The New Quad Lock 360 Line
If you walk into a store and ask to buy “the Quad Lock 360” you’ll get a confused look. That’s because it would be the equivalent of asking to buy Lego at Toys R Us.
Comparing it to Lego is apropos because the Quad Lock 360 isn’t a singular item or even a kit. It’s better described as a lineup of customizable modular components to mount your smartphone in or on any vehicle.
I recommend using their “Build Your Own 360 Kit” generator to know what parts you need to buy before ordering.
There’s a good variety of bases, heads, arms, and accessories designed to fit together in several different configurations. That allows anyone to mount their phone in a simple, moderately complex, or downright fancy manner—depending on what floats their proverbial boat.
My Norden 901 Fantasy Build
The Husqvarna Norden 901 prototype I saw years ago at EICMA 2019 (photo above) had a cell phone mounted over the dash display, and I liked it a lot. Now that I’ve taken ownership of a production Norden 901, I aimed to have the same mounting.
Instead of relying on Husqvarna parts, I used the four Quad Lock 360 components seen in the photos below to mirror the Norden prototype configuration.
The Installation Process
I could have most easily mounted my phone to the handlebars using a Quad Lock clamp-style base, but that wouldn’t have matched the cool factor of the prototype Norden, would it?
There are a number of GPS mounting bases I could have used from KTM, Rottweiler Performance, and Vanasche—but they’re all fairly expensive. Instead, I purchased an orange-colored aluminum adapter block from eBay that I painted black to match the bike and serve as the project’s foundation.
This particular mount (there are loads of other similar ones available on eBay) connected nicely to the Norden console, but the threaded holes on the top of it were only 4mm in diameter instead of the 5mm mounting screws that would work best with my chosen Quad Lock 360, four-hole, AMPS-style mounting base.
Sourcing 4mm Tapered Bolts
After hunting around, I managed to find 4mm bolts with tapered heads to attach the Quad Lock baseplate to the aluminum adapter mount.
My only concern was with the heads on the 4mm bolts, which are shorter than a 5mm tapered head would be. This means the shorter heads don’t sit flush with the surface of the mounting holes, which you can see in the photo above. Consequently, only about 50% of the mounting plate hole is being clamped by the bolt heads.
I could have drilled out the 4mm holes and re-tapped them to 5mm, but instead decided to roll the dice and see how things played out. Now, after many thousands of miles ridden, those bolts are holding just fine, and no cracks have developed in the base plate.
What Stands Out about a Quad Lock 360 Mount?
The wireless charger and vibration dampener are the two things I value most out of the Quad Lock lineup.
The Quad Lock 360’s Wireless Charger
Thanks to the wireless charger, I can leave my phone unlocked indefinitely while displaying my chosen navigation app without the battery dying.
It works exactly as advertised keeping the battery charged, except when the ambient temperature stays too high for too long.
After sustained exposure at or above 100 °F or 38 °C, my iPhone 13 Pro Max screen automatically fades so darkly that the image is difficult to see, and the phone purposely slows battery charging to a snail’s pace until things cool off.
I can’t confirm whether Android phones would react the same way in the name of self-preservation, but I would bet they do.
This is one unexpected downside to mounting a cell phone out in the elements on a motorcycle. Some of my Quad Lock-using friends say that having their phone mounted out in oncoming air instead of sheltered behind a windshield as I do keeps the phone from overheating.
My Quad Lock contacts agree that’s also their experience, and so I may have to consider changing the mounting to a different location if I find my iPhone begins to suffer due to the lack of airflow.
Wireless Charging Head Power Supply
The wireless charging head uses a USB-C connector and Quad Lock includes two USB-C charging cables in the box with it.
One is 4 feet long, while the other is about 21 inches. I coiled up a bunch of the nice-to-have extra length of the 4-footer and hid it behind the Norden screen before popping the business end of it into a 12V auxiliary port adapter on the right side, as you can see in the photo above.
There is an on/off switch on the back of the wireless charger head, but I prefer to unplug the charging cable from the aux power port once my phone is fully charged.
