As we’ve discussed before, many riders like to use their smartphones as a sat nav instead of a traditional standalone unit - myself included. I always have my phone with me and in the car, I always use it as a sat nav so it makes sense to do the same on the bike. I also like to listen to music and take odd phone calls, so having my smartphone in view, to hand and protected is essential.
There are plenty of cases around that purport to keep your phone safe and indeed, many may prevent it from falling off and keep some (hopefully all) of the weather out.
However, one of the big problems, certainly for Apple phone users, is the damage that can occur from vibrations coming up from the engine. There are numerous cases of cameras that have been killed by mounting an iPhone to a bike’s handlebars.
Various manufacturers have addressed this in different ways, but this system from Ultimateaddons has always had a solution. It features a case for the phone that comprises a hard plastic outer, that secures to keep the phone safe and dry, with a soft silicone liner, that fits the phone itself like a glove and helps to insulate it from the vibrations coming up to the bars – or wherever it’s mounted.
It’s pretty simple to use; you choose the case for your phone and then, the mounting system you want for the bike. There is just about every possibility; bar mounts, mirror mounts, RAM Mount-style 1in balls, fork-stem mounts – there should be something to fit it to your bike somewhere.
I tend to leave the mount fixed to the bike and fit my phone to it when I am going anywhere. This can be a bit of a pain, as you have to take your phone out of whatever case you usually use to get it into the UAO case, but once it’s in, you know it’s properly safe – the hard plastic exterior is held closed by two over-centre claps as well as three snap-fit catches, so it’s going nowhere. And if you do drop it in the case, then the combination of the hard outer and the soft silicone insert will keep it safe.
The silicone liner fits perfectly in the plastic outer so that when closed, it is completely waterproof; the case overall is rated IPX5 waterproof, offering protection against low-pressure water jets from any direction.
There is an opening in the bottom to allow you to fit a charging cable for the phone – sat nav apps are notoriously power-hungry – and there is also a stopper to keep the weather out if you don’t have a cable fitted.
Related: Quadlock smartphone mount review
Using the phone’s touchscreen through the transparent cover with a bare finger is easy – I haven’t ever had an issue with it despite always having a screen protector fitted to the phone, though sometimes it can be slow to react depending on the protector itself. However, the same can’t be said for trying to operate the phone in gloves.
Depending on the glove/screen protector combination, it either works patchily or not at all which can be frustrating if you want to access something on the screen – zoom out of a map to check traffic, for example. I found a couple of combinations that worked but if I was wearing other gloves for any reason, I occasionally have to stop and remove a glove to see what I need to see.
The Ultimateaddons case and mounting system are very well engineered. The use of both a riding outer case and a more flexible, insulating liner works very well; my phone has survived numerous rides so no vibration issues and the screen is always clear and readable.
I can usually adjust the touchscreen if I’m in a pair of gloves I know works but having to fit the phone to the case and remove it at the end of the journey (the case is too cumbersome to use all the time) is a bit of a faff.
Having said that, for a long journey, it’s not such a hardship. And it has resolutely kept my phone safe and dry on some pretty horrendous rides, for which I am grateful.
Strong, rigid outer case
Vibration-damping silicone liner
Huge range of mounting options
Need to fit and remove phone to case
More smartphone mounting solutions:
Quadlock Phone Case
Use with mount below.
Quadlock Handlebar Mount
Use with case above.