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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 effect 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 plus continue to sell our most popular items on Amazon.  Use the Amazon link at the top of our page to visit Amazon.  Email us at customerservice@mountguys.com if you need anything.

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.

Can I Use a Car GPS on a Motorcycle?

Roughly ten years ago, TomTom and Garmin smartly made a decision to manufacture GPS units specifically made for motorcycles.  Models such as the TomTom Rider and Garmin Zumo series were marketed specifically for motorcycle use.  They sold a lot of them, and we sold a lot of mounts for these models.  There are several key differences between units made for motorcycles versus the car.  Most motorcycle units are weatherproof.  Note we use the word weatherproof and not waterproof.  Waterproof implies you can dunk it in a bucket of water and have it come out fully functional and that’s not the case.  Under most normal driving, a weatherproof unit will serve you well and without any issues.  A motorcycle GPS is also made to withstand the vibrations of a motorcycle better than the car variety (or at least that’s the claim).  Lastly, a motorcycle GPS has more emphasis on bluetooth integration for use with a bluetooth enabled helmet or headset.

All of this comes at a price, with most motorcycle units costing a few hundred dollars more than those made for everyday car use.  That’s quite a bit of money so the question is if you can use a car GPS on a motorcycle and the answer is usually yes.  Today’s car units made by the major manufacturers seem to be as ruggedly made as their motorcycle equivalents, so much so that we seem to see less and less marketing for the motorcycle varieties.  When poor weather strikes, chances are you aren’t going to be riding too far in it so the weatherproof question is also a non-issue.

We have sold a lot of mounts for those wanting to use their car GPS on their motorcycle and I cannot remember anyone coming forward saying the vibrations disabled their unit.  We have received a lot questions for what to do about the GPS when it starts to rain.  There a bunch of mounts with weatherproof cases available.  The problem again, is that they are weatherproof, not waterproof.  As GPS units get larger, the availability of weatherproof cases gets smaller simply because the size of the case will need to exceed that of the GPS and pretty soon, it’s like you are driving with a television on your handlebars.  We have seen riders use a variety of solutions that typically involve use of baggies or even shower caps which I guess will work, but I always though that putting a ten cent baggie on a $20,000 HD looks pretty tacky.

Just my opinion, but given my experience, I find that a car GPS works quite well on a motorcycle.  Be sure that you purchase a secure mount for your GPS that will hold your unit very securely.  I always liked to add the additional safety of a tether strap to the GPS.  Some units come with a small loop molder onto the GPS for attachment of a tether.  Some will use some rubber cement to attach a tether to the back of their unit and tie it to the handlebars.  And when it rains, take the shower cap out of your saddle bag and protect your unit.  Just be sure to take it off as soon as it stops raining and before anybody notices.

Mounting Gadgets on a Honda Goldwing

Honda Goldwings have been manufactured for roughly 40 years.  Over 600,00 have been sold mostly in the United States.  A very popular model, but challenging to mount your GPS, smartphone, or whatever gadget you have to your bike.  Earlier versions had a handlebar.  Handlebar mounts are by far the most popular location to mount gadgets.  I would say roughly 95% of all motorcycle mounts sold are indeed the handlebar variety.  Paired with a custom cradle, a handlebar mount can accommodate practically any device imaginable.  We have even seen motorcycle drink mounts.  While we aren’t fans of the practice, riders can enjoy their morning cup of coffee while riding.  Personally, I put that up there with texting in terms of safety.  Just another thing to divert your attention from the road.

Roughly 20 years Honda’s design change removed the majority of real estate away from the handlebar.  While it looks better, it diminished the ability to mount your stuff.  Mounts in other places are needed.  I have read many a post and spoken to several Goldwing riders that have used adhesive or bungee cords.  There are for sure certain adhesives that will hold quite tightly and not compromise from the vibrations of a motorcycle, but there are also many adhesives that will fail.  Unless you are a chemist or manufacturer specializing in adhesives and know it will withstand extreme vibrations, we don’t recommend using them on motorcycles.  The issue with a bungee is that they wrap around the device and block part of the display.  I suppose that doesn’t matter greatly for an Apple iPod, but if it’s a GPS, that isn’t going to work well.

Fortunately there are a few companies that figured out some good locations for mount points on a Honda Goldwing.  The clutch/brake reservoir is an excellent location.  The bolts can be used to hold mounting solutions specifically designed to fit a Goldwing (turns out most Harley Davidson models have similar dimensions so most of what we talk about applies there as well).

