Bicycle Mirrors for Drop Handlebars – 4 of the Best Options


On one hand I’m glad that I have two eyes. On the other hand, I’m a bit disappointed that both of them look in the same direction, i.e. forward.  Whether I’m riding to work or I’m out for a weekend ride, knowing not only what’s ahead of me, but also what comes from behind me gives me confidence. While there’s nothing quite as reassuring as turning back, a good bicycle mirror can go a long way in raising my situational awareness, and it’s the next best thing after having a pair of eyes on the back of my head.

If you have a bike with a flat handlebar, the choices for bike mirrors are endless, but with drop handlebars they’re somewhat limited. 

What are some good bicycle mirrors for drop handlebars?

The following mirrors stand out from the crowd as good ones for road bikes, gravel bikes or even touring bikes.

SprintechIRBMHafny Bar
End
Hafny Road Bar
Design8/1010/105/106/10
Image size &
quality
7/106/109/108/10
Best forOccasional
use
Regular road
riders
CommutersCommuters
Easy to
mount
10/104/108/108/10

Before you consider a drop handlebar specific mirror, note that the mirrors recommended here all mount on the end of your handlebar. If your bike has bar-end shifters, you won’t be able to fit these mirrors, and need to look for an alternative option.

1. Sprintech Road Drop Bar Rearview Bike Mirror

Who is it best for?

  • Riders who want a good set of mirrors for their weekend rides and don’t leave their bikes unattended (since they come off easily)
  • Commuters who don’t mind taking the mirrors off when parked at a public place or keep their bikes parked on private property both at home and at the office.

Design

It’s an unobtrusive bike mirror that allows you to take a glance at the traffic without looking dorkish or unaesthetic. It actually blends in with the style of a drop bar bike and you only notice that it’s there if you pay attention. 

If you care much about aerodynamic drag, this mirror is very streamlined and offers little wind-resistance. 

This mirror comes in a pair. The package contains a left and a right mirror, which can’t be interchanged because each is specific to the side it needs to be mounted on, designed to give you best visibility on that side.

How does it mount?

These are drop handlebar specific bike mirrors that plug right into the bar end, and only work with drop-bars, not on flat-bars. You can install them on any drop handlebar with an internal diameter of 18-22mm. They don’t require any special tools for installation, so once you have the plug removed from the bar end you can pop them in and you’re ready to go within seconds. 

You don’t need to remove the bar tape to install these mirrors, only the bar end plug.

Of course, something that installs so easily can also be removed easily, so you need to keep this in mind if you’re a commuter. You should probably take them off if you park your bike in public places in order to prevent theft. If you fail to do so, you run the risk of returning home mirrorless (photographers: pun intended).

If you have several bikes with drop bars then one pair of these mirrors has all of them covered; there’s no need to buy two sets since you can easily change them within seconds.

These mirrors stay even on bumpy roads, although you have to adjust them if you knock them against a wall or accidentally kick them with your knees, but the adjustment only takes a second.

Visibility

The mirrors’ angle can be adjusted so they best suit your height and position on your bike. The adjustability is pretty wide, but the mirrors’ field of view is pretty narrow, which means that they only allow you to see quite a narrow strip of the road behind you. You need to get the angle right so you can take best advantage of them.

You also need to pay attention to the fact that objects in the mirror appear quite far even when they are pretty close. It may be strange at first but you can get used to it in a few rides.

2. IRBM Italian Road Bike Mirror

Who is it best for?

  • Road riders who want the most inconspicuous mirror possible. 
  • Commuters who don’t want to remove the mirror every time they park their bike once they have fitted it, and they prefer the ‘set it and forget it’ approach.

Design

This is the best looking mirror for a bike with drop bars, hands down. It’s designed to look like a slight extension of your handlebar, so you can barely notice it’s there. 

It doesn’t look like an afterthought, but rather as an integral part of your bike, yet it offers a good quality image.

A mirror doesn’t get any more aero or inconspicuous than this one.

When you buy this mirror, you only get one piece, which can be mounted on either the left or the right end of your handlebar. Since it’s symmetrical, you get the same image on both sides. You should fit this mirror on the traffic side of your handlebar.

How does it mount?

Fitting this mirror takes a little preparation and some adjustment to get it right. Once it’s set in position, it only has a minimum amount of adjustability, so you should take the time to get the fitting right.

You need to remove the handlebar tape and the bar end plug, and use some electrical tape to hold it in position. The process is not very difficult, but don’t expect to just pop it in and go.

