My struggles with navigating the streets of unknown cities were endless. I’m a little bad with directions plus I hated stopping repeatedly to check my phone’s GPS. I needed something that was in my field of vision, something that was waterproof, was spacious enough to hold loose change and was able to accommodate another phone or at least a power bank.
That’s actually a lot of ask for but then, you only get something when you ask for it. A decent phone mount with pockets in it is not actually a big deal to ask for and I wonder why something like that hasn’t been made for motorcycles.
Frankly speaking, the existing phone mounts in the market are OK but they don’t make actual sense to me. Every time I asked people what mount they thought I should buy, most replies I got was a RAM mount. But when I looked at it and boy oh boy, it does look like it came out straight from a fabricator’s shop. It lacks in terms of aesthetics, it has no cover for phone protection, there’s no provision to store anything else but what surprises me the most is that people pay upwards of 3000 INR for it! I cannot imagine using such a mount for my expensive phone that can’t protect it from highway dust, rain, Pigeon poop, liquid pan masala or some lady dumping her Sambar vada out of that government transport bus. Oh yes, but it will prevent your phone from falling off, chances of which are rare but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Read reviews of RAM mount users on the internet and you get a positive feedback most of the times. But the negative ones are way too negative and mostly go to the extent of someone losing their expensive phone with all the precious data in it. When I reviewed the Rynox phone mounts last year, I used cable ties as backup to the prevent the phone from falling off, just in case the case/ mount failed to stick onto my handlebar and you know what? The mount did come off many a times but the phone kept hanging onto my handlebar. The mounting mechanism on the RAM mount too is not what I’d called calculative- there’s no concrete plan B to prevent your phone from falling off in case the mount/phone holder fail for whatsoever reason.
I just don’t get such math! Soon, I realised the kind of mount I was looking for never existed. I probably must’ve peeped into another dimension by chance. But I kept looking for it until I came across mounts for bicycles. Yes, bicycles! It gave me the idea to do something ‘jugaadish’ and smart, but which can’t be termed exactly as cheap jugaad 😛
I happily paid INR 500 for the Basecamp bicycle bag/ mount which arrived in 2 weeks. But soon, I came across another hurdle on my KTM Duke 390’s when I mounted the mobile bag on the handlebar. During test, I kept looking down at the handlebar for directions and that meant taking off my attention from the road and onto the screen.
At high speeds and in Indian riding conditions, taking focus off the road even for a split second is highly dangerous. So imagine looking at the screen on your handlebar and trying to figure out when the next deviation arrives, while the sun’s glare makes it difficult to grasp information. You’d lose at least 2 to 3 precious seconds of your focus time. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t fixate on mounting the phone bag on the handlebar because it remains absent from my field of view.
I reached a conclusion after my thesis that the mount had to be in my line of vision and that it must somehow fix onto my windscreen. I took the motorcycle to my trusted mechanic and gave him an idea of what I intended to do.
What next? We set to work and within and hour or so, we had the Basecamp mobile bag on my Duke’s windscreen. Below is a video where I explain the bag’s one time strapping mechanism. Also featured in the video is my friend Baanu and his new motorcycle phone mount! 🙂
1) So how’s it been going?
Initially, it takes about one or two days to get used to the Basecamp phone bag sprouting out of your windscreen. You get used to it eventually. But when you’re using your phone GPS to navigate, you’ll realise how epic it is to not look down, left or right but to look straight at the road while you get input from the screen below the road.
2) Does the storage space inside help?
Of course it does, I use it to keep loose change for the toll on NICE road, use it sometimes for my power bank or to temporarily store my action camera. All in all, a good utility tool!
3) Is the touch smooth?
Yes, it is.
4) Is a windscreen required for this mount?
It definitely won’t work this way. If you want such a solution without a windscreen, get creative and use your rear view mirror or something.
5) Is it practical?
Of course it is! It caters to many, many aspects of day to day riding that it doesn’t feel out of place at all, despite the Basecamp mobile bag being specifically suited for a bicycle. I’m surprised that no one thought about this before!
6) Does the mobile bag disturb in any way?
