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View Full Version : Any Opinions on Bike Mirrors?



guacamole62
06-13-2012, 08:58 AM
Are they helpful? What do you suggest? I am looking to get my hubby one for Father's Day. He's on his bike daily. I am torn between looking for one for his helmet and one for the handlebars..or two for the handlebars. I know nothing about this subject and am hoping you can impart your wisdom. TIA

Mark Blacknell
06-13-2012, 09:05 AM
I experimented a long time back with bike-mounted mirrors. I didn't find them particularly helpful - road vibration just makes it all look fuzzy, to me.

I ended up with a glasses-mounted mirror, like this - http://www.treefortbikes.com/product/333222338946/148/Take-A-Look-Model-100-Eye.html. I use it when leading group rides with people who need an eye kept on them. There are other, safer (i.e., plastic around mirror) alternatives. The one I use looks perfect for putting someone's (okay, my) eye out.

Dirt
06-13-2012, 09:07 AM
I use the Italian Road Mirror on my Big Dummy. it works quite well.

http://www.aspirevelotech.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=RBM_1001&Category_Code=MIRROR

Pete

MCL1981
06-13-2012, 09:37 AM
I had one of the little gooseneck ones on my handlebar before I smashed it off my accident. I find it is too small to see much in daylight. At night they are great because headlights stick out.

chris_s
06-13-2012, 09:51 AM
I have the Mirrycle Mirror (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009R96YK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=dodgersden-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0009R96YK) on my hybrid and use it constantly - I like to always know whether it is safe to bail out of the bike lane into the traffic lane in case of emergency. As a near-sighted glasses wearer, I find it difficult to quickly glance backward over my shoulder far enough to be able to see traffic through my glasses rather than just in my blurry peripheral vision, the mirror makes this mostly moot.

Actually, I have to admit I often find myself instinctively looking for it even when I'm not on the bike (for instance, when I'm pushing my son in his stroller).

Mirrycle makes mirrors for other types of handlebars as well.

DCAKen
06-13-2012, 10:06 AM
I use a helmet mounted mirror, the Third Eye Pro (http://www.3rd-eye.com/%2802%29.htm). I find it more flexible than a handlebar mounted mirror as I switch back and forth from the handlebars to the aero bars. When my old mirror fell off (old adhesive lost grip in a heavy downpour), I felt more vulnerable without it as I cycled Beach Drive on my daily commute. I really like being aware of what's coming up behind me.

Greenbelt
06-13-2012, 10:09 AM
For drop bars, I've tried both the bar-end plug in mirror and also the kind that clamp on the side of the drop part of the bar and extend out to the side. The plug in ones are great but I've had a couple where the plug in connecting stuff wore out or broke off. The clamp ones can interfere with your hands when you're in the drops, and they are easy to knock around when you lean your bike against a wall or getting out a door. However, on balance, I prefer the clamp on type. They have lasted longer for me.

consularrider
06-13-2012, 10:16 AM
I've used glasses mounted, helmet mounted, and bar mounted mirrors. Below is my experience with them:

I'm very partial to the Take-a-look (http://www.amazon.com/Bike-Peddler-Cycling-Eyeglass-Mirror/dp/B001VTQNVO)glasses moutned mirror that Mark linked to above. I've been using one for five years now and it vibrates very little. I've crashed with it on, cracked my helmet, but did not put my eye out.

I picked up a Chuck Harris mirror (http://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/201104_MirrorMan_Siple.pdf) at a bike event in Indiana. Chuck mounted it to my helmet, but I bent it on another fall and can't get it adjusted to the replacement helmet, and you have to find Chuck at various bike events.

I also have a helmet visor mounted one that is specific to my Bell Metro (http://www.bellsports.com/cycling/other-products/accessories/bell-flip-mirror) helmet that I use to commute. That one is a little small and vibrates more than my Take-a-look.

Another popular glasses mounted mirror is the Third Eye (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BDJP66/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=7484265687&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1799403802929401319&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_8his9tc0nk_b). I used this before I got the Take-a-look, and find that it doesn't stay on the glasses as well and that the ball joint loosens up over time.

