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Old 10-16-10, 11:26 AM   #1
abchurch
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Mirror Mirror

Since getting back into cycling the past 5 years, this 50-year-old is appalled at the apparent lack of regard for mirror technology the industry has demonstrated, specifically for the drop handlebar road bike.

Possibly our choices are so limited because the drop bar market is driven primarily by younger image-conscious race-minded riders (the immortals) who refuse to compromise on matters of weight, aerodynamics, or appearance, but we of the drop bar touring class have been left twisting (our necks) in the wind.

Granted, there are a few good mirrors on the market - Mirrycle STI mirror, Aspire Velotech, Bike Eye come to mind - but for a drop bar touring bike with aero levers, bar end mounts, and rear panniers, non of the 3 mentioned are of any use.

After many purchases and extensive trials the most viable options I've found are Blackburn's wrap-on lever mount mirror, and/or various helmet or eyeglass frame mount mirrors. The Blackburn model approaches a satisfactory solution, but falls short (it vibrates out of adjustment at critical moments). Helmet or eyeglass mirrors are difficult to adjust and can be distracting, obstructive, and temperamental (not to mention geeky-looking) . Also, quite often the greatest need arises at awkward bends on busy roads while preparing for a lane shift... helmet and eyeglass frame mirrors tend to be difficult to get into the right position at these moments.

I ordered and am awaiting Rivendell's German bicycle mirror; maybe that one has some promise, but I won't know until I try it out.

Meanwhile I have been experimenting with a homemade solution that seems to work better than anything I've found on the market. I'll share specifics about this after more testing, I'm still tinkering.

If we are to ride carefully and responsibly we need to see what's around us. I routinely encounter situations that dictate the need for a good stable mirror, and I can't be alone, so I invite comments, suggestions, and perspective.

Thanks!

Last edited by abchurch; 10-16-10 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 10-16-10, 11:38 AM   #2
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After several unsuccessful attempts with other mirror, I happily use an eyeglass mounted Take-A-Look. It's simple, light, easily adjusted and stable. Using it quickly became so natural that I'm almost tempted to wear it while walking.
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Old 10-16-10, 12:23 PM   #3
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I happily use an eyeglass mounted Take-A-Look.
Just ordered an original size Take A Look from Amazon. Now I'm off to test my homemade aero lever mount mirror. Send help if you don't hear back from me!
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Old 10-16-10, 12:37 PM   #4
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I find turning my head effective.
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Old 10-16-10, 03:01 PM   #5
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Here's a novel and different approach, one that actually involves mounting a mirror to a bicycle.

I cut and filed the box end off a... wait for it... Brooks saddle wrench to use as a mounting stem.

I bolted a Mirrycle mirror to the Brooks "stem" and slid it behind the rubber hood of the Tektro aero lever. The 2 small nuts used to attach the mirror seat snugly into the quick release cutout of the lever housing, helping keep it from moving up and down. A velcro strap adds stability.

I tried it first with no extension (as pictured on NYTimes), but found the extension is needed to get the proper viewing angle.

I went for a 10-mile test ride on average roads (not particularly smooth); no problem.

Solid, stable, well situated, a little funky, but basically works fine.

IMG_2294..jpg IMG_2298..jpg IMG_2300..jpg
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Old 10-16-10, 03:48 PM   #6
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I've tried several bike-mounted mirrors. and I can't stand any of them. I use a helmet mounted mirror. I can see much, much more with it than with any bike mounted mirror. Far wider field of view and no diminution effect of a convex mirror making trucks look the size of a pea.
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Old 10-16-10, 03:49 PM   #7
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I find turning my head effective.
I don't find it effective for keeping track of every car that's about to pass me. I'd be turning my head about every 4 seconds. Also I can't see as far behind me as I can with a mirror, my head doesn't turn that far. Also, I can't see very well out of the corner of my eye since then my glasses are not in my field of view so my eyesight is then quite poor.
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Old 10-16-10, 07:01 PM   #8
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I find turning my head effective.
Yea, it works on all of my bikes without adjusting it.
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Old 10-16-10, 07:02 PM   #9
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Pretty much agree with everything ItsJustMe said, except I use an eyeglass mirror, since I don't always wear a helmet (I think the difference is minimal, except depending on your frames, some glasses may be a pain to mount to).

I'd be open minded to try more, but every single bike-mounted mirror I've tried, I've disliked. I share the complaints of above, plus Ive always had vibration issues. Never had those issues with a glasses mirror. Once properly adjusted, I often don't have to readjust for weeks if I don't bump it while mounting. If I do, it takes seconds to change. Can never recommend them enough.

I'd never go back to mirror-less unless I can avoid it. I find it unquestionably safer and more effective for me, personally. Unless I really crank my head, I can't see all the way back outside of my glasses' field of view. Mirror checks are undoubtedly faster, and can be performed more often an more conveniently. There is a reason they are required on road vehicles.
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Old 10-16-10, 07:09 PM   #10
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I don't find it effective for keeping track of every car that's about to pass me. I'd be turning my head about every 4 seconds. Also I can't see as far behind me as I can with a mirror, my head doesn't turn that far. Also, I can't see very well out of the corner of my eye since then my glasses are not in my field of view so my eyesight is then quite poor.
I don't watch the cars as they come up on me. I just let them do the passing, that's my secret.

