A quality road bike mirror on your handlebars or helmet can be your trusty companion to stay safe while navigating the country’s busy roads.
Using a road bike mirror can keep you safer on the road as there’s no longer the need to look over your shoulder to see what’s coming up behind.
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Although more common amongst commuters and tourers who are happier to laden up their bikes in the name of practicality and safety, mirrors can also be a handy addition for riders going on training rides.
A bike mirror allows you to allows keep track of approaching traffic and therefore it can make completing interval sets easier. You can focus on the road ahead and the data targets displayed on your cycling computer, while staying tucked in an optimal riding position.
What might come as a surprise to some is that road bike mirrors do not have to be bulky, unsightly practical devices, they can be tiny, neat and slick.
We have split up our pick of the best bike mirrors by their style of mounting mechanism. Picking between these will depend on the purpose of your riding (commute, leisure or training), the length of your rides and where you sit on the line between safety and aesthetics:
- Bar end mirrors: These are sleek looking and the least obtrusive option as they are mounted to the end of drop handlebars. But often the mirrors are smaller which means you don’t have the widest field of vision, albeit enough to get a basic indication of the traffic behind you. Best for riders on training rides who want a mirror that doesn’t interfere with their efforts.
- Helmet and sunglasses mirrors: As these are mounted directly to your helmet or sunglasses wherever you look the mirror, and therefore behind you, will stay in your field of vision at all times. However when you take your helmet/sunglasses off at the cafe stop or when you arrive at your destination, the mirror extension is easy to knock and will have to be readjusted when you next set off. Not ideal for commuters who have to cram their cycling gear into a small locker or office drawer at work; best for short distance leisure riders.
- Handlebar mirrors: Wrapped around your handlebars, with options for flat or drop bars, this style of mirror tends to be the largest and the sturdiest. Although they could clutter up your handlebars which may already be filled with front lights, a bell and cycling computer or smart phone holder for following directions. Best for riders touring or commuters who want a sturdy, reliable option.
Bar end road bike mirrors
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Cateye BM45 Bar End Mirror
Being safe when riding does not have to be at the compromise of looking stylish and this sleek, ultralight bar end mirror from Cateye delivers just that. Your handlebars can remain clutter free and the mirror is hardly noticeable to others but gives you critical rear-view sight.
It weighs just 35 grams and the lens has a diameter of 45mm which is enough to see what’s behind without being too bulky. Made of aluminium and glass it’s durable and Cateye say it provides nearly distortion-free viewing.
Corky Bar End 360 Degree Angle Control Mirror
This bar end style of rearview mirror from Corky is unique with its lid mechanism which provides protection when not in use. It’s a neat and compact system that has 360 degree adjustibility so you set it up for the optimal view and the wing of the body is designed to minimise the mirror’s air resistance.
If you close the mirror/lid it will take time before each ride to find the ideal position but this is worth it for preserving its life. It is available in red, blue, green, grey, white or black – and with so much choice this mirror will blend in effortlessly with the current aesthetics of your bike.
Hafny Bar End Cycling Mirror
Boasting a HD Automotive Grade glass mirror you will benefit from a crystal clear view of any traffic behind when riding along with this mirror from Hafny.
It can be slotted into the end of either drop bar or flat handlebars, with an inner diameter of 17-21mm, and this provides a solid, snug fit that has no movement or vibration – even with its 360 degree adjustability mechanism.
There’s also a slightly more expensive option which has HD anti-glare glass fitted, and both glass options are available in two sizes, 62mm and 68mm.
Helmet mounted road bike mirrors
Bike Peddler Take A Look Cycling Eyeglass Mirror
Designed to attach to your sunglasses or cycling helmet, Bike Peddler’s mirror option is a versatile and unobtrusive method of clearly seeing behind you with minimal head movement or eye strain.
It features a frameless acrylic mirror which provides a wide, uninterrupted field of vision, while the stainless steel and brass frame is durable. With three pivot points there is total adjustability and can be used on either the left or right side, depending on which side of the road you are riding on in different countries.
Blackburn Helmet Cycling Mirror
Attaching to your helmet by an adhesive pad, Blackburn’s helmet mirror is easy to install and it is made out of high quality materials that will last.
It’s a cheap and lightweight option at just 9g but the mirror can be rather sensitive to vibration and misaligned if you are riding along poorly kept roads littered with potholes – although somewhat expected at this low price point.
Handlebar road bike mirrors
LuTuo Cycling Handlebar Mirror
For full adjustability on flat and drop handlebars the LuTuo can be set to any angle with its 360 degree rotation capability and the long flexible arm can be bent into position with ease.
It fits handlebars with a diameter between 22mm and 32mm and can be used for either left or right handlebar mounting, and thus it’s a good option for riders who tend to cycle on holiday in different countries.
Selle Italia Eyelink Cycling Mirror
Designed to be integrated into the hoods of the brake lever of drop bar bikes and with a double pivot, Selle Italia’s cycling mirror is a high end option that will provide you with an unparalleled view of behind.
Larger than those mounted via the dropbars, centre of the handlebars or helmet, this mirror is 105mm wide by 55mm high and has a unique curvature radius which provides a wide and clear viewing angle. To protect you in case of a crash, the 2mm thick glass of the mirror has an adhesive net that prevents the shattered pieces from flying out.
This practical choice of mirror is compatible with Shimano and SRAM handlebars, but do note this version mounts on the left brake lever for riding on the right side of the road in countries in Europe and the Americas, etc. Therefore, not as useful in the UK.
What to look for in a road bike mirror
There are many design aspects to look out for when buying a road bike mirror to suit your individual needs, we run through a few of the most important.
A larger mirror is not always preferable as the increased size could result in glare and take up a lot of space at the front end of your bike, which is often cluttered with other useful tools. To see clearly what’s behind, the size of the mirror is not the only factor, if in the optimal position a mirror with a smaller diameter can be sufficient and ideal for staying safe while riding.
Although, this doesn’t mean the smallest mirrors are the best either, too small and you really won’t have a large enough field of vision. Vehicles could easily sneak up just outside the range of the mirror and therefore relying on a small mirror could be riskier than double checking over your shoulder.
A mirror that can be easily adjusted is useful for making quick changes as you ride along and also when setting up the mirror in an optimal position. However with greater adjustability the mirror is also more prone to vibrating out of position, to what extent depends on the surface quality of the roads you are riding.
Bike mirrors are available for all styles of rides including road, hybrid, gravel, fixed and singlespeed bikes. Most bar end and handlebar options tend to have a range of diameters they can fit, but it is worth measuring the inside diameter at your bar ends and the external diameter round the tops of your handlebars, because sizes can vary.
Left and right sided mirrors
Although partially down to preference which side of your handlebars or helmet is best to mount your mirror, as we ride on the left hand side in the UK most of us are used to looking right in a rearview mirror. A right mounted mirror will also give you a better angle of the road behind.