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Topeak’s Bar n’ Mirror is an interesting and stylish concept - a bar end with a fold out mirror, executed with the brand’s trademark panache. A blend of cold forged aluminium and engineering grade plastics are undeniably chic but form presides over comfort on longer distances.
Prised from their packaging, attention to detail here is excellent. Run a finger along the left and right specific ball burnished alloy ends, unclip and swing the mirror section outward and the smooth, refined action is seductive. Employing plastics in the mirror shell has obvious weight saving and safety advantages, particularly since the optics are made from convex glass and measure 9 x 2.5cm each. Other surfaces can wear and tarnish, reducing length of field/accuracy, especially for wearers of prescription lenses or habitually nocturnal riders.
Getting these aboard the bars is simply a question of sliding them on and making sure you don't overtighten the pinch bolts. The intuitive mirrors align and lock into position via a ratchet assembly that rotates 360 degrees on a set of interlocking splines which overcomes accidental misalignment/breakages at rest stops or parking in the street.
Correctly adjusted, their relatively small surface area provides an accurate reflection of conditions behind, although convex types mean traffic can be closer than the mirror suggests, so over the shoulder glances shouldn’t be neglected, especially in congested town centres.
Comfort is subjective but while sitting nicely in the palms, the Profiles' stubby profiles left my fingers feeling cramped on rides exceeding five or six miles – take note if you enjoy scenic towpath devation.Vibration hasn't proved problematic on metalled road but becomes apparent exceeding 10mph along forest trails and towpath – although, to be fair, you don't often need to use a mirror on this type of terrain.
Sleek but form overshadows comfort on longer rides.
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Make and model: Topeak Bar 'n' Mirror
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?
"Ergonomic bar-ends with integrated fold out mirrors, perfect for the commuter or tourer. A streamlined look for multiple hand positions but with the additional safety factor built in".
Nice design concept which is fine for shorter commutes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
• Cold forged aluminium body with engineering grade plastic mirror holder
• Glass optics
• Mirror adjusts freely for optimum viewing angle
• Ergonomic shape Right and left side mirrors
In keeping with Topeak's usual high standards.
Ok for short distances
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Clever design but unfortunately, blessed with long fingers, I found the ends quite cramped. The mirror components are are well made, folding neatly away when not required. However, convex types have a tendency to distort the true proximity of other vehicles, requiring care and regular, physical over-the-shoulder checks in congested traffic.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Uncomfortable over longer distances, especially without gloves.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, with some reservations
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly, for short road commutes/ utility duties
Age: 36 Height: 1.81m Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)