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Check back often for new MountGuys Blog topics.

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.

Using your iPhone, iPad or any Device while working out

It’s really amazing to think how times have changed.  Gone are the days of strapping a small TV to your belt to listen to music.  While some may think of that as the good old days, I prefer my brand new iPhone 6.  Fitness apps built right in.  When I go to my local Planet Fitness, I can do everything from a custom workout guided by my iPhone to watching the Giants game on my iPhone because the guy next to me is watching a Sunday afternoon political program on TV number 7 (I would rather watch Chia Pet infomercials than those programs).

This article is going to cover where to stow your device while working out.  The most obvious place would be to strap it to your bicep or forearm.  There are a lot of armbands out there and even ones that will allow you to fit even your new gigantic iPhone 6+ to your arm (see Arkon’s ARMBAND6).   When selecting an armband there are a few considerations to take into account.  The size of your phone will determine the size of the pouch on the armband.  Not all armbands are created equal.  Armband models form a few years back will prove too small for today’s larger phones.  You also need to consider use of a case or skin as that will increase the size of the pouch needed.  Also take into account the size of your arm.  Most armbands aren’t made for huge biceps so try to get a measurement of the actual band before purchasing to ensure it will fit.  A last consideration is additional storage space.  Some armbands have a small pouch to stow your drivers license or a few dollars.  Check before purchasing.

Another good location for your phone is your waste.  Small inexpensive clips are available to attach your phone to your waste band.  Personally, I think these get in the way, especially for heavier devices.  There’s nothing worse than having your gym shorts falls down because of the weight of your phone.  Don’t risk it.  Go with the armband or the mounting solution outlined below.  Dropping your drawers at the gym while on the treadmill means joining a new gym.

How about a tablet?  Tablets may not be comfortable to strap to your arm.  Ironically we used to deal with a mount company that made mounts that would strap to your thigh.  It seemed like an interesting idea to use, but apparently we were among the minority as the company is no longer in business.  Anyway, if you would like to use a tablet while at your local gym or perhaps in your home gym, there are mounts, such as the one pictured at the top of this article.  These mounts include a strap that fits around the bars of a treadmill or stationary bike.  Simply to attach and remove and very sturdy.  They key to using one of these mounts is to ensure that the diameter of the bar you are attaching the mount to is small enough in diameter to fit the mount.  We find that a mount that deploys a three to four inch strap is usually sufficient to apply to the treadmills at our local Planet Fitness.  These strap mounts are typically not the same as those sold for bicycles as they need to have longer straps.  Be sure to get one that is a minimum of 4 inches to play it safe.

Motorcycle Mounts for the Garmin Nuvi GPS Line

When we first started selling GPS mounts over ten years ago, we never dreamed of the market that existed for motorcycle mounts.  You would be amazed at the number of motorcycle mounts available and this category has been one that has not seen a decline.  Car GPS mounts are a declining market thanks to mobile phone apps and factory installed GPS systems which I think is a huge waste of money.

There are many options available for putting a Nuvi on your bike.  Today we discuss the many options available for putting a Garmin Nuvi on your motorcycle.

Before diving into the subject, note there are roughly 100 models of Garmin Nuvi.  These model lines range from the lower priced Nuvi 30/40/50 line to the premium Nuvi Advanced series which finally starts to integrate social media into their software.  Throw into the mess, the Zumo line, made specifically for a motorcycle as these are weatherproof and the screen is made to be used with gloves, the Nuvi dezl line for trucks and the new ultra-thin 3000 lines of Nuvi.  Many of the latest models have traffic built in which works well in urban settings.  The first Nuvi mount we ever sold was the Nuvi 350 which is still very much in use today, and in fact if you want a bargain, hit eBay for a deal on a used Nuvi 350 for around $25.  It’s still a very solid GPS!

We covered weatherproof mounts for your GPS in a prior article, but today we discuss other types of motorcycle mounts.

Before selecting the mounting spot, put some thought into how you will power the GPS.  Hardwire kits are available to power your unit from your bike’s battery. Consider how you will run the power cable and where you will tuck and secure it.

The type of mount needed is a matter of motorcycle model and preference.  Roughly 80% of all motorcycle mounts sold are made to fit the handlebar.  The majority of motorcycle handlebars are 1 – 1.25 inch in diameter.  The majority of Harley models fit this category.  Be wary of inexpensive plastic mounts made for bicycles.  While some plastic bicycle mounts will work well, there are others that are too brittle for motorcycle vibrations.  A good rule is that if it costs $5 and ships from Asia, it’s not a good choice for your motorcycle.  Most mounts will deploy a 17mm ball at the end that will mate with the cradle that came with the car mount that Garmin uses for the windshield mount.  We recommend tethering the GPS to your handlebar if possible for added safety.

What do you do if you do not have any handlebar space?  Honda Goldwings are an example of a bike that doesn’t have a handlebar to mount your GPS and will select the clutch mount as a good location.  Clutch mounts have screws which takes the place of those in use from the factory to attach your clutch.  Many BMW owners like to use a mount that can fit between the mirror stem and handlebar.  Others will use a fork stem mount and yet others use an adhesive mount to attach the unit to the gas tank.  Be sure to use 3M VHB tape if you choose the last method of adhesive.

Hopefully this helps in providing the basics of mounting your Nuvi.  Be sure to write us with any questions at customerservice@mountguys.com.

Aviation Apps and Mounts for Pilots

Digital Charts.  Each day, apps are developed that make tablets even more useful.  Finally, a way to remove the burden of carrying a phonebook of paper charts.  Your iPad or Android tablet can function quite nicely with the advent of digital charts.  Applications like ForeFlight Mobile is free to download but then prepare to fork over $75 – $150 per year for digital chart subscriptions.  You can also use your tablet for weather reporting, check lists, and for email if stuck on the ground.

While I am not an expert on aviation, I have thrown up on many small planes, so feel somewhat qualifies to share my knowledge about mounts.

Typical car mounts using suction may not work especially well in a small plane.  Space limitations and the concern over a falling mount means you may need to rethink how your device can be mounted.  Other typical car mounts like a vent or cup holder will not work well for obvious reasons.  Not to worry because there are mounts that are made specifically for pilots.  Instead of suction cups, they deploy glare screen and yoke attachments.

While we cannot recommend iPad apps, we can recommend some very well constructed metal mounts from RAM.  Three types of mounts are most popular with pilots and we’ll cover them in the remainder of this article.

A yoke mount is the most popular.  Easy to attach and detach which makes it particularly useful for time sharing or rental situations.  Typically the yoke will use RAM’s RAM-B-121U or RAP-B-121U base then attach an arm and cradle as required.  We like to recommend one of the X-Grip cradles as a universal solution.  MountGuys Blog readers might remember this post that reviews this line of universal cradles.  These cradles will work real well regardless of if you have a skin or case around your tablet.  A typical mounting solution with the cradle will cost roughly $75 – $100 depending upon the configuration.

The RAM-B-177U glare screen attachment attaches to the lip of a dash.  This permits the device to overhang a bit.  As long as it is not blocking your view of any instruments, these will work quite well.  Again, you will need to add a custom cradle or the universal X-Grip line to round out your mounting solution.  This solution will also cost in the $75 – $100 range.  These are also easily removable which means it’s a good choice for temporary installations.

The third solution is the custom seat bolt.  The fully loaded cost on these will be in the $200 – $300 range.  This is a permanent solution and better suited to pilots that own their plane.  These can be purchased in lengths ranging from 18 to 30 inches.  They attach to the bolts that hold your seat to the floor board.  Installation is not too difficult and typically requires a wrench or pliers.  Be sure to wrench tighten the seat bolt when done as hand tightening will result in a mount that flops over and a seat that could become detached.

Although suction cups may not be the best solution, there are cases where it might be the only solution.  We recommend a heavy duty mount with a suction cup at least three inches across.  Be sure the suction cup has a locking vacuum mechanism and check out our article on suction cups before you attach it to ensure you get the most secure grip possible.

Keeping the Glare Off

We receive a lot of questions about glare especially on GPS units and tablets.  For GPS units, glare can be a real problem when used on the car windshield or motorcycle.  While we aren’t aware of any GPS units that use an anti glare surface, we wonder why they don’t.  For some reason it seems like the glare on TomTom GPS units are the worst.  At least, that’s what our readers tell us.  Garmin also has a similar issue but not as bad as TomTom.  We get a lot of inquiries from iPad users.  That glossy touchscreen doesn’t help at all when using your tablet at the beach.

There has been a lot more progress at preventing glare on GPS units versus tablets.  A good entrepreneur should invent something for tablets.  They would clean up.  The problem, as you will see, is that a good glare shield needs to extend far out enough to block the sun.  When using a tablet, that often equates to building a tunnel between the tablet and your head.  Like the Amazon Kindle, you would think Apple and Samsung might borrow the anti-glare technology.  But sadly, to date, they have not.

So we’ll talk about preventing glare on a GPS.  There are two different types of GPS anti glare shields.  One clips on the unit.  It surrounds the display (not the entire GPS, just the display).  The second uses velcro to attach to your GPS and a fabric hood surrounds the entire GPS.

You can find plenty of the plastic glare shields on eBay and Amazon for less than $10.  We aren’t fans.  The glare shields, while lower priced, do not hold up well.  Do not even try to use them on a motorcycle.  They will blow away the first time you hit the highway.  If you absolutely want these, we recommend the type that looks like a clipboard.  These seems to attach more securely than the ones with the plastic clips.

The fabric glare shields are better made and adhere using Velcro strips that tape to the top of your GPS.  Very motorcycle friendly and they sell for roughly $20.  Sounds like a lot, but they work tremendously.  These are made by a company called GlareStomper in California.  They are available for all size GPS.  GlareStomper model 320 fits most GPS sizes.  The largest model will fit marine electronics (GlareStomper model 324).  We also know of customers that have used the GlareStompers for factory installed GPS systems.  Just adhere it to the dashboard just above the GPS.  When it comes time to sell the car, you can always remove the Velcro and get rid of the remaining glue with some Goo Gone which you purchase in any hardware store for a few dollars.  For some reason, these are popular with Prius users as the glare on the dash must be pretty horrific.

Another nice part about the fabric variety is they are pliable meaning if you are using a custom cradle for your GPS, these can either attach to the top of the cradle, or in some cases, adhere to the GPS and ruck into the custom cradle.

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.