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After a refreshing springtime ride, I pulled into my apartment complex and came to a stop in front of the gate. That was the exact moment I realized my swipe card was safely tucked away in my car. No matter, I could open the gate with my phone. Cue the ritual of awkwardly digging my phone out of my pocket, removing a glove, trying to hold onto both while I selected the gate app, then frantically reversing the process before the gate closed.
The next time this happened to me, however, I was ready. With my phone mounted to the RAM Mounts X-Grip, I tapped the screen and rolled right through the gate without issue. Much better.
Chances are, you’ve experienced a similar situation. At the very least, you’ve fought through traffic to get to the shoulder so you could check your phone. A device to mount your phone in plain view, to access it without stopping, would be great—but with the value of mobile phones these days, is there one you can trust to secure your most essential piece of EDC?
The X-Grip is one of the most popular motorcycle phone mounts out there, but is it worth all the attention it gets? To find out, I needed to do more than ride around my apartment complex. I put the X-Grip and its mounting accessory, the Tough-Claw, through their paces with plenty of miles in the same kind of real-world scenarios riders experience every day.
First Impressions of the RAM Mounts X-Grip
The X-Grip hasn’t changed much since it was introduced, and it really hasn’t needed to. The spring-loaded scissor arms grip phones and GPS units of varying sizes without tools or needing any adjustments. That’s especially useful for people who like to use multiple devices without changing mounts.
Inserting and removing my phone was a snap: no screws to tighten, no flimsy parts, just the simple metal arms and soft grippers at each corner. The X-Grip also came with a rubber tether that stretched tight to hold my phone in place in the unlikely case that the primary retention mechanism failed. That boosted my confidence while bouncing along woefully unmaintained city streets on my Ducati’s stiff suspension.
One of this design’s greatest strengths is its compact size. It takes up noticeably less space on my handlebar than other phone mounts I’ve tested. When it’s empty, I hardly notice it. This is a refreshing change from some of the competition, which can be bulky and heavy even without a phone in place.
One of RAM Mounts’ greatest competitive advantages is the huge selection of mounting options it offers. With more than 100 individual components to choose from, you can create a custom solution for just about any application. I opted for the versatile Tough Claw, and it didn’t let me down.
The Tough-Claw is built from sturdy, impact-resistant plastic. Not only is it lighter than metal, but it’s better prepared to handle rain and morning dew since it can’t rust or corrode. Installation doesn’t require any tools or modifications. I just loosened the retaining bolt, closed the Tough-Claw over an exposed section of handlebar, and tightened it down. Soft padding protected the handlebar’s finish and provided a snug fit. Taking it off was just as easy.
If you’re looking for a permanent modification for a single motorcycle, there are more polished ways to do it, and it might be worth investing in one of Ram Mounts’ more advanced systems. For occasional use or switching between bikes, though, the Tough-Claw is ideal.
Getting After It With the RAM Mounts X-Grip
- Good: Life with this phone mount is as easy as it gets.
- Bad: ADV riders will want to keep a close eye on this when the riding gets rough.
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Not one to be satisfied by a superficial unboxing review, so I challenged the X-Grip with miles of real-world riding. I’m not talking about a casual cruise through the neighborhood, either. I subjected the X-Grip and Tough Claw to days of potholes, stop-and-go traffic, highway blasts, wind gusts, rain, and a kind of stuffy heat that can only be described as authentically Texan.
If there was a weak point, I wanted to find it. About the only thing I didn’t do was expose it to freezing temperatures or chuck my street bike down a rocky single track, but you won’t hold that against me, will you? (Ed. Note: Eh, I might.)
Daily Life with the X-Grip and Tough Claw
One word kept popping into my mind during my time with the X-Grip: easy. This mount was just so convenient that it felt like a natural part of my routine. Walk up to the bike, pop my phone into the X-Grip, turn the key, and go. If I needed to run errands or grab a bite to eat I could scoop my phone up without the hassle of unscrewing retaining arms or unsnapping a case. It was really as easy as grab and go.
Highway riding didn’t phase this setup. Even on a naked bike’s exposed handlebar, my phone remained steady and easy to read. On bumpy roads, the X-Grip and Tough Claw both inspired confidence. Enduro riders might want something a little more robust, but as long as you’re on pavement or maintained dirt roads, you shouldn’t have any problems.
In general, the X-Grip takes up less space than other phone mounts. That allows it to snuggle into small spaces left vacant by instrument clusters, mirrors, and windscreens. When you aren’t using your phone, it leaves more open space than the competition and doesn’t look out of place. With the right mounting attachment, it can have an almost custom look.
There are more sleek motorcycle phone mounts. There are more touring-oriented alternatives that include a power bank to charge your phone. For do-it-all use and people who get on and off their bike frequently, this is a great middle ground.
What’s Good About the RAM Mounts X-Grip
The X-Grip sits low and has few moving parts. Simplicity contributes to longevity, so I would trust this phone mount for long-term use. Compared to other mounts that are available, this one has a few key advantages.
