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Question about Bike Mirrors

Old 08-08-20, 01:06 AM
  #1  
DreamRider85
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Question about Bike Mirrors

I have been using the rear mirror on my helmet. It's pretty useful but I have a question. Are you supposed to turn your head to see what's behind you? Or should you be able to see everything as is? When I try to set it to see everything without tuning, I see my own hair and ear. But the problem with turning my head is it causes my bike to go that direction. I have to adjust it usually when I take my helmet off. It has a velcro strap.
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Old 08-08-20, 07:01 AM
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I use a Take-a-Look mirror that attach to glasses, and I'm always turning my head to use it. Even to check traffic on the right side in an intersection where it's smoother on the left, so I have to eventually merge right.
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Old 08-08-20, 08:18 AM
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I used a take-a-look mirror for a while, but realized that I didn't like the blind spot that it caused to my peripheral vision. I switched to a bar end mirror and like it much better.
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Old 08-08-20, 08:18 AM
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Those things are toys, and dangerous if you bump into a branch or fall.
I have on both bikes a mirror like what's on small motorcycles. I can see great, when I can get them to stop flopping.
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Old 08-08-20, 09:32 AM
  #5  
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DreamRider85 I've been using a Take-a-Look glasses mounted mirrors for years and years in conjunction with a bar-end mirror. It is the ability to turn my head and get a sweeping view of what's behind me that makes this mirror so useful to me.

I set mine at a diagonal so that it makes a diamond with a point at the top. I feel like it gives me a wider view behind me. I try to get a sliver of my ear in the corner. The center of the mirror then seems to be aimed at where the lane I'm in and the lane to my left converge a ways back. The diamond shape avoids filling the mirror with my shoulder. With this set up just a small head tilt lets me see directly behind me or just a little more lets me see the lane to my right. I, myself don't have the issue of turning in the direction I swivel my head, but I ride leaning forward on drop-bars in a more road-bike position.

However, sitting upright and gripping the sides of the laptop I'm typing on, when I turn my head I feel my shoulders and arms get pulled in the direction I'm looking. So I'm guessing you may ride more upright, and you may be using a larger, round, slightly convex mirror than my short-arm version of the flat, glasses mount take-a-look mirror. I've tried others brands, sizes and mounts, but the Take-A-look short arm works best for me..."Your Mileage May Vary".

Since you are aware of the turning issue you can practice to avoid it. Just as it probably took a few rides to get used to looking up into your helmet mirror, you can practice putting slight pressure on your handlebars in the opposite direction you are turning your head....slight pressure. You may even want to practice this in a parking lot or field away from traffic.

I know Jim from Boston rides with glasses mounted mirrors on both sides which may obviate the need to turn one's head as much. I'm still good with just one, but recent x-rays show arthritis on my horizon (or more accurately on my neck), so I may end up with dual mirrors eventually.

Here's me and my mirror, stopping to pick up a beer from a local brewery located in an old church on my ride home a couple of days ago.

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Old 08-08-20, 10:41 AM
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I use a mirror on my handlebar and it has a blindspot, just as I'm sure most bike mirrors have, regardless of design. My recommendation would be to do simple tests to see just where your blindspots are located, both on your right and left sides ( I can see to the right of me with my single handlebar mirror, which is on the left. However, beware that your blindspot may shift a little with a change in the angle of the mirror.

I do these same tests in my vehicle. I watch as a car approaches and at what point I lose sight of it in my mirrors.
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Old 08-08-20, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bobbyg View Post
dreamrider85 i've been using a take-a-look glasses mounted mirrors for years and years in conjunction with a bar-end mirror. It is the ability to turn my head and get a sweeping view of what's behind me that makes this mirror so useful to me.

I set mine at a diagonal so that it makes a diamond with a point at the top. I feel like it gives me a wider view behind me. I try to get a sliver of my ear in the corner. The center of the mirror then seems to be aimed at where the lane i'm in and the lane to my left converge a ways back. The diamond shape avoids filling the mirror with my shoulder....
+1
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Old 08-08-20, 01:01 PM
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i m addicted to glasses mounted TAKE A LOOK > rode moto for many years & your 6 is what you need to watch ... the TAKE A LOOK is cheap & easy to use & works perfectly
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Old 08-08-20, 01:26 PM
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Both. I also have the Take-A-Look mirror, and one thing that annoys me is that, of course, since it is attached to my head, it is adjusted for one head position only (and unfortunately, once I get the position set, it has to be with the long axis on the vertical, which also doesn't help; I'd rather a wider field of vision from it being set in "landscape" orientation). If I move my head slightly, then I don't have the same field of view. That's much of the reason I don't use it that much, because I spend so much time making microadjustments of my head while looking in the mirror to try to get the correct field of vision that I'm not looking at the road in front of me for 5-10 seconds at a time and that can't be any less dangerous than just taking a second to turn my head. (Also, I've found that despite the fact that it's on an arm that sticks out to the side, it doesn't really give me much better of a view past my stoker than just turning my head, and since that was the reason I wanted it, again it's sort of a "fail.")