As far as handlebar mirrors, I have tried two that fit into the ends of the handlebars on my hybrid. To be honest, I don't remember the brands. The first broke off when I crashed on ice (seems like I have crashing issues when referring to bike mirrors, doesn't it ;)). I lost its replacement because I didn't check the tightness of the adjustment screw and the mirror fell off while I was riding and I didn't miss it immediately and couldn't find it when I retraced my route.

DaveK
06-13-2012, 11:01 AM
I ended up with a glasses-mounted mirror, like this - http://www.treefortbikes.com/product/333222338946/148/Take-A-Look-Model-100-Eye.html. I use it when leading group rides with people who need an eye kept on them.

Fred.

KS1G
06-13-2012, 12:31 PM
I dislike glasses-mounted mirrors, handlebar mirrors can't be aimed, and many of the helmet-mounted mirrors are semi-permanent (double sided tape), don't fit some helments (or at least those I use), or they don't hold up (same issue reported above for 3rd Eye).

My helmet-mirror-of-choice is the Hubbub (http://hubbubcustom.com/store/proddetail.asp?prod=helmir)- a commercial version, I believe, of the "Chuck Harris". I own two. Nigh-indestructible (one of mine survived a 20mph crash) and seems to fit about anything. Hubbub sells replacement mirrors, too (reflective 'silvering" wore off my older mirror after several seasons of year-round use). Costs a bit more (initially) but I can easily move it to another helmet and it-just-don't-break.

vvill
06-13-2012, 01:03 PM
I've tried two or three mirrors.

This one:

Another popular glasses mounted mirror is the Third Eye (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BDJP66/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=7484265687&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1799403802929401319&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_8his9tc0nk_b). I used this before I got the Take-a-look, and find that it doesn't stay on the glasses as well and that the ball joint loosens up over time.

And two drop handlebar mounted ones.

I haven't found one that's really worked and haven't really missed not having the mirror so I still commute mirrorless. Whenever I had a mirror I found myself fiddling with it to try to make it useful, more than actually benefiting from it. The Italian one Dirt linked to looks decent though.

chris_s
06-13-2012, 01:14 PM
...handlebar mirrors can't be aimed...

My handlebar mirror swivels left and right and up and down. Is it special or do you mean something else by "aimed'?

KLizotte
06-13-2012, 01:14 PM
I use one of these (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012OKA6M/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00) - it was recommended to me by ArlingtonRider. So far it has worked really well; vibration is not a problem and it gives a remarkably wide view. I can't imagine riding without it now; I'm always glancing to see what is going on behind me. It's particularly useful when I see a car hanging back a respectful distance - when that happens, I'll go out of my way to move far to the right, even stopping if necessary, and motion for the car to go around me. I figure if they are nice to me I can be nice to them.

The only downside is having to readjust it each time I get on the bike if I've put my helmet down on something thus moving the mirror.

It has the advantage that it is cheap enough that if I lose it I won't much care. And somehow the mirror never seems to get smudged despite my fingers being all over it.

pfunkallstar
06-13-2012, 02:42 PM
I've tried two or three mirrors.

This one:


And two drop handlebar mounted ones.

I haven't found one that's really worked and haven't really missed not having the mirror so I still commute mirrorless. Whenever I had a mirror I found myself fiddling with it to try to make it useful, more than actually benefiting from it. The Italian one Dirt linked to looks decent though.

I've been commuting for at least six years now and have never even thought about getting a mirror, maybe I put undue faith in those riding behind me. Also running away from the masses is kind of my M.O. so I don't worry about fasty passers that much.

DaveK
06-13-2012, 03:48 PM
To add something constructive to this thread, I've never seen a need for a mirror on my bike. I just turn and look back for a second. This isn't as simple as it sounds. If you're not used to doing it, your bike will naturally travel in the direction you're looking when you do so. So when you're turning to see if it's safe to merge left, your bike drifts left. It's important to practice this skill until you're confident you can look backwards without deviating from your line.

Mark Blacknell
06-13-2012, 04:03 PM
Fred.

Yeah, but if I'd had it when you "dropped your chain" in Philadelphia, I would have noticed and you wouldn't have been so lonely for the next few miles.