Grip and Rip
This has to be one of the easiest to use phone mounts ever attached to a motorcycle. I just opened the arms enough to drop in my phone and went. For a little extra security, the rubber tether could be wrapped around each corner of my phone. At ride’s end, popping my phone free was effortless.
Convenience is great, but what impressed me more was that RAM Mounts didn’t compromise on security to provide it. The internal springs were strong enough to keep my phone locked in regardless of speed, heat, or rough roads. Frequent dismounts are no problem because I could snatch my phone up and be on my way in no time.
The Tough-Claw isn’t the most secure mount I’ve tested, but it’s more than adequate for street use. It’s built from durable hard plastic and has soft padding to protect your handlebar and improve its grip. It’s a good idea to check the mount before every ride to make sure the tightening screw hasn’t backed out enough to come loose. Serious off-road riders will want something a little more sturdy and probably some crash protection, too.
See Your Phone, Not the Mount
The problem I’ve had with some motorcycle phone mounts is that they were so bulky I had a hard time seeing past them to read my gauges. Something tells me that “I covered my speedometer” is not going to get anyone out of a ticket. The X-Grip is slim enough to leave a clear view of the instruments around it. RAM Mounts also offers enough mount styles to create flexibility in building a setup that works with your bike and riding style.
When I wasn’t using my phone, the thin metal arms were hardly noticeable. This was a nice departure from some of the more clunky mounts I’ve used, which took up as much space empty as they did when they were holding my phone.
Nearly Universal Compatibility
No matter what you ride (or drive), and no matter what kind of cell phone you use, there’s likely a RAM Mount for you. The X-Grip’s ball-and-socket style of attachment works with a range of RAM stalks, hard mounts, and clamps to make this feel as versatile as a grown-up Lego set.
Some phone mounts are so large that they’re almost impossible to use on many motorcycles. That’s not so with the X-Grip. Between the slew of attachments and minimalist grip design, this phone mount works for the vast majority of riders on the road.
What’s Not Good About the RAM Mounts X-Grip
This is a great motorcycle phone mount, but nothing is perfect. There are a few opportunities for improvement, even if it is hard to think of an alternative that’s more versatile or that does a better job of assimilating itself into everyday use.
Great on the Street, but Has Its Limits Off-Road
If there’s one place I wouldn’t feel as confident in the X-Grip, it’s off-road. Dirt roads and two-track riding are perfectly fine, I’m sure, but if you plan on banging a dirt bike off rocks and jumping obstacles on a remote trail, I have to wonder if your phone would survive the trip.
I’d recommend the X-Grip to adventure and enduro riders as long as they test it gradually and keep an eye on their phone for the first few off-road rides. Definitely take advantage of the tether.
The Rubber Tether Helps, but You Should Still Be Careful
I loved the extra security provided by the stretchy tether. It pulled tight and stuck to my phone for a rattle-free ride. Between it and the primary grippers, I never felt like my phone was in jeopardy. Because this was a relatively short test, though, I wasn’t able to confirm the product’s longevity. It might last as long as your bike does, but I recommend inspecting it for wear every so often.
Our Verdict on the RAM Mounts X-Grip
As someone who prefers to travel light, I’m particular about the gear I use and have high expectations for everything I buy. The RAM Mounts X-Grip is one item that checked my boxes and earned my endorsement. It proved to be effective, reliable, and the price is on point. Iron-butt riders, commuters, and weekend riders will appreciate the convenience of adding their phone to their bike without a hassle.
Looking in my rearview mirror at my time with the X-Grip, I can say that it’s a solid piece of gear and I understand why so many people swear by it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more riding to do.
FAQs about the RAM Mounts X-Grip
You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!
Q. How much does the RAM Mounts X-Grip cost?
A. As tested, and the time of publishing, this setup costs about $70. On their own, you can get the X-Grip for $30.49 and the Tough-Claw mounting base starts at $34.95. This is a little more than you might spend elsewhere, but you’ll likely have to sacrifice some security and longevity to save money.
Q. What sets the X-Grip apart from other motorcycle phone mounts?
A. The X-Grip’s clever spring-loaded scissor arms provide a firm grip and easy access. Inserting and retrieving your phone takes no time compared to other mounts, and the X-Grip automatically adjusts to different size phones and cases as long as they’re within the right range.
Q. What size handlebar does the Tough-Claw fit on?
A. The Tough-Claw comes in three sizes: Small ($34.95) fits bars with a diameter of 0.625" to 1.5"; the Medium ($40.95) fits 1" to 1.875"; and the Large ($54.99) fits handlebars from 1" to 2.25".
Q. Which phones are compatible with the X-Grip?
A. RAM Mounts offers X-Grip sizes for all major models of phones and tablets. Check the compatibility list for your specific make and model of phone, and remember that the outer dimensions of any case you use will be a factor.
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