Review of the Bar Fly TT Edge & Forerunner combo mount

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There’s been a lot of forward and aerobar mounts popping on the market in the past year or so.  Since the introduction of the Garmin standard quick release kit for both the Edge units (Edge 200/Edge 500/Edge 800), and the Forerunner triathlon watches (FR310XT/FR910XT) – many 3rd party companies have gone to town making custom mount kits.

Some of the mount kits are incredibly expensive – up to hundreds of dollars as part of integrated stem systems.  And some are incredibly cheap – $5 in parts of Asia at some cycling stores.  For the most part, the lower end ones work the same way.  A few cents worth of molded plastic that holds your Garmin device of choice out in front of your handlebars, or off to the side of your aerobars.  And most of these sell for about $20-40 – apparently the magical number.

Except the one challenge has been the not-so well aligned difference between the Edge and the Forerunner units on the back quick release module.  Take a look at the below image to get an understanding of what I’m talking about.

In particular, note that on the Edge 800 (and the 500 and the 200), the wing tabs are at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position (on the quarter turn mount molded to the center of the unit).  Whereas on the Garmin Forerunner 310XT and 910XT quick release system, they are at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock position.  This meant that if you picked up a mount for the Edge bike units, your Forerunner unit would be sideways.  Or vice versa.  Some 3rd party mounts did include a little screw inside to alternate the direction of the adapter – but that’s annoying for those with multiple units (a more common scenario that you might think).

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Now, before we get into the mount itself I’m going to continue this little diversion regarding the back of the Edge/Forerunner units being different.  It’s a question I get a lot.  And even a question I’ve asked Garmin a few times – albeit without a clear answer.

However, I’m reasonably certain I’ve pieced together why the units are different.  See the first unit to use the quarter-turn mount system was the Edge 500 back in September of 2009 (Eurobike/Interbike announcement).  At the time, the engineers decided on the 9AM/3PM positions.  It probably made perfect sense for them at the time and didn’t think it would post any long term problems.

Life continued along just great until the Forerunner 310XT came out later that following spring (arrived around June 2010).  Given the success of the quarter turn mount over previous mounts, I suspect the Forerunner team decided it was only logical to adopt it as well.  Except they faced one problem: charging.  See, if you look at the image above you’ll notice the two metal dots on the right side of the Forerunner (same for both 310XT & 910XT).  This charging clip has been shared with some previous Forerunner units, like the FR405 at the time (now the FR410).  In fact, that same charging clip actually works with the FR110/FR210.

If they went with the 9AM/3PM wing positions for the quarter-turn mount (like the bike computers), it’d block the charging connector cutout that you can see (on the triathlon units).  Obviously, that’d be a fail.  So they simply rotated it vertically to the 12PM/6PM positions, which alleviated the problem.  Given the rubber mounts at the time took about 15 seconds to change positions, it wasn’t really too big of an issue.

It wasn’t really until about 12-15 months later that we started seeing some of the first 3rd party mounts on the market that the problem started becoming more obvious.  More custom mounts, more complaints.

As noted, many 3rd party worked around this by simply adding a screw to rotate the locking plate on the mount.  Though many mounts didn’t even offer this.  You can see the diversity of mounts made via this Slowtwitch thread showing just how many mounts were/are out there.

Ok, mount history lesson diversion complete – back to the specific mount in question.

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I met up with the Bar Fly (well, technically the Tate Labs) guys at Interbike.  You probably remember my note of meeting them under a fake Tiki shack setup on the show floor.

They handed over a few mounts, but it was their newest mount – the Bar Fly TT that I was most interested in.  Technically part of their second generation products like the new Bar Fly 1.1.  Sometimes called the Bar Fly Aero TT or TT Aero, or just ‘new Bar Fly’.  Yeah, it’s kinda confusing.  Just hang with me.

See, this mount solved the whole wrong way mounting problem once and for all – with no screws required to swap variants.  Simply mount either unit and turn 1/8th a turn and go.

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The reason it works is because the mount is aligned at the 1:30/7:30 positions – which means you simply place your Edge or Forerunner in the slot and then rotate either left or right.  It’s quite frankly brilliant.  And I’m somewhat blown away that nobody thought of something this obvious in the last 2.5 years.

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The mount is low-profile, so it sits fairly low in your bars.  You don’t actually want it sitting too low, as it’ll otherwise prevent your ability to remove your Garmin device (remember, it still has to quarter-turn).

Here’s a few shots of the Edge 800 in there:

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For those with either the Edge 200 or Edge 500 – they work identically the same way.  Same mounting system, same mount.

And here’s some photos of the Garmin Forerunner 910XT in there:

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And again, this works identically with either the FR910XT or the FR310XT and the extra quick release kit.  This will not work with the older Garmin FR305 – as that’s an entirely different mount system.  Apples and Kiwis.