Here’s a good video showing the process:

This is a very sturdy mirror and it won’t move out of place once it’s fitted right.

An upside of something that doesn’t come off easily is that it’s also not very easy to steal. This means that you don’t have to remove the mirror and take it with you every time you park your bike in a public area.

Visibility

The IRBM is a front-silvered mirror, which means that the light is reflected off the surface of the mirror, and it doesn’t have to pass through a glass twice. This results in a crisp clear image and more faithful image quality without ghosting.

As long as it is adjusted properly for your riding position, the mirror offers a good field of view with minimal distortion. It’s also easier to gauge the distance of objects behind you than on some cheaper mirrors.

3. Hafny Bar End Bike Mirror

Who is it best for?

  • Riders who prefer a larger mirror with a wide field of view and an excellent image quality over streamlined aerodynamic design.
  • Commuters who ride on busy roads with lots of cars overtaking them and want to constantly monitor the traffic behind them
  • Riders who want to use the same mirror on more bikes with different types of handlebars (drop, flat, riser etc)

Design

This mirror has a traditional round design, unlike the Sprintec or the IRBM, which makes it immediately noticeable on your bike, which isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t as slick as those two. It is 61mm (over 2 inches) in diameter and it comes in a silver and a blue version made of a distortion free, clear, blast resistant glass. 

It mounts on the end of your handlebar, and has a ball-joint, which makes it easily adjustable. Hafny claims that it’s 360 degrees, but in reality, let’s just say that it’s very adjustable.

This mirror will work well on any type of handlebar, not only drop bars. You can use it on your mountain bike or a flat bar road bike as well as long as it has a handlebar diameter of 14.5-23mm. Note that some product descriptions still specify a different range (17 – 21), which refers to an older model, but the current model has been re-designed to fit a wider range of handlebars.

The Hafny mirror comes as a single mirror that can be mounted on either end of the handle bar. You need to put it on the traffic side.

Included in the package you receive a spacer, which serves to hold the mirror in place for handlebars wider than 20.5 mm in diameter. 

How does it mount?

This mirror mounts to the bar end with a 5mm allen key, which isn’t included in the package. You Don’t need to remove the bar tape, but only the bar end plug, and tighten the bolt after placing the stem in the handlebar. 

Mounting the mirror is easy and it doesn’t require a high precision because the ball-joint makes it easy to fine-tune for your riding style and position.

Once the bolt is tightened, and the mirror is set, it holds in place very well even if you ride on bumpy segments such as gravel or cobble stones.

Visibility

The Hafny Mirror offers a crisp image, and it comes in a silver and blue version. The difference is that the blue version has an anti-glare coating, which makes it more usable in harsh sunlight. This advantage turns into a slight disadvantage at night because it’s dimmer than the silver version. 

The surface of the mirror is quite large, it offers a good field of view. It is slightly convex, which means that objects appear slightly more distant than they really are. The image reflected is clear and free of distortion.

4. Hafny Drop Bar Bike Mirror

Who is it best for?

  • Riders who ride in heavy traffic and don’t need the option of using the mirror on a flat handlebar.
  • Commuters with drop handlebars who care more about good rear vision than aerodynamic design.

Design

This mirror is similar in design to the regular bar end mirror, but this is specifically made for road bikes and can’t be used on bikes with flat handlebars. 

Another minor difference from its universal brother is its shape, which is not a perfect circle but drop-shaped, which lends your road bike a more dynamic look.

By default it comes with a blue color anti-glare glass, which makes it useful in harsh lighting conditions.

How does it mount?

This mirror mounts onto any drop handlebar with an inner diameter of 16-21 mm. It’s not side specific, so it can be mounted on either end of the handlebar.

The process is easy: you need to remove the bar end plug, place the mirror stem in the hole and tighten the bolt. Make sure that you have a 5 mm allen key at home because it isn’t supplied in the package. 

Visibility

Visibility and field of view are excellent, although this mirror is slightly narrower than its bigger brother designed for both drop and flat handlebars. 

Questions answered

Do bicycle mirrors affect your speed?

Bike mirrors are too small for them to affect your speed or the handling of your bike even if you are a fast rider. Their presence may make a tiny difference on a very fast, long race, but for most riders this difference is insignificant, and the benefits of having a mirror are far greater.

Which is the best mirror for commuting?

As far as visibility and practicality is concerned, the Hafny Bar End Mirror is the best option.

Which is the best mirror for road cycling and weekend rides?

If you care about the appearance of your bike and you still want the convenience of a rearview mirror, the IRBM is hard to beat.

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