A bc original Flint is equipped with a Profile handlebar attachment. An SP Connect mount for a smartphone is attached to it.
A bc original Flint is equipped with a Profile handlebar attachment. An SP Connect mount for a smartphone is attached to it.

Smartphone Bike Navigation

Is your smartphone all you need for bike navigation? We'll show you how to attach it securely to the handlebars and get the most out of it on tours.

In the past, a bike tour in unfamiliar territory often meant taking a cycling map with you, opening it at every crossroads, getting your bearings and then folding it up correctly and stowing it away again in your bag. Not everything was better in the past, because for a long time now, cycling computers have been handling navigation and other useful tasks in a much more convenient format. Among its many other functions, your smartphone can also be used for navigation and training. We’ll give you an overview of which mounts you can use to attach your mobile phone to the handlebars for on-the-go use. 

A smartphone is placed on an SP Connect smartphone mount.
A smartphone is placed on an SP Connect smartphone mount.

A smartphone mount for your bike lets you view your route on a larger screen.

Pictured is a smartphone mount including smartphone photographed from below.
Pictured is a smartphone mount including smartphone photographed from below.

Most mounts are uncomplicated and can be secured onto handlebars and attachment points in various places.

Advantages of Real Cycling Computers

As convenient as a smartphone is, there are many good arguments for having a "real" bike computer, especially for demanding users. This is especially true if you are riding in windy and stormy weather or on rough terrain: smartphones are usually less durable than specialised bike computers and replacing them is often not only expensive, but also very time-consuming in terms of transferring your data. In addition, smartphones require considerably more energy than cycling computers and often reach their limits in functions such as power measurement. We therefore rather recommend using smartphones to occasional users in casual, everyday life.

Using the Smartphone as a Bike Computer

A GPS bike computer will serve you well for navigation and training purposes. Your smartphone can also perform these functions, especially if you make it bike-compatible with the appropriate apps. With "Komoot" or "Bikemap", for example, you can plan routes or use guided navigation; for mountain bikes, "Trailforks" is a good choice for exploring new trails. You can also re-construct tours in offline mode to save battery on longer trips. With "Strava", "Wahoo Fitness", "Garmin Connect" or "Cyclemeter" you can not only upload your rides, but also document training data, create training plans and compare yourself with other athletes.

Silicone Smartphone Mounts

If you don't want to install a device permanently on your bike handlebars, such as when you ride several bikes, you can attach your smartphone to your cockpit with a silicone mount. The flexible material can be wrapped around the handlebars, as you pull one end through a slit and tighten the corners to your phone. Other models are attached to the handlebars with a hook-and-loop fastener, and the silicone mount is then attached to that. After your ride, simply put the thin silicone strap in your pocket with your smartphone.

Plastic Smartphone Mounts

If you regularly use your smartphone on your bike, it’s a good idea to have a permanently-installed mount that will allow you to secure your phone in place. It is made of impact-resistant plastic, aluminium or carbon. You can either choose a mount for your specific mobile phone model or you can opt for a universal mount which can be adapted to different sizes thanks to the adjustable small cradle arms. Manufacturers such as Topeak or SKS Germany also offer combinations of mobile phone cases, adapters and mounts with their own patented holding systems. The cases are made of durable composite materials and are available for all common mobile phone models. These systems allow you to attach your smartphone quickly and securely with just a twist or click. Some models offer the combination of mount and mobile phone case. Other mounts allow you to protect your smartphone from rain, sweat and dirt with special transparent covers and still operate the touchscreen.
The brand SP Connect specialises in weatherproof and very stable smartphone mounts: you can choose to equip your smartphone with a protective case or a water- and mud-resistant mobile phone case, or even use it in combination with a small handlebar bag attached it to the bike. SPConnect’s system even allows you to mount your tablet to the handlebars, which is particularly convenient for indoor training.

Where is the Mount Attached?

Most smartphone mounts can be attached to the handlebars using a strap or a screw clamp. Other options include mounting it on the stem and on the Ahead cap. To do this, take off the stem cap and screw in the mount. Some models also offer you all three mounting options at once – on the handlebars, on the stem or on the Ahead cap. Depending on how comfortable it is for you, you can also use your mobile phone horizontally with the mount holder and adjust the angle so that you can look at the display with ease.

Smartphone Mounts with Charging Function

If your mobile phone is equipped with the Qi standard for wireless charging, you can use some mounts to charge your phone while riding. This is because they have an integrated Qi charger. However, you can also charge your smartphone while riding without Qi technology, for example with special adapters that are powered by the hub dynamo and can be used on mobile phones or bike computers with a USB connection.

Alternatives to the Smartphone Mount

If you only need to use your mobile phone occasionally on tours, for example to take photos or because you navigate using headphones, then it is worth stowing your mobile phone in a case in your jersey, pants or top tube bag. Padded, water-repellent protective cases in various sizes are well-suited for this purpose, some of which also offer inner compartments for items such as notes or cards. Some cases have touchscreen-compatible viewing compartments so you don't even have to take your smartphone out, but can use it while it’s in the case.