JUMP TO:

In-Depth Review of the Quad Lock iPhone Bike Mount Case

IMG_9079

There are numerous iPhone and cell phone bike mounting kits out there on the market today.  They range in price from under $10 to nearly $1,000 (yup, really).  Their capabilities, functionality an easy of use have just as extreme of a range.

I had first heard about the Quad Lock case on Kickstarter a while back.  At the time, it seemed kinda gimmicky, and in some ways – that still holds true.  The case is designed such that you can quickly lock/unlock it with a simple quarter turn and push of a collar operation.  The idea being that you plaster these mounts all over creation and can then quickly attach your phone to it.

The generic mounts to me seem kinda overkill, but the bike mount is a bit interesting – and the area I wanted to focus on.  As you’ll see, there are some important differences between the Quad Lock case and others on the market (some good, some bad), so without further ado, let’s dig into them.

As a note, the Quad Lock folks sent me out a unit to try out.  Eventually it’ll either go back to them (apparently in Australia), or I’ll add it to the stash of stuff I’ve been meaning to give away.

Unboxing:

The Quad Lock case comes in a pretty easy to understand box.  It’s got far more text on it than it needs – looks a bit less open and airy than a typical iProduct, but, it gets the point across.  There are two versions available, one with the bike mount (deluxe), and one without (not-so-deluxe)

IMG_8887

Inside, its got a little window to let you see the goods.

IMG_8892

Once you’ve managed to open the window and take the stuff out, it’ll look just like below.  Inside you’ll have one iPhone 4/4S case (not compatible prior to that), one bike mount, two identical surface mounts, a pile of rubber bands, two zip ties, and a bunch of paper manual stuffs.

IMG_8900

Let’s look at each piece individually.  First up, is the flat-surface mounts.  These use adhesive to mount to non-bike locations.  I suppose you could put one of these on a bike too, but I doubt you’d find too many good perfectly flat locations for them on a standard bike.

IMG_8903

Next is the bike mount itself.  You can see the curved bottom to adapt to handlebars and/or stems.  The blue collar piece moves up/down to release the case when attached.

IMG_8906

Then we’ve got the case itself.  On the back you’ll see the bump-out for the lock portion.  Otherwise, it’s very similar to any normal iPhone case with cutouts in all the right places.

IMG_8911

If you were to attach the case to the mount, it would like just like this:

IMG_8955

And adding the phone, like this:

IMG_8956

Next in the line of stuff inside is the rubber bands and zipties.  The industrial strength rubber bands can be used to quickly attach the mount to your bike without the annoyance of zipties (cutting them namely, or removing them).  But, if you feel less secure with rubber bands, two zipties have been included.

IMG_8912

Finally, there’s the pile of paper junk:

IMG_8908

With that, all the pieces are covered, and all the important parts are pictured below:

IMG_8975

Mounting the Quad Lock:

There are essentially three components to the Quad Lock bike mount system.  The case, the mount, and the rubber bands.  That’s it.

The case attaches to your phone by simply snapping it in place (and it will snap).

The mount then attaches to the case using their ‘Quad Lock’ system, which means that you place it in at about a 45* angle, and then you’ll give it a turn the rest of the way to lock it in place.  At which point, the collar comes up and locks the case securely in place.

To remove the lock, you’ll go ahead and simply press down on the blue portion of the collar, and it’ll release it easily.  Here’s a brief video I shot showing you it in action:

Quad Lock Video

The mount itself attaches to any roundish part of your bike.  I’d suggest the stem (that’s the thing that connects your handlebars to the fork).  This is an ideal location since it’s a bit better protected there.  Further, it’s unlikely you’ll be grabbing there during the course of normal riding:

IMG_9074IMG_9075

Failing that location, the handlebars work fine too:

IMG_9065IMG_9057

On a triathlon bike, you can use the aerobars to mount it as well.  Though, unlike the slimmer cycling units, it would make things awkward for arm placement.  Placement in between the bars could be accomplished in conjunction with any number of aerobar bike computer mount systems though.

The Quad Lock mount uses industrial rubber bands to hold it in place.  It comes with two sizes: Smaller and larger.  Use them as appropriate.  Try not to break them, but don’t have them loose either since you’ll be putting your phone in jeopardy.

The bike mount doesn’t have a correct orientation.  It can lock/mount the case in 90* increments (horizontal or landscape), so you don’t have to worry about mounting it wrong.

In addition to the bike case piece, there’s also these generic mounts for attaching it to random objects.  For example, you could put it on a wall, the outside of your car, or on your significant other.  Whatever floats your boat (or on your boat).  I could see uses for them in other sports, though, none that I’ve tested.

IMG_8967IMG_8968

The Quad Lock case:

I love the sleekness of the Quad Lock case from a day to day use standpoint.  My wife however, she hates it.  Not because it’s sleek, or because it’s durable, but because she knows that I can’t get the darned thing off the phone most of the time.  Instead, I defer to her and all her womanly magic to break apart the bond that the phone and case seem to have.

