A mirror is an essential piece of equipment for anyone traveling by bike. Having the ability to see behind you is of great importance, as it is something that could potentially save your life!
I’ve met people in the past who have been hit by a car, attacked from behind, and pushed off the road by a passing RV. But the reason I don’t have a story like that is because I refuse to get on my bike without a mirror.
A bicycle traveler should be constantly aware of his or her surroundings. Without a mirror, you’re putting yourself at risk and increasing your chances of catastrophe out on the road.
A smart cyclist is aware of his surroundings… and every smart cyclist I know rides with a mirror.
Today I have produced an article for you about four different types of bicycle mirrors – all of which are made by a company called CycleAware.
In this article I have displayed for you not only what the mirrors look like, but also created a rendering of what you might see when using each of these different types or mirrors (from your perspective as a rider).
Finally, I have listed what I believe to be the benefits and drawbacks of each of the mirrors and provided some links to where you can purchase these mirrors for yourself. I have listed the mirrors in order from my personal favorite to the one I like the least.
Please note that if you are interested in purchasing any of the mirrors here, CycleAware has an outstanding Satisfaction Policy which states that “If, at any time or for any reason, you do not feel that your purchase from CycleAware.com has worn well or lived up to your expectations, please let us know and we will replace worn or broken parts or the complete item.”
At the bottom of this review you can see some of the comments that CycleAware had to say about my review of their products.
The reason I’ve selected the Reflex as my personal favorite mirror is because it’s easy to install, is easy to adjust while you’re riding, is extremely durable, provides a huge view of what’s coming up behind you, and best of all… you put it on once and then you can forget about it!
Here is what the Reflex looks like when you are on your bike:
Easy to install.
You can remove it from the helmet and put it back on later (which is great when traveling off of your bike)
Provides an extra large view.
Is easy to adjust when you are on your bike.
Works on every kind of helmet
Weighs only 0.7 ounces (21.8 grams)
You don’t have to worry about it every time you get on or off your bike.
If you remove the mirror from it’s arm too many times, the joint becomes loose and the mirror won’t hold its position.
It’s possible to break the mirror from its arm if you throw the mirror down or hit it on a branch or other such object.
When I first got this mirror in the mail, I thought that there was no way this tiny little thing that sticks to the inside of your sunglasses could do it’s job. And when I first placed the mirror on my lens, all I could see was a black blob in the corner of my eye. But after just a minute of adjusting, I found the sweet spot and was totally blown away by just how well this tiny little mirror worked!
The reason I like this mirror so much is that you install it once and then you forget about it. You don’t have to re-adjust it every time you get on your bike. And what’s even cooler is the fact that other people don’t know you are wearing a mirror! You’ll feel like a spy wearing this tiny mirror and watching the people behind you. The main drawback of this mirror is that it provides a much smaller image than the Reflex or Heads Up mirrors. Also, I don’t always wear a pair of sunglasses when I am bicycling. With this mirror, you’d be forced to wear glasses – even at night!
Here is what the ViewPoint looks like when you are on your bike:
Incredibly small and lightweight.
Provides a good image of what’s behind you.
Pivots up to 40 degrees.
Mounts to almost all sunglasses.
Easy to remove and remount later.
Other people won’t know you are wearing a mirror.
You don’t have to worry about adjusting it every time you get on or off your bike.
You don’t have to worry about breaking it like some of the other mirrors on the market.
Installing it for the first time is tricky.
Provides a much smaller view than the Reflex and Heads Up mirrors.
Takes some getting used to.
You have to be wearing sunglasses to use this mirror.
Almost impossible to adjust while you are riding your bike.
The Heads Up, like the Reflex mirror, provides a large image and is easy to adjust. But unlike the Reflex which mounts to your helmet, the Heads Up attaches to your sunglasses.
If you wear sunglasses every time you get on your bike, this is a good thing, but the reason I rate this mirror third is because you have to install the mirror every single time you take your glasses off. And like any piece of equipment that is constantly put on and off, this mirror is more prone to damage than any of the other mirrors I tested.
Here is what the Heads Up looks like when you are on your bike:
Easy to install.
Provides an extra large view.
