WARNING [Added January 30, 2016]: This worked great for a couple months, then the mount snapped in half. The camera was apparently too heavy for the Zipp mount, and caused it to fail.
I love my Garmin Virb camera: it’s small, light, reliable and it grabs excellent footage. While ride footage can be entertaining, the main reason I record all my rides is because the footage becomes an invaluable asset in the unfortunate event of an accident or other incident.
The Virb comes with some decent mounting adapters that will allow one to use all the popular GoPro mounts. Garmin gets big points from me for the design of their mounting cradle, which makes inserting and removing the camera a 1-second, 1-hand operation. I own a GoPro, and the Virb mounting system is far superior.
The problem with the mounts that come with the Virb, though, is there is no way to mount the camera to your bike’s handlebars straight out of the box. I already had a few K-edge GoPro handlebar mounts (and they now make a combo GoPro/Garmin mount), but all the adapters required to actually get the Virb mounted on the K-Edge GoPro mount is a little silly and cumbersome (click to enlarge):
That’s a pretty ugly and non-aero setup, but I haven’t cared enough to dick with it too much.
Anyway, with my new Time Trial bike arriving (it will be here today, and I’ll be doing the build this week!), I began to look for a camera mount and a computer mount for TT bikes. While I won’t be using the camera when I race, I’ll definitely want it rolling on training rides.
TT handlebars, as most of you know, are nothing like traditional handlebars (they are wide and flat – here’s an example). The logical place to mount computers and front-facing cameras, therefore, is on the aerobars. I found plenty of aerobar Garmin computer mounts, but nothing turned up for cameras.
While I was doing some more research, I came across an excellent Youtube video from “Valveriider“. This video provided an innovative DIY solution for mounting Garmin Virb cameras to the handlebars in a much more efficient manor than using all those damned adapters. While not a direct solution for my particular issue, the video was the genesis for my own little DIY project.
So, using Valveriider’s video as inspiration, I decided to create my own aerobar computer/camera combo mount.
For the computer mount I purchased the inexpensive Zipp QuickView TT Bicycle Computer Mount. All the other parts I required for this project were already on hand. If you own a Virb you should also have the additional required parts (basically a flat Virb mounting plate and the Virb threaded collar). The only other things you’ll need is a good epoxy (I like Gorilla epoxy), a couple of small flat-headed machine screws, a drill, a metal file, some rubbing alcohol and, optionally, a couple of small self-stick pads.
The double-sided adhesive sticker on the Virb mounting plate is not strong enough for my liking. You want a good epoxy bond between the plastic parts, so the first step is to peel off the sticker from the Virb mounting plate. It takes a little work, but you should be able to peel it off in a couple of minutes. Once the sticker is completely off, rough up the surface with your file and then give it a good cleaning with the rubbing alcohol.
Next, carefully line up the underside of the Zipp computer mount with the underside of the Virb mounting plate. There’s no going back once you bond the parts, so make sure it’s perfectly straight and centered. There are two holes on the Zipp mount, and you’ll want to use those as guides to drill all the way through the Virb mounting plate. The machine screws will enter from the Virb plate side, so be sure to use a drill bit slightly smaller than the size of the machine screws. The epoxy alone should be more than enough to keep these two parts from ever separating, but the screws provide a little added insurance. Be sure that the screws are long enough to enter the Zipp mount, but NOT long enough to protrude from the top (a dry fit before gluing is helpful).
Once you have your holes drilled, partially install the machine screws from the top side of the Virb mounting plate so that they just peak through the underside of the plate (this makes lining up the Zipp mount much easier when bonding). Next, mix up some epoxy and spread it over the entire underside of the Virb mounting plate. Using the screws as guides, line up the Zipp mount with the holes and press into place. Fully tighten the machine screws, and then place in a clamp or vise (not too tight, just enough pressure to hold the parts together). The parts should be bonded within an hour or so.
Here’s the finished product from the top:
… and the bottom:
Here is the mount with the Virb cradle installed. Nice and sleek, especially for a combo computer/camera mount (sorry, blew the focus on this photo):
I also pressed a couple of the self-stick felt pads onto the underside of the camera cradle. This little trick helps keep the camera stable in its mount, and it eliminates annoying rattles:
Finally, here’s the mount with the computer and camera installed:
Again, I want to thank ValveRiider for his excellent video, without which I probably never would have come up with this.