To cycle safely on busy city streets it can sometimes feel that you need eyes on the back of your head. Unfortunately human evolution hasn’t made a dent yet in the needs of cyclists but the next best thing is a bike mirror.
Bike mirrors enhance situational awareness and mean that you no longer need to keep checking over your shoulder.
Far from being bulky and obtrusive, modern bike mirrors offer a discrete method of keeping tabs behind you.
In this article we take a look at the best bike mirrors across a range of different styles.
Top Picks at a glance:
- Mirrycle Mountain (Best Flat Bar Mirror)
- Hafny Bar End Bike Mirror (Best For Road Bikes)
- Bike Peddler Take A Look Mirror (Best Helmet Mirror)
Best Flat Bar Bike Mirrors
1. Mirrycle Mountain Handlebar Mirror (Best Flat Bar Mirror)
- Dimensions: 3-inch diameter
- Weight: 0.3 lbs
One of the main criticisms of bike mirrors, particularly bar end versions, is that the vibration when cycling distorts the image so much as to become useless.
The Mirrycle Handlebar Mirror overcomes this valid criticism by having a short, rigid connection and an impressive mount that expands inside the handlebars to keep vibration to an absolute minimum.
To mount the mirror you simply insert into the bar and tighten the tapered cups using an Allen key.
The 3-inch mirror provides a great field of vision coupled with a gentle convex shape that enhances the view without distorting the picture.
The design of the mount means that the mirror can also be installed inverted so that it does not add any additional width to your handlebars.
This is a great feature if you like to squeeze between slow moving traffic although it will somewhat reduce the effectiveness of the mirror.
- Minimal vibration – clear view of what is going on at all times.
- Large mirror – allows you to see more.
- Inverted design – optional to reduce the extra width the mirror adds to the bike.
2. West Biking Bike Mirror Handlebar Mount
- Dimensions: 3.23-inch diameter
- Weight: 0.25 lbs
The West Biking Bike Mirror mounts directly onto the handlebars using a tool-free mount and has a long flexible neck that is perfect for adjusting the mirror into the perfect position, even whilst riding.
The mount itself is suitable for 22 – 32mm handlebars.
As with any mirror perched on the end of a long, articulated arm, there may be some movement out on rough terrain but for gentle cycling on decent quality roads this won’t be an issue.
The long arm does mean that the mirror can be adjusted to be right at the eye line, making it quick and convenient to keep an eye on what is happening behind without losing focus on the road ahead.
- Tool free installation.
- Long articulated arm – the mirror can be adjusted to eye line height for a better view.
- Can be adjusted to any viewing angle.
Best Road Bike Drop Bar Mirrors
1. Hafny Bar End Bike Mirror (Best For Road Bikes)
- Dimensions: 62mm and 68mm diameter
- Weight: 0.16lbs
The Hafny Bar End Bike Mirror can be slotted into either side of the bar ends on a road depending on which side of the road you cycle on and can fit bar ends with an internal diameter of 17-21mm.
The main feature of the Hafny mirror is the High Definition (HD) Automotive Grade glass used in the mirror. With this, the view behind feels the same as using the mirrors in your car – it is clear and easy to interpret.
One mounted snugly in the handlebars, the mirror has 360-degrees adjustability to get it set-up perfectly for your position on the bike.
Impressively, the adjustability does not impact the stability of the mirror with vibration at an absolute minimum out on the road.
The mirror comes in a 62mm and a 68mm version.
- High definition – the surface of the mirror gives a superior view of what is going on behind you.
- Minimal vibration – images are clear and focussed on the road.
- 360 degree adjustability – great for finding the perfect view for your position on the bike.
2. IRBM Italian Road Bike Mirror (Most Discrete Road Bike Mirror)
- Dimensions: 2.09 x 1.30-inch
- Weight: 0.15lbs
The IRBM Italian Road Bike Mirror has been designed with style conscious road cyclists is mind. It is for riders that want the peace of mind that comes with extra visibility without interfering with the fast lines of their road bike.
The mirror is mounted as one piece and fits over the bar itself after removing some of the bar tape. Secure with some electrical tape and re-apply the bar tape and you would barely know there was a mirror there.