You’ll notice in my case it’s set a tiny bit left of center – perhaps half a centimeter or so.  This is simply due to the currently aggressive position of my aerobars being closer in than normal.  Obviously, depending on the width between your aerobars, it’ll vary how far ‘off-center’ it is.  Additionally, you could mount it on the outside of your bars if you wanted to.

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I’ve been using it on my bike since September, and it’s been working great for both units (Edge and Forerunner).  I will note that I’ve had some interesting discussions recently from an engineer in the industry that’s noticed some accuracy discrepancies when various Garmin units have been used in many of the forward mounts (though not this particular mount).  I’m looking to have him put together a bit a guest post on his findings.  Obviously, there are plenty of mounts out in the field, and his scenario is primarily mountain biking.  But nonetheless, it’s interesting.

That said, it’s not something I’d consider a show-stopper yet at this point – I personally haven’t seen much variation between units – and most of my recent rides have had multiple GPS units recording, including at least one always on the mount itself.  In all cases they were within what I’d expect to be normal GPS variance between units.

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For example, Sunday’s ride shows only .03 miles difference between the two – well within the GPS margin of error for a one-mile ride, let alone a 21 mile ride – which puts the margin of error at .0025%.

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Finally, to demonstrate how this works, I’ve put together this 25 second video showing the addition and removal of both the Edge and Forerunner unit onto the mount.  Makes everything I’ve written make sense in 25 seconds (in the plausible case that it didn’t make sense until this point):

Bar Fly TT Mount

Because we’re ultimately talking about what is essentially a plastic mount with a single screw, I’m not going to make this post any longer than it needs to be.

I do think that these mounts are pricey however – at $20-40 (well, technically $39.99 for TT version and $20 for the road bike version).  Though that does seem to be the going rate for all of the aftermarket/3rd party mounts these days available through normal distribution channels (side markets in Asia aside).  I suspect these companies recognize that if folks are unhappy with the default Garmin mounts (typically for aesthetic reasons), they’re likely willing to spend some cash to remedy the situation.

For me personally, I like the look of this mount on my TT bike, and I like that it’s interoperable with both unit types.  If I had a regular road bike, I’d likely shy away from the mounts and just use the standard rubber adapter – especially given a box of them is only $9 and they’re easy to switch out.  But of course, we all have our personal preferences (and perhaps mine will change in time).

In addition to the TT/Aero model I’ve talked about in this post, they also have a regular Bar Fly 1.1 coming out in the next week or two, which is for road bikes and attaches to your handlebars.  It’s like every other forward mount on the market, except for the all important little 1/8th quarter turn piece that accommodates both the Forerunner and Edge series units.

Also note that Garmin has joined the fray announced a competitive unit back at Interbike, but won’t ship for another 3-5 weeks [Update as of Feb 2013 it is now shipping].  But that product requires you remove a screw each time you want to alternate between Edge and Forerunner.  Given both of these cost $40, it would seem silly to buy the one that requires a loose screw (well, technically you tighten it).  Perhaps this might explain why it’s somehow taken them nearly four months to manufacture a few cents worth of molded plastic…

As for the Bar Fly TT mount, feel free to drop any questions below in the comments and I’d be happy to try and answer them!

As always, if you found this review useful and want to support the site you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links below.  If you use the Clever Training links below you get 10% back on everything in your cart with coupon code DCR10WHP.

Bar Fly TT Mount (pictured above): Amazon | Clever Training
Bar Fly 1.1 Road Mount (noted above): Amazon (TBA) | Clever Training
Bar Fly Original (not switchable, Edge only): Amazon | Clever Training
Cheap $9 box of Garmin Mounts (rock’n it old school!): Amazon | Clever Training

Thanks for reading!

26 Comments

  1. Hi Rey,

    What would you do if you want to mount a water bottle between your arms on the areo bars?

    On a sidenote, do you have any issue with your Garmin 910xt on error elevation reading?

    thanks,

    champ

    Reply
  2. This post just makes me excited for the PowerCal review. I just read someone else's review on it, and for $99, it might not be too bad if you aren't making sudden breaks from the peloton. Anyway, keep up the good work.

    Reply
  3. Hi Champ-

    If you had an aerobottle mount, you could mount the Edge to the left/right of the aerobars. Or, I suppose, depending on how big the bottle was, you could mount the Edge further up the bars (towards the shifters).

    Hi Tosin!

    Soon!

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    It seems like a very elegant solution. Any issues with the head unit coming loose on rough surfaces? It would seem that they would be less secure with an eighth of a turn than with the regular quarter turn mounts.

    Reply
  5. Not yet...and me and these 'lovley' cobbles here in Paris have spent some quality time together over bumpy/rough surfaces.

    What helps is that you'll notice there's a slight bump/ridge inside the mount, which acts as a barrier and a speedbump, keeping it tight.