We are familiar with two proven companies that manufacture mounts to fit the Goldwing.

Techmount, based in the United States, manufactures a well made metal solution that features a 17mm ball.  Ironically (or maybe not ironically) that’s the same size ball that Garmin uses for the back of their GPS cradles.  The Techmount part number is 4-31001.  This part comes with stainless steel bolts that will replace the current manufacturer bolts.  These bolts are somewhat similar to the manufacturer set with the exception they are longer to accommodate the added depth of the mount.  You can then add your Garmin cradle to the 17mm ball.  If you would like to mount a phone, you can use some of the cradle kits that feature a 17mm adapter.   There are also several inexpensive adapters that permit the installation of cameras or even specialized adapters for the ever popular GoPro series.  This is a nice mouting option assuming you can use the 17mm option and have access to cradles or adapters that fit that size ball.

RAM Mounts, also based in the United States, has an extensive array of mounts that fit the brake/clutch reservoir.  All made of metal, most mounts will feature the RAM-B-309-7U mounting base.  This part is somewhat similar to the Techmount entry in that it will attach using some newly supplied bolts that take the place of the manufacturer set.  The one inch ball at the end of the mount will then connect to various arm sizes and lastly a custom or universal cradle.  The RAM-B-309-7U can also be purchased as part of a kit that includes an arm and adapter which is called the RAM-B-174U.  There are a variety of custom configurations that can be purchased from RAM and this article would be become a book if we went through all of them.  Suffice it to say though, if you purchase a kit that starts with the designation RAM-B-174, you will have the beginnings of the mount that is made to fit your Goldwing.

Help with Failing Suction Cup Mounts

Suction cup mounts aren’t perfect and with time, they can fail.  However, sometimes, you don’t need to buy a new mount.  Following our simple tips might save you a little bit of money.

  1. The most common problem we find is a dirty windshield.  Over time, a haze or film builds on the interior of the windshield.  Clean your windshield thoroughly with Windex or any good cleaner that contains alcohol (no not beer, that is not a cleaner).  While you’re at it, also clean the bottom of the suction cup.  This is by far, the number one tip for getting your suction cup mount back into working condition.
  2. Apply a little water to the bottom of the suction cup.  We find, on some mounts, that helps the adhesion enormously.
  3. Make sure you are pressing the suction lever in the right direction.  Usually the direction is down, but we see a few deviants that require it to be pushed up.  Most suction mounts have a vacuum base and it is operated with a lever.

It’s worth noting that suction cups aren’t going to work in these cases so look at a different solution if any of these situations apply:

  1. Applying window tinting kits means you cannot use a suction cup.  While suction cups will apply to most factory tinting, they will not apply to the film that can be found in most after market kits.  In addition, the weight of the device you are attaching has a good chance of completely loosening the film from your windshield in the rare event you got the suction cup to work.  Obviously, we don’t recommend using the suction even if you did get it to stick the film.
  2. Textured dashboards.  Suction cups are made to create a vacuum fit.  If your dash is textured, avoid suction cups.  While there are some sticky suction cups made to work on textured dashboards, our experience has been less than perfect.  You can use a dash plate with 3M adhesive pads available for a few dollars then stick your suction to that but be prepared to use Goo-Gone when it’s time to sell the car.
  3. High vibration environments like motorcycles and suction cups are bad ideas.  Over the years we were even asked if suction cups can attach to the outside of a car for use with a camera.  We steered them towards keeping the camera on the dash using a bean bag.
  4. When you need to mount something upside down, suction cups, especially inexpensive ones, are not the right solution.  The weight of your device is likely to pull it down, potentially on your head.

Most suction cup mounts have the suction pad glued or molded onto the mounting stem and cannot be replaced as a component.  Most suction cups don’t have an infinite lifespan so if the tips we provided do not help, we recommend purchasing a new mount.  We find that suction cups used in extreme environments don’t last long.  In extreme temperatures, we suggest removing the suction cup and bringing inside to extend the life of the mount but also avoid having your expensive electronics wind up on the floor of your car.

