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  CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > What to Take > Bike Equipment > Mirrors
               
    Do I have to have a mirror?  And which one is best for me?  
       
    You have several options...

Little mirror spot that mounts on your glasses eyeglass - I am not sure if these are removable and since I wear my glasses year round for everything (they are also my sunglasses) I have not tried this.

Framework that mounts on your left earpiece of a pair of glasses (sunglasses) or sometimes on your helmet - I liked this option quite a bit when we used them, but they are fragile and you need to watch out for them. I once had a pair of glasses break as I was installing one of these (the bridge snapped), but I have never heard of anyone else having problems so my glasses may have just been defective. These mirrors take a little getting used to, but are super lightweight and flexible. They come in a couple of sizes and styles.

Bike mount mirror - these usually mount on the left end of your handle bar. We have used 3 different kinds so far. The rectangular version that mounted into a straight bar end worked well, but mine eventually would not stay tight. Bob's did fine for 5 years. The round version that has a right angle elbow (Mirrycle) also mounts straight into a bar end and is the mirror I like the best. In spite of loading bikes on and off cars and everything else it stays aimed where I want it and is nice and clear. I don't know if this mirror can be mounted on other styles of handlebars, but they may make a version that can be. The kind I don't like at all is the oval-shaped one with the flexible joint in its post (Rhode Gear). These are available for a variety of handlebars and are sold locally in most bike stores. We have 2 and they both vibrate as you ride along. This makes the image vibrate so that you have to stare at it a long time to make out what is following you. I like to just glance at a mirror and immediately see what is there so I can go back to looking at what is in front of me.

Rox Heath

Many people don't really understand how to ride in a large group, and you need to be careful around them while they learn. And even experienced riders make mistakes when they are hot and tired. I've found my rear view mirror very helpful, even just to check quickly before I pull out and pass another cyclist. With 2,000 of us, you're rarely riding alone. And there is motorized traffic, though it's definitely not urban!

One hazard (and it has caused serious crashes on all 8 of the Cycle Oregons I've been on) is very long pace lines formed by inexperienced riders who don't know each other and don't know how to do pace lines safely. You want to be able to see those folks coming.

I've tried all kinds and I much prefer the Take-a-Look mirror that attaches to the ear piece of my glasses. I can scan a wide area behind me very quickly. It has often prevented me from pulling out in front of stealth cyclists who forget to say, "On your left!"

Susan Christie

I have used this mirror for years, and find it very effective, and _nearly_ unobtrusive except when you try to put a camera up to your eye to take a picture - just flip it out of the way.

The mirror itself is rectangular and is easily adjustable up-down, right-left, and rotating.

Curt Coleman

I never owned a mirror before I did my first CO, and I had pretty much the same feeling about it... "Well, OK, if I have to..."

I still don't use mine all the time, but it's not near the hassle that you might think it would be. I use one of those "original" glasses-mounted mirrors... the kind formed out of brass tubing and steel rod, not plastic. It's light, very adjustable, and gives a very good view of the road behind without getting in your way. When I first got it, my helmet was contoured in such a way as to allow me to use the helmet-mount plate. This is stuck to the inner rim of your helmet by double-sided tape... it's rigid, clear plastic, and rather unobtrusive when not in use. Unfortunately, the two helmets I've had since then don't have good mounting spots for it, so I'm back to putting the thing on my sunglasses.

The thing is tough enough that I just don't worry about damaging it... you have to work pretty hard just to get it bent to the shape you want it to be in. It looks positively fragile, but it's not... believe me.

If you wear delicate wire-framed glasses, this is probably not the unit for you... it's got a pretty firm grip, and unless you bend some of the tension out of it, you might bend your earpiece when mounting it. My regular prescription glasses haven't been harmed by it, but they look more delicate than they are.

A real plus for "head-mounted" mirrors (helmet or glasses)... no matter what riding position you're in, you only have to shift your head to change your rear view. With bar-mounted mirrors, you'll only have one really good position for viewing.

I don't think the mirror requirement has much to do with other riders. As has been mentioned elsewhere, it's motorized road-users that pose a bigger threat.

