There are plenty of ways you can go about fixing a smartphone to the handlebars of a bicycle these days, indeed we've looked at mounts of all shapes and sizes over the years. The Quad Lock from the Australian startup of the same name is far from the freshest face on the scene, but its simplicity and stability has seen it remain a popular choice among recreational and serious cyclists alike. We strapped one on and took it for ride.
What makes the Quad Lock a little different to the plethora of other handlebar mounts is that the locking responsibilities are split between the handlebar mount itself and the included smartphone case. These dedicated cases are available for Apple and Samsung smartphones (we tested it with an iPhone 8), and are crafted from a polycarbonate and thermoplastic polyurethane composite material, which feels grippy and robust without adding too much bulk to the handset.
The back of the case has contours that slope subtly upwards from the edges until they meet in the center, where they give way to a circular void. This features a set of four tabs that interlock with the mount itself. Placing the phone on top of the mount at a 45-degree angle will allow the tabs to slot into place, and a 45-degree twist will then lock the whole thing down.
We have spent more than two months and cycled almost 1,000 mi (1,500 km) with the Quad Lock attached, and have been truly impressed with how stable and reliable this mounting solution is.
This has included cycling around town on smoother tarmac but a lot of off-road travel over chunky and heavily corrugated gravel at some pretty high speeds, with the smartphone remaining firmly in place the entire way. At this stage it is hard to think of a road surface or cycling incident that would knock it loose, short of a major collision.
What's impressive about the Quad Lock is that this stability doesn't come at the cost of convenience. There were countless times when we wanted to pull the smartphone off to quickly snap a photo, and were able to do so without much trouble at all. This is thanks to the clever locking mechanism that centers on a blue ring wrapped around the circular mount. When you first lock the phone into place, it momentarily presses down on the blue ring, which itself presses upward and pins it into place.
The phone can be retrieved with a single hand by simply pressing down on this same blue ring with a thumb and forefinger, with another 45-degree twist releasing it from its grasp without too much fuss at all.
Installation is simple enough, with the mount resting on top of a square plate that can be fixed to the handlebar stem (or anywhere you like really) through an included set of O-rings or zip ties. These come in two sizes, which is a thoughtful touch given that stems and handlebars can vary in girth and riders may like different options when it comes to mounting.
Also included in the Quad Lock bike kit is a transparent waterproof poncho to protect your phone in wet weather riding. While the harder case works well with the phone and offers easy access to all buttons and functions, the poncho does compromise on this somewhat so we found we didn't use it all that often (granted we had some luck with the weather).
The benefits of having a smartphone on hand and in your line of sight when cycling for navigating, Strava-ing, changing music or taking photos are pretty clear, so we won't labor the point. The advantages of that over a cycling computer are a little more complex, with these dedicated devices offering metrics and insights beyond what a smartphone can offer, though that comes at a price.
So there'll be many turning to their smartphones to do the job, and the Quad Lock is a solution that is pretty hard to fault. Also working in its favor is that since first launching on Kickstarter way back in 2011, the team has built out a range of mounts that will fix your smartphone to cameras tripods, walls, desks, motorbikes and car windscreens, which can all be bought separately. Meaning that once you have the case on your phone, you could be ready to Quad-Lock it into all kinds of convenient places as you go about your day.
If the Quad Lock is ticking the right boxes, you can pick one up via the company's website, with the Bike Kit we've tested here priced at US$69.95.
More information: Quad Lock
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