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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.
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TomTom first introduced a GPS made specifically for a motorcycle called the TomTom Rider roughly ten years ago. It was then followed up with a refresh known as the TomTom Rider v2. The problem with the older TomTom Rider generations is that a few years after they introduced the GPS in the United States, they stopped selling accessories. This left the TomTom Rider owner who potentially spent hundreds of dollars on a GPS in a real bind when it came to replacing a mount or cradle. Fortunately there are options that aren’t always made by TomTom that may work as well as what you received when you purchased your GPS.
Now to keep things interesting, TomTom then introduced an additional version of the TomTom Rider in early 2013 which I will call the TomTom Rider 3. Fortunately parts are still available for this generation of Rider.
The TomTom Rider comes equipped with a powered motorcycle cradle that has four threaded holes on the back. The holes form what is called the AMPS pattern which is an industry standard mounting pattern. That pattern is common to many mounts but for motorcycle use, you will want this attached to a good quality mount for your bike.
First, we’ll discuss motorcycle mounts. TomTom discontinued the availability of their motorcycle cradle a few years after the Rider and Rider 2 was introduced so hopefully your cradle is fully functional and you just need a mount to attach to the back of that cradle. If your cradle has failed, there are no good options that I know of for replacing that part. The discussion that follows makes the assumption that your cradle is in good shape and still in use. Fortunately for owners of the most recent Rider, the powered cradle is still available.
For handlebars with a diameter of up to 1.25 inches, which is most motorcycles, a good AMPS handlebar mount is manufactured by RAM. This mount will line up well with the back of your powered cradle and will use the same screws that came with your GPS cradle. The mount is made of metal and comes with a lifetime warranty. A similar setup is available as an AMPS clutch mount. Like the handlebar option, this mount is made of metal and carries a lifetime warranty. The clutch mount comes with bolts which will replace the ones that came with your motorcycle. The installation is not difficult and comes well documented by RAM.
If you would care to use your TomTom Rider in the car, this is also possible thanks to RAM. An excellent suction cup mount complete with the 4-hole AMPS pattern is available. This mount will screw to the back of your motorcycle cradle. The mount is mostly metal and comes with a lifetime warranty. While TomTom made a car kit for the Rider, they discontinued distribution of these in the United States many years ago so unless you were lucky enough to score one of these TomTom mounts shortly after your purchased the GPS, you are out of luck in the United States. While there is a chance that you might be able to pick one up from a UK motorcycle dealer, you are going to find the TomTom windshield mount will cost well in excess of $100. The RAM option is a fraction of this price and in my opinion better made.
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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. Today, we discuss mounts for Honda Goldwing motorcycles. A Honda Goldwing has some unique mounting challenges due to a lack of the traditional handlebar. Therefore most mounting solutions will use a different location.
Roughly 20 years Honda’s design change removed the majority of real estate away from the handlebar on the Honda Goldwing. While it looks better, it diminished the ability to mount your stuff (not that Honda really cares about that point). 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 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, I don’t recommend using them on motorcycles (but if you do decide to do it, be sure you are using 3M VHB adhesive). 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 manufacturers of mounts to fit the Goldwing.
Techmount, based in the United States, manufactures a well made metal mount 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. 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 add the Techmount cradle to the mount. There are also several inexpensive adapters that permit the installation of cameras or even specialized adapters for the ever popular GoPro series.
RAM Mount, 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 clutch 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 clutch mounting base can also be purchased as part of a mounting kit that includes an arm and adapter which is called the. 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 the clutch mounting kit, you will have the beginnings of the mount that is made to fit your Goldwing. RAM manufactures a variety of custom GPS cradles to fit this kit. For phone use, we always recommend the RAM X-Grip line. For a good overview of this extensive line of cradles, read our detailed article here.
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A motorcycle stem mount (also known as a fork stem) typically fits the steering stem hole in the top triple clamp assembly. By adding custom or universal cradles, the stem makes a nice location for mounting small devices such as cell phones, radar detectors and GPS units.
Typical instructions involves inserting a stem accessory which is manufactured by mounting companies specifically for this purpose. Some stem mounts are made of multiple parts and are fastened with machine screws into the stem. Other stem mounts are manufactured of a thick rubber component and the mount is twisted tightly into the stem hole. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully prior and during installation to ensure that the mount is installed properly and securely.
There are only a few manufacturers that we know of that manufacture a stem mount and the two companies are RAM Mount and TechMount. Both companies are known to be good manufacturers that back their products up with a warranty. Be sure to first get a measurement of your stem diameter to ensure that your new mount will fit. You will need that measurement to customize the mount prior to installation.