CO has done a good job of avoiding heavily-trafficked roads where possible, but there are always exceptions. The sprint down Hwy 97 on CO IX comes immediately to mind... I wanted to be able ride like LeMond in the Paris-Roubaix just to get the hell off of there! It was good to be able to see what was coming up behind me without having to turn my head away from the task at hand... avoiding the ruts and bumps that were trying to eat my wheel on the almost non-existent shoulder. (Sure would have loved to have been test-riding a Softride on that day!)

Scott Saulsbury

My mirror choice is eyeglass mounted so I can sweep the road with a slight turn of the head. And it doesn't get knocked off or turned in every time I lay the bike down at a rest stop. ( You lay it down on the gears or the mirror.) It's removable for packing, unlike helmet mounted ones. I feel naked riding without it.

Amy Ream

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Mike and I both use the Take a Look! eyeglass mirror, available at Bike Gallery. Mike prefers the new shorter stem but I like the longer one. We both won't ride without them.

Amy C. Buondonno

You have two choices in eyeglass mounted mirrors. The "Take a Look" which is flat, larger, rectangular, metal frame, and vastly superior to the "Cateye" which is convex, smaller, circular, plastic frame. I have used them both and the "Take a Look" provides a much clearer image. Costs a few bucks more but is well worth it.

Bob

I concur with the eyeglass mount. I forget the brand name I use, but I can describe the features easily: it has a three prongs located along one end to clamp it to your glasses, and three brass sleeves so that it is completely adjustable in all three directions.

It took a bit of experimentation to determine how to fit it to my glasses so that I got both visibility and comfort, but I'm happy with them now.

I think the "religious war" here would be between the bar-end mount and the eyeglasses mount. Don "I See-um" Bolton uses the bar-end and is happy with it. Now, when we ride he's always in front of me and I see him often looking back at me by turning his head. Conversely, I like the wider angle of vision and easy sweep I can get by just moving my head.

Don complains that the eyeglass mount can have an annoying effect on your peripheral vision. Well, OK. But if you have it mounted right, it's off to the side in an area you don't really use. I guess I'm prejudiced because I used an ancient Third Eye mirror for many years.

Jason Penney

While we're on the subject - I'm in the market for a mirror for my road bike. I've got one on my hybrid (straight bar) that I like. It fits in the bar end. I can't find anything I feel I would be happy with on my drop bars.

Performance has a mirror it claims is for road bikes that clamps around the brake hood, but it looks like it would severely interfere with hand placement. So far, the most likely appears to be one that mounts in the bar end, but that puts it so low and out of my primary line of sight it just doesn't seem very optimal.

The other options are a helmet mount, and eyeglass mount. There are two versions (at least) of an eyeglass mount, one that clips on the stem and one that sticks on the corner of the lens. What's the consensus on these?

I have to say I'm leaning toward the one that clips on the stem (earpiece). I also know someone who lost his when it fell off while he was riding. I have transitions bifocals, so I want something that lets me use the "distance" portion of my lens. One possibility might be to get a set of riding glasses that are NOT bifocal.

Don "four-eyes and all forward-looking" Gross

I use this one [that clips on the earpiece] and love it (it's called the Take-a-Look mirror). I didn't expect to, so I was happily surprised. It took about a week to get used to it.

Mine has little rubber or plastic sleeves on the prongs that attach it to my glasses. They make it hard to get off, so there's no chance of losing it while riding.

My glasses have graduated lenses, or whatever they are called, and the mirror, which is almost infinitely adjustable, hits the distance field just right.

Another benefit is that you can scan widely behind you and to the sides. I found mine at our local bike shop.

Susan Christie

I, too, really like the Take-A-Look mirror. I didn't find them at any local shops here except REI. They survive better than other helmet mounted mirrors - and if you break them you send the debris and $2 to the factory for a replacement. It only took me a couple rides to get used to them, although at first they seemed awkward.

Larry Scheetz

My tupence: never could get used to glasses-mounted mirror, too hard to find the right head position to see what needed to be seen behind me. Especially hazardous near city street intersections: somehow oncoming cars seemed to know I was adjusting my head/eyes to find traffic behind me, and would take that opportunity to turn in front of me onto the intersecting street. Some heart-stopping moments there, upon looking forward again. No amount of childhood-engrained back-pedaling to hit the Bendix/New Departure brakes ever worked under those situations, either.

