You might like to take your smartphone along with you if, like me, you:
- Use GPS maps to follow a trail or to work out exactly where you are.
- Track your rides, for training or motivation.
I know that specific GPS devices like the Garmins do this job beautifully, but to avoid spending £150-£300 on a separate device having a bar mount for your iPhone is a very good alternative. The option to have the one device to track/follow routes; take photos; talk to people (yes, I know, wow); post to your favourite social media sites whilst you’re out etc. is an option I decided to take.
After quite a bit of research to find the best way to attach my iPhone to the handebars, I chose the Tigra mount.
(If you’re looking for a Video Case for your iPhone, have a look at this other review of the ProductX POV iPhone Camera Case)
Why choose the Tigra Bike Mount?
The Tigra iPhone Handlebar Mount is a fairly simple affair, not much bigger than the phone itself. In my opinion, the main benefits are:
- It’s easy to fit, with a pretty infinitely-adjustable collar that’s open on one side so you don’t need to remove any brake or gear levers.
- The phone housing attaches to the collar with a satisfying double-click and in over 12 months of use (with a multitude of offroad bumps and quite a few crashes) there’s never been any sign of the housing trying to disconnect from the collar.
- There’s decent weather-proofing, with a rubber seal around the housing and extra rubber plugs for the headphone and mic holes if you’re not using them. So if you get caught in a shower, there’s no need to panic.
- The clear plastic front recognises your finger inputs so you can control the phone without removing it from the mount.
- There’s a cutout for the camera lens on the reverse so you can take photos without taking the camera out.
- All the important buttons can be used whilst your phone’s mounted.
Any Bad Points?
Very few things in life are perfect. In use, I’ve found a couple of niggles with the Tigra mount which I should tell you about. They’ve not stopped me loving the product, but I sometimes wish they’d been addressed.
- The collar fastener could be tighter. It’s basically a plastic jubilee clip and very easy to over-tighten, at which point it slips back a notch. I’m thinking of inserting a thin strip of rubber in there to make things more secure. In fairness it’s adequate enough, but it can slip a little when you’re hammering down the trail.
- The rubber plugs for the earphone and mic holes are easy to lose. I’ve decided to tape up the earphone hole permanently, as I don’t have tunes on when riding. It’s the plug at the top so now I know there’s no weather creeping in there. I can see why Tigra needed to give me the option to listen to tunes on the go, but I prefer a permanent seal.
In very rainy conditions, I take the extra precaution of slipping my iPhone into a butty bag. This is mainly so I can take it out of the mount without any splashes if I stop for a brew. On one ride last year though, I actually fell into the canal and the phone survived unharmed with the extra weatherproofing! Bonus. 🙂
I’d definitely recommend the Tigra mount . It’s a cost-effective way of using GPS on the bike for road or trail rides, whether you’re following a mapped route or just recording where you’ve been. Much cheaper than a Garmin to do the same job, and of course you have your phone handy, too!
If you have a look using the box below, make sure you select the one for your iPhone – there are separate versions for iPhone 3/3GS and the iPhone 4/4GS.
Tell ‘em Phill sent you 🙂
I have always been dubious of mounting my iPhone on the bars. I feel that the terrain that I cross (from xc to all-mountain) would just be too much for a bar mount. Maybe this one is worth a punt though, as to have the ability to view the map of a new route etc would be great.
That’s a valid objection and I have worried a bit myself when I’ve bounced down rocky chutes in the past. Thankfully the Tigra mount has stayed put. The collar can slip slightly but the worst than can happen is that the plastic box spins a little around the bars and/or taps against the stem – the rubber insert provided protects the phone from any impacts though, and the little closure clasp has been amazingly reliable. Not come undone once, just make sure it’s totally closed before you set off, there’s a satisfying “click”.
Having the map available on the bars is a boon or sure. I’m a risk-averse person so I usually map a new path to follow when I’m on a new route. Stopping to check this is a real comfort, so not having to drag my phone out helps a lot. The only thing I would say is that some apps use the iPhone’s automatic levels for the backlight, and the light meter is hidden by the Tigra’s cover. You might need to open the cover momentarily to get the screen to light up enough to scrutinise the map – but you’ll be stopped anyway, probably.
Worth a punt? I’d say so, let me know how you find it.