I have walked around motorcycle rallies to check out (what else) mounts. It’s amazing to see what people attach to their bikes and how they do it. We see a lot of different mounts on motorcycles. Amazingly, we also see iPhones attached with Velcro and twist ties. That’s right, twist ties. I often wonder how many phones wind up in the middle on interstate 80 when the twist ties give out. There’s a good chance your phone sells for over $500. Invest a little money to make sure you don’t lose it on your ride. This article will discuss what you need to think about before purchasing your cell phone motorcycle mount and provide a few recommendations.
Phones on motorcycles are primarily used for GPS purposes. However, with a well made headsets such as the Sena Low-Profile Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset, you can also make calls or even listen to music. Whatever you decide to do, be safe about it. Texting on a motorcycle is a really bad idea and so is any interfacing in general. It’s best to set your phone up before starting your ride. If you need to interface with your phone, pull over.
First thing you will need to do is measure your phone the way you will use it on your motorcycle. That means if you will be using a case or skin, measure your phone with that case or skin already on your phone. We often recommend using a universal cradle on your phone because most use a case or skin and custom cradles will not fit your phone with a case or skin. We also like universal cradles because they can be used again when you upgrade to your next phone. Remember, not all universal cradles are created equally, especially when it comes to motorcycle use. Select a cradle that will securely grasp your phone or ones that have a tether strap integrated into the mounting system. We’re big fans of tethers and you can read more about them here.
Next, determine where you wish to put it. Probably 80% (if not more) of all motorcycle mounts sold are made for your handlebar. Most handlebars are 1.25″ diameter, but there are some larger, some are smaller, so measure the diameter of your handlebar. The diameter is the distance across, not the distance around (that’s the circumference). Examine the available handlebar real estate as that will help determine if you need to go with a flush mount or one that uses an extension arm.
When it comes to universal handlebar mounts, there are a few that we recommend.
The photo that accompanies this article is the Arkon RoadVise Handlebar Strap Mount. You will need two hands to open and close due to the fact that the grip is purposely made to provide a firm grip on the device. The sides of the grips are padded to prevent marring and opens to 4 inches. The included handlebar mount is constructed of plastic and fits bars up to almost 2 inches diameter. The ball and socket design allows full swivel for your device to be used in landscape or portrait mode. The mount is easy to install and remove. We always like to recommend adding a tether to any motorcycle mount, you can read about them here.
Another mount that we recommend for handlebar use is the Arkon Smartphone Handlebar Mount with integrated safety tether. These mounts include universal cradles which will fit most phones with or without a case or skin. This mount is made of plastic. Be sure to use the safety tether provided.
RAM makes some nice rugged mounts for motorcycles. The RAM X-Grip handlebar mount includes a universal cradle that opens to 3.25 inches and fits most phones. If you are using one of the larger phones, the RAM X-Grip IV Handlebar Mount opens to 4.5 inches and fits larger smartphones with or without a case or skin. The cradles are made to open with one hand yet the grip is very secure. These mounts are made of powder coated metal and the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty. RAM now includes an integrated tether with these cradles and mounts which is appreciated.
Some motorcycles such as a Honda Goldwing do not have a traditional handlebar. On some cases, maybe you do not want to mount it on a handlebar. In these cases, you will use a clutch mount. These mounts include bolts which will replace the ones that are already in place. Detailed instructions are provided which will show you how to install it and it really is a fairly simple operation. The Techmount Chrome Clutch Mount with TechGrip Cradle is a premium mount that features a cradle that opens to 4.3 inches. Unlike prior mounts already discussed, the Techmount has a chrome mounting base to match most handlebars. The cradle provides a very tight grip on your device.
Did you put any thought into using your phone in the rain? Water and smartphones don’t mix well. If you never ride in the rain, or if you pull over to tuck your phone away at the first sign of any precipitation, this is not a concern. However, if you think that you might want to use the phone in the rain, then you may want to consider a weatherproof case integrated with your mount. We wrote a detailed article on this topic awhile back which you can read here.