Switch to a hybrid with straight handlebars, use an end mounted mirror, and ride only in the outback. Works good.

:-) pk

That's sacrilege - bite your tongue!!

Maybe what I need is a Touring bike, and then I can mount a truck mirror on the fork. Then all I need is an electronic air horn, and I'll be all set. (;~)

Don "why do I always fall to the left" Gross

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I am going to second the general consensus for the earpiece-mounted mirrors.

If the bar-end mirror works for you, more power to you; however, I've noted a few deficiencies:

1. Since the mirror is farther away from your head, your angle of vision is reduced;
2. Since the mirror is farther away from your head, you must move your head further in order to scan across the angle of vision, and it's not just a matter of cocking your head like a bird--you have to actually wave your head around;
3. On many road bikes, a fork-mounted mirror is subject to significant vibration, so that when you are flying down the hill looking to see if it's clear to swing left to pass the fred in front of you, the mirror is functionally useless;
4. When you lay your bike down (on the left side, so as to protect the chain and derailleur), you will typically bend the mirror out of position.

In all fairness, the earpiece mounted mirrors have a few downsides too:

1. It creates a blind spot in your field of vision.
2. It requires good vision in your left eye. When you have profound vitreal floaters in your left eye as I do, This Is An Issue;
3. It makes those super-light high-$$ sunglasses off-balance and heavy.

Two more reasons I like my earpiece-mounted mirror:

1. You can use it on different bicycles. I can ride my commuter bike on Friday and the road bike on Saturday. Same mirror, no adjustments.
2. You can use it with different glasses (a vote against the stick-on mirrors). I can use my clear-lens frames for commuting in the dark on Friday, my sport shades on Saturday, and my prescription glasses on Sunday.

Jason "doan need no steenkin mirror any*SPLAT*" Penney

I need a mirror for my bike, a Trek 520 Touring with the handle bar-end shifters. After countless visits to numerous bike shops and hours spent on the Internet, I have not found anything that will work for me. I need one that has a stiff, but adjustable neck, is 2 or 3 inches in diameter, is "unbreakable", and mounts to the handlebars (due to the bar-end shifters) I've tried the one that wraps around the brake-boot but find it annoying.

p.s. I do have a helmet mounted mirror but like having a second view down closer to traffic.

Many thanks,
Richard

A while back someone asked about a good mirror for drop bars. I have always had very good luck with Mirrycle mirrors, but they are bar end mount. However, I was just goofing off and came across the Evolution Mirror. This is a Mirrycle with a new type mount. While it is not shown on drop bars it seems like it might work. In its bar end mount mode it is very steady and adjusts to a wide variety of positions as it swivels on all axis.

Web page is at: http://www.calhouncycle.com/mirrors.html

Happy cycling,
Rox

Rox,

You rock!!! I've been searching [high & low] for a GOOD mirror for my drops, so far the only thing I've come across has been a WUDI mirror (http://www.romandelta.com/Wudi~Products/mirrors.htm) but they don't have an office in the U.S.A. and my [many] emails have gone un-answered (possible language barrier).

Richard Rodriguez

I did notice that in the STP that "few" riders had mirrors. What is it with this denial? Would you go play in the traffic in a car with out a rear view mirror? ? ? I really don't understand the mentality of this. Everyone knows that taking a peek back over your shoulder or looking under your arm makes you change your line by a average of twelve inches. We all have seen this in any group ride. Twelve inches could mean a contact of someone passing you while being pinched in by a car on their left. This situation should be avoided, yes. However, we all have been there inadvertently from one time to another.

Capt Dink

For the casual cyclist (like we get in the metric centuries and so on), I think the surprised ones change their line by more than 12". Give them lots of room...

Requiring mirrors on rides may help, but not completely unless they get used to them ahead of time. It really takes a week or so of training rides to automatically use it.

Maybe a long term solution is to start with the kids - we always require them on our Scout troop bike rides. Have all you mirror-using parents put them on your kid's bikes??? Once you are used to having a mirror you feel really uncomfortable riding without one.

Rox Heath

 
       
           
             
       
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  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
    CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > What to Take > Bike Equipment > Mirrors  

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