Is easy to adjust when you are on your bike.
Won’t damage your glasses.
Weighs only 0.1 ounce (3.1 grams)
You have to wear sunglasses in order to use this mirror.
You have to install and adjust it every time you get back on your bike.
Easy to break.
The reason I’ve rated this mirror last is because it only works on mountain bikes, needs to be adjusted all the time, and even though it is the largest of the mirrors, it provides the smallest view (because the mirror is so far away from your eyes).
This mirror may have a good purpose, but for long distance bicycle touring, this isn’t an item I would recommend.
Here is what the Vübar looks like when you are on your bike:
Relatively easy to install.
Distortion-free shatterproof mirror.
Large 2.5″ x 1″ mirror.
Weighs only 0.6 ounces (18.7 grams)
Upon impact, the breakaway mirror connection allows the mirror to detach, preventing breakage.
Easily flips in and out of the handlebar, so you can use it when you want and get rid of it when you don’t need it.
Really hard to adjust.
Moves around a lot when on rough terrain.
Because the mirror is far away from your head, the image in the mirror is really small and hard to see.
If you drop the bike with the mirror in its extended position, the mirror is prone to break.
Can only be used on mountain bikes with flat handlebars. Can not be used on bicycles with dropped handlebars.
Here Is What CycleAware Had To Say:
If you remove the mirror from its arm too many times, the joint becomes loose and the mirror won’t hold its position. If over time the small socket on Reflex loosens up, CycleAware sells a Reflex Parts Kit for $9.95 that includes: 2 adhesives, 1 small and 1 large socket/base and 1 oval mirror. Per our satisfaction policy : If, at any time or for any reason you do not feel that your purchase has worn well or lived up to your expectations, please let us know and we replace worn or broken parts or the complete item.
It’s possible to break the mirror from its arm if you throw the mirror down or hit it on a branch or other such object. Actually this is a designed-in safety feature, in that we want the mirror to pop off upon impact to decrease the chance of injury. It is also for this reason that all of the materials we use are 100% safe, and the reason we do not use any glass or exposed metal/wire.)
Installing it for the first time is tricky. This can be true, and we include a spare adhesive in every package. Also note, though that CycleAware is making efforts to simplify the installation by providing a list of glasses that work optimally with ViewPoint such as most styles of Tifosi, Rudy Project, Bolle (actually, any glasses that are not drastically curved).
Lastly, we are in the process of updating the images of ViewPoint affixed to the sunglasses that appear on the web. Currently the ViewPoint is positioned slightly too low and too far to the left side of the lens. The easiest way to find the right spot is to place the tip of your left pointer finger on the outside of your lens. If your finger impairs your vision, move your finger slightly to the left until your vision is not compromised. Don’t go too far to the left or you may strain your eyes when using the mirror.
Provides a much smaller view than the Reflex and Heads Up mirrors. Very true, although for those cyclists who prefer not to use an “exposed mirror” such as Reflex or Heads Up!, ViewPoint is so much better than no mirror at all.
You have to be wearing sunglasses to use this mirror. True, although we consider some lenses – clear lenses for rain or night – to be essential for safety as well.
Heads Up Disadvantages:
You have to install and adjust it every time you get back on your bike. True, though we find Heads Up very easy to re-install and adjust again, and we enjoy being able to remove the mirror and sticking it in a pocket at a rest stop or in a pen holder on our desk at work. No doubt though that we understand the beauty in having your mirror always set to go like Reflex or ViewPoint.
Easy to break. Heads Up is designed to slightly bend to conform to a variety of sunglass temples. In addition, the arm can be gently bent (molded) to the left or the right to dial it in properly. The prongs are not designed to bend. But if and when prongs or the arm should break, CycleAware will always send out a free replacement arm pursuant to our satisfaction policy.
Really hard to adjust. No question CycleAware provides VüBar as more of a “gee whiz” fun type of mirror than a practical commuting or touring mirror. CycleAware agrees that readers of BicycleTouringPro.com are much better served by using helmet or eyewear mounted mirrors.
Moves around a lot when on rough terrain. To avoid VüBar moving, you can butt up the end of the mirror close to the end of the bar