Giving Yourself Different Power Options
Don’t worry if your bike doesn’t have an auxiliary power port on it as mine does. Quad Lock has a Waterproof 12V To USB Smart Adaptor you can connect permanently to the battery instead. This magic gizmo is especially clever as it has a switch on it allowing you to choose constant battery power, off, or key-on power only.
In hindsight, I might have been better off opting for the Smart Adaptor to power the charger head on my Norden.
The Quad Lock 360’s Twist Lock Case
The charging head mates to the phone case securely with a 90-degree twist of my wrist and stayed put even when riding over small to medium bumps on-road. Never once did the connection falter during my extensive testing, even while riding on gravel and dirt trails.
Nor has my phone popped out of the case while attached to the charging head. Well done!
Uncoupling the phone from the charging head takes some practice to do smoothly because you have to push the “ears” on the charging head inwards before the phone can be turned 90 degrees to detach. When connected together, there isn’t much clearance for fat fingers like mine to operate between the two objects—but I’ve adapted to manage that challenge.
How Good Is the Quad Lock 360’s Phone Case?
My day job is working on the largest mining haul trucks Caterpillar builds. The upper platform on a 797F haul truck is about 15 feet off the ground, and there was one instance where my phone fell that full distance before landing in a wooden crate below.
My phone didn’t take any damage in the fall—which made me a fan of the Quad Lock phone case.
There have also been a number of additional drops from about chest height (done in the name of thorough wBW testing, of course!) none of which resulted in any damage.
Protect Your Camera
The vibration dampener is a must-have add-on for anyone who values using their phone to take photos and videos. Apple has specifically warned owners not to mount iPhones to motorcycle handlebars and the same applies to any phone with image stabilization technology built into the camera.
Vibration Dampening On (and Off) the Road
Quad Lock – Vibration Dampener
I’ve ridden about 3000 miles now with the Quad Lock setup running on my Norden without issues (other than high ambient temps slowing charging and darkening the screen).
I haven’t had the phone in place for any really rough off-road riding because as much as I believe the vibration dampener works, I didn’t feel prepared to risk my phone’s life in what seemed an unreasonable manner.
From what I see when looking at the three rubber grommets housed in the vibration dampener, this design will protect phones from high-frequency vibrations (caused by engine buzz and road surface texture) but not necessarily big jolts from riding off big jumps and over bumps. Put another way, I surmised it was made for everyday riding (as opposed to, say, motocross racing).
Quad Lock Says Go Big With The Vibration Dampener
My contacts at Quad Lock say there are some motocross racers taking massive jumps using their products without any harm coming to the smartphones. This is hinted at in some of their promotional material but not specifically shown.
Leigh Ryan (from Quad Lock) told me they’ve tested impacts up to 150G for 10 milliseconds of duration without failures on either the phones or their mounting components. I want to believe that’s the truth, but I’m still working up the courage to ride some of the really gnarly, rocky trails I’m accustomed to with my iPhone clipped in the mount.
You see, my phone moves around a lot while attached to the charger mount—to the point where at first I honestly questioned whether it would hold together. You might say it jiggle-jiggles as if attached to a pile of Jello, but it doesn’t fold.
No Worries, Mate!
I watched, waited, and watched some more while anticipating a failure that never materialized in the end. Now, I’m totally unconcerned and am confident my iPhone is safe in the arms of Quad Lock— during everyday riding.
Oh, and most importantly (thus far)—my phone’s photographic and video capability is unchanged from before I started using the Quad Lock 360 mount.
The Quad Lock 360’s Phone “Poncho”
Quad Lock makes a clear, flexible, plastic dust cover they call a Poncho that snaps in place over the phone and case. I’m not a fan of it.
Admittedly, it’s true the poncho works well for keeping the phone sealed away from mud, dust, and water—other than at the charging port, which is wide open. I guess it’s that way to accommodate anyone unwilling to use the wireless charger head.
