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Rokform's The Bike Mount iPhone kit is sturdily made and has a really clever mount, but bodged-around design shortcomings make it less desirable.
When you pick up the Rokform The Bike Mount iPhone case the first thing you notice is the feel of quality in the manufacturing. If you're anything like me you would have homed in on the gorgeous bike mount, a beautiful piece of machined aluminium.
The idea of the Rokform mounting system is very clever. Rather than the mount fixing to your handlebars or stem, the Rokform mount fixes to the top of your steerer tube. Putting it on your bike is simplicity itself, you simply remove the top cap from your stem and steerer and screw the mount in its place. Tighten up the screws and the mount feels rock solid. The whole process takes less than 90 seconds.
Moving on to the case: it's made from a hard polycarbonate with fuzzy pads on the inside to stop the case rubbing and wearing away the nice aluminium of your iPhone. The case comes in two parts. Slide your iPhone into the larger part of the case then clip the bottom on. At this point you have a choice, you can use the case as-is, or there is an additional, optional rubber bumper which clips around the front to provide additional protection. Rokform also include a lanyard which can be added to the case with or without the rubber bumper.
Adding the rubber bumper to the case slightly increases the size of it as you might expect but I found it to be particularly useful. The hard polycarbonate case is not particularly grippy, by having the rubber bumper attached I felt more confident that the case wasn't going to slip out of my sweaty palms. The downside to having the rubber bumper on however, is that accessing the mute button on the side of the iPhone is quite a bit more difficult.
The case fixes to the mount in a similar way to a Garmin or Quad Lock system. The Mount has four lugs set at an angle which fit through a corresponding hole on the back of the case. Match the mount with the phone and turn through about 45° and the phone is connected to the mount.
The attachment to the bike mount initially feels quite solid. The secure connection relies on the phone not rotating and coming off again. The Rokform system uses magnets embedded in the mount and case to help hold the case in place. Once the phone is connected to the lugs and twisted, it jumps pretty well into the right position and seems to hold your phone quite securely. The case magnet is embedded in a rubber pad which adds further resistance to the phone twisting off the mount. Rokform also supply and recommend the use of the lanyard in addition to the lugs and magnet for 'triple protection".
As you can tell my first impressions of the Rokform mounting case were good. It does feel and look like a quality bit of kit.
The Rokform system includes windscreen mounts for your car as well as tripod, buggy, jogging and motorbike mounts. I like the idea of different mounting options for different situations as it feels like you're getting more use out of the case.
My first ride out with the Rokform highlighted some design flaws. With or without the bumper, the case offers no weather protection to the phone and it was chucking it down outside. So although I had the case and the mount, my phone spent the ride in my pocket.
For weather protection, Rokform are supplying what they call a "Rok sack". The Rok sack is basically a Ziploc bag which you put the phone in and then attach to the mount; you can't help feeling it's a bit of an after thought. Once the bag is on, using the phone's touch screen isn't nearly as easy as with the Quad Lock or Biologic, both of which offer much better weather protection.
Having done nearly 100km now with the phone mounted to my bike with the Rokform I can't fault it for stability; it's definitely not a wobbly mount. Without the lanyard attached, however, I did feel slightly nervous that a knock on the phone at the right point would allow the case to come off the mount. While the mount doesn't wobble, I don't feel as confident with it attached as I did with the Quad Lock.
With the magnet embedded in the back of the case you start to find yourself sticking to things when it's in your pocket. Keys in my pocket were always attaching themselves and leaning against metal supermarket shelves I found myself attached to them too. Given the proximity of my phone to my wallet in my pocket I'm not sure if I should be worried that it might affect my credit cards or parking tickets.
The case and mount are beautifully made but lack of water-resistance makes it difficult to recommend in the British weather
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Make and model: RokForm The Bike Mount Kit
Size tested: Fits 1-1/8inch Threadless Steer Tubes
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?
Rok Form say:
"Multi-tasking at its best. This iPhone 5/5s case accomplishes max protection and style, all while keeping your hands free to go about your busy life. With the included Adhesive Car Dash Mount, you can mount your iPhone 5/5s to just about any flat surface (try our favorite, the car dashboard!). The removable rubber bumper gives you added protection when you need it and a slimmer profile when you don't, making this one of the best protective iPhone 5/5s case available."
I always used the rubber bumper as the hard polycarbonate case felt a bit too slippery without it. The case looks pretty good on the phone if you like the ruggedised military look. The mount is great looking, well made and connects really quickly and securely to the bike, but the lack of weather-protection's a big issue.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A light an beautifully made bit of kit, perfect for fine weather, not as great for typical british weather.
Beautifully made and to a high standard, I couldn't fault the quality of manufacturing of the case or the mount.
Once it's on your bike the mount feels rock solid and looks great. The lack of proper weather protection is a bit annoying. Fixing the mount to the bike is simple enough but it can be a bit of a fiddle lining up the mount with the case correctly. The embedded magnet in the case picks up all sorts of metal things when off the bike. Did feel conscious that tapping the phone in the right place when on the bike could dislodge it. Rokform do supply a lanyard to counter this but it does feel a bit of an after thought in design.
The Rokform system felt like a well made bit of kit and I don't have any concerns about its longevity.
The mount in particular is great.
The magnet in the case does stick to random metal objects which can be a bit of an annoyance, generally fine.
If I was planning on going out in the rain then I'd need to consider buying a separate mount and case, so for that reason I've marked it down on value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A bit of a game of two halves. In beautiful California-style sunshine, the Rokform case and bike mount are great. The phone feels secure on the bike, looks great and is really well made. Without the lanyard however, I couldn't shake the feeling that it might come off if knocked in the right place. When it starts to rain I'm more likely to put the phone in my pocket than faff around putting it a Rok Sack.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Loved the way the beautifully machined mount fixed to the top of the steerer tube so quickly, genius.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The product has some fundamental design flaws which have been addressed with after thoughts. The lanyard feels like its there to address the phone accidentally twisting off the mount with a knock in the right place; the magnet feels like it was used when a physical "click" engagement (like the Quad Lock) would have been better; and don't get me started on the freezer bag, sorry "Rok Sack".
Did you enjoy using the product? Loved using the case and mount in the dry.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes if I only ever went out when it wasn't raining (which isn't that far from the truth, I am a bit of a fair weather cyclist).
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not above other products on the market.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A really well made product with design flaws.
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