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K-Edge introduced its first CNC-machined aluminum computer mount in 2012, sparking an entire aftermarket industry dedicated solely to fancy ways of attaching Garmin computers (and other popular models) to your handlebar. Other brands have since followed suit, but it’s only recently that Tate Labs — K-Edge’s biggest competitor — has decided to go head-to-head with K-Edge, moving more upscale from its usual molded plastic construction with its own machined aluminum computer mount, the new Bar Fly 4 Prime.
K-Edge has steadily refined its mount design in the five years since, and many still consider it to be the first choice in premium computer mounts. Bar Fly’s new entry, however, can seemingly go head-to-head in terms of basic construction, and is also more feature-packed. So who comes out on top?
On paper, both mounts are very similar, using CNC-machined aluminum (American sourcing for the K-Edge, Asian manufacturing for the Bar Fly), anodized and laser-etched finishes, and interchangeable molded plastic inserts for use with different computer brands and models. Both also offer accessory mounts underneath the computer head for things like cameras and lights, plus compatibility with 31.8mm and 35mm-diameter handlebars via handy hinged, single-bolt clamps.
Both the K-Edge and Bar Fly feel impressively solid on the bike, with nary a wiggle when you push a button on your computer, unlike plastic mounts that invariably feel like, well, plastic. Both clamps hold tenaciously to both aluminum and carbon fiber bars, too, and the plastic computer interfaces are similarly secure and silky-smooth to use.
Weights are also similar with the K-Edge Combo mount coming in at 65g (with Wahoo Fitness insert, GoPro mount, and 31.8mm bar clamp), and a similarly configured Bar Fly 4 Prime tipping the scales at 76g.
The differences, meanwhile, are found in the details.
While both mounts accommodate a wide range of bikes and computer types, Tate Labs simplifies the process of choosing the correct configuration by including all the options in one box. Inserts for Garmin, Wahoo Fitness, Cateye, Polar, Magellan/Mio, Bryton, and PowerTap head units are all included with the Bar Fly 4 Prime, and a small plastic shim adapts the clamp to either 31.8mm or 35mm bars. There’s no guesswork involved whatsoever.
Moreover, the front of the Bar Fly 4 Prime uses a two-position cradle that lets you place the computer nearer or closer to the stem, either for personal preference or to handle large-format displays like the Garmin Edge 1000. In addition to all those computer mounts, the Bar Fly 4 Prime also includes a mount for Shimano Di2 or Campagnolo EPS junction boxes, an accessory mount for the underside that fits anything using the GoPro interface, and a universal O-ring-style mount for attaching just about anything else.
The K-Edge mount can be similarly versatile, although buyers need to choose the correct configuration up front. K-Edge makes its mounts in specific 31.8mm or 35mm-diameter clamp diameters, for example, and although K-Edge offers two computer mounting positions, they’re separate and distinct setups that can’t be changed later on. Likewise, inserts are offered for Garmin, Wahoo Fitness, and Sigma Sport computers, but only one is included; the rest are sold separately. And while the Bar Fly 4 Prime includes junction box and universal accessory mounts, neither are even available as part of K-Edge’s computer mount.
Add in the fact that the Bar Fly 4 Prime is a tad less expensive, and it would seem like the easy choice.
The Bar Fly 4 Prime may have an advantage over the K-Edge in terms of convenience and flexibility, but after months of living with both, I don’t think the decision is quite so clear-cut.
Tate Labs definitely makes it easier to get the right mount for your bike, but most potential buyers will already know what they need — and rarely will they need to change that configuration later on. From a conservation standpoint, it’s perhaps also worth noting that while it’s nice that all of those inserts are included with the Bar Fly 4 Prime, few people will want or need more than one. According to Bar Fly co-founder Greg Hillson, those leftover chunks of nylon can be recycled, but without clear markings to denote the material, many municipal programs won’t accept them.
Those who value a minimalist aesthetic might prefer the pared-down look of the K-Edge, which uses a more slimmed-down handlebar clamp and extension than the Bar Fly 4 Prime, as well as a thinner computer and accessory platform. And whereas K-Edge also uses machined aluminum for its admirably tiny GoPro mount, the plastic one on the Bar Fly 4 Prime one is notably bigger and bulkier. The K-Edge positions computers a bit lower and more inline with the stem than the Bar Fly, too.
So which one is the winner in my book? From a convenience and versatility standpoint, the Bar Fly 4 Prime is the clear victor as it just simply offers more function for less money with few downsides.
But if you’re more particular about how things look on your bike, you don’t need (or want) all the ancillary benefits that the Bar Fly 4 Prime offers, and are willing to pay slightly more, the K-Edge Combo mount is still the more elegant choice.