Tim Kelley
06-14-2012, 08:21 AM
Yeah, but if I'd had it when you "dropped your chain" in Philadelphia, I would have noticed and you wouldn't have been so lonely for the next few miles.

Then I would I have been lonely for the next few miles off the front...

creadinger
06-14-2012, 12:29 PM
I have used a helmet/sunglasses mirror for the past several years, especially when I knew I'd be riding busy roads.

The sunglasses mounted one worked great, but twice I found that the tension it put on the arm of my glasses broke it, so I had to chuck 'em. I currently use a helmet mounted mirror which attaches quite nicely to the visor on my helmet. I'm not sure if this would work on a helmet without a visor though.

I find having the helmet or sunglasses mounted mirror preferable to the handlebar mounted one because sometimes what you want to look back at isn't directly behind you. Just by turning your head you can look at whatever you want to behind you.

Also, more experienced cyclists will say they just look back if they want to know what's back there. I can say that in my experience, there are times where looking back is not really possible for me. For one example, in PA I was at the top of a ridge on US Route 30, which is a busy high speed road, and also has lots of trucks. It was Bike PA Route S though heading into Breezewood, so I had no choice. Anyway, heading down the mountain close to 40 mph I came upon rocks and potholes along the road edge that I had to get around, but going that fast I did not want to look behind me. I'm just not comfortable doing that going that fast. So the helmet mirror can more safely show me if I can safely move out to the middle of the road to avoid the crappy stuff on the edge of the road.

Most mirrors should be cheap enough ~$10 that if you lose it, break it, or don't like it, you're not out a ton of money.

papalena
06-14-2012, 01:29 PM
Two things about bicycle mirrors:

1. They can be an acquired taste. For many years, although I had tried them, I couldn't make one work for me. Handle bar mirrors vibrated relative to my head/eyes, and I found the mirror too small for them to be useful. And I couldn't get used to the one-eye use of helmet mounted mirrors in the limited time I tried them for them to feel comfortable. I found I could get by just fine turning my head when needed.

2. Then I starting riding a recumbent. On a recumbent, a mirror is almost a necessity because its so difficult to turn your head around, in the leaned-back position these bikes have. So I got a head mounted mirror, and quickly got used to it. Now I feel naked without it -- even when I'm not on the bike. Sometimes if I'm walking down the street I find myself glancing up and left to where my mirror should be.

I prefer a head mounted mirror - although the mirror itself is smaller, the nearness to you eye means that it takes up a larger solid angle of your vision, and you get a much better view of where you've been than bike or bar mounted mirrors. My current favorite is the Cycleaware Reflex Bicycle Helmet Mirror
(http://www.amazon.com/Cycleaware-Reflex-Bicycle-Helmet-Mirror/dp/B00012343C) which I use on all my helmets. It has a flexible attachment - less likely to break when it gets bumped, and easier to position it where you really want it.
The only drawback I've seen to the head mounted mirrors is that the ball joint connecting the mirror to the armature often loosens with age and the mirror can constantly get out of alignment from a touch or a steady headwind. With this model, a bit of sticky duct tape and a small zip-tie around the ball-socket holder firms it up nicely.

For other opinions, check out http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/best-bicycle-mirrors/

guacamole62
06-14-2012, 07:28 PM
Wowwowowow! Thanks for all the amazing feedback. So many choices, but they don't seem like they'll break the bank so maybe I can afford to get him a couple different ones to try out and go from there. Thanks for taking the time and energy to recount your experiences. It's much appreciated!

creadinger
06-15-2012, 08:27 AM
Sometimes if I'm walking down the street I find myself glancing up and left to where my mirror should be.

If I only had a dime for every time I did this.... Haha, it's such a let down to not be able to see behind you just by looking up and left a little bit.