Waze Might be the Greatest GPS App Available

WazeMost of our posts are about mounting stuff but after using Waze for the past month, thought it was worthwhile to pass a quick review of this incredible app on to our readers.  Waze is a GPS application available on IOS and Android.  What sets Waze apart from the hundreds of other GPS apps is the integration of maps, technology and community based feedback to provide a driving experience that will save you time and tickets.  I remember a company ten years ago that tried to do this using cell phone transmissions.  Needless to say, they didn’t last long as the GPS units cost around $500 so usage was minimal.

Take a look at the screen shot that accompanies this post.  It highlights a part of the Route 80 corridor in Northern New Jersey.  The little policeman head indicates there is a police presence.  Waze received this information from an alert driver (or hopefully passenger) that saw the issue and notified Waze.  The cat with the crown is a fellow Waze user a mile away.  This is tracked by Waze’s computers using your GPS coordinates passed to Waze by your phone.  If you need gas, there’s a BP nearby as seen in the upper left.  This is a screen shot taken on a Saturday night so you don’t see a lot of activity on the screen.  If it were during the day on a weekday, you would see far more activity as Route 80 is a parking lot during rush hour.  You will also see some rather interesting activity as Waze permits Map Chat where drivers who don’t know each other can strike up chats.  You see a lot of that going on at around 6PM on Route 80 West here in Northwest New Jersey.

Set your destination into Waze and it will provide the most optimal route using current traffic patterns.  Garmin, TomTom and others can do this too however what sets Waze apart is the extreme granularity of incident reports and the integration into the route calculation.  Wazers report everything from a car in the shoulder to a traffic jam to a police officer giving a ticket to someone.  You can verify the presence back to Waze by clicking the thumbs up or by clicking ‘not there’ as you drive by.  As traffic conditions worsen or improve, Waze will change your route to get you to your destination faster.

As an incentive for using Waze, they award points based upon your miles driven and for reporting incidents or providing map corrections.  You are then ranked versus other Waze users.  You can also provide Waze with access to your Facebook friends and it will rank you against them as well.  Accumulate enough points and get to wear a crown on your cartoon car.  I guess this is a way to provide incentive to their users without costing Waze (now Google) any money.

Similar to Gas Buddy and a few other similar services, Waze provides gas prices in your vicinity.  Click the station of choice and Waze automatically routes you there.

Did I mention Waze was free?  I was trying to figure out how Waze could be profitable as ads are very seldom.  Then I read that Google purchased them for about $1 billion.  Makes sense if they integrate it into Google Maps which I suspect is their plan.

While I wholeheartedly recommend Waze, I do have concern about the allure of interacting with the application while driving.  It can be as dangerous as texting while you drive so leave the incident reporting to your passengers or use the integrated voice function.

RAM Motorcycle and Bicycle Handlebar Mounts for Electronics

We have been selling mounts from RAM for many years.  They make great mounts which carry a manufacturer lifetime warranty.  They make a lot of mounts.  We mean a LOT of mounts.  Sometimes the selection can be daunting and we thought a blog posting on the various handlebar models would help to highlight the different types and purposes.  Their products range from simply handlebar mounts for bicycles to metal mounts for motorcycles and ATVs.

First up are the mounts most suitable for bicycles.  The RAP-274U is a simple plastic mount that fits bars up to an inch.  It will fit RAM’s cradles that use the two hole diamond adapter on the back.  To attach to your handlebar, simply remove the screw and nut on the bottom, slip over your handlebar and reattach the screw and nut.  The RAP-274U is an excellent choice for your bicycle.  However for your motorcycle, we would suggest a different mount as this one is not rugged enough for the vibrations of your motorcycle.  The RAP-274-1U also fits the holders with diamond adapter.  These use included 7″ long cable ties to attach to your handlebar.  The cable ties are industry standard and you can easily replace them with the same ones that you can buy in any hardware store.

RAM offers many mounting options for motorcycle handlebars.  We find most motorcycle handlebars fall into the 1-1.25″ diameter range and the mounts that we will discuss all fit this range of diameters.  The most popular motorcycle handlebar mount is the RAM metal u-bolt mount, part RAM-B-149ZU and is available in 1.75, 3 and 6 inch arm lengths.  A variation to the RAM-B-149ZU is the RAM-B-149Z-2U which adds a metal strap option for handlebar diameters up to 3.15″.  A major heavy duty mounting base called the RAM-B-235U uses a double u-bolt which I always thought was overkill except for super heavy devices.  Lastly, RAM makes a handy economical model called the RAP-SB-187U.  This one is constructed of plastic and will use a strap to attach to your handlebar.  It fits handlebars to 2.58 inches.  All of these motorcycle mounts have a diamond adapter to fit RAM cradles.  Some can also be fitted with square or round adapters for other cradles or special situations.

