Do you have a smartphone? Then welcome to the world of cycling sat nav…
These days, a smartphone and a navigation program are the only tools you need to navigate yourself around an unfamiliar city. Sure, the paper maps you can pick up at a tourist centre offer a useful overview, but you’ll be fishing them out of your pocket at every junction to make sure you’re on track.
I use Googlemaps all the time to discover new backroutes and cut-throughs I might otherwise overlook.
For day to day navigation, I use Googlemaps, saving more complex programs like Gaia GPS, Maps.me, and Mapout for when I’m bike touring. Googlemaps isn’t perfect, but it does a pretty good job at showing bike paths, choosing low traffic routes, and rerouting on the fly. I use it all the time for places I know too; to discover new backroutes and cut-throughs I might otherwise overlook.
I used to keep my phone stashed in a pocket or the side pocket of my framebag, sometimes syncing it with a small handlebar speaker for audio, turn by turn navigation through towns. But then I discovered the Quad Lock, which offers a quick and minimal way to attach your phone to the handlebars of your bike and keep it visible all the time.
Sure, there are plenty of cheaper products around that do the same thing, especially on the likes of eBay and Amazon. But having used the Quad Lock for several months now, in all kinds of places and terrain (off road and around town), I’m very satisfied by the strength of its design and how well it’s made. The Quad Lock mount is really easy to fit and it’s very secure. Attaching your phone and removing it is straightforward too; it’s simply a case of twisting the cradle into place for it to snap in firmly. The phone case itself is very low in profile, so it won’t catch inside a pocket. I leave it on all the time as it offers some protection from drops too.
The standard kit comes with an easily removed mount that can be quickly traded between bikes; eventually, I’ll get a couple of extra mounts and leave them on all my bikes and secure them in place with zip ties, in addition to the rubber O-rings, both of which are provided. Otherwise, there are additional bolted mounts available too.
The full kit comes with a protective poncho to shield your phone and its ports from dust and rainfall.
If you don’t have a waterproof smartphone (mine is an ‘older’ generation iPhone 6), the full kit comes with a protective ‘poncho’ to shield it and its ports from dust and rainfall. But with the basic screen protector I have on my phone, it hinders use significantly, so I just use it when it’s raining as it also covers up all the ports. While it works well enough, a downside to this system is that the poncho is easy to lose – spares are available separately.
There are also all kinds of kits for all manner of phones and uses, be it cycling, running, or in a car. I have the standard iPhone kit which includes the solidly made case, the mount, and poncho. If you already have a case you like, you can get a stick-on adaptor.
Fact and Stats
- Product name Quad Lock Handlebar/Stem Phone Mount
- ContactQuad Lock
Disclosure: Quad Lock sent me this bike mount to try out.
For a deeper review, be sure to read thoughts at Bikepacking.com.