There is not much scope for adjustment once the mirror is in place so time and care is needed when setting it up initially. That said, once you have it in the right position it never moves.
To the casual observer it would be hard to tell that there was even a mirror attached to the bike.
- Discrete design – barely visible on the road bike.
- Simple mount – easy to install.
- Extremely stable – once in place it will stay in the same position.
3. Sprintech Dropbar Mirror
- Dimensions: 1.38 x 1.69 x 2.67-inch
- Weight: 0.04lbs
An unfortunate accident whilst cycling was the genesis of the Sprintech Drop Bar Mirror almost a quarter of a century ago. Necessity really is the mother of all invention.
Fitting the mirror could not be simpler. Remove any existing bar ends and insert the supplied plug into the appropriate side of the handlebars. The mirror is then popped into the ball-joint of the plug, with some reassuring force in this case.
The ball-joint mount designs gives the mirrors lots of degrees of freedom to move it into the right position for your riding style.
The mirror housing has a nice, aerodynamic shape that fits the contours of drop bar handlebars seamlessly. The extra weight on one side is negligible and has no effect on bike handling.
Whilst the mirror area itself is not huge, the convex design does improve visibility and brings more of the environment into view.
- Ball-joint mount – lots of degrees of freedom to perfect the view.
- Aerodynamic shape – the sleek lines don’t detract from the road bike.
- Convex mirror – lets you see more with a smaller mirror.
4. Selle ITALIA Eyelink Mirror
- Dimensions: 4.92 x 7.00-inch
- Weight: 0.17lbs
Don’t be put off by the fact that the Selle Italia Eyelink Mirror looks like it has been siphoned straight off an Italian super car. This is a premium option that is designed to integrate seamlessly with the brake lever hoods of road bikes.
This is a large mirror with a view behind to match. The curvature of the glass helps to give a wide view behind.
A common worry among riders using mirrors is the danger of shards in a crash. To get around this, the Sell Italia Eyelink uses an adhesive mesh that essentially catches any shards of mirrors and stops them flying into the riders face in a crash.
Given the heritage of the mirror it is worth noting that it is only available to mount on the left brake lever and so is only really suitable where the traffic moves on the right.
- Hinged design – mirror can be closed and stowed away when not in use.
- Reflective features – nice touch to help you be seen in low light.
- Safety – adhesive mesh catches any shards of glass sin a crash.
Best Helmet Mounted Mirrors
1. Bike Peddler Take A Look Mirror (Best Helmet Mirror)
- Dimensions: 1.440 x 1.625-inch
- Weight: 0.02lbs
The Bike Peddler Take-A-Look Mirror is a small rectangular and frameless mirror that attaches to the arm of sunglasses or helmets using a stainless steel wire with three rubber pads at the end.
The mirror face can be rotated 90 degrees on the wire and then small adjustments can be made to get the appropriate view.
The three rubber pads provide excellent flexibility for attaching but at the same time help to reduce vibrations to an absolute minimum.
- Three-point attachment system – fits securely to glasses or helmets.
- Fine angle adjustments – mirror can be rotated 90-degrees to get the perfect view.
- Lightweight – you won’t feel the extra weight on your glasses or helmet.
2. Blackburn Helmet Mirror (Best Budget Helmet Mirror)
- Dimensions: 1-inch diameter
- Weight: 0.02lbs
The Blackburn Helmet Mirror is a great budget option, especially if you are keen to see if riding with a mirror is for you.
It mounts easily to the helmet with a strong, double-sided adhesive patch of which there are two supplied. The extra pad can be used on a different helmet to make swapping the mirror easy or just as a spare.
The attachment method does rely on having a decent amount of surface area on your helmet.
The mirror itself is flat which gives a more accurate picture of what is going on behind you.
Despite the high grade materials used in the mirror, it does suffer from vibrations and occasional misalignment.
- Tool free installation – a simple adhesive pad secures the frame to a helmet.
- Flat mirror – accurate view of what is happening behind the bike.
- Lightweight – barely notice it is there when not using it.
