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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 07-08-14, 08:01 AM   #1
corwin1968
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Mirrors

I've finally taken the plunge and started riding on (busy) city streets outside my subdivision. By far, my biggest obstacle is not knowing what is coming up behind me on my left. What mirror solutions have you found to work? Fork mounted? Helmet mounted? Handlebar mounted? I'm running MTB handlebars exclusively and don't have tons of room left for a mirror but if that's the best solution I'll figure it out.

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-14, 08:16 AM   #2
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Old 07-08-14, 08:40 AM   #3
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Take-a-Look. FTW
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Old 07-08-14, 09:01 AM   #4
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I really like the "ultralight German mirror" from D+D Oberlauda. http://www.amazon.com/D-Oberlauda-Ul.../dp/B0089CHAT0

It has a wide field of view, mounts easily, and doesn't vibrate out of position when you ride. You can mount it underneath the handlebar grip, and then it doesn't stick out like the Mirrycle.

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Old 07-08-14, 10:03 AM   #5
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I really like the "ultralight German mirror" from D+D Oberlauda. Amazon.com : Ultralite German Mirror : Bike Mirrors : Sports & Outdoors

It has a wide field of view, mounts easily, and doesn't vibrate out of position when you ride. You can mount it underneath the handlebar grip, and then it doesn't stick out like the Mirrycle.
Slick. I like it. But I ride a bike because I can't legally drive a car because my vision is only correctable to 20/80. A mirror like that is just too far away to be very useful. Luckily there is more than one way to skin the cat of rearward visibility. As this thread goes forward we will see (nyuk, nyuk) even more ways to determine who or what is hanging off your six. I would like to mention an entirely new method I only learned about recently.

H
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Old 07-08-14, 10:20 AM   #6
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I would like to mention an entirely new method I only learned about recently.
For a closer mirror, the Take-a-Look and similar eyeglass or helmet-mounted mirrors would probably work well. Personally, I don't like helmet mounted mirrors because they don't stay in place and they invariably get broken when I take my helmet off. And I don't wear sunglasses at night, so the glasses-mounted ones are out for me.

I don't see how the hand mirror you linked to would be any closer than a mirror mounted under the grip.

ATMO, that hand mirror seems like a lousy design. I move my hands around a lot during a ride, so I'd have to constrain that movement in order to keep my rear view aligned. How would you look in the mirror when signalling, shifting, or drinking a water bottle?
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Old 07-08-14, 11:15 AM   #7
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For a closer mirror, the Take-a-Look and similar eyeglass or helmet-mounted mirrors would probably work well. Personally, I don't like helmet mounted mirrors because they don't stay in place and they invariably get broken when I take my helmet off. And I don't wear sunglasses at night, so the glasses-mounted ones are out for me.

I don't see how the hand mirror you linked to would be any closer than a mirror mounted under the grip.

ATMO, that hand mirror seems like a lousy design. I move my hands around a lot during a ride, so I'd have to constrain that movement in order to keep my rear view aligned. How would you look in the mirror when signalling, shifting, or drinking a water bottle?
My go to mirror is the 2.75" diam helmet mount mirror by Efficient Velo Tools. It suffers from all the disadvantages of such mirrors but I've had mine for a few years and it is still going strong. I have a Blackburn bar end mirror on one of my bikes and it is never in quite the right position to see what I want to see. I have learned to instinctiely roll my handgrip forward or backward to get the right angle. There is just enough squish in the handgrip and mirror mount to fine tune the view to perfection. I don't think the hand mirror would replace a helmet mirror but it could. For one thing, even with your hands on the bars the mirror would be closer to your eyepoint than a mirror 4" below handlebar level. Enough to matter. Next you can easily take your hand off the bar or twist your wrist this way and that. You, like many on this forum, consider a mirror to be a passive warning device that is constantly monitoring your rear end and ready to warn you of imminent danger. I disagree. A mirror is useless until it is looked at. Whether you look at it as part of a regular 360* scan or as a status check before an offensive maneuver like a lane change or overtake, the mirror cannot provide any useful information until your attention is focused on it. I consider myself reasonably acronym proficient. What is ATMO pray tell, I need to add that one to my lexicon. If you get from this that I think the snowmobile mirror is an underrated method of checking behind you would be correct. And, FWIW, the price in that link is especially attractive. I have seen them for twice that price plus shipping.

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Old 07-08-14, 11:19 AM   #8
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I like a helmet-mounted mirror. I can scan behind myself by moving my head a bit. To me, a rearview mirror is one of the most important pieces of safety gear for riding in traffic.

