For those of us who are looking to add convenience to our two-wheeling experience, the consumer tech company Scosche is offering the MagicMount Handlebar. As one might guess, the product allows riders to prop their phones up on the handlebar of their bikes for easy access.
While part of me is hesitant to endorse any mechanism that allows for some potentially dangerous distracted biking, I can certainly imagine a desire for a product that allows you to quickly check heart rate, distance, timing, or other stats while on the trail. So I gave it a try.
After unboxing the mount, I was left with an assortment of pieces to assemble. There were two rubber casings meant for a larger and smaller device. The larger one wrapped snug around my iPhone 7, but any larger device or plus size iPhone would have required me to really pull hard on the rubber casing to stretch around it. While this feature may keep your phone tied down to your bike as you shoot down rocky hills (just wait, there’s a bit more that will affect this), you give up any ability to quickly remove the device like other mounts. Rather than releasing any clamp or clip, you must manually pull apart a flimsy rubber exoskeleton. But I digress. At this point in the unboxing I was still hopeful my phone would be stable as I rode.
Then came the magnet. Scosche asks you to apply an adhesive film to your device or case in order to stick on a metal plate (again, it comes with two different sizes). In addition to the rubber casing, there’s also a rectangular magnet that sits under your device holding it in place, which this metal plate bonds with. I found a few potential concerns here.
The first being that I wasn’t thrilled to stick a piece of unattractive black metal onto the back of my phone—thankfully I had a case to put it on, rather than directly on the back of the device. Scosche explains that you can remove the plate, but after several weeks of use I had little success prying it off with a knife and will have to throw away my phone case if I want to get rid of it.
The second issue here had to do with the magnet itself. While the company claims on their website that the magnet is 100% safe for mobile devices, it warns to keep it away from your wallet or any phone case that doubles as a wallet (in other words, it will mess with your credit cards). They also advise to apply the metal plate in a specific location on the device so it doesn’t interfere with certain devices’ ability to wirelessly charge. While I’m sure they’re advice here is well intentioned, I was still a bit hesitant to place my iPhone next to a high powered magnet for extended periods of time. But after reading through a few online forums of users expressing this same concern but not seeing any damage, I decided it was safe to try. With both the rubber casing and the magnet, my phone was locked in place.
But there was one last red flag. For all its tenacity to keep my phone connected to the mount, the mount itself was designed to hold onto my bike with just two zip ties and a small detached rubber grip that could easily fall out of place. In order for the MagicMount to grip the handlebar, you need to press it down on the free floating strip of rubber while you yank on the zip ties. While this was frustrating, it seemed to hold when everything was said and done.
And then I went riding. The mount held onto my phone so tightly that it seemed to become one undifferentiated block of metal and plastic—and that was great! It was doing its job. As I pedaled, I was able to look over at my phone, checking my fitness app and anything else I wanted to distract myself with. But then I started to hit some small bumps and I realized the largest flaw in the design. The zip ties.
While the thin plastic tethers pinned down the mount to my handlebar, it held with zero friction. This meant the small strip of rubber that was pinched between the mount and my handlebar was needed to hold the entire construction in place. As soon as I hit any minor turbulence, the MagicMount began to spin along the handlebar. Within a matter of seconds my phone was pointing towards the ground. I double checked the tautness of the zip ties and the placement of the rubber grip, but there seemed to be nothing I could do to ensure the mount wouldn’t continue to slip.
Before I completely trash the MagicMount, though, I’d like to call attention to the product’s $30 price tag. Scosche appears to have tried its best given its apparent goal of designing something both functional and affordable. Unfortunately, you may need to DIY this baby with extra grip and restraints before you tackle any seriously rocky road.
For more information visit the product page at Scosche here.
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