Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: Figaro on December 30, 2017, 01:17:35 pm

 
Title: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Figaro on December 30, 2017, 01:17:35 pm
Just got my Blackburn brake hood mirror in today. Too cold for me to go out and test it, but I'm hopeful it will prove a better solution for a touring bike mirror than what I have had up to this point. I tired the helmet mount mirror but after one ride stopped using it. I just couldn't get comfortable with it--was more distracting than helpful. My current handlebar mirror is just "ok", but nothing to write home about. The lens isn't that clear and is constantly vibrating out of position. Hopefully the Blackburn will be a significant improvement--just doesn't seem to be that many options with bar-end shifters.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: John Nettles on December 30, 2017, 01:23:36 pm
No mirror is going to be perfect as the bike/rider are always having slight "bumps" causing the mirror to slightly (or violently) vibrate.  I see you have the same helmet mirror I use.  While it is ugly, I have found it to be by far the best helmet mirror out there.  I would try it again for a least 4-5 rides and maybe then you will get used to it.  I personally will not ride without a helmet mirror and even carry an older traditional eyeglass mirror as a spare in case the helmet mirror breaks.

Hope you find what you are looking for!  John
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Figaro on December 30, 2017, 02:12:02 pm
Yea, the helmet mirror is one of the best reviewed. I'm not concerned about the looks of it, but I just couldn't get it adjusted properly so I could see anything with it and it was very distracting for me. Hopefully the Blackburn will work well. If not, then I may try the Selle Italia, but that one looks like the same basic concept as the blackburn. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know. I'm not concerned about looks/style....just want to be able to clearly see behind me. I'm surprised someone hasn't already come out with a rear camera and a small monitor to mount on the handlebar--sort of like a backup camera in your car. If it could be made lightweight with a long battery life, that could be a hit with a lot of tour bikers.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: RussSeaton on December 30, 2017, 02:30:31 pm
For the past 20 years I have used the Take A Look eyeglass mounted mirror.  Works perfectly on seeing eyeglasses and on sunglasses.  Just need a flat arm on the glasses frame to mount it.  25 years ago I used a mirror that mounted over the brake hood.  It was metal and tough.  Still have it in the parts boxes in the basement.  Had bar end shifters then.  Worked well but the eyeglass mirror works better since I can rotate my head and see anywhere behind me.  Brake hood mounted mirrors, or the ones stuck in the end of handlebars are fixed so can only see certain spots behind.  Don't like helmet mounted mirrors because I take my helmet on and off many times on a ride and its not always treated gently.  So the mirror would get moved every time.  And helmets do not sit in the exact same spot on my head every time I put them on.  Unlike eyeglasses which always hook over my ears and rest on my nose.  Same spot.  Or I push the helmet up and back occasionally when it slides too low.  So I can see always constantly adjusting where the mirror is pointing with helmet mounted mirrors.  Imagine driving a car where you adjusted the side and rear mirror ten times every time you drove the car.  You would get tired of that nonsense after one trip.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: John Nelson on December 30, 2017, 02:47:03 pm
I tired the helmet mount mirror but after one ride stopped using it. I just couldn't get comfortable with it--was more distracting than helpful.

Mirrors are very personal, and everybody seems to like a different mirror. In my opinion, you didn't give your helmet-mounted mirror a sufficient chance. One ride is not enough. It probably took me three months to fully get used to it, and now I feel naked without it. I never liked handlebar-mounted mirrors because they seem to always vibrate and you can't easily point them, which is a problem when you are on a curve or want to check on the rider behind you. Furthermore, if you're in a country that drives on the right, you want your mirror on the left, which gets in the way when you lay your bike down on the non-drive side.

Don't like helmet mounted mirrors because I take my helmet on and off many times on a ride and its not always treated gently.  So the mirror would get moved every time.

