For riders that prefer to use their phones for on-the-bike navigation rather than a dedicated GPS unit, there are a few options for attachment, and the relatively new Fidlock VACUUM system is just one of them. We kitted out ADVNTR contributor James Malone with the VACUUM handlebar cup and phone case to see how he’d get on with this award winning innovation.
I’ve been using the Fidlock VACUUM handlebar mount and phone case for every gravel ride since December. Previous to the VACUUM lock for phones, Fidlock have made around ten million helmet buckles before developing opening, closing and fastening mechanisms for various other bike accessories and bags, including the Fidlock TWIST 600 bottle that we’ve also reviewed.
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The VACUUM handlebar base comes with everything you need to get set up: two clamps for 22.2mm and 31.8mm bars including two 8mm and two 10mm screws, and cable tie mount including two cable ties, so it’ll fit drop bars, flat bars and MTB bars. Win.
Some straightforward, helpful instructions are supplied, but this is by no means a one person job: the Fid in Fidlock definitely stands for fiddly and spare pair of hands is essential, at least it was for me. A YouTube or alternative video instruction would be a great addition if reading small print isn’t your thing (it’s certainly not mine).
The Fidlock phone case for my iPhone 11 Pro (sold separately at £29.99 €29.99) is simple, sleek looking and has a good feel in the hand. It is surrounded by thermoplastic polyurethane which essentially means it isn’t going to break and is widely considered unbreakable. There is also a fibre inlay which protects your swish phone from minor scratches which is a nice touch.
Cases are available for: iPhone 12, Pro, Mini, Pro Max, iPhone 11, XR Pro, Pro Max, iPhone 8, SE2, Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, Ultra. You’ll need to run the phone case in order to use the handlebar, top cap or car vent VACUUM mounts.
Would it be better if it was made from a recycled material or made from a material that never needed replacing and didn’t degrade at all? In this instance, having not removed the phone case at all since I received it and taking it to work, for rides and normal life I think the latter is justified. It just hasn’t damaged at all.
There has been no significant wear to buttons, breakdown of coating or discolouration. For context, I’ve been taking it to work at steel works and refineries for heavy duty tasks with this in my hand or in my pocket and dropped it more times than I’d like to admit, all with no signs of damage to phone or case.
Attachment and security
The Fidlock phone mount hasn’t budged at all on rides thanks to its unique VACUUM cup and 360 degree ratchet system which means the phone swivels with little effort from one hand, but doesn’t shift without warrant when you decide to engage full send mode (send mode not included). The cup itself is substantial, so may take up bar real estate if you’re fixing this to your drops and run lights and a bar bag, but I’d rather this than run a riskier, less substantial setup that isn’t as secure. You might prefer the top cap fixture if this is the case, which is available separately for the same price.
The VACUUM cup paired with a powerful magnet really does mean you forget about the safety of your phone, without it being a faff to take on or off if you want to stop and take photo, check your location if using komoot or just when you’re done with your ride.
You can also buy a separate VACUUM cup to fit the vent of your car (also £29.99 €29.99) although I did just use an alternative vent attachment because the Fidlock magnet is so good, although I must admit it isn’t nearly as secure as the VACUUM cup.
The Fidlock VACUUM phone mount verdict
This is a fantastic case and bar mount, which I use everyday, both for general phone use, in my car and for every ride. Fidlock really nailed it, and you can see why the VACUUM system won the Urban and off road category at the 2021 Design and Innovation Awards.
Look no further than Fidlock for a phone holder if that’s how you navigate or carry your phone for rides. This will last, is reliable, very secure and easy to use. Don’t run a modern Samsung or iPhone? Apparently more case models are in development from Fidlock.
Last modified: 20th May 2021