Industry trends lead to bike tech advancements which ultimately can lead to countless consumer choices, and sometimes, frustration. The world of mountain bike handlebars is no different. While it may seem like a simple and straight-forward piece of gear, the choices between bar material, width, bar rise and sweep, and clamp diameter suddenly take the humble handlebar into a whole other, and maybe scarier, territory. And with these choices can come a rippling effect of other issues one must deal with when considering upgrading their bars - stiffness, weight, compliance, stem size, and finally, what we will cover in the following, accessory mounting solutions.
With the industry push toward a larger diameter bar for added stiffness and durability, the 35mm can create a few important, but easily solved, questions. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you not only ride a bike but also own and enjoy a multitude of technological gadgets that make your riding more enjoyable, trackable, and safe - mainly a GPS computer. The trick, when it comes to the new 35mm bar width, is, how do I correctly mount said computer to the thicker bars. And while mount choices are a dime a dozen it seems these days, mounts that work specifically with a 35mm bar are a different story. I want to look at four specific options you might want to consider when choosing the appropriate mount for your bars and riding style, the first three being “off bar” mounting options, while the last giving you a dedicated “on bar” mount.
O-Ring Rubber Band Mount
Now, I’m not 100% sure this is the technical name for this mount, but we’ve all seen it and more than likely have used it. By rubber band, I am referring to an elastic rubber, well, band that stretches to the underside of your stem and attaches the quarter turn GPS connector to the top of the stem. Simple, effective, and totally bypasses the bars completely. This is certainly the most cost-effective (and least aerodynamic) choice of the four, but it also lacks any option of added accessories like light or GoPro compatibility (see stem faceplate mount and the KOM CM06 mount), although one could make a case that attaching the GPS directly to your stem leaves open real estate for attaching your lights or camera. Even though the rubber band mount has been one of the original mounting techniques for your GPS, you’d be hard pressed to get me to trust my several hundred dollar computer to an O-ring rubber elastic band.
- Bypasses bar diameter completely.
- Cost effective.
- Cheap rubber band attachment.
- No accessory options.
Stem Cap Mount
Like the rubber band mount, the stem cap mount excels in many of the same areas. This particular style of mount comes in a few different variations, but all utilize the same point of installation, the cap of your stem. There are a couple reasons you might consider going this route. First, like the rubber band mount, it keeps your computer off of your handlebars to leave that space for other accessories or even a handlebar bag. Second, the stem cap is installed with a screw, not a rubber band, so it is much more reliable. But, like the previous mount, there is no way to add any accessories to the mount itself, which is definitely a drawback for riders who like to keep their cockpit tidy. Finally, the stem mount creates an unnatural viewing angle if you are constantly checking your screen for stats or directions. If that is something that would bother you, I suggest looking at the following mounts below.
- Also simple.
- Bypasses the bar completely.
- More secure than rubber bands.
- No accessory attachment.
- Awkward viewing angle.
Stem Faceplate Mount
For those looking for the cleanest looking setup of all four of these mounts, a stem faceplate mount might be the best option. Installed directly to the faceplate of your stem (as the name suggests), this style of mount comes in a variety of options, most of which accomplish the same goal - to get your computer to sit flush and aero with your handlebars. Because the mount essentially becomes part of your stem, they are usually constructed of a strong, alloy material, which is good for durability, but not so great if you’re counting grams. This style is also completely contingent on the fact that you have an actual stem, so integrated handlebars are out of the equation. On the plus side, the more traditional “out front” design of this style mount leaves room for a number of possibilities, like vertical adjustability as well compatibility with a number of accessory adapters for your lights or GoPro (see KOM Cycling CM05 mount).
- Sits flush and aero.
- Keeps cockpit tidy.
- Options for accessory adapters.
- Not compatible with integrated handlebars.
- Improper installation could be dangerous and void factory warranty.
Dedicated 35mm Mount
Finally, if you are looking for a traditional style mount that is designed specifically for 35mm handlebars, look no further than the KOM Cycling CM06 quick release mount. Like the stem faceplate mount, this is a traditional “out front” style that installs directly to your bars. Durable plastic makes this a lighter weight option, but still plenty strong for not only your GPS computer, but also your favorite light or GoPro which can be quickly attached and detached with KOM’s unique quick-release feature. On-handlebar installation may be problematic for those looking for a super tidy cockpit, but knowing the mount can also hold my lights or GoPro (or any other GoPro style accessory), this is the choice for me.
- Designed specifically to fit 35mm bars.
- Options for accessory adapters.
- Installs directly on bars.
Well, there you have it, four different GPS mount choices for 35mm handlebars. Like most choices, this all comes down to personal preference and style. If you’re not concerned with accessories and possibly on a budget, then the O-ring rubber band mount might be all you need. On the other end of the spectrum, something like the dedicated KOM Cycling CM06 mount has way more to offer than simply a GPS mount and is a great option for those needing accessory attachments.