Subscribe

Receive notifications of new posts by email.

free counters
MountGuys
Most products mentioned on this site as well as those sold by us in the past are available on Amazon.



Amazon's Most Popular Phone Mounts      Amazon's Most Popular GPS Mounts

What Happened to the MountGuys Site?

Our site looks a lot different, doesn’t it?  After spending 70 hours a week on running our online business, we realized we needed to change things.  Working these long hours once in a while is ok, but after doing it steadily for over ten years, it began to affect our health and quality of life.  We decided to shift our focus.  We have retained a subset of our business to serve our prior customers and continue to offer our most popular products on Amazon.  Mounts we have sold in the past can be purchased on Amazon and may be accessed here or you may use the banner at the top of the page.

For several years, we had a blog attached to our site that many of you found useful.  We added articles as time allowed.  We decided to expand our blog and write with far more frequency.  We will continue to explain how to mount new stuff and use what you already have in ways you may not have thought about before.

Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT Motorcycle and Car Mounts

In what has become a niche market for larger GPS units, the Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT is Garmin’s 2015 entry in the 7″ screen market.  The 7-inch pinch-to-zoom display operates similarly to what you would find on any smartphone.  This GPS includes a lot of premium features including lifetime traffic, bluetooth and voice recognition.  The GPS also integrates with Foursquare for restaurants and entertainment although you will likely use your smartphone for this purpose instead of the Nuvi.

We’ll review mounting options in a bit.  Like other Garmin traffic enabled GPS devices, guard the cable with your life.  Your traffic subscription is tied to the actual cable.  If you lose your cable, you will need to replace with a very expensive (about $60) traffic charger.  A plain car charger will not provide you with traffic, you need to buy the HD traffic cable with traffic incorporated into it.

Now for the mounts.  The Nuvi 2789LMT is similar to the hundreds of other Nuvi models before it using a ball and socket design.  This cradle fits over a 17mm ball which is part of the mount.  The 2789LMT shares the magnetic cradle with prior 7″ screen models.  I really like this cradle as it’s much faster to align the magnetic mount with the GPS.  Easy and fast to insert and remove.

The default mount that is provided with the GPS is of the suction cup variety.  This is the same mounting base that Garmin has used for roughly the past ten years (they changed the cradle, not the base mount).  Although this mount has a little longer neck to compensate for the larger GPS size, it’s the same basic design as the other suction mounts they have used.  Garmin also includes an adhesive disk for those that wish to use it on the dashboard.  If your suction cup has failed, read our article on reviving it here.  If after reading the article, it’s still failing but the cradle is still good, replace it with an Arkon suction mount.  These come with a 2-year warranty and these stick real well.

If you would rather not put adhesive on your dash, you could use this cradle with Garmin’s highly regarded bean bag mount which we discussed in a prior article.

How about some alternative locations and mounts?  Vent mounts have been available for many years but Garmin completely missed the parade on these until 2013.  Finally coming out with a vent mount of their own, this Garmin mount is very well made.  Unlike many of their competitors, Garmin saw the need for a vent mount with a clamp on the back if it.  This means these mounts will fit horizontal and vertical vents.

For motorcycle use, we always like to use a custom cradle when available however, as of the date of this article, none exist.  You will want to consider using a well made universal cradle made for tablets because the dimensions of this GPS are very similar to a mid-sized 7″ tablet.  The Garmin Nuvi 2789LMT measures 7.7”W x 4.4”H x 0.7”D and you will need to power it without the cradle.  For motorcycle use, it’s important that you select a mount that has a well constructed cradle that is going to hold your GPS very tightly so that it stays put through the vibration of a ride.  We are big fans of the RAM X-Grip line.  These are heavy duty mounts that are mostly constructed of metal.  The mount has gone through some rigorous shake tests and holds up well on a motorcycle.  We wrote about X-Grips extensively on this site and you can view that article here.  Most motorcycles can use the X-Grip handlebar mount.  These fit handlebars up to 1.25 inches diameter and feature the expandable X-Grip II cradle which can open to 5.75 inches which is large enough to fit this GPS.  We always recommend tethering your device for added security.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

ArkonSuction cup windshield and dash mount for Garmin NuviArkon Replacement Upgrade or Additional Windshield Dashboard Suction Mounting Pedestal for Garmin nuvi GPS

GarminGarmin bean bag mount with standard 17mm ball to fit the socket on the back of the cradleGarmin Portable Friction Mount - Frustration Free Packaging

GarminGarmin vent mount with 17mm ball to fit the socket on the back of the cradleGarmin Vent Mount

RAM MountMotorcycle mount for the custom RAM cradleX-Grip Handlebar Motorcycle Mount Holder for 7" Tablets

Car and Motorcycle Mounts for the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Arkon SM423-G with iPhoneiPhone bigger and better.  At least that’s what Apple calls it.  Recently made available, this is the most popular release to date of a new Apple iPhone.  It’s understandable, especially for those not already owning a more current phone.  The performance and functionality improvements introduced with the new phone as well as the new operating system (IOS release 8) are significant.  This is a site that focuses on the stuff needed to make your devices mobile, so if you want to read about some of the enhancements, take a few minutes to view it at Apple.

