If you're looking to fix your phone onto your handlebars – for navigation, ride recording or similar – then you'll be needing some kind of phone mount. There are plenty of them on the market, in a number of different formats. Let's look at which is the best phone handlebar mount for you.
This article was updated on 3 February 2017
Different types of bicycle phone mounts
A bicycle phone mount is exactly the same as a bike computer mount, except that instead of a computer it lets you attach a smartphone securely to your bars, stem or top tube. An advantage of this is that you don't need to shell out for a separate bike computer.
Most bicycle phone mounts are small plastic brackets that you attach to your bike and then clip your phone into. Some are transparent pockets which are part of bags you can strap to your frame, and also use for storage. Either way, they need to provide a sturdy way to carry your phone on your bike and protect it from the elements, while also allowing you to use it.
Case + mount
Bike phone cases tend to be for stem or handlebar mounts, and they’re usually variations on a similar theme: your phone is held in case which is specific to the size and model of your phone, which can then be clipped securely into a small plastic block on your handlebars or stem. The case may or may not be waterproof.
These sorts of mounts, generally speaking, will allow you to align your phone in either portrait or landscape orientation. Although for the sake of keeping it out of the way of errant knees, it's best to use portrait orientation if the phone is mounted on the stem.
These are similar to the above mounts, but they don't rely on a dedicated case to put your phone into. Instead, they use a universal mount that attaches to your handlebars or stem, and will grip practically any phone even if it's already in a protective case.
The obvious advantage is that you don't need to buy a new mount when you change phones (and you can lend it to people), but therein lies its disadvantage, too: we reckon they're a lot less secure.
Popular examples include the Olixar universal phone mount (pictured above), which has an adjustable plastic bracket, the RAM X-Grip, and the BikeCityGuide Finn, which uses rubber bands to keep your phone in place.
If you’d rather keep the real estate on your bars clear, then carrying your phone in a frame bag is the alternative. A phone frame bag sits on your top tube, just behind the head tube. As well as providing some storage space, this will also have a transparent sleeve for your phone to slide into.
The key consideration, however, is whether the transparent window provides sufficient protection from the elements while also allowing you to operate the phone’s touchscreen.
The major downside of this option is that you have to look/reach down further than you would if your phone were mounted on your bars. So if you can’t hear the audio alerts, the frame-bag option may be more suitable for riders who are willing to stop when they want to use their phones.
Check the compatibility of your bicycle phone mount
The deciding factor on which mount you end up choosing will ultimately be which one works with your phone. Most mounts come in various sizes and guises to accommodate as many varieties of phone as possible, but double-check before you plough ahead with your purchase.
On a similar note, if you’re on a contract and are likely to change/upgrade model soon, it may be worth holding off until you know what model you’ll be switching to. No point buying a phone-specific mount for a phone you won’t be using in a few weeks.
6 of the best bicycle phone mounts
Lezyne Smart Dry Caddy
- Price: £25 / $25 / AU$ TBC
- More info: www.lezyne.com
This is a tough, snug-fitting case. Our version was compatible with the iPhone 5, but other options are available. It has a clear polyurethane cover, and a long grip seal top rolls down and is fastened by a Velcro flap. The base has an integrated cruciform fitting, which slots into the mount to fit to the bar or stem. The lot weighs 62g.
A rubber-backed plastic mount sits on the bar or stem and is secured by a strong plastic band that is tightened by a thumb screw. Fitting takes just 30 seconds, and once it’s on it feels very secure. What’s more, it works with the case in either landscape or portrait orientation.
Once the seal is fastened and the flap rolled down, it’s weatherproof. The touchscreen is visible, and the iPhone 5’s side buttons line up perfectly with those on the case. The central mount and non-rigid base allow the phone to shake a little, but the fixing’s secure – possibly even more secure than a Garmin Edge quarter-turn mount, as it requires a good push and turn to get it round.
The clear screen doesn’t impair the phone’s operation, though it’s a little tricky to access the iPhone 5’s power button on top when it’s in the pouch. There’s also a felt backing on the inside for the rear of your phone to nestle against, cosily protected.
- Price: £45 / $TBC / AU$ TBC
- More info: www.topeak.com
Topeak’s RideCase is an engineering-grade plastic phone case with a rigid composite fibre base plate. It has an integrated foldout metal flipstand, that props the phone vertically or horizontally when off the bike.
Two mounting options allow fitting directly to the stem, or clamp around the bar or stem. The bar mount weighs 80g.
We fitted ours using the stem mount, replacing the steerer’s usual top cap. Tightening the bolt also locks the adjustable angle of the supporting arm, then the RideCase just slides onto the mount and clicks into place.
The RideCase (26g) requires the iPhone to have any back and side coverings removed, and provides no additional surface protection, though an alternative weatherproof RideCase is available. The phone is secure within the case, and the supporting arm’s strong enough to lift the bike with, which gives great confidence that your flashy phone won’t bounce off.
The phone’s large size worked well above the stem. When mounted, the RideCase rotates by 90 degrees, allowing you to view apps in either orientation.
Birzman Zyklop Navigator II
- Price: £15 / $TBC / AU$ TBC
- More info: www.birzman.com
This phone mount fits onto your handlebars securely with two Velcro straps, and a third strap around the stem keeps things steady. In size terms it’s the chunkiest phone mount here, at 170mm (h) x 100mm (w) x 70mm (d), though at 114g it’s still not the heaviest (that honour goes to the Olixar universal mount, below).
This case has a single cavity underneath the phone pouch, big enough to fit a multitool, keys, credit card and an inner tube or light snack. It has semi-rigid sides to provide some structure and protection, and is best described as water-resistant rather than waterproof. In part, this is because it closes with a regular zip – no storm flaps – meaning it won’t take long for water to enter during a sustained downpour.
It’s easily large enough to fit an iPhone 6 with a little room to spare – the pouch is roughly 140mm x 80mm. Once fixed to the stem and handlebars, it feels plenty secure once fastened – though inevitably, there is a little give compared to something like the Quad Lock.
- Price: From £49 / $69 / AU$ 79
- More info: www.quadlockcase.com
This Aussie-designed bicycle phone mount is described as “One case, multiple mounts” – it’s a classy product with a price to match. Once you've fitted your phone into its model-specific plastic case (36g), you can then mount it in a number of ways, including with an out-front mount (42g) which we were sent, or a regular stem mount.
The solid plastic case is reminiscent of the iPhone 6 leather case, but it’s a little chunkier, especially in the middle to accommodate the quarter-turn socket that it mates with. The case fits the iPhone buttons located along edge very well, and is classy looking when used on its own. A neoprene-like material is used on the inside to protect the back of your phone.
The hinged out-front mount fits on well, and is tightened via small allen key. It fits handlebars from 25.4mm to 31.8mm diameter, using supplied rubber spacer ring. The case goes on easily and feels very secure once on – no shaking could dislodge it.
There’s a blue tab that you press to rotate the case and remove it, though we noticed that it can still be twisted off with a little more force if the blue tab isn’t pushed. We guess this is done for security reasons, so that your phone doesn’t get too badly damaged in a crash.
Lezyne Smart Energy Caddy
- Price: $24 / $34 / AU$ TBC
- More info: www.lezyne.com
This case is similar to the Birzman Zyklop Navigator, though it’s a little smaller and it mounts onto your top tube rather than the handlebars. It’s still large enough to fit an iPhone 6, multitool, credit card (in the card sleeve), keys, and perhaps a satsuma.
The Lezyne Smart Energy Caddy (102g) feels more premium than the Birzman, thanks to its water-resistant zip closure, a nice woven nylon cover with raised Lezyne logo, and semi-rigid outer case made from EVA foam. A mesh divider helps keep things in place.
It fixes to the bike’s top tube with solid velcro-closing straps, and another velcro strap around the steerer tube, below the stem. Once on, it feels secure – though as with the Zyklop Navigator, it’s not as wobble-free as others on this list, due to the use of Velcro straps.
Olixar Universal Bike Mount
- Price: £10 / $TBC / AU$ TBC
- More info: www.olixar.com
This is by far the cheapest bicycle phone market on our list, and also the heaviest at 116g. So what’s good about it? Well it fits pretty much any smartphone, thanks to adjusting side arms on a ratchet that can encompass any phone from 70-110mm wide (that’s phablet territory). There’s a nice rubber finish to the arms, to protect your phone and keep it securely in place.
There’s also a fold-down shelf on the bottom of the mount to support your phone, meaning it's supported on three sides, with a rubber pad on the back to protect your phone.
The detachable handlebar mount can accommodate a very large range of bars – from diameter 18mm up to 32mm – using a hinged clamp closed by a long screw and plastic nut that’s very effective, but feels cheaply made, with sharp edges, and it’s quite large, too.
The Olixar feels less secure than the other bike phone mounts on this list: the case attaches to the bar mount through a slide-and-lock system with four anchors and a positive-sounding ‘click’, but we probably wouldn’t take it mountain biking.