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Vodafone Curve bike light & GPS tracker



Great hardware hampered by unpredictable signal and an app that needs work
Innovative design
Impressive build
Reaction times too long
App needs improvement

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Vodafone Curve bike light & GPS tracker has the potential to be an impressive piece of hardware, but is let down by a lack of predictability and an app that needs improvement.

The idea of a GPS tracker for bikes isn't new, but it still hasn't really caught on. There are a number of reasons for this, mainly because there are some significant design challenges, chief among them the need for it to be both easy and difficult to access; you don't want a thief to be able to just take it off, but you do need to be able to get to it easily enough to charge it.

To get around this Vodafone has come up with an interesting solution. The GPS unit sits around the seatpost and is securely bolted in place; then, a light element connects to the unit by clicking into place and turning.

This in itself is an interesting approach as it secures the GPS tracker in a subtle enough way that most bike thieves wouldn't recognise it.

2021 Vodafone Curve Bike light & GPS tracker - base unit with cover.jpg

But the GPS unit also draws power from the light if the tracker is below 40%; this means you can remove the light and charge it away from the bike, then use it to charge the GPS tracker when it is connected.

2021 Vodafone Curve Bike light & GPS tracker - base unit on bike.jpg

The GPS unit can also be charged directly with a USB-C charger, so if you have access to a power outlet, both elements can be charged separately.

2021 Vodafone Curve Bike light & GPS tracker - unit split.jpg

This is the best approach I have seen for powering the GPS unit, and it also allows the light to control some of the GPS functionality without needing to use the app.

For instance, rotating the light turns on GPS tracking, and if the GPS unit is on 'security mode', putting the light back on turns that mode off. As I will discuss later, not needing to rely on the app is important.

Battery life

The claimed battery life of 4.5 days on standby and 7.5 hours of tracking seems about right and should be good enough for most uses. For my commute of about an hour each way, I needed to fully charge the tracker and light twice per week. With my regular lights I would only need to do this roughly once a week, so given the added GPS functionality this isn't too much of a price to pay.

The only downside is that there were a few times where I found I had plugged in the light to the GPS unit in the morning, only for the GPS to have drained the light by the end of the ride, so I needed to charge the light again to use it as a light on the way home.


As a light, it is fairly good, with a simple one-button operation to cycle through the three modes – flashing, bright, and dimmed. Its output of 25 lumens – 40 lumens when braking, more on that in a minute – was more than adequate for my needs.

2021 Vodafone Curve Bike light & GPS tracker - side.jpg

Battery life is quite difficult to gauge, as the majority of the time I was using it it was also charging the GPS unit. The claimed battery life is up to 7.5 hours; it would generally last for a couple of days before I needed to charge it again. You get a broad idea of the battery level from an LED at the top of the light that shows green, orange, or red depending on levels.

Brake light and impact detection

The Curve includes a brake light function, which I found – like every single light I have ever used with this 'feature' – doesn't work very effectively. It's fine if you're slowing and stopping gradually, but a lot of braking on a bike is short and sharp, which isn't really conducive to a brake light based on an accelerometer – the reaction time is generally too short for it to be of any real use.

2021 Vodafone Curve Bike light & GPS tracker 2.jpg

Another feature it offers is impact detection, where an SMS is sent to a chosen contact if you don't get back on your bike and start riding again.

App: improvements needed

Although Vodafone has managed to create an impressive piece of hardware, there are elements of the app and tracking that leave a little to be desired.

Top of that list is that its ability to find a GPS signal is unpredictable; the majority of the time when I clicked 'refresh' on the app it wouldn't be able to find the signal. I asked Vodafone about this and was told it was due to weak signal – but if I can't get it to work properly in central London, is anywhere else in the UK going to be better?

Even when you do have signal there can be a significant delay in controlling the GPS unit. For example, turning on the light, playing a sound, or turning security mode on or off took a minimum of 15 seconds. Written down that sounds like very little time, but if you're trying to react to somebody stealing your bike while you're in the office, it feels like a lifetime.

> Inside the mind of a bike thief – learn how to protect your bike

Testing the alarm by setting it off deliberately, I sometimes wouldn't get an alert for 30 seconds, which is more than enough time for a half decent bike thief to get away.

This delay was also a bit irritating when I wanted to unlock my bike and didn't have the light with me, because I needed to wait for the app to turn off the security mode.

Having both an app-based SIM card and Bluetooth connection would solve this issue easily, but SIM-only means that controlling the GPS unit, even when right next to it, takes longer than I would have liked.

> 6 of the best bike locks – stop your bike getting stolen

Using the app is relatively simple, but there are elements that could benefit from more or clearer documentation. For instance, to find out what security mode does I had to turn it on and try it out, because the documentation doesn't tell you (essentially, it arms the device so that if the bike is moved the alarm goes off and you get a notification).