We would be remiss without mentioning one very important sets of features on the new iPhone 6 which is called iSight and Auto Image Stabilization.  This combines some new hardware and software enhancements that will permit you to shoot photos and videos that aren’t as prone to a shaky hand nor as susceptible to a vibrating vehicle.  This expands the potential of using your iPhone 6 for use as a dash camera or possibly for use on a motorcycle.  If you choose to do this, make sure the mount that you purchase leave the rear camera lens uncovered.

When it comes to mounting this phone, it’s important to know the dimensions of these devices.  The iPhone 6 is larger than any model announced to date.  With a 4.7 inch diagonal screen this phone is 5.44 inches tall by 2.64 inches wide by .27 inches deep.  The larger iPhone 6 Plus is even larger.  Sporting a 5.5 inch diagonal screen, this iPhone is 6.22 inches tall, 3.06 inches wide and .28 inches deep.  These are important measurements to keep in mind when selecting your mount.  For those with any custom iPhone mount which features a cradle specifically made for your iPhone, they aren’t going to fit and you will need to purchase a new mount, or at least a new cradle.  For those that have purchased a universal mount to hold your older phone, hopefully it opens wide enough to hold your new iPhone 6 series without a problem.  Most universal mounts offer options to upgrade your cradle to a larger one.  From experience, I suspect you will be able to reuse your existing universal mount for an iPhone 6, but not for the iPhone 6 Plus.  The iPhone 6 Plus is a really big phone.  It was made to compete with the larger models from Samsung such as the Mega and Galaxy Note.

Readers of our site already know that we favor the universal mounts because of the reasons just mentioned.  So for those that never had a phone mount before, avoid the custom solutions and purchase a solid universal mount.

There are a lot of companies that offer some excellent mounting solutions for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Arkon, based in California, offers three inexpensive lines that fit all iPhone 6 models with or without a case.  The Mobile-Grip 2 cradles were recently introduced.  Mobile-Grip 2 features an expandable cradle that grips your phone from the sides.  The cradle opens to 3.6 inches wide so should be large enough for almost all cases although you might struggle a bit with a thick case on an iPhone 6 Plus.  Arkon also offers an older line called Slim-Grip Ultra which opens to over 7 inches.  The Slim-Grip Ultra will hold your phone from the top and bottom and features support legs that can move from side to side.  Lastly, the Megagrip cradle opens to 3.4 inches.  The Megagrip has been around for many years and is extremely reliable.  The Megagrip features one hand operation and opens with the push of a button.  Arkon does not offer a custom cradle for any of the iphone 6 models.

iOttie, based in New York, provides some inexpensive mounts that feature the Easy One Touch 2 universal cradle which opens to 3.2 inches and will fit the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus without a case or skin.  When adding a thick case, this line may not fit well.  This cradle is spring loaded and sold with a variety of mounts for the handlebar, windshield and dash.  iOttie is somewhat new to us and we plan to look closer at their offerings in the near future.

RAM Mount, out of Washington, features two custom cradles.  The RAM-HOL-AP18U is made to fit the iPhone 6 and the RAM-HOL-AP19U will fit the iPhone 6 Plus.  Since it’s a custom cradle, these will not fit your device with a case or skin.  You can couple these with one of RAM’s mounting pedestals for the windshield, cup holder, dash or motorcycle.  RAM also makes their ever popular X-Grip cradle, the RAM-HOL-UN7BU for the 6 and RAM-HOL-UN10BU for the 6 Plus.  These universal cradles will open to grip your phone from the sides with or without a case or skin in use.  Although the custom cradles are well made, we prefer the X-Grip universal cradles.  It’s likely you will have a case or skin on your phone so go with the universal cradles.  We do a deep dive on the X-Grip series which is worth reading here.

