We’ve previously evangelised about RAM’s clever ball and socket phone mount system in the Quick Grip XL review – its range of interchangeable clamps and arms allows you to customise a phone holder that fits both your motorbike and your device perfectly.
Thing is, while it holds onto my phone with a Thanos-like grip, it doesn’t charge it. And that’s something rivals like Quad Lock offer, which is a problem for RAM.
Also read: The best motorcycle phone holders
Now the majority of phones offer wireless charging, it’s a no-brainer to pick a phone mount for your motorbike that features this tech – your device sits pressed into it for hours at a time, just inches away from a permanent power source.
There is one consideration though, and that’s price. Throwing in a wireless charger seriously pumps up the bottom line. So is the RAM Mount Tough Charge worth the extra cash over its unpowered version and a USB cable?
Fitting the Tough Charge
Unlike my previous Honda CB500X with its handy gadget rail to mount things like phones or sat-navs on, the Honda CBR650R I’m currently riding is a bit tight in the cockpit area.
Happily though RAM has a couple of solutions, from a mount that secures to the inside of the headtube to this simple ball and 8mm bolt arrangement that can replace one of your handlebar or fork mount fixings.
Once screwed it and with an arm attached it is absolutely rock solid – more so even than the clamp on my old bike, and offers loads of clearance to the windscreen and doesn’t obscure my view of the dials. Result.
What’s the Tough Charge holder like?
Once the foundation is in place and the phone holder attached, power needs to be supplied to the Tough Charge. It comes with a short USB cable that can be plugged straight into a 12v socket at the front of your bike if it has one there, but the kit also includes a 1.2m long extension if, like mine, it doesn’t.
The CBR650R’s power socket is under the seat and that means running it under the fuel tank and into an adaptor (the bike’s output is a USB-C socket) but after that job is done, and everything is cable tied into place, it’s good to go.
Unlike the slider mechanism of the Quick Grip XL, the Tough Charge uses X-Grip technology, which requires you to squeeze two of the legs together before sliding your phone into place.
How strong is the Tough Charge’s grip?
Very solid, and there’s an option rubber tether arrangement to pin it into place further if you want. To be honest, this arrangement is less convenient than that Quick Grip XL, which just slides into place.
If you need to take your phone off the bike regularly (because you use it to pay for fuel for example) then it’s a bit more of a faff, but one that is mitigated by the simplicity of it being on charge as soon as it’s docked.
This is useful for two reasons – because the USB cable that plugs into my phone when I use the Quick Grip XL often falls out, or is positioned at the wrong angle, and doesn’t always charge my phone, and crucially because it doesn’t work at all in the wet.
As soon as even a small amount of moisture hits my device it panics about the charge port being moist (not my words) and then refuses to accept any electricity until long after it’s dried out. Not a problem with the Tough Charge, which pumps in 10W of waterproof juice.
Will the Tough Charge fit my phone?
RAM has a compatibility list on its website but suffice to say the fitment is a bit more specific than on theQuick Grip (here I had to set the width of the holder but after that, it was fit and forget) because of the way the Tough Charge grips the outside edges of your phone.
On my device, this means the arms sometimes press the volume or lock button, which is annoying, but likely more down to the fact my phone is really big. I suspect the Quick Grip style holder, which presses into the top and bottom of the phone, is a better fit for my device. Worth trying both before making your mind up, I reckon.
Phone compatibility complaints aside the Tough Charge is a brilliantly convenient way to hold and charge your device at the same time, in all weathers, and with no loose wires dangling around or pulling out while you’re riding.
It is pricey but given the open cockpit nature of motorcycling that’s hardly a surprise – making something capable of capacitive charging that is also able to withstand pounding rain is no mean feat.
Pick the X-Grip version like this one for a more minimalist set-up if you have a normal-sized phone, and the Quick Grip variant if you have a large device and more space on your bars.