For more than 20 years I have been wrestling with a simple problem. Where to put the race number on an aero bike, that is to say a bike used for time trials, triathlons, duathlons, and the like. A new shiny aero bike can be quickly ruined with the various things hung about it, and a flapping number can literally drive you crazy. Over the years I have come up with countless mounts, and special tricks to deal with number placement. While many of the solutions achieved the goals of not interfering with aerodynamics or functional parts of the bike, most were time consuming and generally pretty complicated. Voila, enter the Smartmount Race Number Holder, by McCool’s.
This simple little device makes installation of your race number fairly quick and definitely easy. The idea is simple: A flat clamp that holds the race number from the top of the number and attaches to a point on the rear of the bike. A cleaner much simpler version of my and other race mechanics old trick of using a rack bracket or similiar device.
The Smartmount is made from a lightweight, impact resistant polyurethane. Small steel nuts are recessed into the mount clamp. The carbon steel set screws are tightened with the included Hex Key. Designed to give you the option of leaving the bike attachment clip on the bike all season and simply removing the race number clamp plates, or cut the cable tie off after each race, and attach again with a standard cable tie. It uses less than an inch of space on any size or shaped bar or tube that you choose. The reversible and curved mounting clip provides for the best clearance possible giving you the option of mounting your race number practically anywhere on your bike.
We got our first Smartmount this summer and decided to try it during the ITU Long Course World Championships. The ITU provides a stiff number and we chose not use the optional aero sleeve. Set-up was quick and easy and I almost didn’t use the directions as everything seemed intuitive, but in the end broke down and looked at the sheet just to make sure I was doing things right. I was of course, despite 12 hours of flight, 3 hours of driving and the usual problems of wrenching in a euro sized hotel room. Thumbs up so far, espcially for thinking of including an allen wrench with a pointy end to poke holes in any number supplied (this is important for lining up the holes in the mount with those of the number).
Overall the Smartmount was easy to install, a couple of screws and a zip tie and adjusting the angle was a breeze (loosen slightly/ retighten). During the event the number wasn’t even noticeable, no annoying flapping in the breeze, no hindrance to bottles or brakes, just a number attached for all to see and stay out-of-the-way. After the race we decided to leave the zip tied portion of the mount to the bike, put away the rest and travel to the next venue. After several weeks of travel and training there was no issue with the little stub left on the seat post and when the next race (ITU Du World Championships) came up it was as simple as swap the numbers and bolt the frame back onto the stub. Done.
Next bike to receive the Smartmount was an aero seat post bike built for IM. Lower seat height, bags and bottle cages off the back, stuff, stuff and more stuff to provide minimal room. Once again the Smartmount was no problem. Just reversed the little tab mount, and played with the angle till I found a happy spot and done. The rest of the performance was the same as we found on the other bike. Basically didn’t notice a thing.
Conclusion: The Smartmount is a clever, simple solution to mounting your race number. All types of numbers mount easily from paper numbers to hard stock numbers ( I have not tried a plastic number yet, but as these are not common, it’s not much of an issue). The optional aero sleeve (recommended) makes even the thinnest of numbers work and is infinitely superior to cleaning sticker residue off your frame. McCool’s offers a few other innovate products like an aero cover for your standard helmet and a helmet number holder. Look for these to be reviewed in the future.
If you are interested in purchasing a race number holder for yourself or for that Triathlete in your life they are now available at the Hypercat Store for $14.50 with the optional Aero sleeve.