The Zilfer Cycling Phone Wallet is slim, waterproof and extremely effective – it even looks 'normal' enough to use off the bike. You can't use your phone without removing it first, but that only takes a second and seems a small price to pay for an almost entirely faff-free design. Tragically, the actual price is not small at all, and will likely put many off.
- Pros: Convenient, comfy in pockets, simple, instant phone protection
- Cons: A little tall for some rear pockets, not the nicest texture, crazy expensive
If you want to use your phone as a GPS, to liveblog rides to the corner shop or – woah there grandad – make phone calls, there are hundreds of clear-fronted options to strap to your bike. Meanwhile, if you simply want to protect your phone from rain and sweat, it's generally a choice between bulky, tricky-to-fit phone armour or a rubbery bag sealed with an awkward plastic stick. None of these offer convenience or an easy fit in a pocket.
I've tried waterproof rear jersey pockets (didn't work), plastic bags (look shoddy but work) and wedging the phone in saddle bags (usually incredibly awkward), but nothing works as well as this simple, water-resistant wallet. Slide phone in sideways, close wallet, slip in pocket. Done. Already raining? Slide phone behind the long zip, do up, slip in pocket. Done. And it only takes seconds to remove the (dry) phone for use.
Inside the light padding you find two pouches, one with four slots for credit cards, library tickets and your corner shop loyalty card. Bank notes, cake receipts and IOUs fit full length inside either main pouch. Basically, everything lies flat and stays thin for minimal bulk.
It's worth noting that the water-resistant pocket is actually a full-width, 17cm square, so it can take quite large papers without turning them into origami or, at least for a while, papier maché. All the strong-feeling seams are heat-sealed rather than stitched, so there are no holes, and the zip is water resistant.
It's the fabric itself that eventually fails, but it resisted a full minute submerged in my calibrated testing facility (aka sink), though 10 minutes overwhelmed it. You could accidentally drop it in a river and get away with it, plus it floats. More usefully, it's going to resist heavy rain for a considerable time before wetting through (it shrugged off everything I got caught in, though this was no more than an hour of any ride).
At 17cm long it takes my 13 x 6.5cm iPhone, case and all, and still closes naturally. Any device larger than 15 x 7cm would be a bit of a squeeze, and it doesn't fit Plus phones. The wallet's around 12mm thick folded and empty. Zilfer makes a thing of it being 'elegant' enough for everyday use, but it's way too long to fit in a front trouser pocket.
In fact, my only niggle is that it's almost too long for jersey pockets too. If it were just a little shorter it would sit more snugly below most pocket closures and feel more secure. That said, the rough (if slightly plasticky) texture helps it stay put, and I had no issues with it moving even in pockets from which it stuck out.
Zilfer's phone wallet is light at 52g, slim, adds a little padding should you crash, and is as water resistant as you're likely to need on a road bike. It's all great – except the price, which at £51 feels improbably high for a plastic wallet.
Unfortunately for Zilfer, Fickaskap's rival wallet is half the price while being totally waterproof, transparent on one side and available in two sizes to fit all phones. Velovita's Pocket Pack is less waterproof but also available in two sizes, also sweat-proof and also £25... You get the picture. The Zilfer just isn't competitive, nor is it versatile or plain sexy enough to justify the premium. And that's without even mentioning how many plastic bags £25 buys you, never mind £51...
A stylish, versatile and useful phone protector and wallet, but you'll need deep pockets – in every sense
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zilfer Cycling Phone Wallet
Size tested: One
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?
Zilfer says: "The cycling phone wallet is built for the outdoors and for everyday life. With its modern, understated design and its durable 'active-proof' qualities, this is the wallet for your active lifestyle.
"You no longer need to swap your phone, cards and cash every time you go riding or on an adventure."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The makers list these features:
-Made with durable and water-resistant coated materials
-YKK water-resistant zipper
-Water-resistant pocket for extra protection
-4 card slots plus room for more
-Full seamless weld construction with no stitching
-Fits iPhone 6, 7 and similar Android phones (does not fit Plus size)
-Dimensions are 172mm x 82mm x 15mm
-Fits in cycling jersey pocket, jeans pocket, jacket pocket
-Keeps all of your items together in the one place
Very neat, efficient and sturdy.
Effective protection with zero faff.
Tough fabric and quality zip.
Barely noticeable extra weight.
Sits perfectly in jersey pockets.
At roughly £1 per gram, this great-but-in-no-way-vital wallet would be cheaper made of solid silver.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provides worthwhile levels of protection from sweat, rain and bumps while keeping your phone entirely accessible. Good as an everyday wallet too – if you have cargo pockets.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Phone protection without hassle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Zilfer's wallet is double the price of many similar products, which tend to hover around the £25 mark.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Sadly, no.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? A rich one, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Take price out of the equation and I'd give this an 8 – it's very good, even if you only use it on the bike. But £50 is a lot when a freezer bag will do much the same job, and impossible to ignore. Hence the marking down.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking