Thursday, February 20, 2014 5.00am
By James Huang
After hitting the bull's eye with its more road-oriented 2.0 model, Bar Fly addresses the needs of Garmin Edge-using mountain bikers with the new 3.0. It offers a similarly secure perch as on the road but we're unfortunately not quite as excited about how it positions the screen or its compatibility with some riser bars.
- Highs: Secure quarter-turn computer interface, solid handlebar clamp
- Lows: Not universally compatible with some stem and handlebar models
The 3.0 again clamps to one side of the handlebar like Bar Fly's 1.1 and 2.0 models. However, instead of placing the computer screen out in front of the bar, the new 3.0 mount positions the computer atop the stem – roughly where it'd be if you use the stock Garmin mount.
Where Bar Fly's option holds an advantage is that unlike the stock mount, this one actually works with shorter stems that otherwise don't leave enough room for the computer for fit. The quarter-turn interface is also reassuringly positive and the mount is firmly clamped to the bar instead of lightly attached with stretchy o-rings so there's less worry that your precious Edge will somehow rattle off during a rough ride or wreck.
While other Bar Fly models can only keep the computer centered on stems with faceplates less than 40mm wide, the 3.0 has been shaped with bigger mountain bike cockpits in mind and can thankfully handle ones up to 45mm wide.
Still, there is room for improvement.
While the slightly rearward position provides more protection for the computer than with Bar Fly's other mounts (or any 'out front' mount, for that matter), it creates some interference issues when using the Bar Fly 3.0 on short stems (50mm or so), especially if there were any headset spacers above the steerer clamp. In addition, the geometries of some riser bars tended to cock the mount off-axis, leaving the screen at a somewhat awkward angle.
We would prefer the computer screen to be a little further forward, directly above the bar or thereabouts. This would make it easier to view the screen at a glance while still keeping it relatively sheltered.
In addition, reshaping the mount with two clamps – one on each side of the stem – would not only guarantee a level position even if there was some taper or angle to the the bar but would also provide an especially solid foundation.
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