As for recommendations, I have used and really like the Arkon MegaGrip SM415 Mount for universal car use.  This line is inexpensive and proven.  You can use it reliably on your car dash or windshield and it fits your iPhone 6 with or without a case.   The mount features a vacuum locked suction assembly attached to a pivoting arm.  The cradle opens and closes at a push of a button and expands up to 3.4 inches so it will git the iPhone 6 even with a case and an iPhone 6 Plus without a case or with a very thin skin.  The phone can swivel into any orientation.  The mount also comes with an adhesive disk that you can stick to the dash to turn the mount into a console mount.  The suction assembly can adhere tot he adhesive disk just like it would on a windshield.  I have used these for a long time and can vouch for the ease of use and durability.  Might be the best phone mount you can get for the price.

If you are looking to use your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on a motorcycle, consider the RAM X-Grip line.  These are heavy duty mounts that are mostly constructed of metal.  The mount has gone through some rigorous shake tests and holds up well on a motorcycle.  We wrote about X-Grips extensively on this site and you can view that article here.  The mount that you would use for the iPhone 6 is the RAM-B-149Z-UN7U.  The iPhone 6 Plus needs a larger cradle so you would select the RAM-B-149Z-UN10U.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

iOttieSuction cup windshield mount with expandable cradle and telescoping armiOttie Easy One Touch 2 Car Mount Holder for iPhone 6 (4.7)/Plus (5.5) /5s/5c, Samsung Galaxy S5/S4/S3/Note 4/3, Google Nexus 5/4, LG G3 - Retail Packaging - Black

RAM MountCustom iPhone 6 holder for RAM mounting systemsRAM Mount Cradle f/Apple iPhone 6

RAM MountCustom iPhone 6 plus holder for RAM mounting systemsRAM Mount Cradle f/Apple iPhone 6 Plus

ArkonWindshield suction cup mount with universal cradleArkon Windshield and Dashboard Smartphone Car Mount Holder for Apple iPhone 6 Plus 6 5 5S 5C Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3 S5 S4 S3

RAM MountMotorcycle mount with X-Grip IV cradle to fit an iPhone 6 plusRAM Mounts (RAM-B-149Z-UN10U) Handlebar Rail Mount with Zinc Coated U-Bolt Base and Universal X-Grip Iv Large Phone/Phablet Holder

RAM MountMotorcycle mount with X-Grip cradle for iPhone 6RAM Handlebar Rail Mount with Zinc Coated U-Bolt Base and Universal X-Grip(TM) Cell Phone Holder

RAM RAM-B-149ZU U-Bolt Base Handlebar Mount Product Review

The RAM U-Bolt Base Handlebar Mount has been available for many years and is mainly marketed to the motorcycle crowd.  The mount forms the basis for custom configurations when paired with RAM’s huge selection of  custom cradles as well as their universal X-Grip holders for phones and tablets (you can read a detailed article on X-Grip cradles here).

This mount is constructed of powder coated marine grade metal.  Like most RAM Mounts, this is built on a ball and socket design with shock absorbing technology.  The mount has the ability to pivot and swivel at both the base and the tip.  The shock absorbing technology lies in the rubber ball which is sandwiched between the metal arms of the extension.  This provides an extraordinarily solid mount as can be evidenced in this Youtube Video shot using a similar mount with a camera adapter added to it.

There are three major components to this mount:  the u-bolt base, 3″ metal arm and mounting diamond.  All three of these components is available individually if you ever need to purchase a replacement.

The u-bolt base has a zinc coated u-bolt which fits handlebar diameters of up to 1.25 inches.  RAM supplies a plastic adapter which can be optionally placed between the u-bolt and handlebar.  This adapter will prevent marring of your chrome handlebar and can be used for smaller diameter bars all the way down to .50 inches.  For bars that are 1.25 inches, you can use a thick rubber band to prevent any marring, but that’s optional and not included.  The u-bolt is secured with a set of lock nuts and takes up less than an inch in terms of handlebar real estate.  You can and should use a wrench or pair of pliers to tighten the mount.  This isn’t one of those thumbscrew varieties.  This is a heavy-duty mount not made to be easily removed on a repetitive basis.

This mount features the standard RAM 3″ metal arm.  The purpose of the arm is to u-bolt base to the mounting diamond (more on that in a bit).  The mounting arm has a socket at each end where the rubber ball from the u-bolt base and the mounting diamond will insert.  A flywheel is found in the middle of the arm which loosens and tightens the arm onto the balls from the mounting diamond and the u-bolt base.  The flywheel can also be loosened when you want to adjust the angle of the device (only do this when parked).

