Thursday, December 30, 2010

Zefal Spy Mirror

Lately, there seems to be a lot of cyclist and vehicle accidents in the news or is it that I'm just noticing it more.  Either way, visibility or being seen, is important when you're on a bike.  I accomplish this by trying to wear brightly colored clothing.  On the other side, I also ensure that I can see my surroundings when I ride.  I want to see the road, other cyclists, and especially vehicles like the guy in the big truck pulling a trailer that will invariably appear when you're least expecting it.  See and be seen!

I used a helmet mounted mirror years ago when I could be seen riding my red Trek 1500 road bike.  My old helmet mirror and that road bike are long gone.  Now I only have a tri-bike.  Instead of buying a new helmet mirror I decided to try something different.  I purchased a Zefal Spy mirror.  The Zefal Spy has a slightly convex mirror that is designed to mount on the handlebars.  The convex mirror provides a wider field of view than that of a flat mirror.  It also makes objects appear further away than they really are. 

Zefal Spy mirror mounted on Vision Carbon Wing base-bar

Mirror on the base-bar

Mirror mounting bracket with strap
 Installation and removal of the Zefal Spy is very easy and takes only a few seconds with the attached slotted rubber strap and hook type bracket. Mounting the mirror on my Vision Tech Carbon Wing base-bar is a challenge since it is not cylindrical like road bike handlebars. A second mounting location might be on the base-bar hand grip below the brake lever. 

Zefal Spy mirror mounted on the base-bar hand grip

Mirror on the hand grip
After installing the Zefal Spy on my base-bar I took my bike for a spin. I knew immediately that Zefal Spy wasn't going to work for me.  The base-bar installation did not allow for easy mirror adjustment.  It also didn't provide a location that protrudes significantly enough beyond the rider but did provide an excellent view of my side.  Installing the mirror on the base-bar hand grip works much better but vision can be blocked by the rider's arm and the mirror takes up valuable real estate on the hand grip .  Using this mirror in either location is exacerbated by the two riding positions on a tri-bike.

By contrast, from what I remember, a helmet mounted mirror allows for easier adjustment and the ability to focus on objects behind you. Simply turn your head until the object comes into view. A helmet mirror probably has a wider field of view than the Zefal Spy as well.  However, like the base-bar mounted mirror, vision would be impaired when using the helmet mounted mirror due to the two riding positions.

So, neither mirror provides the perfect solution.  Maybe using both mirrors would do the trick.  I'm disappointed that the Zefal Spy mirror didn't work well for me.  I think I'll give the Zefal Spy to my wife and abscond with the helmet mirror that she won't wear.