Review: Quad Lock Smartphone Mounting System

Alee November 30, 2013 10
  • Functionality
  • Durability
  • Value for Money

A couple of months ago our Garmin Edge 800 stopped being reliable. It turned itself off whenever it felt like it, most of the time when we were really relying on it. We had run out of open source maps, and were told that it would cost in excess of $150 to have it looked at. We'd had enough.

As soon as we arrived in Korea we purchased a smartphone for navigational purposes. As it turns out this was the best gear swap-out we've made in a long while – smartphones make navigation a pleasure because they are so user friendly.

We can immediately download detailed maps which are easy to move, zoom in and out of, and create points of interest. Not only is the device more usable, but the GPS chip in our iPhone 5 is faster and more accurate than our Garmin.

CyclingAbout Epiphany: Smartphones are the perfect navigation tool for bicycle travel.

But hold on a minute, it's hard to ride and navigate with only one hand. How would we make the smartphone easy to access while riding? How would we wrangle it so that the phone is easy to take on and off the bike?

Quad Lock is the answer.

What is the Quad Lock System?

Quad Lock started out on Kickstarter a couple of years ago and, like any good idea on crowdfunding websites, it made tonnes of money and went into production.

The Quad Lock system is comprised of two parts: a mount (we use the bike mount) and an adapter (we use the iPhone case). There are a number of different ways you can use the Quad Lock product, but the most useful for us is to connect our iPhone directly to the bike.

To attach our iPhone, we angle it at 45 degrees and push down with one hand. The spring-loaded bike mount allows the phone to engage and when we twist the phone straight, it locks into place with a firm 'click'.

Once connected, the phone isn't going anywhere… unless of course you want to take it off. Disengaging it requires two hands, one to push the blue tube away from the phone and the other to slide the phone to 45 degrees again to take it off.

Why is it Awesome?

The Quad Lock is secure. We have cycled some incredibly rough roads on our tandem bicycle (at speeds up to 100km/h) and have never felt like our smartphone was at risk.

The Quad Lock is fast. Within a second our iPhone is on and off our bike.

The Quad Lock is slim. Our smartphone case is only 4.5mm thicker than if we had a standard case. We've never felt like it is cumbersome in our pockets.

The Quad Lock is universal. Bike mounts, car mounts, tripod adapters, belt clips, arm bands, heart rate monitors – the Quad Lock will fit on it all. If you need to mount a device onto something they don't make, try the adhesive mounts.

What happens when it rains?

We put a waterproof poncho onto our phone. Seriously.

Normally a smartphone becomes nigh on impossible to use with water on the screen – this is incredibly frustrating sometimes! I'm not sure how, but the Quad Lock poncho makes rainy navigation possible.

We've found that unless you are getting absolutely dumped on by water, the waterproof poncho allows you to continue navigating with your smartphone.

What smartphone cases are available?

Currently, Quad Lock smartphone cases are available for the iPhone 4/4S/5/5S/5C and Samsung Galaxy S4.

But, if you use a different phone/phablet/tablet/device, don't stress. Quad Lock have you covered with a universal adhesive mount.

What is the price of the Quad Lock and where can you get one?

You can purchase Quad Lock gear from their online store.

Expect to pay $69.95 USD for a smartphone case and bike mount with free postage worldwide. If you don't need the case, the universal kit is just $39.95 with free postage worldwide.

Would we recommend it?

YES!

It is hard to give something a perfect score, but in the case of the Quad Lock, perfection has been achieved. We cannot find any design flaws in the iPhone case and bike mount.

If you're using a smartphone for navigation, the Quad Lock mounting system is a must have accessory.

 

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  • Smacadoodlegrande

    The mount looks great. How badly do the GPS apps suck the battery life from phones? What’s your favourite app?

    • http://www.cyclingabout.com/ Alee Denham

      We use our iPhone like we would a paper map – it’s a base map and we turn it on whenever we need to look at it. In cities, this may mean using 30-50% battery per day, but in rural areas it can be as low as 10% per day. We charge our phone from the hub when we need, so technically we could keep the phone on most of the day using a turn-by-turn app, but it’s not really our style.

      Our favourite map at the moment is MapsWithMe, but most others that we meet who use a smartphone for navigation use Galileo. Galileo is more powerful – you can upload custom maps via iTunes on a computer, whereas MapsWithMe maps are downloaded directly from inside the app.

  • Wakatel Lu’um

    My only issue is that I have a King Cage mounted over my stem so I’m unable to mount the the phone there…I don’t see any mention of it mounting on the actual handlebars?

    • http://www.cyclingabout.com/ Alee Denham

      Hi Wakatel. You can mount the quadlock to your handlebars just fine, as long as you have about 5cm of free space for the mount to fit! Alee

      • Wakatel Lu’um

        Thanks Alee, what are your thoughts on the rain cover for the iphone? It seems very basic when compared to other brands such as Otterbox, Lifeproof and the Optrix. I’m a bit worried about getting caught out in a heavy down pour…regards Wakatel.

        • http://www.cyclingabout.com/ Alee Denham

          I wouldn’t want to drop the phone in a river, but we’ve had it mounted during every rainy day and have not found any water to enter the rain cover.

  • Mario Preston

    For GPS positioning you don’t need any signal????

    • http://www.cyclingabout.com/ Alee Denham

      You will not need a signal from a mobile phone tower, but you will need a GPS signal.

  • MarkonaBike

    The down-side of using an iPhone on the handlebars is that on hot sunny days it will overheat and shutoff. Plus, you really need a USB power source or it will drain the battery pretty quickly in my experience. I use a Garmin 800 and have my iPhone in my pocket or front bag. I’ve had a few similar issues with the Garmin though: random shutoffs, etc. Pretty frustrating.

    • http://www.cyclingabout.com/ Alee Denham

      Despite cycling in temperatures regularly over 40 degrees celcius, we haven’t yet had issues with our iPhone overheating! It does get very warm, but seems to be within the operating temperatures.