The mounting diamond is the last component that is included with this mount.  This component features two holes which adhere to the industry standard AMPS pattern in terms of spacing.  This part is typically attached to one of RAM’s custom cradles.  Each cradle comes furnished with a set of lock nuts and screws to attach it to the cradle.  This part can be interchanged with other components such as the RAM X-Grip cradle for smartphones so in essence, this mounting combination can form the basis for multiple solutions.

Notice the photo that accompanies this article.  That’s the RAM u-bolt handlebar mount attached to a RAM custom cradle for a Garmin Nuvi.  You can see the flywheel on the arm just beneath the bottom of the cradle.  The handlebar in this case is an inch diameter.

Removal of your device is simple.  Just turn the flywheel and remove the mounting diamond with cradle or X-Grip cradle then tighten the flywheel just leaving the mounting base and arm.  We have been surprised what some have done with mounts over the years and can add as a side note, never use anything such as Lock-Tite on these bolts for a tighter grip.  This chemical will completely eat away at plastic including the plastic in your RAM cradle.  This advice on Lock-Tite applies to almost any mount you place on a bike. Avoid using it.

The RAM U-Bolt Handlebar Mount is an extremely well made mount that will last for a long time.  It is easy to install and simple to adjust.  RAM provides a lifetime warranty on this mount which is administered by the manufacturer.

AMPS Pattern Mounts

The AMPS mounting patternThe mounting industry does not have an official standard but the AMPS pattern might be as close as you can get (at least for small electronics).  The AMPS pattern is a series of four holes aligned in a rectangular pattern.  Some manufacturers use two of the four holes while maintaining the AMPS pattern spacing dimensions.  The AMPS pattern consists of four holes in a rectangular pattern spaced 1.188 inches by 1.813 inches.  Some manufacturers also have 2-hole adapters that support the diagonal measurement of 1.912 inches.

The AMPS pattern is fairly well-known in the HAM Radio industry where many head plates from Yaesu and ICOM use the AMPS pattern.  We find that HAM Radio enthusiasts are pretty handy people and when the AMPS pattern doesn’t exist, they don’t mind drilling some holes to match up.  These mounts are readily available from several manufacturers.  A seat bolt mount with an AMPS plate is a perfect place to park your radio head.  Attachment to your seat bolt is a fairly simple operation and typically takes five minutes using a wrench or pliers.  Always be sure to wrench tighten the mount to ensure it doesn’t flop to the side.

Garmin and TomTom motorcycle cradles also use the AMPS pattern to attach the custom holder to a mount.  Garmin has teamed up with RAM Mounts of late to offer their AMPS Motorcycle Mount for their Zumo series.  You will find the holes on this mount line up perfectly with the cradle you received from Garmin.  You will need to use the screws and nuts that came from Garmin to attach it to this mount.

Satellite Radios from Sirius/XM also use the AMPS for radios made over the past several years.  The back of the powered Sirius cradle has 4 screw holes in the AMPS pattern.  The Arkon Suction Cup Mount for Sirius Radio includes an AMPS plate with screws that fit the back of the cradle perfectly.  It even includes an adhesive dash plate to attach the suction to your dash as well as the windshield.

The nice part about the AMPS pattern is these mounts can be used for multiple devices.  For example, the AMPS mount marketed for Sirius Radio can also be used for a different device that uses that pattern.  You would need to be sure that the mount is appropriate for the weight and size of the device and you might have to supply different screws and nuts but the AMPS pattern is universal in terms of the spacing.

There are a lot of variations of AMPS mount available.  A great low-priced option is the Arkon Flat Surface Mount.  This mount features a ball and socket at the end so the device that is attached can swivel and pivot.  The bottom features a sticky surface so it can also attach to a textured dash.

A heavier duty flat surface mount with an AMPS pattern is the Panavise SlimLine AMPS Mount.  This is a screw down version with adjustment points at various spots.  There is an AMPS pattern at the bottom and the top.  You would need to supply the screws and nuts to attach it to your device.

