Regular readers of Motorcycle.com know that I am a huge fan of wireless headsets, and one of the biggest reasons is my use of turn-by-turn directions. Since I have been very skeptical of many of the moto-mounts on the market up until now, I’ve been content to keep my phone safely tucked inside my jacket pocket. One of the issues has been that the safer-looking mounts utilized cases that simply didn’t look comfortable to carry on a daily basis. However, carrying the phone in my pocket comes with two big drawbacks. First, I can’t glance at the map to make sure I understand the verbal instructions. Big five-way (or more) intersections can usually be deciphered at a glance when the instruction to “take a slight right turn” leaves me with multiple options. Also, running navigation software for long periods of time will take its toll on a phone’s battery (an even bigger issue as my iPhone XS’ aging battery diminishes in capacity). So, wireless charging is a perfect addition for folks like me who hate to fiddle with dangly cables on a motorcycle. This is where SP Connect and its wide array of mounting components enters the picture.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that there has been a recent disturbance in the moto-phone mount universe for those using iPhones ecosystem, with Apple’s recent press release recommending against mounting an iPhone on motorcycle handlebars. (What makes this particularly interesting is the fact that within days of this announcement, Apple showed the new iPhone 13 being mounted to a scooter’s handlebar.) Naturally, since I was in the process of testing a Bar Clamp Mount Pro with an added Anti Vibration Module, I reached out to my contact at SP Connect for the company’s reaction to this news. The company was already ahead of the curve with its vibration damping system, but SP Connect’s response was still educational:
“SP Connect has not received any complaints for iPhone 12 Pro Max to date, and the point in question does not concern all smartphone producers. In 2021, the issue concerned 0.2% out of the total SP Connect motorcycle products sold.
“SP Connect believes it offers a solution to mitigate the possibility of damage to your iPhone. SP Connect developed the Anti Vibration Module . The Anti Vibration Module absorbs up to 60% of the emitted vibrations of the motorcycle and best possibly prevents vibration damages from occurring. It contains a specially developed elastomer inlay which dampens in all directions and keeps mounted devices stable during the ride. The Anti Vibration Module fits all SP Connect mounts with standard damping head and can be easily mounted by simply replacing the head of the mount with the Anti Vibration Module. After Apple’s announcements the sales of our AVM have gone up substantially and customers are very satisfied with the results.”
So, with that new issue out of the way, let’s take a look at why I chose the system I did. SP Connect offers over 10 mounting options for your phone. While I originally wanted to mount my iPhone near the left grip so that it could remain in my preferred vertical orientation, I simply didn’t have the room next to the KTM Powerparts Heated Grip controller on my 790 Duke. The next best option, in my opinion, was using a Bar Clamp Mount Pro ($70). Setting it up was a 5-minute task of replacing one handlebar clamp bolt with a longer one and torquing it in place. The Anti Vibration Module ($30) replaced the standard locking mount.
A note about the mount and its integration on the required iPhone case: The clever design of the lock means that the case is mostly smooth to the touch. Other mounting systems I tried just didn’t feel as comfortable when using my phone as I typically would. To lock the phone in place on the mount is as simple as slipping the two tangs on the mount into the case and rotating the phone 90°. I have two minor quibbles about the case. First, it is a little bit slippery. I wish it were made of grippier material or had a slightly textured surface. Second, one of my wireless chargers is now very particular about the placement of the phone with its new, thicker back on the case.
Installing the Wireless Charging Module ($60), naturally, required a little more effort. Since I didn’t have a USB outlet on my bike, I installed SP Connect’s small 12V Hard Wire Cable ($40). Once I had it tapped into a switched circuit on the wiring harness, I found an unobtrusive place on the fork to zip-tie it and tuck it mostly out of sight. The Wireless Charging Module uses the same quarter-turn mounting technology as the phone case. So, the most complicated part of the installation was neatening up the excess USB cable.
My first ride with the SP Connect system mounted was a 1.5-hour trip where I needed directions. This would have left me with almost no charge on my phone once I arrived if it wasn’t on the Wireless Charging Module. Instead, I had a full battery and didn’t have to worry about my phone running out of juice on the return trip. In the weeks that I’ve been testing the mount, I’ve gotten used to having my phone visible when I ride. Although having the phone mounted horizontally, as I do to avoid blocking my 790’s TFT display, isn’t ideal for some uses of the phone, it’s great to have the map available when I need it.
While some people might question the value of a phone mounting system that adds up to $200, the beauty of SP Connect’s modular approach is that riders can assemble the system they need and have the ability to manage costs that way. For me, if I didn’t have a job that had me constantly switching bikes and my KTM were a daily driver, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase this system. As it is, I’ve grown quite accustomed to the SP Connect mount and miss it when I’m on a test bike, and that says how useful it is.
Are motorcycle phone mounts legal?
Yes, as long as a phone mount doesn’t obstruct the rider’s view of the road or the instruments, it is legal to use. Additionally, accessing GPS or other phone functionality during a ride is legal as long as the rider is using a finger to tap the phone and not holding it in their hand. Obviously, if the rider is being noticeably distracted by the phone, the officer could still issue a citation.
Where do you put a phone mount on a motorcycle?
The short answer is: That depends on your bike. While the handlebar is an obvious place, not all bikes have handlebars. For those with clip-ons, the steering stem will work. Also, some manufacturers have mounts that will work on mirror stalks or on top of brake fluid reservoirs. Look closely at your bike and then shop around.
Does mounting a phone on a motorcycle damage it?
With the tiny image-stabilization components in iPhones, there have been some reports of them being damaged by vibration. Apple has addressed this issue in a recommendation, but as quoted above, SP Connect created an Anti Vibration Module to mitigate this issue.