As for your remark about "riding on (busy) city streets outside my subdivision." One thing I've discovered is that I can ride most of the way to where I want to go by cutting through neighborhoods on the residential streets and crossing the busy streets instead of riding on them. Areas that I used to think of as sketchy are really not too bad - mostly just immigrant/laborer neighborhoods. I used to view them as kind of dangerous but they don't bother me at all now. With a little creative use of Google Maps in the Bicycle or Pedestrian modes, you can often find little cut-throughs and worm holes through the city - look for pedestrian crossings, paths through parks, etc. Exploring them can lead to new routes that keep you away from the heaviest traffic.
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Old 07-08-14, 11:58 AM   #9
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I have a Blackburn bar end mirror on one of my bikes and it is never in quite the right position to see what I want to see. I have learned to instinctiely roll my handgrip forward or backward to get the right angle. There is just enough squish in the handgrip and mirror mount to fine tune the view to perfection.
That sounds to me like the Blackburn mirror isn't stable enough. That's a huge advantage of the German mirror; it's easy to adjust and stays where I put it. I've used it on century rides and it stays aligned the whole time.

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I don't think the hand mirror would replace a helmet mirror but it could. For one thing, even with your hands on the bars the mirror would be closer to your eyepoint than a mirror 4" below handlebar level. Enough to matter. Next you can easily take your hand off the bar or twist your wrist this way and that.
So long as you have a primary mirror (like your helmet mirror) then maybe the hand mirror could supplement that. It just seems to be a bad idea to have to compromise my hand positioning every time I need to look in the mirror.

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You, like many on this forum, consider a mirror to be a passive warning device that is constantly monitoring your rear end and ready to warn you of imminent danger. I disagree. A mirror is useless until it is looked at. Whether you look at it as part of a regular 360* scan or as a status check before an offensive maneuver like a lane change or overtake, the mirror cannot provide any useful information until your attention is focused on it.
I'm not sure where you made this assumption! My mirror is part of my constant scan. My scan was developed as a cockpit scan from when I flew jets for the Air Force, and as a motorcyclist I practice a very active scan.

Perhaps that's why I like the German mirror; it's big and in a similar location to a motorcycle mirror. I also change my front brake to be operated by the right lever, just like on my motorcycle. Consistent muscle memory is important!

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I consider myself reasonably acronym proficient. What is ATMO pray tell, I need to add that one to my lexicon. If you get from this that I think the snowmobile mirror is an underrated method of checking behind you would be correct. And, FWIW, the price in that link is especially attractive. I have seen them for twice that price plus shipping.

H
ATMO is an acronym coined by the master frame builder, Richard Sachs. It stands for According To My Opinion. It's basically the same thing as IMHO, but makes no assumption that the speaker is actually humble (Sachs definitely isn't!). Just a more bike-geek oriented acronym.

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 07-08-14, 12:51 PM   #10
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That sounds to me like the Blackburn mirror isn't stable enough. That's a huge advantage of the German mirror; it's easy to adjust and stays where I put it. I've used it on century rides and it stays aligned the whole time.



So long as you have a primary mirror (like your helmet mirror) then maybe the hand mirror could supplement that. It just seems to be a bad idea to have to compromise my hand positioning every time I need to look in the mirror.



I'm not sure where you made this assumption! My mirror is part of my constant scan. My scan was developed as a cockpit scan from when I flew jets for the Air Force, and as a motorcyclist I practice a very active scan.

Perhaps that's why I like the German mirror; it's big and in a similar location to a motorcycle mirror. I also change my front brake to be operated by the right lever, just like on my motorcycle. Consistent muscle memory is important!



ATMO is an acronym coined by the master frame builder, Richard Sachs. It stands for According To My Opinion. It's basically the same thing as IMHO, but makes no assumption that the speaker is actually humble (Sachs definitely isn't!). Just a more bike-geek oriented acronym.

Cheers,
Tim
Interesting. All in all we agree more than we disagree. Still, most motorcycle mirrors stick up above the bar about as far as your mirror hangs below the bar. The total distance involved is considerable. I'm not believing that you ride a Harley with ape-hanger handlebars with underslung mirrors... ... I also have switched my brakes right and left. Drives the LBS mechanics nuts. I only drove a bike for one season, but for the last 30 years I have imagined that I will get another bike. I want to be ready... ... ironically enough, those hand mirrors are also used by motorcyclists who usually have plenty of DOT mandated rearward visibility onboard anyway... ... go figure. Best.

H
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Old 07-08-14, 12:59 PM   #11
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mirrycle or however you spell it. goes into the end of your straight bars. perfect size. stays put. highly adjustable.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:04 PM   #12
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Another vote for the Take-A-Look. Mine has served me well for years. I had lost it and got a Cycle Aware Heads-Up from the LBS, and do not recommend that one, it broke after about a month's worth of use (the mount is plastic, unlike the metal of the Take-A-Look). Thankfully I found the Take-A-Look again shortly thereafter and it still works great.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:16 PM   #13
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Interesting. All in all we agree more than we disagree. Still, most motorcycle mirrors stick up above the bar about as far as your mirror hangs below the bar. The total distance involved is considerable. I'm not believing that you ride a Harley with ape-hanger handlebars with underslung mirrors... ... ironically enough, those hand mirrors are also used by motorcyclists who usually have plenty of DOT mandated rearward visibility onboard anyway... ... go figure. Best.

