We set out to find the best ways to mount your phone to your bicycle handlebars. After researching 30 models, we bought eight bike phone mount for sideby-side-testing. We then took to the streets and trails to evaluate how these performed in regular commutes as well as rough road and trail conditions. We also evaluated each one for water resistance and dust resistance. Finally, we put them on dirt bikes for the ultimate durability and vibration tests. Our findings surprised us, as some of the cheapest options performed great for many applications. Below the product recommendations, we list buying advice on how to select the right mount.
Stylish and low profile
Weatherproof and secure for mountain biking
Fast on and off
Must buy a case for each type of phone
Doesn't fit all bars, tricky to install
This is an expensive bike phone mount that is also the best, depending on your use. It's by far the sleekest option we tested, both for style and wind drag. It's the fastest to get on and off if you want to take a quick photo or remove your phone from your bike. The case is not much thicker than a standard phone case. If you're able to commit to it full time, it's a nearly seamless integration to your daily routine. While expensive, the phone cover is exceptionally protective and waterproof, so you're getting a durable case that you can use in other sports as well.
The main downside is the cost. Not only is there a high upfront cost, if you have multiple bikes that you switch between, you'll also have to spend $40 per additional mount. If you don't use the case all time, then you have to keep track of a second case and switch your phone between the two. Installation can be tricky, depending on your bar size. If you buy the universal mount, also buy some zip ties. We broke the rubber bands it came with within weeks. While the "waterproof half" of the case is burly and protective, it doesn't have excellent screen sensitivity when compared to a dedicated waterproof phone case. For this reason, unless it was raining, we usually left the screen protector (as shown in the photo above).
This is one of the least expensive mounts we've ever seen and yet it performs well. For many people, this may be all they need at a fraction of the cost of the mounts above and below. It's simple to swap between bikes and requires no tools. It stays close to your bar unlike the Roam model below that sticks way up and is quite bulky. Models like the Roam made their way loose when on bumpy terrain but the Ailun stayed solid.
Works with any size phone
Inexpensive and lightweight
Fast and easy to switch between bikes
Also attaches to shopping carts any 0.5-2" bar
Takes a little time to secure larger phones
Not the highest durability
Limited mounting orientations
It has limited mounting orientations. You can only view the phone in portrait when on your handlebar and just in landscape when on your bike's stem. This is the main advantage of the VUP mount below. The VUP spins into whatever orientation you want. It's also easier to get 6-inch phones in and out of the VUP. When we put a bulky waterproof case on our iPhone 8 Plus, we were barely able to get it in the Ailun.
It may not be as slick as the Quad Lock, but this Tigra mount goes on many more handlebar widths and attaches more securely. The Quad Lock edges ahead because it attaches and detaches more quickly (both the phone and the mount) and has a more refined design. It's our top recommendation for bike commuters. That said, there are some significant advantages for some people with the Mountcase II. For one, the Mountcase attaches to just about any bar width very securely. We've dirt biked over 1000 miles of rugged desert trails and never had this case come loose. It's what we continue to use as our motorcycle GPS. The Quad Lock universal mount, on the other hand, broke away after our first crash (we replaced the rubber bands with zip ties and it's now more secure). Also, the Mountcase attaches to short stems while the Quad Lock does not. Buying additional mounts for the Mountcase is $20, whereas extra mounts for the Quad Lock run $30-50. For mountain biking and dirt biking, we take the Mountcase over the Quad Lock. It's worth noting that the cases and covers of the Quad Lock and Mountcase are similar, it's just the actual mount that differs much.
Attaches to pretty much any bar very securely
Very durable and vibration resistant
Initial purchase and accessories much less expensive than Quad Lock
Takes some time and an Allen key to install/swap bikes
Each case in phone specific
Installing the Mountcase can be a pain if you don't have the right Allen key (the key works but is a little short). By comparison, swapping the Quad Lock is a lot faster and uses a much more standard size Allen key. The look is un-refined: it looks like the tail of a giant zip tie. While the mount is super secure, it can be a little tricky to get the phone on and off sometimes. It's not a big deal unless you are riding and come across a split second photo opportunity. Like the Quad Lock, each phone needs a specially designed case: you can't just lend this to your partner or friend if they have a different phone. When you change your phone, you need to change your case. For example, when upgrading from the iPhone 6+ to iPhone 7+, the phone dimension was the same but the camera moved a fraction of an inch, which meant you had to remove it from the case to take a photo. Lastly, when you put on the screen side of the case, the touch screen is not that precise as with the Quad Lock.
This mount is a tremendous value and has some advantages over the Ailun above. It rotates, which allows placement on the stem or handlebar (the Ailun just works on the handlebar in portrait mode). It accommodates larger phones better than the Ailun (above) and works with a big waterproof case with a 6-inch screen (but it's a stretch). With this style, you get to keep your current case and don't have to swap between phone-specific options.
Easily rotates for different orientations
Inexpensive and fast to swap between bikes
Fits just about any phone
Barely holds 6" phone in a waterproof case
The downside to this style is that it takes a little time to secure and remove the phone. It's only a few extra seconds, but it does make it less likely you will quickly capture a photo opportunity. The rubber attachments are not that burly. Once one piece of the "spider web" breaks you have to throw away the whole unit. In comparison, the Roam unit (below), while not recommended, does come with extra replaceable "spider webs" that you can replace if one breaks. NOTE: there are a lot of phone cases that look like this from different brands on Amazon.
Works with any size phone
Waterproof and inexpensive
Stores a handful of biking essentials
Can bang into you knees when pedaling
Difficult to control the phone without taking it out
Takes time to remove phone for photos
While we're not fans of this style of mount, this is one of the tougher options we've come across and it's very affordable. It protects your phone and has enough room for repair tools, sunglasses, a light windbreak and a snack. Just about any phone will fit in here.
The giant problem is the usability of the phone. The plastic is so thick that touchscreen accuracy is weak. We usually just took the time to remove the phone from the bag to use it, which is a pain and defeats the whole purpose of a bicycle phone mount. Specifically, we had a tough time making the home button works. There are some workarounds, but none are that great. As with any top tube bag that is wider than the top tube, your knees may graze this bag, depending on your bike's geometry. Overall this is a cheap bag that fills some bike needs but has an inferior screen interface.
If you want storage on your handlebars, this is a good option. It keeps the phone right in your field of view. Installation is relatively fast and easy. Space is adequate for most of your biking essentials. Because it's off the top tube, this bag doesn't run into your legs when pedaling.
Accommodates all size phones
Stays out of the way of your legs
Puts bulk on your bars
Poor control of touchscreen
No speedy access to photos
Like the Ibera above, the thick plastic makes controlling the phone's touchscreen very difficult. We were frustrated most of the time and usually just removed the phone from the case to make all but the most basic operations. The bag creates bulk on your handlebars. This limits the field of vision a little, but the main issue is that it looks and feels bulky. It makes you look like a bike tourist, which if that is what you're going for, mission accomplished!
Works with any size phone
Rubber parts are replaceable
Takes a little time to attach
If riding rough terrain, mount loosens
While we initially thought this model was a contender for best value, we came to dislike this style. It's not without upsides: it works with any size phone, is inexpensive and the spider-web-like rubber parts are replaceable. The attachment to the bar was more durable than some other models that broke when tightening (we don't list any of those models in this review). However, the cons outweighed these pros.
First off, it's very bulky compared to the Best Buy winners above. It sticks out on your bars. More importantly, after many miles or when going over rough terrain, the mount would loosen. You then had to stop and retighten. Over time, this became especially annoying when so many other mounts did not have this issue.
See our Article On Loading GPS Tracks
One of the main adantages of a bar phone mount is the ability to load a route and follow it. See our article on how to load a GPS file on your phone
The most important decision is which of the three styles of bike phone mount do you want: A lock mount specific to your phone, a universal mount or a bar-mounted bag? Here are the pros and cons of each. The right style for you will depend on your budget and everyday use.
This is the most secure, durable and sleek option of the three. After installing the bar mount, the phone locks into place and only comes off with a two-step process of squeezing a locking mechanism and twisting the phone. This style is the fastest to get on and off your bike, which is convenient for taking photos or quickly going into a store or your destination.
Not only is there a big upfront cost, because the bar mounting systems are slow to move from bike to bike, you will have to buy multiple mounts for other bikes you use frequently. Anytime you change your phone, you need to rebuy the case. If you don't like the case enough to use as your everyday case (either because the style or the extra bulk of the locking mechanism), you have to remove your phone and transfer it to a case you do like.
Universal Bar Mounts
It attaches to your bar and will work with just about any type of phone. Sometimes there is a clamp and almost always there is a "spider web" that goes over the phone's corners. These are the least expensive options. As long as your case is relatively low profile, it should be compatible. You don't have to switch between cases that are specific to the mount.
Few of these options are waterproof. If you add a waterproof case to a bigger phone, it may be too bulky to work. Some models are quite bulky. Durability varies wildly. Some mounts broke on installation. Some mounts also require constant tightening to keep from slipping on the bars. Usually, this mount will not work on bumpy terrain or when mountain biking. It also can be difficult to center the phone over the bar.
Universal Bar Bags
These bags are inexpensive and will work with most phones. They are relatively easy to install and secure. They add enough storage space for a tube, light windbreaker or some snacks.
The main challenge is touchscreen usability. The plastic sheet may keep you from accessing your phones Home button, which makes using the phone hard. There may be a workaround (see this one for iphone), but even then, phone usability is still usually much slower and prone to errors. These bags are a little bulky. If mounted on the top tube, they can hit your legs when pedaling. When mounted at the stem, they are a bulky mass in front of you. It takes a little time to remove the phone if you want to take a photo or you reach your destination.
If you have the money and use your bike a lot, the locking style cases are the way to go. However, they take some fidgeting and require changing every time your phone changes. For many people, the universal bar mounts are more than adequate. They are super inexpensive, fast to install, light and low profile. If you need to store things on your bike, the universal cases can be handy, just don't count on great touchscreen functionality.
— Chris McNamara