With modern smartphones assuming more and more of the tasks and functionality we need in our lives – communication, music, camera, navigation – using one on your motorcycle has huge benefits. For example, you can listen to music, make and take calls or use any number of navigation apps to get you to where you need to be.
And while much of the phone’s functionality can be controlled by a relevant and compatible helmet intercom – essential for music, calls and navigation instructions – having your phone tucked away in your pocket can often be a pain, especially if you want to actually see your navigation route, for example or make changes on the go.
If you want your phone located safely where you can see those directions, you need a phone mount.
What type of motorcycle phone mount should I buy?
One of the most important factors to look for in a smartphone mount is vibration damping. Apple actually confirmed what many riders already knew in September 2021 – engine vibrations can kill the camera on later iPhones.
The vibrations disrupt the image stabilisation system and Apple actually recommended a vibration dampening system if you insist on mounting your phone to the bike.
Waterproofing is also important. Sadly, as we know, not every ride will be to sunlit uplands, so if you need to keep your phone in sight when riding in the wet (for sat-nav instructions, for example), then your mount needs to keep the wind and rain away. While some smartphones purport to being waterproof, do you fancy testing those claims? We don’t…
If you will be using your phone for – notoriously power-hungry – sat-nav apps, then you will inevitably need some form of charging option. This could be a cable entry for your usual charging lead, with power taken from the bike somewhere or it could be the increasingly common and more convenient wireless charging that only requires your phone to be psychically close to the charger to suck up some much-needed charge.
How the phone mount fits to the bike is also important; you need to be able to locate it where you can easily see it, otherwise you may as well leave it in your pocket. Ideally, high up near – but not in - your line of sight is best but this may not be possible on all bikes, so it make need to fit to the handlebars, a mirror or even the headstock stem mount.
Convenience is also important. If it takes five minutes to fit your phone into a case or you have to remove it from your existing case, insert it then remove it and fit your day-to-day case again, you may find this is all a bit too much of a faff.
Alternatively, if you have a case with a built-in mounting system or need to add a clip to your case of choice, it may change how you feel about that case. Also consider how easy it will be to remove when you pop into the garage and pay for your fuel – is it easy enough to whip off and take with you so someone else doesn’t do exactly that while you’re inside?
Perhaps the most important aspect of all, though, is security – security of mounting and of your phone. The last thing you need to be worried about when you’re out for a ride is whether your phone is going to fall off or indeed, the entire mount. You need to know it’s on there and is staying there so you can concentrate on enjoying your ride safely.
On September 2021, Apple published a statement which acknowledged what many riders knew; motorcycles can kill iPhones. It said: “It is not recommended to attach your iPhone to motorcycles with high-power or high-volume engines due to the amplitude of the vibration in certain frequency ranges that they generate.
Attaching your iPhone to vehicles with small-volume or electric engines, such as mopeds and scooters, may lead to comparatively lower-amplitude vibrations, but if you do so a vibration dampening mount is recommended to lessen the risk of damage to your iPhone and its OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) and AF (Auto-Focus) systems.”
As a result, smartphone holders for Apple phones suddenly needed vibration dampers to prevent the phones dying though experts suggest that making sure camera apps are closed can help, as these keep the image stabilisation systems live when open, even when the camera is not in direct use. Android phones don’t appear to suffer anywhere near as many – if any - issues as Apple phones.
How we chose this list
The following list of phone holders is based on several factors, including personal experience, results of testing by MCN staff and our sister titles such as RiDE (available through the Bikes unlimited app) as well as reviews by users online from sites such as Amazon and Sportsbikeshop.
Ultimateaddons Phone Mount and Case
The Ultimateaddons set-up is based on buying a case for your phone then choosing the mounting method. The UAO case completely encloses the phone and is both waterproof and has a vibration-damping inner silicone sleeve.
The front window works with the phone’s touchscreen and there's a cut-out on the back for the rear camera while a waterproof port on the bottom can be used to allow a charging lead to connect when on the bike. The whole thing can be disconnected from the bike easily and used with the phone still in the case, though it is rather cumbersome.
Read our in depth review here.
Completely encases phone
Charging port built in
Variety of mounting options
Phone must be removed from day-to-day case to be fitted
Quad Lock Mount
The Quadlock system is based on a case for the phone that stays on it all the time and an appropriate mount for the bike. The case (and hence, phone) locks on to the mount by turning u00bc turn and it can just as easily be mounted in landscape or portrait orientation.
Whereas early cases had a thick boss on the rear for the locking mechanism, the latest generation are much slimmer and barely wider than a usual case. A variety of mounting methods are available as well as a wireless charging head and a separate three-way rubber insulating head.
Convenient fitting system
Wide variety of mounting methods
Vibration damper and wireless charging heads available
Needs separate protective cover for full weatherproofing
Tested by MCN Sports Editor Michael Guy for two years, 18,000 miles - Quality 5, Value 4
"Quad Lock’s system includes a neat and adjustable mount that fits to your handlebars. Your phone goes into a specific Quad Lock case, which has a recess in the back that locks onto the mount with a 45° turn. The case itself isn’t much bulkier than a standard phone case.
"There’s also an optional waterproof cover, which keeps the worst of the weather off. Buy all three parts together and bundle is not cheap, but in two years of use it has been faultless and I expect it to last for many years to come. Plus it’s an awful lot cheaper than having to buy a new phone when yours falls off and gets run over buy a car..."
RAM Mount Quick-Grip XL Phone Holder
A solid mount that stays attached to your motorbike via a selection of tough clamps and ball and socket arms, just like the kind we use to mount GoPro cameras when shooting video reviews. Not cheap by any means but seriously sturdy.
We've reviewed the RAM Mount Quick-Grip XL Phone Holder and found it incredibly solid - if a little fiddly to initially set up. That said, once you've got it locked down, it feels like a piece of OEM equipment and translates very little vibration from the road or engine into your screen.
Uses RAM 1in ball-mount system
Easy to use and position
Convenient phone fitting
Quadlock vibration damper
Quadlock's solution to the iPhone problem is a separate vibration dampener. A well-engineered device, this has two metal parts separated by three rubber cones, effectively insulating the two.
It mounts to the solid bike mount and then, the phone-mounting head (or wireless charging head) mounts to the damper, separating the phone from vibrations set up from the engine.
Works with all Quadlock mounts
Adds to overall cost
Tested by MCN News Editor Jordan Gibbons, for two months, over 1,000 miles. Quality: 5 Value 5
"There’s a plethora of phone mounting systems, but when you’re attaching your latest big-money smartphone to a bike’s bars you need to be confident it’s going to stay put.
“With Apple recently warning users to steer clear of motorcycle vibrations as they can ruin the image stabilisation on your smartphone camera, now seems the perfect time to point out that Quadlock solved this issue a while back.
“Sold separately from the case and mounting systems, the damper simply installs between the two and protects your phone from harmful vibrations. If you already have a Quadlock, adding the damper takes seconds.
“I’ve used it for over a thousand miles on my Pan America with zero signs of damage to the phone.”
Oxford Cliqr Cable Tie Mount
Produced by British bike-kit brand Oxford, the CliqR system is based on a variety of mounts that fit to the bike and a clip that fits to your regular phone case. Then, you simply fit the case into place on the mount on the bike and away you go.
It is a simple and affordable solution that allows you to quickly and easily mount your phone though there does not appear to be any weatherproofing options and the phone’s security relies on the adhesive power of the clip.
Universal so works with your existing case
Variety of mounts
Tested by Martin Fitz-Gibbons over three months and 500 miles - Quality: 3 Value: 4
"All manner of clever mounting systems offer to keep your fancy smartphone in view while you ride. But few setups are as simple or as affordable as Oxford’s Cliqr.
"Stick one square plastic pad on the back of your regular phone case, clamp the bracket to your 22mm handlebar (one hex bolt), and bingo: one quick-release phone mount. Obviously it offers no weather protection or vibration insulation, so beware if your smartphone isn’t waterproof, or if its camera has optical image stabilisation.
"Having your precious phone held in place with glue feels a bit disconcerting, but it’s held firm so far – though it remains to be seen how the adhesive stands up to time, rain, windblast and varying temperatures. I’m not mad keen leaving that little mounting square on my phone case 24/7 either.
"But for folk who don’t want the cost or complication of a bulkier, more expensive case-based setup, it’s worth a look."
Givi S954B Universal Smartphone / Sat-Nav Holder
A high-quality, universal holder for devices up to five inches. It is fantastic, featuring a sturdy quick-mount and release system and the bracket fits bars up to 35mm. Naturally, the the cover is touch sensitive and has a cable port on the bottom.
It comes with a weatherproof cover that goes over the entire holder and has a window to allow you to still see your device. It gets great reviews online and users say that it will happily accept larger smartphones as well as sat-nav devices.
Weatherproof with cover fitted
Accept any smartphone
Need to open to fit phone, reducing convenience
Cheeroyal Universal 360° Mount Case
I've got one of these and it's absolutely fine. It houses the phone inside a water-resistant case with a transparent window to allow you to see it. There are several pieces of foam included to insulate the phone and the screen window is also touch sensitive, so you can control the phone as well (though the manufacturer does state iPhone home button operation isn't supported).
Several strips of plastic are supplied to cater for different sizes of mounting tubes and a quick-release bracket allows it to be removed from the bike easily.
Not the best-made product
This expanding mount from Givi will house almost any smartphone, according to the manufacturer though the applications list goes up to iPhone X in size. It comes with a handlebar mount and is super-easy to fit the phone to.
The screen and cameras are exposed, so use is easy but this does mean the phone is exposed to the elements – to protect it, an optional (£21) waterproof sleeve is available.
Universal phone fitting
Weatherproofing via an optional protector
Spada Suction Tank Bag
Admittedly this isn't purely a phone case but this suction-mounted (there's a magnetic version for £5 more too) three-litre tankbag will hold your phone in front of you in a transparent case next to a couple of zipped pockets. It will also give you some handy storage space for all sorts of useful bits and bobs, such as wallet, keys or essentials like visor cleaner.
It also comes with a hi-vis cover in case of exceptionally heavy rain though the zips are described as 'waterproof'.
Adds useful carrying capacity
Phone compartment on top
Water-resistant with waterproof cover
Holds phone very low, out of sightline
Bike Phone Holder
The cheapest one. Admittedly perhaps more relevant to cycles than motorcycles, nonetheless the manufacturer says this wraparound holder is suitable for motorcycles as well as bikes. It uses a flexible silicone mount to grip the phone, then clip into the holder on the handlebars and won't interfere with either fingerprint or facial recognition, according to the manufacturer.
The major issue here, though, is the phone is completely exposed to the elements.
Easy to use
Small when not in use
Phone completely exposed; security worries
Ram Mount Tough Charge waterproof wireless charging holder with charger
We've given this one a thorough shakedown in our Ram Mount Tough Charge review but to summarise, it's basically an upgraded X-Grip cradle with wireless charging capability baked it. Just plumb it into a USB socket on your bike and then every time you attach your phone, it'll top up the battery. Simple, solid, and brilliant.
Keeps phone charged wirelessly
Easy to use
RAM 1in ball mount system
Eye-wateringly expensive; no weather protection for phone
Remember, it is still illegal to hold a mobile phone (or sat nav)
You must have hands-free access, such as:
• a bluetooth headset
• voice command
• a dashboard holder or mat
• a windscreen mount
• a built-in sat nav
The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.
So choose and locate your motorcycle mobile phone holder properly to avoid any issues with the law.