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The HubBub Helmet Mirror: Get used to it

by Ted Johnson

The main reason I wear a helmet is because I really like having a rear-view mirror. I’ve used several mirrors over the years, and I definitely prefer the kind that mount in the vicinity of my left eye over models that mount on the handlebars.

HubBub Helmet Mirror

Helmet Accessory of the Day: HubBub Helmet Mirror

I’ve been using a HubBub Helmet Mirror for about three months, and it’s definitely my favorite of all the types I’ve tried.

(Read this if you are wondering why I would choose to look like a dork with so many accessories on my helmet.)

When I don’t wear a helmet, what causes me the most anxiety is not having the ability to see ahead and behind at the same time — more than the sense that I should have a Styrofoam shell on my head as a defense against the steel menaces (a.k.a. cars) with which I mingle in traffic.

3rd Eye Mirror Glasses

Eyeglasses-Mounted Mirrors: Not just for cycling! Watch your co-workers watch you being rude.

Before I started wearing contact lenses, I had a mirror that mounted to the arm of my glasses. I’d leave it on during the day as I sat at my workstation with my back to my office door. My co-workers would walk in, and I’d forget that the polite thing to do would be to turn around and face them.

I could see them just fine, and the looks on their faces said, What a jerk.

After that, I developed a fondness for the helmet-mounted CycleAware Reflex Mirror, with its Gumby-like arm, and the ability to rotate up like a periscope for extra dork factor. The problems I had with that model was it’s constant need for adjustment after any sort of vibration episode. And the mirror itself had a tendency to pop off the arm whenever I stored my helmet anywhere. It’s kind of a priss that way. Nonetheless, it was my favorite design — until I got to try the HubBub Helmet Mirror.

HubBub Mirror vs. CycleAware Mirror

HubBub Mirror (rear) vs. CycleAware Mirror (front)

At first I thought it was too big, so I mounted it to my helmet without removing the CycleAware mirror. It’s actually not that much bigger, but the size and shape make a big difference. It’s in that Goldilocks zone between too small, and too big.

The attachment arm is made from a bicycle spoke (a DT Swiss 14 Gauge Champion, for any wheel-building geeks out there). It doesn’t have the Gumby flexibility I was used to, but once I have it adjusted, it freakin’ stays adjusted.

The mounting end of the arm is rubberized to grip the helmet without glue or a designated mounting point. I mounted it to my Lazer helmet, with extra-thick foam where the integrated visor meets the shell.

HubBub Mirror on Lazer Helmet

Then, with a little bending, shaping and squeezing, I mounted it to my ragged old Bell helmet. That fancy Swiss spoke supposedly can take a lot of bending and re-bending. I was encouraged by HubBub not to be the least bit shy.

Robert and Robin

Robert and Robin

Yesterday I mentioned that my co-workers had started calling me “Cyborg” because of all the accessories I have on my Bell Helmet.

I enlisted them to help me photograph an inside-the-helmet perspective of the HubBub mirror.

Allow me introduce you.

In the mirror is Robert, who giggles a lot — a lot — and is willing to conspire on and/or escalate any stupid idea I have for a blog post. He was helping me to make sure the GoPro camera lens was visible in the mirror.

In front of me is Robin, who is a little more reserved. One day, he’ll be the kind of parent who is constantly telling his kids, You’re not going out dressed like that! When this photo was taken, he was in the middle of saying to me, “You’re the weirdest person in the universe.”

Mirror in the Bathroom

'Cyborg?' How about just 'Borg?'

And this is what I looked like in the bathroom mirror as I was figuring out how to mount the camera to my face before I went out for a ride.

With the camera covering my left eye — my good eye — I went out and played in traffic on Route 66, seeing with only my not-so-good eye. The camera was taking a photo every two seconds.

It goes without saying, I couldn’t see very well, and couldn’t see the mirror at all.

(This is exactly the kind of adrenaline sport for which the GoPro camera was invented.)

And it turned out that out of about 400 photos, none of them were very good.

So I faked a photo (just a little) to give you an idea of why I love mirrors — and the HubBub mirror in particular.

Some people would rather not know what’s coming up behind them — the same kind of people who won’t check their bank account because they might find out they’re out of money. Me? I like to see behind me without having to do a full head check. It allows me, among other things, to claim the lane with much more confidence.

