Adventure

My Handlebar Map Platform / Mobile Phone Conundrum: Can You Solve It?

In the months leading up to my first continental crossing of Europe back in 2010, I experimented with an Ortlieb handlebar bag, probably very similar to this one. I can’t say I was ever a fan. I just didn’t like the ‘look’ of the thing and to be honest, I still don’t. The panniers, great! The handlebar bag… despite its obvious practicality, not so much. The one aspect that I did like about the handlebar bag, however, was the fact that it gave me somewhere to place my map. (I’m a fan of paper maps and would be reluctant to go anywhere ‘long-distance’ without one.) I’ll explain what I did…

It was all a bit Heath-Robinson. Take a close look at the Ortlieb bag on the left. The bit of design engineering that allows it to be attached to the handlebar is a proprietary device called the KLICKFix system manufactured by Rixen & Kaul. The device is attached securely to the  back of the bag which is itself a large piece of plastic that supports the bag and its contents.

Still with me? I deduced that by removing the KlickFix device and the piece of plastic to which it was attached (in the process destroying the bag so there was no going back), I could create a platform for the handlebars upon which I could place my beloved maps. It required the KlickFix attachment device to be rotated 90º to face upwards but it worked remarkably well. I used my ‘invention’ on Reggie the Ridgeback Panorama for many thousands of kilometres across all three big continental rides. Here’s what it looked like in action:

My ‘invention’ with maps etc…

Fast forward to 2019 and I have a new bicycle. (What, you didn’t notice?) Wanda, the Koga Signature bike has a different set up when it comes to the handlebars. Take a look:

There is actually plenty of space for my map platform to sit snugly between the two ‘Denham’ bars that protrude from the front of the main part of the handlebars. The incompatibility comes when I factor in the Quad Lock device that is used to attach the mobile phone to the handlebars. It’s the blue circular thing in the image above. There is, as far as I’m aware, no better system to keep the phone attached to the bike so there is no debate to be had as to whether it stays or goes. There’s also nowhere it can be used practically apart from on the stem. However, I can’t use the Quad Lock and my map platform at the same time as, when the phone is attached to the handlebars, they take up the same bit of space.

When I started writing this post, I was aiming at getting to the following question: any suggestions to help out my predicament? That’s still a relevant question to ask. However, in writing the above and finding the various links, I have stumbled upon a few pieces of map holding kit that are manufactured by Rixen & Kaul.

The first is this – advertised on the Evans website – and called the Rixen Kaul KlickFix Map Holder:

It looks to me that I would still have the problem of the perspex using up the same space as my mobile phone. Perhaps that’s why they invented the Rixen Kaul KlickFix Map Holder – Rotating:

That’s also on the Evans website. Finally (well, until I no doubt discover more of the devices in a moment…) there’s the Rixen Kaul Men’s (???!!!) KlickFix Sunny Map Holder Attachment available on Amazon:

Not sure what you have to do if you are not a man but moving on… This is a platform that I think may solve my problem. In fact, it looks to me as though they have taken my invention and improved upon it. I’ll forgive them… One reviewer on Amazon isn’t a great fan, complaining that there is nothing to prevent the see-through plastic from flapping annoyingly in the wind but that’s a problem I solved with my contraption using the red bungee (see image at the top of this post).

Rixen Kaul – a German company – sell their wares under the KLICKFix banner online. Their website is here. If you are into your handlebar bags, it’s certainly a site to visit as they appear to manufacture them in all shapes and sizes! I suspect that the answer to my predicament is to be found somewhere on that site, but, in the mean time, if you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them.

2PM UPDATE: I’m currently considering the virtues of this ‘Tablet Drybag’ from Topeak. I wouldn’t use it for a tablet but I imagine the bag bit comes with a rigid back that could be used to support a map on top (rather than in) the bag…

6:30PM UPDATE: One trip to Go Outdoors later, I am the owner of a Polaris MapTrap. The jury is still out so I refrain from saying ‘proud owner’. It doesn’t seem that securely attached to the handlebars. I only paid £13 (not the £20 indicated below) so I’ll simply consider this as part of the learning curve… Thoughts?

10:30PM UPDATE: I’ve just ordered the Topeak Tablet Drybag from Activesport in Buxton. 50% reduction so just £20… Watch this space.

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Categories: Adventure, Cycling

7 replies »

  1. I use one very similar to the Sunny Map Holder – it came from Lidl a few years back for about £3. The plastic case is long gone – I stupidly dropped it into a river and it floated away – but I replaced it with a ziplock bag with a hole made in it for the fixings to go through. This is open to the elements of course so the map itself goes inside another ziplock bag inside the outer one. Works a treat!

  2. Andrew. I too appreciate a paper map. And always take them with me. But honestly? We’re in the 21st century. Embrace technology and go electronic. Use the tech Luke. Use the tech.

    • I have embraced the tech and use it all the time. But I also love the paper map for what it can offer that an online map doesn’t, namely the bigger picture. I want to know not just where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going but also where I didn’t go, where I’m not and where I have no intention of going. That’s all possible with a paper map and not so much with electronic ones…

    • Perhaps… I’ve spent the last couple of hours continuing to browse. I’m currently looking at this iPad holder from Topeak. I wouldn’t use it for a tablet (although the pocket itself might come in handy) but presumably the pocket has a rigid back to it. I like how you can alter the angle so it would ‘tuck under’ (potentially) the Quad Lock / iPhone on the handlebars. It’s very difficult explaining these things in words!!! https://www.topeak.com/global/en/products/waterproof-bags/798-tablet-drybag

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