07
May
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I recently took up bike riding as a good way to get outside and get active. Being a tech-junkie and overall stat-lover, though, I immediately wanted a good way to track my rides in detail, including real-time MPH, distance traveled, and all the other info that may help me better keep up with my progress. Instead of going the traditional "bike computer" route, though, I decided to use my smartphone to accomplish the task at hand.

After finding a couple of terrific apps to get the info that I wanted (Move! Bike Computer and MapMyRide+) and creating an NFC tag so I could quickly put my phone into "bike mode," I was still missing one key component: a way to keep an eye on my phone. So began my quest for a good and secure way to mount my phone onto my bike's handlebars.

That's when I found a trio of mounts from Arkon that could not only mount to my bike, but also in the car with an additional base. I've been using the Mega Grip and Slim Grip mounts on my bicycle for more than a month now, so let's take a closer look at what this set has to offer, aside from an easy to use mount that works across multiple modes of transportation.

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The mount seat

While I used these mounts exclusively on my bike, the below review is equally as applicable for the vehicle mounts, since they're the same thing.

Mega Grip

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What is it?

  • How much does it cost? Between $20 and $25, depending on the package.
  • Where can I buy it? Here: Car, Bike 

The Good

  • Excellent Grip. The Mega Grip has adjustable spring-loaded arms that hold your phone in place. Once the phone is placed in the seat, you simply squeeze these padded arms together to form a nice, tight hold.
  • The phone is easy to remove. While the mount holds the phone in place quite nicely, there is a small button on the side that releases the arms, thus releasing its grip on the phone.
  • It should be able to hold basically any phone on the market. This mount held my Galaxy Nexus with plenty of room to spare. It should be able to hold anything from an iPhone all the way to the Galaxy Note without much if an issue.
  • It should be compatible with basically any case. Since it's completely adjustable, it should be able to handle any device without having to remove the case.
  • The top half of the device is still exposed. Since the entire top half is left uncovered, you should be able to access the power button and volume rocker on most devices. If, however, the headphone jack or USB port is located on the bottom half of the device, then it may be covered (more on that down below).

The Not-So-Good

  • It covers the bottom half of the device. This may not cause a problem on certain phones, but it left the headphone jack completely inaccessible on my Galaxy Nexus (the bottom arms are adjustable, but I felt like moving them inward reduced the strength of the hold). This could be a problem for anyone looking to use headphones while the device is in the mount (if the jack is on the bottom or side, that is).
  • The spring-loaded arms could wear out eventually. While the arms feel pretty good right now, I can't say what months of opening and closing could do to them. Eventually, they'll definitely wear out, at which time the unit will need to be replaced.
  • It's Bulky. In my experience, the more robust the product, the more bulky it is. That's still the case here - it's not huge, but it's definitely bigger than I expected it to be.

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Slim Grip

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What is it?

  • How much does it cost? Around $20, give or take a few dollars depending on the package.
  • Where can I buy it? Here: Car, Bike

The Good

  • It's small, with a thin profile. The Slim Grip takes up significantly less room than the Mega Grip, as it has a more streamlined shape.
  • It has adjustable legs for various-sized devices. The Slim Grip has small grooves in both the bottom and the top for the different-length legs (seen above in the first and second image) so it should fit nearly any size device.
  • It should be compatible with basically any case. Since it's completely adjustable, it should be able to handle any device without having to remove the case.
  • The spring-loaded base makes it easy to insert/remove the device with one hand. The bottom of the mount is spring loaded, which makes inserting your phone/removing it from the mount one-handed quite easy.

The Not So Good

  • It's not as sturdy as the Mega Grip. While it may be slimmer and more low-profile than the Mega Grip, it's also not as sturdy. I haven't had an issue with my phone slipping out of it (or anything of the sort), I feel like it could be bumped from this mount much easier than the Mega Grip.
  • It may not be able to handle devices much larger than the Galaxy Nexus. I feel like the GN pushes this mount almost to its limits, so if you have something much larger (like the Note), I would probably steer clear of this one.
  • The spring-loaded bottom could wear out eventually. Like with the Mega Grip, the spring-loaded mechanism in the Slim Grip will eventually wear out, requiring the unit to need replacing.

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Water-Resistant Mount

What is it?

  • How much does it cost? $30
  • Where can I buy it? Here.

Arkon also has a water-resistant mount that's specifically designed for use on bicycles/motorcycles, but unfortunately the Galaxy Nexus is too large to fit, so I was unable to see how it perform during real world use. However, it appears to be well made and quite protective.

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The case completely covers the device, protecting it from the elements. It also includes two pads of different thickness, so you can ensure that your phone is as secure as possible. It would probably work very well for devices with four-inch or smaller displays, as the Nexus stuck out of it about half an inch.

Conclusion

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An add-on strap for either the Mega Grip or Slim Grip mount that gives a little bit of extra hold.

Overall, these mounts worked out better than I ever anticipated (well, except for the water-resistant model). Both the Mega and Slim grip actually hold onto the device quite well, and while they probably won't provide much protection in the case of a wreck, I can't see my phone coming out during everyday use, regardless of which one I'm using.

So, which one am I actually using? To be honest, I prefer the Slim Grip. I feel like it provides enough hold, while still leaving access to basically everything that I need (power, volume, headphone jack, etc.). Of course, if you're buying one for your bike and are a more aggressive rider or mountain biker, then I would suggest the Mega Grip (or the water-resistant model if you have a small enough phone). For road-riding, however, I really do love the Slim Grip.

