A rearview mirror is one of the best things you can do to improve your safety while bike touring.
Just like in a car, a rearview mirror lets you see at a glance what’s coming up behind you, and react accordingly if a car is going too quickly, or not giving enough space as it passes.
Which mirror should you choose? Our favourite is the Take A Look mirror, but no single mirror is perfect for everyone. Some prefer helmet-mounted mirrors, others like a mirror that goes on the bicycle and in each category there are many different designs.
Here are a few options to consider, based on reader recommendations and online reviews.
#1. Take A Look Mirror – Our personal favourite. It’s effective, durable and very light. The mirror mounts on either helmets or sunglasses. Getting it to just the right position can be tricky, but once you find the ‘sweet spot’ you’ll wonder how you ever cycled without it. Cost: ($13.90 from CycloCamping or $16.95 from REI) Read our full review.
#2. Mirrycle Mirror – This mirror fits in the end of your handlebars – not on your helmet or sunglasses – and comes in two versions. One for road bikes and fits on the end of Shimano STI shifter/brake levers, while the other is designed for mountain bikes and fits into the ends of flat handlebars. Cost: ($20 for the road bike version and $18 for the mountain bike version) from REI.
#3. Ortlieb Ultralite Mirror – For a mirror that mounts on your bicycle, this one is feather light at just 2 ounces or 56 grams. It’s made by the same company that makes the famous Ortlieb panniers, and the manufacturers claim that it’s easy to place anywhere on your bike, including your forks or on recumbent bicycles. Here’s one raving review about the Ortlieb Ultralite Mirror from RJ, who cycled the TransAmerica Trail, and a post that shows how one cyclist mounted it on his handlebars. Cost: $23.90 from CycloCamping.
#4. Blackburn Multi Mirror – This one gets mixed reviews. Some people love it; others say it was too big to fit into the ends of their bicycle handlebars, and that they had to use a knife to shave away some of the plastic and make it fit. One nice feature of the Blackburn mirror is that it folds away when not in use, or when you’re trying to squeeze through a tight spot. Cost: £13.49 from Wiggle.
#5. Messenger Mirror – This is a very compact and affordable mirror that will mount on your sunglasses. It’s made by a cyclist in Idaho, and measures just 6-1/2″ long, with a mirror that’s 1/2″ across at the end of the wire. The catch is that the guy who makes the Messenger Mirror will only ship to U.S. addresses. Cost: $5.99 plus 88 cents for postage.
There’s also the 3rd Eye Mirror (for handlebars), and the CycleAware Heads Up mirror (for helmets and sunglasses) but we’ve heard a lot of durability concerns about these mirrors. They obviously work for some people but seem a little too fragile for our tastes.
26th July 2011 at 11:50 am #
Any thoughts on the mirrors that mount to your frame, near the head tube? You can see what’s coming behind you through your legs…
13th January 2016 at 9:55 pm #
That’s the Bike-Eye mirror that fits agains the head and down tube and can also fit on top or underneath the top tube, loads of info on how it fits and operates at http://www.bike-eye.com
26th July 2011 at 3:05 pm #
I am a bit of a fan of Zefal Spy Mirrors and have them on my three dropbar bikes.
30th June 2016 at 9:48 pm #
Me too! They’re brilliant. I have 4 bikes and each bike has a Zefal mirror.
26th July 2011 at 3:29 pm #
I love my Take A Look Mirror for touring. I tried a handlebar mount mirror for a couple of trips, but it was always in the way when I leaned my bike up against buildings and when I have full paniers, I often had trouble seeing past them because the mirror is so low on drop bars.
1st August 2011 at 5:48 pm #
I tried the Take-a-Look mirror and didn’t rate it; always being knocked around when not wearing my helmet and not especially impressive optics.
However I do *totally heart* the Myrricle mirror. Great optics, brilliant arcs of movement, awesome customer service, stupidly cheap. They still get knocked out of alignment every so often but it’s no biggie.
I ride a Challenge Sieran recumbent with tiller steering so these are at (approx.) eye height (versus. DF drop bars).
12th August 2011 at 10:50 am #
For those riding drop bars, also take a look at the Italian Road Bike Mirror from Aspire Velotech. It’s the most minimal mirror out there and still very functional.
16th May 2016 at 11:59 pm #
Agree. This is the best mirror for drop bars on the market.
24th August 2011 at 10:35 am #
I just installed the “Modolo Yuma” handlebar and finally I found “My handlebar”.I bought with those the “Busch&Muller Cycle Star Mirror”.I don’t know yet how long that mirror will last but other than that concern it’s a perfect mirror for that type of bar as far as I’m concern.
21st August 2015 at 4:22 am #
After 4 years now,around 20,000km of touring and how don’t know anymore how many hits by me dropping the bike on his side: this ”Busch & Muller Cycle Star Mirror” of mine is given a 5 Stars.
21st August 2015 at 4:26 am #
And I’m also giving a 5 Stars to the ”Modolo Yuma” handlebar.
24th August 2011 at 10:38 am #
I forgot:Thanks to you Travelling Two” for your awesome site.
24th August 2011 at 11:11 am #
both doreen and I use motor bike mirrors from a honda on the handle bars we love em. there great for butterfly straight and bmx bars.
24th August 2011 at 2:15 pm #
Forgot to say wind is no problem with these mirrors. they do not move on rough roads even though you canot see with them on rough roads. we can get them anywhere with ease at motorbike shops. works best above most bars.
24th August 2011 at 12:06 pm #
After years of money spent finding that elusive “perfect” mirror, I now use Mirrycle mirror exclusively.Sometimes ride with them set up above handlebar but most often with them set up below the bars. Helmet mirrors seem to fit only selective helmets.I’ve tried 11 all up and across 5 helmets with only a few versatile enough to fit well and have just the right amount of adjustment to make them worth while.Vibration from the road and wind all play havoc with the mirrors.
25th August 2011 at 2:50 pm #
I have used the top two mirrors in this article and they worked for a short time (a year or so). Then wanted a helmet mirror and came across this AWESOME one that I have been using for the last 2 years. Can guaranty you that the product is made in AMERICA from Efficient Velo tools. http://www.safezonemirror.com/gallery/ Their mirror is called the safe-zone mirror and comes with a 5-year fully backed warranty. http://www.safezonemirror.com/why-safe-zone/ Each segment moves to any degree as well as the full size mirror on the end! I would HIGHLY recommend this mirror to any cyclist whether he or she is not going for a tour. It is rock solid and can be put anywhere on your helmet!!!
20th February 2012 at 9:55 am #
I use the Mirrycle (straight bar “mtb” version) but without the outward extender strut, so it sits right in near my hand. It’s rock solid! I have the drop bar version also, on my road bike, but it isn’t quite so good, a bit more vibration-prone. Again I use it without the extender, to minimise vibration effects.
20th August 2015 at 1:39 am #
I’d suggest taking a look at the mirror that attaches to the bike helmet.
You can see it on http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011FFJY3W
It does the job.
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