Let’s look at these mounts a little closer.
TechMount manufactures a stem mount kit. The universal stem mount system comes equipped with six stem shafts with varying diameters, each being a different diameter to fit virtually all-steering stem holes. Select the right size for your stem and slide it down into the top of the fork steering stem. The stem adapter includes an O-ring, which progressively gets tighter as you slide it slides it into the stem shaft, keeping your device attached securely to your motorcycle.
The TechMount kit has a 17mm ball at the end which ironically is the same size used by a Garmin Nuvi GPS cradle. So for many GPS units, this might be all that is required. If you would like to add a universal phone cradle to this mount, there are many options. The TechMount cradle kit with included safety bungee has a 17mm adapter that will fit over the ball on the stem mount. The resulting cradle installation sits roughly an inch off the stem.
RAM Mount also makes a motorcycle stem mount base. Unlike TechMount these mounts come with a single ball assembly and you will need to do some trimming to customize the fit to your stem diameter. The mount includes the one inch ball that is universal to most RAM Mount systems. You will find this base bundled with a variety of cradles. Most popular is the stem base bundled with RAM’s X-Grip phone cradle. We wrote a very detailed article on the X-Grip series and you can read it here.
RAM also offers a variety of custom GPS cradles for Garmin units. These cradles provide a secure fit for use on a motorcycle. Coupling the RAM stem base with an arm and mounting diamond in a single stem mount kit is all that you would need to add to the RAM custom cradle for a complete solution. The RAM mount can also be coupled with the Power Plate for radar detectors.
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Each year I attend a large motorcycle event held in Northern New Jersey called Gooch’s Garlic Run. It’s for a good cause and each year a few thousand bikers show up for the annual ride to downtown Newark. You can read more about this worthwhile cause by checking their Facebook page. Anyway, I always show up about an hour before the start so that I can get a good look all the bikes and take special interest in what mounts are in use. I also noticed that the largest brand presence by far is Harley Davidson.
Motorcycle owners like to mount things on their bikes. The most popular items mounted are cell phones and GPS units. I also see some that mount cameras, satellite radios and even drinks. The most popular locations are the handlebar followed by the clutch but I have also seen some adhesive used to mount devices to the gas tank. I receive a few questions each year regarding the potential use of a suction cup on a motorcycle which I do not recommend as the vibrations can easily compromise the effectiveness of the hold of a suction cup.
Let’s discuss some mounts that are popular with Harley Davidson motorcycle owners. The majority of Harley handlebars are 1.25 inch in diameter. 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 GPS 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. Some of the better (but more expensive) mounts are made of metal and come with a custom cradle which your GPS will snap into. We recommend tethering the GPS to your handlebar if possible for added safety. A good entry-level mount with that 17mm ball that is marketed for motorcycle use is the Arkon handlebar mount. A higher priced but better made handlebar mount from RAM and can be supplemented with a custom cradle to fit your GPS. Both of the mounts mentioned fit handlebars up to 1.25 inches in diameter. I like the RAM entry for the metal construction of the mount plus the lifetime warranty but if you don’t feel like spending about $40 on a complete RAM kit, the Arkon entry has a 2-year warranty and for a plastic mount is well made.
A phone handlebar mount has some other requirements versus the GPS. I always recommend using a case on your phone so purchase a mount that deploys a well made universal cradle that will grip your phone very firmly and can optionally be tethered to your handlebar. Select a mount that can swivel into portrait or landscape. If using your phone as a GPS, you will likely use it in landscape but if using it for other applications, there’s a good chance portrait mode will be needed. My favorite mount for a Harley handlebar continues to be the RAM X-Grip mount. We wrote a very detailed article on the X-Grip series which you can read here. These fit a 1.25 inch handlebar and carry RAM’s lifetime warranty.
I mentioned the second most popular location on a Harley as being the clutch. Techmount manufactures a well made metal clutch mount for Harley-Davidson that features a 17mm ball. As previously mentioned that’s the same size ball that Garmin uses for the back of their GPS cradles. 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 add the Techmount cradle to the mount. There are also several inexpensive adapters that permit the installation of cameras or even specialized adapters for the ever popular GoPro series.
I mentioned earlier that there are a lot of riders opting to mount a camera on their motorcycle. There are many camera mounts available for your handlebar but they aren’t all well suited for camera use. A camera has a unique requirement to minimize vibration. Some higher end cameras have technology embedded into the software to minimize this affect. Most do not. Buying a plastic mount with a tripod screw embedded is likely to yield a very shaky video so you will want to find a mount that has vibration dampening technology. The RAM handlebar camera mount has been proven over many years to be the best out there for this purpose. These fit handlebar up to 1.25 inches and facilitates very steady videos. There are quite a few videos on YouTube that use a RAM Mount. Here is a random video that I found and you can see the steadiness of the video. Using a plastic mount without dampening features will likely result in a very dizzy viewer.
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iPhone 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 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.
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It’s difficult to ride a bike with a smartphone in your pocket. That’s assuming you have a pocket. A smartphone is a pretty useful device to take along for a ride. Besides the obvious advantage of making sure you do not miss a call, a phone is useful on a bicycle for at least a few of the widely used apps. First, you will find your phone makes a pretty useful GPS when used with one of the many applications for this purpose. You can read our article on Waze, which we recommend highly for a GPS. There are also a number of bicycle apps that are useful for mapping your ride. These apps combine a GPS and odometer into a single application. Riders of mountain bikes will likely ride off road and in undocumented paths, so knowing where you came from might be helpful. There are several good bicycle applications and I like Map My Ride for ease of use and features.
Assuming you are like me and think that having your phone along for the ride is a good idea, you will need to mount it somewhere on your bike. The two most popular places for mounting your phone is the handlebar and stem. Regardless of the location, select a mount that has a universal cradle that will clamp securely to your phone. I suggest using a good rugged case on your phone when in use on your bike so select a cradle that will open wide enough to accept your case. Secondly, you will likely want to use your phone in landscape, so finding a mount that swivels into any orientation is important. Lastly, put some thought into the type of riding you will do. If there are plans to go off a paved road, be sure to buy a mount that includes a cradle that is going to grip your device from all four sides and not just the sides. There is a good chance that your phone is worth more than your bike, so you do not want it to come loose during your ride.
The majority of bicycle mounts will be placed on the handlebar. Measure the diameter of your handlebar and check to ensure the mount purchased will fit properly. You don’t want to take apart your bike to install or remove the mount so buy a mount that will separate sufficiently to be placed around your handlebar. While some mounts made for motorcycles may work well, remember that a motorcycle handlebar has a larger diameter than most bicycles.
We have been a big fan of the Arkon Megagrip universal cradle which opens to 3.4 inches. The Arkon handlebar mount combines this with a safety strap for added security along with a good quality handlebar mount that fits up to 1.25 inch diameter bars. The mount includes a rubber strip that will enable the mount to be used for smaller diameter handlebars. For larger phones, Arkon bundles a larger cradle in their Slim Grip Ultra handlebar mount. This mount bundle includes the same base and safety strap but unlike the Megagrip cradle, this bundle includes a mount that opens to over 7 inches and grabs your phone from the top and bottom versus the sides.
Another good handlebar option includes a weatherproof case. If you plan to use your phone in inclement weather, putting your phone inside a case that will interact with your touch screen is a good idea that offers the added benefit of additional protection. The iKross Pouch Handlebar Mount includes a case that will hold phones up to 5.5 inches tall. The pouch zippers shut and has a slit to permit the use of earbuds, The case features a clear front which will accommodate your touch screen.
As mentioned earlier, the stem is another popular place to mount your phone. Typically, stems have a smaller diameter and most use mounts that will tie to the stem portion of your bike. The zip ties that are used with these types of mounts are easy to install but once in place, the mount is there to stay and removal will require you to cut the ties. Fortunately these zip ties are available in bulk if you need to purchase more. An excellent smartphone mount which uses the zip tie system is the RAM X-Grip EZ-On EZ-Off Mount. This mount features RAM’s popular X-Grip system which we wrote a detailed article which can be read here.
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While Victory has not enjoyed as much popularity as Harley in the United States, we have found owners of this brand to be fiercely loyal, perhaps more so than a Harley owner.
Like other brand owners, Victory owners like to mount things on their bikes. Like almost all other motorcycle brands, the most popular items mounted are cell phones and GPS units. The most popular location for most Victory models is the handlebar. Certain Victory models including the very popular Victory Vision can use the threaded hole used for the bike mirror.
Most Victory handlebars are 1 – 1.25 inches in diameter. As we always says, beware 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. Victory motorcycles vibrate a lot so stay away from the real low end.
