Review: Alden Carbon Computer Mounts, Tire Levers
Sep 30, 2018
article & images by Nick Salazar
We have covered Glen Alden's foray into custom parts manufacturing since he first began over seven years ago. In the time since then, he has branded his parts as Alden Carbon and is turning out some very special and useful little bits. What began as bento boxes and chainring covers has expanded to a very nice lineup of Garmin mounts, BTA mounts, tilting cups, and more.
In fact, when a reader asks me to recommend a Garmin mount for a tricky or unique application, Alden Carbon often tops the list. Today we are looking at some new Garmin Mounts that are particularly versatile, as well as some snazzy new tire levers.
First up is a stalwart of Alden's product line, his very popular Garmin mounts. They are mostly flat, with a curved section on each end to wrap around the top of your extensions. A couple holes on each side let you affix them by zip-tie. There are two parts to the mount, which slide past one another, to create different effective stance widths to match your particular setup. There's also a little wiggle room to angle inward or outward depending on your precise extension geometry. Alden includes some very nice zip ties that have an internal steel grip, to ensure a good solid mount. However, I still use a double-sided tape where the mount meets the extensions, to prevent the mount from sliding around on your extensions. I generally don't trust zip ties to eliminate that movement on their own.
The benefit of this setup is that it ends up very light, rock solid, and in precisely the right spot. It's also a very minimal piece of kit, about as small as it gets. The only real drawback is that, due to the overlapping nature of the two-part design, each side has only about 30mm of stance width adjustment range. There are four different versions which will fit just about any setup out there, but you do need to measure carefully and make sure you order the right version. You also want to be relatively sure that your extension stance width isn't going to change much, because if it did you might find that your mount doesn't fit your setup any more.
But that one gripe aside, it's a fantastic product, and always on my list of recommendations when people ask how to fit a Garmin to their aerobars.
Extended Garmin Mount
This is Alden's newest type of mount, and quite possibly my favorite. Called the Extended Mount, it is meant to be used in a BTA setting, either bolted directly to a thread-on BTA mount, or sandwiched between your bottle cage and your BTA threads. Or, in the case of our own Alpha One aerobars, it's the perfect match for the Dragonfly. Lots of our customers have asked for options for a slick Garmin mount for Alpha One, and this always makes the list, often my first recommendation.
The mount is about as simple as it gets - just a straight run of flat carbon sheet that turns upwards about 30 degrees towards the end, to set the computer at an angle. It keeps everything in line with your bottle, to keep the mount safely out of the wind but easy to view. And at 32g, the weight is hard to beat.
K-Edge makes a similar product called the Splayd Mount, but that one is meant to be used on certain road bars. It features narrower bolt hole spacing, not intended for BTA use. And it's much heavier to boot. The Alden Extended Mount is, as far as I know, a unique offering on the market without any direct competitors.
Tire levers are one of those categories of parts that you rarely think of, until the moment you need them. And sadly, many tire levers suck. Or rather, many tire/rim combos have such a tight fit that you need a beast of a lever to put them on or take them off. At home, I almost always remove a tight tire with the Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack, one of the industry's little secret weapons. On the road, the best policy is to prepare beforehand, and make sure your particular tire/rim combo can be serviced with mobile tools. Otherwise you'd better keep your cell phone handy in the event that you flat and need a pickup.
But even with moderately loose-fitting rubber, a good lever is often needed, at least to remove the tire. And this is where your mobile tools become important. Too often, levers are made of a cheap thermoplastic of one kind or another, and prone to splitting at the first sign of trouble from your clincher bead. Or they're made super thick, and tough to pry under your clincher bead. Metal levers (or metal-cored ones) can sometimes be too harsh, and if you're not careful with carbon rims, they can easily cause very real damage, and even compromise your brake track.
For this reason, the Alden levers are a very nice little solution. They're thin enough to be usable, stiff enough to get the job done, and gentle enough to be used on carbon rims. And of course, they're quite light to boot. I have no problem recommending these for a mobile tool bag.
Glen Alden is doing a fantastic job with his business. He develops one product at a time, and does a fantastic job. His products are elegant in function, robust in utility, and beautiful to look at. I'm always excited to see what he's going to do next, and I never hesitate to recommend his products to eager customers. Get all his gear at Alden-Carbon.com. Thanks for reading!