Until about 2017, I never felt a need to have my iPhone attached to my bike. I didn't think it would add value. In 2017, on our tour in Germany, to supplement my beloved hard-copy luddite maps, I used maps.me a little bit, and suddenly it started to seem more important.
Besides being easily accessible, though, I wanted to make sure the phone was properly protected from the elements. I have been trying since then to find a solution that worked for me, and I still haven't found what I'm looking for... or have I? This is my unofficial, unscientific review of products meant to make my iPhone accessible while riding (especially touring).
In 2019, prior to our tour in France, I got a couple of small bags with waterproof phone pouches and tried them out:
CoolChange Mini Saddlebags
These cost about $20USD on EBay.
Pros: side bags are handy for carrying small items, like tools and spare tubes. Phone pouch attaches with velcro, so it's super easy to attach and detach.
Cons: sits on front tubes, so to see the phone, you're looking down too far to be practical while riding. Plastic cover is a little loose so you have to really manhandle it to get the touch screen to respond. The bag would attach better to a much fatter bike frame. On a narrow bike frame, it floops around and doesn't really want to stay attached. I modified the velcro straps myself, which helped a little. On our rainy tour in France, the phone pouch fogged up and never really unfogged. I quit using it and relied on a touring partner to keep the phone handy.
|CoolChange: Phone Pouch On|
Lixada Handlebar Bag
|CoolChange: Phone Pouch Off|
These cost less than $10USD on EBay.
Pros: Attaches more firmly to the bike (minimal flooping). Sits higher up, so you can see the phone easily while riding.
Cons: Like with the CoolChange, the plastic cover is a little loose so you have to really manhandle it to get the touch screen to respond. Slightly more fiddly to get the phone out - nothing detaches, so you have to unzip the pouch to put the phone in and take it out. Less storage capacity for "bonus" items.
|Lixada: Phone Pouch|
Over the past year I have become more and more attached to maps.me, and now I definitely want to use it on our upcoming tour to Germany. I want easy, reliable access to the phone, in a place where I can see it easily, it is protected from the elements, and it's not too big of a hassle to get on and off the bike. That's not too much to ask, is it?
I definitely won't be taking the CoolChange style of bag along again. It was completely useless on the 2019 tour. I'm skeptical of the Lixada, because it's not great for using the touch screen, and I'm concerned that it'll fog up like the CoolChange and become just a useless thing I'm hauling around on tour.
So, the search for a better solution has commenced:
These cost $40CAD on Amazon.ca. Weighs about 3/4 of the weight of my multitool (yeah, yeah, I know... I told you this was unscientific).
Pros: Holds the phone in a convenient position. Easy to mount on the bike. Relatively easy and fast to put the phone on/off.
Cons: A little fiddly to put the phone on/off (turning the little turney-knob). Phone may be able to slip out of the grips?? Can't use with my beloved "LoveMEI" iphone case, and offers no protection from the elements. My solution would be to keep a shower cap handy and throw it over top if the weather turned inclement.
|Mcally: With iPhone|
|Mcally: Shower Cap "Solution"|
Tigra Sport MountCase Universal 6 Bike Kit
These cost about $24CAD on EBay. Weighs about 1/2 of the weight of my multitool.
Pros: Super easy to put the phone in and out. Can unclip the holder unit from the mount. Phone is very firmly held in place - there's no way it would fall out. Has a rubber rain cover.
Cons: Can't use with my beloved "LoveMEI" iphone case. Not sure how effective the rubber rain cover is. A little fiddly to mount the unit onto the bike. I needed a nap to figure it out (I wish I was joking).
|Tigra: Spring-loaded iPhone Holder|
|Tigra: With iPhone|
|Tigra: Rubber Weather Protector On|
These cost $22CAD on Amazon.ca, and I'm still waiting for it to arrive.
Pros: Better protection from the elements. Can use with the LoveMEI case. The flexible mounting arm is intriguing. It looks like you have a lot of control over the angle and direction the phone is pointing.
Cons: Probably difficult to get the touch screen to respond.
|BREEZEY: Front View|
|BREEZEY: Flexible Mounting Arm|
Right now I'm leaning very heavily toward taking the Tigra to Germany, but since I am, apparently, a multi-bicycle person, I'll put the Mcally on my Kona (the bike that won't come touring). I'll just use the Lixada and BREEZEY ones for commuting when I don't need the touch screen.
I see that Tigra has an even better solution, now, with the piece that holds the phone actually being an iPhone case. The FITCLIC MountCase 2
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