For many years, I’ve been using a Chuck Harris helmet mirror, which I liked for its simplicity, light weight, and general robustness. It was the only mirror that you could use to pick up your helmet, without it going out of adjustment. These mirrors were always a little hard to find in the era of internet shopping, and Chuck Harris passed away last year, and so I was curious to see what other choices were out there. The first that I found was the Monkey Mirror, which seemed to be very similar, and so I ordered one.
It arrived in a zip lock bag inside a bubble wrap envelope. Not quite the same as getting my mirror packed in an old tennis ball tube (which was one of the fun things about the Harris mirror: everything about it was recycled), but that was expecting a bit much.
The construction of the mirror is similar to the Chuck Harris, being made from a spoke, which was both longer and a little thinner than the original.
The other difference is that the Monkey Mirror is threaded into the mirror body, and the angle of the mirror is fixed by a small nut that is tightened against the body. I found this to be a bit fiddly, and it made the mirror difficult to adjust on the fly. The Chuck Harris has a tapered thread, and there was just enough resistance to turning the mirror that it stayed in place. Nevertheless, once I found an angle that I liked and tightened things down, the Monkey Mirror worked just fine. A worthy replacement for the Chuck Harris. I also like the fact that you can get custom graphics embedded in the mirror, just like the original.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard about the Safe Zone Mirror, which was advertised as the “finest bicycle mirror ever made”. It seemed to get pretty good reviews, and it was sold by Adventure Cycling Association, so I decided to check it out. I also liked the fact that it was made in the US, by a company that makes innovative bike tools. It arrived yesterday. In contrast to the delicate Monkey Mirror, it looked a little like part of the headgear for a member of the Borg collective.
I was a bit concerned about the larger mirror blocking my vision to the left side, but as it turns out, through the wonders of binocular vision, I found that it didn’t bother me at all. Overall, I get much more peripheral vision within the field of vision of the mirror. It also is easy to adjust on the fly, and yet it stays in position. We’ll see how the plastic holds up under winter conditions, in comparison to the metal mirrors, but for the moment, I am very pleased.