Drive My Bike


Another Poll: Do You Use A Bicycle Mirror?

One of the first accessories I bought when I started bike commuting was a mirror, and I immediately became dependent on it…

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When I bought my first bike, a simple Schwinn Midtown comfort bike from Costco, it was not setup for commuting, and I went to a local bike shop for some advice. One of the first things he recommended was a Blackburn Handlebar Mirror. I bought it, and within a couple of rides I was immediately used to it being there. If you drive a car, and regularly check your side mirrors, then using a handlebar mounted bike mirror is very natural.

When I finished rebuilding my latest bike, it dawned on me that I didn’t have a mirror. The Trek came with end bars on the handlebars, and metal plugs on the ends of the handlebar tubes, so it would take some work to install the same Blackburn mirror I have on my Midtown. I was at the store looking at options, and I decided to try an inexpensive helmet mounted mirror. Installation was a snap, as it just fastens to your helmet with some double stick tape. I had heard that helmet mirrors are nice because you can get a wide field of view by turning your head to aim the mirror at what you need to see, so I was anxious to try this new mirror out. My first ride with the helmet mirror was on my Midtown, and I really had to fight the urge to just look at the handlebar mirror. It was kind of tricky to get the helmet mirror adjusted and aimed right, and it felt really strange to look up and to the left to see what was behind me. I’m happy to say that as I’ve ridden the Trek more I have gotten used to the helmet mirror, and it works reasonably well. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite at this point, because the experience with the two kinds of mirrors is very different, and I think they both have their positives and negatives.

So, that brings me to another opportunity to ask you what your preferences are when it comes to bicycle mirrors. As before, I’d love your comments as well as your votes.

Thanks for your feedback!

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12 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I should – but I don’t. I leave my bike parked around the city too much. But I do rely on my ears and am pretty adept at recognizing trucks vs cars, buses, etc.

Hybrids however tend to creep up on me 🙂

Comment by james

I used to have a handlebar mirror on my MTB, but I don’t have one for my road bike. Now that you mention it, I think it’s important to have one because I find myself veering into the traffic a lot when I try to look over my shoulder.

While I know there may be a car coming, I can’t know how far. A mirror would be much safer.

Comment by Wei

I’ve tried a couple different helmet mirrors, but find two problems with them:
1) I inevitably knock the mirror off when carrying my helmet around when not on the bike
2) The view is small and shaky, so I still need to turn my head to see clearly sometimes, and then the mirror blocks my view.

Comment by Eric

I have a bar-end handlebar mirror for my commuter bike and it provides a great deal of added safety and convenience. I still “head swivel” to confirm things and to communicate to drivers (in addition to a hand signal) that I am wanting to change lanes. The mirror has taught me what I already knew – my ears pick up the cars first, then the bike mirror gives me an idea of where they are on the road.

Comment by Justin

Just thought I would let you know about the Bike-Eye rear view mirror, maybe it’s the mirror that could be right for your Trek, it fits to the frame itself, I ride a Trek road bike myself with the mirror attached and it works great, have a look at the web site http://www.bike-eye.com you’ll get all the info you need!

Comment by Tony

Tony, that’s interesting! At first glance it looks like the rider’s leg would be in the way, but apparently that is not a problem. I’m currently satisfied with the results I’m getting with my helmet mounted mirror, but I like this Bike-Eye idea, and I might consider that in the future. (Would be great if there was a US distributor) Thanks for the info.

Comment by Scott

Check out these mirrors on ebay, search “bottle cap bicycle mirror” made from beer caps and bicycle spokes!

Comment by DLR

The last thing I would want near my face if I crashed would be the sharp edge of a bottle cap!

Comment by biker

Over the years, I’ve had almost every helmet mirror ever made. I prefer a helmet mirror because you can “aim” them and cover a wider area behind you than a handlebar mounted mirror. They vibrate less, too. The only one that I liked was an all metal job that clipped onto the edge of the helmet, but it’s not available any more, and wouldn’t work on the contemporary helmets anyway.

My current favorite mirror is the Steady Eye mirror. It takes no adhesives, as it just clips onto my helmet visor. It has a short stiff arm that just about negates vibration, and I can swap it from my bike helmet to a baseball cap or a visor. The pivot joint has adjustable friction, unlike the plastic ball joints used on most other mirrors. The whole thing (other than the mirror itself) is metal but still weighs only .72oz.

My problem with the plastic ones is three fold. Most are stuck onto the helmet with adhesive that tends to unstick. Most have long plastic arms that are prone to vibrate and mess with your vision. The ball joints used don’t hold the adjustment. The last plastic one I had wore out in two months in that the ball got so loose it flopped in the wind. With no friction adjustment, it was shot.

The Steady Eye mirror addressed all these issues. Plastic stinks. Metal rules.

I got mine off an ad on eCrater, but a Google search for “Steady Eye mirror”
will find it too.

Comment by Another Rider

Wow, thanks for the detailed information! I’ve been using a cheap plastic one that is “stuck” to my helmet. It stays on because the visor on my helmet is clipped over the top of the mirror’s foot. It does vibrate a good bit though, so I can see the value of a metal arm that is shorter.

Thanks for stopping by.

Comment by Scott

Hi Scott, Following on from your reply last November regarding Bike-Eye and your quote “would be great if there was a US distributor” just to let you know you can now purchase Bike-Eye from Harris Cyclery, take a look at their Web Site for more information.
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/mirrors.html

Comment by Tony

You can use a zip tie to attach helmet mirrors to prevent them falling off

Comment by RF




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