The Best Motorcycle Phone Mount Yet.
We’re excited to add Peak Design phone cases, motorcycle mounts, and a supporting cast of smart mobile accessories to the Union Garage catalog.
Why so stoked? We decisively believe this is the best motorcycle-specific phone mount system to date.
The Short Story
Peak Design has the easiest and fastest on/off action we’ve seen in all our years of fastening mobile devices to motorcycle cockpits.
The interface at the heart of the Peak Design motorcycle mounts uses magnets to center and guide the phone into place, and a sprung mechanical clasp to automatically lock the phone securely in place.
Not only do Peak Design motorcycle mounts keep your precious phone safe from the obvious (being chucked from your motorcycle, at speed), a discreetly integrated vibration dampener keeps camera-killing vibrations at bay by floating the phone in silky-smooth silicone suspension.
Plus, it’s just utterly satisfying to use, and its construction from jewelry-grade black anodized aluminum will complement any motorcycle.
And yes, we’ve got everything on our online store's Peak Design Brand Page physically in stock and ready to ship, including, as of this writing, a slew of brand new iPhone 14 cases.
Order online, or stop by the new showroom and touch, feel, and become a believer yourself.
— The Long Story —
(reading time: 10 min)
As we crown a new product category champion, we back it up with a blow-by-blow comparison of the two best brands in the space.
In this corner, the reigning champ: Quad Lock. Hailing from Australia, this one-time niche bicycle brand has evolved into a global mobile phone accessory mogul, with a sprawling product line to prove it.
In the challenger’s corner: Peak Design, a San Francisco based startup with a roster of overeducated engineers dedicated to making discriminating camera accessories—and now, our favorite new motorcycle mounts.
Your referee for this match? That’d be us. Over the years through online sales and hands-on, in-person installations on a wide range of motorcycles, we’ve put more phones on bikes than we can count. Collectively as a shop, we’ll humbly submit that we’ve reached Malcom Gladwell certified expertise in this line of work. A weird flex, but there it is.
// Round 1: Engagement Party
The most undeniable benefit, and the aspect that puts Peak Design clearly on top for us, is the easy-on/easy-off action of its phone cases with its motorcycle mounts.
Peak Design calls its interface mechanism SlimLink™, which delivers a truly no-look, one-handed operation to snap the phone onto a corresponding mount; or to remove it.
Snapping a case onto a mount is a strangely satisfying experience, and once you do it a couple times, it becomes mindlessly automatic.
And once it’s on, there’s no coming off without hitting the easy-to-access release button on the back of each mount.
No fuss, no muss.
With precise aim, you can even throw your phone through the air, hit the waiting SlimLink magnetic/mechanical/magical mount face, and the two will latch together securely on their own. Like magic.
We don’t recommend doing this except as a personal challenge/party trick. We also don't officially condone taking your phone off your mount while riding, either. That would be crazy.... But for those of us who are going to do it anyway, Peak Design offers a quicker and more intuitive operation.
Fact: Quad Lock makes it very easy to install, securely hold, and then remove your phone from your motorcycle.
Another Fact: Peak Design just does it better. Specifically, its mechanism is smoother, faster, more consistent, and less distracting than anything else out there.
Quad Lock, for those not already familiar with the system, works by depressing a spring loaded lever to engage its mechanical interface into one of four indexed positions, located 90 degrees apart. (Four positions. Quad…Lock, get it?)
But for every locking position there's a blind 45-degree angle that users are left to find by eyeballing it, and going by feel. It's relatively easy while parked, but can involve a bit of fumbling to get the Quad Lock engage when you're on the move.
Peak Design’s SlimLink mechanism offers the same 90-degree orientation mounting options, but here's the twist: There is no twist.
Just slap the phone straight smack dab onto the mount and, voila, it holds.
Quad Lock's mechanism has always been slightly faster and easier to remove than to re-engage, but Peak Design is even quicker on the draw. Users just need a light touch on one of the buttons on the back while pulling the phone off the mount, and it peels off naturally.
Easy-peasy, even with gloves on.
// Round 2: Good Vibrations
Hands down the award for best vibration dampener goes to Peak Design, for its fully integrated vibration dampener design.
But first, why do you need a dampener? In case you missed the memo, it turns out that the high-frequency vibrations from pretty much any running motorcycle engine will damage our increasingly delicate modern phone cameras. Apple even took the drastic step of issuing guidance not to mount its phones to motorcycles at all. Not without a dampener.
