Bike mirrors can be extremely useful to any cyclist who wants to monitor the traffic around them without having to constantly turn their head. Head turning can not only take a little longer than a quick mirror glance, but it can also potentially be hazardous if it results in losing control and swerving your bike out into traffic. If this is you, having a rear-view mirror can really help.
While they’re mostly designed to be used by commuters, bike mirrors can be helpful in most cycling situations, particularly for road cyclists and cycle touring. However, there are so many different types of mirror on the market, how do you choose the best one for you?
That’s where we come in. Here’s our breakdown of all the things you should consider before investing, followed by our pick of the best bike mirrors available.
Bike mirrors come in different guises, from handlebar-mounted mirrors, to mirrors that attach to your helmet or eyewear. When deciding which to go for, consider your riding habits and personal preferences.
Handlebar mirrors are a great option if you don’t often leave your bike unattended because they’re quite easy for opportunists to remove. Helmet and eyewear-mounted mirrors on the other hand are easy to carry with you, so you don’t need to worry about leaving them vulnerable to theft. However, they do take getting used to.
These are the most common type of bike mirror, and they look very similar to the wing-mirrors you would find on a motorcycle. They’re the easiest for most cyclists to use, because being mounted on the handlebar means you can achieve the perfect ‘wing-mirror’ view angle. They’re also larger than helmet or eyewear mirrors, so you can see more of what’s going on behind you.
It’s worth bearing in mind that mounting handlebar mirrors to your bike will widen its width, making it slightly more difficult to fit through narrow spaces you may already be used to, as well as filtering through traffic.
These smaller types of mirrors attach to either your helmet visor or your cycling glasses, keeping the lens in front of your eyes the whole time. This means less looking away from the road, as you only need to take a very quick glance. These mirrors are easy to mount, and generally most models will fit universally on all helmets or eyewear. Helmet-mounted mirrors tend to be better than eyewear ones, as they’re not placed too close to your eyes. Eyewear mirrors, when used very frequently, can cause headaches, and this is important to consider when making your choice.
One great advantage of these, however, is that you can use them with any bike you ride, whereas handlebar mirrors will need to be detached and reattached if you tend to swap between multiple bikes. They’re also very easy to store when not in use.
It’s important to choose a mirror made from sturdy and reliable materials, since it will absorb some of the road vibrations as you ride. Some are made from plastic, while other more expensive models are made of carbon fiber. This is the best of the two if your budget allows, as it’s the most durable. In the case of helmet or eyewear mirrors, look for one where the rod is made from a durable material like steel.
Also, consider the material of the lens itself. In some cases, they’re made from plastic or resin, which can get scratched easily, and even lose their clarity over time. Opt for a lens made of glass, which will maintain its properties for much longer.
Bike mirrors generally come in three shapes: circular, oval, and rectangular. These will largely affect the size of the field of view they provide. Eyewear and helmet-mounted mirrors will most likely use a round mirror because the field of view it offers is very small. As an advantage, however, this also means it will weigh less.
Oval mirrors are the most commonly used, and you’ll find them on both helmet-mounted and handlebar-mounted mirrors. They offer a much wider field of vision, which means you’ll get a much better view of what’s going on in the street behind you. Rectangular mirrors are less common these days, but they offer the largest field of vision. They will still sometimes be used for handlebar or helmet mirrors.
Folds into various angles for the best view
This very popular bike mirror from Hafny features a round stainless steel mirror lens, which is not only durable and long-lasting, but also fully recyclable. It’s designed to be mounted via the bar ends, which makes it very easy to install. It requires a 5mm hex key to install, and there’s even an option to buy it with the tool included.
The universal fit means that it can be installed on the left or the right, as well as above or below the handlebar. It’s completely adjustable to achieve the perfect viewing angle, even tucking away when needed thanks to the foldable frame, and can be used with both a flat bar or a drop bar, making it a truly versatile bike mirror.
Added safety that won’t break the bank
This simple handlebar mounted bike mirror is a great budget-friendly option for the casual or beginner cyclist. It’s constructed from aluminum and plastic to keep the cost down, while still offering a convex mirror that provides a wide field of vision. It also has a bendable aluminum tube to help you achieve the best angle.
This mirror is compatible with handlebars that have a diameter between 0.87 and 1.05 inches. The mounting system is simple to install, and the lens diameter is 3.23in. For a cost-effective way of making your ride safer, look no further.
Neat solution for road bikes
If you want the added safety of having rear view mirrors but don’t want to spoil the aesthetic of your beautiful road bike, you’re in luck. The SprinTech Rear View mirror is designed to mount in the bar ends of drop bars, and the mirror itself is a compact design that offers a very neat and subtle solution.
It comes in 6 color options, so you should be able to match the frame to your bar tape, helping it to blend in well. It’s lightweight, so it won’t add too much heft to your road steed, while the convex mirror offers a wide field of vision.
Large mirror allows for a full view
This large 3-inch diameter lens offers a great view of the road behind, even when shaking from road vibrations. The glass lens offers durability and longevity, while the convex shape provides a wide view.
It’s fully adjustable to achieve that perfect angle, and even comes with the wrench included so no extra tools are required. Installation is easy, and it fits bars with diameters sized between 13.75 and 22.5mm.
Get two for the price of one
While all the mirrors on this list offer exceptional value, this two-pack from LX LERMX really stands out, thanks to the fact that you get two mirrors for the price of one. This means you can have them mounted on the left and right, to help you get a full sense of what’s going on around you, as well as keeping tabs on any undertaking cyclists (which unfortunately does happen!) before you make a right turn.
The large glass mirror is 4.7 inches at its longest point, and shaped similarly to an oval, but with straight lines and sharp corners, for a stylish finish. You can achieve a full angular adjustment, thanks to its 360-degree rotation capability. It’s compatible with handlebars that have a diameter of 22.2mm, and is easy to install with a clamping mechanism.
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Mildred is a Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews who loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike. She does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors. Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall.
Height: 156cm (5'2")
Rides: Liv Devote, Genesis Equilibrium Disc 20, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Whyte Victoria, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike
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