capsule review

Strata Systems iBikeMount

At a Glance
  • Strata Systems iBikeMount

We previously reviewed Risse Racing's Mork Mount, an accessory for mounting your iPod nano on your bicycle's handlebars. As we mentioned in that review, the iPod nano has become the iPod of choice for many active types, thanks to its combination of skip-free flash storage and the iPod's easy-to-use interface, and biking is a favorite activity of active iPod users. (We don't recommend listening to an iPod while riding your bike near cars and pedestrians; but for dedicated bike paths and roads, music can be a great riding companion.)

Strata Systems' iBikeMount is the second iPod nano bicycle mount we've seen. Like the Mork Mount, the iBikeMount attaches to the handlebars of your bike, keeping your iPod visible and accessible. However, instead of a thumbscrew-secured bracket, the iBikeMount uses a flip-lever closure, similar to a bicycle's quick-release seatpost mechanism. This design makes the iBikeMount easier to install and remove, but it's also a bit less secure. On the other hand, the iBikeMount rotates approximately 5 degrees left or right to place your iPod in a vertical position even if your handlebars aren't straight across.

Although the iBikeMount fits the iPod nano well, and, unlike the Mork Mount, includes two rubber strips on the inside of the cradle to keep the cradle itself from scratching your nano, I didn't find it to be quite as secure as the Mork Mount. Instead of two thick rubber o-rings to keep your iPod in the cradle, the iBikeMount uses four clips -- two on each side -- that grab the nano's edges. I suspect that in an accident, it's possible for your iPod nano to come unseated. (For obvious reasons, I didn't test this, but instead based my impressions on the ease with which I was able to remove a nano from the iBikeMount. On the positive side, this design makes it easier to take your nano out of the iBikeMount than the Mork Mount; for example, when you've reached your destination and want to take your tunes with you.) Similarly, whereas the Mork Mount provides good protection for the edges of the nano, the iBikeMount leaves all four corners completely exposed, as well as the top and bottom edges and ~2mm of the top and bottom of the back side. (Like the Mork Mount, the iPod's face is fully exposed.)

Finally, as with the Mork Mount, the iBikeMount doesn't fit all handlebars; specifically, Strata Systems notes that it is compatible with handlebars 22mm to 26mm in diameter.

Like the Mork Mount, the iBikeMount is a great idea that works well but could be implemented better. If it fits your bike, it keeps your iPod nano fairly secure in a location that's easy to view and access while riding. But I'd like to see a bit more protection for your iPod and a more secure attachment mechanism. Right now, despite its own flaws, Risse Racing's Mork Mount is the slightly better product.
--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Bicycle mount for iPod nano

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