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Hands On: iOmounts Nomad Attracts your Phone to the Bars with Magnets

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Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (2)

There are a number of products out there to mount your phone to your handlebars, but most of them have the same problem. Either you’re left with a massive case on your phone that is difficult to slip into your pocket, or you have to go through the hassle of installing the phone in the protective mount on the bars, or worse – you risk your phone jettisoning from the mount mid ride. iOmounts is approaching phone management from a different angle entirely. Instead of a twist lock, clamp, or bungee mount, the iOmounts Nomad relies on magnets.

Yep, the same thing you use to hang pictures on your fridge is supposed to be trusted with your pricey smart phone. While it may seem far fetched, when it comes to the nomad we’re actually pretty impressed…

Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (3)

Before we go any further, I’ll just point out that I’m not super keen on mounting my phone to my handlebars. It’s not something I’ve ever really thought I needed, but I must admit the ability to do so has come in handy a few times when I had no idea where I was and needed to navigate home. The Nomad isn’t really trying to convince anyone to run their phone on their bars, but if you’re already doing it, it looks like an interesting option.

After the mount was unveiled at CES, we were sent a very early prototype. A 3D printed prototype to be exact. The production models will be very similar with a few cosmetic changes and will be produced out of standard plastic instead of being 3D printed. Each Nomad will include the mount, two iOadapts, and a skin which allows the metal iOadapt pucks to be mounted to just about anything with a flat surface. Since the magnet is in the Nomad mount itself, the stainless steel iOadapts are only 0.7mm thick and can be attached directly to the back of your phone without a case. I prefer the added protection of a case at all times, so the iOadapt was attached to the skin with the 3M VHB adhesive. The skin allows for easy removal in the future.

Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (5)

As for the mount itself, the Nomad is pretty simple. The thick rubber strap is threaded through white mount and it automatically ratchets as you pull. There is a convenient loop on the end of the strap to help you make sure the mount is tight, and it can easily be mounted to your stem, bars, or anything else that is round from 0.5-2″ in diameter.

Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (7)

Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (4) Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (8)

It probably goes without saying, but the rare earth magnet in the Nomad is strong. So strong that I had to ask if there were any problems with having a magnet that strong close to your phone. iOmounts assured us that they have done a lot of testing to see how the magnet might affect the phone’s performance, and the only issue they’ve discovered has to do with the compass. If the phone needs to calibrate the compass while it is attached to the magnet it will have trouble. However, simply removing the phone, calibrating the compass, and then replacing it on the mount allows it to continue to work properly. Every other function of the phone is unaffected by the magnet.

Since the iOadapt is slightly smaller than the Nomad mount, the phone really snaps into place and indexes inside the mount. This allows you to rotate the phone infinitely, but makes it very difficult to remove.

Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (1)

Basically, unless you are trying to remove the phone from the mount, it’s not budging. You can even lift up the front of the bike by the phone and shake it without it falling off. I’m not going to lie – the first rides were still pretty nerve wracking, but the Nomad really works. If you’re still scared of losing your phone, there will be an optional tether as another line of protection.

To me, the thin nature of the iOadapt is the best feature of the mount. You can use it with nearly any phone or phone case, and you really don’t notice it when you slip the phone into your pocket. Combined with iOmounts other products like the iOstand, iOwall, and iOauto, you have a system that makes mounting your phone or tablet where you want it incredibly simple and unobtrusive. Personally I think I would use the car mount more than the bike mount, but I’m already finding new places around the house to use it. Not to mention that having one solution that allows you to easily transition between parts of your day is pretty awesome.

Production versions of the Nomad will ship out on April 1, and are available for preorder for $60 which includes the mount, 2 iOadapts, and a skin.

iomounts.com

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15 Comments
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Fred
Fred
7 years ago

Why not simply leave the phone at home and enjoy the ride more?

AlanM
AlanM
7 years ago

@Fred, while I get what your saying and I never have my phone out while I’m riding, there are people that want to use their phones for navigation and other cycling computer functions. What’s wrong with giving those people a product they might want?

morenos1
morenos1
7 years ago

Agree with Fred. The phone should only be for emergencies. Otherwise it is just a distraction ….

elkcycles
elkcycles
7 years ago

I am guilty of bringing my smartphone on rides. We had a large group of 30+ on a ride and someone dislocated a shoulder. Thanks to Google, we were able to perform the Milch maneuver and relocate the shoulder twice before getting the rider 5 miles to the lot and the hospital. I’ve used it to call the paramedics for a young lady who broke her orbit on a descent. Its nice to have with you. That said, the bars are an awful place to keep an expensive phone.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

@AlanM

The reason you’ll keep seeing these is because something like a Garmin is a single-purpose device that only performs one function. Most people do want their phones for safety/whatnot as indicated by @elkcycles. You already have a device with good battery life (most riders are rarely out for more than a couple of hours, so phones are well more than sufficient), and the screen is better than any offering from any GPS device.

So really -like it or not- you’re going to see more and more people turn to using their phone as a GPS and fewer and fewer using a dedicated and pricey device like a Garmin. Likely you’ll also see an uptick in hybrid solutions like a RFLKT+ or Cateye Strada Smart, so that you can keep the phone safe in your pocket, and have a cheaper display unit.

Magnets: How the **** do they work?
Magnets: How the **** do they work?
7 years ago

Looks cool. Two questions: does the phone’s compass never work when mounted to the magnet?
Seems like that is an achilles heel when using for navigation???

Also, stainless steel attachment to the phone? Stainless steel barely interacts with magnets as far as I know..

Robert W
Robert W
7 years ago

This is a good alternative to having to dig the phone out of my jersey pocket when someone calls me during a ride. But I’m tempted to buy a magnet and make my own, just because.

Champs
Champs
7 years ago

I’ll second the hybrid systems.

Years ago, a friend of mine was working in a factory that used large rare earth magnet rods. Considering what would happen when you hold such a powerful magnet in your hand near a large metal object, you can imagine the handling was very cautious. Your mortal, fleshy hands may be weak, but a phone even less so.

greg
greg
7 years ago

Sorry guys, Vincero ruined my trust in magnets holding anything to my bike.

Leave my phone at home? What are you, an idiot?

Dennis
Dennis
7 years ago

If it could be attached to my Garmin Dakota 20, I would be soo happy to ditch these flimsy and not-to-be-trusted mounting brackets from Garmin.

felix
felix
7 years ago

Curious – how is there some trick to removal? The big question for me about this is how can it be so strong that it simply will not bounce off under any circumstance, but at the same time, I can easily take it off when I want it?

AlanM
AlanM
7 years ago

@Matt, I’m not sure if you intended to direct your comments at me, but I’m in complete agreement. That’s the point I was trying to make @Fred. While I’m a Garmin user, my phone is always in my jersey pocket or Camelbak in case of emergency.

iOmounts
7 years ago

Lots of good questions and valid comments. We echo @Matt with regard to using your phone. With Strava, Map My Ride and others, riders are finding more and more uses for their phones on rides. Also, @Dennis, yes this is a great replacement for that cheesy mount that comes with a Garmin. The new Polar works well with it also. @Felix there is a bit of twist to pull it off easily. We use a structure and magnet placement that limits the field so it has a specific range and strength. Don’t forget the best part, this is part of an entire eco system. We have compatible mounts for your desktop, automobile and anywhere else that you can think of that all work with the same adapt on your phone.

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