equipment review – Trail Rail mounting systemsPosted: August 12, 2013
I’m not being paid for this review.
I entered a contest sponsored by Momentum Magazine for a Trail Rail cell phone/GPS cradle. How useful! I always cycle with my cell phone and I’ve been carrying it in a little frame bag. But it requires stopping and pulling my phone out if I need it for anything, including emergencies. I have dropped it getting it out of the pouch. So I entered the contest, thinking this would be a useful piece of equipment. Much to my happy surprise I won!
I received the phone cradle from Trail Rail but unfortunately the mounting ring was too large a diameter for my handlebars. I contacted them, asking if they carried a mounting ring in a smaller size and they offered to send a couple of different configurations for free. They were extremely helpful and they even asked me for a photo of my handlebars so they could make sure to send the correct mounting rings.
Not only did they send the correct rings but they also sent a low-profile adaptor since I planned on mounting the cradle to my stem. The original cradle had a platform that adjusts for viewing angle. It’s very nice but it sticks up from my stem and I bump into it when I stand on my pedals to climb hills. The people at Trail Rail anticipated this when I told them I wanted to mount it on my stem rather than my handlebars, so they sent a low-profile mount. However, I couldn’t get it cranked down tight enough. But they replaced it, with apologies. Working with these guys has been fabulous, At every step of the process they solicited my input, they asked for photos, and they went way above and beyond to ensure I had a set-up that worked optimally.
When I sent a picture of my handlebars they noticed the pepper spray canister I have taped to my handlebars within easy reach. So they asked me the diameter of the canister and sent me a holder with a quick release clamp.
I also have a small tactical bag:
It fits a wallet or small digital camera and my keys. I can put my cell phone in the bag when it rains. There are several useful pockets inside and outside and it can be attached to your belt when you walk away from your bike.
All of the equipment is top-notch and high quality and it’s built to last. It isn’t inexpensive, but in this case not only do you get what you pay for, you get phenomenal responsiveness and service from the Trail Rail team. They honestly want you to be happy and will work with you every step of the way to make sure you have the best set-up possible. They welcome feedback and will keep tweaking things to make it perfect.
I’ve been riding with these products for a few weeks now and I can say that I am very well-satisfied with them. I am incredibly impressed with their customer service. That level of responsiveness is almost unknown these days. The fact that they went above and beyond for a customer who won their product rather than purchased it outright is a testament to their professionalism.
Here are some pros and cons I’ve found:
- High quality and rugged – these systems are meant to last forever
- Extremely versatile mounting systems
- Almost endless configurations (stem, handlebars, seatpost, seat rails, etc.
- Smart designs – you can mount your phone and record your ride on video using its camera
- Extra Allen wrenches, neoprene strips, and bolts are included. This is useful; I dropped a tiny bolt on a ride somewhere. I now have them all cranked down tight.
- Highest level of customer service imaginable
- The instructions leave a bit to be desired. If you’re technically adept it isn’t a problem but if you’re not, you’ll need some help. However, they’re very happy to help.
- The glue used for the neoprene lining the mounting rings melts in hot weather, but it is remedied with superglue. Do yourself a favor and re-glue them before you mount them the first time. Then they’re nearly indestructible. The company is working on this.
- Getting the phone in and out of the cradle requires the use of the included Allen wrench. There’s a quick-release mount for the entire cradle assembly, but not to separate the phone from the cradle easily. I’ve suggested a quick release system or even a keychain Allen wrench.
I honestly cannot recommend these products and the Trail Rail team enough. I am very satisfied, not only with the quality of the products but the quality of the service as well.
P.S. I plan to do more reviews when I try out new equipment so watch this space.