November 11, 2013
The Efficient Velo Tools (EVT) Safe Zone mirror has been a valued accessory of mine for the past five years. Starting with the handlebar-mounted variety, I’ve used mirrors from at least three other manufacturers. EVT is head and shoulders above any of those in terms of quality, durability, and overall performance.
The man behind the Safe Zone mirror is Brett Flemming, EVT owner/operator and Portland, Oregon-based Bike Gallery service manager. EVT predominantly manufactures tools for bicycle mechanics that outperform anything else on the market. The rest of the market follows, usually a year or two later, as he continues to innovate. The Safe Zone mirror linkage is based on a coolant hose used in the EVT factory that is designed to be both adjustable and secure.
The key combination of features here is arm length and mirror size. When correctly installed and adjusted, the user enjoys a large viewing area with no blind spot. While most report an initial period of weirdness, I rarely notice the mirror's presence until needed. I do, however, occasionally go to check my mirror while walking. It’s usually not there, unless I’m on one of my semi-annual inebriated-with-helmet walkabouts.
With individually adjustable and removable linkage, durability is unparalleled. The base attaches to the helmet with zip ties through vent holes for easy adjustment and removal. For helmets without vents, a little epoxy will do the trick, albeit negating easy removal. Additional bases are available for moving between helmets quickly. If dropped, or for storage, the linkage separates from the base easily. A co-worker caught his on a garage door, the mirror separated and fell to the ground, and all was reassembled in moments with full functionality.
The most common error in adjustment is to set the mirror for a simultaneous straight-ahead and rear view. One should adjust the mirror so a slight turn of the head to the left is required for a clear view to the rear, similar to the amount of head movement one makes when checking the side view mirror of a car. In addition to a less restricted view, this technique has the benefit of avoiding being blinded by headlights from the rear at night.
In the interest of full disclosure, this product may not be for everyone. Bespectacled folk occasionally report that the frame of their glasses interferes with viewing angle. Those with aesthetic considerations may not agree with the half-antenna look you’ll be sporting with this item. You may also attract questions such as, “that thing really work?” as well as unsolicited commentary like, “that thing don’t work!” You have been warned.
Also, kissing your significant other goodbye (or hello) when helmeted should be approached with a renewed sense of caution.
Photos of Geoff and Gage provided by Patrick Finley
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