The 4 Best Bike Mirrors, According to Cycling Experts

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Having a mirror on your bike can help make your rides safer and smoother.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Saddle height, bar positioning, the types of roads and trails you ride on — there's a slew of things to consider when setting up a new bike. One of those is whether or not you want a bike mirror.

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Configuring a mirror onto your ride might not be at the top of your to-do list, but it's a smart thing to consider if you're looking for ways to stay safe.

"Not having to look backward to check for traffic, especially when riding on a road shoulder, can help you avoid taking your eyes off the road," Paul Johnson, founder of Complete Tri, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

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It makes sense: A car has rearview mirrors, so why shouldn't a bike, which often traverses the same types of roads? But Johnson notes mirrors are just as valuable on a trail, too. And they can be especially useful for more novice riders.

"Slower riders [can] use mirrors to see faster cyclists coming up behind them," Johnson says. "They can then move over to the side of the trail proactively."

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The bottom line: Having a mirror fixed to your bike, whether a road or mountain bike, can ensure a safer, smoother ride.

How We Chose

We spoke with three cycling experts to learn what exactly to look for when purchasing a bike mirror, in addition to their favorite product picks. A few of the major features we considered while putting together our list:

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  • Placement on bike or helmet
  • Adjustability
  • Quality of design

Below, you'll find the four best bike mirrors on the market right now.

1. Best for Road Bikes: Hafny New Handlebar Bike Mirror

  • Mirror Mount Location: ​Bar ends
  • Mount Type: ​Clamp/screw-on

So long as you're not jostling down bumpy terrain, the Hafny New Handlebar Bike Mirror is one of Johnson's favorites, ideal for road biking.

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"It has good visibility and adjustability," he says. "It's probably not what we would want for a rugged trail, but it works on tame surfaces."

The mirror is crafted with the company's "anti-glare blue lens," something you typically see in automotive vehicles — so your view won't be obstructed on especially bright, sunny days.

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Buy it:Amazon.com;​ Price:​ $22.99

2. Best for Mountain Bikes: D+D Oberlauda UltraLite Bike Mirror

  • Mirror Mount Location: ​Bar ends
  • Mount Type: ​Clamp

The D+D Oberlauda UltraLite Bike Mirror is Johnson's favorite for traversing tight, rocky trails.

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"This is a really good mirror that hangs off the end of your handlebar and swivels so you can get the angle just right," he says. "Because there are not as many points of adjustability, it tends to hold up better on bumpy terrain."

And at a mere 2 ounces, the mirror is particularly light, too — meaning there's a reduced chance it'll feel clunky and weigh you down on tough terrain.

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Buy it:REI.com; ​Price:​ $30

3. Best for Bike Helmets: Bell Sports Helmet Bike Mirror

  • Mirror Mount Location: ​Helmet
  • Mount Type: ​Clamp

The Bell Sports Helmet Bike Mirror is crafted by a company that specializes in making bike helmets — which means it's optimized for safety and visibility.

Johnson tends to prefer helmet mirrors in general because "they allow for quicker glances at the mirror without having to turn your head, which is nice when you are riding near where cars are zooming by." Plus, he adds, this model fits well on most bike helmets.

Buy it:Scheels.com;Price: ​$13

4. Best for Bar Ends: Hafny Bar End Bike Mirror

  • Mirror Mount Location: ​Bar ends
  • Mount Type: ​Screw-on

Hafny makes some of the best and most robust bike mirrors on the market, according to Peter Ballin, a professional mountain bike mechanic and former international mountain bike racer.

"If you are looking for a bar end-mounted mirror, the Bar End Bike Mirror is a great option, as it is made from tough, polished steel, and has a wide-angle convex lens, which offers a great rear view," he tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Buy it:Amazon.com; ​Price: ​$20.98

4 Things to Consider When Buying a Bike Mirror

1. Mirror Mount Location

For the most part, a bike mirror will mount on one of two places: the handlebars (either on flat or drop style bars) or your helmet. Johnson says he almost always recommends helmet mirrors over handlebar mirrors.

"Helmet-mounted mirrors sometimes take some getting used to, but are just a lot more practical," he explains. He adds that, because the mirror is already fixed in your line of view, there's no need to turn your head mid-ride (making it much more efficient and safe on all types of trails).

Although Johnson ​does​ endorse some mirrors on handlebars (like the D+D Oberlauda UltraLite Bike Mirror above), he doesn't recommend mirrors on drop handlebars.

"When you go in drop position, your positioning is very different and you might actually have your head in front of the bars," he says. "Looking down or back at this point would be very dangerous. Helmet mirrors are better."

2. Goldilocks Adjustability

Like a car, a mirror on a bike should have some maneuverability. After all, no two bicycles or cyclists are the same size. But ​too​ much swivel can be unproductive, Johnson says.

"Try to minimize the points of swivel or adjustability," he says. "Yes, you need some [movement], but the more you have, the more points of failure there are if you go over a rough patch of trail."

Ideally, you want to be able to adjust the mirror, but then set it in place so it's not adjusting on its own throughout your ride.

3. Compatibility With Your Bike or Helmet

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning: According to Johnson, some high-end handlebars (both drop and flat) aren't able to handle screw-on mirror attachments. In that case, you'll need a helmet mirror or a clamp-on mirror.

4. Quality

When searching for a bike mirror, former competitive cyclist Mikhail Giller tells LIVESTRONG.com there's a term you need to keep an eye out for when it comes to quality: convex.

Essentially, a convex mirror just means it's curved with a reflecting surface, which provides wider visibility.

"A [good bike mirror] should have a wide view with a convex mirror to provide the best view of objects behind the rider," he says.

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