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Sideview Mirrors: Wanna start a NEW thread, or is there one I should go back to?

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Sideview Mirrors: Wanna start a NEW thread, or is there one I should go back to?

Old 10-22-12, 07:34 PM
  #1  
Papa Tom
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Sideview Mirrors: Wanna start a NEW thread, or is there one I should go back to?

I've been toying with a junky sideview mirror I found on the street and I think I'd like to buy one -- a REAL one -- for the first time.

Unless anybody can point me to a good archived thread on this subject, I have three questions:

1. What are the advantages/disadvantages of handlebar-mounted models vs. helmet-mounted models?

2. What's your favorite handlebar-mounted model? or...

3. What's your favorite helmet-mounted model?

My eyes are not as good as they used to be, so I'm particularly curious to hear what you helmet-mount users have to say, especially since I've never tried one. I'd also like to know if those of you who use real glass mirrors (vs. plastic ones) have been happy with them.

Thanks!
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Old 10-22-12, 07:44 PM
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I use a couple - Third Eye bar end mirror on a commuter and the Italian Road Bike Mirror on my, well, road bike

I'll try to take a picture tomorrow but the Third Eye I adapted with a seat post reflector mount because I have bar end shifters. It's also bigger than the Italian one and more adjustable.

The Italian road bike mirror is small and attaches to the end of the bars. It's not nearly as adjustable so once you get it set, that's about it. I also had a problem with mine a while back in that the mirror flew off while on a ride. I emailed the company and they sent a replacement since it was still under warranty. It's also glass.

Both of these work great for me...

Never tried helmet mount mirrors.
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Old 10-22-12, 08:16 PM
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2 - Handlebar mount I like http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/m5.htm

3 - Not helmet mount, but I like this: http://www.messengermirror.com/

1 - I wish I had a better answer, but it's been awhile since I've used #3. Using both was pointless, and I eventually settled on the handlebar mount. If I remember, the advantage to sunglass-mount was that I could see better detail further back thanks to the flat mirror. But in the end, that wasn't so important, and the convex handlebar mount works just dandy all by itself. Advantages are it's always there and it's easy/fast to get your sights on what you want to see (the lane next to you) thanks to the wide view.

BTW, I've smacked the #2 around well enough that it's fallen to pieces, but it snapped back together like new.

Last edited by davehbuffalo; 10-22-12 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 10-22-12, 08:43 PM
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What sort of handlebar and shifters?
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Old 10-22-12, 08:58 PM
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I use this "Take a Look mirror" I do not ride my bike without it. I don't attach it to my helmet however; it can be applied this way, but it is designed to clip on to the left arm of your sunglasses. I achieve a complete panoramic view of whats behing me with a slight turn of my head. The mirror is an acrylic unbreakable material.

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Old 10-23-12, 05:36 AM
  #6  
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Hey papa. Go here and here. Soon we will compare it to the handlebar mirrors which are a real pain in the @ss.

If you have any questions, let me know. I have used both and also a handlebar mirror (which suck).
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Old 10-23-12, 05:38 AM
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Papa: Basically, the handlebar mirror does NOT allow you to sweep whats behind you. I ride with a guy who uses a handlebar mirror and he has to go all the way out in the MIDDLE of the road to get a proper sweep. All I have to do is look up, tilt my head a tad and I know what is going on at any given moment.
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Old 10-23-12, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Papa: Basically, the handlebar mirror does NOT allow you to sweep whats behind you. I ride with a guy who uses a handlebar mirror and he has to go all the way out in the MIDDLE of the road to get a proper sweep. All I have to do is look up, tilt my head a tad and I know what is going on at any given moment.
Another huge benefit of looking back is that is signals drivers that you are considering a move.. a couple quick glances and most cars around here will slow down and allow you to cut in to make a left turn.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:04 AM
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Here's my huge mirror, it's made by Cateye. I turned my bullhorns out so it's way the heck out there and I get a great view of the whole road behind. It's plastic - I think plastic would be better because it's less likely to shatter in a crash (I don't have the bell any longer . . .)