Lastly, a heavy duty clamp with an AMPS pattern is available from RAM.  This one is made of metal and the clamp opens to 1.25 inches.  The arm in the middle is three inches long and the mount pivots at the base and the tip.  The round adapter at the end not only has the AMPS pattern but it includes several other holes to fit various other electronic mounting patterns.  This mount comes with a lifetime warranty.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

RAM MountHandlebar mount with AMPS patternRAM RAIL MOUNT WITH RECTANGULAR AMPS

ArkonFlat surface AMPS mountArkon 4 Hole AMPS Pattern Replacement Upgrade or Additional Windshield Dash Sticky Suction Mount for Sirius Satellite Radios

PanaviseScrew down flat surface AMPS mountPanavise 717-06 6-Inch Slimline 2000 Pedestal Mount

ArkonAMPS suction cup mount for Sirius Radio and other devices using the AMPS patternWindshield Dash Suction Car Mount for XM and Sirius Satellite Radios Single T and AMPS Pattern Compatible

RAMClamp with AMPS patternRAM Mounts (RAM-B-121-202U) Yoke Clamp Mount With Double Socket Arm And Round Base Adapter

 

Mounts for Callaway uPro Golf GPS

The Callaway uPro GPS line for golf enthusiasts have been available for several years.  Today we will concentrate on mounts for the handheld models – namely the MX, MX Plus and Go models.  Most of these models measure roughly two inches across so we will need a mount that features a cradle that can close this small.  The most popular locations to mount a golf GPS has always been the cup holder or windshield of an electric golf cart or the handlebar of a pull cart or the golf bag itself.  We will discuss all of these options in detail.

We always like universal mounts when possible.  The first advantage is ease in inserting your GPS and removing it regardless of if you use a protective case or not.  The second and probably most important advantage is the ability to use the mount for future GPS upgrades so if you buy another new GPS several years from now, there is a possibility you may not need to purchase another mount.

The most popular location for mounting any golf GPS is the cup holder of your golf cart.  The Bracketron Golf Cart Cup Holder Mount offers an expandable cradle that opens to approximately four inches wide so it will grab the uPro from the sides.  The cradle has movable side grips so that you can move them up or down and avoid pressing of any side controls.  The bottom has an expandable base that can be made wider to contour to the size of the cup holder by twisting the top of the base.

If you would prefer not to use the cup holder, a suction cup mount for any smooth flat surface is available.  These are perfect for adhering the mount to the golf cart’s windshield.  An expandable cradle to fit your GPS is included.

For pull carts, the best place to mount your uPro is the handlebar.  Most handlebars on a pull cart are an inch in diameter.  Bracketron also make an excellent pull cart handlebar mount.  This mount shares the same cradle as the cup holder variety.  It also includes an adjustable strap mount that is easy to install and remove.  It fits diameters much larger than an inch and is tightened by pulling on the strap and removed by pulling up on the tab and loosening the strap.

You can also attach your Callaway uPro to the golf bag itself.  This is accomplished by borrowing on the design that is normally used to mount a GPS or cell phone to a sun visor of a car.  The Bracketron golf bag mount is what you need.  It also borrows the same cradle from the previously mentioned mounts and slips over the top of your golf bag.

Although there might be some custom cradle mounts. my personal take on this is to stick with the universal mounts made by Bracketron.  The ability to reuse it when you upgrade (or change manufacturers) will save you some money plus the options available with this lineup are ones that are not available from Callaway.  I prefer the cup holder to other locations as it’s out of the way and in a safe location within the golf cart.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

BracketronCup holder mount for electric cartsBracketron RWA-202-BL Golf Cart Cup Holder Mount with Grip-iT for GPS

BracketronPull cart mount for ApproachBracketron XV1-620-2 Universal Caddy Strap Mount

BracketronGolf bag mountUniversal Golf GPS Bag Mount

BracketronSuction cup golf mountBracketron XV1-684-2 Universal Caddy Cart Mount

How to Hardwire your Garmin GPS with Traffic to a Motorcycle

Garmin, why did you integrate the traffic receiver into the cable?  A lot of owners of a Garmin GPS don’t even realize this is the case.  You would be amazed of how many people we heard from over the years that never realized this.  They would lose the charger then buy an inexpensive GPS charger, plug it in, and voila, no traffic!

I’m not a cable expert so can’t tell you why Garmin opted for this design.  Each traffic GPS has the actual traffic subscription tied into the cable itself.  This means if the charger stops working or you left in your rental car, you will need to purchase a brand new cable with a new traffic subscription tied to it.  Unfortunately, you cannot carry your previously purchased traffic subscription into a new cable.  This will turn out to be a pretty expensive affair as a new traffic cable typically starts at $50 and goes up from there.

This article is about how to hardwire a Garmin traffic cable to your motorcycle.  While I suppose you can buy a second traffic cable for this purpose and leave the other one in your car, you don’t need to as you can transfer the cable between your car and motorcycle pretty easily.

Now, you might be thinking that attaching a traffic cable to your battery is as simple as cutting off the DC end and simply attaching the barewires to the battery.  This is a terrible idea for several reasons.  The tip of the charger has. among other things, a fuse and power regulator.  This is what’s needed to take the power to a lower voltage.  You will likely fry your GPS (and traffic subscription) if you cut off the end and attach it to the battery so please do not do it.

