Because Google Maps often lags a lot and sometimes just hangs completely or crashes, I've been trying to get away from it (and over-reliance on Google isn't good anyway). But finding a good alternative is surprisingly hard.

I'm looking for an app that can tell me where to go with my bike, it's basically as simple as that. So what it needs is voice navigation (because I can't hold my phone the entire time), route planning for bikes (so it shouldn't tell me to use highways) and actually run properly (which isn't guaranteed apparently).

The main contestants that I've tried so far:

  • OsmAnd: This would be good if it actually gave correct instructions. But for some reason, they are often either plain wrong (like "make a U-turn, then make a U-turn") or much too late or too early, meaning I never know which of the intersections I should actually turn at without looking at the screen.
  • Here we go: Seems to have no voice navigation, even though others say it does. I found no evidence of this in the app.
  • Waze: This is what I currently use, but it's made for cars. It often tells me to use the left or right lane, which I could ignore, but it might also one day try to lead me on a highway. It's also yet another Google product.

I also tried a lot of other apps, but I was able to quickly filter them out, because they either didn't have voice navigation or no navigation at all (for example some are only for recording routes, not planning them), some crash on start or simply close themselves when the screen is turned off (not killed by Android) and so on.

I'm using Android 8.1 and live in Germany.

  • I use OsmAnd for that – but together with a simple "dock" to have my smartphone visible in front of me (you can get those for under EUR 10 and strap them to your bike's handle bars). I once tried by voice alone and agree: doesn't really work ("turn slightly right" when there's nothing to turn slightly is irritating). The voice is useful for telling me when some action might be needed, and I should take a look. But route calculation is good, and I don't know a good alternative. Something to try in my list here maybe.
    – Izzy
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 19:49
  • Notable entries on that and linked websites: "Naviki" only gives instructions with in-app purchase, so I can't even test it before paying. "Bike citizens" requires paying for maps or letting it track me for 25km before I can even use a single map, very suspicious. "Komoot" could be nice, but it exits itself randomly and the TTS is barely understandable. Also: How many damn training apps do people need?!? I'll now go through the Google play store recoomendations on Komoot and will probably contact their support about the problems. Bike navis that don't suck seem to be surprisingly hard to find. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 14:01
  • 1
    Actually, I had totally missed that I had "Locus map" bookmarked. That looks promising so far. I'll test it on my next bike trip. Depending on how the food delivery works that I am currently trying, that might be anywhere between tomorrow and in many weeks. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 14:34
  • Locus is quite good, I've used it for years. Unfortunately, it requires a Google account (at least the pro version does, which I had bought) – so I had to abandon it when I went Google-free.
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


Since I've asked this question, I have tested lots more map apps. The most promising so far:

  • Waze: My opinion about that hasn't changed much, I just used it as a backup solution for a long time, until I found others that actually worked.
  • Locus map: The TTS is extremely hard to understand, the UI is confusing and it cannot deal at all with me taking a wrong turn. It never calculates a new route, unless I stop, take out my phone, re-enter the target address and let it search newly, then put the phone back and start driving again. Instead of calculating a new route, it says the confusing message "track lies <x> meters at 6 o'clock" and it took me a long time to figure out that it's not talking about rails. And it's not even telling me the direction to the nearest point of the route, only the one where I left. So, in summary, a pretty bad navigation app, but at least it technically fulfils the requirements.
  • Mapy.cz: Surprisingly, this app is not only for Czechia, it only originates from there. It's actually pretty good and as easy to use as Google Maps, but not as laggy and buggy. Turns are announced enough ahead of time and also shortly before, with good timing. It never stays completely quiet for long enough that I think that something went wrong. The announcements are pre-recorded and therefore understandable and on time. It offers multiple routes at the beginning and auto-chooses a new one once I deviate enough from it. And it has a bunch of other niceties like that.
    The main issue overall is that it often says things like "turn left, then turn right" whenever there's a tiny unevenness in the road layout. I think if I use it for long enough, I can learn when to ignore those and when to actually listen to it, but it's a gamble and takes a lot of concentration and manual route guesses. The other main issue when you don't create an account is that it doesn't remember past searches/targets. So, in summary, I could live with this, but will keep searching for better apps.
  • Magic Earth navigation: Very nice UI and voice, but sadly has the same issue as Mapy.cz to a more extreme degree. It gives almost as many wrong or inaccurate instructions as correct ones. That makes it not reliably usable for audio-only navigation. I would have probably used this app if Mapy.cz didn't exist and I did take a lot of tests to decide not to use it, but I'm still interested to hear about alternatives to both.
  • I've tested "Windy maps" a couple of times now. It seems to have the same issue as "Mapy.cz", but additionally also sometimes tells me to turn into completely impossible and unproductive directions and sometimes gives instructions way too late so that I can't react anymore. Too bad, the visual part of the UI seemed pretty good. Since I checked all other navigation apps that I was able to find already, this only leaves one that seems promising so far, but requires further testing: "Magic Earth". I'll comment again once I've tested that thoroughly, which is probably next week. Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 18:15
  • Those weird instructions by Mapy.cz seem to be for entering a bike lane and similar small actions. But that assumes that I'm exactly on the lane that the app things I'm on, which I'm often not and GPS isn't precise enough for that. Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 19:47

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