The Mountain Bike Life
I’ve been looking at smart phone cases that could be mounted onto a bike even before I had a smart phone. For the longest time I’ve been looking to reduce the number of electronic items I carry on my rides. First the point and shoot camera, then the cell phone and finally a GPS. I never got to the GPS because I had had enough, broke down and got a smart phone. Now that’s all I carry. Gotta love technology.
The type of bike gear that should be funded through Kickstarter. Great product and easy to use.

While trolling the internets for the best bike mounted case I could find, I came across the Quad Lock case for an iPhone on Kickstarter by two guys, Rob Ward and Chris Peters from Melbourne, Australia. I knew I wasn’t going to get an iPhone, for reasons I will not get into here, but I did really liked this concept so I put this on the back burner to see if these guys could get the funding for what I thought was an awesome product.

On January, 15, 2012 the project successfully raised its funding goal so I continued to follow the company to see where they would go with product offerings. While waiting I started looking into smart phones and settled on a Galaxy S4. Shortly after I got my phone I went online and found that Annex offered a case specifically for my phone but to my dismay it was out of stock. Disappointed but not deterred I continued to check back until I could place an order. Annex has a great selection of options and I chose the bike kit bundle (which includes the Quad Lock Case, Quad Lock Poncho and Bike Mount PRO) and also the tripod adapter. I had signed up for their mailing list and got an e-coupon that I applied to the order. I think it cost me $67 shipped to my door. 

First impressions:

The packaging it came in is really nice, not that it makes a difference on how the product works. Still I appreciate the attention to detail to make this product stand out on the shelf.
The Quad Lock Case – The material and the textured finish has a nice feel to it.
The Quad Lock Case is top notch. Injection molded plastic with a textured finish to give you some grip and it fits the phone perfectly. It’s not bulky and feels comfortable in your hand. The Quad Lock feature on the back works really well too, easy to get on and off but tight enough so your phone doesn’t rattle while riding.
The Quad Lock Poncho – Easily installed and removed with a nice attention to detail.
The Quad Lock Poncho is basically a water resistant cover that goes over the case. It covers the screen, the headphone jack and the USB connector. The quality on the Poncho is also top notch. Screen window is super clear yet the edges are frosted except to the Annex and Quad Lock logos. A subtle yet nice detail.
90mm stem is as short as you can go with this mount. Also spacer arrangement may affect installation and removal.
The Bike Mount PRO is once again top notch as far as quality goes. Injection molded plastic with a spring loaded locking mechanism so your phone comes out only when you want it to. Super simple and super effective. It can be held on with either rubber O-rings (two sizes included) or zip ties (also included). Piece of cake to install on the bike and phone attachment and removal can be accomplished with one hand.
The Quad Lock Tripod Adapter – so simple a caveman could do it.
The Tripod Adapter is a simple injection molded plastic piece that connects your Quad Lock Case to your tripod. I thought the price for this part was a bit high but it just works so well I overlooked it. A small tripod is the perfect thing to have when you want to capture on video on a group ride and you actually want to see yourself on the ride too. These are also essential on solo rides when you want to see what you look like when you crash. Sometimes funny, sometimes not so much.

On the trail:

This mounting system is just at home on the trail as it is on your road bike. I’ve ridden with this on some pretty rough terrain and not once has it come loose or fallen out. I’ve had it mounted on my handlebar, on the top tube and finally on the stem. The stem seems the best place for it as it is the least obstructive place on the bike and probably the most stable.
Taking photos and video during the ride is so much easier now. I just pop it off and take a quick pic or video, then pop it back on and go. No more fumbling to get it out of and into my pocket and sometimes dropping it. Also now I carry one device that does it all instead of three. Maybe less IS more.

Also depending on where you have it mounted you could use it to capture video while you are riding. The mount is stable enough the capture good video even in the rough.

Pros:

 

Excellent quality, good looking, looks more expensive than it actually is, easy to install and use, makes taking pictures and video on the trail a snap.

Cons:

 

With the Poncho on, touch sensitivity along the edge of the phone is reduced. If taking video with front facing camera and Poncho on, image is blurred towards the edge of the screen where camera is located (the video above shows this). Tripod adapter too short to place phone on in portrait mode, can only be mounted in wide screen mode.

Verdict:

 

This is an excellent system if you’re looking for a high quality bike mount for your smart phone. I can’t remember the last time I put something on my bike that was this easy to install and use and made life in the saddle so much easier. As far as the cons for this product it’s really not a big deal, you can ride without the Poncho as long as it’s not raining. Also it’s really my tripod that doesn’t allow the phone to fully rotate, I could get a new one that removes the interference and be done with it. The guys who designed this case really did a fantastic job. I am glad to see this Kickstarter project make it though funding and into a real product. If you have a Galaxy S4 or iPhone 4/4S/5/5S/5C and want to use it on your bike, get this case…you will not be disappointed. They even have one for an iPad, although I am not sure I’d mountain bike with that.
Riding In Upstate New York
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