By Contributor Steve Piehl

Most of us love our phones, or at least we love what they do for us. I suspect many are thinking about the benefits of a motorcycle cell phone mount so we can access our devices when we ride (Yes, I expect a few to say “Put your f’n phone away and just ride!”). With that acknowledged, I ride a Harley-Davidson bagger with GPS and still find it helpful to have my phone available (Traffic alerts, easier access to my music and podcasts and even Apple CarPlay on the new H-D GTS radio). Riders who don’t have an “infotainment system” will experience a noticeable change to their riding experience when using their smartphone as a riding tool.

There’s lots of things to consider when you decide to add a digital experience to your ride. Where to mount it, what apps are best, what type of mount is best for me are just a few of the questions that will bounce around your brain as you consider the options. I’ll dive into these questions in my next few posts here on Countersteer.

We tested a handful of J&P Cycles’ most popular mounts on a trip through western Europe on high speed motorways and twisty backroads. We experienced smooth and rough road surfaces and even a bit of dirt.

Most motorcycles today have a spot where you can place a phone mount, especially non-faired bikes. In our test, we had riders on newer Harleys that were equipped with both Batwing fairings (Electra Glide) and Road Glide fairings. We were all surprised how little space is available on an Electra Glide/Limited's handlebar for attaching a motorcycle phone mount. Riders of these bikes preferred the clutch mount for having both a solid mounting point and for getting the screen adjusted to the correct angle. The exception to this is the RAM phone mount that includes a U-bolt for around the handlebars. The smaller U-bolt and the flexibility of the RAM system is the best option if you want a handlebar mount on a Batwing-equipped motorcycle. (I've successfully used this type of mount for years and have moved it easily from bike to bike.) After testing four different brands, which is the best motorcycle phone mount? Here’s what we found out.

RAM X-Grip Device Mount

A RAM motorcycle phone mount is the go-to for lots of photographers and riders who use GPS units, radar detectors, early satellite radios and lots of other things. The approach RAM uses is to attach a rubberized ball to your bike and also to the device (like your phone) and then use their double socket mounting arm to secure the two balls together. The super-tough arm comes in different lengths and features a large hand screw so you can crank it as tight as possible. Nobody in our crew had a problem finding a good angle for their phone or had any unexpected movement once the mounting arm was tightened.

The device holder is a spring-loaded, metal, X-shaped mount that embraces your phone when installed. In addition, RAM provides a rubberized tether (like a custom rubber band) that is pulled around the corners of your phone to ensure it's held securely. The system works well and provides a feeling of confidence that your device isn't going to move or fall off while riding. The downside to the mount is that on some phones the arms of the mount will touch the OFF or Volume Control buttons, so it takes a bit of attention to get the device in exactly the right position in the mount.

Bottom Line: The RAM X-Grip phone mount is a solid motorcycle phone mount. It provides lots of flexibility in angle, securely holds your device, but might require some work each time you place the device in the mount.

CIRO 3D Smartphone/GPS Mount

The Ciro 3D phone mount was the most desired of all of the mounts we tested. It started on our ride leader's CVO Street Glide and despite my attempt to move it to a different bike, it stayed there for the whole trip.

We had the Ciro Smartphone GPS Mount clutch/brake lever version so two Allen bolts provided with the kit replaced the bolts that hold the clutch lever or brake lever assembly in place (Ciro makes a handlebar mount and mirror mount version as well). The bolts secure both the clutch/brake assembly and a metal stem with a small ball at one end to your handlebar. (Pro Tip: make sure these bolts are tightened securely, you don't want that unit to move or fall off while riding)

With the Ciro phone mount, your cellular device fits into a cradle with four rubberized fingers (two per side) and a lever that allows you to twist the sides, tightening the mount’s grip on your device. Then fold the lever down which gives your unit a final security squeeze.

Bottom Line: The Ciro 3D phone mount is a great mount. It’s a good looking mount, is easy to use and provides great peace of mind because of the tight grip on your device. This one was the group's overall favorite.

Kuryakyn Tech-Connect Device Mounting System

The Kuryakyn phone mount is similar to the Ciro 3D phone mount, but includes knobs on both sides of the device cradle so the fit can be adjusted for one side or the other. We tested the standard size cradle, and there's also a larger cradle for bigger devices. The cradle from Kury was a little squarer than the Ciro, but was just as pleasing to the eye.

Kuryakyn thought of everything when it comes to mounting, as they have options for mounting to the handlebar (which is what we had) as well as to the clutch lever assembly, brake lever assembly, to the fairing and to the right side or left side mirror. They also have a rain cover available.

We had the handlebar mount version of this product, so it stayed with the Road Glides. It received a big thumbs up from everyone who used it.

Bottom Line: The Kuryakyn Tech-Connect phone mount had the most attachment options of any of the motorcycle phone mounts we tried and the two tightening knobs gave users confidence their phone wasn’t going anywhere. Putting your phone in the mounts was quick and easy.

Klock Werks IO Mount System

The Klock Werks phone mount is the coolest looking mount we've tested or seen on the market. You just need to believe in science (magnetism) and adhesive (stickiness) to feel confident with this one.

The Klock Werks IO Mount starts with a clean looking metal arm with a metal half-moon at the top. Attach it to your clutch lever assembly and then attach the mount's magnetic middle piece which has a half-moon shaped divot (it magnetically attaches to the arm piece). Now, clean the back of your device and stick a Klock Werks metal disc to the back of your device or to the device case. After 24 hours, you hold that metal disc next to the middle piece and the science of magnetics holds your phone right there. It rotates to any angle because of the middle piece's ability to move around on the mounting bracket. It's the cleanest, coolest mount we tried out.

It's simple and good looking, like me. Here’s the simple part…I was installing the mount while I was getting ready to leave for our trip and made two mistakes. The first was using an older phone case that wouldn't allow the IO disc to be attached to it securely (can you say rough and dirty?). The second mistake was to stick a second metal disc to the back of my phone (without the case) and expect to depart minutes later. That's how I learned about the 24-hour wait to let the adhesive really get a grip on your phone.

Bottom Line: The Klock Werks IO phone mount is cool looking, easy to use (once you know how to attach the disc) and there’s no big cradle hanging on your bike when you park it and walk away. Requires attention to detail when installing, but that should give you confidence that your phone will stay there while stretching posted speed limits.

Four final thoughts:

Plan ahead to know where you want your phone mounted and how you'll use it. Unless you always use cruise control, mounting on the left side is pretty important.

Be aware that rain will make you want to put your phone away unless you have a cover (like the Kuryakyn model or a few others on the market). That spoils the digital music party and perhaps your knowledge about where the heck you are going.

To use your phone while riding, you'll need to have tech gloves with special fingertips, fingerless gloves or go gloveless. We ran through cold and rain at the start of our trip, so testing these units got off to a slow start.

Don't let yourself get distracted while riding. Turn off the notifications that pop up on your screen or eventually you'll be like the cage drivers we all get so pissed off about. Just get some great road tunes and enjoy the ride.