Enter Quad Lock's vibration dampener accessory, which fits cleanly in-line with its other system components and cradles the phone in a relative safe space, free from damaging vibrations.
To be fair, they’re both great running solutions to a problem that didn’t exist when these companies originally developed motorcycle mounts several years earlier.
Peak Design has the benefit of coming to the party late, and integrating its discreet vibration dampener into the design from the get-go.
Not only does it feel tangibly smoother than the rather unsightly Quad Lock (or Hondo) option, it’s also smaller, and completely integrated into the design—and doesn’t have to be bought and installed separately.
The Peak Design motorcycle mounts float your phone on a bed of silicone suspension bumpers that offer just enough jiggle to protect the camera, but not so much that the phone flops around unduly.
// Round 3: Dollars and Sense
TLDR: Quad Lock is a little cheaper, and still works great, but Peak Design is worth every extra penny.
A Quad Lock phone case will set you back $30-40 (or $50 if you opt for an optional colored ring on the company’s new MagSafe cases).
The apples-to-apples all-black Quad Lock "Pro" aluminum motorcycle mounts, available in handlebar or stem-mount variations, cost $70-80 (the standard Nylon Motorcycle Mount starts at $50) and the requisite in-line vibration dampener is another $20.
Quad Lock: 100-$150.
Peak Design: $140-150*
Peak Design charges an even $100 for its own Handlebar or Stem Mount, each with vibration dampening built in; and $40-50 for a Peak Design MagSafe Everyday Fabric Case, currently available for all recent iPhone, Google Pixel, and Samsung phones. Or save $10 and use any phone with a $30 Universal Adapter.
*The best deal going is the Peak Design 1-inch Ram Ball mount, which combines SlimLink magnetic/mechanical latch, a 1-inch Ram Mount compatible ball, and the built-in vibration damper—all for half the cost of the Peak Design’s other Motorcycle Mounts.
Yes one would also need a Ram Ball base and an extension to use this accessory, but many riders might already have this system in place (Quad Lock makes a Ram Ball Adapter mount, too), and ultimately the orbital adjustment of the ball-and-socket system offers the best ability to fine tune the viewing plane of any mounted phone—which some might find necessary on certain cockpit configurations.
We think the uber-thin, MagSafe ready Peak Design case is the best we've seen to date, but you don't have to take our word for it.
In our own analysis, in terms of strength and resilience, the amount and durometer of rubber TPU bumper surrounding the phone seems quite similar between Quad Lock and Peak Design.
Where the Quad Lock gets a molded bump to house the socket of its trademark mechanical locking interface, Peak Design uses a flat but fabulously strong zirconia ceramic insert (that little square thing on the back), which allows the Everyday case to stay as thin as possible while still maintaining a socket strong enough to survive repeated use and abuse.
Now, we understand the industrial charcoal colored fabric used on Peak Design cases might not be everyone’s first choice. But Quad Lock’s new Mag Safe cases with their colored plastic accent ring options might not be everyone’s cup of tea, either.
Quad Lock phone cases do a great job of protecting your phone, we know because we've used them for years, and have war stories of drops from 20-foot ladders to prove their durability. But the matte black plastic cases also do a great job of soaking up splotchy fingerprints.
We’ve put Peak Design cases through the wringer, exposing them to chain lube in particular, and the grit and grime of daily life in general, and we’re left with no apparent residue or unsightly discoloration. Plus, the texture of the fabric provides better grip during everyday use.
We haven’t had the Peak Design phone cases in the rotation long enough to test their long-term durability, but outside reviews are solid, and all products are backed with a lifetime guarantee, so we’re not too worried on that front.
To note: we have used Quad Lock cases long enough to experience them wear out before the phone needed replacing – we’ve seen both separation between materials within the case, and degraded position detents after extended mileage on the bike wears down the plastic.
// Round 5: Holding Hands
Warning: we’re getting deep in the weeds here, comparing Quad Lock and Peak Design's respective finger tether features.
For select Peak Design iPhone models from the 12 series onwards, Peak Design offers a case with an optional integrated loop, for turning your hand into a steady and secure human tripod. The nice part about this loop is it’s always there when you need it. And when you don’t, a minuscule magnet helps the loop keep its memory and lay back flat and out of the way.