HubBub Mirror with Fake Reflection

If you mingle with traffic, you’ll get used to a rear-view mirror really quickly — and then you’ll feel insecure without one.

The HubBub Helmet mirror sells for $29 from HubBub Custom Bicycles of Chesterland, Ohio.

 
Burley nomad 229

7 Responses to “The HubBub Helmet Mirror: Get used to it”

  1. Ray Lovinggood says:

    I have two CycleAware mirrors: One on each of my two helmets (and not two on one helmet…)

    The first mirror developed a loose socket where the ball snaps in and it will flop around quite readily. CycleAware sent me a new mirror, but before it arrived, I wrapped a small cable tie around the socket and pulled it tight. That snugged down on the ball somewhat.

    I bought a second mirror when I bought a second helmet. The ball and socket stayed tighter for a much longer time, probably a year or more of almost daily use, but now, too, it has worked loose. It won’t keep its position and speeds above approximately 15 mph will move the mirror. That’s quite annoying.

    I understand the Hubbub mirror does not use a ball and socket joint, but just a wheel spoke (straight, double, or triple butted?).

    Ted, have you had any issues with the Hubbub mirror losing its setting? Does air pressure move it around?

    How hard is it to reset? I ride two bike, but have only one helmet that I wear (the other helmet isn’t comfortable). I sit differently on each bike and I have to adjust the mirror for the different riding positions. How hard is it to readjust? Will multiple adjustments end in a broken spoke? (Is that why I’m supposed to carry spare spokes?)

    The Hubbub mirror looks interesting and if I can’t find a cheap way to tighten up the ball and socket joint on the CycleAware, I’ll replace it with the Hubbub unit.

    Thanks
    Ray

    • Ted Johnson says:

      The first helmet-mounted mirror I ever used might also have been a CycleAware. It was back in the ’80s.

      I was on a tour (the only bike tour I’ve ever done) drinking a grape soda at a rest stop. I was very frustrated that the mirror wouldn’t stay adjusted. I wondered, “Where can find something sticky to gum up this thing without gluing it?” I looked down and the answer was in my hand. I dripped some grape soda into the ball-and-socket joint, and that stickiness helped to keep it adjusted much longer.

      The HubBub mirror doesn’t have a ball-and-socket joint. The spoke goes right into a hole on the back of the plastic housing. To adjust you can rotate the mirror only on one axis, and you can bend the spoke.

      Maybe over time that rotation will loosen, but so far it’s pretty stiff.

      Wind schmind. This weekend I stuffed my helmet into a pannier, when I pulled it out again the mirror was still adjusted.

      HubBub Mounting Arm

  2. BluesCat says:

    Ray and Ted – I’ve heard that hair spray works great on the ball-and-socket type helmet mirrors. I’ve never tried it myself, so if you gum up your mirror, I deny ever mentioning this. Supposedly, you just pop the ball out of the socket, spray the ball with a good squirt of hair spray, let it dry and then just pop it on.

    I DO know that this technique works great for making sure grips don’t travel off flat, riser or ape-hanger type handlebars.

    I do not have a problem with my three-year old Cycleaware helmet mirror going out of adjustment.

  3. BluesCat says:

    BTW, I also do no have a problem with either my Third Eye Foam Helmet mirror or my Blackburn helmet mirror. They stay in adjustment, too, and the Third Eye is almost four years old.

  4. Terry says:

    For the ball and socket joint of the mirrors, I’ve had good luck with stuffing a small piece of paper towel in the joint.

  5. Jon Webb says:

    I’ve got the CycleAware mirror, I guess (sounds like mine from the description). I gradually eliminated all the degrees of freedom with glue until now I’ve got something like the HubBub, I think. It works pretty well, but the mounting system of the HubBub sounds better. I’ll probably switch to that if my CycleAware mirror finally gives out.

  6. plh says:

    I tried the HubBub. I’ll give it a “meh”, It was difficult to install. In use it jittered a lot making it difficult to get a good quick fix on what was in the mirror. I went back to my rock-steady Take-A-Look glasses mounted mirror, which is about half the price.
    http://www.pacelineproducts.com/Category109/Take_A_Look_Mirrors.aspx
    I was going to give it away but couldn’t figure out again how to mount it on a helmet & so couldn’t show the potential recipient, who couldn’t figure it out either. Eventually I tossed it out.

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