Anyone that’s spent any time on a trainer knows not having something to watch or read is incredibly boring. If you don’t have the luxury of a big screen in your torture chamber, or you’re on the road, we’ve been testing two highly portable contraptions that make it easy to put your entertainment directly in front of you.
Shown above, Performance Bike’s Travel Trac Book Caddy disassembles to a pretty flat package and will hold books, magazines, iPads and tablets or even just your towel with ease. We also tried out the Bikase iKase iPad holder, which secures the too-expensive Apple tablet in plain view with no fear it’ll fall off mid “ride”.
Roll past the break see which one might be right for you…
PERFORMANCE BIKE TRAVEL TRAC BOOK CADDY
The Travel Trac has a shaped base that rests on top of your handlebar and wraps around the stem for support. The book tray can rotate, letting you position reading material at the best angle.
To secure it all to the bike, a knob threads inside a flat wedge that pulls it all tight against the bar and stem. While it does hold secure once it’s properly positioned, it’s not the greatest attachment system in the world. The rubbery nub on the end of the bolt wore through, leaving its metal to rub (and scratch) the bottom of the stem. A simple piece of cloth or something between the bolt and stem kept it from damaging the stem. It also occasionally took a couple tries to center it on the stem – although having handlebars that don’t flatten out just outside the stem clamp area (like these) make it much easier.
Overall, for the price ($14.99 – $19.99 on PerformanceBike.com), it’s a pretty good deal. The squared off “J” shape of the bottom of the tray held my magazine and book pages in place, and it’s a good width for an iPad with a thick protective case.
BIKASE IKASE IPAD HANDLEBAR MOUNT CASE
The Bikase iKase is a simple fabric case with a Velcro closure on one end and clear window to keep sweat off the screen.
The sides are not fully enclosed, so there’s nothing weatherproof about it…but are you really going to be riding outdoors with an iPad on your bike (if you are, Thule’s got you covered)? Depending on which way you slide the iPad in, either the sync port and speakers will be facing out, or the power button and headphone jack. The other end is a full width Velcro closure flap. Given the weak audio output from the built in speaker, we always ran it with the headphone jack accessible. Even better is using Bluetooth earphones like the Jaybird Freedom.
The clear cover kept the screen safe from sweat, but did catch a good bit of glare when placed directly under overhead lights. Touchscreen operation was acceptable, but did sometimes require firm or repeated pressing…just not enough to become annoying.
The bottom of the case has three Velcro loops to strap to the handlebar and stem, and they’re on a rotating base that let’s you place the iPad in vertical or landscape mode. It lacks tilt adjustment, so it’s dependent on the angle of your stem. If, like me, your stem is pretty flat, the view can want to rotate on its own when you pedal hard and the bike wiggles or wobbles. Using the “Rotation Lock” setting fixes that problem, and shoving a Clif Bar or something inside the sleeve under the top of the iPad improves the angle. If you have a negative rise stem, this probably isn’t the best way to view your iPad on the bike.
It sits a bit low, so my knees would tap it when I stood up to pedal. Sitting is fine, though, and it held everything securely. The rotational base is stiff enough that it won’t spin on it’s own, you’ve gotta position it the way you want it. Retail is $39.99, find it at AltGear.com.