Once you slip your phone in that thing, it’s not coming out without a fight.  Why would I take it out? Doing as much travel as I do, I’m often on overnight international flights with days of battery life needed, so I use an iPhone charging case a fair bit (I also have a pluggable version for generic USB devices, but that’s not as great for your pocket).  So when I have to swap cases, it’s a bit of a pain.

IMG_8962

Now, I do actually really like the case itself.  It feels durable, it’s super-thin, and doesn’t block any of the ports (headphone, Apple connector) or buttons (volume/power/silence).  There’s really nothing to complain about in that area.

IMG_8910

The actual locking mechanism is on the bottom, and about as thin as you could imagine.  It doesn’t (or at least hasn’t yet) catch on anything that I’ve seen, so no concerns there.

IMG_8969

How well does it secure to your bike:

I’ve often said in the past that the mount system used on the Garmin Edge cycling computers is strong/secure enough that if I got hit by a bus, the unit would likely still be there attached to my mangled bike handlebars.

In the case of the Quad Lock, I think it’s much the same, if not even stronger.  In short, there’s no way in heck the case itself is separating from the mount.  Once it’s locked, it’s locked.

P1040065

Now, separation of the bands holding the mount to the bike is a different matter.  I actually broke one of them trying to put it on this bike.  But, to be fair – I was probably overstretching it a bit.  In my experience with the industrial strength bands, once you get them on the bike (without breakage), they generally don’t go anywhere.

P1040069

Across bumpy roads, potholes, a little bit of Euro-cobblestone, and everything else along the way – it hasn’t fallen off or broken apart yet.

Who the case is really for:

The reality is though, as an endurance athlete – I wouldn’t use this case on any of my training or racing bikes.

Why not?

Well, it doesn’t protect my phone in any way.  Nor does it help with the battery issues that I would find trying to use it for that long (other bike cases do help here).  On the protection issue, if I’m out for a 5-7 hour, the weather can (and often does) easily change.  The start of the ride may be sunny, but it could be dumping like a circus elephant two hours later.  Sure, I could put my phone in my jersey pocket, but that won’t protect it in a downpour.  Nor will it help me navigate and/or display data related to my ride.

For those purposes, I highly recommend one of the other options out there.  Both Wahoo Fitness and iBike make good solid (and waterproof/water resistant) cases that are designed for endurance athletes.  They’ve got versions with and without ANT+ connectivity for sport sensor connectivity, and they’ve both got versions with supplementary batteries that lock onto or into the cases.

IMG_5147A

(Above, the Wahoo Fitness case)

Now, with endurance sport uses out of the way – who is this for then?

Well, the average bike commuter or ride around town person.  For that, it’s flippin’ awesome.  You’re likely going to know what the weather is over the course of the sub-1hr trip.  And you’ve likely got some other bag/pocket that you can slide it into should things go awry (for a few minutes).

Take for example this past weekend.  While navigating to/from the bike shop in Paris, I didn’t have the slightest clue how to get there.  With this, I was able to easily clip the phone onto the bike in under 1 second and get directions.

P1040099

Inversely, when we stopped along the way at a bakery (it looked good!), I was able to to unclip it within 1 second and take it in with me.  No haggling with the more complex aspects of most of the endurance sport mount systems.  Nor, does it look like a bulging burrito on my bike (again, like most of the endurance sport systems).

P1040097

So – as a bike mount for day to day use, it’s awesome.  I can quickly pop it on/off for directions and navigational support.  But for endurance…not so much.

Apps:

There are literally hundreds of apps out there that cater to monitoring progress or fitness on a bike.  I’ve previously outlined the top apps I’ve used in this post (Top 7 iPhone Apps), as well as written a series in Bicycling Magazine about them.  But, as I alluded to in my top-apps post, the reality is that for quick point to point trips within the city, the iPhone maps app is usually your best bet.

P1040106

The reason being that most of the other apps don’t have the ability to quickly change origin or destination information.  It ends up being more than the two button presses that the default maps application requires. And since I’m cycling, I’d prefer to avoid complex button presses.

Summary:

Unlike much of the iJunk out there today, I think I’ll actually buy one of these for my commuter bike after I send this one back.  It’d be useful to me, and the price point is reasonable enough.  I won’t use it for racing or training, since neither afford the phone the protection it needs to ensure it doesn’t get killed with a random thunderstorm.  But for city riding – it’s good stuff.

The Quad Lock is available in two forms, one with the bike mount ($69) and one without ($39).  As noted before, I don’t see a ton of value in the other (non-bike) version – though there are certainly use cases for it.

As always, thanks for reading!  And feel free to post any questions below, happy to try and get them answered.

23 Comments

  1. Now they just need an armband option. :-)

    Reply
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  3. As a kickstarter backer I was excited when I finally got mine in the mail... so far the flat sticky mount for the car works perfectly! I haven't yet used it on my bike as I don't do too much city riding (mtb or road racing) so I would worry about the sweat/etc. I can imagine a simple clear drop over hood like thingie that you could put on to block sweat/etc. You couldnt be able to interact without taking it off but maybe that might work ... who knows ... overall its been fun watching this product go from idea to high quality product on kickstarter!

