I was recently walking around a Harley showroom and stumbled upon a brand new Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. So, here’s our article about phone, GPS and camera mounts and holders for a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle.
The photo that accompanies this article is of a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy cockpit. You can see there are a lot of different places to mount a cell phone, GPS, camera or satellite radio. The handlebar is an obvious choice. So is the clutch and brake reservoir. There are a few other secondary locations to try but I think these two are the easiest to install and will end up looking the best.
Like almost all Harley models, the diameter of the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy handlebar comes in at a standard 1.25 inches. There is a substantial amount of handlebar real estate on each side of the stem. The most popular location for mounting devices is the handlebar and I think that’s the location most will opt for. The clutch is another good place for mounting but it requires some additional installation knowledge and effort.
Let’s start with smartphone mount and holder recommendations. Over the past few years, I am seeing more phones mounted versus GPS devices. There are a lot of great GPS apps out there. By the way, if you haven’t tried it, check out our Waze review. I think that’s the best GPS app available.
If using a phone on your motorcycle, be sure to use a good case like an Otterbox Defender or LifeProof case to protect your smartphone against road debris. The small investment will help to protect against potential damage to your expensive phone and it’s worth the small investment.
For motorcycle use, it’s important that you select a mount that has a well constructed cradle that is going to hold your phone tightly so that it stays secure in high vibration environments.
Most smartphones, especially with a case or skin, can use the RAM X-Grip IV Handlebar Mount. This includes the RAM X-Grip cradle. We wrote a very detailed article on the X-Grip series which you can read here. These are well constructed mounts that are mostly made of powder coated metal. These mounts feature the expandable X-Grip IV cradle which can open to 4.5 inches and that is large enough for almost any phone and many GPS devices. These handlebar mounts allow complete 360 degree rotation of your device. The manufacturer now includes a safety tether with these mounts which is a nice added addition. These come with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
A similar mount which will fit the clutch on a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is the RAM Brake/Clutch Reservoir Mount with Universal X-Grip IV Phone Cradle. These come with a set of bolts that will replace the factory bolts that are already there. They are a little longer than the original bolts to accommodate the added length of the mounting post. These are more difficult to install than your basic handlebar mount so be sure to follow the directions and use a mechanic if not comfortable working on your motorcycle. This mount has the same cradle as the handlebar model we just discussed in the prior paragraph.
If you have a GPS, it’s probably a Garmin GPS. Either a Garmin Zumo or one of the car models like a Garmin Nuvi or Garmin Drive. The Zumo includes a RAM motorcycle mount that will attach to your handlebar or clutch. That’s an excellent metal mount that is made by RAM. If you have a TomTom Rider, it likely includes that same RAM mount. Both manufacturers share a similar mounting pattern on their motorcycle GPS models (a car GPS is a completely different story).
The Garmin Nuvi or Garmin Drive use a cradle that has a 17mm socket on the back. You will use a mount that has a 17mm ball on it. 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 for Garmin Nuvi and Garmin Drive GPS. These fit handlebar diameters up to 1.25 inches and include a rubber strip to prevent marring of chrome surfaces. Don’t be tempted to skip to skip the rubber strip. We recommend using it to protect the chrome finish. These mounts are attached with a screwdriver to tighten two bolts.
A higher priced but better handlebar mount is the Arkon Premium Aluminum Motorcycle Garmin GPS Motorcycle Mount. These will fit your Harley-Davidson Fat Boy handlebar without a problem. The mount has a 17mm ball on the end to fit the Garmin cradle. It’s made of metal and installs with an included hex wrench. Keep the wrench as you will need it if you want to remove the mount.
I previously mentioned the clutch on a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. This is probably the second most popular location for mounting. A company called Techmount manufactures a well made Harley-Davidson and Metric Control Mount Kit that features a 17mm ball. As you already know, 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. If you would like to mount a phone, you can add the Techmount TechGripper Cradle to the mount. This makes this particular mount a dual purpose mount. Add the cradle when you want to use it for your phone. Optionally remove the cradle when it’s time for a GPS (although you can also use the cradle). Use a tether on your GPS for added safety.
There are many camera mounts available for a handlebar but they aren’t all well suited for motorcycle use. You need to select a well made mount. 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. You want a mount that has vibration dampening technology.
The RAM Handlebar Rail Mount for Cameras has been proven over many years to be the best out there for this purpose. Using a plastic mount without dampening features will likely result in a very dizzy viewer. Opt for the better metal variety from RAM. It fits up to 1.25 inch diameter and has a small support platform built into the adapter head. The mount pivots and swivels. You will likely need to mount a camera fairly high up on the handlebar to get an unobstructed view. Like almost all RAM components, these have a lifetime warranty.
So there you have it. Lots of choices. The handlebar and clutch work best on a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. You can consider other locations which include the mirror stem and a few others but I prefer to stick with the two discussed in this article.