The Best Bike Phone Mounts of 2020
The Rokform Sport Series is the bike phone mount our lead tester prefers to use on a day to day basis. It's our favorite model for any case that the Morpheus Labs M4s does not serve (Android) and our favorite setup for bumpy terrain if you want a magnet design. The mount is secure, even over rocky terrain, and is relatively streamlined. Unlike the Morpheus Labs M4s, the phone does not jiggle over bumps. It's a good setup at a reasonable price. You must pair this mount with a Rokform case. We choose to use the Sport Series Mount with the Rokform Crystal Case instead of the Rokform Rugged Case because the Crystal Case seems plenty protective for our needs and it's less expensive. It can be a little tricky to install at first (Tip: put the case on a narrow part of your bars and then slide it to a wider part. Don't be afraid to pull hard). If you want a magnetic case and are looking to shave ounces, it's less than half the weight of the Morpheus Labs M4s.
Although the locking and release mechanism works, it's not nearly as easy to use as the Quad Lock Out Front Mount or the Morpheus Labs M4s. The setup is good, it's just not as refined as some of the competition. There is a more permanent option with the Pro Series Mount, but the Pro Series is nearly double the price and doesn't include the case. We were not particularly impressed with the Pro Series and found it much harder to install.
This bike phone mount is a tremendous value that boasts some advantages over the Ailun Silicone Strap. The ability to rotate means you can place it on the stem or handlebar (the Ailun works on the handlebar in portrait mode). It cradles larger phones better than the Ailun and it can work with a six-inch screen fitted with a big waterproof case, although it's a bit of a stretch. With this style, you get to keep your current case and don't have to swap between phone-specific options. This case performed shockingly well on rough pavement and the bumpiest mountain rides. It is also surprisingly durable. We attached and re-attached it nearly 100 times before the rubber strap finally broke. And even then, it broke in a way that left the mount still usable, and there was never any danger of the phone falling and breaking.
The downside to this style is that it takes a little time to secure and remove the phone. Although it's only a few extra seconds, it makes it less likely you'll be able to quickly capture a photo opportunity. Several times we raced ahead of a friend to get a good shot, but by the time we got the phone out of the case and ready, the moment had passed. This is the big upside to other mounts that allow for one-handed operation. On this model, the rubber attachments are not that burly. If one piece of the "spider web" breaks, you have to throw away the whole unit. This still hasn't happened to us in roughly two years of heavy use, but we can see the spider web starting to fail. One downside to the spider web design on this and all similar mounts is that it interferes with access to the corners of your screen.
Not only is Morpheus Labs M4s our favorite mount for iPhones, but it's also the least expensive option with decent one-hand operability. It's a good bit cheaper than the Quad Lock Out Front Mount while being much easier to switch between bikes. The case is the slimmest we tested and not much thicker than a standard protective case. This impressive feat, combined the presence of a built-in magnet, prompted one tester to make it their everyday case, not just a bike-riding convenience. Both the Quad Lock Out Front Mount, and the Tigra Fitclic Neo cases were bulkier and thicker than you'd want for everyday in-pocket use. Neither of those other cases use a magnet, and it's not easy to add one, so they're not good prospects for magnet-based car mountings. Morpheus does sell their CarMount, but just about any "air vent" mount will work. The Morpheus Labs M4s is secure and never loosened, even on a 130-mile punishing mountain bike ride. It has a natural one-handed operation we tested that rivals the Tigra Fitclic Neo for ease of use. It's relatively fast and easy to swap between bikes and bars, and it doesn't require any tools to do so. Most competing cases require an Allen wrench to install.
The main drawback is that it only works with iPhones — Android users are out of luck. Also, this bike phone mount is a bit bulky and not nearly as streamlined as the Quad Lock Out Front Mount. It weighs 2.5 ounces, which is more than an ounce heavier than the Quad Lock or the Rokform Sport Series. Depending on the size of your stem, it can be difficult to center the mount on your bike. We found the case jiggled around more than we'd consider ideal (we would not recommend this mount for aggressive mountain biking with larger phones). Despite these negatives, this is our favorite mount for iPhones unless you are riding a lot of bumpy terrain.