Garmin is by far the most popular GPS brand and not surprisingly, most GPS mounts will deploy a 17mm ball at the end that will mate with the cradle that came with the car mount that matches up to the windshield mount. A well made entry-level mount with that 17mm ball that is marketed for motorcycle use is the Arkon handlebar mount. A higher priced but better made handlebar mount from RAM and can be supplemented with a custom cradle to fit your GPS. Both of the mounts mentioned fit handlebars up to 1.25 inches in diameter. I like the RAM entry for the metal construction of the mount plus the lifetime warranty but if you don’t feel like spending about $40 on a complete RAM kit, the Arkon entry has a 2-year warranty and for a plastic mount is well made.
A phone handlebar mount has some other requirements versus the GPS. We recommend using a case on your phone so purchase a mount that deploys a well made universal cradle that will grip your phone very firmly and can optionally be tethered to your handlebar. Select a mount that can swivel into portrait or landscape. If using your phone as a GPS, you will likely use it in landscape but if using it for other applications, there’s a good chance portrait mode will be needed. My favorite mount for a handlebar continues to be the RAM X-Grip mount. We wrote a very detailed article on the X-Grip series which you can read here. These fit a 1.25 inch handlebar and carry RAM’s lifetime warranty. Most components are made of metal and hold up real well to the vibrations of your ride. If interested in seeing a shake test conducted by the manufacturer, click here.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that a nice alternative mounting location on many Vision models is the threaded hole that is normally used for a mirror. Many Victory owners do not use the mirror hole and the resulting vacancy can be used as a mount point for your device. The threaded hole has a M10 1.25 pitch hole. A threaded post mounting ball is available to fit this hole. This part is made by RAM Mount. Simply add one of the RAM 1″ arms such as the RAM-B-201U and your favorite cradle and you are good to go.
We will be hitting 17 degrees tonight in Northern New Jersey. The foot of snow on the ground isn’t going to melt until April as it’s been one of the colder winters we have experienced in quite some time. Looking up at Boston where they have run into a few snow storms that exceeded one foot, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. If you have a snowmobile and you live where there is a lot of snow, I suppose you are pretty happy right now. Today, we will discuss mounting a GPS or phone to your sled.
Mounting anything to your snowmobile is not as simply as finding a cheap bicycle mount and attaching it to your handlebar (if your sled has a handlebar). You need a mount that will withstand a very high vibration environment. You also need a mount that will grip your device extremely tight. You also need a mount that will keep your device dry, that’s unless you have a waterproof device (there are a few GPS and phones that are indeed waterproof, but most are not).
When selecting a mount for your snowmobile, first think about where you would like to put it. Most will select some spare handlebar space. While you might be tempted at this point to simply buy a motorcycle mount, be aware not all motorcycle mounts are the same. Do not use a plastic mount. While some plastic mounts may work well, the inexpensive ones that you see online are not made for a snowmobile and can fall apart in a very cold wet high vibration environment. I recommend a good metal mount to avoid the guesswork of if a plastic mount is high quality.
I have always liked the RAM line of handlebar mounts for this application, Coupled with a custom GPS cradle or heavy duty phone holder, these mounts are guaranteed for life and have been proven to work well in these types of environments. If your handlebar is under 1.25 inches in diameter, use the RAM U-Bolt Mount. A handlebar larger than this will call for the RAM Strap Mount. Both of these mounts come equipped with a handlebar base, three inch metal arm and a mounting diamond at the end. The diamond is used to attach to a RAM Custom GPS Holder. The RAM GPS cradles are well made and custom to the model of GPS. If you are concerned about the elements and would like some additional weather protection, add the Medium Wide Aqua Box to your mount. These will fit most GPS units that have a diagonal screen size up to five inches.
If you would like to mount your phone to your snowmobile, RAM has you covered here as well. They offer a variety of holders that will attach to the mounts just highlighted in the prior paragraph. If you are lucky enough to possess a phone that is waterproof, I have used the RAM universal spring loaded holder with many years of success. For other phones, RAM has a wide variety of weatherproof cases that should work well.
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Most dash cams have a typical 1/4 inch – 20 threaded hole at the bottom. That’s a common pattern for tripods and there is a wide variety of camera mounts available for your car. It’s worth noting that most action cameras make great dash cams. That’s includes the very popular GoPro line. The majority of action cameras also have that common screw hole pattern at the bottom. If you have a GoPro, remove the weatherproof case from the camera and you will see that hole at the bottom. The exception to the rule of the tripod hole is the Garmin line of cameras. Garmin uses a similar mount to their GPS line and you can read a detailed article on those mounts here.
