Back in 2017 I did a review that I called Cycleaware Reflex Bicycle Mirror versus Race Icon Bike Mirror (also sold under other names)
The Race Icon Bike Mirror is currently (as of May 2022) unavailable on Amazon but you will find multiple bike mirrors that look exactly the same. And the Cycleaware Reflex Bike Mirror is also unavailable due to the company not manufacturing them anymore, though you can find brand new ones on eBay (sometimes – sometimes not).
In that review, I liked the overall design of the Race Icon mirror but the mirror itself was unusable, totally unusable. The lens was plastic and distorted and it was hard to see much of anything behind you. The Cycleaware mirror itself was excellent, but I never liked the larger black articulated plastic shaft of the Cycleaware that held the mirror and attached to the helmet.
At the end of that review, I explained that I took the carefully mirror off the Cycleaware one and replaced the plastic unusable one on the Race Icon mirror – making it pretty much the perfect helmet-mount bike mirror.
This worked perfectly for years, though the round Cycleaware mirror didn’t exactly fit the shape of the Race Icon mirror backing.
Unfortunately, over time this mis-fit led to moisture getting behind the mirror and eventually deteriorated the silver material on the back of it, which could have been prevented by an application of clear fingernail polish to protect this backing from moisture and the weather – something I did not do when I glued it on, unfortunately. And of course, over time cleaning it (even carefully) resulted in scratches and swirls. With a small mirror like that; a few scratches and blemishes add up and will eventually result in a significant reduction in its usefulness.
That’s where the Life On Bicycle 360 Degree Adjustable Rearview Bicycle Helmet Mirror comes in and this review.
Again, like the Race Icon one, the Life On Bicycle one is a near duplicate of dozens, if not hundreds of similar models that you can buy across the internet and look and are nearly the same as the Race Icon one that I had previously reviewed.
It’s the same design but with one notable, extremely important difference – the mirror is real glass and works as it should.
I almost didn’t write this post because I don’t have a lot to add, except that this one has a usable mirror, which I think this is extremely significant and important. If you buy a version with a plastic mirror it is not going to help you much, if at all, and it may even discourage some people from buying a better mirror. It could conceivably be the difference between avoiding an accident or not.
Thus, this review on the same mirror, basically, but with the glass mirror.
The Life On Bicycle 360 Degree Adjustable Rearview Bicycle Helmet Mirror has a rectangular pad that slides up under the edge of your helmet (on the left side – if for some reason you wanted it or needed it on the right I don’t think it would work as the mount is made for the left), between the padding/straps and the inside of the helmet. You put a strip of velcro (included – it seems fine and is working great for me but if you needed something better try a heavier-duty velcro, like 3M’s Dual Lock) on this rectangle and attach the matching velcro to the helmet side.
It should fit almost any helmet. Including ones with visors (you’re not violating Rule #35 are you? Totally kidding 😉
This is pretty secure, at least on my helmet, though over time I occasionally have to reposition it a bit as the two pieces of velcro get out of alignment a little. Not a big deal, just occasionally it needs a little readjustment, which is quick.
When wearing the helmet there is nothing pressing against your head and you can’t even tell that the pad that holds the velcro, nor the velcro itself, was there as the padding and straps are not usually pressed flat against the inside of the helmet. Are there maybe helmets where you WOULD feel this pressing against the side of your head? Possibly, but a quick test (but without the velcro attached) on two other helmets seemed to yield the same results.
This velcro also allows you to detach this mirror from the helmet that it is attached to, if you want to. And the velcro tape can easily detach from the styrofoam on the inside of the helmet if you are not careful – when you are taking it off. I personally never take it off or plan on transferring it to another helmet. Of note – if you have an older helmet or you use a stronger tape/velcro it could conceivably pull a chunk off your styrofoam if you tried to take the tape off itself.
I have seen some reviews for this where people screw it into their helmet or permanently glue it. You have to consider that this could compromise your helmet, possibly, or make taking it off a big deal that leaves a missing chuck or holes. You’re better off just using the velcro that came with it unless it is really detaching on you and then go for the stronger stuff. But you shouldn’t be cutting or screwing into your helmet.
