THE BipBip+ is a tiny solar-powered vario weighing just 25g. It came out in 2017 to replace the BipBip, and new features include a near-lift buzzer, a flashing light to indicate lift (with the sound off) and a louder maximum volume.
The solar panel charges in sunlight even when the vario is switched off. A full charge takes 10 hours, and Stodeus say it will run for 100 hours from fully charged without seeing the sun, though unless you fly with it in your pocket it will be topping up every time you use it.
There are now four volume levels, but I found the quietest too quiet. You can switch the sound off altogether and rely on the green flashing light to indicate lift. This could be useful for paramotorists, or for practising flying without vario sound. You can also alter the sensitivity of the near-lift buzzer and sink alarm, or switch them off.
One button does everything. This could make the BipBip+ hard to operate, but the manual is very clear and if you do get in a muddle (you can get lost cycling through the seven sink alarm levels), you can press and hold the button for 20 seconds to restore the factory settings: loud beep, no sink alarm, no weak lift buzzer, +20cm/s sensitivity.
The BipBip+ is small, simple and reliable. I love it for hike-and-fly and also winter soaring where its functions are more than enough. I appreciated the louder beep, and the near-lift buzzer is handy. If you need more features, the GBSBip has a GPS logger and speaks the altitude and speed to you (in several languages) when you tap it. Antoine Boisselier used one to vol-bivouac across the Alps last year.
Stodeus are a small company based in the French Alps. Their products are designed and made in France, come with two-year warranties and you can buy spares. The BipBip+ costs €90 with free worldwide shipping.
To stay up to date and read our reviews first, subscribe to Cross Country
Never miss an issue
Our subscribers receive 10 issues a year, the annual Travel Guide and exclusive access to competitions and offersSubscribe today