Bicycle Mirrors: What’s The Point?

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Last week, while going on one of the first bicycle rides of the year, I was testing out a new bicycle mirror from a company called, Zefal. In the past, I swore I’ve given up on bicycle mirrors completely. So what made me give this one a try, despite so much frustration in the past?

After much disappointment with many other bicycle mirrors, I took the leap, and decided to give this strap on mirror a try. After-all, if BikeBlogger who has been featured on this magazine says they’re great mirrors, who am I to disagree?

Zefal Spy Mirror.
Zefal Spy Mirror.

Known as the Zefal spy mirror, this mirror straps onto your bicycle in any preferred location, without the need for tools or changing your hand grips.

Usually bicycle mirrors attach to the end of your handlebars, by screwing them into the ends of your hand grips. That’s if there’s a plug that you can remove on the end.

Otherwise, if you have hand grips like mine, that don’t have removable plugs, you have to either buy new ones. Or cut them, which I’m definitely not about to do.

Did the Zefal spy mirror convince me that bicycle mirrors are worth the money and time?

Before I tell you what I currently think of bicycle mirrors, let me tell you a little bit about my experience with them.

I’ve tried all kinds of mirrors in the past while daily bicycle commuting. Bar-end mirrors, I’ve tried them. Helmet mirrors, I’ve tried them. Mirrors that strap to your arm, I’ve tried them. And now of course, a mirror that straps to any part of your bike without the need for tools.

Why did I put myself through all this trouble, trying out different mirrors?

For years, I’ve ridden many bikes without the use of mirrors. I never felt the need to see what’s behind me, because if I heard a vehicle approaching, I’d just turn my head and look.

Then, one day for some odd reason, that all changed. I was walking around the bike shop looking for accessories for my hybrid bicycle, and noticed a few different types of mirrors.

Bar-end mirror

The first mirror I ever tried, and in my opinion is the best, if you have the proper set-up to use it, is the bar-end mirror. This type of mirror attaches to the end of your handlebars where the hand grips end.

If you have the hand-grips with a plug at the end, installation is a breeze. All you have to do is remove the bar-end plug, and screw the mirror into the handlebars.

What I like about this type of mirror is that it gives you the best view of what’s behind you. With a large mirror like this, you can see cars approaching way before they even get close to you.

The only thing I didn’t like about this type of mirror is that you cant transfer it to different bikes unless you unscrew it. And you need hand-grips that have removable plugs.

Helmet mirror

Next came the helmet mirror, that was cheap to purchase and could be used for all my bikes. All I had to do was stick it onto my helmet and be done with it. At least that’s what I thought, until the darn thing kept coming loose.

Another problem was that if I hit the mirror while removing it,  it would take forever to get adjusted again. By the time I’d get it adjusted, I’d already be home.

With it’s limited ability to view what’s behind me, and it’s constant need to be adjusted, I finally threw it out.

Arm mirror

Then came the arm mirror. This mirror didn’t require any sticky pads that didn’t hold. Or attaching it to my bicycles, requiring tools, time and hassle.

This mirror just strapped to my arm, and surprisingly worked pretty good. The only problems was that the instructions weren’t very clear. And it was a hassle to strap on with a coat, and take off. Or when my arm got sweaty from the hot weather.

Finally, I got tired of constantly fighting to attach and remove this mirror, and got rid of it.

Zefal strap on mirror

I like the idea of a mirror that I can strap anywhere on my bikes, the Brompton and Tern Link D8.

Unlike a traditional bike, these bicycles fold up when not in use. A regular mirror won’t work because they will get knocked around while carrying and transporting these bikes.

The Zefal Spy mirror seemed like a great idea until I tried it out on my Brompton last week. Not only was the view too small to allow me to see what’s coming. It also was blocked by my arm. I could hear the cars coming from behind me, but I couldn’t see them.

No matter where I strapped this mirror, I still couldn’t get it to work. At first I thought it was due to my Brompton being too small. So I tried it on my Tern, and I still had the same problem.

Maybe these mirrors actually work on regular bikes but not folding bikes.

I’m still not convinced that mirrors are worth the money, time and hassle

As far as I’m concerned, I think I’ll pass on the mirrors and just turn my head when I need to see what’s coming form behind.

What’s been your experience with mirrors? Do you have any that you’d recommend? Or do you feel like they’re a waste like I do?

Let me know in the comments below.

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