The Quad Lock Out Front Mount is the sleekest mount for both style and wind drag. It's fast to get on and off if you want to remove your phone or take a quick photo. The case is not much thicker than a standard phone case (but thicker than the Morpheus Labs M4s or Rokform Sport Series). Depending on your bar size, it can be effortless to center the mount on your bars. Or a pain in the butt. It offers two options for how to attach it to your bike: the Out Front Mount (reviewed here) and or the Handlebar/Stem Mount. The Handlebar/Stem Mount required zip ties once the included rubber bands broke, and these zip ties can loosen over time. The Out Front Mount is sleeker but does not fit all bar widths. If it does fit, it's plenty secure for mountain biking and rocky terrain.
The biggest downside is the cost. Not only is there a high upfront cost, but if you have multiple bikes that you switch between, you have to budget the cost of additional mounts. If you use a magnetic mount in your car, you either have to change to a different case or add a magnet to this case, which can be clunky. We found the case among the hardest to get the phone in and out. This is where the Rokform Sport Series and Morpheus Labs M4s systems excel: one case works in your car, on your bike, and in your pocket. With both the Out Front Mount and the Handlebar/Stem Mount, installation can be tricky depending on your bar size. It's hard to keep the mount tight with zip ties, and you will need to adjust them often. In our tests the mount loosened in rough terrain, the phone flipped to face the ground, and then a rock cracked the screen. That was a bummer.
The Ailun Silicone Strap is one of the least expensive bike phone mounts you can put on your bicycle, and yet it performs well. For many people, this may be an adequate solution for a fraction of the cost of the other mounts. It's simple to swap between bikes and requires no tools. It stays close to your bar, unlike the Roam Universal model that sticks way up and is quite bulky. Models like the Roam loosened up on bumpy terrain, but the Ailun stayed solid.
It does have limited mounting orientations. You can only view the phone in portrait mode when it's on your handlebar. If it's on your stem, it's stuck in landscape orientation. This is the main advantage of the VUP Silicone Mount. 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.
If you are mainly concerned with one-handed operation and durability, the Tigra FitClic Neo is our top choice. The powerful magnet sucks it onto your bar as soon as you are within a quarter inch. The release mechanism has a small learning curve but then it becomes one of the easiest to use. It's the fastest and easiest phone to take on and off for photos. The case is super burly and it comes with an optional screen to provide weather resistance. This mount securely attaches with a wider range of options than any other mount we tested.
This case requires an Allen key to install and it's fairly slow to transfer from bike to bike. There is a way to install it with just rubber bands, but the attachment becomes much less secure, which harms its performance on bumpy terrain — the main advantage of this case. Our primary gripe, however, is the bulkiness of the case. Most people will find it too bulky for everyday use, and while the case has a magnet, it did not work well on car mounts. This case is best for people who regularly ride bumpy terrain.
Although we're not fans of this style of bike phone mount, this is one of the more robust 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 it harms touchscreen accuracy. 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 getting the home button to work. 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 could fill some bike needs but its performance is compromised by the inferior screen interface.
If you want storage on your handlebars, this is a good option. Installation is relatively fast and easy, and it keeps the phone right in your field of view. The space it supplies is adequate for most of your biking essentials. Because it's positioned off the top tube, this bag won't run into your legs when pedaling.
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 handle anything but the most basic of operations. The bag creates bulk on your handlebars and limits the field of vision. However, the main issue is that it looks and feels bulky. It basically makes you look like a bike tourist — if that is what you're going for, mission accomplished!
While we initially thought this model was a contender for the best value, we came to dislike its style. There are some upsides: it's inexpensive, works with any size phone, and the spider-web-like rubber parts are replaceable. The attachment to the bar was more durable than some other models that broke when tightened (we don't list any of those models in this review). The drawbacks, however, outweighed all of these pros.
First off, it sticks out on your bars and is very bulky compared to the Best Buy winners above. More importantly, after many miles or when going over rough terrain, we discovered the mount had loosened. You then had to stop and retighten which became rather annoying because so many other mounts did not have this issue.
Why You Should Trust Us
Lead author Chris McNamara bikes to work over 200 days a year with a phone on his handlebars. Many days he is able to bike comparing two or more different mounts side-by-side. The standard commute involves everything from smooth bike paths to rugged trails. He also tests these mounts in all conditions, from rain and snow to high heat and glare. In addition to testing these for commuting applications, our team tests these on 50+ mile bike rides — we generally prefer to use a smartphone with a handlebar mount instead of a bike computer. We have tested these on the 130-mile Lake Trail around Tahoe as well as the 203-mile Tahoe to Mammoth ride. We also test the magnetic cases while driving around the Western United States on large road trips.