Every 4 seconds though, yea that's a crappy route.
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Old 10-16-10, 07:20 PM   #11
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Take a look is a superb mirror, it's been by far the best mirror, I've used so far. However, I do get tired having to wear sunglasses all the time (can't mount to my helmet) and I am not sure what to do now, when it gets darker earlier.

Therefore I am thinking about the Rivendell as a back-up. Please let us know how this works for you.
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Old 10-16-10, 08:05 PM   #12
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I use the CycleAware Reflex helmet-mounted mirror. Works very well. Some people complain the base falls off the helmet after it has been stuck on. I use Gorilla superglue around the edges after sticking it on and it's never coming off now.
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Old 10-16-10, 08:05 PM   #13
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For great "heads-up" rear view mirror, attach this to your eyeglasses or bill of a cap.
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Old 10-16-10, 08:19 PM   #14
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Mirror, mirror and the wall...

This is what I have been very happy with. It is the "Italian Racing Mirror". Catchy, huh?

This is a glass convex mirror that doesn't jiggle, shake, rattle or roll. And I think it looks pretty cool to boot.

Best regards,

Mikemirror..jpg
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Old 10-16-10, 09:32 PM   #15
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Great posts.

I drive about 500 miles/week on I-95 between New York and Boston. My cars are fitted with those little convex mirrors for checking the blind spot, so I'm pretty good at judging distance of various pea-sized looking vehicles. As you might imagine, this area is riddled with crappy routes, for bikes and cars alike. The need to see what's happening is simply not optional, not for anyone with the will to survive.

I own and use the Cycle Aware Reflex... not bad, really not bad at all (I used it for a ride from Newcastle to Edinburgh earlier this year), but I've had difficulty at times getting it positioned correctly, and it is prone to getting knocked out of whack during a break. (Plus, the Europeans in my group considered it way too hi tech, but they'd never even seen such a thing... imagine.)

It's great to get this feedback. I think I'll keep trying more products and posting my thoughts here. I have the Take a Look and the Rivendell on order, I may as well get the Italian as well so I can round out the mix.

More later... Thanks all, safe riding.

Last edited by abchurch; 10-16-10 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 10-16-10, 09:36 PM   #16
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Maybe when I get older (I'm only in my 50s) and lose more of my hearing I'll use a mirror, but I have found that I can usually tell where an overtaking car is by the sound it makes. Of course, there have been some periods of adjustment, like the first time I rode back east. The crappy road surfaces made the cars seem both larger and closer until I "recalibrated". Sound is also kind of out of play on fast descents, but not many cars overtake my on those. Of course, I also look back quite often. I don't see anything wrong with a bit of yoga in the saddle.
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Old 10-16-10, 09:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojopt View Post
This is what I have been very happy with. It is the "Italian Racing Mirror". Catchy, huh?

This is a glass convex mirror that doesn't jiggle, shake, rattle or roll. And I think it looks pretty cool to boot.

Best regards,

MikeAttachment 174071
And for the same functionality w/o having to mess with your bar tape: http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...ar-end-mirrors
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Old 10-16-10, 11:03 PM   #18
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I have found that I can usually tell where an overtaking car is by the sound it makes.
Today while riding and testing my modded mirror, the wind was whipping, and I had the exact thought that if I were relying on sound I would be toast. I am a recording engineer and have ears like an elephant. Plus, as I said, the wind was whipping, and I was getting pushed around some, so it was helpful to keep my head pointed forward and watch for cars in the mirror.

Explaining how to ride safely without a mirror except when you can't in fact only reinforces my point that mirrors are useful.
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Old 10-17-10, 04:10 AM   #19
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Since getting back into cycling the past 5 years, this 50-year-old is appalled at the apparent lack of regard for mirror technology the industry has demonstrated, specifically for the drop handlebar road bike.

Possibly our choices are so limited because the drop bar market is driven primarily by younger image-conscious race-minded riders (the immortals) who refuse to compromise on matters of weight, aerodynamics, or appearance, but we of the drop bar touring class have been left twisting (our necks) in the wind.

Granted, there are a few good mirrors on the market - Mirrycle STI mirror, Aspire Velotech, Bike Eye come to mind - but for a drop bar touring bike with aero levers, bar end mounts, and rear panniers, non of the 3 mentioned are of any use.

After many purchases and extensive trials the most viable options I've found are Blackburn's wrap-on lever mount mirror, and/or various helmet or eyeglass frame mount mirrors. The Blackburn model approaches a satisfactory solution, but falls short (it vibrates out of adjustment at critical moments). Helmet or eyeglass mirrors are difficult to adjust and can be distracting, obstructive, and temperamental (not to mention geeky-looking) . Also, quite often the greatest need arises at awkward bends on busy roads while preparing for a lane shift... helmet and eyeglass frame mirrors tend to be difficult to get into the right position at these moments.

I ordered and am awaiting Rivendell's German bicycle mirror; maybe that one has some promise, but I won't know until I try it out.

