This is the Moto Bundle on review, to fit the Samsung Galaxy S10
Date reviewed: May 2020 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £89.95 (Galaxy S10 motorcycle bundle) | sp-connect.co.uk
The SP Connect phone mount system on review here uses a slimline clip design that’s compatible with a wide range of mounts, from handlebar clamps and stick-on fittings to Go-Pro compatible and suction. I’m testing the Moto Bundle for the Samsung Galaxy S10, which includes a phone case, weather cover and Moto Mount Pro. Before lockdown I used it on a Royal Enfield Interceptor, while during lockdown I had it fitted to my pushbike…
The mechanism that secures the phone to the mount is extremely slim in the back of the bespoke case
I replaced the £13.99 Spigen Tough Armour case I had fitted to my Samsung Galaxy S10 with this SP Connect version; protection is very good for such a slim design, with a decent thickness of rubbery plastic at the corners to protect from impact damage and a sight lip at the top and bottom to keep the screen off the ground if it falls onto a fairly flat surface (like any case, if the screen falls onto a stone, you’ve had it). The cameras on the back of the phone are also very well protected.
The phone’s buttons remain easy to use and there’s no interference to the speakers, charging port or the headphone socket (remember those?).
The case is also easy to grip, having a soft, tactile feel that still looks good after spending several months in my pocket alongside my keys. And despite the mounting system nestled in the rear, the phone can still be charged wirelessly. In fact, a wireless charging module is also available to keep your phone powered while on the bike.
A weather-proof case is included with the Moto Bundle
The Galaxy S10 is water resistant, so I haven’t used the weather-proof cover that comes in the Moto Bundle. It does offer extra protection from the rain if your phone’s exposed at high speed, and it adds additional shock protection in case you drop it, but it makes for a bulkier phone with a less easy to read screen, as well as blocking the charging and headphone ports. You can still operate the screen of course, but it’s not something I’d want to leave on, and seeing as it’s a bit of a fiddle to fit and remove, I don’t tend to use it.
The mounting mechanism embedded into the back of the case takes up very little space and works by rotating through a really positive two-position latch. While this is a bit of a dust trap, I’ve not had any problems with anything fouling it and it’s easy to clean out if you need to.
A little stand is supplied with the case that you pop in the back and use to prop your phone up at one of two angles. It works fine, but I rarely think to carry it with me and it’s certainly not as elegant as the neat fold-out stand that was in my Spigen. What’s telling though is that, despite thinking I’d be pleased to switch back to the Spigen after reviewing these mounts, I’ve ended up keeping the SP Connect case fitted as it’s proved so useful.
This is the Moto Mount Pro, which is part of the Moto Bundle
SP Connect mounts feature a pair of small rails that locate into the mechanism on the back of your phone case: rotate your device through ninety degrees and it’s locked in place. It really is simple, but it’s very secure.
The only way you’ll lose your phone out of the bracket is if you manage to knock it around and release it, but it is worth noting that, were you to be stopped at some traffic lights in a high-crime area for instance, a passer-by could very quickly snatch your phone away. It’d be great to see a variant on this design that has the option of a latching clasp, but it would take away the ease of use of the design. Quad Lock has a slight advantage here in that the collar/arm needs pressing to release the phone, though in either case a thief would most likely rip the device off if they were determined to take it; breaking the case or mount wouldn’t bother them.
The arm can be easily removed if it’s not needed when mounting to your bike
It’s striking just how many mounting options there are, and while not listed on the SP Connect website, this Moto Bundle did include a GoPro adaptor that clips into a standard GoPro mount, and a self-adhesive mount.
The beautifully-finished anodised aluminium Moto Mount Pro that forms the main part of this bundle (or is available separately for £59.95) is very versatile, coming with an arm that allows you to position the phone almost anywhere thanks to a clever toothed interface between each part of the mount, and the ability to rotate it anywhere on the bars. Spacers are included to suit different thickness handlebars, as well as a riser to set the phone a little higher if necessary.
This bundle included a self-adhesive mount and a GoPro adaptor
On my push-bike, the arm allowed me to set the phone directly over the stem, while on the Royal Enfield I didn’t need the arm, so took it off and used it in a more compact form.
The instructions say that thread-lock should be used when fitting the clamp, though there’s none supplied, and it’s not been pre-applied to any of the set-screws. I haven’t had any issues with the kit loosening off, despite not using any of the various locking compounds I have in the garage, but it would be nice to see some pre-painted onto the screws in future.