However, OP, I'd suggest you also practice turning your head without the bike turning, if possible. That's a good skill to have. If you concentrate on it, it makes it easier. It may feel almost like you're turning the handlebars the other way, even though you're actually keeping them straight.
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Old 08-09-20, 10:08 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Kat12 View Post
However, OP, I'd suggest you also practice turning your head without the bike turning, if possible. That's a good skill to have. If you concentrate on it, it makes it easier. It may feel almost like you're turning the handlebars the other way, even though you're actually keeping them straight.
ditto, practice that^^^. And if you have good peripheral vision, you won't even need to have mirrors.

I can look all the way backwards with both hands on the handlebar and still keep riding straight.

Also, by turning your head to look to the left or right also helps warn motorists behind you that you're about to change lane.
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Old 08-09-20, 10:39 PM
  #11  
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To avoid the blind spot to my perepheral vision from my helmet mounted mirror, I use glasses with a high almost square upper,outer corner. Set up my 3rd Eye mirror to be in that corner. I still have to rotate my head some to see behind.

To those how advocate turning and looking, well not all of us can. I raced years ago and could do the full look without wavering but crashes have altered my balance a little and limited neck motion a lot. I can do the full look when the coast is clear, but I have zero business doing it in tight situations. Mirrors are for me, literally, a Godsend.

Ben
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Old 08-10-20, 01:57 AM
  #12  
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Turning your head should NOT cause you to turn the bicycle too. Try moving your hands in closer to the stem. Also, go to a schoolyard or someplace open nd free of motor traffic and practice turning your head whilst still keeping a straight line of travel.

I like either a helmet mounted mirror or my Take-A-Look glasses mounted mirror. I have either adjusted so that they are slightly above my line of sight directly forward but a glance into the mirror shows me what's coming up behind and to my left side.

The thing I really like about a glasses or helmet mounted mirror over a mirror on the bike itself is that in a turn I can turn my head and see what's behind me rather than having a view of some to my far left and not the road behind me.

Another advantage of the glasses or helmet mounted mirror is that I only need the one mirror and don't need to buy a mirror for each of my many bikes.

Cheers
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Old 08-10-20, 04:56 AM
  #13  
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I can easily look behind me while keeping the bike true on course, but that's not a reason to not use a mirror (at least in my experience of riding). My eyes are always darting around looking for things of concern, this includes behind me; I don't just check my six when I want to make a turn. Also, when I get into really heavy traffic, a repeated glance at the mirror is much more useful and safe than physically turning my head, when I'm getting ready for a turn.

I see some weird and sometimes scary things with what vehicles are doing in my mirror. I'm not totally trusting any driver and I want them to know (when they're doing stupid things) that I see them.
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Old 08-10-20, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
To those how advocate turning and looking, well not all of us can.
Hence why I said "if possible."
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Old 08-10-20, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DreamRider85 View Post
Are you supposed to turn your head to see what's behind you?
Yes. Turning your head increases the coverage. The same thing is true for mirrors in your car. But since car mirrors are much bigger (and farther away), it's not quite as necessary,

Originally Posted by DreamRider85 View Post
Or should you be able to see everything as is? When I try to set it to see everything without tuning,
No. This isn't really possible given the small size of the mirror.

Originally Posted by DreamRider85 View Post
But the problem with turning my head is it causes my bike to go that direction.
"Counter rotate" your lower body.

Turn your body very slightly in the opposite direction you are turning your head. It's a bit like "doing the twist".

Another way to do this is to relax the grip of the hand/arm you are turning your head towards.

With a mirror, you don't have to turn your head much at all.

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-10-20 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 08-12-20, 07:36 AM
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My helmet mirror is adjusted to permit rear visibility when riding in an "upright" position, w/ hands on the top of the handlebar. I then move my head around to attain full coverage to the rear. When my hands are down low I don't see rearwards until changing my body position.
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Old 08-12-20, 02:28 PM
  #17  
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I have used this Blackburn Road mirror design for over a decade. It allows a curb to curb view behind of a 6 lane road. The only blind spot is on my right side. It works in drops hoods and bars.



I tried for months to get two variations of a Take-A-Look to work for me, but found no matter how adjusted it can't see over my shoulder when in drops and required far to much head adjustment to scan road behind. It also creates a visual disturbance and left peripheral vision blockage as it is ever present in field of vision.