For the money, though, you really can't go wrong with either.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Markus Renner Online

    I still searching for a slim mount for a race bike which can handle oversized diameter at the handlebar or stem. It's so ugly if you add 4 cm to your handlebar.

  • Jameson Ahern

    I just put the Mega Grip on my motorcycle, and so far so good with my GS2.  I plan on keeping a ziplock bag with me as my "weatherproofing."

  • http://www.andrewflusche.com/ Andrew Flusche

    I have the water-resistant variety. It fits my EVO 3D, but just barely. I'm hard on electronics, and I was worried it might start sprinkling while I'm riding. The enclosed case keeps my phone safe as can be, while still letting me skip a song, pause, etc.

  • saimin

    I just keep my phone in my pocket when I'm riding my bike. Don't see any need to ever look at the screen when I'm riding. Easy enough to pull it out of my pocket when I'm stopped.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Bike computer - think GPS, current speed, time, etc.

  • John O’Connor

    It's bad enough that bicyclists are messing with their phones period while riding on a bike.  I have seen several accidents as a result of people not paying attention on the road and have a certain bone to pick with the bikers out there who engage in these behaviors.  Nothing is that important to risk yours or others (by causing a car accident with your inadvertent weaving) lives with. pull over, get off your bike and then check your phone.

    • saimin

      Same goes for car drivers. Don't mess with your phone when you're driving. Hands free is no safer. Find a safe parking space before you answer that call.

    • Freebeat44

      The same could be said for drivers that find there phone to be more important then the other people on the road. In my expreiance there are less cycleists that play with there phone then drivers. So instead of placeing blame maybe you should put your phone down and pay atenton to the road instead of posting this comment

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Relax, man. The title of the review was a joke, and if you read the review, then you'd see that the only reason I wanted to mount my phone was so I can use it as bike computer.  

      • Daniel Orchard

        I want to see a new mount for the sony watch or the motorolla watch that takes it off your wrist and mounts it on the handle bars.  This could then use the GPS and software from your phone (safely in your pocket) and display the important bits via bluetooth on the smaller (cheaper) screen.  Its about the same size as a typical cyclometer as well but with a colour tft screen although I dont know how well any of these screens would fair in full sunlight compared to my bw lcd current bike computer.

        The sony watch already looks like it snaps off the band quite easily... I was only pondering this application the other day,  I would feel more comfortable with my phone in the rear bike bag or pocket but still get to use all the computing power while riding to display realtime data and record my trip for historical comparisons/logging.

        • Daniel Orchard

          Looks like others are already on it, watch the developer preview video, it shows this watch in a bike handle bar holder in the video and it has an inbuilt accelerometer 
          http://www.wimm.com/platform-approach.html 

    • jayray78

      I use mine as a bike computer too. A quick glance down gives me my current speed and distance traveled as well as many other customizable info tiles. Its really no more invasive than any other bike computer out there. 

  • John O’Connor

    It's bad enough that bicyclists are messing with their phones period while riding on a bike.  I have seen several accidents as a result of people not paying attention on the road and have a certain bone to pick with the bikers out there who engage in these behaviors.  Nothing is that important to risk yours or others (by causing a car accident with your inadvertent weaving) lives with. pull over, get off your bike and then check your phone.

  • Aaron Dugger

    So I know its not the point of this article but, What case is that you have on your GNex? I've been doing some research on them lately and I can't decide which one I want to get. Also, Does it work with the 2100mAh battery?

  • wolfkabal

    You should check out the Tetrex FIXWAY, combined with any generic handlebar mount (I used one from an old speed/cadence mount) - and then a simple rubber band to ensure it stays (just like these offer) - works great!!!  and better, I can put it on the flat handlebar mount of my motorcycle and not worry about finding an over-sized bar mount.

    These are even better for car use, but I've been able to get them working as described for bike usage.

    http://www.brandmotion.com/ipod/tetrax/tetrax-fixway.html 

  • wolfkabal

    I am interested in the weather-proof case though - especially for motorcycle usage. But the water "resistant" zippers are what scare me..  I know what "resistant" means.

  • http://twitter.com/cezeOne cezeOne

    Endomondo makes a great phone case but the size won't fit anything bigger than an EVO 3D, Photon, or NS4G. I ran the numbers across all my devices and my SGS2E4GT won't fit. So I guarantee my gNEXUS won't either.

  • thetrystero

    A crash could be costly. Over here in Malaysia, phones are only barely subsidised by carriers, if at all, so I wouldn't be putting my phone on a bike anytime soon, no matter how sturdy a grip.

  • Corneliu Dascălu

    Phone in pocket, coupled via Bluetooth with something like the Pebble watch is way better IMO.

  • jayray78

    I have one of these. Its a peice of junk. Its one of the Arkon series with a custom holder for my Thunderbolt. First ride out, the mount broke sending my phone to the concrete at 20mph. I wrote the company an email and they basically told me to suck it. 

    After much thought, I decided to use a neoprene armband strapped between my aero bars. Its perfect and out of the way. The flex in the neoprene allows for an extended battery. $10 at Walmart http://bit.ly/JTV1cN and its somewhat water resistant. 

    Its also noteworthy to say that the mounting bracket on these models is not adjustable and only fits a certain diameter cross bar or handle bar. If its not round, its not going to fit.

  • fixxmyhead

    stupid product. u gotta be stupid to buy this thing even if u do use a bike

  • Mika123h

    I use the "Minoura Phone Grip" 
    http://www.minourausa.com/english/accessory-e/ih100-e.html
    Looks good and my SGS2 is safe.