The only limitation of the SP Connect that I can see is that you have to decide whether you want your phone in a vertical or horizontal orientation when you fit the mounting bracket. You can choose either (or any angle in between), but unlike the Quad Lock, you can’t switch it without tools. This isn’t an issue for me as I only use my phone one way, but it’s worth considering.
During lockdown I used the SP Connect kit on my bicycle
Thanks to the way the mount and mechanism clip together, and the soft plastic case, there’s a certain degree of vibration damping in the SP Connect system – your phone isn’t directly and firmly clamped to the bars.
While researching this review I looked for complaints of damage and couldn’t find any relating to SP Connect, though there was a thread that suggested someone had problems with the camera on their phone after using another brand of mount.
I had no issues with my S10 on a Kawasaki ZX-6R, BMW S1000XR and Royal Enfield Interceptor, but after two hours clamped to the very vibey Kawasaki W800, the telephoto lens on my phone shook badly during use when I’d got off to take a photo; this worried me as I was sure the optical image stabilisation (OIS) had been damaged.
Despite turning the phone off and on again and clearing the cache partition, it still seemed to shake. However, the phone rattled as expected with the camera off, then stopped rattling with it on, so it seemed to be engaging. After about four hours, I tried the camera again and the vibration had disappeared.
My mate – who rides an Aprilia RSV1000R – hasn’t suffered any problems and there are plenty of testimonials online of people who’ve been using SP Connect for more than a year and are extremely happy with it.
I’m happy to continue to use it on my own bikes, though I’ll be more cautious on extremely vibey machines like the W800.
UPDATE: BikeSocial’s Michael Mann used the kit on a Ducati Streetfighter with his iPhone 11 and the vibrations damaged the camera module, rendering it shakey all the time. Fortunately this was repaired at the Apple Store (Michael wasn’t aware of what had caused it at the time), but this is something to be very aware of. SP Connect has released an optional anti-vibration module for £24.95, though we’d hope to see this appearing with the motorcycle bundles.
I’m usually reluctant to use mounts that are phone-specific as when you change your device you have to buy the mount again. However, we all buy cases, and £24.95 isn’t bad for a quality one like this, especially with the very effective mounting system incorporated (Samsung’s own standard case is £25); I don’t mind paying that every two or three years.
Of course, you’ll have to keep buying the most popular phones if you want to use an SP Connect case (there’s no support for the Google Pixel for instance), but you can get round that with the stick-on universal interface.
What impresses me most is the range of mounts available and the real simplicity in use; I’m definitely going to want to use the suction mount in my car and will probably invest in one or two other mounts so I don’t need to keep swapping this one between my push-bike and motorcycles.
If you want to fit your phone to your motorcycle (or push-bike, or car windscreen, or belt, or arm or, well, anywhere…) I’ve no hesitation in recommending the SP Connect system, but it has to be with the caveat that some people might experience problems with the camera modules on some phones, with some bikes.
A stand is supplied with the phone case and can be positioned like this, or at 90°
Having now used the SP Connect system with several other mounts, below are my thoughts on some of the key kit for fitting your phone to your bike.
All are claimed to have a certain degree of vibration damping built in, though interestingly SP Connect now offers a specific anti-vibration module for £24.95, which replaces the existing mounting ring on the following:
As explained in the main review, my Samsung Galaxy S10 was fine on the BMW S1000XR and Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, but after using it with the Kawasaki W800, the optical image stabilisation shook badly for several hours. This seemed to sort itself out eventually, but it was worrying. I haven’t had the chance to try the anti-vibration attachment yet, and it’s a shame it adds so much cost to the kit, but it’s worth knowing about if your bike is prone to very strong vibes.
Ultimately, kitting your motorcycle, car and pushbike with SP Connect brackets can be expensive, but as they’re generally so well made and effective, once you have them it should only be a matter of buying a new case when you change your phone…
Moto Mount Pro | Price: £59.95 |Link: sp-connect.co.uk/moto-mount-pro
This is the mount that came with the bundle I had on test, but you can buy it separately.
Made of aluminium, it’s an extremely versatile mount, allowing you to position your phone in any number of positions on a wide variety of bikes. I mainly used it on my S1000XR until testing some other mounts, but it also spent a lot of time on my push-bike during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Setting it up is easy thanks to the fine teeth on the two rotating mounting points, so you should be able to find a position that works for you. I also appreciate the fact that you can remove the extension arm if you want, making this a very versatile mount.
