Holiday Gift Guide – Electronics for the Mountain Biker

by Brian Mullin on December 8, 2013

Here is a short holiday gift list of POV cameras, durable smartphone
cases and bike mounts, and third party Garmin GPS mounts for the
mountain biking electronic junkie.

POV Action Cameras


The new GoPro HERO3+
comes with a 20% slimmer waterproof housing, 30% better battery life,
improved audio and faster Wi-Fi. In addition to those features, the
upscale Black Edition gets a new SuperView video mode, Auto Low Light
and a lens that boosts a 33% increase in image sharpness. Down deep in
the innards of the camera are improved hardware and software, which will
enhance overall performance and image quality. The HERO3+ Black Edition
retails for $399.99 and the Silver Edition for $299.99, while the White
Edition remains unchanged and still retails for $199.99.

MSRP: Black Edition $399.99, Silver Edition $299.99, White Edition ($199.99)
More Info:

Photo courtesy of  Drift Innovations

Drift Industries

The new Drift
Ghost-S retails for $399 and gets a 3.5-hour battery,  an upgraded
processor that is twice as fast as its predecessor, and it now records
in higher resolutions of 1080p 60fps and 720 120fps, both of which allow
you to create slow-motion videos. They’re now using a Sony 12MP CMOS
sensor and an updated 7–element aspherical lens, which rotates 300º,
both of which should greatly improve the clarity and richness of the
recorded footage. The new Scene Mode feature allows you to choose
between normal, vivid and low light settings, and the low-light option
dynamically adjusts for those conditions to give the best possible

MSRP: $399

Photo courtesy of  Sony

Sony Action Cam

The new Sony
HDR-AS30V retails for $299.99, and is the second generation of their
current HDR-AS15, and its 25% smaller and 35% lighter. It has the same
lens and basic layout as its predecessor, and most changes are minimal,
though it does get built-in GPS and the ability to do 11.9-megapixel
photos. It gets a slimmer and lighter waterproof housing that goes to 16
feet instead of the previous models 197 feet, and this alteration
allowed waterproof membranes to be added for the microphones, which
greatly improves sound quality. In addition, the housing has external
buttons, so more settings can be changed without having to remove the
camera from the housing. It also gets a backlit Exmor R CMOS sensor,
1080/60p video, universal and chest mounts, and an optional wearable and
waterproof Live-View remote.

MSRP: $299.99

Photo courtesy of  Garmin

Garmin VIRB

is new to the POV game, and their camera comes in two versions, the
$299 VIRB  and the upscale $399 VIRB Elite. They’ll be able to shoot up
to 1080p at 30fps videos and 16MP still photos, and have a three-hour
battery, a 1.4-inch low-power color LCD screen, and ANT+ capabilities,
and a 16 MP CMOS sensor. The fancier VIRB Elite adds Wi-Fi connectivity,
a GPS, an accelerometer, an altimeter, and its ANT+ can receive
temperature sensor, speed/cadence bike sensor and heart-rate monitor
information, and add it to footage. In addition, the ANT+ feature allows
wireless connectivity to certain Garmin devices, including the Fenix
and Quatix watches, Oregon 600, Edge 810, for remote control
MSRP: $299 VIRB  and $399 VIRB Elite.

POV Price Comparison:

  • GoPro HERO3+ – Black Edition $399.99 and Silver $299.99
  • Drift Ghost-S $399.99
  • Sony HDRAS30V $299.99
  • Garmin – VIRB $299 and VIRB Elite $399

Smartphone Cases with Bike Mounts

Lifeproof Fre

The LifeProof frē case (iPhone 4/4s , 5C,  5, 5S and Samsung Galaxy s3 , S4)
is waterproof, snowproof, dustproof and shockproof, and protects the
smartphone from abusive encounters with the environment and anything
else you can toss at it. The phone inserts tightly into the case, and
then gets squeezed in snugly when the halves are closed together, and it
takes some decent compression to get all the edges snapped completely
shut and seal the waterproof gasket. Once everything is closed up tight,
the case is immune to the average hazards tossed at it. The bike mount
(only available for the iPhone’s) is made from a tough high-impact
resistant plastic, and it snugly cradles the iPhone case on its back,
corners and top edge, without any undue movement. It clamps down with an
easy to use handlebar clamp that has three rubber size adapters for
varying bar thickness. The case retails for $79.99 while the mount goes
for $39.99.

MSRP: Case ($79.99); Mount ($39.99)


The Rokform Rokbed V3 Bike Mount Kit retails
for $99 is an all-encompassing smartphone mounting system for bicycles,
and the system includes a heavy-duty aluminum mount that attaches to
the headset and a protective case for the phones (iPhone 4/4s &
5/5S, and Samsung Galaxy s3& S4). When the system is mounted on the
headset, you can use your iPhone for cycling GPS apps and normal mobile
and music usage, greatly extending your smartphones functionality, right
at your fingertips. The two-piece case is made from an injection-molded
polycarbonate frame, and has a thermoplastic elastomer non-slip grip
insert that contains a rare-earth magnet. The case connects to the mount
using their Remote Mounting System (RMS), which is a dual retention
lock system.

MSRP: $99.99

Garmin Edge GPS Mounts

K-Edge Stem Mount for Garmin Computers – Fixed and Adjustable

produced some of the first third party mounts for Garmin computers, and
their CNC machined aluminum mounts are tough, stable and secure. I
reviewed their first foray of the Garmin mounts about a year ago, and I
found it to be durable and tough, with rock solid stability, which
offers a functional forward viewing location. Since that time, they have
refined their mounts, and the old aluminum interface, which could chew
up the Garmin computer wings, have been replaced with a user-friendly
plastic interface. Their latest Garmin computer mount is attached onto
the bikes stem, and it comes in two versions; a fixed and an adjustable.
These new models look like real winners, since having the computer
residing on the stem protects it from getting damaged and abused. I am
looking forward to spending some quality time testing these units out
once the local temperature stay above 0 degrees.

MSRP: Fixed: $29.99, Adjustable: $39.99

Photo courtesy of  Tate Labs

Tate Labs – Bar Fly 3.0
Tate Labs has the impressive new Bar Fly 3.0.
The made in the USA 3.0 mount is meant for the Garmin Edge bike
computers, and is a backwards variant of their Bar Fly 2.0, with its
mount position being behind the stem faceplate to protect the computer.
The 3.0 weighs 17 grams, retails for $24.95 and comes with their “Buy one you’re done”
lifetime warranty and crash replacement policy. The simple one bolt
design of the clamp makes it easy to take on and off, so you can easily
swap it between bikes. The mount is made of Delrin plastic, so the clamp
section is safe for carbon bars, and of utmost importance, the main
computer interface is friendly to the plastic wings on the back of the
Edge units.

MSRP: $24.95

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