from B to A, but the watch doesn’t recalculate the route, but it follows exactly the same route which is obviously not possible because it would mean going in the wrong lane. -1
The navigation detects that you are on the “right” path, but the indications are based on the opposite direction. Turn right means turn left and first exit means third exit!!! Seriously!?! -1
I really think that the navigation for cycling is a disaster on this watch. I also think that it could be improved significantly with minor changes: notification timings, notification screen and navigation screen to show other paths. I just hope you listen to this honest feedback and that you verify it by yourself to improve this watch.
@Jon-Murua just so you know, this is a (mostly) user forum. It might be more helpful if would send the same message to suunto support.
I don’t bike, but hike a lot. I can confirm some of your struggles definitely translate to hiking as well. Hope suunto improves it one day.
@Jon-Murua I am not a heavy biker, but lots of what you complain about, has already been discussed here (e.g. the timing or the hardly readable information on the turn). I also think, that this issues should be addressed, but Suunto hasn’t yet provided updates. Actually nobody here knows why (or is allowed to talk about it). I think it would be great to have some kind of list, where one could see, what Suunto is going to work on / update / fix ( not talking about new features). I’ve seen this on other developers support forums.
edit: I use my S9B for cycling and mtb, too. but I might not be as demanding as other cyclists. depending on your needs you maybe want to look for a nice dedicated cycling computer to complete your experience with Suunto?
@Jon-Murua perfect summary. I just would like to add missing possibility to zoom elevation profile. I understand it suunto watch is not bike computer, but I’m still fighting with it on my bike rides and I’m closer and closer to switch to g*****…
@dombo FYI, not all Garmin bike computers can zoom the elevation profile, I do not know for the watches. So, take this into consideration if you switch brands.
I do not know when and what the next firmware update will bring but I read some time ago in this very forum that bikers will be happy with next update.
First thing for a better navigation on Suunto watch, you had to do:
Turn off all navigation notifications (turn-by-turn)!
@freeheeler yes, a dedicated bike computer maybe the best thing. Wasn’t there a cooperation with Hammerhead, whichs devices could also use Routes created on Suunto and show Suuntos Heatmaps?
@ChrisA yes, there is cooperation between Suunto and Hammerhead.
@cosme-costa you are correct that they can’t zoom the elevation profile, but all their bike comps and most of the watches have a feature called climbpro - when running a route/course it effectively does zoom into that climb/descent and does show the section just related to that climb/descent with detail on where you are, how far left to go and with cycling it will even colour grade the slope. So effectively yes it does zoom in. You can of course also have a screen which shows elevation plot too. You can also have other dedicated auto-climb screen which you can auto switch to (if climbpro not active).
@isazi yes, I just looked it up again - I am just a recreational biker, so I have no real need for a 400.- € bike computer, but it seems to be a very nice device, and if would bike more, I would strongly consider it.
@ChrisA I am also a recreational biker (although I can commute for a few thousand kilometers each year with the bike) so I am totally fine with my S9P and the Suunto bike mount (I bought one for each bike I have). I used to have a Garmin Edge 520 but gave it away cause I did not need it.
It would be great to have a “Mute notification while in activity” option.
@Kowalski I am reporting this to Suunto in every survey.
I personally don’t use the watch for navigation, but it “astonishes” me a bit, that since Suunto has been speaking a bit of gravel on their surveys and have some pretty good ambassadors on bikes that they don’t “correct” those behaviours.
Maybe not their priority for now, or to engage salles on hammerhead.
Or maybe some news on firmware updates
@Kowalski that would be helpful. But wouldn’t enabling dnd solve it?
@Łukasz-Szmigiel Then you discover you forgot to enable dnd and you receice 52 WhatsApp notifications at the end of the lap and you miss the interesting data
@isazi Thanks !