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. Hence, today’s article on bicycle phone mounts.
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 bicycle phone 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 bicycle phone 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 phone 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 bicycle phone mount that will separate sufficiently to be placed around your handlebar. While some bicycle phone 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 Bike Smartphone 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 bicycle phone mounts that will tie to the stem portion of your bike. The zip ties that are used with these types of bicycle phone 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.