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Full disclosure: I’ve resisted cycling mirrors for a long time…I’ve never really felt the need for such a device. If I wanted to see what’s going on behind me, a quick turn of the head has satisfied my curiosity. Even when I drive a car, I rarely use the mirrors (other than to check out who’s behind me at stoplights). Chalk it up to years of racing coaches who drilled into us that a quick glance back while holding a line was all we ever needed…coupled with driving instructors who insisted that nothing took the place of a glance back to check out the “blind spots” invisible to mirrors.
So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I received Cycleaware’s Roadie Mirror for review — how was I going to remain objective and give this device a fair shake? Well, the jury’s still out on that, but here goes anyway:
The Roadie mirror is quite simple…one rubber plug that replaces the left-side handlebar plug on traditional road drop bars and a mirror assembly that fits into the plug. Installation is a breeze (30 seconds max), and the ball-and-socket design allows for quick adjustment and a vibration-free view.
The mirror assembly is solid but lightweight…made out of good firm plastic. The mirror itself is acrylic and is convex-shaped to allow a fairly wide view of the road behind the rider. The whole assembly seems fairly aerodynamic.
How did it work? Well…it certainly offers a pretty wide view of the things going on behind me, but I found that because of the convex shape, I was unable to determine distances of objects behind me and really had to analyze the view in order to make sense of it. I resorted to looking at the mirror and then turning my head to get a better understanding of the goings-on behind me. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a mirror, doesn’t it?
I also found the location of the mirror to be fairly awkward. At the base of the drops, it’s in an area I just don’t look at while I’m riding, so I had to consciously remind myself to look down into that zone. More seasoned mirror users may not have that same problem…
Finally, I often struck the mirror with my knee or leg when dismounting my bike, knocking it out of alignment. This is a pretty small gripe because the ball and socket arrangement offers very easy readjustment…fiddling with it for a few seconds put everything back in its place.
Verdict? Well, I’m still not a mirror convert — but I can’t blame that entirely on Cycleaware’s mirror. The mirror itself is a clever, well-made product — fairly unobtrusive and easy to adjust. For me, undoing decades of conditioning is the real sticking point…perhaps with a little more road time I will “see the light” and find mirrors like this more useful.
Cycleaware has a wide range of other safety accessories on their site. It’s worth a look. For me, I’m going to keep plugging away with the concept of mirrors on my bike and may give others a try to see what all the fuss is about…