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Fidlock Vacuum phone case + base

8
£59.98

VERDICT:

8
10
Very smart and secure system for mounting your smartphone to the front of your bike, and super-easy to use
Plenty of security
Easy to mount/remove your phone
Pricey
Weight: 
98g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Fidlock Vacuum phone holder system is a secure and convenient way to use your smartphone as a display on your bike, using a very clever magnet and suction system to hold it on your handlebar or stem. This really is an excellent bit of kit.

The Fidlock system comes in two parts: a vacuum handlebar base (£29.99) which attaches to your bike's handlebar or stem, and a vacuum phone case (£29.99) which your smartphone can live in all day long, on and off the bike. Magnets snap them together and suction seals the deal.

> Buy the Fidlock Vacuum phone case & base for £49.98 from Leisure Lakes

I'll come back to the details of how it works in a mo; the really important question is how well the two parts stick together because your smartphone is probably worth a lot of money and the last thing you want is to see it careering down the road.

2024 Fidlock Vacuum Phone Holder system - 1

I'm not saying it's absolutely impossible to remove the vacuum phone case – and with it your phone – from the base by accident, but you'd have to go some.

Separating them on purpose is simple. Pressing down on a ring that's part of the base removes the suction, and that means it's just magnetism that's left holding the two parts together. Then you can just pop the phone case off.

2024 Fidlock Vacuum Phone Holder system - 2.jpeg

If you don't do that, though, the base has a limpet-like hold on the case. You'll be surprised at the strength of the connection.

In the interests of research, I used the system on the handlebar of a bike set up on an indoor trainer and purposely whacked my knee into the phone case (it's funny what some people do for a living, isn't it?). That wasn't enough to dislodge it.

You're more likely to spin the base forward on your handlebar – and with it the phone case – than to separate the two parts. Plus, in the real world, I found it far more convenient to mount the base on the stem rather than the handlebar (you can do either) for a central position, and you're even less likely to knock it there.

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How does it cope in a crash? Call me uncommitted but I'm not about to purposely hit the tarmac to find out, but I did attach the system to a knackered old bike at the back of the lockup and improvised. Not exactly scientific, admittedly, but the phone case always stayed in place.

I also put the system on a bike and hit the phone case with a rubber mallet (I took my phone out first; I'm not an idiot). If you whack it pretty hard, you can knock the case off the base, but I'd suggest that if it takes a direct hit in this way, the safety of your phone is going to be the least of your concerns.

2024 Fidlock Vacuum Phone Holder system - 6.jpeg

The bottom line is that the phone case could separate from the base if you're involved in a nasty smash, but anything short of that and it's going to stay put. For everyday, incident-free riding, your phone isn't going anywhere.

Okay, so back to how Fidlock's system works.

First, your smartphone sits snugly inside a toughened ABS plastic phone case with a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) border that's designed to be impact resistant. Different cases are available for different phones. The case is similar to a zillion others out there, covering the back and sides of your phone, with holes for the camera, charging port, and so on. The difference is that there's a magnet slap bang in the middle.

Then you have the vacuum base. I had one that attaches to the handlebar or stem via a little collar that's tightened by a thumbwheel. It'll fit around anything with a diameter of up to 40mm (officially; unofficially, you get a little more space). Fixing this vacuum base in place is tool-free and takes seconds, but it's much more convenient to leave it on your bike when you remove your phone.

2024 Fidlock Vacuum Phone Holder system - 5.jpeg

Fidlock also offers a vacuum base that attaches to your handlebar by zip ties (£29.99), one that fixes to the top of a headset top cap (£29.99), and even one that you can fit to textiles, such as a backpack strap (£34.99) – so various options allow you to get a setup that works for you.

In use, the system is stable. I fitted it to various bikes and it always performed superbly – even over lumpy, bumpy gravel. The suction cup measures 60mm across while the plastic centre which mates with the phone case is 35mm – which is a fair old proportion of your phone's width. It doesn't vibrate any more than a bike computer on a standard mount. Reading the screen while you're riding along isn't a problem. Okay, things can get blurry over really rough off-road surfaces, but that's the same for any head unit. The Fidlock design just works.

2024 Fidlock Vacuum Phone Holder system - 7.jpeg

If your phone isn't sitting quite straight, or you want to turn it from portrait to landscape, you can rotate the case on the vacuum base. There are 48 positions, if you really want to know, and a ratchet stops the case turning accidentally while you're riding.

If you're worried about gunk getting to your phone while it's positioned out front, Fidlock offers a universal phone case (£34.99) that's said to be waterproof and sandproof, although I haven't used this so can't comment on the performance.

You can also get a car mount (£29.99) and a tripod (£34.99) that are compatible with the phone case, so you can use the system elsewhere too. If you don't want to use Fidlock's phone case for any reason, there's also a universal adhesive patch (£14.99) that you can stick to other cases to make them Fidlock compatible.

Oh, one other question: are the two magnets (one on the phone case, one on the vacuum base) going to do anything strange to your smartphone if you aren't careful? Nah, they're safe, and they won't affect other electronics either. The case isn't suitable for wireless charging, though.

Value

We've reviewed various systems for holding smartphones on your handlebar or stem. The BTR Silicone Handlebar Mobile Phone Mount (£19.99, currently reduced to £14.99) is pretty cheap but mounting/dismounting a phone isn't as simple as Fidlock's design and it doesn't offer the same level of protection.

Quad Lock's system is really impressive and offers plenty of security. You're looking at £22.99 for a case and £29.99 for an Out Front Mount, so a fairly similar overall price to a Fidlock system.

The Zefal Universal Smartphone Adaptor Bike Kit is cheaper – a setup for an iPhone 14/15 is £34.99, for example. The Fidlock is slightly easier to use, though, and the fact that you can get non-bike accessories will be a draw for many.

