Let’s get this out of the way right up front: I was a skeptic when I saw the first promotions for the Stow N Ride mirrors.
Over the years, I have tried various snowmobile mirrors – including aftermarket as well as the original equipment mirrors you get from the various snowmobile brands that mount on the cowl or on the sides of the windshields. A lot of them didn’t work very well.
With the hood-mounted units, it seems that proper placement is vital – and some manufacturers (and their dealers) were better than others when it came to finding the right spot. A lot of the windshield-mounted units, meanwhile, seemed great in theory but most windshields aren’t firm/stiff enough to keep the mirrors from jiggling all over the place when riding on anything less than a perfectly smooth trail. And, once mounted, mirrors can sometimes get in the way.
So, when some company out of the blue reached out and said it had mirrors that worked great by being mounted in the end of your handlebar, of all places? Yeah, I was thinking they were going to be about as useful as the $3 bill.
However, the mirrors weren’t just from “some company.” Instead, they were from Lucerix, which meant nothing to me until I did some research. But for people at this Ontario-based company, rear view mirrors are their lives – they’ve been designing them for everything from delivery trucks to heavy construction equipment, busses for public transportation to agricultural combines and snowmobile trail groomers for more than 30 years. This wasn’t some Johnny-come-lately, two-guys-with-an-idea-in-a-garage operation; their entire corporation is based upon figuring this stuff out!
When the kit showed up in a long and narrow box, the mirror mounting hardware of an erector set of sorts – allowing the end user to experiment to find the angle and height for their application.
To install, we had to cut into the end of our rubbery handlebar grip to expose the hallow end of the sled’s 7/8-inch handlebar. In it, we stuffed a special expanding cam lock supplied in the Stow N Ride kit. In the “open” or unlocked position on the skewer handle (which looks like a quick-release lever on a bicycle wheel), this cam lock could be pushed in or pulled out of the handlebar end with a little force. But when we flipped the metal lever into the “closed” position, the internal cam offset itself and pinched itself on the inside diameter of the handlebar and held firmly in place.
Next, using any combination of the remaining hardware – which consisted of an angled elbow piece with male and female ends; a long stem that measured 2.8 inches; a short step that measured 1.8 inches; and three jam nuts – we had to build a setup to position our mirror as we wanted it.
Frankly, this took some quality trial-and-error because, despite a limited number of things to play with, there ended up being a lot of choices. And, being curious sort of people, we had to try them all. Plus, we had to figure out the right angle to have the cam locked into the end of the handlebar.
As it turns out, however, the very simplest option was best – the long stem (with a jam nut on each end) going straight up to the mirror’s built-in mount. Then, with the ball mount pivot on the back of the mirror, we could position the 4.75- by 3.5-inch mirror either vertically or horizontally.
Once dialed in, the mirrors gave us great rearward sight and they held firmly in place. Being on the end of the handlebar actually worked out pretty well because it set the mirror out far enough from the snowmobile’s body where you could actually see behind yourself instead of mainly just seeing your own shoulder in the mirror.
However, this story isn’t over. One of the bothers of adding mirrors to your sleds is the fact that, once mounted, they usually get in the way from time to time – whether when pulling a cover over your machine, loading it into a trailer, boondocking through thick brush or, in the case of mirrors that affect the end of your handlebar, riding super aggressively. With the Stow N Ride setup, you can flip open the level on the cam lock and either rotate the mirror downward and out of the way or completely remove it in about 2 seconds. The only sign that is was ever there is the barely visible hole in the end of your grip – which is much better than having mount holes drilled into your sled’s body panels.
Overall, we came away impressed and will undoubtedly use these well-built, good looking mirrors for years to come when on more touring-oriented rides, but will leave them packed away on other sort of rides. It’s nice to have options.
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