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Tacx Handlebar Tablet Holder Accessory In-Depth Review

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You know when you start a review 3-4 years ago, and then realize you never quite finished it? Oh, that’s just me? Well, here ya go – all it took was a worldwide pandemic for me to finish it.

As I’ll explain later, this is one of those things I actually have used for years on and off, but just sorta forgot to ever write a proper post on it. The $39 Tacx handlebar tablet holder does exactly what its name implies: It allows you to mount a tablet to your handlebars. Obviously, mostly for indoor usage. But fear not, I’m ‘that guy’ who’s willing to try it outdoors. More on that later.

Of course, if you’ve got a big screen TV pain cave setup and a proper trainer desk (or music stand) to put lots of accessories on, then this probably isn’t needed. But some of us also have smaller indoor training setups that need to have the tablet to run our favorite training apps close by. And for that, this is by far the best solution I’ve found. It’s definitely a lot better than a stack of leftover Amazon boxes.

Now, this is definitely one you’re gonna wanna watch the video. Don’t worry, I kept it exciting. Namely, I tested to see what happened when I took the whole setup outdoors…off-road.

With that, let’s dive into all the details.

What’s in the box:

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So somewhere in my vast 40+ terabytes of network attached file storage I’ve got the unboxing photos from years ago. Possibly even edited too. But alas, I can’t find it at the moment. Probably because I called the folder something like ‘To Sort’ (which, is what I call almost every folder). And probably because I never got around to sorting it.

Also, somewhere in those last few years I lost some of the small parts. I have no idea what happened to those in the move from Paris to Amsterdam. Sorry.

So, I went out and bought another one, mostly so I can unbox it. And mostly so it’ll be more compatible with the rest of my bikes. So, fresh off the DHL truck (and heavily sanitized) is the unboxing shots. In case you’re wondering, nothing that I can see has changed in all these years. Which is probably a testament that it ‘just works’.

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Inside on top is the main tablet piece, separated from handlebar attachment piece:

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Below the cardboard piece you’ll find the spring-loaded handlebar bit that attaches to your handlebars. And then a bag of adapters for different handlebars sizes. Plus, a manual.

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Here’s a closer look at the bracket bit:

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And then the handlebar bit:

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And finally, the adapters and small parts:

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Oh – and yes, the manual too:

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There we go, now let’s attach it to your bike.

Setup & Bike Compatibility:

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Officially, it supports only 26-35mm round handlebars. Unofficially, depending on how creative you want to get, and how much sketch you’re willing to put up with, you can get away with more.

First though, we’ll need to connect the handlebar clamp piece to the tablet mount piece. You’ll slide the top tablet bit into the bottom handlebar piece by slightly pulling it apart a tiny bit, and then slide the bolt and nut into it. Quick and easy:

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Next, we’ll stick in the small rubber bits that helps lock the tablet in a bit better into the arms. There’s four of these in there:

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After that, we’ll go ahead and put in the inserts of our choice there. There are three of them for differing bar sizes.

In my case, I found I used the thinnest set of inserts for my road bike, as using the middle or thickest ones wouldn’t work with the little bar that goes under the stem (more on that in a second):

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And…we’re done with assembly. It probably took you under a minute start to finish.

To get it on your bike you’re just going to open the clamp up by pressing it, and then sliding it over the handlebars:

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Then you’ll add this little piece under it, which serves as a secondary lock as well as minimizes the weight:

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And…we’re done. Again.

Oh, in case you were wondering, here’s how looks on a mountain bike:

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You’ll simply use whatever inserts work best for your bike. Of course, this won’t work well on triathlon bikes, or any bike with aero-style handlebars that are flat. I mean, at least not without making a trip to Sketchville:

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Nor will it work on any bikes that just simply have some sort of totally funky front-end near the stem.

Using it:

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What’s funny here is that despite using this on and off for years, you probably haven’t seen too many photos of it in posts. The reason is that I tend to do most daytime riding down at the DCR Cave. It’s here that I usually use a dual-screen Apple TV setup, as well as a KICKR Desk to hold any iPads or other tablet-like things (such as Haribo). It’s also where I tend to take 99% of photos for the site here.

However, like most people here, I ride an indoor trainer at night or on the weekends at home. And at home my setup is usually stuffed into the corner of the baby’s room, or out in a shed-like thing we have. No big screen TV’s, no Apple TV’s, no swank. It’s not pretty, and usually the lighting is horrendous – with only Instagram filters salvaging it. But it’s there that I primarily ride with the Tacx tablet holder on an older bike.