Don’t have a handlebar?  No problem.  RAM makes an excellent mount known as the RAM-B-174U which uses the RAM-B-309-1U motorcycle clutch fitting.  These are most popular for use on a Honda Goldwing where there aren’t traditional handlebars present.  Also check out the popular RAM-B-176U option which uses the RAM-B-342U for stem base.

Want to mount it on your clutch reservoir cover?  RAM supports a few different manufacturers with their mounts.  These adapters will screw onto the cover (they do not replace the cover).  RAM even supplies screws to attach to the cover.  The parts needed are RAM-B-345U (centered ball) or RAM-B-346U (offset ball).  These come bundles with arms and adapters using part numbers RAM-B-182U and RAM-B-183U.  All parts are metal.

Always remember, these are base mounts.  All accommodate RAM custom cradles which you will need to add to complete your setup.  You can write us if you need help selecting a cradle.

Mounts and Accessories for the Big Giant Samsung Galaxy Note, Mega and S4

If you have a big giant phone from Samsung like the Mega, Note, Note 2, Note 3 and S4, you have probably found that mounts are hard to come by.  These phones are a little smaller than tablets and much larger than a typical smartphone.

Fortunately, manufacturers have recently introduced their line of phablet mounts and these fit the extra large Samsung Galaxy models quite securely.  Most include a spring loaded cradle which works well with or without a case or skin deployed (a little advice:  use a case or skin to protect your phone as these break easily with even the slightest drop).

These mounts are made by our partners at Arkon Resources.  We like this line a lot because of the variety of base mounts and the flexibility of their expandable cradle.

Flexible Gooseneck Phablet Mount

Flexible Gooseneck Phablet Mount

Heavy Duty Metal Clamp for Phablets

Heavy Duty Metal Clamp for Phablets

The Mother of all Sports Armbands

The Mother of all Sports Armbands

Suction Cup Mount for Extra Large SmartPhones

Suction Cup Mount for Extra Large SmartPhones

Telescoping Suction Cup Mount for Extra Large Phones

Telescoping Suction Cup Mount for Extra Large Phones

Car Mounts for the Apple iPad Air Part I

Apple has announced their fifth generation of Apple iPad and called it the iPad Air.  For the first time, Apple has dramatically changed the dimensions of the device.  Somewhat smaller and if you have really large hands you can actually hold it in one hand without a problem.  Still larger than an iPad Mini, is there enough additional screen real estate to justify the additional $100 over the Mini Retina?  I guess it depends upon personal taste, but based upon Apple’s sales, a lot of people are paying up and purchasing a new Air.

Today, we’ll cover some basic mounting options.  A future blog post will cover custom cradles as soon as they are available in early 2014.

Want to use your Air in the car, we have you covered!

Well Made Suction Cup Car Mount for Apple iPad Air

Well Made Suction Cup Car Mount for Apple iPad Air

Arkon's IPM-TAB1 for Using the Apple iPad Air on your Table

Arkon’s IPM-TAB1 for Using the Apple iPad Air on your Table

Cup Holder Mount with Expandable Cradle

Cup Holder Mount with Expandable Cradle

Arkon's Extra Long Telescoping Suction Cup Mount

Arkon’s Extra Long Telescoping Suction Cup Mount

RAM's X-Grip IV Cradle with Seat Bolt Mount

RAM’s X-Grip IV Cradle with Seat Bolt Mount

Mounting your iPhone, iPad, Mobile Phone or Tablet to a Grocery Store Shopping Cart

Shopping with your significant other can now turn into entertainment time with your mobile device.  Imagine it’s Sunday, the football game is on TV and you’re stuck in the detergent aisle standing watch over your groceries.  Look to your left and right.  Waive to the other guys guarding their grocery carts.  Get the picture?

I thought of this when I was standing watch in the cereal aisle.  Big Captain Crunch fan.  But the Mets were playing and I was missing the game.  Remembering I had the MLB app, I quickly tuned in but then was told to get moving so I could watch over the groceries in the canned veggie aisle.  I needed to get out of the app and restart it in the next aisle.  There had to be a better way.  Remembering my trusty background as a guy that specializes in mounting accessories, I quickly got to work.

