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The Muc-Off Secure Tag Holder is a simple means of attaching an Apple AirTag securely to your bike. However, it is flawed as it reduces the power of the signal quite a lot.
I reviewed a pack of Apple AirTags last year and found them incredibly useful for bike security, offering most of the benefits of a GPS unit at a fraction of the price, with vastly superior battery life. The only problem was there was no easy way to attach one securely to my bike.
In the end I used a plastic holder that sat underneath my bottle cage, which was fine but dependent on any potential thief not noticing it was there and simply removing it. Other options, such as putting it in the frame, under the saddle, or in the stem cap, can reduce the AirTag signal, and again rely on a potential thief not knowing they're there.
Rather than keeping it hidden, this Muc-Off holder attaches more securely to your frame so the tag can become a visual deterrent. It's more secure for two main reasons: instead of regular Torx bolts it uses T25 security bolts, so unless a thief happens to have that specific key, they won't be able to simply unscrew it. Also, it's made from 6061 aluminium, with the AirTag bolted inside; there is no way to prise it open or cut it off.
It's simple to attach to your frame's bottle cage mounting holes, either screwing it in alone or beneath a cage. I found the bolts were long enough to go through the two cages I tried it with.
Since fitting it, there hasn't been any water ingress despite the lack of seals. You might want to consider where you fit it, though: under the bottle cage on the top of my down tube means water flows past it and underneath it, but if you mounted it on the bosses on the underside of the down tube, which are common on many gravel bikes, gravity could result in water getting in.
Adding the AirTag to the holder is simply a matter of unscrewing the back compartment with a hex key, popping it in, and screwing it back up. I didn't notice any rattling, despite the full metal construction.
As I have mentioned several times, the AirTag holder is made from aluminium which makes it difficult to get off without specific tools. Although this does make it more robust, it has the impact of reducing the AirTag signal. In London this was difficult to detect because it appeared to operate the same way as my original test of the AirTags. It still tracked in the same way and I could pick it up from my bike shed when I was inside, and when I tested by riding around and tracking it from a different phone I had similar results to a ‘naked’ AirTag.
However, upon further investigation there is a definite a loss of signal when using the find function at longer distances. At under around 17 feet it still tracks as normal, but over this distance it loses signal. This compares to around 30 feet when I place a ‘naked’ AirTag in the same position.
It means that this is not an AirTag holder that is effective when it comes to tracking your bike over longer distances. It was still effective in built-up urban areas, but for the suburbs or rural areas this will have a significant impact.
We haven't looked at any other AirTag holders on road.cc to compare it with, but this is more expensive than what's available on Amazon. The closest I've seen in terms of construction and security is the Supmega AirTag Bicycle Mount, which also has an aluminium body and security Torx bolts, and costs £19.20. It's only available in black, though, whereas the Muc-Off holder comes in a variety of colours...
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this AirTag holder. In terms of the positives it is very secure and has a high quality finish, with it sitting well under a bottle cage. It is expensive, though, and the reduction in signal means that if you’re using it away from high population areas it will not be as effective as something made of plastic.
In my original review of this AirTag holder I said there was no noticeable loss of signal, which upon further testing turned out not to be the case. I have therefore amended the article above and wanted to be transparent about how this mistake was made below.
What went wrong
The main problem is that I live and ride mainly in London, which meant that when I was tracking it as an anti-theft device it was tracking as it normally would because it was seldom over 10ft from somebody with an iPhone. It was also picking up signal fine from my bike shed to wherever I was within my flat, and the only other place I regularly leave my bike is in the secure bike storage under my office, where I wouldn’t get a signal anyway. I therefore thought I had no reason to go into the same depth in terms of signal as the original review for the AirTags themselves.
How I became aware
road.cc was made aware of a video from YouTuber Shane Miller who had done a long-range test with the Muc-Off holder and found something I had not: the signal was weaker.
So I took some time to take another look and reassess.
My additional testing found that where a ‘naked’ AirTag would be picked up at between 27-30ft, this only picked it up at between 14-17ft. In terms of the day-to-day usage in an urban area, it didn’t really have much impact, since the kind of riding I was doing during the test meant it was seldom more than 10ft from anybody with an iPhone, so tracking wasn’t impacted, which is the main quality I was looking for.
So, although I said it didn’t impact the signal, that was not correct.
In future I will not be basing my conclusions on initial findings as I did here, and will fully test how a housing product impacts the performance of the full range of features for the device it is housing.
We have similar products that we’ll be reviewing over the next few months and years and this has been a wake-up call not to test such products based on limited data points.
Secure, simple, and robust, but it has a significant impact on long range signal and is a bit expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Muc-Off Secure Tag Holder
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?
Muc-Off says: "The Muc-Off Secure Tag Holder offers a secure way to install a tracker to your bicycle frame using the bottle cage mounting holes, so you can track down your bike down in the event of theft and can locate it."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Supplied with 2x T25 security 25mm bolts and 1x security key
Non-rattle design to hold tracker securely in place
Available in 12 anodized colours with bead blasted finish to match your Muc-Off Tubeless Valves or Stealth Tubeless Puncture Plug
Tracking device not included with mount!
Quality construction means you won't be able to snap it or pry it off…
…but this comes at a price as it does have a significant impact on signal..
The robust aluminium body and lack of water ingress suggest this is likely to last.
This is the most expensive AirTag mount I know of and it also reduces signal.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It secures to the bike in a way that allows the AirTag to be used as a visual deterrent rather than just a way to get your bike back if it's pinched, but it then makes it more difficult to be found by reducing signal.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The simplicity of securing it to the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The reduction in signal.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We haven't looked at any other AirTag holders on road.cc, but it's more expensive than others I have seen on Amazon. The Supmega AirTag Bicycle Mount, for example, also has a full aluminium body and security bolts and costs £19.20.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Only for urban areas.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only for urban areas.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good idea but flawed. The extra security it adds to mounting an AirTag to your bike means it can be used as a visual deterrent not just a tracker, which is great. However, outside of an urban environment there will be others that work better.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.