Meanwhile I have been experimenting with a homemade solution that seems to work better than anything I've found on the market. I'll share specifics about this after more testing, I'm still tinkering.

If we are to ride carefully and responsibly we need to see what's around us. I routinely encounter situations that dictate the need for a good stable mirror, and I can't be alone, so I invite comments, suggestions, and perspective.

Thanks!
I have been using this style of mirror for about 10 years and I find it works PERFECTLY for me:-

http://www.amazon.com/Cycleaware-Vie...310025&sr=8-40
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Old 10-17-10, 07:04 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Maybe when I get older (I'm only in my 50s) and lose more of my hearing I'll use a mirror, but I have found that I can usually tell where an overtaking car is by the sound it makes. Of course, there have been some periods of adjustment, like the first time I rode back east. The crappy road surfaces made the cars seem both larger and closer until I "recalibrated". Sound is also kind of out of play on fast descents, but not many cars overtake my on those. Of course, I also look back quite often. I don't see anything wrong with a bit of yoga in the saddle.
Mirror checks are much much shorter, and for those of us with glasses probably clearer, than a head check (unless you're really cranking your head, which takes longer). The small time difference and effort difference between a shoulder check and your eyes darting to the corner of your vision may seem minimal, but I've yet to see any no-mirror rider do rear-checks as often because of it. The sheer convenience inevitably leads to "scanning" like you do in a car, or airplane. And I think that extra awareness is a lifesaver, literally. And more awareness of your surroundings, as a cyclist, can't be a bad thing.

I used to think hearing was sufficient as well, but noticed since moving to a mirror I have fewer close calls. Providing I leave lots of room to my right to maneuver, if it looks like someone is getting ready to pass too close, I simply move right. I would note it also saved me from someone trying to intentionally door me with their passenger door not too long ago, mentioned in a thread here on BF. It also makes it far easier to simply ride in the lane as a primary position, and scanning the mirror for traffic and moving over as needed. It definitely seems as if this increases visibility, and is easier with a mirror.

Just my opinions, but they've rung very true for me and every person I've converted to them.
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Old 10-17-10, 09:06 AM   #21
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I have been using this style of mirror for about 10 years and I find it works PERFECTLY for me:-

http://www.amazon.com/Cycleaware-Vie...310025&sr=8-40
Interesting.
I had never heard of these until I saw them recently in the cycling section of a local hardware store.
I might buy them next time I'm there.
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Old 10-17-10, 12:01 PM   #22
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I don't watch the cars as they come up on me. I just let them do the passing, that's my secret.

Every 4 seconds though, yea that's a crappy route.
It's the only route I've got. There are two other routes I could take, one is 9 miles of gravel road (instead of 4), the other has only about 80% as much traffic but the pavement is broken up and there's no shoulder (it's rougher than riding the gravel road)

I find that when I use a mirror I've got great situational awareness. I am subconsciously watching every car that is coming up behind me because it's in my field of view even if I don't specifically look at it; that's the great thing about helmet or glasses mounted mirrors; no head movement required, just an eyeflick to look straight at them, and no movement at all required to be aware of them in the peripheral vision.

I mainly just hold a line and let people deal with the passing, but I do want to keep an eye out. Trust but verify I guess. Once in a while I see someone coming up behind me that's very nearly on the fog line or even to the right of it; when I see that I tend to move left until I am sure they see me, indicated by them moving left. Then I move back to my preferred position.

I also find that all bike mounted mirrors that I've tried vibrate so badly that I can't see anything in them anyway. Perhaps it's OK for people riding on smooth pavement, but I have a number of miles each way that are fairly rough, making bike mounted mirrors utterly useless; I couldn't see an orange semi truck in the things.
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Old 10-17-10, 12:39 PM   #23
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I have been using this style of mirror for about 10 years and I find it works PERFECTLY for me:-

http://www.amazon.com/Cycleaware-Vie...310025&sr=8-40
Thanks, I didn't know about this model. I'll get one and try it out.
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Old 10-17-10, 04:40 PM   #24
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I have been using this style of mirror for about 10 years and I find it works PERFECTLY for me:-

http://www.amazon.com/Cycleaware-Vie...310025&sr=8-40
It seems like you'd have to turn your head significantly to see directly behind you with that. with a regular helmet mirror I can see behind me without turning my head; IMO very useful as the cars coming up behind me are in my situational awareness at all times.

Also I wouldn't want to leave it on my prescription glasses so I guess it's only intended for people who don't wear glasses, to put on sunglasses. Might be useful on my regular glasses when there are cute girls around though...
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Old 10-17-10, 07:37 PM   #25
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I like the eye glass mounted Take A Look mirror and use it with great success. The problem with bar mounted mirrors is that they only see where their pointed. with a eye glass or a helmet mounted mirror you can turn your head to see a far wider area and get a bigger picture. the one mirror that Rivendell sold seemed to bulky and not very aero, but would be great on a touring bike where aerodynamics are not important. The barend mirror looked like the best idea for a bar mounted mirror, but it you use bar end lights as I do there's no place to put the mirror. So the eyeglass or the helmet mirrors seem to be the best option.
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