A few lucky motorcycle owners may have a DC outlet built into the bike but most do not.  For those that don’t, you need to install a hardwire that includes a cigar lighter ending to it.  You will than plug your traffic cable / charger into that ending.  So when you are done with this project, you will have an accessory outlet to plug your traffic cable into.   Installation is fairly simple and if you are comfortable working on your bike, this should be a fairly simple project.

The Eklipes Charging System is an excellent addition for most motorcycles.  It includes everything you need to hook up the power outlet onto your bike.  The actual power outlet includes not only a DC port but also a USB port and an on/off switch.  This means you can potentially plug in your traffic cable as well as charge your cell phone at the same time.  This power kit includes a handlebar mount and has a chrome finish.  There is a 5 1/2 foot cable to attach the adapter to your battery.

A similar kit but in a black finish is the RioRande Adapter Kit.  This also clamps onto your handlebar and has both a DC and USB port for charging your GPS and a cell phone.  It includes a five foot cable to attach your battery to the adapter.  There is a built-in fuse but unlike the Eklipes model, there is no on/off switch.

Now if you would like to simply hardwire your GPS and don’t really care about getting traffic, that’s a little easier and is covered in this article.

Mounts for Vespa Scooters

RAM RAM-B-231ZULike many motorized bike owners, Vespa owners like to mount things on their scooters.  The most popular items mounted are cameras, cell phones and GPS units.  Mounting locations for a Vespa isn’t as easy as a motorcycle because there isn’t much of a handlebar.  It’s a way different design from a conventional motorcycle such as a Harley or Suzuki.

There are three good locations for mounting devices on a Vespa which are reviewed below.  Although you might be tempted to use a suction cup somewhere on your Vespa, we don’t recommend it.  Suction cups in high vibration environments can become loose and fall off so we suggest using one of the three methods outlined below.  Mounts for a Vespa are hard to come by because, well, it’s not a motorcycle, it’s a scooter and this makes a big difference.  There are dozens of manufacturers that make handlebar mounts for traditional motorcycles, but since the Vespa doesn’t have a traditional handlebar, the options are limited – so limited that we are only familiar with a single manufacturer that has mounts that fit a Vespa.  Fortunately it’s a leading manufacturer that has been around for a long time.  RAM Mounts come with a lifetime warranty.  Our phone recommendations below all feature the RAM X-Grip cradle which is an expandable universal gripper.  We wrote a very detailed article on the X-Grip cradle which you can read here.

The most popular location for mounts is the mirror stem.  The diameter of the mirror stem will vary but it’s typically .375 inches or thicker.  This is quite a bit thinner than a traditional handlebar so many of the mounts that you may see for a motorcycle handlebar are unlikely to fit.  The RAM U-bolt Mount for smartphones is a good pick for this location.  The RAM u-bolt base mount is an ideal starter kit for attaching a custom cradle to fit your GPS.  A very similar u-bolt camera mount is available to attach to any camera that has a standard 1/4″ – 20 threaded tripod screw on the bottom .  Be sure to use the RAM plastic inserts so that the u-bolt can fit the smaller diameter of the mirror stem.  These mounts come with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.  Most components are made of powder coated metal.  These are real well made mounts.

A second location for mounting devices to a Vespa is the base of the mirror stem.  To install these, you will need to remove the mirror stem, place the stem through the hole at the base of the mount, add a washer, then reinstall the mirror stem.  It’s not difficult and the install may look a little cleaner than attaching directly to the mirror stem as outlined in the prior paragraph.  The RAM mirror stem features an 11mm holes which will fit most mirror stems.  You can add a RAM arm and X-Grip cradle to complete your phone kit.  You can also add a tripod screw to complete the kit for a camera.

The last location to consider for a Vespa is the dash.  A flat surface mount requires some drilling and you need to be ok with a permanent set of holes.  The prior two locations we discussed are temporary and the mounts can be removed when you want, but this gets bolted down and isn’t meant to be easily removed.  The RAM X-Grip Flat Surface Mount can be bolted to any flat surface and comes with their popular phone cradle.