Bar Clamp Mount Pro | Price: £59.95 |Link: sp-connect.co.uk/bar-clamp-mount-pro
I now have the aluminium Bar Clamp Mount Pro fitted to my BMW S1000XR – this is a very tidy solution for my bike, though it will of course only work with machines that have handlebars, rather than clip-ons, where the Clutch Mount could be a good choice.
Setting the perfect position is very simple, thanks again to fine-toothed adjusters that give plenty of range, but still prevent accidental rotation. This Pro model gives you the opportunity to tilt the phone, though for £10 less you could get the Bar Clamp Mount, which doesn’t have the tilt facility.
M8 set-screws are supplied in 40, 45 and 50mm lengths so you should be able to fit this easily to most machines – just carefully check the length you need by holding the assembly against the existing bolt, and don’t forget to include the supplied spring washer.
Ideally, check the torque settings required before fitting this to your bike, but if you’re not confident, ask your dealer. On my 2019 S1000XR, the bar clamp requires 19Nm.
Mirror Mount Pro | Price: £44.95 |Link: sp-connect.co.uk/mirror-mount-pro
The Mirror Mount Pro is surprisingly versatile – the three spacer inserts allow it to fit around many mirror stems, but a big bonus for me is the fact that it also sits perfectly on my 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R’s fairing bracket, and the handlebar brace on the Royal Enfield Interceptor.
Like the Bar Clamp Mount Pro, this can be rotated and tilted to indexed positions, though by the nature of the way this fits, I find the tilt feature a little unnecessary, adding bulk and expense that – for my situation at least – isn’t really worthwhile; the £24.95 Mirror Mount may well be all you need.
On both the Pro and standard mounts, the clamp that secures around the mirror (or bar brace) is made of plastic, though the tilting arm on the Pro is aluminium.
Universal Mount | Price: £24.95 |Link: sp-connect.co.uk/universal-mount
With two different length straps and a very effective grip, the Universal Mount could be ideal for swapping between motorcycles, and for using on the push-bike – it’ll fit on anything between 20mm and 90mm in diameter, so there’s plenty of versatility.
The bracket on the top can be lifted and rotated through 360°, so it’s easy to find the right position for where you put it. Note though that, unlike the other mounts on test, the indexing is only every 45°, so you can’t fine-tune the position. Of course, as this is intended more as a temporary and versatile mount, that’s not really an issue.
Unfortunately, my Universal Mount broke when my pushbike fell on its side; while the phone didn’t appear to strike anything, it came off with the top of the bracket.
It turns out that the bracket is held in place with a circlip, which was cracked. It’s not clear if this happened during the drop, in production, or when I was using the mount on the very vibey Kawasaki W800, but it’s not a design of fastening that I’d feel comfortable entrusting the safety of a £500 phone to.
Suction Mount | Price: £34.95 |Link: sp-connect.co.uk/suction-mount
Needless to say, the Suction Mount isn’t for use on a motorcycle, but if you do have a car as well, it’s a very worthwhile addition.
Solidly made of tough plastic, the mount is quite chunky but it keeps your phone very stable and secure. The suction cup is released with a lever built into the base, then pulled down very firmly when closing that lever – this thing won’t be falling off a couple of miles after you drive away, and your phone doesn’t bounce around like it can on some cheap alternatives.
The bracket is a hybrid design that holds your phone in place without having to rotate to lock; it does this by including ridges that are strong enough to hold your phone in place, but allow you to pull it clear. You can still rotate the phone through 90° to lock it fully, but it does mean that you can easily have your device in horizontal or vertical orientation without fiddling around to adjust it.
The mounting bracket is fitted to a ball adjuster that gives you a good degree of movement, as well as allowing it to be spun through 360° – basically, you can set your phone in just the position you want. It’s worth noting that when you have got it set up, you should nip the ball adjuster up reasonably tight, or rotating the phone through 90° can see it shift.
Like the other mounts available from SP Connect, this isn’t cheap, but now I’m converted to the system, I can see this being used for many, many years to come…
SP Connect will of course be constantly adding new phone cases, but there are also two water-resistant universal cases available (£24.95), as well as a stick-on mechanism to convert your existing case (£17.95).
As of May 2020, the current list of phones that dedicated cases are available for from SP Connect are: