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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-10-12, 02:07 PM   #1
the_tool_man
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Mirror mirror

Hi all:

I've been trying to use a helmet mirror (I don't remember the brand or model) for commuting for about the last year. I've come to the conclusion that it basically doesn't work. If I adjust the position inboard enough to easily see, my rear view is blocked by my shoulder when in the drops or on the hoods. If I wear a backpack, it is utterly useless. If I adjust the mirror outboard to provide a clear view, I can't really look directly at it without really straining my eyes, so I end up not using it. When I finally do get it into the sweet spot, I invariably bump it when donning, doffing, or carrying my helmet, necessitating another aggrivating round of adjusting.

So, what works? In my searches I've found some bar-end mirrors, but my bike has bar-end shifters. I also use grab-ons, and would rather not cut that to fit around a clamp. But, I realize I may have to compromise on that, or switch to bar tape. Also, how practical are bar-mounted mirrors as far as steering to aim the mirror? Is there some other option, like arm or hand mount?

Thanks in advance,
John.
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Old 07-10-12, 03:36 PM   #2
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http://www.mirrycle.com/

I use an STI-mounted Mirrycle, they also have models that mount to traditional brakes (brake line coming out of the top). Depends on your setup.

It's great. The initial adjustment is a bit finnicky, and the view can be partly blocked when I'm wearing a bulkier coat, but it's enough to provide the situational awareness that makes riding in the city much easier. My head will sometimes bob slightly to get the right angle, but I've never felt the need to steer to aim what I'm looking at.
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Old 07-10-12, 04:47 PM   #3
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I use a helmet mount but I ride upright (hybrid bike). For me a bar mounted mirror is useless because I'm so far from it, but when you're in the drops you'd be closer to a bar mirror. It's possible a bar mounted mirror is right for you, or perhaps both; the bar mount when you're in the drops, a head mounted mirror when you're not.
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Old 07-10-12, 07:46 PM   #4
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I feel your pain. I'd been using bar end shifters and a helmet mounted mirror until recently. I hated the helmet mirror. I tried a ton of different models, and none of them were very good. Horribly geek looking too.

I recently switched over to a Retroshift setup, thus moving my bar end shifters to the brake hoods. Awesome setup. Much better than traditional bar end mounting, if you spend most of your time on the hoods.

So I'm now able to start playing with drop bar end mirrors. I don't hate the Sprintech so far. It does get knocked out of position, but positioning is much more forgiving than my old helmet mirrors. The mirror practically disappears on the bike also.


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Old 07-11-12, 02:22 AM   #5
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Count me as another who gave up helmets mounted mirrors. I use a Blackburn Road Mirror on my road bike:

Mounts on the brake hood.
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...38_-1___400246
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Old 07-11-12, 06:15 AM   #6
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I tried that Blackburn, but found it added too much bulk to the bars and I couldn't reach the brakes properly. Still looking for a solution that works.
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Old 07-11-12, 06:29 AM   #7
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Forgot to mention, I'm still using my 80's vintage brake levers, so no STI-specific parts are likely to work. Retroshift + Sprintech looks like a good solution, but I really like my bar ends, and that's another $130 I'd rather not spend. It's not clear from the website how the Blackburn mirror is attached. Is it just held on with Velcro? Thanks for the ideas, guys. Keep 'em coming.

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Old 07-11-12, 06:51 AM   #8
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I've tried many of the mirrors sold over the past 20 years.

Bar mirrors always seem to get in the way, and they don't transfer easily from one bike to another. Also, they usually provide an inferior rear view to helmet mirrors. I wish there was one that worked well.

I've used a Cycleaware Reflex helmet mirror for about eight years now. It's not perfect but it's the best I've found. I got my last one from Amazon for about $13.

http://www.amazon.com/Cycleaware-Ref...leaware+reflex
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Old 07-11-12, 07:53 AM   #9
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I'm a huge fan of the efficient velo tools helmet mirror.
http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Zone-Bicy.../dp/B003LVHZ4O
It's significantly larger than most helmet mirrors, so its field of view is good. The big advantage of helmet mirrors is that with a small sweep of my head I can see everything behind me.
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Old 07-11-12, 08:08 AM   #10
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One advantage that bar end mirrors has is that they are much more durable than a helmet mirror, plus I just need to know basic info on what's going on behind me, and not in being able to read the U.S. Constitution at a 100 yards.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uber_Fred View Post
I'm a huge fan of the efficient velo tools helmet mirror...
Thanks, I had not seen the EVT mirror before, may try this next go round (when current one gets scratched up enough).

I'd actually considered making my own mirror before, shaped like the Reflex (vertical oval), but larger, using a cheap Walmart-sourced plastic mirror. Never got around to it.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:33 AM   #12
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I'm a huge fan of the efficient velo tools helmet mirror.
This might make me reconsider a helmet mirror. I've wondered if I might improve my situation by using a larger mirror farther away from my eyes. This lets me swivel my head slightly to get it farther out and around my bulk, but with similar field of view. If you look closely at the photos of the VT mirror on the Amazon site, the flexible arm is made of coolant delivery hose made by Loc-Line. If I need to lengthen the arm I can buy additional segments for $6/ft.