A valid complaint, but it only takes me a second to adjust it. I found that taping the mirror on with electrical tape significant reduced the problem. I don't really like eyeglass-mounted mirrors because I can't get the mirror far enough away from my eyes to be comfortably visible.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Dullboot on December 30, 2017, 06:30:05 pm
I have used the Blackburn mirror mounted over the hoods on my touring bike for a few years now. I have found it to work better than many others, but not perfectly. It is better at absorbing vibration than most others. Issues I have had are that gradually the bolt in the center comes loose resulting in the mirror not staying in one place. You need to rotate the whole mirror a full turn to tighten it if this happens. Also, if you drop your bike it will break off, and cannot be put back together. Nevertheless I found it to be better than others. Have not tried a glasses mounted mirror so can’t comment. On my bikes with flat Bars I use a mirracyle mirror, which works better than any other I have tried


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: RussSeaton on December 30, 2017, 09:45:00 pm
I have used the Blackburn mirror mounted over the hoods on my touring bike for a few years now.

Blackburn!  That's the one I had 25 years ago.  Steel bracket to go over the brake hood and a Velcro strap to wrap around it.  Mine never vibrated loose.  They probably changed it from 25 years ago.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Molly88 on December 31, 2017, 05:11:02 pm
Anyone use those small mirrors that plug into the ends of drop bars?
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: DaveB on December 31, 2017, 05:39:33 pm
Anyone use those small mirrors that plug into the ends of drop bars?
I use the "Third Eye" bar end mirror which isn't exactly small but works very well.  I've tried about every alternative mirror location and have settled on it.    It is vulnerable to being bumped and prevents the use of bar end shifters but those are minor problems to me.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Molly88 on December 31, 2017, 05:44:48 pm
Thanks.  I haven't used a mirror but I think it's time.  Hearing may be going, neck is stiff, etc.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: DaveB on December 31, 2017, 06:13:31 pm
Thanks.  I haven't used a mirror but I think it's time.  Hearing may be going, neck is stiff, etc.
I won't ride without a mirror of some type.  I don't trust the mirror completely so, if it seems there is nothing back of me, I'm not sure and I'll turn around to check but if I see something in it I'm certain it's there.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Molly88 on December 31, 2017, 06:21:33 pm
Yes, that seems to be the right way to use it.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: GrnMtns on January 03, 2018, 08:48:56 pm
I didn't like the sunglasses mounted mirror at first but quickly came to rely on it.  The Take A Look mirror offers a remarkably clear view of cars while they're still a long way back.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: DarrenBnYYC on January 04, 2018, 12:44:48 am
I didn't like the sunglasses mounted mirror at first but quickly came to rely on it.  The Take A Look mirror offers a remarkably clear view of cars while they're still a long way back.
Another plug for the Take A Look mirror. I mount mine on the visor of my helmet with a zip-tie. A nice feature of this mirror is that it can fold under the visor if I don't need it.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: o2tour on January 04, 2018, 07:26:52 pm
Take A Look mirror. bought my first one before leaving on the GDMBR. Did not want a bear to sneak up behind me.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: DaveT on January 05, 2018, 07:31:58 pm
Another vote for Take-a-look mirrors. Have been using one on my glasses for many (15? 20?) years.

The thing about glasses- or helmet-mounted mirrors is they do take getting used to. When you start using one you will spend a lot of time trying to adjust it just perfectly so you can see everything from your normal cycling position and normal head position, but it will never be quite right. Then a few weeks down the road your brain figures out how to subconsciously move your head ever so slightly to position the mirror where you need it. After that you can see everywhere behind you, even into the lane to your right if necessary. You can never get that wide but close field of view with a handlebar-mounted mirror.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Figaro on January 06, 2018, 11:02:14 am
After reading all the responses here I may give my helmet mounted mirror another try along with the breakhood mirror...that is if it ever warms up enough around here to ride again :-) I don't feel safe riding on the road without a good view behind me, so need to find a good solution for my touring bike.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: canalligators on January 06, 2018, 10:42:21 pm
I think the key choice is flat mirror vs. convex.  Mirrors on the helmet and eyeglasses are closer, so they can be flat mirrors (and almost always are).  Mirrors farther away have to be larger and convex to give you the needed field of vision.  I prefer flat mirrors because you can tell passing clearance more accurately, and you can see farther back to see trouble brewing earlier.  That said, some folks can't get used to an eyeglass or helmet mirror because their dominant eye is on the non-traffic side, or they don't like the obstruction.

Bottom line: get a mirror that you like and get in the habit of using it.

See https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=5276&v=22 (https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=5276&v=22).
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: DaveB on January 07, 2018, 08:22:03 am
That said, some folks can't get used to an eyeglass or helmet mirror because their dominant eye is on the non-traffic side....
That's my problem.  I'm right eye dominant and, of course, traffic is on your left.  However, the majority of the population is right-eye dominant (like they are right handed) so I'm surprised the problem isn't nearly universal.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: canalligators on January 07, 2018, 08:29:23 am
Maybe the problem isn’t worse because eye dominance comes in degrees. I’ve been told (in shooting instruction) that I can lead with either eye.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Figaro on January 07, 2018, 05:48:30 pm
Still too cold here to ride, but warm enough to at least attach to my bike. Looks promising...should be warm enough to go for a ride and test it out by mid-week...the one on top is the new one.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: DaveB on January 07, 2018, 10:34:44 pm
Maybe the problem isn’t worse because eye dominance comes in degrees. I’ve been told (in shooting instruction) that I can lead with either eye.
I can't and, since I'm left-handed (cross dominant), I have to shoot with only one eye open.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Figaro on January 09, 2018, 06:44:58 pm
Finally warmed up a little here today for the first time in a long time--38 degrees. So, was able to take an extended lunch and get in a 21 mile ride. First time I used my Blackburn brake hood mirror. At first I thought it was going to be no good due to the amount of vibration from the road. But over the first 3 miles or so, I kept looking at the mirror and thinking how poorly it was designed--didn't follow the contour of the break hood well at all...see the first photo below. Then it finally hit me--I had installed it upside down. So I stopped, flipped it over (second photo) and that took care of the vibration quite nicely.

Overall, as far as the mirror goes it was great--had a very clear view of what was behind me and since the mirror is flat, I could see vehicles that were close much better than with the other curved mirror. However, it seems that everything comes with a cost. The cost was that now I had a much less comfortable hand position when riding on the break hoods. The mirror mount makes the gripping surface a lot larger and the mirror stem is resting against the bottom of my left hand. This resulted in it being far less comfortable to ride on the break hood and less freedom for positioning my hand over the break hood in various positions and not nearly as good and comfortable a grip when I stand to climb. After about 10 miles or so into the ride, I had noticeable pain in my left wrist just from not being able to get a comfortable hand position on the break hood--I probably ride on the break hoods 75-80% of the time...just my most comfortable riding position. Although I like the mirror, I don't think it's going to be a good solution for me. So, I think I've decided on one of two actions.
1. I'm either going to convert my left bar end shifter to a downtube shifter and clear the way for me to add a nice quality bar end mirror. Or,
2. Convert both my shifters to nice quality brake lever shifters--again, clearing the way for a nice bar end mirror and additionally solving the minor problem I have with effectively shifting with the bar ends. I currently spend most of my time on the large chainring up front and just shift through all my gears on the back. This may partly be due to being a bit lazy in my shifting, but mostly because I just can't efficiently shift when I have to reach down on both sides.

So, which way I go will really just depend on cost and the advice of my bike shop tech. But, I'm done trying to find a good mirror solution with these bar end shifters. I know a bar end mirror will work fine for me, so I just need to clear the space so I can use one.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Inge on January 10, 2018, 06:51:02 am
I have switched from mirrors that stick out from the dropbars to ones that I can keep on the inside of the bars. Like this much better since I can lean my bike now against anything without having to worry about mirrors.