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

RAMHigh end GPS handlebar mountRAM Mounting Systems RAM-B-149ZU Handlebar Mount

RAMHandlebar mount with universal cradleRAM Handlebar Rail Mount with Zinc Coated U-Bolt Base and Universal X-Grip(TM) Cell Phone Holder

RAMVideo camera handlebar mount with vibration dampening featuresRAM Mount Handlebar U-Bolt Base w/Round 1/4"-20 Threaded Stud

RAMMirror stem base mountRAM Mounts (RAM-B-252U) 2.25" X 0.87" Motorcycle Base with 11 mm Hole and 1" Ball

RAMRAM X-Grip cradleRam Mount Cradle Holder for Universal X-Grip Cellphone/iPhone with 1-Inch Ball - Non-Retail Packaging - Black

How to Prevent GPS Theft

So we’re eating dinner at a local restaurant on Route 46 in Northern New Jersey.  We leave after a 90 minutes meal to find a bunch of glass all over the parking lot.  I look at my car to find the passenger window smashed, my GPS stolen and the glove box all over the floor of the car.  I remember walking into the restaurant and several people from the kitchen staff were outside smoking and checking us out.  This is New Jersey and that’s the way the state rolls so I didn’t think anything about it at the time.  When the local police arrived, he mentioned to me this happens a lot at this restaurant and said they typically involve GPS or smartphones left in plain sight.  I mentioned the audience that we had encountered upon arrival and he said that’s probably a good theory but would not offer additional assistance in figuring this out.  I spoke to the restaurant management who were of absolutely no help.

Well needless to say I never went back to this restaurant and in fact, a short few months later, they went out of business.  The financial loss from the theft was less than $500.  The side window needed to be replaced, they stole my Garmin GPS and a few other small items from the glove box.  I did pick up a few tips on how to avoid this happening again in the future, from the police officer as well as some further investigation on my part.  Some of it is common sense stuff.

The police officer told me that marks on your windshield from a GPS or phone suction cup mount is a common way for thieves to figure out if something good was hidden in the glove box.  Indeed, when you looked at my front windshield there was an obvious round mark from my suction cup.  So even though you might be doing the right thing by removing the GPS and mount and placing it in the glove box, that mark on your windshield is a clear indication that there’s something in the glove box, or at least there might be.  The term “might be” is enough for a thief to take a few minutes to knock out your car window and check, thereby costing you a few hundred dollars minimum for a new window.

So, how do you get around that?  Don’t use a windshield suction cup mount.  Although I used a suction cup, I always recommend vent mounts because they keep the device away from plain sight.  We wrote a detailed article on vent mounts that can be read here.  Another good option is a dashboard mount as long as you remember to put it away before getting out of your car.  We also wrote a good article on dashboard mounts that can be found here.  A third location that works well is a cup holder mount as long as you have a spare and that article can be found here.  One other tip to pass on is that if you are going to put the GPS in the glove box, don’t forget to also remove the charger and put that away too.

Another good idea is something that I call the “hat trick”.  Remember the dashboard mount that I just mentioned?  If you don’t feel like putting it away in your glove box every time you get out of the car, just throw a hat over it.  I doubt someone is going to break in to steal a hat.  Use a Mets cap, absolutely nobody would break in to steal a Mets cap (I am a devout Mets fan of over 40 years so can make these jokes).

Mounting Components Discussed in this Article:

PhotoManufacturerDescriptionAmazon Link

GarminGarmin bean bag mount with standard 17mm ball to fit the socket on the back of the cradleGarmin Portable Friction Mount

GarminGarmin vent mount with 17mm ball to fit the socket on the back of the cradleGarmin Vent Mount

ArkonArkon cup holder mount with 17mm ball to fit the socket on the back of the cradleArkon GPS Cup Holder Mount

TechMatte MagGrip Car Air Vent Magnetic Mount Product Review

TechMatte Vent ActionI never heard of TechMatte until very recently.  The company is based in Pennsylvania and distributes a wide selection of products targeting mobile electronics.  Today we take a look at one of their mounts, the TechMatte MagGrip Air Vent Magnetic Mount.

Readers of our site known that I have been a fan of magnetic mounts for a long time.  It’s so much easier to install and remove the mount.  No worries about expanding a cradle or snapping your device into a holster.  The key to a good magnetic mount is the strength of the magnet and the size and attachment mechanism for the metal plate that’s needed to adhere to the magnet.  For those that worry about the magnet interfering with the functionality of the phone or GPS, I never had an issue.  The magnetic pull is directed towards the metal plate that is attached to your phone or GPS therefore I never experienced any damage or malfunction of my phone or GPS.

The TechMatte MagGrip mount has three components in the box.  The mount and two metal surfaces which are used to attach to the mount.  There is also a well written small instruction booklet.  The mount is available in black, red and blue which is unusual as most mounts are available in one color which is black.

