Gareth Butterfield reviews an innovative solution for mounting your smartphone to your bike
Popsockets Popmout 2 Ride – available from www.popsockets.co.uk, priced at £34.99
I’m always looking for new ways to mount my smartphone to my bike. Gone are the days when I used to squint at a small LCD screen that gave me speed, distance covered and a few other pointless readings – my phone and a few choice apps gives me all the information I need in a bright, easy-to-read HD display.
But finding a way to mount my phone to my handlebars securely has been a never-ending challenge.
And then I stumbled upon the Popsockets range, and the handlebar grip the firm offers as part of its extensive line-up of smartphone-securing solutions.
On the face of it, it’s just another fairly cumbersome, multi-positionable plastic bracket that uses rubber webbing to keep your phone in place. But there’s a key link between the smartphone and the mount, which I’ll come to in a moment.
In the small box, you get the mount itself, its standard twin-screw bracket, and an array of shims and spacers to ensure it can fit to a variety of diameters.
It’s designed to fit to anything from a motorbike’s rear-view mirror, to a full-size mountain bike stem. And there’s even a template to help you find the right spacer, along with an Allen key – although you probably have a better one in your tool kit.
In use, it’s really rather good. The phone sits quite proud of its mounting point, which is good in that it brings it closer to you, but it can introduce a bit of shake on rough surfaces – despite the very strong build quality of the pivot point.
That pivot point, incidentally, allows you to rotate the phone from portrait to landscape, and position it away from sun glare or just into varying fields of view. And, while the tiny amount of juddery movement it allows is far from a weakness, it does mean this mount is more for recreational riding rather than serious off-road adventures. But that’ll suit most people.
The rubber webbing holds most sizes of phone well, from my small iPhone 7, to my fairly large Huwaei P30 Pro. The only slight hitch with this mounting method is that it can cover up your battery meter and signal strength – which can be a bit of issue on long rides.
On the whole it’s a good solution to a common problem. The build quality is excellent and, while that means it’s a bit weighty and cumbersome for serious cyclists, recreational riders and commuters will find it very useful.
The missing link:
Popsockets Popgrip – available from www.popsockets.co.uk, priced from £9.99
Although this is an essential item you’ll need before you get to grips with your bike-mount, it warrants a separate review in itself as, even if you don’t fancy the mount, you might find this natty little gadget appealing.
Essentially, it’s little more than a stick-on grip and stand which “pops” out in telescopic stages, allowing you to slide your fingers behind it for a more secure grip on your phone, or enabling you to prop the phone up for watching videos on its display.
It comes with a self-adhesive, remountable sticker which means you plonk it anywhere on the back of the handset you fancy and you’ll soon find a comfortable position for it.
Make sure the back of your phone is really clean first, to help the adhesive stick and if the back of your phone is made of glass, you’ll need a separate sticker first. But it’s surprisingly secure and easy to position.
Once attached, you can pop it out very easily, tilt it to help your phone stand up, and even remove the “PopTop” should you fancy changing your style. There’s a dizzying array of colours available.
If you’re not keen on the idea of sticking something to your phone, there’s also a slide-on mounting system for iPhones and this works fairly well, but it’s obviously less secure and prone to moving around.
But this cute little device slots itself into the Popmount’s bracket, as a first step of security before you heave on the rubber webbing. It means the display barely wobbles on most surfaces, despite the phone sitting so far its mounting point.
And the PopGrip is one of those items you wonder why you’d need. It feels like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist – that is, until you use it. Once you become accustomed to it being stuck to the back of your phone, you’d actually miss it if it wasn’t there.
It helps keep your phone positioned in your hand as you type and to have a stand with you at all times is a bonus, particularly for travellers.
And a tenner for something built so well, that fulfils its brief so effectively, is a bargain.