With the amount of tech built into modern smartphones, many riders only need them on their bikes instead of standalone sat navs, for example. I’m one of those – I use Google Maps or an app called Waze to navigate by (both are free) and regularly stop to take photos of the route or sights and listen to music fairly constantly. So access to my phone on the bike is essential.
There are lots of mounts around, ranging from super cheap to super expensive. However, there are several key aspects to bear in mind. One is weather protection; some smartphones, such as later iPhones, purport to be water-resistant but frankly, are you going to risk it? I’m not.
You also need something robust enough to make sure your expensive phone doesn’t go bouncing down the road at the first pothole you hit.
Finally – and this is a biggie – as many riders know and Apple confirmed in 2021, vibrations from your bike can kill your iPhone. The issue seems to be with bigger engines and the image-stabilisation system; Apple recommends vibration dampers if you mount your phone on a bike.
Quadlock is a manufacturer who was ahead of the game on that one, releasing a vibration damper for its phone-mount system well ahead of Apple realising it was an issue. The company’s system is modular, allowing you to tailor it to work however you want.
The system starts with the company’s phone case. The latest version is a rigid case with a matte finish that includes the mounting boss on the back for various matching mounts. The case protects round the front and prevents the face of my iPhone 11 from touching the surface. On the back, it does the same with the camera, though the lenses are not protected physically.
The mounting boss is raised slightly, though not as much as the previous version. It doesn’t interfere with handling the phone at all and traditional wireless chargers work fine through the case.
Once you have your case, you start to choose your options. First is mounting; there are various options, such as a mirror mount, an ‘out-front’ mount on an arm or a straightforward bar mount, such as the one seen here.
On top of the mount fits the company’s vibration damper. This damper uses two pieces of metal – one connected to the bike, one to the final mount on your phone – separated by three rubber cones. When we measured it with a vibration-monitoring app, the result of the Quadlock system is a reduction in vibrations of 45%.
The actual smartphone mount fits onto the vibration damper. This is via a straightforward clip-in motion – you offer the phone up at 45° from the position you want it in and then twist to lock it in place. The traditional mount has a plastic tab that you have to push to release the phone so you can remove it, but another option is the company’s wireless charging head.
The wireless charging head connects via a waterproof USB-C connection on the back, and it comes with both a short USB lead for bikes that have a power socket near the front and a long one that will easily reach back to under-seat USB power sockets.
The advantage here is that if the weather is a bit dodgy, you can keep your phone on charge at all times – essential if using a sat-nav app, for example, as they are notoriously heavy on batteries.
Just like the aforementioned mount, you offer the phone up at 45° and twist it to lock it into the charging head. You then push the tabs on either side to release it, so you can twist it to remove it again.
Speaking of poor weather, if you don’t fancy risking your phone out in the wind and rain, you can get a waterproof ‘poncho’ to keep it completely dry and safe.
When you add in all the elements that form this system, it’s not cheap. However, it is a very convenient and well-engineered system that makes using your phone as a sat nav or camera on your bike incredibly easy.
It also keeps the battery topped up and the rain away. However, most importantly, it reduces the vibrations that can kill an iPhone in as few as a couple of rides, and that alone has to be worth the investment.
Very well engineered
Separate and effective vibration dampening
Weatherproof wireless charging head
Costs can mount up