Thanks to RAM Mount’s patented interchangeable rubber ball and socket system, you can safely secure literally anything to anywhere – sometimes, all you need is a little imagination.

When it comes to RAM Mount’s extensive product offering, the old saying “you get what you pay for” sums things up nicely. Yeah, these babies don’t come cheap, but they were never intended to. Ever since this US company was founded back in 1995, their whole plan has been to come up with well-engineered, quality mounting solutions for all our expensive, electronic tech – and they don’t give a damn what it is, or where you want to put it. What they care about is that their system works, and that it’ll last years. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that clever engineering and genuine quality always comes at a price.

Since the company’s inception 22 years ago, the electronic gadgetry market, in all its many guises, has mushroomed and evolved to a point were it completely dominates our lives. In keeping up with technological changes and the ever-growing consumer market, the brand’s inventory has grown over the years to around 5 000 line components; allowing you to mount your phone, GPS, tablet, laptop, flat screen, action camera, DSLR, even fishfinder and radar pretty much anywhere you like. And no form of transport is out of bounds – you’ll find mounting solutions for skateboards, kayaks, mom’s taxis, motorcycles, boats, aircraft, trucks, forklifts and even heavy farming equipment.

RAM’s impressive range of motorcycle base mounts let you secure must-have gadgets (think phones, nav units and action cameras) to your bike in a number of surprisingly creative ways. Their robust, yet classy-looking X-Grip vehicle holders for phones and tablets are legendary for their reliabilty and ease of use. While the versatile Tough-Claw is the perfect mounting base if you’re looking for quick and easy tool-less installation and removal on round, square, odd shaped rails and bars. And, best of all, you can clamp it virtually anywhere – whether you’re mounting to a motorcycle handlebar, ATV roll bar, wheelchair, mic stand, tabletop edge or balcony railing. They even have a quick-release saltwater fishing rod holder that I think’s really cool. In short, the vast range of options available to one can literally boggle the mind.

To truly appreciate RAM Mount and get your head around their seemingly-confusing product offering, you need to understand where the company comes from. Simply put, it was founded by an engineer, is owned by an engineer, and uses solid engineering principles to design and manufacture its extensive range of mounting solutions.

That said, if your engineer buddies are anything like mine, then you’ll recognise the stereotype immediately: they all get a kick out of finding a creative solution, then designing and building it right. The guys at RAM (short for Round-A-Mount) are no different – only the best materials get used, and their products genuinely work. When they say their suction cups won’t pop off the windscreen while you’re bouncing down a rutted dirt road, they mean it. So much so, that every component comes with a lifetime warranty.

It all comes down to a squishy rubber ball
The main reason behind RAM’s global success is their patented rubber ball and socket system, which literally acts as a pivot point for the rest of their range – allowing you to join together a variety of mounting bases, connecting arms (varying in length) and gadget-hugging cradles into one functional, purpose-built unit. RAM Mount SA’s Marnix de Lorm sums it up perfectly when he says, “Mixing and matching our range of interchangeable components to create your own user-specific mounting solution is a bit like playing with grown-up Lego.”

As you’d expect, some clever engineering went into what, ostensibly, appears to be a very simple design. Here’s how it works: The solid rubber balls are injection moulded directly onto marine-grade aluminium or plastic posts, eliminating any chance of them ever coming loose. When you tighten a RAM socket around the ball, it forces the rubber to distort slightly, causing the hinge (for want of a better word) to seize in position – it’s an elegant solution that builds an incredible amount of strength and rigidity into the system. Then, when the socket is released, the ball springs back to its original shape, allowing you to move the connecting arm or device cradle to a new position and repeat the process. Plus all connecting arms have sensibly-sized tightening knobs, allowing you to lock the socket at any angle you want with just a couple turns and minimal fuss.

The range comprises five different ball and socket sizes to accommodate different weight requirements and applications. Designated the letters A to E according to their size. A, the smallest, can support up to 1.3 kg, while E – the big daddy – can handle a whopping 9 kg.

Durability and robustness aside, what makes RAM’s system so successful is its versatility. Here’s what I mean: You can remove one ball part from an arm socket connection, and then replace it with something completely different. So, when required, you can swap-out the Motorcycle Rail Mount base for the Suction Cup base in your car, which then can be changed to the Yoke Mount base in your aircraft… and then fitted to the Marine Dash base on your boat. And let’s not even get into what you can do with fork lifts, trucks and heavy agricultural machinery.

As simple as 1, 2, 3, 4
Fortunately, once you get your head around how their system works, customizing your RAM Mount is quite simple. First, you need to choose a mounting base, depending on where you want to put it and what you’ll be mounting. Your options will astound you, so take the time and check them out – you could very well find something much better than what you had in mind. To give you an idea: there are 10 different mounting bases for motorcycles alone. Second, you choose a double socket arm. Coming in short, standard and long lengths, they are all available in various thicknesses to accommodate the 5 different ball sizes. Then, after picking an appropriate top base, all you need do is choose your preferred adaptor and/or cradle.

If you have a “mister-fix-it” streak, then RAM Mount’s modular, interconnecting system will probably have strong appeal. De Lorm elaborates: “Many of our customers have been collecting components for years. After purchasing their initial systems, they periodically swing past to pick up whatever single component they need for the project they’re currently working on, then add it to their collection once they’re done. Eventually, they end up with a box full of parts that allows them to come up with some very creative, individualised mounting solutions. I do the very same thing.”

That said, when ordering a RAM mount system or additional components, it’s important that you understand the part number system – the last thing you need is to end up with a base mount for a C-sized ball and a B-sized connecting arm. – (c) 2017 NavWorld

For more detailed information visit: www.ram-mount.co.za

About The Author

Sean Woods

Originally a photographer for the Star newspaper in the bad old days, Sean Woods turned to writing after the first democratic elections in '94. The career shift paid serious dividends, culminating in him becoming associate editor for Popular Mechanics magazine with a number of technology writing awards under his belt. His interests include anything to do with boats, motorcycles and all those fancy tech gadgets that help the modern world go around.

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