Once it’s on the helmet you can adjust the angle of the shaft vertically at the back near where it attaches to the helmet by loosening the screw there, then re-tightening it when it is in place. If you don’t super-tighten it then you can even swing the whole thing up out of the way. I prefer it tightened, just enough to keep its position but not so much that it won’t swing up if I set it down on something that presses the mirror up.
At the front of the shaft, you can rotate the mirror and attachment in 360 degrees – including all the way up (and upside down) out of your view. Like the Cycleaware one, this is good if you temporarily want it out of your way but want to keep the overall adjustment in whatever position you set it to (on the shaft). The arm going from the shaft to the mirror also has a ball and socket adjustment at the top of the mirror base for some angled adjustment, for an angle forward and back and left and right up to a degree.
The shaft itself can also carefully be bent if needed too. It is a fairly soft metal so be careful with this. It can be bent to angle up out of the way more, or follow/snake along the side of the helmet, or be bent to be further out, or around the front a little, or whatever works for you.
You may want to experiment with slightly different positions over time. I like it high enough to be out of my way for a full unobstructed front and side view, that way I have no blind spot from the mirror (unless I get attacked by a bird or plane, I suppose) and can glance left and up to see behind me using the mirror.
You should be able to get the whole set up into any position that you like, with the shaft being quite long and easy bendable.
Which leads me to a tweak I made. I found the shaft to be way too long and distracting for me personally, not to mention very visually unappealing. Personal opinion here, and you may find it just right the way it is. But I did a little DIY to carefully trim the shaft, unscrewing the part that attaches at the helmet, sliding the shaft out and carefully cutting a short piece off, filing the end, and sliding it back in and re-tightening the screw. I did it in very short sections so I didn’t cut too much off at once and got the perfect (in my opinion) length. A hacksaw makes quick work of the cutting as it is very soft pliable aluminum.
The mirror itself is good-sized, kind of egg-shaped or some people may say ‘shield-shaped’. About 1 inch (2.5 cm) by one and a half (3.8 cm). This gives you a good wide enough range as well as a high and low enough range if you are on a hill or something. When you receive it,it has protective plastic over the mirror so make sure you take that off after you get it mounted.
The quality of the glass is excellent, there is no magnification nor is it a wider view than normal, there is no concavity or convexity to it – it is just ‘what you see is what you get’. This helps in giving you a real guide to how close or far away traffic is and also doesn’t affect its ability to be used in lower light. And because the mirror is just a plain mirror it works fine with any sort of prescription glasses and of course with sunglasses.
If you find that the mirror moves around too readily and then just try tightening the screw on the end of the shaft attached to the mirror part, there is a spring inside there for allowing it to swing up and out of the way. So you want it loose enough for it to swing if you happen to set it down on something. On the back section near the helmet make sure that screw is tight enough too but be careful of tightening any of the screws too much.
The whole thing is only about .42 ounces (12 grams), and I don’t feel it on my helmet at all.
And for me even on a rough road it barely vibrates. But for mountain biking – I’m not sure.
The Amazon page mentions that the mirror has a lifetime warranty from the company.
Using a bike mirror can take a little practice, and some people may even find it more distracting or even more dangerous (glancing in the rearview and holding that gaze too long, say) than not having one, and may never even become proficient at using a rearview mirror of any type on a bicycle. Let’s face it, a lot of people can’t properly use their car mirrors, let alone a small bike mirror.
But for those of us who can properly use a bike mirror – of any type – it is going to be of help in the safety department which, as cyclists, we need as much of as possible. And yes – I made a blanket statement there and some may dispute me on it but it’s what I believe and what I have found from years of cycling. And I have found that it very much benefits not only me while riding solo; but when I am riding with another or a group – it benefits everyone. Heck, even those who hate bike mirrors 😉
So is this mirror going to convince your anti-bike-mirror friends to change their tune? Nah, not at all.
Is it going to make you look any less bike-geeky? That is in the eye of the beholder.
Might it help avoid an accident or near-accident that you might have on your own, with a friend, or in a group ride? Quite possibly.
And anytime you can make yourself safer on the road is a good thing.
So check out the Life On Bicycle 360 Degree Adjustable Rearview Bicycle Helmet Mirror and give it a try, if you are looking for a bike helmet mirror.
And as I said above there are many clones of this – but some may have the plastic lens which you want to avoid, for sure.