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But, to preserve your eyeballs from witnessing numerous photos of that situation, I re-shot everything in the pretty color-balanced light of the DCR Cave today. Don’t ever say I don’t love ya.

Once attached to your bike, you’ll simply slide the tablet in. In my case I’m exclusively using iPads. Not iPad Pros or anything else, just regular iPads. For that, it works just great.

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Obviously, the fit is pretty easy to figure out. The min/max dimensions are as follows:

Min/Max Width: 182mm-267mm
Min/Max Height: 112-197mm
Max Thickness: 13mm

Looking at these specs, it does not appear an iPad Pro would fit it, as it has a width of 305mm, and thus would be too wide. Then again, I’m not sure I’d want to put an expensive iPad Pro that close anyway. Which, gets to the next point – it might get a bit sweaty. Not overly so, but like a CSI episode, you’ll probably find some splatter post-ride.

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That’s usually fine for your device, just wipe it off. Then sanitize it twelve times…just to be sure.

You can orient the tablet part in numerous ways, either more upwards or more flat. It’s up to you, and probably depends on where you prefer to look. Obviously, some people prefer looking up to a big-screen TV. But if you’re like me – you may simply not have that kind of space in your mini-Cave.

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Oh, and it fits a water bottle in there too, which is kinda handy. Nothing better than placing water next to electronics:

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I’ve had exactly zero issues with sprinting with it. It never goes anywhere. I don’t frankly see how it would go anywhere, assuming you’ve installed it correctly (which is silly simple). The spring bracket that connects onto the bike has incredible force (there’s no way my toddlers could open it up). And the tablet nuts perform as tight a lock on the tablet as any iPad case would. Seriously, it’s not going to come out.

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It might wobble a little bit during an out of the saddle sprint, after all, despite being mostly hard plastic there’s still some give there. But nothing that’s a big deal. Plus, most people aren’t doing out of the saddle sprints every 5 minutes. Hopefully. You can see some sprint action in the video up above.

Just to demonstrate how this definitely isn’t going to fall off, I went riding outdoors with it…on trails. Now, I wouldn’t really recommend this. So, in support of me nearly killing my iPad and the tablet holder, be sure to hit up the links at the bottom or on the sidebar – even if it’s just to try and buy more toilet paper via Amazon.

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If you want to see the video of that, feel free to hit it up at the top. And with that, I’m not sure what else to tell you. It’s solidly in my ‘just works’ category. I like things that both ‘just work’, and are easy to use, and last year’s, and don’t cost too much (in comparison to $1,200 trainer platforms anyway).

Wrap-Up:

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It’s nice to see a product that’s both affordable, and does what it says it’s supposed to do. For $39/39EUR, it’s relatively inexpensive in the world of indoor training gadgets. It works with my iPad just fine, and as I showed, it’s very clearly not going to come off anytime soon, no matter where you might bring it. Even if that locale is against the box’s instructions.

About the only two things I could complain about are compatibility and lack of Haribo holding capacity. On compatibility, there will undoubtedly be some bikes this isn’t compatible with. For example, it doesn’t work well at all with my tri bike. And if you’ve got a fancier bike with an aero handlebar, it’s probably not gonna work well there either. Though, I did use it on my tri bike for a while a few years ago. It just wasn’t ideal, and definitely Sketchville. But as you’ve probably surmised by now, I’m totally good with my bike setups sometimes being passport holders of Sketchville. However, there’s still no viable place to easily store Haribo on it. So points lost there.

Ultimately, either you want a tablet holder or you don’t. This is a good one. I’ve also tested, though never quite finished, the review on the Sea Sucker tablet mount. And that one I actually took down the Champs-Élysées cobbles. For realz. Twice. At full speed. In traffic. No joke. Maybe I’ll send that video out to DCR Supporters as a thank-you. Actually, I definitely will – I just found all the footage. It’s hilarious. But it’s also crazy way more expensive. And for normal indoors use, I prefer the Tacx one logistically speaking as I can pop it on and off in 2 seconds, whereas that one takes an Allen key.

With that – hope ya found this review interesting…or at least entertaining. Thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP Program, you will earn 10% points on this item and 10% off (instantly) on thousands of other fitness products and accessories.  Points can be used on your very next purchase at Clever Training for anything site-wide.  You can read more about the details here.  By joining, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers.

