The Vel CNC Straight Bar Mount is machined well and allows both a Garmin and GoPro to be mounted simultaneously, but the positives beyond that are a bit lacking, though that partly depends on what size computer you have.
It may not be the sexiest accessory, but the bike computer mount has fast become a staple addition to the cockpit. You'll want something that is secure, adjustable and reliable to hold your possibly very expensive computer, and yet somehow the Vel Mount manages to fall down on the majority of those points.
Let's start with some positives. The mount is Garmin compatible, with a GoPro attachment on the underside for a neat setup. The handlebar end is hinged, making for easy fitting with only a single bolt to worry about. It's well made, too, with a good quality black anodised finish and smart looking laser etched logos. However, the fact that 'laser etched logos' was deemed enough of a selling point to put on the box worried me, and rightly so.
Personally, I find straight mounts that are attached alongside the stem frustrating. You're never looking straight down on the computer and something always feels off. There is the positive of angle adjustment, which you can't get with stem bolt mounts, but I would still prefer a central position. In fairness to Vel, it does offer an angled bar mount if you're willing to spend a little more, but remember you're already dropping nearly £30 as it is. Granted, there are even more expensive K-Edge mounts out there that won't hold your GoPro, but still, yikes. That said, the Topeak Ridecase is £36.99.
Design-wise, I'm disappointed. If fitted above the handlebar, as per Vel's own marketing, the mount sits really high. If you then add the Garmin on top of that it suddenly turns a clean front end into a protruding mess. So you might think, 'no problem, it's adjustable, just put it below the handlebar', but the length of the mount arm is too short to fit the longer Garmins, like the 810 I still use. I like the idea that it can be fitted above or below the handlebar, but because of how the mount arm is bolted to the clamp, fitting it below the handlebar massively reduces the reach, preventing me from being able to twist my Garmin into the mount. This wouldn't be the case for a smaller Garmin, but still a missed opportunity.
Vel also claims an 'adjustable reach' for the mount; again, a great idea in concept. However, the slot for the bolt has been machined with rounded ends. Not a problem for the bolt itself, but underneath is a square section, to ensure the mount remains straight, in a similarly round ended slot. So although the slot is 1.8cm from end to end, in reality the adjustment is just 4mm at best, which seems a little pointless. And if, like me, you try to force it a little further, you end up damaging what turns out to be a pretty soft alloy.
The other issue with allowing 'adjustability' is the need for bolts, which in turn can rattle loose. On two of my rides I found my Garmin flailing around up front. Granted, that might have been me not having tightened it well enough, but I'd be concerned that, over time, that could happen regardless. Trying to learn from my mistakes, I tightened it significantly more but scratched the nice anodised finish in the process.
Using a GoPro in the mount, it creates some shaky footage since it's fixed rigidly to the handlebar, but that has always been an issue with bar-mounted GoPros. The GoPro mount is removable (by screws) if you wanted to do so.
The plastic Garmin insert makes for a satisfying and secure snug fit with your device. No rattling where that is concerned. Although the Garmin insert is removable, Vel doesn't sell a Wahoo insert directly, but with a little research you could perhaps find a replacement from elsewhere.
All in, the Vel CNC straight bar mount is a bit disappointing. Out of the box it looks nice, but its features to improve functionality don't seem to have been fully thought through. If you have a small Garmin, want it mounted below the bar and have no need to adjust the reach, then this will do nicely. But in reality, Vel hasn't achieved what it was trying to here, and the selling points don't match up to reality.
Disappointing results for its selling points
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel CNC Straight Bar Mount
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Vel CNC Straight Handlebar Mount is designed to hold both a Garmin and GoPro and allow for adjustability in reach and position either above or below the handlebar.
Vel says, "CNC handlebar mount for GoPro and Garmin"
In reality, the reach adjustability is only 4mm and when positioned below the handlebar the mount can't fit a large Garmin such as the Edge 810.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Vel lists these features:
Straight clamp to allow access to stem bolts
CNC alloy construction with laser etch VEL logos
Can be fitted above or below handlebar
This is definitely a positive. Well machined parts and an excellent anodised finish.
If simply judging it on its ability to hold a Garmin and a GoPro then it does just fine. But if going by Vel's selling points of adjustable reach, can be fitted above and below handlebar and so on, then it's really poor. The adjustment is more or less non-existent and only certain Garmins will fit when the mount is attached below the handlebar. When the mount is fitted above, the Garmin sits so high that it looks silly.
The mount has stayed strong so far with no rattling. The only issue has been with the adjustment bolt coming loose, and when tightening it damages the black finish of the part.
Being an alloy material compared to many equivalent plastic products, it is on the heavy side.
It just doesn't match what Vel is trying to sell it as. It is cheaper than other equivalents out there, but for £30 it falls short.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty poor with many of its selling features not actually bearing out. Adjustability is minimal and some Garmins won't fit when it's positioned below the handlebar.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The finish of the product is great!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
That it doesn't match what Vel says it can do.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than many K-Edge equivalents and cheaper than the Garmin own mount. It does include the GoPro mount, so that's a positive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not especially.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
I'd say it's below average and doesn't do many of the things it's claimed it can. In certain scenarios the mount will do what you need, but in my case, it didn't.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCX My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives