Since getting my first smartphone (currently I have an iPhone 5), I’ve always been reluctant to mount my digital companion to the handlebars of my bike while riding, opting instead for a jersey pocket encased in a zip-lock bag. However, when the folks from Bike2Power reached out to us to try their BikeConsole Power Plus mount, I have to admit that with all the features and safety for my buddy, Siri, I was intrigued.
To me, the biggest challenge in bike smartphone mounts has always been my fear that my expensive phone would go flying and careen down the side of a mountain or something. With that in mind, let’s talk about the security of the mount before we get into anything else.
First up, how the mount attaches to the bike. This mount doesn’t opt for simple zip-ties, no way. The mounting unit uses a hose-clamp-esque tightening system to attach to the handlebars. Using the included allen wrench, one end of the 1/2 inch band is passed around the bars and back through the underside of the mount and then tightened. When I used this, I cinched it down, HARD and there was no slipping of the bar or any doubt that it would come off. To protect your bike from scratches due to the mount, the mounting unit is backed with rubber and an additional piece of rubber is included in the box. A cool added bonuse to the mount is that it’s 360° rotatable which means that your phone can be oriented however you want it.
Once the mounting unit is nice and snug you’re ready to mount the actual case in one of two ways. First, the case itself, which is what makes up the BikeConsole (minus the “power plus”) can be mounted directly to the base via a locking four-point attachment which is locked in place by a hand-turned screw. However, if you want to take advantage of all the features that this case offers from it’s external power supply, simply mount the slim power unit to the back of the case – with yet another screw for added security – and then attach the whole thing to the base.
Now for the phone case itself. First, there is an included protector for the body of the phone. This is very slim and is meant to act as a kind of exoskeleton so if the phone is jostled within the case, no scratches and such happen. Once in the protector, the phone is then placed inside the actual case. At the bottom of the case lies a Lightening connector which is where the power and sound go in and out of the phone (more on this later). Once in its place, the front cover swings down to cover the phone and locking panels that fully cover both sides and snapped in place.
The case itself is waterproof – as well as sweat, snot and snow proof – with a large window that doesn’t limit the view of the phone’s screen. In fact, they’ve gone very far to make sure that many of the features of the phone are still fairly readily available. The home button is easily pressed by a sealed rubber button and even the camera is open with a quick unmounting of the phone from the base. The one tricky thing is volume which has to be turned up or down via the screen rathe than the side-mounted buttons. At the bottom of the case there is also a rubber piece which opens to allow for plugging in of headphones – which, of course, takes away the waterproof-ness.
Now for the coolest part; the power unit. First, this thing provides a silly amount of juice, rated to recharge the phone completely, TWICE. The pack is easily charged via a wall charger and has the ability to be turned off independent of the phone which means that you’re not constantly draining the battery whenever it’s mounted. Another cool feature is it’s ability to charge other devices via USB so don’t be shocked when your buddies try to charge their dying devices off yours.
For me, this device packs a huge punch. While unmounting and mounting all the different sections takes a second on first use, once you’ve got the hang of it, its ease of use is impressive. The protection it offers in the way of impact protection and waterproofing makes it possible to not have to worry about your phone when the road gets rough or unexpected weather rears its head. Probably the biggest advantage of this mount is it’s ability to power your phone if you’re running an app like Strava while tracking your rides. You could go for a LONG time without having to worry about making sure your KOM’s are intact and who doesn’t need a big ego boost toward the end of a long ride? All this for $89. Come on, how can you not at least try it out?