We recommend one camera designed specifically for cycling: the Cycliq Fly6 because it’s a combination of rear facing bright red led lights that can be configured in multiple flashing patterns, and a rear facing camera. Otherwise, we are camera agnostic. We accept any video cyclists provide when submitting their near miss incident reports to our free Incident Management System.
One of our Austin, Texas members wrote a post on our site, Austin, Texas cyclist’s Cycliq camera lament and secret formula for cycling safety cameras, where he lamented the lack of cycling safety specific cameras and proposed his formula for a cycling safety camera.
We hope to help cyclists research the current camera marketplace by sharing two action camera comparison posts:
Most comparisons share the same usual list of suspects.
Some of our members have gone with YI cameras as a lower cost GoPro alternative but there always seems to be three main alternatives that most cyclists choose: Cycliq, GoPro and YI.
We hope this short post helps cyclists beginning their research into cycling cameras and we invite all cyclists to share their recommendations, likes, dislikes and wishes for improvements in cycling safety cameras by adding their comments below.
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I purchased a SpyTec camera (Spytec Mobius Action Camera 1080P HD 60fps 131 Degree Wide-Angle Lens Mini Sports Cam with Loop Recording to be specific) for my front-facing camera along with a helmet mount so that it records what I’m looking at.
It’s cheap (about $70) and does everything I need it to do, with some shortcomings. The low-light recording quality is not very good, so it doesn’t capture license plates very well, but when there’s good light it does well which is much better than what I had before (no camera). Battery life is pretty bad, like about 45 min. – 1 hr. maybe, enough for my daily commuting, and I guess to be expected considering it’s very small size/ weight (which is nice on my neck since it’s on my helmet). Here’s one video from the camera that I published earlier this fall for some advocacy work to give you an idea of quality:
I use a Cycliq Fly6 CE for the rear which is rock solid and well worth the cost. Sample videos are readily available for these cameras.
Ride of Silence
We’re thankful you are now riding with a couple cameras! Thanks for sharing your camera reviews and sample video. Most importantly, thanks for your work with the Ride of Silence.
I read the Austin rider’s list, and I have some agreements and disagreements.
My major disagreement is Austin’s view that the light and camera should be disaggregated. I used to ride with a rear light; having the Fly6CE (when it worked) saved me one button push, with the promise of more savings when Wahoo enables Ant+ light control.
I ride with both a Cycliq 12 and 6. The 12 has been solid (and when it got wonky a push of the reset button took care of it). The design of the 6 is not as bombproof, and I tore the charging port protector after about 8 months of use. Cycliq replaced it (pleasant surprise), but the replacement stopped working a couple of weeks ago. I think a lot of the units are failing, as they sent a response to my ticket suggesting they are overwhelmed.
My other major criticism is their (post purchase) insistence that only their approved SD cards must be used. That suggests they are lazy (in testing) or don’t know what their camera really needs. I’ve never experienced a camera mfr do anything other than list a spec for the cards that will work, and the issue is usually simply the ability of the card to keep up. I’ve NEVER heard of one attempt to blame a card (at least a solid, name brand card) for possible camera failure.
So I think it’s a good product that needs to get better. And there’s nothing else quite like it on the market, AFIK. If there were, I might jump ship.
Alternatives, like the Yi (now discontinued, at the cheap price) are camera only, and usually go-pro bulky. Also, while some have the advantage of replaceable batteries, they also have batteries not expected to last more than a few hours. The Cycliq would go around 4-5, if set properly.
Back to failures for a moment–I got my 12 as part of a group buy through my club. I think I will run a survey to see what failure rates look like.
Thanks for sharing your excellent first hand review and information Matt. Please reply with your survey results.
Great to see these reviews. I hope lots of people add comments and observations about the various cameras. I wrote the Austin Cyclist Cycliq Camea Lament, and let me just add a couple of thoughts. After wasting time trying to get by with a couple of cheap cameras for rear view, I’m back to Cycliq Fly6CE for the rear and Fly12CE for the front. (I found a good deal on ebay)
The cheap cameras I experimented with cost about $25 each. I got one at work as a corporate reward for jumping through corporate hoops and not annoying my boss too much, and the other from ebay. Cheap cameras are better than nothing, for sure, but are not reliable at all. I found they only work about 75% of the time and often cut out and restart for no apparent reason. Also, the battery only lasts 30-45 mins. The video quality is bad, but might be good enough to show who was at fault in a crash – depending on lots of factors.
My reason for wishing Cycliq would NOT include lights is that the lights drain the battery, and it is the battery that is the weak link in the Cycliq system since they can’t be easily replaced. The more you use that battery, the less time you have with it. I recommend turning the Cycliq lights off and running other separate lights instead. I do like the Cycliq app feature that allows me to check battery levels so I can avoid topping them up too soon. That is supposed to help extend the battery life so also recommend making use of that feature.
Thanks for your original post and this excellent update.
I came here out of curiosity as I’m sure eventually the Contour ROAM cameras are going to stop being available. I started with the Contour ROAM 2, got a 3 when I though the 2 died, figured out my 2 worked fine with the right SD cards, and rode with both for a couple years. Then when I lost the 2 off the back, got a 4k for the front. They look like lights, don’t look dorky (ahem GoPro), and I don’t often ride long enough to beat the battery. But since GoPro has put them out of business twice, someday I’ll need to find a new camera when the remainder market dries up.
I am currently using the Contour Roam. It is true that they are only available only on the secondary market (E-BAY has them from $100 used to over $300 NIB which I think is ridiculous) but I got mine (a couple of them, new) in the $120 range back in the day.
Been using the same one for about 3 years now, is great for commuting unless you want to record your “epic” adventure ride the battery life seems to about 2 hours so might not work for those. I tend to bike no more than 1 hour each direction (when I am commuting) so it works for me. Love the helmet mount (where is look is what you record) and it has a lower profile then the other cameras I have seen out there. Also not attached to the bike so not a theft concern and you only need one for all of your bikes…..
Will happily continue using it until it dies… Stacy