 Now truth be told, there are a lot of other reasons for needing to mount your device on your shopping cart and some terrific apps to support them:
  • Grocery list apps.  I can personally attest to Shop Shop.  Silly name for an app but is free and simple.  It maintains your shopping list and does it well.  Easy to input items and easy to cross them off as you make your way around the store.  There are lots of apps that can do this including ZipList and Grocery IQ which I read is very good but I like to use Shop Shop.
  • Your local grocery store app.  Here in Northern New Jersey, the main guys in groceries is a chain called Shop Rite.  I was always told that Walmart did not want to hire union workers so avoided entering the grocery business in New Jersey, so Shop Rite is just about the only game in town.  They have their own app which lists sales and specials that can be accessed in store.
  • Apps to keep the kids busy.  Be sure you have a secure mount for this purpose as your new iPad spinning out of control onto the floor is painful to think about.  Facing your tablet towards your child in the seat can be a great way to keep him occupied.
You need a mount that will fit the small handlebar of a shopping cart and it turns out that the diameter is somewhat close to that of a bicycle.  You also want a mount that is easy to install and remove.  I like using the strap mounts that are available for handlebars.  Easy to install and then adjust for various diameter bars.   Also, the ability to swivel into portrait or landscape is also a handy feature.  Get one that features an expandable cradle so that you can easily insert your phone with or without a case or skin.  An expandable cradle also means you don’t have to buy a new mount when you upgrade your phone or tablet.

There are a lot of choices out there that should work well for you.  We like Arkon’s SM634 but you can find suitable options from RAM or Bracketron.

Check your email, scan your shopping list, or – that’s right – watch the baseball game.

Car and Motorcycle Mounts for the Apple iPhone 5s and Apple iPhone 5c

Today, we’re talking about mounts for the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.  The form factors for the phones are roughly the same as the iPhone 5.  In fact, the iPhone 5s dimensions are exactly the same as the iPhone 5 where the iPhone 5c is a little larger.  While this article is not going to focus on technical factors, it’s worth the extra $100 to upgrade to the 5s for functionality and performance improvements.  The 5s will also hold its value better than the 5c.

A variety of mounts that are spring loaded will fit all three varieties of the iPhone 5.  Your personal requirements regarding location, ease of installation/removal and if your iPhone has a case or skin will determine the mount purchased.  There are several companies which manufacture custom cradles for all three iPhone varieties but don’t forget that any custom mount that fits the iPhone 5c will not fit the 5 or 5s and if you have a case or skin, none of the custom mounts will fit.  I have always favored universal spring loaded cradles for two reasons:  I always use an Otterbox plus when you upgrade or replace your phone, there is no need to purchase a new mount (since the spring loaded mount is universal, it will likely fit your next phone).

The dimensions of the iPhone 5c:

  • Height: 4.90 inches (124.4 mm)
  • Width: 2.33 inches (59.2 mm)
  • Depth: 0.35 inch (8.97 mm)
  • Weight: 4.65 ounces (132 grams)

The dimensions of the iPhone 5s and 5:

  • Height: 4.87 inches (123.8 mm)
  • Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
  • Depth: 0.30 inch (7.6 mm)
  • Weight: 3.95 ounces (112 grams)

As mentioned, we like the universal spring loaded cradles the most.  There are many manufacturers that offer some excellent and solid solutions with universal cradles.  We’ll outline a few of them here.  It’s by no means a complete list as we are focusing on manufacturers that we have personal experience with.

Arkon, based in California, offers three inexpensive lines that fit all iPhone 5 models with or with 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 plenty large enough even for big thick cases.  Arkon also offers an older line called Slim-Grip Ultra which opens to over 7 inches which means these can also be used for small tablets up to the size of an iPad Mini.  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 5 models.

Bracketron, based in the US, provides some inexpensive mounts that feature the Grip-it universal cradles.  The Grip-it cradles are spring loaded and sold with a variety of mounts for the vent, windshield and dash.  Built similarly to the Arkon Megagrip where it opens with a push of a button.

RAM Mount, out of Washington, features two custom cradles.  The RAM-HOL-AP16U is made to fit the iPhone 5c and the RAM-HOL-AP11U will fit the iPhone 5 and 5s.  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.  These universal cradles will open to 3.25 inches and will grip your phone from the sides.