Quad Lock’s solution to keeping your precious phone safe in your paw is its $15 Ring Accessory, which locks and stows inside the phone case, and deploys with the flick of a finger to give the user a solid tether on the phone while filming on the move, or just lounging and scrolling.
The upside for Quad Lock, in terms of usability, is that the its Ring feels like it’s in a slightly better, naturally central, and more intuitive position than the Peak Design Loop.
The downsides of the Quad Lock Ring? This concept has a lot of potential, but isn't perfect.
- The chamfered edge of the metal loop can be a little harsh, and it’s very easy to misplace, so sometimes it’s not there when you need it
- It interferes with using Quad Lock mounts, and with wireless charging—offering more opportunities to lose it
- It makes for a lousy stand, offering only a very low viewing angle on flat surfaces. And it’s no substitute for a real tripod.*
To note Quad Lock does make a slick little Tripod adapter, for use with a real tripod with standard 1/4"-20 threads.
The Peak Design Loop case, by comparison, is positioned lower on the phone, underneath the square SlimLink socket, and requires a ring finger to hold the phone in place.
It’s a little tricky to deploy one-handed, but once it’s locked in, it’s far more secure a handhold than the Quad Lock Ring —namely because it can’t accidentally fall off, no matter how radical you get while filming.
Downside of the Peak Design Loop? Not much. After a full month’s daily use, our test Loop case still has the memory to return flat when not in use. The micro magnet actually works.
Another downside: the Loop isn’t offered on every case, so don’t get too excited if you don’t have a later model iPhone.
*The ultimate right-tool-for-the-job when it comes to propping up a phone, either as a time-lapse tripod or just a binge watching accessory, is the Peak Design Mobile Tripod. While admittedly pricey, its insanely good at its job, and an excellent treat for any photo-happy phone users to extend the range of the Peak Design pyramid scheme mobile ecosystem. :)
// Round 6: Wireless Charging
This is the only round Quad Lock wins decisively—because Peak Design doesn’t even show up.
Peak Design confirms it's developing a wireless charger of its own, ETA: 2023/24 timeframe.
Until then, Peak Design users will have to route the power cord they’d otherwise plug into their wireless charger, and plug the phone in while on the go, the old fashioned way.
For riders who value wireless charging above gun-slinger fast docking action, Quad Lock is still going to be the best choice.
For those who value 007 sophisticated design paired with instantaneous engagement, and appreciate the fine points of the Peak Design everyday fabric case, and the larger ecosystem of compatible lifestyle mounts and accessories, then Peak Design is worth a look.
To note, we do have the desktop Wireless Charging Stand from Peak Design set up at the shop work stations, and it is a joy to use. Watch the behind-the-scenes video on the Stand's product page to get a glimpse into Peak Design’s engineering department and how it’s approaching magnetic wireless charging.
// Goodbye, Blue?
Assuming Quad Lock still sells to us after this review, we’ll continue to support the Blue Lever product line, alongside Peak Design, Ram Mount, and Hondo Garage.
The Quad Lock wireless charger is the best available, and there are legions of users already invested in the system. And until last month, if you asked us what the best system was for the task at hand, we'd have marched you right over to the Quad Lock display.
The product is still perfectly valid and works great. Peak just works a bit better.
Until the Aussies come out with a mind-blowing advancement in how their motorcycle mounts work, and how they integrate vibration dampening into their product line, we expect to see Peak Design to make big gains with discerning riders.
Quad Lock did just overhaul their cases and some of their lifestyle mounts, so don't be surprised to see more development in the moto space, too.
Meanwhile, our phone mount section has grown into a small hardware store.
People are still using Ram Mount's original and still ubiquitous X-Grip, and while they don't move like they used to, we still sell both the ball-mount and the quick-claw version. Through dumb luck, the decade-old design's flexible cradle arms and soupy rubber grippers probably offer enough vibration damping to make a difference.
Mostly we use Ram Mount as a sort of open-source linkage catalog to hold onto other company's mounting heads and mirrors.
Clearly, we spend too much time thinking about this stuff, but Peak Design's product lineup is such an absolute knockout we had to go all in.
We were skeptical until we got the products in our hands and on the bike. Now, we're zealots for the stuff.
We have the full mobile lineup out of the boxes and on display, available to see and feel at the showroom. Or just order online and you'll have 30 days to see for yourself.