Tacx Tablet Holder – $39USD/Clever Training
Tacx Tablet Holder – $39USD/Amazon

For European/Australian/New Zealand readers, you can also pick up the unit via Wiggle at the links below, which helps support the site too! With Wiggle new customers get 10GBP (or equivalent in other currencies) off their first order for anything over 50GBP by using code [Currently Disabled] at check-out after clicking the links below.

Tacx Tablet Holder 32GB/35EUR (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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55 Comments

  1. Mike

    I’ve used this holder for years for my iPad, love it, but it isn’t without issues, the screws are all rusted (cosmetic only) and the screws to hold the arms in place unscrew themselves with vibration, I know longer even use these screws and the tablet has never fallen out, solid bit of kit

  2. Ray, in this bit:

    “Once attached to your bike, you’ll simply slide the tablet in. In my case I’m exclusively using iPad’s. Not iPad Pro’s or anything else, just regular iPad’s.”

    you need to delete the apostrophes. It’s just “iPads” and “iPad Pros”.

  3. Andrew Linquist

    For a while I was even using Tacx tablet holder to run the Zwift Companion App which only runs in portrait mode. It’s possible to disconnect the top piece and run 2 reusable cable ties through the middle sections and it will hold the iPad pretty still in portrait mode. Mine never came close to falling out in either orientation.

  4. Mark J.

    So I have a big(ish) TV in front of my trainer. If I have Zwift on one device and a movie on the other, which one do I view on the tablet (in my case, an iPad)? I’m thinking movie on the big screen.

  5. Pat

    I’ve also used for past few years and my only complaint is that it won’t adjust to holding an iPad that is in a protective case. I don’t trust myself to use an iPad without a case so it’s a minor inconvenience. I get around this by using to 2 rubber bands to hold iPad flat to holder but wish there was a way for the holder to work with a tablet that’s slightly thicker than an iPad.

    Great review as always.

    • Craig Ruaux

      I have my iPad in a case made by UAG, with a folding front cover that is removable. With the front cover removed it is able to fit in the Tacx holder. Admittedly it is at the upper limit, but still, it fits.

      It’s this one: link to urbanarmorgear.com

      Obviously assuming that’s the iPad you are using 😉

  6. Cypher

    Review of parts that will normally not make.
    From my point of view the YouTube title is a little bit clickbait: outdoors 🤔

    I use the Tacx Tablet holder for several years now and I like. Good to see that it gets some attention.

    I used google sketchup to create a Logitech keyboard holder and a friend printed it for me.

    • Huh, hadn’t thought about the keyboard. That works too.

      As for outdoors, in the video I explained why I went outside to test it and what I was trying to demonstrate.

  7. Are those Garmin front out mounts just a German thing?
    I see them all around here and they prevent mounting the tacx holder as stem and mount do not fit between the clamps. 🙁

    Next fancy solution would be to get one of those out front mounts which attach directly to the stem screws. But would the watter bottle part fit above the mount?

    • Nope, lots of companies do out-front mounts these days.

      I suspect a lower-stem mounted out-front mount would actually work here.

      In fact, on The Girl’s bike, her Barfly out-front mount combined with her stem size seems to be just small enough that if I close a 1mm gap between the mount bracket and stem up, then I think it’ll actually fit on there. I was too lazy yesterday to redo it on hers.

  8. BTW, Decathlon has it for 30EUR in Europe (even 21 EUR in Romania).

    link to decathlon.fr

  9. John Tomac

    Thanks for the review Ray. Now that all the cyclists are doing indoor training because of the worldwide pandemic it could be a good moment to do a comparison update of the training apps that are avaliable instead of swift or trainer road.

  10. Dom

    Only issue I have with these tablet holders is that they are too low down. They train you to keep your head pointing so as to look 2m in front of your wheel which is a position you will definitely not want when you get outside. Better to have something where it is mounted much higher, forcing you to lift your head into a correct “look ahead” position like you would ride on the road. It’ll train your neck muscles too at the same time, win win.

    • Craig Ruaux

      I use the unneeded bar thickness adaptors as a way to adjust the angle, by sliding one under the cross piece that stops the clamp from rotating forwards.

  11. JB

    Ray,

    I have this one as well and been very happy with it. 1 question, would this be working with the Sterzo? So when I put mobile in the “middle” piece (where you show the bottle) and then turn through the Sterzo would that work – with Zwift?
    If you have some time could you test? I don’t have a separate handlebar mobile holder.

    Thanks

    • Hmm, I think it should work just fine, as long as you can get the mount small enough for your phone to keep it static. Once it does the initial centering, you should be good to go – especially if you make the phone a bit flatter on the mount.