Is the VT mirror convex or flat?
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Old 07-11-12, 11:41 AM   #13
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Take a Look Mirror installed on the glasses. I tried the helmet too and for me I had the same issue as you but installed on my glasses, it was perfect.
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Old 07-11-12, 11:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uber_Fred View Post
I'm a huge fan of the efficient velo tools helmet mirror.
http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Zone-Bicy.../dp/B003LVHZ4O
It's significantly larger than most helmet mirrors, so its field of view is good. The big advantage of helmet mirrors is that with a small sweep of my head I can see everything behind me.
Does it snap off easily? I am looking for one I can use in the poring down rain. I install my take a look mirror on my glasses but when it rains I need to take the glasses off and then I lose my mirror. Looking for something that will easily snap onto my helmet on those occasions.
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Old 07-11-12, 01:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_tool_man View Post
Forgot to mention, I'm still using my 80's vintage brake levers, so no STI-specific parts are likely to work. Retroshift + Sprintech looks like a good solution, but I really like my bar ends, and that's another $130 I'd rather not spend. It's not clear from the website how the Blackburn mirror is attached. Is it just held on with Velcro? Thanks for the ideas, guys. Keep 'em coming.
Depending on your current bar end shifters, they may work with Retroshift. The Retroshift basically takes your bar end shifters, and mounts them to a new set of brake hoods.
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Old 07-11-12, 02:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by AlmostGreenGuy View Post
Depending on your current bar end shifters, they may work with Retroshift. The Retroshift basically takes your bar end shifters, and mounts them to a new set of brake hoods.
I figured that. Maybe my post you quoted was confusing? I combined replys to several different people at once.

On the Retroshift, they look like they are meant for downtube shifters, rather than bar ends. Correct? I do have the original downtube shifters that came with my Fuji.

On the Sprintech mirror, it looks like one would bang their knee on it when dismounting. Is this a problem?
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Old 07-11-12, 09:14 PM   #17
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On the Retroshift, they look like they are meant for downtube shifters, rather than bar ends. Correct? I do have the original downtube shifters that came with my Fuji.
The short answer is both. Check the chart for compatibility:
http://retroshift.com/support/

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_tool_man View Post
On the Sprintech mirror, it looks like one would bang their knee on it when dismounting. Is this a problem?
No more than bar end shifters. You just don't really notice as much.
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Old 07-11-12, 10:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Take a Look Mirror installed on the glasses. I tried the helmet too and for me I had the same issue as you but installed on my glasses, it was perfect.
I agree with this... the Take a Look Mirror claims that it can be attached to the helmet visor but that doesn't work. It's designed for glasses and VERY effective installed on glasses. It's easy to install if you need to switch glasses (takes maybe 10-20 seconds tops to put them on the glasses and adjust them). I've never tried a handlebar mirror but the fact that you can simply pivot your head slightly with the TAL glasses mirror to scan what's behind you makes it difficult for me to believe there's a handlebar mirror that can trump them.
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Old 07-12-12, 06:41 AM   #19
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I like the Zefal Spy mirror. Wraps around the lower end of the drop. Small and highly convex, good enough for seeing large objects that are coming up fairly close behind.
Nashbar shows a non-stock item but at least there's a good photo here. Lots of photos on Google but Nashbar was the best for having the recognizable site plus a good photo.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...&top_category=
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Old 07-12-12, 07:43 AM   #20
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Anyone uses these drop bar end mirrors?

http://www.amazon.com/Sprintech-Drop...=1S5BY208ULLUO
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Old 07-12-12, 08:28 AM   #21
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I know others love them, but I just don't care for mirrors. I don't find them helpful...knowing there's a guy behind me isn't likely to stop him from hitting me. Am I supposed to pull over at the first sign of a car? I ride mostly in the city, there's ALWAYS a car behind me. It's a distraction and useless weight IMO.
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Old 07-12-12, 08:28 AM   #22
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Anyone uses these drop bar end mirrors?

http://www.amazon.com/Sprintech-Drop...=1S5BY208ULLUO
I use http://www.aawyeah.com/cycleaware-ro...ar-end-mirror/ which are the same as what you linked but a lot less with free shipping. Only in black though.
One thing I did was cut a small piece from a rubber band and placed that in the socket then installed the mirror to make a tighter fit.
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Old 07-12-12, 09:47 AM   #23
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I love my EVT Safe Zone helmet mirror. Rarely gets knocked out of position, nice BIG mirror, and the mount has enough flexibility for me to be able to position it to see over my shoulder. I do ride fairly upright though. They're a little pricey (circa $40) but really look built to last. I use mine nearly every day, and after more than six months it shows no signs of wear. Can't recommend it highly enough, totally worth the money. I'll never ride without a mirror again. Bar end mirror was too far away etc, and I was leery of smaller helmet mounted mirrors. The stem on the Safe Zone is pretty long too, which I think helps get it into the ideal position.
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Old 07-12-12, 10:10 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I know others love them, but I just don't care for mirrors. I don't find them helpful...knowing there's a guy behind me isn't likely to stop him from hitting me. Am I supposed to pull over at the first sign of a car? I ride mostly in the city, there's ALWAYS a car behind me. It's a distraction and useless weight IMO.
I ride mostly rural on my commute. Cars are frequent on 4-lane w/ bike lane, but infrequent on most of my ride. As more eco-weenies buy hybrids, I find it difficult to hear overtaking vehicles (got startled by a Prius just the other day). Also handy for moving left in advance of left turns, etc. (I don't ride VC - suicide here). I think if I rode urban a lot, I would agree with you.
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Old 07-12-12, 10:40 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I know others love them, but I just don't care for mirrors. I don't find them helpful...knowing there's a guy behind me isn't likely to stop him from hitting me. Am I supposed to pull over at the first sign of a car? I ride mostly in the city, there's ALWAYS a car behind me. It's a distraction and useless weight IMO.
I have to make a left turn across a busy 5 lane road just over a on/off ramp system with service roads. I bought a mirror because it enhances my situational awareness in a busy, chaotic intersection. I rode the same route without one, and just find it easier to manage with the mirror. I've found it to be nice to have, if not essential in other situations. I'm one of those riders that tends to lose the line when looking over my shoulder, though.
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