Best Bike Mirrors for Commuters: Handlebar – Here’s Why!

Staying safe while out cycling is clearly a top priority for all of us. Despite riding on roads, many cyclists overlook adding mirrors to their bike for the extra safety and protection they can provide.

However, the simple addition of mirrors can make your cycling journey much less stressful and give you a welcome feeling of control from the added visibility that these mirrors provide.

So, what is the best bike mirror for commuters? Handlebar mirrors for commuters are the best option because they can be easily fitted on all standard handlebars. Helmet mirrors and bar end mirrors are not as convenient as handlebar mirrors as will be explained below. 

There are still quite a few points to consider about all of these types of mirrors and a few more, as we will look at in more detail below to help you get the best commuter bike mirror for your riding experience.

Handlebar Bike Mirrors

To start with the most versatile and easiest option, let’s look first at handlebar bike mirrors for commuter bikes.

Because of how easy they are to attach to your handlebars, all you need is a flat part of your handlebar with a couple of inches in space to be able to attach these onto and start using them.

Any bike mirrors that you buy will come with the parts, including screws and bolts etc, so that you should be able to attach them yourself using a screwdriver and one or two other simple household tools like a hex key.

When looking into handlebar bike mirrors, try to get mirrors that are easily adjustable because this means you can then easily move them to give you the best amount of visibility.

You should be able to see which ones are adjustable from the images in the product descriptions of any bike mirrors online. If you can’t see this detail in their description, then look at buying another mirror!

The video below gives you an example of how to put a standard handlebar bike mirror on a normal commuter/hybrid bike. 

Bar-end Mirrors for Commuter Bikes and Drop Handlebars

An alternative mirror for bike commuters that also goes on handlebars is a bar-end bike mirror.

This is called a ‘bar-end mirror’ because it literally goes on the end of your handlebar. 

parked bicycle handlebar mirror with view behind visible
Photo Credit: Anton Shakirov on Unsplash

With commuters who have bikes that have drop handlebars, like road bikes or touring bikes, the mirrors are angled conveniently and in a position lower than your hands so you can glance down and see what’s going on behind you quickly and easily.

In terms of attaching bar end mirrors to your bike,  these need a little bit more time than a standard handlebar mirror because you will need to modify the ends of your handlebars to fit them.

However, this should not take too long and again should be a fairly simple process with the instructions explained when you buy your mirror.

From researching online, the Italian bar-end mirror for drop handlebars seems to be the best bike mirror option for commuters with drop handlebars. Lots of road bike riders recommend them, saying that they work when riding on the top handlebars or dropped down low, making them a great all-round bike mirror choice which you can get on Amazon right away.

Bike Helmet Mirrors

An alternative option to fitting a bike mirror onto your handlebars to attach one onto your helmet.

Having a bike mirror on your helmet is probably the most natural and easiest way to view what is going on behind you.

You can also quite easily bend and adjust these mirrors as you go to get the best possible visibility.

How do you attach a mirror to a bike helmet?

You can get either a bike helmet mirror that glues onto your helmet, with an adhesive pad, or one that clips or straps into place, with many products providing velcro straps to secure their helmet mirrors in place. 

The easiest way to attach a mirror to your bike helmet is to buy a specific bike helmet mirror from sites like Amazon as everything will come in the one package.

How to Attach Clip or Strap Helmet Bike Mirrors

These kinds of bike mirrors are usually fixed in place before you start reading and then taken off at the end. 

They are the best of the bike helmet mirrors because you do not need to worry about knocking them off or either breaking the mirror, even having to find a replacement adhesive pad for them if they just fall off.

One example you can see in the video below uses velcro straps and clips into the helmet between the inner part and the helmet itself. 

How to Attach Glue/Adhesive Helmet Bike Mirrors

Before you glue your bike mirror on to your helmet, make sure you clean the surface properly to give the glue the best chance of sticking and your helmet staying in place.

You should also leave this for about 24 hours before moving it all using it. if you try to move it within 24 hours of attaching it, it might well fall off at the first touch!

Similarly, if you go out on the bike with a mirror that hasn’t been glued on for 24 hours, then it might easily come off in rain or even strong wind. 

Sticking on your helmet bike mirror properly should mean that it will last a long time and give you many hundreds of hours of safer bike riding on your commute or elsewhere.

I recommend buying a specific bike helmet mirror, as opposed to trying to “jerry rig” a mirror from elsewhere, because the bought products will be easily adjustable and it will come with the right-sized adhesive pad that you can then easily glue onto your helmet.

The main problem with any of these glue-on bike helmet mirrors is that they can be easy to knocked off and are therefore hard to reattach.

If you are more of the clumsy type of rider, perhaps a bit like me, then these bike mirrors are not a recommended option because you will have to be extremely careful about how you put your helmet down and how you adjust the mirror once attached. 

Wrist Mount Mirrors for Bike Commuters

Perhaps the least well-known bike mirror option for commuters is the wrist-mount mirror.

These kinds of mirror often come as a strap for your forearm with the mirror flipping open when it’s time to ride.

This gives you the flexibility to place it anywhere you like on your forearm and, most likely, it will be far from your wrist so the name is not the most accurate!

These kinds of wrist-mount mirrors are very convenient, small and lightweight and can work if none of the other bike mirror options above will suit your bike or ride.

That being said, they have less visibility than some of the larger handlebar-mounted mirrors and are likely the bike mirror option with the least visibility.

Wrist-mount mirrors for bike commuters are appealing for the price but, if you can afford it, it would be better to go for a handlebar mirror as it will be more versatile and give you more safety and visibility. 

Related Questions

Do I need a mirror on my bike? For standard bicycles, you do not need a mirror even when riding on roads. That said, adding a mirror to your bike can increase your visibility and safety, so for something quite cheap, it can be a great addition to any bike.

How do you put a mirror on a bike? You can attach bike mirrors to your handlebars, on the ends of the handlebars, on your helmet or on your wrist. Handlebar mirrors screw into place while helmet mirrors come with glue pads or straps, and wrist mirrors strap onto your arm (not quite your wrist!).

The video below shows you exactly how to add a bar-end mirror to your bike, which is just one type of bike mirror but it gives a good idea of how to do this.

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