Ride tracker: limited

A better element of the app, which promises more functionality in the future but at the moment is a bit lacking and, again, unpredictable, is the ride tracking.

The idea is that it tracks and records your rides, which you can then see on a map within the app in Ride Insights; anybody who has used Strava, Garmin Connect or basically any GPS bike computer will be familiar with the concept. One of the benefits of those systems is cross compatibility, so I can ride using my Wahoo bike computer, which automatically uploads the ride to my Wahoo app, which I can then send on to Garmin or Strava or wherever I want that data to go. Vodafone has the first bit sorted, and I can clearly see a map of my ride, but I cannot do anything else with this data at the moment. In the modern cycling world this is a major omission.

This functionality also suffers from the unpredictability of the GPS, with some rides recording fine, others partially, and a few not at all. One ride, despite being through central London, had the first 15 minutes missing entirely.

It's clear what Vodafone is aiming for here, but with the lack of predictability combined with the inability to upload the data anywhere else, it just seems a bit pointless at the moment.


The Curve costs an initial £79, but then requires an additional subscription of either £3 a month for 24 months or £4 a month for 12 months, so an extra £36 or £48 per year.

There isn't really anything on the market that we can directly compare it with, but we have tested a couple of GPS trackers before, such as the Eye On My Bike that I looked at in 2016, which cost £69.99 but lacked the battery capacity and is no longer available. Stu also tested the Tail it last year, which costs £83.89 but doesn't have half the capabilities of the Curve.


I have mixed feelings about the Curve. There is no doubt that the hardware has been done really well and genuinely looks to solve some of the biggest issues GPS trackers have faced in the past. The design is good, the charging method is innovative, and it securely attaches to the seatpost for security. However, the software seems almost like an afterthought; it is awkward, unpredictable, and often frustrating to use.

Vodafone has managed to create something that could solve the issues that have plagued GPS trackers ever since I can remember, but it needs to work on the app and fix the usability issues before this can reach its full potential.


Great hardware hampered by unpredictable signal and an app that needs work test report

Make and model: Vodafone Curve bike light & GPS tracker

Size tested: Height 47.99mm Length 121.63mm

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Vodafone says, 'An all-in-one safety cycling device designed to give you confidence as you ride. Easy clipping to your seatpost, it uses smart technology to help you feel safer when out on the roads and connected to your bike when you're not.'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Vodafone lists:

Intelligent rear brake light

Ultrabright LED rear bike light with 3 light modes up to 40 lumens

Impact Detection and Help Alerts to notify loved ones if you have a fall

Security Mode with Siren and Movement Alerts

Bike GPS tracker to check on your bike from a distance

Built-in Vodafone Smart SIM to get alerts to your phone from far away

View Ride Insights as you get more saddle time

Rate the light for quality of construction:

Very well made with a secure attachment to the seatpost.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?

In terms of the light itself on the bike, it was very simple, but the app and the GPS predictability need to be improved.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s

Really impressive – both secure enough that it's not going to be removed easily but accessible enough that it's simple to charge.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?

It is certified IP67, and the rainy days when I used it this summer (most rides) didn't have any adverse impact.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?

This is a difficult one to score as the light itself is half light and half power bank.

Rate the light for performance:

The hardware is fantastic but the app could do with some improvement to make it more effective.

Rate the light for durability:

This is likely to survive a long time and is a challenge to get off the seatpost too, so likely to stay on the bike effectively for as long as it needs to.

Rate the light for weight:
Rate the light for value:

This is another difficult one to judge as we haven't really looked at anything similar to compare it with, and it also requires a subscription. If it can hit the potential that this clearly has as a product then it would be a bargain; as it is, the jury is still out.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The hardware for this solves a lot of the issues that GPS trackers have always faced, chief amongst them the delicate balancing act between charging the tracker and making it hard to remove. However, the app and the unpredictability of the GPS signal mean that it doesn't quite live up to its potential.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The charging element – the fact that you don't have to find a way of getting a charging cable to your bike in order to charge the GPS unit is fantastic.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The unpredictability of the GPS signal on the app; whether I was trying to get the location of the bike or tracking my rides, I didn't know whether it would work or not.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

There isn't really anything on the market that we can directly compare it with; we have tested a couple of GPS trackers before, such as the Eye On My Bike that I looked at in 2016, which cost £69.99 but lacked the battery capacity, and is no longer available by the looks of it, and Stu tested the Tail it last year, which came in at around £84, but doesn't have half the capabilities of the Curve.

Did you enjoy using the light? The hardware, yes, the software, less so.

Would you consider buying the light? Once the software has been redone.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Once the software has been redone.

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is a really strong piece of hardware that solves many of the issues that have stopped GPS trackers from becoming more popular, such as using the removable light as a way to charge the immovable GPS unit. However, the unpredictable signal and an app that is missing key features and documentation mean there is still work to do on the software front before it can hit the heights the hardware promises.

