When adventure racing, mountain bike orienteering, bikepacking or cycle touring, it is important to have a system that enables you to map read on the go. Various map board systems are available but it’s by no means a saturated market and some options are pretty pricey and fiddly to fit. Lakes-based adventure racer Paul Vousden has recently launched Mapdec, offering excellent value boards for a range of sports.
Model: Mapdec Squaredec
Owned for: 11 months
Used for: Adventure racing, mountain bike orienteering, bike touring
More info: www.mapdec.com
For someone to whom navigational responsibilities often fall, I am fussy about the logistics of map reading. Fiddling around with folded maps and pockets is not an option on a long ride or multi-day race. The mapboard has to be sturdy, easy to fit and reliable. Mapdec’s Squaredec certainly meets those basic criteria. The robust plastic handlebar bracket attaches with two allen bolts and we have never had a problem with it loosening on even the roughest of rides. A rubber shim or some electrical tape round the bar keeps the clamp snug.
The square rotating central section is held in place by a simple bolt system and although potentially adds a point of weakness, having a rotating board is essential, and this is as good a system as any. The platform is a decent size – enough for a good view of the area on a 1:50,000 OS map.
The only downside to the Mapdec is the lack of plastic cover. Although covers can get scratched and dirty after a while, preventing a clear view of the map, the bungees that hold the map on the Mapdec do not work that well in very windy conditions. We have ended up adding a few of our own bungees which can make turning the map rather fiddly. That said, for the price, this is a solid option.
+ Great value
+ Robust handlebar clamp
+ Solid construction
- Bungees don’t work well in very windy conditions
- Heavier than some of the more pricey alternatives
A welcome addition to the mapboard market and a good choice at this price.