We have long been fans of ENVE's SES Aero Road Bars. Indeed the SES Aero bars are as light, stiff and beautiful as you would expect from ENVE. But really it's the huge flare of the SES bars - narrow in the hoods, wide in the drops - and the aero shape that make them our go to when it comes to race cockpits.
Unfortunately it's that same aero shape that creates a problem. Namely the shape of the bars precludes the use of the K-Edge computer and camera mounts that we have largely adopted to using in recent years. Thankfully ENVE has partially addressed this issue via the introduction of a well constructed computer mount that refines the 'out in front' mounting style that K-Edge helped introduce by using two of the four stem bolts to also hold a computer mount:
We have used the ENVE computer mount for more than a year and have had zero issues with the product's functionality and durability. That said the ENVE computer mount really only solves half of the problem - it's great for mounting your Garmin or Wahoo computer but as of yet ENVE has yet to release a GoPro compatible mount/adapter. Given our tendency to record race footage this is a shortcoming we have struggled with ever since switching to the ENVE SES Aero Road Bars.
Recently we discovered a new product that addresses this concern: the F3 Cycling FormMount. The F3 FormMount started as a highly successful Kickstarter project but is now broadly available via the F3 cycling website and brings several improvements to the concept behind the ENVE computer mount:
We recently made the jump to the FormMount and after several hundred miles in the saddle with the product on multiple bikes we have been impressed by it's flexibility and functionality. As compared to the ENVE Computer Mount the key improvements we'd call out include:
- Stem compatibility: while the ENVE Computer mount is made specifically for ENVE stem bolt patterns the design of the F3 FormMount is compatible with any 4 bolt stem with M5 bolts, albeit at the cost of modestly more complex installation (more on that later). We have used the FormMount with ENVE, 3T, Deda and Zipp stems without any compatibility issues whatsoever.
- GoPro compatibility: F3 Cycling sells a $14.95 GoPro mount adapter that installs on the underbelly of the FormMount. All things considered we would probably have a slight preference for the all metal design of K-Edge Handlebar camera mounts but with our ENVE SES bars ruling out that possibility the FormMount has allowed us to capture great on the bike footage all the same.
We're more than satisfied with the switch and our ability to get back to recording on the bike video footage, but there are two trade-offs we experienced first hand with the FormMount:
- Installation: one of the FormMount's strength is the broad array of stem compatibility but for anyone who is OCD about their bike equipment getting the mount perfectly centered did take us a few tries. Certainly the ENVE Computer Mount or K-Edge Handlebar Mounts are faster to install (tighten two bolts and you're done) though we're really talking about a five or ten minute difference so it was a minor one-time inconvenience.
- Price: the FormMount is well designed and constructed, but it is more expensive than the ENVE Computer Mount ($59.99 vs. $40.00) and priced inline with the premium all metal construction of K-Edge handlebar mounts. With the ENVE SES bars we didn't have many alternatives to choose from but the FormMount value proposition would be more compelling at a touch cheaper price point. Also keep in mind that the GoPro adapter was an additional $14.95 on top of the $59.99 FormMount so switching three bikes to the FormMount rang up a decent tally on our credit card.
Weighing the pros and cons of the F3 Cycling FormMount we're definitely in the pro camp overall. Installation took a bit longer than expected but the performance to date has been impeccable. We'll continue putting miles in with the FormMount and report back on the product's durability. In the meantime if you're interested in learning more about the FormMount or F3 Cycling head over to their website: F3Cycling.com
Matthew Vandivort is a New York City based cyclist and sometimes photographer who was also a founding member of To Be Determined. You can follow him online at @photorhetoric or http://photo-rhetoric.com/