ZEFAL UNIVERSAL PHONE HOLDER
116g (including Z Bike Mount) 90g (on own) €34.95 (approx. £28.95 at time of writing)
The Zefal Universal Phone Holder is another take on how to mount your phone on your bike’s bars. There’s a lot of competition, and whilst it hasn’t solved all my chogged-up handlebar woes, it has a number of nice features that have made it a good choice, for general cycling.
Pros: should accommodate a variety of devices, stable.
Cons: takes up a lot of space on drop bars, no in-built weather protection.
Out of the packet comes the holder itself, two pairs of o-rings, and Zefal’s Z Bike Mount.
The holder is designed to carry devices between 65mm and 100mm wide and 125 and 165mm long. The flexibility comes courtesy of side clips that expand to accommodate the device before pins in the structure engage as the side clips enclose the device. The silicone clips stretch over the phone, looping over the corners, to hold it in place. The should offer good shock absorption, although it is hard to measure.
Any “universal” tag begs challenge, but there are not many holders of this type that offer this level of flexibility. On the other hand, models like Oxford’s Cliqr Out Front Handlebar Mount could, theoretically, take a device of almost any size.
The Z Bike Mount comes as part of the package, although it is also compatible with the Z Arm, Motor, and Handlebar mounts. There are two sets of o-rings which should cover most bar sizes. Its design allows for the device to be mounted in both landscape and portrait displays.
Zefal suggest that the phone should be removed from its case to ensure the best fit.
Things could barely be simpler. The 0-rings have coped with 25.4 and 31.8 bar diameters. Mounting on the apex of the stem was harder, sending me to the spares tins in the shed to dig out some bigger o-rings. My motivation was to take up less space on the flats of the drop bars. Needless to say, wider flat bars did not require such faffing about.
Fundamentally, you mount the Z Bike Mount using the o-rings, and the holder just clips in. You release it by pressing the rectangular buttons on opposite sides. Good news is, of course, that you can buy additional mounts to allow easy porting of the holder between bikes.
I’m not sure under what circumstances I would opt to have the holder in landscape display. Personally, it takes up too much space, but space allowing, it is an option.
The mount feels very stable. I’ve done the usual mixed surface work to try it out: road, forest track, crushed lime towpath, corrugated sections of asphalt, and setts. In other words, it has been bumped and bounced around a good deal. OK, I’ve not done any serious downhill trail riding – but that is because I’m not into that – and why would you have your phone up top when belting down the Red Route?
The holder has not flinched, either. The side clips hold tight and the silicone end clips seemingly allow a little movement, but keep the device steady for a clear image on the screen. This has probably been enhanced by keeping the phone in a light plastic case. Against recommendations, I know, but an iPhone6 is on the slim side, as is the case I use. I’ve even found no issues when using a case with Oxford’s Cliqr Mount still attached (ooops, but no harm done).
I’m not a great one for bar-mounted gadgets – or gadgets, anywhere, for that matter – but those who are may need to get hold of an accessory bar if space is short. Zefal’s Z Handlebar Mount would do the same job – and may provide a better phone position for faster riders.
Unlike Zefal’s range of Consoles there’s no protection form the weather. So, you’ll need to make a judgement about how waterproof your device is. In that sense, the Universal Phone Holder could be viewed as a fair-weather bit of gear. However, with a little experimentation, I’ve managed to fit a water-sports protective bag – rolled up tight – to give protection form the elements. Copy at your own risk.
Diversity of style, size, and weather protection make comparisons tricky. Bargain basement models can be surprisingly effective for gentle leisure riding, and often come with some kind of weather protection. Tending toward the bulky and hefty, many want something sportier. Tigra Sport Mounts offer a variety of models with mounting options, generally device specific which makes them less portable and may be problematic if you change your phone.
Oxford’s Cliqr Out Front Mount keeps things clear of the bar, but requires you to fit a pad to the back of your phone or phone case. That may not be a problem, and, of course, it is not just phones that it can carry. Price is comparable.
The Zefal Universal Phone Holder will manage to carry most phones securely over a variety of terrains. After market purchases make it easy to port, too. Fit it to an accessory bar, if you want to keep bars clear of clutter. A bit of nouse can build your own weather protection, although lack of in-built defence may be problematic, other than for fair-weather riders. I’ve now got it on my old Carlton Clubman (purists wince) which is, for the most part, my bike for a quick blast.