    Reply
  4. Now onto the Timex Cycling review!!!! :)

    Reply
  5. Take a look at lifeproof. Water, dust, mud, snow proof. Plus they also have a bike mount. Their sit shows a woman bowling her iPhone .

    Reply
  6. Interesting to see a Kickstarter project that delivered as planned. It's a fascinating funding model.

    Some fail and I'd love to be able to bet against this one which the Quad Lock guys have bought into and has raised a very impressive $10,000,000.

    Reply
    • Steve replied

      My friend just got one of the Pebbles and loves it! Pay up!

      Reply
  7. Rob

    Thanks for such an in-depth review of the Quad Lock mounting system. Please keep this case as for either a prise or your own personal use. Some product released i the next month included the Poncho for riding in the rain and a universal mount for use with other cases like the Life Proof or Otter box, a tripod mount and an iPad 2/3 case. Once again thanks for such a great review.

    Reply
  8. What screen protector, if any, do you recommend if using this case?

    Reply
  9. Rob, you might want to fix the URL your name points to. You need to add an 's' to the word 'case' if you want people to find your site.

    Too bad I don't have an iPhone.

    Reply
  10. Here's the correct address for the website http://www.quadlockcase.com

    Reply
  11. Hi DC Rainmaker!

    Have you been able to a hold of their Poncho? If we can have this rainproof, it could be great for training. They have an iPhone 5 version out soon too.

    Reply
  12. Hi DC,

    You might want to rewrite this review a bit, they released a cover for the phone which makes it waterproof and suitable for everything :

    link to quadlockcase.com

    This will greatly enhance it's use for training and even a race imo. I just ordered the mount incl. poncho, can't wait to try them out! It's quite rainy here in Holland so ;-)

    Reply
  13. As for the strength, check out this video! : link to player.vimeo.com

    Reply
  14. Rob

    There's no an iPhone 5 version out and it looks even better. Come with a weather resistant cover too. link to quadlockcase.com

    Reply
  15. I'm thinking of getting the iPhone 5 version, as there is also a car mount option available. As for the battery life question, I was planning to get this Topeak Mobile PowerPack to mount on the top tube. There is now a rain poncho for the Quad Lock Case, though I wouldn't be able to use it at the same time as the PowerPack. But it never rains in Southern California, end of story. ;-)

    Reply
  16. Alex M.

    This mount is nice, but more for city riding. If you want the actual protection while you ride, which is important to me on the trail, get this mount instead: link to bike2power.com.
    Highly recommend it!

    Reply
  17. Rob

    Anyone tried the Topeak Ride Case 2? It's half the price and gives you an optional cover.

    I also like that you don't have to worry about rubber bands snapping, and you can bring the iPhone a couple inches closer. I just bought it on Amazon. I'll post how I like it.

    Reply
  18. Darwin

    The difficulty in getting the case off is ad dal breaker for me, I don't want that bulky looking bulge in the back on my iPhone.

    Reply
    • Jason replied

      I have the iphone 5 version and the case comes off easy enough to swap.

      Reply
  19. Sam Hocking

    Switch the iPhone for a Sony Eperion Z1 or Eperion Active mobile and you've got built in ANT+ for all your sensors and it's waterproof anyway and dustproof. Couple it with a IPBike & the Quad Lock and it's a pretty cool set-up. I've sold my Garmin Edge since switching to this set up.

    Reply
  20. Reuben

    Seems as though the ultimate option here is to buy Quadlock's Universal Adapter which can then be mounted to any flat-surfaced device (or indeed phone case). That way you can choose whichever case you like (LifeProof Nuud for me), and have the reassurance your device is protected from all elements versus settling for Quadlock's own case. I hear the adhesive is very strong on the Universal Adapter so I wouldn't think it's going to fall off the bike in a hurry. I'm about to find out though as I've just ordered the relevant parts.

    My 2 cents.

    Reply
  21. Alex

    Big issue I'm sure everybody has and few will admit it's a valid point: who, who have an expensive phone without a protecting case ? Then it's for you. For all others of us, we dont want to fumble with remove/reattach a case; heck, we dont want to leave our valuable second-soul unprotect, so while I understand the manufacturers have to start with some design and they cant cover every kind of different case out there, the need stands: give me some attachment that I can put my phone WITH its protecting case and it stays.
    It's the same issue with armbands: rarely you find one that will accomodate the protecting case.
    Finally, you guys thing these electronic devices (phones) are indestructible ? Nope... all that vibration does horrible things to the soldering and motherboards inside.
    Do yourself a favor: buy a cycling computer as they are made to withstand vibration and weather; and keep your valuable second-soul protected in your pockets ! Ah, they dont make shorts and shirts with decent pockets either........

    Reply

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>