Currently I am using: https://www.cyclebrother.com/accessories/rear-view-mirror/zefal-spy-side-mirror?gclid=Cj0KCQiAkNfSBRCSARIsAL-u3X_9jcOwP51Td9N2RUg39z44iYCgTfUWQdE1BhR4-0zo6axzXyDgC0kaAh76EALw_wcB (https://www.cyclebrother.com/accessories/rear-view-mirror/zefal-spy-side-mirror?gclid=Cj0KCQiAkNfSBRCSARIsAL-u3X_9jcOwP51Td9N2RUg39z44iYCgTfUWQdE1BhR4-0zo6axzXyDgC0kaAh76EALw_wcB)

(https://www.bacchettabikes.com/wp-content/uploads/spy.jpg)

Though I can see a bit less I still prefer it over the one I used before.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: PNWRider92 on January 12, 2018, 12:14:14 pm
I have the same mirror in your bottom right photo. Personally I love it and it's the best mirror I've owned. I don't have a problem with vibration as it doesn't move anymore than my handlebars do. You really have to crank down on both screws to stop it from moving though.

I've tried helmet mounted mirrors and never got use to them. My left eye is pretty weak and it was a big distraction to me.

Hope you find something that works for you. I rode the other day without my mirror on accident and wasn't comfortable not knowing what was behind me.

Also I found this mirror works better (for me at least) when it's attached up higher.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: hikerjer on February 13, 2018, 08:57:58 pm
I like this one. It's inexpensive and very flexible so if your bike tips over it, bends rather than brakes. The only problem, as with other mirrors is that bumps in the road  knock it out of whack but it's easily readjusted. Wouldn't tour without mine.

http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-31195-axiom-fastflash-dlx-mirror.aspx?variantID=114089&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgLaLp6ak2QIVD4N-Ch2CiQgaEAQYASABEgLUifD_BwE
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Figaro on March 09, 2018, 07:53:26 pm
After trying several mirrors and not being satisfied with any of them, I've finally found what works best for me on my Trek 520. I removed the left bar-end shifter and replaced with a downtube shifter--leaving the right bar-end in place. That freed up the left bar end for me to install a nice Hafny Bar-end mirror. Took it out for a 20 miler today and love it. The mirror is in the perfect place--doesn't interfere with my hand positioning and I can always see it regardless of whether I'm on the breakhoods, dropdowns, or any other position on the handlebar. There is virtually no difference between reaching down to shift a bar-end and reaching down to shift on the downtube--I think it would be a little less ideal if it were the right shifter (with the more frequent shifting), but on the left it's no problem. The Hafny mirror is great quality--can see very well with it. After a lot of trial and error and going through a lot of mirrors, I'm very happy with the end result.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: RussSeaton on March 10, 2018, 08:52:07 pm
I rode the other day without my mirror on accident and wasn't comfortable not knowing what was behind me.

Agree with this.  Every great once in awhile I ride without a mirror.  Rarely.  But I know I don't have a mirror and do not like it.  Once you get used to riding with a mirror, on sunglasses for me, you will never consider riding without one.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Dai on March 11, 2018, 12:32:59 pm
The Ortlieb is easily my favorite touring mirror. Attaches to drop bars with or without bar end shifters. https://ortliebusa.com/product/bike-mirror-10/(http://)
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: Goodaches on March 18, 2018, 10:09:51 pm
While in the saddle the Take-A-Look mirror has performed excellently for us. We've attached them to our helmet visors. Stable and an extra couple inches from our eye compared to mounting on glasses. Plus the visor holds it up just high enough to not create a blind spot when looking ahead. I adjust so that I can just barely see my ear for reference and I can pan the area behind me like that eye in the back of the head that my mother had. Never a problem remaining in position while riding....but nearly every darn time the helmets come off one or both of our mirrors end up wacked. So am now considering switching to one of those mirrors that mount inboard of the handle bar grips.
Title: Re: Search for the perfect touring bike mirror
Post by: tbessie on March 18, 2018, 11:23:26 pm
Another fan of Take-A-Look mirrors.  All the others I tried were annoying; Take-A-Look were the only ones that worked perfectly and consistently for me.

- Tim