BikeCityGuide Finn  £10.00

9/10

Very clever, simple and reliable way of fixing your smartphone to your bars, but no weather weather protection.

Weight 18g   Contact  www.bikecityguide.org

by Jez Ash   November 25, 2013  

BikeCityGuide-Finn

The BikeCityGuide Finn is a very clever piece of silicone that fixes your smartphone to your handlebars.

You may think you have no need to do this, as your Garmin already tells you how far you've been and where you're going, but sometimes when you need to nip down the post office in an unfamiliar city, it's pretty handy.

This is by no means the first such device, but it is certainly the simplest we've come across.

As the cliché says, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and there is no shortage of complicated solutions for fixing things to handlebars, mentioning no names.

The Finn has no screws to tighten, no different clips to suit different phones, it's just a strap made of stretchy silicone.

When you take it out the packet your first reaction will be, "I'm really not sure I want to entrust my £500 phone to this."

Happily, the makers have anticipated this and made a nice little video showing a chap jumping his bmx around in a carpark with a phone stuck on his bars.

Quite why you'd need your phone visible while honing your street skillz in the multi-storey is perhaps open to debate, but the point is well made; if this doesn't dislodge your iPhone then it's unlikely road or trail riding will either.

Installing the Finn is quick and pretty easy, although it feels like you need three hands the first couple of times. You wrap it around the handlebar, threading one end through a slot in the other, and then stretch out the ends to go around the top and bottom of your phone.

You have to pull quite a bit to stretch it around the phone and you find yourself worrying that it might snap, but the silicone is very stretchy and fits round even quite large phones (such as the HTC One).

Once it's on, it holds on a treat.

To begin with you find yourself keeping quite a close eye on things, ready to snatch your phone in case the Finn lets go or snaps, but once you've been over a few bumpy bits and everything stays in place you quickly become more confident.

We've used the Finn on long rides where the roads were sometimes pretty broken up and there was never any concern about failure.

As the phone is not encased, you can still operate the buttons and the touchscreen, and you could even answer the phone and talk if you weren't going too quickly.

So, it's late autumn, we're in England - let's talk about the elephant in the room. The Finn gives precisely no protection at all from the elements. If it's raining, your phone will get wet.

Perhaps you're lucky enough to have a waterproof smartphone like the Sony Xperia Z, but if not, you'll probably only want to use the Finn if you've checked out the weather carefully beforehand.

We did try using it with a waterproof case (http://road.cc/content/review/78077-donkey-label-pack-animal) which worked fine. We were a little worried the edges of the case could wear away at the silicone, but this didn't seem to be a problem at least in the short-term.

Almost everyone carries their phone with them when they're riding now, whether to record their tilts at Strava segments or just so they can be reached by their other half to ask if they'll be back for lunch.

However, most people are quite happy with their phone in a pocket, so do you really need it mounted on the handlebars? Checking your email or the footie scores while riding is not recommended, so the main application will be for navigation.

In my own experience, the time when I most use my phone for continuous navigation is when riding in a city I don't know that well.

I found myself on a Boris bike thinking how useful this would be, although sadly the huge chunky plastic handlebar covers on Boris bikes (and their equivalents in Paris and New York) would make this impossible.

The makers of the Finn started out offering city guides for cyclists. These are available for more than 30 cities across Western Europe so far and give you off-line turn-by-turn navigation aimed specifically at cyclists.

They also include cycle tour routes for those exploring the city without a particular destination. Each Finn comes with a code for a city guide worth €4.49.

Even if you don't want the included city guide (there are none in the UK or outside continental Europe yet), the price of €12 (£10) including shipping seems pretty fair to us.

Verdict

Very clever, simple and reliable way of fixing your smartphone to your bars. No weather protection so better for sunny days.

road.cc test report

Make and model: BikeCityGuide Finn

Size tested: White Transparent

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

You can easily mount your smartphone to any handlebar without risk of losing it. Thanks to its simple design and high quality silicone material, the mount withstands whatever you throw at it.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Made in Austria from a single piece of silicone. Fits any smartphone and any handlebar.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made and surprisingly strong.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

We were a bit nervous to begin with, but it holds any smartphone with absolute reliability. No protection from the rain, obviously.

Survived a number of long rides. Too early to say whether it should last for months or years, but at this price it wouldn't be the end of the world if you had to replace it after a couple of years.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
10/10

At 18g this must be the lightest phone mount on the market.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

It's made in Austria and ships for free, so we think the price is pretty fair.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Quick and easy to fix to any bike, allowing you to use either their own navigation packs or any other smartphone navigation software. Holds on firmly; no concerns about breaking your phone.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing much.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes although I wouldn't use it that often as I don't need to see my phone while riding..

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 6  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute  My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I'm sure I'm not alone in being a cheapskate and using my phone as a maps/GPS recording device. This does look rather handy.

posted by thelimopit [118 posts]
25th November 2013 - 15:07

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Clever people can also build their own functionally equivalent phone mount using a 10cm section of MTB inner tube and a pair of scissors.

posted by chokofingrz [238 posts]
25th November 2013 - 17:40

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It doesn't protect against weather weather, but will it keep off regular weather?

posted by mbthegreat [8 posts]
25th November 2013 - 18:38

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mbthegreat wrote:
It doesn't protect against weather weather, but will it keep off regular weather?

I just mount my laptop on the handlebars which means I can close the top if it rains. I also find the 19 inch screen easier to read.

Northernbike's picture

posted by Northernbike [115 posts]
25th November 2013 - 20:24

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Brilliant northernbike what a great idea. And cheaper than a garmin

dottgl's picture

posted by dottgl [3 posts]
25th November 2013 - 21:49

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chokofingrz wrote:
Clever people can also build their own functionally equivalent phone mount using a 10cm section of MTB inner tube and a pair of scissors.

let us know how that goes Thinking

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7231 posts]
25th November 2013 - 21:49

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Done. Ordered. What a genius solution.

First step will be to give it a damn good wrenching about to make sure it's solid - but I imagine they have done a load of testing - they'd only need 1 in 10,000 to fail for people to never trust it.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [432 posts]
26th November 2013 - 12:43

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I do have a waterproof phone (second-hand Xperia Acro S, so rather cheaper than a Z), and it doesn't fit in the Topeak waterproof case I had for my previous phone, and I do sometimes use Maps or Velox, so this looks quite attractive. Shame the city guides don't include UK yet.

It's certainly neater than something like this but possibly more wobbly.

posted by armb [25 posts]
26th November 2013 - 13:55

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1. Ziploc bag - waterproof to the point it's seen me through a monster storm, touch screen still works, visible.
2. HTC One rocks
3. Otterbox rocks
4. I want this so bad.

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

badkneestom's picture

posted by badkneestom [127 posts]
26th November 2013 - 14:45

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Mine arrived today - 3 days from order to door. It's as good as I expected - even around an oversize roadbike bar with tape. See piccys. Unlike a Quadlock no, you can't pick the bike up with it, but having bounced the bike around a bit and seen not a hint of wobble, I'm 100% confident the phone is going nowhere.

It works equally well on the stem in 'landscape mode', freeing up handlebar room for other stuff like - er - hands. You'd need to pay attention to the stem cap and steerer cap, if they protrude a bit, as the phone could rattle against them, but as I rock a 110 it's not an issue.

Genius. Would make an excellent stocking filler or corporate giveaway.

My full review here: http://gateauvelo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/time-for-some-austrian-rubber-b... including video of using as a bikecam.

BaPimJ1IcAA8cCf.jpg large.jpg BaPie5rIcAAi8fh.jpg large.jpg Photo 29-11-2013 15 26 20.jpg Photo 29-11-2013 15 27 01.jpg P1140400.JPG

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [432 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 13:52

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I've got an excellent 'Lifeproof' case for my iPhone 4S and now have just ordered one of these mounts. Looking forward to see how it goes. My Garmin 705 took a tumble (my fault) and has a broken screen but the above could be a reasonable solution whilst I decide what to do about my Garmin.
I managed 2hrs on the bike losing only 8% of battery but that was with the screen off. I've got a boost pack coming to cover me for longer rides but I suspect nothing will beat the Garmin.
Will report back...

posted by BikeJon [34 posts]
21st December 2013 - 16:19

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Also, thanks for the pics, badkneestom. Useful to see how it mounts. I have an 'out front' tube mount that I'm hoping to strap the phone to. Should make it nice and central and out of the way of my lights and cables.
Forgot to say before that I hate the bulky phone mounts that you typically see but this sleek mount looks like just the ticket Smile

posted by BikeJon [34 posts]
21st December 2013 - 16:23

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I've just got around to ordering one. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

posted by armb [25 posts]
26th February 2014 - 17:18

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