Bill Hole
06-15-2012, 09:17 AM
I find it too hard to use a mirror mounted on a regular bike, but they're very useful on my recumbents because they are more in my line of sight. I have a Take-A-Look mirror on my helmet and it's massively useful on either type of bike, especially as I stiffen up with age. Also, the Take-A-Look is almost indestructible. I knocked it off once while riding and it was run over by two cars. I bent it back into shape and it was good to go.

lordofthemark
01-08-2014, 01:05 PM
Any new thoughts? I mounted a bar end mirror on the beater MTB, and I always found it frustrating - hard to see in without looking too far down, got mis aimed whenever I shifted or braked (when aimed correctly it was too close to my left hand) etc. I haven't removed it from the MTB but I do not want to put one on the Dew. So thinking probably a helmet mirror (standard Bell helmet) though I wear glasses.

dasgeh
01-08-2014, 01:41 PM
I was thinking about mirrors this morning as I commuted with ski goggles, which kill my peripheral vision. Any suggestions for mirrors that work with those?

cyclingfool
01-08-2014, 02:11 PM
Any new thoughts? I mounted a bar end mirror on the beater MTB, and I always found it frustrating - hard to see in without looking too far down, got mis aimed whenever I shifted or braked (when aimed correctly it was too close to my left hand) etc. I haven't removed it from the MTB but I do not want to put one on the Dew. So thinking probably a helmet mirror (standard Bell helmet) though I wear glasses.

I give very high praise for the Take a Look (http://amzn.com/B000AO7ETQ) mirror. Love mine to death. I put mine on my regular eyeglasses, which are what I wear for riding. It can also be put onto the visor of a helmet if you'd prefer, or to the helmet directly with an optional helmet adapter.

peterw_diy
01-08-2014, 06:59 PM
My wife has a helmet mirror and dislikes how the setting sun reflects into her eyes when riding east at sunset. I ride drop bars and use Zefal Spy (http://www.zefal.com/en/mirrors/78-spy.html) mirrors mounted inboard -- still pretty useful, no trouble leaning against walls, and higher stealth/lower Fred factors.

Steve O
01-08-2014, 08:10 PM
I give very high praise for the Take a Look (http://amzn.com/B000AO7ETQ) mirror. Love mine to death. I put mine on my regular eyeglasses, which are what I wear for riding. It can also be put onto the visor of a helmet if you'd prefer, or to the helmet directly with an optional helmet adapter.

+1 I've had a Take a Look mirror for more than a decade (actually 2; I lost one) and have given them as gifts.

cyclingfool
01-08-2014, 08:32 PM
+1 I've had a Take a Look mirror for more than a decade (actually 2; I lost one) and have given them as gifts.

And once you've gotten used to wearing it on the bike, you'll start expecting to be able to quickly glance up and to the left to see what is behind you, like walking down the street, or in the hall at work. Sadly, it's not always there, well, unless you forget to take it off once you get off the bike. ;)

VA2DC
04-17-2017, 01:44 PM
Based on some of the comments in this thread, I purchased the Take-a-Look mirror to mount on my visor. Any suggestions on where to place it and how to adjust it to get a decent field of view? I've tried moving it forward and backward on the left side of my helmet visor, angled it up and down and from left to right. But I found that it's very sensitive to micro-adjustments, and I have a hard time being able to see what's behind me and to my left--such as car traffic running next to a bike lane. When I angle the mirror down a little, I just see a bunch of my left shoulder. Angle it up slightly, and I'm looking at the sky behind me. I ride a touring bike with drop bars with the saddle slightly higher than the handlebars. Any tips on how to use and adjust the mirror would be much appreciated!

anomad
04-17-2017, 09:03 PM
Because the mirror is so close to your eye a small adjustment to the angle will mean a large change in your field of view. Adjusting the mirror at home in a hallway with a tiny bit of your ear in the field of view is a good place to start. Of course you have to bend to approximately the same angle you would in your normal riding position. It takes me several hours of adjustment to get used to it. If you only try for one or two hours of riding your not giving it a fair chance. Again, for me, it takes 6-8 hours on the bike to train my eyeball where the image is supposed to appear.

I love helmet or glasses mounted mirrors but don't normally use them because I use clear glasses in the morning and sunglasses in the evening. With a helmet mounted mirror you have to be very careful when handling your helmet. I use a handlebar mounted mirror on my commuting bikes and find myself constantly looking at my left hand on non mirror equipped bikes.


Based on some of the comments in this thread, I purchased the Take-a-Look mirror to mount on my visor. Any suggestions on where to place it and how to adjust it to get a decent field of view? I've tried moving it forward and backward on the left side of my helmet visor, angled it up and down and from left to right. But I found that it's very sensitive to micro-adjustments, and I have a hard time being able to see what's behind me and to my left--such as car traffic running next to a bike lane. When I angle the mirror down a little, I just see a bunch of my left shoulder. Angle it up slightly, and I'm looking at the sky behind me. I ride a touring bike with drop bars with the saddle slightly higher than the handlebars. Any tips on how to use and adjust the mirror would be much appreciated!

mstone
04-18-2017, 08:09 AM
unless you're cast in bronze, the mirror will never be adjusted perfectly to see anything behind you at all times. you get it close, and then move your head a little bit to check behind.

GovernorSilver
04-18-2017, 09:13 AM
I currently use this one. Wide field of vision, easy to adjust on the fly yet stays in position, and is zip-tied to the helmet (no adhesive).

https://www.efficientvelo.com/home/safezone/

Steve O
04-18-2017, 02:15 PM
unless you're cast in bronze, the mirror will never be adjusted perfectly to see anything behind you at all times. you get it close, and then move your head a little bit to check behind.

Yes, just like with a car, although you only need to move your head a little bit. Mine is attached to my sunglasses, not my visor. I don't know if visor mounting moves it farther from the eye and harder to adjust. They make a helmet mount, but I've never used one.
I adjust mine so that just the slightest bit of my ear and part of my shoulder are visible while I'm riding. When I swivel my eyeball towards the mirror, I move my head slightly to optimize the field of view. After using the mirror for a long time, all of this has become automatic.
YMMV, but keep fiddling with it until you find what works for you.

KLizotte
04-18-2017, 08:16 PM
I consider my helmet mirror to be as important as the helmet for safety equipment. I'm absolutely amazed (and appalled) that more people don't use mirrors. I know they are considered dorky but a mirror can really save your butt and make you less of an annoying cyclist. I am always checking what is happening behind me and make adjustments accordingly. Sometimes I will take the lane and sometimes I will move over far to the right to let someone pass depending on who or what is approaching. It also means I can see people coming up on the trails who don't call passes.

This is the one I've used for years: https://www.amazon.com/Third-Eye-Helmet-Bicycle-Mirror/dp/B0012OKA6M/ref=sr_1_17?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1492563503&sr=1-17&keywords=helmet+mirror

I've never had one fall off so the sticky part is really sticky. I've broken a couple but that was due to sheer stupidity on my part (don't ask). While I'm careful-ish with my mirror when carrying my helmet I've found it to be remarkably durable, esp for $10.

Because the mirror moves when I place the helmet on a table or hang it on a wall I have to readjust it every time I ride but I'm so used to the process that it takes me all of two seconds while riding. I spend more time getting my GPS set up. It's easier to adjust while riding than when standing.

My preferred mirror positions requires that I glance up a little bit and look slightly to the left. Note that these motions are slight and I'm not in a terribly aero position. Also, I see a little bit of my left ear and a little bit of my shoulder. Once you figure out a comfortable head position for looking into the mirror you will learn how to adjust the mirror so quickly and easily you won't even think about it. Give it a couple of weeks.

Most of the time you will be able to see all that you need with a slight head movement; occasionally, like going around tight curves or if you want to see a chasing dog you may have to move your head differently to get the mirror into the correct position. But this becomes very easy to do with practice. I still look after my shoulder in some situations "just in case" but mostly just rely on the mirror. I feel like I'm losing out on a lot of situational awareness on those rare occasions when I ride without it (like forgetting my helmet).

I think I've only ever used the mirror I linked above. I don't know if others are easier or harder to use but I suspect it's more a matter of how easy is it to adjust the mirror (e.g., stiffness) and practice.

Good luck!

P.S. I've often wondered why the heavy ped users of the MUTs don't attach mirrors to their hats or glasses. Seems like it would make walking/running less stressful (and hazardous).