After ensuring your camera has the standard screw hole on the bottom, think about where you would like to place the camera. The most common location is the dashboard, next comes the windshield. We have seen a few cases where a headrest mount is used and we covered that type of mount in our headrest mount article which you can read here. When selecting a mount be sure it will be stable when in use in a car. I have found most gooseneck mounts to be poor choices because of the effects of car vibration. If you stick with a plastic or metal mount, that will generally suffice as these are not as prone to the effects of a vibrating and shaking car. If your camera has a good image stabilization feature, the effects of vibration from the mount may not be as important.
Good dash mounts come in two styles. The first, and most widely used, is a dashboard mount that uses an adhesive bottom. Be sure the adhesive is a very high bond (VHB). Prior to attaching your VHB adhesive mount, wipe the dash absolutely clean, apply the adhesive mount and let it sit for at least 24 hours. Try to avoid applying in very cold weather. A good adhesive dashboard camera mount that I have used is one made by Arkon. I like this because it is low in profile, uses VHB adhesive on the bottom and is very steady.
The second type of dash mount involves the use of a bean bag with a non skid base. Arkon again comes in with a very good bean bag camera mount which features their very good CM012 bean bag base which we have reviewed in an earlier article which you can read here. The benefits of the mount include easy portability because there isn’t any adhesive involves. Simply remove the entire mount. We suggest using their unique safety anchor which ensures your mount stays on the dash.
The next type of mount that we see in use for dash cams is on the windshield. The trick with a windshield mount is to find one that will bend upwards so that your camera screw hole located on the bottom of your device can be used and your video stays upright. Naturally, if your camera has the ability to turn your video 180 degrees, this is not an issue (most good cameras have this feature). Most windshield mounts use a suction cup on the bottom and there are plenty of inexpensive mounts that are of the suction cup variety. Be careful to sect a high quality mount that is not going to vibrate.
We recommend the RAM suction cup camera mount for the windshield. Yes, it cost more than the plastic varieties mentioned above, however the advantages make it a worthwhile purchase. The mounts come with a lifetime warranty and have a solid metal arm with a vibration absorbing design. Your video will be extremely stable with this mount. An optional accessory to this mount for dashboard use is the RAM adhesive base. Adhere the suction cup portion of the mount to this base to turn it into a dashboard mount.
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A car sun visor can be a good place to mount a device such as a phone or radar detector. The location is somewhat near your point of vision to the road and relatively easy to reach. Car sun visor mounts are funny. Some love it and others hate it. It all depends upon the individual. Most sun visor mount manufacturers recommend attaching it to the passenger’s visor so if you are located in North America and most of Europe (except the UK), that would equate to the right visor and it would be attached to the left side of that visor.
The nice feature of the sun visor mount is that when the visor is flipped upwards, the mount is out of the way and is difficult to see from the outside of the car. Most visor mounts clip over the top of the visor when it is in the down position. They typically use a universal cradle that expands to grip a phone or GPS. Be sure to measure your device before buying a sun visor mount to ensure the mount will fit. Sun visor mounts are popular with phones although I have seen it used with GPS units as well. Sun visor mounts are also very popular for radar detectors. It’s not suitable for a tablet as the device is typically too large to fit the universal cradles that are included with sun visor mounts and depending upon the size, your visor may not be able to flip up when not in use.
The most popular sun visor mounted devices are probably radar detectors and in fact, Escort provides one of these sun visor mounts as the standard within the box with most of their radar detectors. These mounts slip into a small slit on the top of the radar detector then clip over the visor. Unlike other mounts that we will discuss in this article, these mounts work best when your sun visor is in the up position (not in use).
The second most popular sun visor mounted device is a phone. The visor is a good place to put your phone versus the passenger seat as it keeps it from under somebody’s butt and out of the way. Furthermore it can be used as a GPS or just so that you can see the caller ID of someone calling you. Some sun visor mounts will not permit a swivel into landscape mode so be sure to select one that has a swivel feature such as this well made mount from iKross.
Lastly, I have seen GPS units mounted from a sun visor. Depending upon the size of the GPS, a phone mount with universal cradle may work well. If you have a Garmin Nuvi, there is a cradle that accompanies the unit and on the back is a socket. That socket fits a mount that has a 17mm attached to it. Arkon makes a sun visor mount specifically for the Garmin Nuvi line and it has that 17mm ball.
Every mount has its pros and cons. We already discussed the pros at the beginning of the article. There are cons too. First, if you plan to use a power cable with your device, it’s a long way down to your power outlet. The cable is going to potentially get in the way of your passenger and after a while you may find it tiring to have a cable draping three feet down. Secondly, while it’s somewhat close to your line of site on the road, you need to look up and towards the passenger. I personally prefer a windshield, dash or vent mount for times when I need to see the device while driving.
Mounting Components Discussed in this Article: