Why is that so many motorcycles have rearview mirrors that are better at providing a view of your shoulders than of what’s behind you? Good explanations are nonexistent, but I’m sure it has a little to do with a lot–styling, clearance, cost, etc.–because the manufacturers of our motorcycles just aren’t that inconsiderate without reason. On the other hand, they’re the ones who have started including fiddly little cables that loop around underseat hooks as a substitute for convenient keyed helmet locks, and I can’t think of anything less considerate that that. Dang cables are never long enough, and removing the seat can be a pain if luggage is installed.
Leave it to an engineer to do something about this stuff rather than just complain about it. You have probably heard of Al Jesse–he’s the guy who created a line of rugged motorcycle luggage suitable for around-the-world travel that is still highly sought after by big-mileage ADV riders. As part of a semi-retirement plan Jesse recently sold the luggage business to the guy who fabricated it for him, and is now happily tinkering away on other projects under the Moto Manufacturing banner. They include the MirrorLok, an ingenious little bolt-on that he designed to address the problems of obstructed mirror view, vibration and the lack of a helmet lock on many motorcycles.
The MirrorLok starts with a solid hunk of black powdercoated aluminum a little less than 3 x 1 x 1 inches in size that has smooth, rounded edges. This mounts to your existing mirror mount on one end, extending outward at the angle of your choice. Your stock mirror mounts in the outward end in a threaded socket dampened with thick polyurethane O-rings, which absorb vibration and improve the view in the mirror. On my BMW R 1200 GS, both mirrors ended up about 1-inch higher and about 2.5 inches farther out as well as clearer at speed on the highway, greatly enhancing the view to the rear.
Appreciating multi-purpose designs, Jesse has also included a sturdy spring-loaded, pushbutton-locking shackle on the MirrorLok for helmet D-rings or cable loops (yes, even the cheapo one that came with the bike) that opens with a key. Moto Manufacturing also offers its own sturdy gear security cables in a 16-inch length to make it easier to secure helmets with or without D-rings to the shackle (e.g. around the chinbar), and a 42-inch length for multiple helmets and/or other riding gear such as jackets and overpants.
I had no trouble at all installing the MirrorLoks, though more detailed instructions would have made it easier still (the installation video on the website does help). Vibration blur in both mirrors has been reduced enough to notice a difference, and I especially like the wider field of view–it allows me to see not just around my shoulders but nearly the entire lane behind me and well out to the sides. The only downside is that I tend to bump into the mirrors more often now getting on and off and walking around the parked bike (perhaps this is another reason the manufacturers make them narrow…).
I would suggest investing in MirrorLoks primarily for the wider field of view and the helmet lock(s), since how much mirror clarity improvement you experience will vary from bike-to-bike. And though they’re sold as a pair you don’t necessarily have to install both….
MirrorLoks retail for $125 per pair and come with mounting hardware specific to your bike, as well as a promise from Moto Manufacturing to make good on any defects. The 16-inch gear cable is $8.95 and the 42-inch is $12.95.
For more information, visit motomanufacturing.com.