My beef with the poncho is twofold:
- it interfered with the touch controls on my phone when combined with my current screen protector. That combination is too much of a barrier to work through with my gloved fingers, and even using bare fingers on my phone with the poncho installed nets about a 25% chance of the screen responding.
- There are small ridges lining the inside of the poncho over top of the screen, which makes my sightline hazy. The ridges are there for a good reason I bet, but that doesn’t change the net result of compromised clarity.
It seems like a compromise I have to make to ensure the phone is protected from heavy mud, dust and dirt, but I’m not happy about it. I can still see through the poncho, but it’s irritating.
Since many people already use a screen protector on their phone, perhaps an opening in the poncho over top of the display screen area would be better in lieu of wholly covering it?
Using the Quad Lock 360 with a Screen Protector?
Quad Lock advises their customers not to use a screen protector in conjunction with the poncho for this very reason.
That may be the case (no pun intended), but the majority of people I know seem content using their current crystal-clear Silicone Dioxide (tempered glass) screen protector on their phones. It’s a good bet most would balk at removing it in favor of the much bulkier and sight-obscuring Quad Lock poncho—but I might be projecting my personal view.
Final Verdict on the Quad Lock 360
Many great things have come from Australia: Motoz Tyres, Crowded House, AC DC, black box flight recorders, Chris Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, and of course, Quad Lock! Indeed, I think our Aussie friends are “bonzer” because they’re happy to share their ingenuity and greatness with the rest of the world.
Before this review, I’d been told by many people about how good the Quad Lock mounts are, and they were right! I love it when a product measures up to the hype. Rain, dust, wind, and vibration didn’t phase the mount one bit during all the testing I did of it.
One unexpected benefit of having my phone mounted above the dash display has been taking photos and videos on the fly for reviews. See the photo below.
I like having this new tool in my review toolbox. FYI it was pouring rain when I snapped this shot:
Dollars & Sense?
Some may argue that spending $169.94 USD on the Quad Lock 360 components used in this review and another $20 USD for the aluminum adapter mount (plus $5 for the 4mm mounting bolts) is too rich for a cell phone mount. Yep, that’s a fair chunk of cheddar, but often, you get what you pay for.
For my part, I’ll pay a reasonably high price for a product that pleases me with its performance every time I use it, and that’s how I feel about the 360 mount I built for the Norden.
Advice to Quad Lock: Improve the Poncho
The poncho is my only real gripe about the components I’ve tested in this review. Nothing is perfect, including the Quad Lock, but it’s so close! I think the issue could be fixed if the Quad Lock design team puts their heads together to draw up a solution. They seem pretty sharp.
Is It Wise To Use a Phone This Way?
My iPhone 13 Pro Max cost me a small fortune, and I rely on it for taking photos for these reviews and shooting videos. This makes me question the wisdom of mounting it out in the elements long term on my motorcycle.
The Quad Lock vibration dampener will take care of vibration damage to the phone, but will the hot sun repeatedly overheating the phone and battery negatively affect its long-term lifespan? True, I can relocate the mount to my handlebars where it will benefit from cooling airflow, but I’d rather leave it where it is now.
So far, so good, and I do upgrade my phone every two or three years anyway—maybe I’m worried about nothing?
In Case Of Emergency
The other potential problem can happen in the event of a crash.
A friend of mine crashed a couple of years ago and had her cell phone in her tank bag at the time. During the crash, she became separated from her motorcycle and had to crawl back to it while injured to make a call for help.
If she had a Sena or Cardo headset in her helmet and was still in range of the phone a phone call could have been made that way, I suppose.
It’s food for thought for everyone considering attaching their main source of rescue to their motorcycle.
For now, I’m going to continue using my phone on the QL mount until something happens to change my mind. I’ll update this review to reflect future findings as well.
- Manufacturer: Quad Lock Case
- Price when tested: $169 US as built in this review
- Made in: China, designed in Australia
- Colors: Black
- Review Date: August 2022
Important Links / Where to Buy
- Direct from Manufacturer: Quad Lock Case