How To Choose Cycling Mirrors
Types of Mirrors
There are three main mirror types for bikes; bar end mirrors, helmet and sunglasses mirrors and handlebar mirrors.
Bar end mirrors are the most discrete option and ingeniously mount to end of drop handlebars. For road cyclists, they are unobtrusive.
The downside of bar end mirrors is that the mirror surface itself is small and therefore doesn’t offer the widest field of vision to the rear.
The main advantage of helmet and sunglasses mirrors is that no matter where you look, you can always see behind. They are not discrete and can be easily damaged if you forget they are there.
The main advantage is that you do not have to take your eyes off the road in front.
Handlebar mirrors are the least discrete of all the options and add clutter to your cockpit but are a reliable option. They also tend to have the largest mirror surfaces giving riders an excellent field of vision.
Video: Do You Need A Bike Mirror
The mirror size dictates how much you can of the environment behind you. In simple terms, the bigger the mirror the larger the field of vision.
Generally a bigger mirror is also less convex which is better for judging distances.
The bigger the mirror the more drag, so if you value speed and efficiency then a more discrete option may be wise.
The adjustability of the mirror is useful as it allows riders to quickly set-up the mirror in the optimal position.
Only world class time trial cyclists can maintain the same exact position on the bike for any length of time whilst the rest of us mere mortals constantly shift around the saddle.
This means that being able to adjust the mirror quickly and accurately on the go is a real bonus.
Obviously a bike mirror designed for road bike drop bars will not be compatible with the flat bars of a mountain bike but you also need to consider the type of cycling that you do.
Read more: Flat bar vs drop bars
A lightweight mirror that attaches at the bar ends is not the best choice for someone riding down technical trails where the bumps and undergrowth could easily rip it off.
At the same time, serious road cyclists with an eye on efficiency and the ever important effects of drag would be better opting for something discrete.
Left and Right Sided Mirror
The side you mount the mirror is entirely up to the rider but it is wise to mount depending on the traffic.
If you cycle in traffic on the right, as you would in the USA and Canada, then mounting on the left side makes sense.
If you find yourself riding in a British city then you should swap for mounting on the right-hand side.
Even more important than KOM’s to some cyclists, is style.
There is no way around it – some bike mirrors just don’t look good perched on the elegant lines of a sleek road bike.
If style is important to you, then keep an eye out for mirrors that blend into your bike and look less obtrusive.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Mount A Rear View Mirror On A Bicycle?
In the case of mirrors that attach to the drop bars on road bikes you simply remove the existing plug and force the mirror mount plug in.
Friction holds the plugs securely in the bars.
Other mirrors are attached using a mechanical mount on the handlebars similar to a bell.
Are Helmet Mirrors Better Than Handlebar Ones?
Some riders prefer helmet mirrors simply because, if set-up properly, the rear field of vision moves with your head. The type of mirror you ride with mostly comes down to personal preference.
Some riders also find helmet mirrors too distracting since they are designed to always be in the eye-line.
How Do You Attach A Mirror To A Cycle Helmet?
Different mirrors come with different mounting systems. This can range from a simple adhesive mount to three mounting arms that snap round the helmet straps to keep the mirror secure.
It is easy to look down at bike mirrors, no pun intended, but you often find that once riders try them they never go back to riding without one.
As always, safety is the number one priority out on the road and having that extra touch of awareness can be vital. Even if you are a discerning road cyclist, there are great mirrors that are essentially camouflaged on the bar end.
It is hard to recommend a best mirror as every rider has their own personal preference. Some riders swear by helmet mounted mirrors whilst others find them too distracting.
If you are looking for the best view of what is going on behind you, then the Hafny Bar End Bike Mirror is hard to beat. Despite its discreteness, the view is impressive and smooth.
For road cyclists looking to stay safe, the IRBM Italian Road Bike Mirror is a top pick. Once it has been set-up for your position on the bike, it is reliable and discrete.
If you prefer the immediate situational awareness that comes with helmet-mounted mirrors, the Bike Peddler Take-A-Look Mirror is a great option. The mounting design means that vibrations are kept to a minimum and it has huge flexibility in terms of mounting positions.