H
You're right, I'm not a Harley guy. South Park isn't usually my fave, but they skewered the Harley "attitude" pretty well.

On my Triumph Sprint 955, the mirrors are on stalks mounted to the fairing, above the handlebars. The placement I showed is close enough for me; I'm not too sensitive about the exact mirror position.

Since that pic, I changed the bars over to drops and moved the mirror to the outside. But I found that I really liked that mirror position on flat/upright bars.

Best of luck with the hand mirror. I wouldn't mind giving it a try, but I'm skeptical enough about it that I won't buy it any time soon.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:38 PM   #14
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I like Mirrycycle, too. I have one on my road bike and one on my commute bike. They give a good view and they stay put.
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Old 07-08-14, 03:45 PM   #15
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And, the Mirrycle does NOT have to stick way out. Make your first adjustment with the stalk pointing straight forward. and you can have it up or down..... They keep position very well, do not vibrate, and are durable, as well as offering an extremely good view behind you.
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Old 07-08-14, 06:21 PM   #16
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Thanks for the suggestions. So far, I'm liking that German mirror the best. I had a (cheap) bar-end mirror years ago and it was a PITA but like I said, it was a cheapo so maybe a higher quality version would work best.

I agree with the poster who mentioned rear visibility being the most vital component of riding in traffic.

Right now, I'm only riding the streets during low traffic periods and when possible, I'm just on them for short sections. Unfortunately, this part of the city is about as unfriendly to bike traffic as it is possible to be. No two subdivisions have entrances that are directly across from one another, which requires bicycles to actually ride on the busy streets. The only bright spot is that my part of the city is newly developed and the roads are being drastically improved into 4-lanes with continuous sidewalks on one or both side. Riding on the sidewalks is legal here and I plan to use them a lot when I see a stretch with no pedestrians present.
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Old 07-08-14, 09:24 PM   #17
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I didn't see the month-old thread asking this same question but now that I've read that one I've ordered the "Take a Look" helmet/eyeglasses mirror. I hope it lives up to it's positive reviews.
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Old 07-09-14, 05:34 AM   #18
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Even though the op decided on which mirror he will be purchsing, I wanted to give my experience just in case anyone else is still trying to decide on a mirror. I also use a "ultralight German mirror" from D+D Oberlauda. It is an excellent mirror - stays in adjustment and provides a great view.
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Old 07-09-14, 11:19 AM   #19
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I use my ears to watch behind me unless i need to make a turn. I might get a mirror set, but it needs to fit on my handlebars.

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Old 07-09-14, 01:06 PM   #20
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I use my ears to watch behind me unless i need to make a turn. I might get a mirror set, but it needs to fit on my handlebars.

- Andy
I live in Oklahoma (...where the wind comes sweeping down the plains...) and that probably works about 25% of the time, if that.
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Old 07-09-14, 04:41 PM   #21
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I live in Oklahoma (...where the wind comes sweeping down the plains...) and that probably works about 25% of the time, if that.
I can get nasty helmet strap & headphone cord noise, but that's easily ignored in navigation mode. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone else, as my hearing tends to be on the "hear whispers on the far side of the cafe" end of the spectrum.

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Old 07-09-14, 09:24 PM   #22
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Take-a-Look. FTW
This is how I roll, on daily road rides, in light-to-heavy traffic, since the start of 2009. My eyeglass frame-mounted Take-a-Look mirror has NEVER let me down. I would not (have not) considered any others.
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Old 07-09-14, 09:31 PM   #23
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Take-a-Look. FTW
+1... Mounted on my helmet visor. Works flawlessly.
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Old 07-09-14, 09:55 PM   #24
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Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread. Lots of great tips. I've started riding my bike here in Manhattan and will need as much help as possible from mirrors.

That ultra-light German one looks cool.

In fact, just ordered one.

[video=youtube;xie2ehRxStk]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xie2ehRxStk[/video]
[video=youtube;PPQ9WKj_ql0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPQ9WKj_ql0[/video]

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Old 07-11-14, 09:41 AM   #25
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I got my Take-A-Look mirror yesterday and put in my glasses and took the bike for a spin. Didn't care for it at all. I then clipped it onto my newly purchased helmet and so far, it seems perfect!! It was just too close to my face on the glasses but using the helmet visor puts it far enough away that I get a much better field of view. Also, for those who haven't used one of these types of mirrors, it's a steep learning curve compared to the type of mirrors found on cars and motorcycles. I am going to have to work on building the correct muscle memory for moving my head just right to scan the area behind my head. It's almost counter-intuitive and keep doing the opposite of what I need to do. I've probably spent less than five minutes riding with the mirror and I suspect that just a decent ride or two will have me acclimated to the mirror.
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