Edit - Oh yeah, just like Forrest says always look back - it indicates to drivers you're about to do something, and there's always the possibility you missed something in the mirror.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:12 AM
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I've used a helmet mounted mirror (Third Eye, I think) and I now run a bar mounted mirror (actually a motor scooter mirror). I much prefer the bar mounted mirror. It's larger, so I get a better view of the road behind me, and it's easier to adjust to get a proper view. It was a real pain to constantly have to fiddle with the Third Eye every time I put my helmet on, because if I even slightly bumped the mirror when taking my helmet off or putting it on, it would become out of adjustment and require quite a bit more fiddling to get it back to being just right. I also find that the bar mounted mirror, being much larger than the helmet mounted mirror, is far more useful at night (the helmet mirror was pretty much useless in the dark) - I can still actually see things behind me even when it's dark out.
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Old 10-23-12, 07:05 AM
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I tried a bunch of different helmet mount mirrors, and hated them all. They all came out of adjustment too easily, and I found them to be enormously distracting while I was riding. Uber-nerdy looking too.

For traditional mountain bike bars, I strongly prefer the Mountain Mirrycle mirror. It stays in place, and has exceptional clarity. Good long distance viewing too, so you can spot cars a long ways away. It's pretty much the perfect mirror.

For my drop bars, I use the bar end mount from a Sprintech drop bar mirror, coupled with the mirror from a Cycleaware Roadie mirror. The Sprintech setup didn't allow me to see the cars until they were right on top of me, and the Cycleaware setup kept coming out of adjustment. But a combination of the parts works pretty darned good. The clarity isn't anything great like the Mirrycle, but good enough to check your six.
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Old 10-23-12, 07:24 AM
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I have a bar end mirror. It's wide angle so I can see everything behind me at a glance. When I first started using it I found that I had a tendency to drift to the right when I saw cars approaching. This was not good because cars were of course squeezing by since I was giving away more lane that I should. So I had to train myself to hold my line in spite of seeing the cars approaching from behind.
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Old 10-23-12, 07:30 AM
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I have a wide bar-end mirror. It lets me see the lane behind me. My only complaint is that it gets misaligned after bumps.

Still, any mirror is better than none. I'm much more comfortable on the road now, especially in high traffic-noise areas where I couldn't always hear cars coming up behind me.
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Old 10-23-12, 08:10 AM
  #14  
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I have a Take-A-Look mirror. Best mirror I've used, by far.
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Old 10-23-12, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post

My eyes are not as good as they used to be, so I'm particularly curious to hear what you helmet-mount users have to say, especially since I've never tried one. I'd also like to know if those of you who use real glass mirrors (vs. plastic ones) have been happy with them.

Thanks!
I've used both helmet and handlebar mirrors. I have no preference for either and as some of my bikes have handlebar mirrors mounted and some don't but my helmet does, I sometimes wind up riding a bike with both types at once. On the handlebar I use either the Mirrycle or the Blackburn mirrors. On my helmet I strongly recommend this guy: http://www.safezonemirror.com/ I'm partially sighted and I got sick of trying to figure out what was going on in a 1" square mirror. I actually gave up on eyeglass/helmet mirrors and somewhere there is a perfectly good (for someone else) Third Hand Mirror lying around in my garage. Once adjusted (and you need to adjust it every trip) it stays that way until you take your helmet off. The handlebar mirror adjustment creeps no matter how tight the joints. Looking back becomes less easy when there is a 2.25" diam. mirror to the left of the left side of your face! It can be done, and should be done, but you learn to trust your mirror more, and can, when the view that it offers is so large. Plastic mirrors I daresay are going to be the majority. Weight. I think the Third Hand is glass but it is like 3/4". Not too heavy, but not all that practical IMO. I do not own one yet but I like very much the handlebar mirrors being made by a company called Cycleaware. Either the "Wingman" or the "Urbie" would do the job on my commute.

H
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Old 10-23-12, 01:06 PM
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The arguments about helmet mount vs. handlebar mount remind me of the arguments about The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones. You're either going to like one or the other better.

There are four main positives for helmet mounts:
They allow you to sweep a complete field of view with a fairly small head movement.
Because the mirror is fairly close to your eyes, a planar (flat) mirror is viable. A handlebar mirror will either have a much smaller field of view (if it's flat) or will create the "objects in the mirror are closer than they appear" problem (if it's convex.)
They are far less prone to road vibration (or they're vibrating in synch with your eyes, which amounts to the same thing.)
You don't need a mirror for each bike - if you're wearing your lid, you've got your mirror.