    • JB

      Thanks Ray, maybe still better to wait for the “smart” Sterzo then.

  12. Dave Lusty

    I have one of these and now use it with a Surface Go (since moving away from iPad). The Go fits perfectly, and the keyboard cover sits nicely on the bottle rest so I can do work email etc. while also running Zwift (the Go runs this nicely…)

    My assumption is that the new Apple keyboard cases will work in a similar way since they look like a direct copy of the MS lineup. Would be good if someone can test that and reply here for reference

  13. Wolfgang

    iPad Pro 11 also fits without issue.

    Thanks Ray

  14. Niels

    Could this be a good combination with the Wahoo KICKR Bike? A second bottle would be nice, but it might slide down on steep climbs XD

  15. Steve Short

    I never realised that the light grey section below the screen holder section was a bottle holder. I use a couple of elastic bands to attach my phone there when I’m using the Zwift Companion app or the RGT controller app.

  16. Heinrich Hurtz

    Interesting, but according to the spex it won’t quite fit my Surface Pro4 :-\

    I agree that it looks like it positions the screen rather low and close. A wider pic showing it, bike, and rider from the side might illustrate that better. I generally like my screen a lot higher.

  17. Tom Dirickx

    Decathlon Netherlands for 24.89€ (link to decathlon.nl) and 30€ in Belgium (link to decathlon.be)

  18. Roelco

    Hi Ray, thanks for the in-depth review. Agree that the Tacx tablet holder is robust, but I have a big issue with it. Namely, that it moves with the movement of the bike. Therefore, it’s difficult to focus on the screen without becoming square-eyed. Not sure if others have the same issue, but I much prefer having a fixed screen in front of me.

  19. Frank

    As far as Haribo storage… couldn’t you cut a bottle in half and attach it with double sided tape?

  20. Carlos Rivero

    Hi! Great review, thanks! I have this holder since last year and it works perfect, but set it up aside for some time and now I can’t find the plastic piece (gray arc) that goes below and fix the holder to the bike, do you if TACX sell spares for me to buy this part?

    Thanks again!

    Carlos

    • Not sure, but I’d love to see someone whip up a 3D printed variant of it. Mostly cause I’m sure I’ll lose it again like my first one.

      (I found that I could still easily use it without it, but not all bikes/handlebars would work that way.)

    • Carlos Rivero

      Thanks for your comments, I’m using it, but in the wrong angle 🙁

    • Graham

      They do sell replacement bits. This is my only issue with the design – way too easy to lose. Could at least have a little string tether or something.

      link to tacx.com

    • Tim Hoare

      Unfortunately from the UK your link goes to a site that requires a login, maybe a trade site. There is also a link to Garmin UK but they don’t list the parts. 🙁

    • Graham

      That’s very odd! I hadn’t tried actually clicking through to simulate buying. That link was sent to me by Tacx support just a few days ago. I had by then actually found that I could buy the parts kits from Tacx, but as you might expect the shipping is not cheap (I’m in the UK too). I had the kit in my basket and everything, just had one last look before completing the order and then managed to find mine. Of course, I now can’t find the page, and it’s possible that it would not have worked in the end. Anyway, it looks like you could buy it from here:
      link to hollandbikeshop.com
      link to cycosports.be
      or get one 3D printed:
      link to thingiverse.com

  21. Conor O'Farrell

    I always feel like Tacx are missing a trick here. They have a great looking console on the Neo Bike. Surely they could come up with a similar mount with attached fan(s) and/or head unit for existing Tacx turbo users, or for other brands for that matter.

  22. Paul

    I have one….. it doesn’t hold tablets in portrait very nice, which is how the companion app works. I know there are rotation control apps I can use, but the companion app doesn’t flow right in landscape.

    Also, the piece you called the secondary lock broke whilst giving ride-ons. It should be made sturdier.

    I like the design, but wish there was slightly better execution.

  23. Shaun Ellis

    Hi Ray,

    I have used this holder for a few years now and have a couple of points to pass on

    I run a short stem and found that the locking bar would not rotate the full 90 degrees to lock – remedy, remove some of the shoulder material from the locking bar with the Dremel.

    Regarding the bottle holder, I made a tray from expanded closed cell foam to hold my iPhone. I had to put ‘sides’ on the tray to avoid knocking the iPhone off accidentally.

    Now I can use Strava and the Companion App concurrently.