Analysis and Test Results
Below are the five key metrics to consider when choosing a bike phone mount. We describe why each metric is important and how each model in our test performed.
Ease of Accessing The Phone
The most important consideration for most people when buying a bike mount is how easy it is to access the phone when you stop riding. If you want to quickly snap a photo, every second counts, or your subject may have already passed you. Phones with locking mechanisms performed the best here. The Morpheus was the easiest phone to get on and off the bars. The one-handed operation was a cinch. The built-in magnet helps guide the phone onto the bars and then you have two levels of security depending on how locked you want your phone. The runner up was the Tigra FitClic Neo. The Quad Lock also performed well, as did the Rokform.
In this metric, the Universal Bar Bags performed the worst. While these bags are inexpensive, work with most phones and have storage, they are hard to use. The main challenge is touchscreen usability. The plastic sheet may keep you from accessing your phone's Home button, which makes using the phone hard. There may be a workaround, but even then, phone usability is still usually much slower and prone to errors. It takes a little time to remove the phone if you want to take a photo or you reach your destination. There is no one-handed operation.
In the middle of the pack were the universal bar mounts like the VUP and the Ailun. It takes a few seconds to remove your phone and then put it back on. If you want to stop and frequently take photos, this is a pain.
Ease of Setup and Transfer from Bike to Bike
The easiest mounts to set up are the ones with rubber straps like the Ailun and the VUP. No tools are required and the VUP can be set up securely in just seconds. The Ailun takes a little longer but is still pretty easy. The next easiest is the Morpheus. For most bar widths, no tools are required and it is fast and secure to transfer from bike to bike. Right behind was the Rokform, which requires no tools and is pretty fast and easy to switch once you figure out one trick: you need to put the mount on a narrower part of the bar and then aggressively slide it to a wider part of the bar. Most other bar mounts required an Allen key each time we switched it between bikes. If you never switch your mount, this is no big deal. If you switch your mount a lot, this takes a lot of time or you have to spend money on multiple mounts for each bike, which gets expensive fast. The slowest to install and transfer was the Tigra FitClic Neo and the Quad Lock.
Security on Bumpy Terrain
Almost all the bike phone mounts perform great on smooth surfaces. When we introduced rough terrain, however, we noticed big differences in performance. The most secure mounts were the Rokform Sport Series, Tigra FitClic Neo and the Quad Lock Out Front Mount (As mentioned above, we were less impressed with the Quad Lock Universal Mount). All of these are suitable for mountain biking and rough roads. The Tigra performed well with small phones. However, with bigger phones, the phone jiggled a lot.
The two universal bar mounts, the VUP Silicone Mount and Ailun Silicone Strap were also surprisingly great on rough terrain. The bags were decently sturdy but tended to shake around and jiggle a lot. The universal mounts that tighten with a screw performed very poorly. This is a big deal as often these mounts would loosen, flip upside down, and cause us to lose and damage our phone. This is is the main reason we don't recommend the Roam Universal or any mount that attaches in the same way.
One Case Solution and Integrating with Magnets and Car Phone Mounts
We give big points for mounts that can integrate across the three main uses: on your handlebars, in your pocket, and in your car. The top choices here are the Morpheus and the Rokform Crystal Case. Both cases are thin enough to slide into your pocket and still have great magnets that will integrate with your car mount magnet seamlessly. Between the two, the Morpheus is more refined. The case is slim and the magnet is in a perfect spot. The Rokform is a little bulkier and the magnet is not centered, which can cause the case to twist 180 degrees when driving. Both the Tigra Fitclick Neo and the Quad Lock Out Front Mount did not perform great here. Both have bulkier cases and don't have great magnet integration to use in your car. The VUP Silicone Mount and the Ailun Silicone Strap are both nice because you can choose your favorite case and not be constrained by the relatively narrow choices of bike phone mount cases.
Here the top tube bags score well because the phones are fully enclosed under plastic. Most of the bar mounts can also be made waterproof if you add a plastic case. Some mounts come with a specific waterproof cover like the Tigra FitClic Neo and the Quad Lock Out Front Mount. However, keep in mind that every plastic cover we tested greatly reduced screen usability. We usually had to remove the phone from the case to actually type anything. So the covers are only really useful to see who is calling or messaging you or if you are following a map and you don't need to touch the screen.
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, but don't count on great touchscreen functionality.
— Chris McNamara