Overall rating: 4/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George is the host of the podcast and has been writing for since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between. 

Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.

Add new comment


Velo-drone | 2 years ago

I've used a standard Vodafone Curve tracker for a while - which was £20 plus the subscription, so a lot cheaper.  

A bit of strong velcro under the saddle works fine for attaching it - and I can guarantee you that most bike thieves are not currently checking around for a GPS tracker, they just want to grab the bike and make off asap.

The velcro attachment means I can switch it between bikes easily, and the charge lasts about a week so charging it up isn't exactly a chore.  

I like having it, but you have to understand that it's not much more than a pointer.  The GPS location will give you a general area, but does not have the ability to pinpoint an exact location - even down to one house or another.

Having attached it to my regularly purloined milk delivery, I can also tell you that the police can not use location to obtain a search warrant for precisely this reason.  On the other hand, I do know roughly the route my Nutella took after leaving my doorstep, and roughly where it ended up so that's something! 

Jetmans Dad | 2 years ago
1 like

Top of that list is that its ability to find a GPS signal is unpredictable; the majority of the time when I clicked 'refresh' on the app it wouldn't be able to find the signal. I asked Vodafone about this and was told it was due to weak signal – but if I can't get it to work properly in central London, is anywhere else in the UK going to be better?

This is to misunderstand how GPS works. As others have said, there is no reason whatsoever that London should have a better GPS signal than anywhere else since the signal is satellite based and covers the entire country in exactly the same way. The fact that London is a big city, and the capital is utterly irrelevant ...

... except for the fact that GPS signals struggle way more in a big city environment where you are surrounded by large buildings that block the satellite signal than in the open countryside. 

The only place I have ever had issues with my Edge 520+ getting and keeping a good GPS lock is when attempting to find my way from Grosvenor Hill Car Park to the Olympic Park for the start of RideLondon ... it really doesn't like being in amongst all those offices and car parks. 

Short answer ... if you are solely talking about a GPS signal then, yes, lots of places in the UK are likely to be better. 

HoarseMann | 2 years ago
1 like

A lot of the latency is inherent in the mobile network and GPS aquisition (even a 'hot' GPS boot can take tens of seconds). In order to keep the battery as small as possible, the device will power down whenever possible.

There will be a big difference between the latency when the device is armed and detects movement (it will immediately wake up and connect) and when requesting a location ad-hoc via the app when it's not moving (it will have to wait until the device does a periodic wake up and checks in with the network).

Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like

Top of that list is that its ability to find a GPS signal is unpredictable; the majority of the time when I clicked 'refresh' on the app it wouldn't be able to find the signal. I asked Vodafone about this and was told it was due to weak signal – but if I can't get it to work properly in central London, is anywhere else in the UK going to be better?

Short answer, yes.

I assume you are referring throughout to the GPS signal, rather than the Vodafone signal. However the sense of the paragraph seems to be that in London, of all places, the "signal" ought to be stronger, which might suggest you are confusing the GPS with the Vodafone signal.

The GPS signal comes from the sky, not the cell-tower, it's not going to be any stronger in Central London than in Cornwall or the Lake District. If anything, the GPS signal in London will be compromised by tall buildings and "urban canyons".

Edit - or are you saying that the device to app integration is only via the mobile phone signal, hence any drop in the mobile phone signal compromises the whole set-up?

PS - See.sense have a similar product in the works, with a far lower annual subscription as well.

mdavidford replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago

If this is a security tracker device, presumably it's not talking directly to the phone (that wouldn't be a lot of use when someone's nicked your bike and is no longer in range) but has to report its location to a service, presumably over cellular network. The phone then has to retrieve the location, also over the network. So it's possible that the problem is not that the GPS unit isn't finding a location, but that the phone can't then retrieve that location because of a weak phone signal?

Sriracha replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago

Yeah, I came to that idea after writing my post, hence the edit at the end. The article could be clearer when it talks about "signal" three times in the same paragraph.

The see.sense air looks like it might be a better bet, they are saying 3p/day subs (and first year included for kickstarters), and a 3-month battery life (but their lights don't fulfill their autonomy claims, so who knows?)

hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
Sriracha wrote:

PS - See.sense have a similar product in the works, with a far lower annual subscription as well.

Still waiting on the See.Sense KickStarter - delivery is estimated for early next year.

HoarseMann replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like

It's worth pointing out that it can locate itself by celluar (rough location from cell tower), wifi (database of wifi access point locations) and finally GPS. The wifi location can be quite accurate and useful in a city where GPS might not work as well.

It also has bluetooth - so ought to have less latency of an alarm notification if you are within bluetooth range.

Edit: bluetooth appears to only be used to arm/disarm the device based on proximity and to reduce the latency of the control panel in the app.

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