The smart phone has rapidly become the dominant cell phone in the US, which has been followed by a flurry of applications. There are now many great applications for smart phones to use with your bike that allow it to become a powerful full featured bike computer. Most riders carry their phones with them anyway, so it’s only logical to look at removing the bike computer and mounting the phone.
The iphone has always held an advantage for accessories due to its single form factor (although it changed with the iphone 4). This allowed manufacturers to design one mounting system ranging from stereo connectors to bike mounts. On the other hand, Android powered phones are the fastest growing segment of the smart phone market but each one has its own size, shape, and connectors. This presents a challenge to 3rd party manufacturers to develop accessories that will fit all the different models.
One bike mount for Android phones is SlipGrip. This uses a plastic back with clips to grip the phone, and is sold for particular different phone models. I suspect they make a few different versions and then market the one that fits for each phone. This is connected to a back clamp which can clamp to your handlebars or stem, and is sold in 1″, 1.25″ and 1.5″ versions. Some of the clamps are well done, while others use a very cheap looking steel U-bolt with too much height to the phone mount. Oddly, the same size clamp comes in both a decent plastic version and the steel U-bolt based on the phone you need it for. Since both clamps are attached to the same style mount, I found it puzzling why they use different styles. Overall the units have a home-made feel to them, but with some nice design.
I tried out a Slip Grip 1.5″ version for a HTC Droid Incredible 2 which has a thick hinged clamp. The clamp worked well over the center bulge of a 31.6mm road handlebar, although the thin bolt used to tighten it down required cutting down to prevent an unnecessary protrusion. The phone clipped into the mount quickly, and the thin backing and slim clips don’t look bulky around the phone at all. The phone seemed very secure so off for a ride.
About 5 miles into the ride, a straight section of road with a few bumps was all it took to shoot the phone right out of the mount and onto the pavement. Remarkably the phone survived with a few scuffs but that was the end of the SlipGrip experiment for the day.
After evaluating the situation at home, I decided that a couple black hair bands around each end should work, which assured the phone was secured to the mount. Off again for another ride. Again a few miles in, a minor pothole was all it took and the phone was launched again into the ditch. This time I found the SlipGrip had totally severed itself from the mount demonstrating a horrible weakness of the plastic connection between the mount and the clamp.
The SlipGrip was a total failure and I have to put a Do Not Buy rating on this one.
I have heard people say that units like Garmin are/will become obsolete with more smart phones, but I’m not so sure. I’ ll keep watching for a reliable Android bike mount but I don’t know if I’d actually stick with one. My Garmin Edge unit has proven quite reliable (with a few quirks) in a small, tough, weatherproof package with plenty of battery life for any century ride.