by Josh Finkler, PCI #1571
Jefferson County (CO) Sheriff’s Office
This review piggybacks on Rance’s review, as his review is quite thorough and covers most of the relevant mechanical and operational considerations of the Tiger Eye helmet-mounted bicycle mirror.
I tested the Tiger Eye “Patriot” model, which has a partial American flag logo on the non-reflective side of the mirror. The logo is coated in a glossy finish, which should add to its longevity. It’s a classy touch for most applications, but as Rance noted, for night operations, reflective materials of any sort, retro- or glossy, can be a disadvantage unless properly managed, and I don’t want to have to remember to pivot my helmet mirror to stay stealthy. Tiger Eye doesn’t appear to offer this with a matte non-reflective finish on the non-mirrored side. Anyone with similar concerns likely already has a rattle can of matte black or clear and can sort this out themselves.
The Tiger Eye mirror is the second helmet mounted mirror I have used. The first was the Bike Peddler’s “Take A Look” mirror, a rectangular mirror on a straight wire that affixes to the helmet using a tensioned bend in the rear part of the wire. The Tiger Eye mirror is definitely the stouter of the two, and I appreciated that Tiger Eye’s installation instructions encouraged the user to “twist” and “squeeze” the wire to find a good orientation, as the Take a Look mirror always felt a little delicate.
The Tiger Eye mirror, however, pivots along its wire spoke, whereas the Take a Look mirror is fixed and orientation is achieved by realigning the entire mirror assembly. Unlike the Take a Look mirror, which was more involved on initial set up but never lost its alignment, because of this pivot point the Tiger Eye mirror is more prone to requiring realignment between uses than is the Take a Look. This only takes a few seconds each time you mount up, but is worth mentioning when comparing helmet-mounted mirror solutions.
The Tiger Eye installation instructions on the back of the packaging suggest installing the mirror “slightly higher than your forward line of vision”. My experience suggests that this should be just-ever-so-slightly higher, as any higher required me to divert attention from and then spend time reacquiring my normal scanning pattern. If in doubt, watch the installation video.
I typically ride with a skateboard-style Protec helmet, which has a hard poly shell covering a foam liner, and have always had difficulty mounting the Take a Look mirror on it. The Tiger Eye wire gauge was thicker and allowed me to simply wedge the wire clip between the hardshell and the foam liner. This resulted in a very secure fit and allowed for easy adjustment by simply sliding the wedge point forward and back between the shell until proper coverage was achieved, giving the Tiger Eye a real edge in terms of mounting simplicity.
I agree with Rance that the real benefit of a mirror like the Tiger Eye is that you can increase your situational awareness without having to constantly look over your shoulder, and that it shouldn’t take the place of a rear scan.
Even though I never got a chance to test the Tiger Eye mirror using a visor for damping, it provided a sufficiently stable rearward view for me to achieve this goal of increased awareness, which is the point. Furthermore, the Tiger Eye helmet mounted mirror has some real functional advantages over other helmet-mounted mirror options, and as such is worth considering for patrol work.
The Tiger Eye mirror is available at a discount to IPMBA members through the Product Purchase Program. Place your order at Bicycle Patrol Outfitters (http://www.police-bikes.com/mirrors.html) and enter IPMBA2016 at checkout.
Josh Finkler has served with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado for the past eleven years. He is currently assigned to the Directed Operations Unit of the Patrol Division. He has been a certified IPMBA Police Cyclist since 2011 and recently completed his IPMBA Police Cyclist Instructor training. His primary application of police cycling has been for search and rescue operations in the Pike National Forest. Josh started mountain biking in 1984 and has pretty much never stopped. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2016 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2016 Issue of IPMBA News.