The mount itself has a magnetic surface a little larger than a US Quarter.  The back has four prongs that are used to attach to a car vent.  This design allows attachment to either a horizontal or vertical vent.  The attachment to the vent slats is accomplished by aligning a vent slat between the prongs and pushing forward.  The attachment seemed relatively secure but not quite as tight as other vent mounts that use clips to attach to the back of the vent slat.  I’m not too worried about it falling off, and with a day of use under my belt, it hasn’t budged.  There isn’t a pivot available, so the angle of the device will be horizontal to the contour of the vent.

Two metal attachments are provided with this mount.  Your typical round metal plate about the size of the magnetic surface of the mount with an adhesive backing can be stuck to the back of your device.  As long as you don’t mind sticking something to the back of your device, this should work well and if you are not using a case or skin, this is the only option available.  A rectangular metal plate a little larger than the round disk is also included.  This rectangular plate does not have adhesive and is intended to be used by those that have a case or skin.  The instructions indicate this should be used with cases.  Simply place this plate between your case and the phone and close it back up.  The magnet is strong enough to hold your device through the case.  I tried this method and it worked real well.

The primary buyer of this product will be a smartphone user although I would think the magnet is strong enough to be used with a GPS as well.  According to TechMatte, this mount should work with most phones, although they do state that the metal plate/sticker may affect wireless charging for some devices.

I didn’t pay much for the TechMatte MagGrip Air Vent Magnetic Mount, and think it’s certainly worth the price.  Ideally I would have liked to see a pivot feature, but in the case of my SUV it really doesn’t make too much of a difference.  Certainly worth your consideration.

 

Waze Versus Google Maps

Google MapsReaders of this site know how fond I am of Waze.  A very popular competitor to Waze is Google Maps.  Ironically Google is not only the owner of Google Maps but they also own Waze thanks to a large purchase completed in 2013.  The $1.3 billion purchase made a small bunch of employees millionaires overnight at the Israeli company.

On the surface, you might wonder why Google would invest over $1 billion on a product that is so similar to one they already have.  Both applications are in the GPS category, gives driving directions and has some traffic abilities built-in.  However when you use both extensively, it becomes clear why the purchase was made.  We take a comparison look at how the applications stack up on some key features.

Cost – both applications are absolutely free.  While Waze supports itself by showing advertising when you stop at a red light, I have not seen the same come up with Google Maps.  I suspect that one day Google will also monetize Google Maps the same way that Waze does.  Advantage:  Tie

Driving Directions – both applications use real-time traffic integration from sources such as Intrix and monitoring their drivers in real-time.  However, Waze has this whole social aspect that Google Maps does not.  For example, if Waze thinks you have been stopped in the middle of Interstate 80 too long, it will ask if you are in a traffic jam.  Waze also has reporting features that Google Maps does not so that you can report situations such as road work or even roadkill in the middle of the road.  This all results in the most optimal route based upon real-time events.  Advantage:  Waze

Maps – The accuracy of maps seems excellent in my experience.  I live in Northern New Jersey, as does millions of other people.  I suspect this may result in a more accurate mapping experience than if I lived in a more remote part of the world so your mileage may vary here.  I do find that Google Maps offers different views of the map including a topological scene that is unique.  I’m not crazy about it when driving but it is a nice option that some may find appealing.  Additionally, Google Maps provides routes based upon your mode of transport.  For example, if you are walking instead of driving, Google Maps will optimize your route and change the arrival time based upon the speed of an average walker.  Advantage:  Google Maps

Traffic – Both applications integrate traffic reporting services, but as previously mentioned, Waze’s social aspect trumps Google Maps and as a result has more timely and accurate traffic reporting.  Advantage:  Waze

Usability – Google Maps has a more straight forward interface than Waze.  It took me a while to get accustomed to the Waze interface and I still find myself pushing buttons that interfere with the map experience.  Now one may argue that the more sophisticated the applications, the more time it takes to learn to use and potentially the more complicated which I agree with.  However, if you are just looking for a simply to use driving application, Google Maps is the easier to use.  Advantage:  Google Maps

Both Google Maps and Waze have some real strong points and no major weaknesses.  The above reflects my own personal opinion, you might have different experiences.  You will need to base your decision on your own personal needs.  If you just need a basic GPS application that support driving as well as walking, Google Maps might be the way to go.  On the other hand if you (like me) prefer a lot of bells and whistles including a social aspect, Waze is the better choice.

If you would like to read a good article on phone mounts for cars which makes using these applications more enjoyable, you can view our article here.