|Map boards designed for mountain bike navigation are pretty few and far between, illustrating how niche a sport it really is compared to mainstream mountain biking or hiking. The mapboards that have been on the market and become dominant in the UK have either been cheap plastic clips or more expensive, higher quality, but not fault free boards. My experience with the former is that they tend to snap very easily and normally at the worst possible moment. The latter style, similar to the Nordenmark being reviewed but with an allen bolt secured handlebar mount, are better but awkward to fit and have a tendency for the small bolts used, to drop to the ground (typically a gravel car park) when trying to fit it.
The Nordenmark gets around the attachment problem superbly. It uses a large plate with 4 bolts protruding from it, that is clamped to the bars using another couple of rubber padded small plates and simple wingnuts to hold it in place. It’s so simple and wingnuts are far easier to find in a gravel car park if you do drop them! The great part about the mount compared to all other designs I’ve tried is the fact that the mounting plate can be left on the bars and the mapboard itself detached using a very positive and easy to use release clip. This way the board can be easily removed when you put the bike on top of the car, in storage, when you go for a ‘normal’ ride, when stacking bikes in a trailer at races, etc etc.
The main map holder mount is very sturdy and allows for a large range of forward and backwards tilt, and of course 360 degree rotation of the board. It raises the board up about 5 inches for easy reading of the map. The board is supported on the mount by a couple of felt patches which create a convex surface and the combination helps to greatly reduce vibrations over other boards I’ve used.
The map board is transparent plastic (260mm x 260mm) with a long hinge on one side and 6 press studs on the perimeter to hold your vital map securely. It seems durable and time has not harmed it from physical abuse or UV rays.
The Nordenmark MTB Map Board, from Sweden, is a new item to the UK market, but one that has obviously been doing the rounds for a while overseas, with recommendations by Ian Adamson and plenty of Scandinavian teams using it in the AR World Championships. I for one would also highly recommend it, it’s the best mapboard I’ve ever used and will be on my bike in this year’s World Champs. Some may cough at the price of £45 and perhaps these things could be made cheaper in massive quantities in the Far East, but these are small produced boards from Sweden and the quality is first class. It’s an equipment investment that will last for a long time, unlike those cheap plastic handlebar clips that snap within weeks, so if you’re looking for the best for the long term, look no further.
Following a large number of requests as to where these map boards can be bought in the UK, I have decided to sell them myself through this website for the time being. I am currently the only UK seller of these boards and you can buy one for £45 including UK P&P, just click here to be taken to the product page.