Product review: DogEars Garmin Mounting Plate
If you own a Garmin cycling computer long enough, chances are good that eventually the thin and insufficient plastic tabs used to secure your expensive Garmin to its mount will break off. Sometimes the tabs sheer off if you’re unfortunate enough to wreck (both of the tabs on my old Garmin Edge 500 were broken off in a mountain bike crash), and sometimes normal use will, over time, cause the tabs to break (this was recently the case with my Garmin Edge 810, see below).
There are actually two problems with Garmin’s design: the plastic tabs are not strong enough, and repairing a broken tab (or tabs), requires you to send your computer back to Garmin for replacement (the unit is not designed to be user-serviceable).
The Internet is teeming with sad stories of broken Garmin mounting tabs, sometimes leading to lost or destroyed Garmins. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s probably only a matter of time.
For the record, I want to note that Garmin’s customer service is excellent. Whenever I’ve had any sort of problem with a Garmin product (I own about a half-dozen), they’ve treated me very well over the years. No complaints there. What I don’t understand, however, is why Garmin continues to use cheesy plastic mounting tabs on their expensive cycling computers. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
So a few weeks ago I was doing the Saturday morning Windermere group ride out in Clermont. We were on a very bumpy chipseal road, and I noticed that my Garmin Edge 810 was bouncing around in its mount quite a bit. I pulled the computer off the mount, and saw that one of the two plastic mounting tabs had broken off. Sigh. I was worried that the other tab might also break off, which would have sent my expensive computer flying. I had no choice but to put the Garmin in my jersey pocket for the remainder of the ride.
As I mentioned above, Garmin’s customer service is excellent. I’m sure that if I’d contacted them they would have replaced my 810 with a reconditioned unit at no charge. I didn’t want more plastic, though, I wanted a permanent solution.
I decided to order a product that I’ve heard very good things about: the DogEars replacement Garmin mounting plate, which is constructed from rugged billet aluminum.
The cost of the DogEars plate is $19.99, which I feel is very reasonable. Not only did I not have to bother with sending my 810 back to Garmin and waiting to have it replaced with a refurbished unit, the DogEars mount is much stronger than Garmin’s plastic mounting system. Now I won’t have to worry about my computer flying off my bike.
Installation of the DogEars plate was very easy, and it only took me a couple of minutes. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Epoxy (not included, I used Gorilla Epoxy)
- Metal file
- Philips screw driver
- Rubbing alcohol
The first thing you’ll need to do is break off the remaining tab (if only one is broken off), or both of the tabs if you’re doing a preventative installation (which I recommend). Once the tabs are broken off, do a dry fit to ensure the DogEars mount fits properly over the old backplate boss. Use your file to remove any remaining bits of plastic tab.
Next use your file or a little sandpaper to rough up the plastic boss on the Garmin (this will help to ensure a good epoxy bond.)
Just before applying the epoxy, make sure everything is nice and clean by wiping down the boss with rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth.
Prepare the epoxy according to the manufacture’s instructions, and then smear it over the plastic mounting boss.
Press the DogEars mount over the boss, making sure to align it properly.
Finally, use the two self-tapping screws to further secure the new mounting plate to the Garmin (do not over-tighten!)
I allowed my repaired Garmin to cure overnight before using.
Here’s the beautiful finished repair:
The manufacture says that the DogEars mount can withstand EIGHT TIMES more force than the stock Garmin mount, and I believe it. If you manage to break the DogEars mount, the manufacturer will replace it at no charge.
As for the epoxy + screw bond, it feels rock solid. I don’t think I could pry this thing off now if I wanted to.
Until Garmin wises up and starts shipping their expensive cycling computers with a better mounting system, the DogEars product is the way to go. If were to go out and buy a brand new Garmin right now, I would break off the cheap stock tabs and install the DogEars right out of the box.
I highly recommend this product for all Garmin cycling computers.
NOTE: After this review was published I was asked if this mount would void the Garmin warranty. The short answer is, I don’t know, but I doubt it. If this is a concern, please check with Garmin. Here is my full reply:
“I doubt they would make a fuss since this mount does not affect the electronics or display in any way (and, as I mentioned in my review, Garmin has been excellent in the Customer Service department). If they did make a stink, I would argue that I installed the DogEars to compensate for their sub-standard mounting tabs. I’ve had tabs break off on three of my Garmins (twice on my 500, and once on my 810), and I don’t want to risk losing the thing. I honestly don’t know why Garmin doesn’t improve the design, it would not cost much more to make the mount rock-solid.”