BUT - I ordered my third one recently and the mirror has been changed from a visually sharp perfectly shaped glass one to a plastic one that has different curvature and wavy surface making it unusable. I wrote to Blackburn to ask if they changed they design or perhaps I was sent a counterfeit one from Amazon (I returned it for full credit) but I have not heard back in 2wks now.
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Old 08-12-20, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Also, by turning your head to look to the left or right also helps warn motorists behind you that you're about to change lane.
That is actually one of the great advantages of a mirror is that drivers do not know you are looking back and react to you when you don't want them to.

For example without a mirror you may not realize there is a set of a few cars and a large gap behind them. So you turn looking for a left merge and the lead driver slows to let you in but it is too early to merge left so you have to wave them on and then tuck behind the last vehicle in the set - that slows everyone down and can cause confusion.
With a mirror a quick glance tells you there is a set of vehicles and then you know to just tuck in behind the last one after a final check with head turn and arm signal.

While I can easily look behind me and ride straight I have found a mirror allows for better integration into the flow of traffic than head turns allow for.
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Old 08-12-20, 03:42 PM
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Bigger helmet mirror, perhaps? safe zone mirror
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Old 08-12-20, 08:40 PM
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I got a helmet mirror with a fairly thin plastic stalk, don't remember the brand, but it vibrates enough as to be useless. Buyer beware. I won't try that one again.
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Old 08-13-20, 06:17 AM
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Bike mirrors are generally pretty small, so it is difficult to get a full picture without moving your head, even if it is a big one on your handlebar. Like many others in this thread (and mostly due to recommendations in these forums), I have a "take a look" that attaches to the temple piece on my glasses. Yes, I have to turn my head to get a full view of what's behind me, I keep the bike straight by using my peripheral vision. Whether I turn my head left to see further behind me, or right to see something more to the side, I keep the road in my peripheral vision in my right eye. Peripheral vision isn't very detailed, but it's enough to keep me on the road.
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Old 08-13-20, 07:38 AM
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I find a handlebar mirror is enough for me. On the recumbent, I occasionally wish I had one on both sides, but it's rare enough I need it on the right that I haven't bothered. It's quite a bit harder to look behind on a bent than a standard bike.

In my velo, I have two mirrors. There's a blind spot of about 6-7 ft behind me before the fields of view overlap, so it's much better even than a typical car as far as view goes.
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Old 08-13-20, 04:02 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
DreamRider85 I've been using a Take-a-Look glasses mounted mirrors for years and years in conjunction with a bar-end mirror. It is the ability to turn my head and get a sweeping view of what's behind me that makes this mirror so useful to me.

I set mine at a diagonal so that it makes a diamond with a point at the top. I feel like it gives me a wider view behind me. I try to get a sliver of my ear in the corner. The center of the mirror then seems to be aimed at where the lane I'm in and the lane to my left converge a ways back. The diamond shape avoids filling the mirror with my shoulder. With this set up just a small head tilt lets me see directly behind me or just a little more lets me see the lane to my right. I, myself don't have the issue of turning in the direction I swivel my head, but I ride leaning forward on drop-bars in a more road-bike position.

However, sitting upright and gripping the sides of the laptop I'm typing on, when I turn my head I feel my shoulders and arms get pulled in the direction I'm looking. So I'm guessing you may ride more upright, and you may be using a larger, round, slightly convex mirror than my short-arm version of the flat, glasses mount take-a-look mirror. I've tried others brands, sizes and mounts, but the Take-A-look short arm works best for me..."Your Mileage May Vary".

Since you are aware of the turning issue you can practice to avoid it. Just as it probably took a few rides to get used to looking up into your helmet mirror, you can practice putting slight pressure on your handlebars in the opposite direction you are turning your head....slight pressure. You may even want to practice this in a parking lot or field away from traffic.

I know Jim from Boston rides with glasses mounted mirrors on both sides which may obviate the need to turn one's head as much. I'm still good with just one, but recent x-rays show arthritis on my horizon (or more accurately on my neck), so I may end up with dual mirrors eventually.

Here's me and my mirror, stopping to pick up a beer from a local brewery located in an old church on my ride home a couple of days ago.

cool bike
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Old 08-13-20, 09:20 PM
  #24  
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DreamRider85 The first issue is that you need to train yourself to be able to hold your line even when you turn your head.

Once you have that down, then you can use your mirror whichever way you prefer.
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Old 08-13-20, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I've been using a Take-a-Look glasses mounted mirrors for years and years in conjunction with a bar-end mirror. It is the ability to turn my head and get a sweeping view of what's behind me that makes this mirror so useful to me.
I'm going to give that method a try on my next ride. Thanks.
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