The F3 Cycling FormMount Phone is a neat way of fixing your smartphone to your bike, and it's reasonably well executed with some extra features that you don't get elsewhere.
- Pros: Easy to fit, holds your phone securely, you can use it to shoot video
- Cons: A bit bulky, lanyard doesn't work very well
This is a magnetic mount. There'll be people at this point who will be thinking, 'I'm out. There's no way I'm attaching my phone to the bike with magnets.' That's a reasonable position, generally speaking. But these magnets are fierce. Seriously, I'd be more worried about the 3M adhesive failing to hold the mount onto my phone case than I would about the magnets giving way.
There are four of them, which grab the steel mounting plate. The bike mount itself has four recesses which mate up with four bumps on the mounting plate to keep the phone secure laterally, and also make sure it's not at an angle. That works pretty well, although the fit isn't exact so there's a few degrees of movement available.
The design also means you can fit your smartphone in portrait or landscape orientation, and switch from one to the other mid-ride.
Once it's on there it stays there. It's sufficiently secure that you need a certain technique to get it off, twisting and sliding it off the mount instead of trying to pull it away from the bars. I can't imagine any sort of impact that would free it from the magnets that wouldn't also wreck you or your bike. When you put it back it generally snaps into place, although sometimes it needs a bit of persuasion and it can sit with the bumps proud of the recesses, which isn't so secure.
The bike mount replaces your headset top cap, so your phone sits over the top of your stem. It's a good location for it, although personally I prefer fitting my phone on an out-front mount as it's a bit easier to see. F3 Cycling also suggests that you can use the mount as an iPad mount for indoor training; you could, but that close to the bar it's always going to be in danger of getting sweaty when you're working hard.
The mount has a hinge which allows you to angle the phone to your preference. I mostly had it flat against the stem, although I did find that with the phone in landscape mode you could flip the mount right up and then use your phone as a bar-mounted video camera or to take still photos, which was a useful extra feature.
It's possible to stick the phone plate directly onto your smartphone. You're unlikely to want to, though, so factor in an extra tenner for a decent phone case (I'm using this Spigen case which is excellent) and you can take the mount on and off as you need it then.
With my phone (a Google Pixel 2), the mounting plate obscures the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. The bit that obscures it is the mounting point for the included lanyard. Ostensibly that's for an extra level of security should your phone break its moorings, but it's in a tricky position and not useful for actually keeping the phone safe when you take it off the mount as you can't loop it over your hand beforehand. After smashing the screen on my Pixel 2 (as you can see in the pics) I added a lanyard to my riding case so I can loop it over my hand if I'm holding the phone to take pics or check my route, but you can't do that with the F3 one and it also sticks out of the back of the case when you take it off the bike so it wobbles about on surfaces.
At £49.99 it isn't cheap, especially compared with something like the Quad Lock Universal Mount which is less (around £30) and offers an out-front option. Or, indeed, doing what I've done which is buying a 3D-printed Garmin plate for a fiver and sticking it onto my phone case with Araldite.
Overall, it's a pretty good system. The F3 mount feels more secure than either of the cheaper options mentioned above. The lack of an out-front option is a shame, but the ability to shoot pics and video from your phone is a bonus. The lanyard is a weak point of the design, but really it's belt and braces and I'd still recommend this as an option if you're keen to use your phone as your bike computer.
Good magnetic retention system for using your smartphone as your bike computer
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road.cc test report
Make and model: F3 Cycling FormMount Phone
Size tested: n/a
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?
F3 Cycling says, "Whether you're roaming around the block, city or mountain, FormMount Phone is the perfect phone-on-the-go solution. A strap-free interface uses 4 neodymium magnets to create incredibly strong docking while the twist & lift design provides an effortless release. With angling adjustability, 2 mounting positions and portrait/landscape docking, it's hands down the most multi-functional, user-friendly phone mount on 2 wheels."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
F3 Cycling lists this information:
Compatible with any 1 1/8 steerer tube bicycle with bolt on stem. Remove stem cap, replace with SCPM using bolt provided. Large devices are for indoor training only.
Phone case surface should be plastic or metal without texture. A hard and smooth surface is needed for maximum case plate bonding.
Really strong magnets, useful range of phone positions. Lanyard not great.
3M a possible weak point for a heavier phone or a case that doesn't bond well, but the mount and plate are built to last.
It's certainly not the lightest way of fixing your phone to your bike.
Quite expensive considering the other options.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to use, secure, ability to shoot video from your phone.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lanyard position, cost.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
More expensive than a Quadlock and a lot more than gluing a Garmin mount to your phone case, but feels more secure than either.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, depending on their needs.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good system and the mount is a very secure one. It's not without its flaws, though, and it's quite expensive.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.