Frankly speaking, the mount does seem like a new object that sits before the windscreen which does sort of, make things different to perceive for the subconscious mind that was earlier used to seeing the windscreen like a transparent protection screen. Once you ride for 100- 200 kms, the alien object on the windscreen does land up in the subconscious mind’s comfort zone. So to be precise, the GPS bag does not hinder vision eventually.
7) Is it distracting when someone’s calling on the phone?
When I had an iPhone, a call did seem visible to my eyes even when I was focusing on the road. If you’re going with the flow of the ride, you’ll probably just ignore the call and continue riding. But if you get distracted by calls, then its time to learn the art of self control, just because its bad manners to be looking directly at your phone screen while riding.
When I dumped the iPhone and got a Google Pixel, the calls stopped being displayed on the screen while riding, mainly because the Pixel’s proximity sensor detects the plastic film before it even when a call is not being answered. So if you get distracted by calls but want this phone mount, learn the art of self control and focus on the road.
8) Is it water proof?
I found the Basecamp phone bag to be water resistant, but not specifically waterproof. Weirdly though, the phone bag did surprise me many a times under heavy rains. I must say when it comes to waterproofing, this mount is priced very well! If it’s pouring and you wish to continue riding, insert your phone in a transparent plastic cover and continue riding! 🙂
9) Do people try to flick it?
In my 10000 kms of usage, never was the mount untied or fiddled with. No matter where I rode, the mount remained intact. People around do display curiosity but nobody ever tried to touch the mount unlike my action camera that just attracts people like flies! So I’m guessing that leaving the mount on the motorcycle is quite a safe deal but hey, I’m pretty choosy about where I park my Duke so that could have also been a factor behind the mount’s safety. 🙂
10) Does it alter aerodynamics?
Erm, I haven’t noticed any change as such. The Basecamp phone bag isn’t a bother at high speeds, it does fine.
11) Does it have a plan B in case one of the straps fail?
The mount comes with three velcro straps, as shown in the video. So even if one of them failed, there’s always two other straps acting as backup. Take a scenario where two straps fail and there’s still another one taking all the weight, giving you enough time to check and take the required action.
12) Has it ever fallen off?
13) How long has it lasted?
I’ve been using this mobile bag for almost a year now (10000 kms) . It’s been mounted onto the windscreen forever and I only take it off when my Duke’s going for a nice wash. There have been no signs of wear and tear yet and by looking at its condition, I can say it’s going to last for a long time! What’s even better is that the day it gives up, I know I won’t be spending a bomb on another motorcycle mount.
14) Is it heavy?
If 116 grams is heavy weight, then yes. It is Heavy! 😛
15) Is my instrument cluster still visible?
I’ve adjusted the support below the mobile bag (bendable) in a way where the bag does not block the view of my instrument cluster. Only when there’s an excess of weight inside it that it droops down a bit, inviting me to adjust the support clamp a little more. If you’re trying this mobile bag out, then ensure you sit on your motorcycle first and then mark the area where the support bar needs to be drilled onto your windscreen.
16) How safe is your phone in it?
My Google Pixel is kept at bay from dust and all other factors mentioned earlier, that could spoil the phone if it is left exposed. Even if there came a day when I dropped the mount with the phone inside it, I’m sure it would bear lesser damage, especially when compared to a mount that exposes the phone.
Also, the borders of the Basecamp phone bag are made of high viz material- just for those who wear high viz for safety. 😛
17) Does the phone bag shake?
Of course it does. It’s more of a soft luggage for your mobile phone and when the roads get bad, It is bound to shake. But the support beneath the Basecamp mobile bag and the tight straps prevent it from shaking violently and as a result, it does not hinder input for GPS navigation.
18) What do I not like about the mobile bag?
The hood mean to cover the transparent film in the front is quite useless. It should’ve been a tad longer for it to be at least half as useful.
To end it, I’d say I’m happy to have come up with this technique of strapping a bicycle phone mount onto my touring machine ! For the kind of ease and convenience it has added to my travels for 500 bucks, I couldn’t ask for more.
Here’s the purchase link to the Basecamp GPS motorcycle bag
Amazon purchase link:
Check out similar phone mounts: