Two years ago, iOmounts sent over one of the very first Nomad smart phone mounts. It was so new that it wasn’t even a production piece, but a 3D printed sample. The mount worked as advertised, but as many commenters pointed out, mounting your pricey phone to your bar with any sort of mount seems a bit risky.
But two years ago, there was another product that was just in the early development stages – Zwift. In February of 2015, Zwift still hadn’t opened the program to the general public, but that move was just around the corner. Fast forward to the present, and it’s safe to say that the introduction of Zwift has revolutionized how cyclists go about their indoor training. It’s also had a big impact on what gear is needed for your training sessions, with devices like smart phones and tablets becoming an integral part of the virtual experience.
It was during one of my own Zwift sessions where I was balancing the phone on my window sill, that it occurred to me that the magnetic iOmounts Nomad would be the perfect accessory to my training sessions. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so – the Nomad was already listed for sale on the Zwift store, and even in a matching Zwifty orange…
I’ll admit that originally, the idea of riding around outside with my phone tethered to my handlebars wasn’t all that appealing. I installed it, did a bunch of rides, confirmed that it worked, and then installed it on the e-brake handle in my car where it has remained since (that’s another great use for the Nomad by the way). Since then, iOmounts has made the magnet even stronger for greater confidence if you’re riding outside. Since it’s magnetic, the phone or tablet attaches to the mount almost telepathically, and can be rotated to any angle you desire. It’s also a lot harder to remove than you would think, requiring a simultaneous twisting/pulling motion to separate the two. It’s strong enough to lift the entire bike while it’s still attached to the trainer.
If you’re familiar with Zwift, you know that the Zwift Mobile Link is a very useful feature, especially if your laptop isn’t within arm’s reach while you’re riding. The mount becomes even more important if you’re using the Mobile Zwift app as holding your smartphone while riding your trainer and trying to focus on the tiny screen isn’t an easy task. Instead of having to place your trainer next to a window, or have a table nearby, I thought something like the Nomad would be the perfect way to keep your phone close at hand. Which turns out to be exactly the case.
The $55 mount can be attached to your bars, stem, or really anything from 0.5″ to 2″ in diameter. The release is very stiff out of the box, but it gets a little easier to use over time – but on the bright side, that means it won’t come off the bar without a fight.
Compared to other phone and tablet mounts, the iOmount system has a few key advantages. The biggest for me is that you can use it without a case, or with any case you choose. Each mount comes with two iOadapt stainless steel discs with a 3M adhesive on the back and two 2″ x 3″ clear iOskins that serve as a protective layer between the disc and your device. I’ve had good luck without the iOskins as well, though they recommend attaching them to a case rather than the device themselves since they can be difficult to remove. On my iPad above, even with the iOadapt installed, it still fits inside the Speck case so I attached it to the iPad instead of the case since it is faux leather. Just make sure to give the adhesive an hour to cure before you go to use your mount.
Once installed, you’ll hardly notice the iOadapt when your phone is in your pocket which is one of the best features. At less than 1mm thick, this discs are very discreet which is good news if you’re already using a bulky case. Regarding concerns of magnets and electronic devices, iOmounts says that as long as your device uses a solid state hard drive instead of a conventional hard drive, there is no danger to your device. I’ve used the Nomad on various generations of iPhones for years now without any issues including maps and navigation (does not affect the compass).
Add in their entire family of compatible products, and you have an interesting system of mounts that can be used all around your house. This time, iOmounts also sent over their iOstand XT which is a free standing mount for any device including large tablets. The stand has a completely flat base with a 42″ post and a 6″ flex arm at the top to position it where you want. Between the flex arm and the iOcore which attaches to the iOsphere again with magnets, you can position your device at any angle desired.
Overall, the iOstand XT is pretty good and I find myself using it more than the Nomad, though it could stand to have a slightly longer flex arm. Large front wheel blocks like those from Cycleops above keep the device fairly far out in front unless you want to put the stand behind the wheel block. However, in this configuration you’re likely to bump it with your knees when out of the saddle sprinting. Though I’m not sure how close you want to actually have your device if it’s not in a waterproof case given the amount of sweat raining down.
Available for $150 in black or white , the iOstand XT is quite a bit more than the Nomad, but if you want a beautiful stand for your device that is sturdy, flexible, and works with other iOmounts it’s certainly worth a look. Both the Nomad and the iOstand XT provide rock solid mounts that hold up to your mashing of buttons as you red line on the trainer making it easier than ever to send that message, make a different turn, or give out those kudos.
Above all, if you’re looking for a way to mount your smartphone or tablet for indoor training sessions in the easiest, most effective, and least obtrusive way, the gear from iOmounts seems hard to beat.