    Regards

    Shaun

  24. Tim Hoare

    Losing the small bits is really annoying. In particular the bridge shaped grey plastic bit that fits under the stem to stop it tilting forwards. If you store the trainer bike vertically the bridge falls out every time. Then gets lost over the summer. Bad design. Does anyone know how to get a replacement?

    • Tim Hoare

      Forgot to say that mine works ok without the lost bridge piece by actually resting on the Garmin out front mount. It’s not quite so stable, but still ok. (With a sharp knife it’s easy to trim a couple of mm from the inner edges of each of the grey C clamps to give just enough room for the stern and the Garmin out front. But I’d still like another bridge piece!

  25. David

    I’ve used this for a while, with an iPad Pro (yes, it does fit). Only complaint is the little piece that goes beneath the stem. It falls out too easily when the device is off the bike and being small and grey, is damn near impossible to see wherever it drops. I’ve spent way too much time looking for it… matter of fact it’s lost right now after I moved my bike off the trainer yesterday 🤬

    • Dave

      Could,I ask which iPad Pro you are using? I have got a 12.9 one which I’d like to use, but it appears to be over the max dimensions.

    • Viktor Paul

      There’s a way to jerry rig it so that it fits the 12.9. It doesn’t fit the 12.9 out of the box.

    • Jack B

      Ooooh, have you got any more details, can you do it with everything in the box? I’ve got an old iPad Pro that would be perfect but then didn’t buy the mount as the max dimensions weren’t big enough.

  26. David

    Is there anything like this for a) smartphones that b) hooks to a Garmin quarter turn mount that’s already on the bike and c) doesn’t require a permanent sticky on the back of my phone case? It seems like such a logical ask, but I haven’t been able to find such a thing!

    • Tim Hoare

      I made a smartphone holder. You need a male Garmin quarter turn adapter. Either stick it to the back of your second best unused phone case, or stick it to an oblong of something thin light and stiff the same size as your phone (I used a bit of vinyl flooring strip). Use Araldite. Tie a loop of elastic shock cord round your new backplate, tuck the phone under the elastic, et voila.
      Google “Garmin quarter turn male”.
      I got one of these and filed off the bit I didn’t need (it’s obvious): SRAM QuickView for Garmin 605 705 GPS Computer Mount Adaptor Quarter Turn Slide – from Amazon, about £15, currently sold out.
      Or try this: link to shapeways.com – about £5, available

  27. Tim Hoare

    I made a smartphone holder. You need a male Garmin quarter turn adapter. Either stick it to the back of your second best unused phone case, or stick it to an oblong of something thin light and stiff the same size as your phone (I used a bit of vinyl flooring strip). Use Araldite. Tie a loop of elastic shock cord round your new backplate, tuck the phone under the elastic, et voila.
    Google “Garmin quarter turn male”.
    I got one of these and filed off the bit I didn’t need (it’s obvious): SRAM QuickView for Garmin 605 705 GPS Computer Mount Adaptor Quarter Turn Slide – from Amazon, about £15, currently sold out.
    Or try this: link to shapeways.com – about £5, available

  28. Renato

    Thanks for the good review Ray. I have had this for a few years but found that it didn’t fit well with my bike’s stem. I have a new bike now and will give it another try.

    But I have one question. With all the resources devoted to bike fitting, is there a guide on how to properly setup a pain cave? I am talking in particular about the height and relative distance of the screen (tablet and/or TV). While some of this depends on the space you have, screen height has a strong impact on how you align your neck and spine, which I believe is very important when you are stuck almost in the same position for hours.

    Any advice, resources?

    Thanks a lot, keep up the great job!

    R

  29. Roman

    Hi Ray,
    I use my DiY tabletholder.

  30. Daren

    Also a long-term user. Three comments:
    You will lose the locking stem arc. It would be nice if they included a spare

    The knurled nuts will come loose and you’ll find them on the floor around the bike

    Doesn’t fit aero handlebars like my Giant, which rules out some choices for the turbo.

  31. Paul Driscoll

    Just bought a 2nd holder on eBay. Like all trainers you can’t seem to get accessories either at the moment.
    Nice piece of kit that has spurred me to actually use my neo2 properly but one gripe.

    The retaining piece of plastic is designed to slip in and out. With the nice weather in the U.K. (typical with everyone having to stay at home) I have been moving my trainer outside and I have almost lost that small piece of plastic twice.

    Looking to tie it with some gear cable to the holder to stop this.

  32. This was very detailed, well written! These holders are pretty handy… you never know until you use one.