The disadvantages of helmet mounts:
They are more prone to being knocked askew. (Typically more of a problem between rides than during a ride, but a hassle nonetheless.)
Some people find having the mirror constantly in their field of view distracting. It's nice to be able to only see the mirror when you're looking at the mirror.
You've got the weight of the mirror on your head. Some people are sensitive to that, although most helmet mirrors are extremely light.
They are just about as fred-ly an accessory as it is possible to own. Few things shout "bike dork" to the unwashed masses like a helmet mirror. Some people care about that.

A handlebar mounted mirror would just swap the advantages with the disadvantages. Some people are going to find that the pros/cons land them in the helmet (or eyeglass) camp, some will find themselves in the handlebar camp.

(Within a mirror type, the argument about which one is best, instead of resembling Beatles vs. Stones, resembles Abbey Road vs. Rubber Soul.)
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Old 10-23-12, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I have a Take-A-Look mirror. Best mirror I've used, by far.
+1

I clip the Take-A-Look to my glasses (sunglasses or clear safety glasses). I never ride without it. It becomes second nature.

I have a Mirrycle bar-end mirror too, but I rarely use it. More than once, I have stopped for a stoplight, and when looking around, realized that my bar-end mirror has been out of adjustment for the whole ride to that point. I just don't need it with the Take-A-Look.
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Old 10-23-12, 03:14 PM
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Here's the Third Eye mirror I adapted with a seat post reflector mount...

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Old 10-23-12, 03:31 PM
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I've gone through 2 mirrycycle mirrors and a couple of Bell department store mirrors, but I do like my Monkey Mirror a lot. http://www.monkeymirrors.com

The feature he offers of putting any quality image you send him on the back of the mirror is cool. I have a neurosis about the mirror stem near my head. It's dumb, but that kept me from considering glasses or helmet mirrors for years. Going through 2 Mirrycycle mirrors as they cracked or broke when my bike fell over and landed on the mirror caused me to face my neurosis head on.

I still couldn't do the Take a Look for that reason, apparently I can ignore my phobia if it's on my helmet

I like both images, there are pros and cons for each.
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Old 10-23-12, 03:34 PM
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uber_Fred's summary is excellent. You have to try and then decide. Or take a calculated guess, decide, and try.
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Old 10-23-12, 04:19 PM
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Old 10-23-12, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo H. View Post
<SNIP>. . . but I do like my Monkey Mirror a lot. http://www.monkeymirrors.com
I am a big fan of the Monkey Mirror as well. Since it's so small it doesn't obstruct my view. (I guess that TECHNICALLY there is a small blind spot directly behind wherever the mirror is positioned, but any movement of my head moves the blind spot so it is never an issue.)
It is really adjustable and since it's real glass and a real mirror it is a good image, unlike plastic.

The only small down-side is that if you use it on different bikes--say switching between a upright/commuter type and a more aero positioned road bike--you will need to adjust it since you are in a different position.

To echo uber_Fred's comments, once you choose to go with any mirror--ESPECIALLY a helmet mirror--you are committing to a path of irrevocable Fredness. It's like going to the Dark Side--once you cross the rear-view mirror threshold there is no going back.

Choose wisely Grasshopper!
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Old 10-23-12, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Forrest74 View Post
Another huge benefit of looking back is that is signals drivers that you are considering a move.. a couple quick glances and most cars around here will slow down and allow you to cut in to make a left turn.
This is assuming the only time to look back is just before a lane change/turn, etc. Most of the time when I look back (with a helmet visor-mounted Take-a-Look mirror) I'm not considering a move. Just looking to see what's happening behind me.

Looking back over the shoulder is not generally an option with recumbent bikes, anyway.
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Old 10-23-12, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I've been toying with a junky sideview mirror I found on the street and I think I'd like to buy one -- a REAL one -- for the first time.
Aren't we talking about rearview mirrors here?
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Old 10-23-12, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by teachme View Post

I use this "Take a Look mirror" I do not ride my bike without it. I don't attach it to my helmet however; it can be applied this way, but it is designed to clip on to the left arm of your sunglasses. I achieve a complete panoramic view of whats behing me with a slight turn of my head. The mirror is an acrylic unbreakable material.
+1. Don't leave home without it! I have at times, and I feel nekkid when I do...
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