- 5 / 5 Combo Mount 5 / 5 Chain Catcher 4 / 5 L&M Adapter Bee's Knees -
It’s great to be back in the world of reviewing CNC machined parts. There’s a certain appeal, a particular hand-crafted nature associated with machined aluminum parts. Each and every part feels unique. For the sake of efficiency, here are three great items up for review, each of which deserves its own attention yet compliment each-other so well.
First and foremost, the long awaited (on my part) combo mount from K-Edge. Without question, this product checks every box and dots every “i.” Durability, sleek design, quality construction, US craftsmanship, premium materials and performance…it’s all there folks. K-Edge products really do speak for themselves in terms of quality and construction, little reiteration is needed there. As for the design of this particular product, I like that there is thoughtful engineering where others would simply stamp out a generic mount. For example, the inner Garmin mount sleeve is crafted as a sacrificial component in the event of a serious crash. This protects both your GPS and the combo mount itself to some degree. The shape and size of the XL and standard versions are paired to accommodate their respective computers with appropriate room to manipulate buttons. Reviewed primarily alongside the Garmin 520, this mount provided a seamless look and solid grip with the GPS. Adjustability is slightly limited but I had no issues finding a position that worked for me. Where the combo mount differs from their standard model is in the addition of a standard GoPro mount. The application I found most appealing was to mount a headlight beneath the computer achieving a perfectly centered beam pattern and ultra secure fit.
Shifting gears. Light & Motion, makers of all things shiny and honed to perfection, offers adapters for several of their models to expand mounting capabilities. With the 800FC being my commuting light of choice, it was a no-brainer to test the Urban-to-GoPro adapter. Constructed of what appears to be tough plastics, the adapter is all function, no frills…the price reflects this as well. To utilize the adapter, the lights shoe and strap must be removed and replaced. A small bolt, tightened by hand or hex wrench, pinches the adapter around the light offering ample lateral range with infinite adjustability within that range. Vertical fins allow the same adjustability but vertically. Both surfaces can be torqued to a degree of absolute stability, nothing I’ve used compares…nothing. Because of this, on-the-fly adjustments tend to be a bit difficult but the benefit of an ultra steady light is worth the sacrifice. The only other fault I found while testing this mount was complications that resulted from cable management. Placement of the light landed right in the crossroads of intersecting cables which naturally moved in front of the emitter during turns. This can be corrected by orienting the cables behind the light, but that setup has its own issues (effecting braking or shifting). Ultimately this hasn’t presented any significant issues, only nuisances. And furthermore, one could argue this isn’t an issue of the adapter but rather the mount…ultimately that design dictates where the light will sit. As a final note, users that want to remove their light after each and every ride may find it to be a bit more challenging than using the stock strap. I will leave this light mounted to the bike and use a spare light while riding other bikes.
Now back to K-Edge. It’s the details that matter. I hyper-examine all the products I review and certainly those I buy. The original Chain Catcher was released years ago but only more recently do I feel people have caught on to the importance of this product. Here are both sides. Some mechanics argue “if the front derailleur were set up correctly, you couldn’t jump a chain off to begin with.” Honestly, I don’t disagree. To date (knock on carbon), I have never dropped a chain on a bike that was properly setup. I have, however, dropped chains on bikes that were in the build process or undergoing maintenance knowing they were not fully tuned or ready for the road. Riders that push their bikes to the edge of their mechanical limits can contest that even a properly setup bike is bound to have breakdowns under extreme conditions. Whether you buy into the need for redundancies or not its unquestionable that the quality of the K-Edge chain catcher and especially the pro model meets or exceeds the “big three” component manufactures. Where the Pro model trumps the standard is with its additional set screw which allows separate adjustment of the catcher from the front derailleur. This is a huge advantage for servicing. In general, all models are machined and anodized beautifully. Furthermore, they are finished off with premium hardware. Only a single issue arose during testing: compatibility. For my Parlee Z5SL, the chain catcher proved incompatible due to the proprietary carbon clamp-style front derailleur mount. K-Edge claims vast universal fitment with a few exceptions, these are spelled out on their website. Application on my Raleigh International was a cakewalk and reflects a more typical installation. Under simulated testing (backing off the limit screw), the chain catcher performed just as expected preventing the chain from dropping down onto the bottom bracket. Simply put, the minor addition of weight is worth the safeguard from permanent frame or component damage.
Each of the three aforementioned products has its own unique purpose and design but each also compliments one another seamlessly. Cleaning up your cockpit, the K-Edge Combo Mount achieves impeccable organization and uniformity of your GPS and GoPro mountable accessories. Added to the Combo Mount or other setups, the L&M GoPro mount adapter expands compatibility to many L&M lights for a diverse array of mounting applications. Insuring your investment with a simple device, the K-Edge Chain Catcher Pro prevents costly damage to frames of all material types and costs while maintaining an ultra-premium esthetic. Each accessory will call one of my bikes home for good.