Conclusion

If you want to mount your phone to the front of your bike, the Fidlock Vacuum Phone Holder system does the job really, really well. It's secure, stable, reliable, and super-easy to use, and is compatible with non-bike accessories too.

Verdict

Very smart and secure system for mounting your smartphone to the front of your bike, and super-easy to use

road.cc test report

Make and model: Fidlock Vacuum phone case + base

Size tested: For iPhone 13 Pro

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 system is aimed at anyone who wants to mount their smartphone to the front of their bike (and you can get various other non-bike bases too).

Fidlock says this about the phone case:

The slim case protects the smartphone on and off the base. The understated elegance of the inconspicuous case with a shock proof TPU surrounding is accompanied by the decorative as well as practical ratchet and recessed geometry. Soft material on the inside of the case protects the phone's backside. Delivery without VACUUM base, needs to be ordered separately.

360° rotatable when mounted

Slim design with shock-proof surrounding

Anti-scratch fibre inlay

No interference with electronics

Not suitable for wireless charging

Fits all VACUUM bases

The case for the VACUUM smartphone mount. Thanks to the ingeniously simple combination of magnetic force and vacuum pressure, the smartphone can be operated with one hand and is 360° rotatable, while a ratchet prevents it from rotating during the riding – even on rough trails!

Fidlock says this about the Handlebar Base Flex:

The advantages in a nutshell:

· for installation on the handlebar

· fits all bar tubes Ø 40 mm

· no interference with electronics

· fits all VACUUM cases

Description

Flexible & Versatile

The VACUUM handlebar base flex offers a brilliantly simple solution for anyone who wants to keep their smartphone securely in view while cycling. Thanks to the combination of magnetic force and suction, the device stays firmly attached to the handlebars, yet can be easily operated, released, and re-secured with just one hand.

The smartphone mount can be installed with just a few simple steps and without the need for tools. This allows the smartphone to be attached to different handlebars in a flexible manner. Therefore, the FIDLOCK VACUUM handlebar base flex is also suitable for attachment to scooters and strollers, in addition to bicycles

Simple & Strong

The phone can be easily connected to the holder via magnetic guidance and reliably holds the smartphone on the base. When under high pressure, the hold is additionally secured by the force of the suction cup through a vacuum. The centering of the smartphone is ensured by the magnetic force - so the suction force always grips. The smartphone is released by simply operating a lever on the side of the handlebar holder.

Safe & Practical

Thanks to the ingeniously simple combination of magnetic force and vacuum, the smartphone can be operated with one hand and is rotatable by 360°, while a ratchet prevents it from rotating.

In addition to the handlebar base, the magnetic mounting sysetm requires a counterpart that incorporates the appropriate magnet. This can be achieved, for example, through a special ultra-thin smartphone case, a universal patch with an embedded geometry, or an universal waterproof case for the smartphone.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Fidlock describes the system like this:

The FIDLOCK VACUUM mobile phone holder consists of a base and either a special, ultra-thin smartphone case or an adhesive patch with an embedded geometry. A unique combination of suction cup element and magnets is used to securely attach smartphones to bicycles, tripods, cars or at the workplace.

Intuitive and quick use

Quick and easy one-handed operation. Snap your smartphone into place and release with one hand!

Ingenious and secure connection

Two strong, invisible forces combine to create a secure and ingenious connection for your smartphone.

Versatile and modular use

One system for multiple applications. On the handlebars of your bike, on the dashboard of your car, as a tripod in your hand or on your desk.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

It's secure, reliable, and really simple to use.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

The mount isn't going to need to take much abuse, but the phone case might, especially if you keep your phone in it all day, every day.

It's made from toughened ABS plastic with a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) border and stands up well to knocks and scrapes.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

The phone holder (for an iPhone 13 Pro) weighs 44g while the vacuum base is 54g.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's a little more expensive than most other systems, but it offers more too, in terms of protection, security, and usability.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It puts in an excellent performance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The security/reliability and stability of the system, and ease of use.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

If you want to buy into the Fidlock system, including a car mount, it starts to add up.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The BTR Silicone Handlebar Mobile Phone Mount (£19.99, currently reduced to £14.99) is pretty cheap but mounting/dismounting a phone isn't as simple as Fidlock's design and it doesn't offer the same level of protection.

Quad Lock's system is really impressive and offers plenty of security. You're looking at £22.99 for a case and £29.99 for an Out Front Mount, so a fairly similar overall price to a Fidlock system.

The Zefal Universal Smartphone Adaptor Bike Kit is cheaper – a setup for an iPhone 14/15 is £34.99, for example. The Fidlock is slightly easier to use, though, and the fact that you can get non-bike accessories will be a draw for many.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

I'd really like to give it a 9 overall, but feel that the extra cost compared with other systems needs to bring it down to an 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 190cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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2 comments

Avatar
mitchibob | 1 month ago
0 likes

It's interesting that only phones they make the case for are phones that people regularly also fleeced on dumb contracts for said phones.

Avatar
mark1a replied to mitchibob | 1 month ago
1 like

mitchibob wrote:

It's interesting that only phones they make the case for are phones that people regularly also fleeced on dumb contracts for said phones.

Does anyone get fleeced now on contract phones? I think the networks realised 5 years ago it could become the "new PPI" in terms of future liability. Therefore they separate the SIM contract from the phone purchase, if that's not bought outright, it's a separate credit agreement with defined terms and an end date. The only way I've been fleeced is despite the fact I buy the phones up front, and pay the network fees monthly, my children are aged 18 and 23 and I'm still paying their phone bills 🤔😳.

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