BMW ConnectedRide Cradle and Connected App Review

BMW ConnectedRide Cradle and Connected App Review: Price

Owners of late model BMWs have several choices for information and entertainment management on their bikes. More often than not, a BMW will be equipped with the optional yet ubiquitous navigation preparation (nav prep). That’s the centrally mounted attachment point dedicated to holding the BMW Motorrad Navigator V and VI—and now the BMW ConnectedRide Cradle.

I am seeing a trend away from dedicated GPS units and toward mounting smartphones and using them for all the functions of a dedicated GPS, and more. I certainly like the idea, as well as saving almost $1000 on the Garmin-built Navigator VI.

Anyone can find a phone mount for just about any phone and motorcycle dashboard or handlebar combination and place a phone within eyesight and reach—that’s your budget-conscious GPS. Making a connection for power from 12 volts to USB is often not hard; for day rides, one might skip charging and rely on the phone’s battery or a powered case. Many newer bikes have a powered USB port as standard equipment.

While a smartphone mounted to your handlebar is the simplest solution, more functionality is available if the phone is integrated with the motorcycle. Enter the BMW ConnectedRide Cradle and the free Connected app for iOS and Android. Install the app, pair it with your BMW through the Connectivity Hub, and you’re ready to rock.

The $259 BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide Cradle attaches to the nav prep holder exactly as the GPS does. Unlock the nav prep, insert the Cradle, and lock it in. With a single thumbscrew that loosens the two support brackets, a smartphone is installed in no time.

The ConnectedRide Cradle does only a few things; however, they are important things. It supports the phone, has wireless inductive charging, a USB-C outlet, and integrates the phone with BMW’s fabulous Multi-Controller handlebar dial—often referred to as the Wonder Wheel—for operation without having to touch the phone. I have a thin case on my iPhone 11, and it fits and charges brilliantly.

I note two concerns. Occasionally, after initial pairing, the Cradle and the bike don’t pair upon startup. I generally restart the Ultimate Motorcycling BMW R 1250 RS project bike, which solves the glitch. It does not happen often enough to annoy me, as Bluetooth technology still has its moments.

The other concern is heat. After riding on a blazing summer day, I removed my phone from the Cradle, and it was extremely hot. Not “thermal event” hot, but almost too hot to touch. I don’t want to expose my phone to this kind of baking too often, so in the pocket it goes.

Lastly, users must have location services always on. The BMW Connected app will not function if “while using app” is selected. I get a reminder three days after a ride that the app is still tracking me, which I don’t like. So, I have to manually change the setting to prevent unnecessary tracking. Perhaps the next software revision can solve this.

There’s a lot of goodness in the BMW Connected app, as one can set a destination and follow along on the map. Because the app is paired with the motorcycle, you will see turn and other instructions on the dash. If you’ve paired it to your helmet intercom, you’ll hear the voiced instructions.

A route can be set by searching for a destination and clicking GO to create a route. GPX files may be imported; on my iPhone, I fetch them from iCloud, where I save them after creation on my desktop.

Here’s a GPX tip. Garmin users often utilize the Basecamp program to plot a route and export a GPX file. However, Basecamp is not an easy product to use. I create my route in Google Maps using the Chrome browser with the free GMaps2GPX extension installed. Once I plan my route, there is a download GPX icon that I save the file to iCloud.

Google Maps may not be as granular as Basecamp, but it has all I need. I have done this with three long route maps; they imported and worked perfectly.

Controls are available on the map to set the usual options—fast route, winding, avoid tolls, avoid ferries, and others—plus the arrival time and time to arrival are displayed. The app also tells you the weather, and when the motorcycle’s next service is due.

The BMW Connected app records any ride you choose, and offers data such as start time and date, distance, riding time, average speed, minimum and maximum temperatures, minimum and maximum altitudes, and lots of maximums—rpm, lean angles, acceleration, and deceleration. The app graphs the ride in a playable moving graphic, showing where you were in real-time on a map with accel, decel, lean angle, speed, and more at each moment. This is one of the best free apps I’ve ever seen.

I have the ConnectedRide Cradle and BMW Navigator, and I run the Navigator on the hottest days to protect my iPhone. However, on other days and after dark, I prefer how the Cradle and Connected app presents the map and additional information, as well as being more integrated with my phone, contact list with addresses, and more. The ride recorder is fabulous for certain rides. Swapping units is a 30-second procedure.

I’ve run the BMW ConnectedRide Cradle and BMW Connected app for most of this summer. I like the functionality very much, and the app is awesome. Together they are an unbeatable combination for the price and what’s delivered during use—highly recommended for BMW riders.

BMW ConnectedRide Cradle and Connected App Review Photo Gallery