    Reply
  6. Tim K

    I have the K-Edge mount and am happy with it. It won't solve the 3:00-9:00 vs 10:00-6:00 mounting tab issue though.

    But it is very well made from some type of aluminim (or aluminium for you across the Atlantic) and I felt better about paying $40 for metal than for plastic.

    I have had zero issues using it. It did shave a tiny bit of plastic off the mounting tabs on the 800. The aluminum mount kind of bit into the plastic, but it hasn't had any kid of negative effect that I can find.

    Reply
  7. This is a simple-yet-ingenious solution to the Garmin mount design. Unfortunately, it doesn't solve the biggest design issue, which is the 910xt being rotated out of the wrist strap during crowded swims. Amazon reviews of the 910xt quick release kit, and comments on other posts here, indicate I'm not the only one to have experienced this problem.

    Garmin needs to implement a press-to-unlock tab to prevent accidental rotation.

    Having now purchased my second 910xt, I'm not taking any chances and ride with it strapped to the inside of my wrist. It's easy to read when in the aero position; not so much when up on the pursuit bars.

    Reply
  8. I still love my K-edge mount. And I had the same question about why it took so much time for a 3rd party to come with this solution. It's the same for a swim goggles mount for my 310. Maybe I will make my own mount using 3D printing.

    Reply
  9. Hi Champ, had the same problem regarding elevation reading on 910 I spoke to Garmin,make sure you have the latest software update, they also had me reset my 910, no data loss, Just reset data pages etc.
    Hope this is helpful.

    Reply
  10. Homemade hydration system : link to jimthijs.com

    ;-)

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      That's pure awesome. A bit backwoods, but still awesome. :)

      Reply
  11. Yannick

    Thanks ! :)
    Just ordered for my FR910

    Reply
  12. todd

    I saw an earlier post about the garmin 800 not popping out on the cobble roads but does the 800 snap into place with just a 1/8 turn the same way it does with a 1/4 turn in the original mount? I'm just concerned about a $650 garmin computer vibrating out of the mount during a long ride. thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The Barfly mount actually includes tiny little bumps within each section of the quarter-turn mount, which slightly increases the friction. You can kinda see them on the pictures above.

      No issues with the 1/8 mount (and I've been doing lots of cobbles on it with the 800).

      Reply
  13. Neil

    Seems it is now a much more affordable $24.95
    link to bikerumor.com
    link to excelsports.com

    Clever Training may need to revise their pricing?

    Reply
    • Tim replied

      Except for some reason the Barfly TT is still $40... while the 1.1 is down to $20-$25. Kind of a bummer if I am gleaning that the only real difference between the two is the clamp diameter?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, Clever has it on their list to update their 1.1 pricing. In talking to the Barfly guys Weds morning, there isn't a plan to reduce the TT pricing however.

      Reply
  14. Rair

    Hey, did Garmin change the quick release kit? I bought this mount and the quick release kit last week after reading this article and it does not fit my Forerunner 910XT with the quick release kit. Any idea what's going on? Thanks

    Reply
  15. Todd

    I just purchased the 910XT also and it does not seem to fit into the Bar Fly TT? Any ideas on why this might be. I might have to try and shave some of the plastic off the Bar Fly so the 910XT will fit.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I've got no good answers there from either Garmin or Barfly on why about once a month or so someone gets a FR910XT that doesn't fit. :-/

      Reply
    • Rob replied

      Anything new on the issue of some 910's not working with the Barfly? I just bought one this past weekend and they don't seem to fit together.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Nothing new. Those that have reported back have basically just swapped out the quick release kit and it solved it. Crappy solution. I suspect that somewhere in manufacturing Garmin made a tweak unintentionally, which in turn was undone at some point but those units hit the market and Garmin is pretending they didn't.

      Reply
    • Rob replied

      Got the following today back from Tate....

      The fit of the TT mount and the Garmin QR mount is tight. Garmin recently changed the tolerances of the QR mount, making the fit tight in their mounts too. This can be resolved by 'trimming' the edges of the QR mount- see link below.

      Our mount and the stock Garmin are close to identical. Due to the flex of the stock Garmin mount, the tight fit of the QR is less of an issue- but still very tight.

      Link to 'trim' edges:

      link to youtube.com

      Reply
  16. I'm looking for a mount that will cater to my TT extension bars. They angle inwards (in other words they're not parallel like yours) (they're several inches apart at my elbows and literally touching where my shifters are, prayer mantis position). As a result, most mounts require a 'click' to set the unit in place and in my case, the unit is always angled, due to the angle of my extensions.

    Can the barfly remedy this? It looks like from your video, it can be set at various angles once turned beyond the 1/8th mark. Please let me know.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You can tweak it a tiny bit, but the problem there is that it's then not locked in place. It's really only designed to lock in place either at 180* or 90*, not a lesser value (i.e. 70*) of that unfortunately.

      Reply
    • Sukhi Muker replied

      Thanks!

      Reply

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