Quad Lock Bike Mount Review: Simplicity & Versatility
Thanks to their inbuilt GPS, intuitive operating systems, and power navigation apps, smartphones make increasingly capable navigation tools. We try out the Quad Lock Bike Mount and see if it’s strong and secure enough to trust your hallowed smartphone for bikepacking…
As readers of this site will know, we’re big fans of using smartphones to navigate. In fact, my primary reason for succumbing to an iPhone a few years ago was to take advantage of the growing range of navigation apps, online mapping, and satellite imagery available. Aside from gripes with limited battery life, it’s hard to beat a smartphone and a good navigation app for on-the-fly navigation, route planning, and ease of use.
Most of the time, unless the route I’m following is especially complex, I stash mine in my pocket, or keep it tucked in the side pouch in my front bag. I rarely leave it running all the time, for fear of tearing through its battery. But where quick access to a phone is especially handy is when I hit an unfamiliar town or city, and need to navigate my way around – perhaps to find a place to stay – without resorting to busy thoroughfares. It’s at such times that having it mounted to the handlebars is really useful. It avoids the need to constantly fish out my phone and check directions in often hectic environments, and allows me to use a turn by turn navigation app to guide me in.
I first came across the Quad Lock system in Bolivia, after meeting a bikepacking couple – aka @unscriptedride – using one on their long-distance ride across the continent. I was impressed by how simple and discreet it was, and robust enough to have endured such a journey of extremes. They’ve had theirs for much longer than I have, but even after a few weeks of use, I can already tell it’s perfectly suited to my needs. It’s easily attached, sits securely in place, and can be moved quickly from bike to bike. There are also additional mounts available, as well as a number of other models in the Quad Lock range that are suited to running, driving, and motorbiking. There’s also a tripod adaptor, a belt clip, and an accessory that allows a GoPro to be fitted below the optional Out Front mount.
Unlike some of the more expensive phone cases on the market, the Quad Lock system isn’t designed to be a completely waterproof or submersible system. Rather, it comes with an open, polycarbonate case that features an almost flush, low-profile mounting face. It’s all but unnoticeable in the pocket and doesn’t obstruct any use of your phones – the headphone port, for example – which means there’s never a need to take the case off. The case itself is discreet, feels well made, and is tough enough to protect ‘my other brain’ from the occasional fall – not that it risks being jettisoned from the bike, super secure as the mounting system is. If the weather does take a turn for the worse, the kit comes with a simple, form-fitting cover (aptly named the Poncho) that slips on easily, protecting all the ports from dust, grime, and water. Given that my iPhone 6 sits above my roll bag, there’s no fear of splashes coming up from the road. Of course, if you own one of the latest generations of smartphones that include a relatively high amount of dust and waterproofing, you probably won’t even need it, though it’s a nice failsafe. The only downside to the Poncho is if you run a relatively thick protective shield on your screen, as I do, as it hampers use a little; mine still worked, albeit with more forceful jabs and swipes.
Quick Tips and Apps
A few of our favourite apps include Maps.me (which offers quick downloads and has a very handy offline routing function), available for Android and iPhone. Gaia GPS and MapOut are great programs for iPhones, while LocusMap, OsmAnd, and AlpineQuest GPS come recommended for Android users. See our guide “Using Your Smartphone as a GPS” for more details, as well as a rundown of the pros and cons of a smartphone versus a dedicated GPS.
Keep your phone on airplane mode to save battery, even when navigating. Close down any apps you’re not using, and dim the light. Turn your phone off at night and stow it in your sleeping bag if it’s cold. A dynamo, solar panel, or 5000mAh cache battery are all effective ways of keeping your phone juiced up. Don’t forget, though: always have a secondary form of navigation, or at least another phone in your group, in case yours fails. And, where possible, we’d always recommend having a paper map as a backup, or even a dedicated GPS for some situations.
As for the mount, it’s simply a case of placing your phone at a 45-degree angle and twisting it round to lock it in place. To detach it, push down the blue collar, twist, and release. You can quickly position the phone horizontally or vertically. The pack comes with four rubber O-rings, two of each size, that slop around the stem or handlebars and hook onto the mount behind, which has a grippy rubber back. The O-rings allow the phone to be attached to anything with a diameter of 25-40mm. Given that the mount was too long for the 70mm stem I run, I looped mine around the handlebars instead. Although there’s a little movement with the O rings, I found the fit is secure enough not to be an issue on trails; you can always beef it up with a couple of zip ties, also provided. As for required handlebar real estate, you’ll need an area of 50mm for the mount itself and 25mm above for the phone to rotate – if you’re running out of space, Quad Lock also offer an Out Front mount, which also adds extra stability over the O rings. As you’d expect, there are various models designed to fit the full range of iPhones and Samsung Galaxies. There’s also a Universal mount ($39.95/£29.95) if you already have a case you like, or your phone isn’t on the hallowed list. This method uses the same mount with an adhesive back (also available separately). Just check that your case has a suitably large flat spot. Based on reader feedback, it might be worthwhile to add a little extra epoxy – like Gorilla Expoxy Glue – to be on the safe side.
- Well made
- Very secure
- Quick to install and remove phone
- Quick to install and remove mount
- Lots of mounting options for other activities
- Not 100% waterproof/submersible (unless your phone is)
- More expensive than some bike mounts (but worth it, given what you’re attaching to your bike)
- Poncho hampers phone use, depending on the thickness of your protective screen
- Weight TBD
- Place of Manufacture China
- Price $69.95(iPhone) or $59.90/£45.90 (Galaxy) for the full kit
- Contact Quad Lock
The Quad Lock is well made, secure, and offers lots of cross-discipline options. As simple as it is, it just works. Designed in Australia, it’s been on the market long enough to know it’s reputable. I bet you can find some cheaper knockoffs on eBay or Amazon, but I’ll wager the Quad Lock system is worth the extra dollars, certainly when it comes to keeping your spendy smartphone from launching into orbit. The included Poncho provides a straightforward means of keeping the elements at bay when you need to, bar monsoon-style rain and apocalyptic dust storms (unless you have one of the fancy new waterproof phone models).
If you’re intending to follow some of our bikepacking routes and already have a smartphone, the Quad Lock makes a worthy investment, certainly compared to the cost of a whole new dedicated GPS system. If you already have a case you like or you want to save some cash, the Universal Mount looks like a good option for half the price.