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Best Cycling Camera – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide. Say Cheese!

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Bike cameras are a great way of showing off your epic ride, especially to cycling buddies who might be stuck in the office.

But more than just great fun, they can also be incredibly useful as an insurance tool much like a dashcam for a car if you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident.  

Modern bike cameras are small and unobtrusive, providing HD footage without getting in the way of cycling.

Here we dive into the features to look for to find the best cycling camera for your riding.

Top Picks:

Top 10 Best Cycling Cameras Reviewed

1. GoPro Hero 9 (Best Overall)

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Megapixels: 20mp
  • Max Video Resolution:  5k/30fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 10m
  • Weight: 5.57oz

It should be no surprise that a GoPro should be top of the list. Having been in the game so long, they know what riders want in an action camera.

The GoPro Hero 9 is simply one of the best action cameras. The list of great features is endless but the pick of the bunch is perhaps the ability to record in 5K and the front (and rear) screen to check you have captured the perfect shot.

With the front screen, there is no excuse for not having captured the perfect selfie to add to your Strava activity.

Features:

  • Voice control – the ability to start and stop videos on the go without fiddling with buttons is a great safety feature.
  • Hypersmooth 3.0 – the latest video stabilization technology is more refined than its predecessors and works out on the road.
  • 20-megapixel sensor – outstanding still photographs in an action camera.

2. Drift Ghost X (Best Battery Life)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Megapixels: 12mp
  • Max Video Resolution:  1080p 30/25 fps
  • Waterproof Depth: Not waterproof without a case.
  • Weight: 4.23oz

If you want a simple action camera and don’t want to keep swapping batteries mid-ride then the Drift Ghost X is a solid choice.

The battery life of around 5 hours is one of the best out there and even this can be increased to 8 hours with a long life module.

Even with this superior battery life, you can still record in full high resolution 1080p.

It has been designed to work best as a helmet-mounted camera but you can also attach it to the handlebars with an appropriate mount.

Features:

  • Battery life – if you are not a fan of having to swap batteries mid-ride, the 5-hour battery life is one of the best out there.
  • Size – this is a compact action camera that is perfect for mounting on your helmet.
  • Affordable – without all the superfluous features of other action cameras, this is a great value camera.

3. Contour Roam (Best Helmet Camera)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Megapixels: N/A
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p / 30fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 1m
  • Weight: 5.11oz

It is easy to see why the Contour Roam has been billed as “the easiest video camera in the world”. This is a no-nonsense, durable camera that still manages to deliver 1080p HD video.

The simple barrel design and easy-to-use mount lend themselves well to helmet mounting although it can be mounted anywhere on the bike and at any angle.

The lens can be rotated 270-degrees and a laser line helps to orient properly on the bike.

Features:

  • Idiot proof – hit the large and easy to find record button and everything else is taken care of.
  • Great for helmet mounting – simple design with a robust mount lends itself to helmet mounting.
  • Field-of-view – the 170degree wide-angle lens captures a lot of the environment. 

4. Fly12 Full HD Bike Camera and 400 Lumen Bicycle light (Best Front Light Camera)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Megapixels: N/A
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p/ 60 fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 10m
  • Weight: 6.88oz

If space is at a premium on your commuter bike, the Cycliq Fly 12 kills two birds with one stone combining a bright front light (400 lumens) and a continuously recording action camera.

Features:

  • Strava Integration – easily overlay ride data on the video to impress people with your power output.
  • Always recording – the point of this camera is to record incidents out on the road and since it is always recording you can be sure not to miss anything.
  • Rugged design – this camera is designed to withstand crashes without losing the video evidence.

5. Fly6 HD Rear Bike Camera and 30 Lumen Tail Light (Best Rear Light Camera)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Megapixels: N/A
  • Max Video Resolution:  1080p/ 60fps
  • Waterproof Depth: Water and dust resistant.
  • Weight: 3.88oz

Like its front-mounted cousin, the Cycliq Fly6 CE combines a camera and bike light, this time a taillight.

These cameras can be thought of as a Black Box; always recording when you are out on the bike in case you get into any trouble and need evidence. On that basis, the 1080p video quality is more than good enough.

The quarter-turn mount is easy to use and robust. 

Features:

  • “Safe Home” – the camera automatically switches at 5% battery remaining to give more juice to the rear light and keep you safer.
  • Theft Alarm – when the light moves, LED’s flash, and the unit starts beeping. Might be enough to put off an opportunist.
  • ANT+ Connectivity – you can operate the unit from a compatible head unit.

6. GoPro Hero 4 Session (Best Lightweight Action Camera)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Megapixels: 8mp
  • Max Video Resolution:  1080p/ 60fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 10m
  • Weight: 2.61oz

It might be a few years old now but the GoPro Hero 4 Sessions still packs a punch in such a small package. Compared to the other action cameras in the GoPro Hero4 range, the Session is 50 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter.

Camera operation couldn’t be simpler with all the functions being controlled by one, easy to find button. The accompanying smartphone app for changing settings is straightforward to get to grips with.

Features:

  • Lightweight – comes in at approximately half the weight of most of the other cameras on this list.
  • Duel microphones – video wind noise is substantially reduced using a front and rear microphone.
  • Auto-rotation – the video orientation is corrected no matter which way you install the camera.

7. Apeman A80 (Best Budget Bike Camera)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Megapixels: 20MP
  • Max Video Resolution:  4k/ 24fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 30m with waterproof housing (provided)
  • Weight: 5.64oz

The Apeman A80 is a great piece of kit at a budget price. For a fraction of the cost of some of the other action cameras listed here, you still get near 4K video recording.

It might not match the others in terms of features but it is perhaps the most versatile when it comes to mounting.

The low price tag and the video loop feature, turning it into a dash-cam, make the Apeman A80 a great choice as an everyday commuting camera.

Features:

  • Night Scene – boosts the video gain for those winter commutes.
  • Adjustable Field-of-View – the lens can be adjusted to 170, 140, 110, and 70 degrees field-of-view so you can optimize the image to get the perfect shot.
  • Almost unlimited mounting options – helmet, handlebars, chest, and everything in between all supplied with the camera.

8. GoPro Hero 8

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Megapixels: 12MP
  • Max Video Resolution:  4k/ 60fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 10m
  • Weight: 4.44oz

The GoPro Hero 8 has only really been surpassed by the more recent Hero 9 and still stands out in the busy action camera market.

It is no longer the new kid on the block but that doesn’t mean it is still not a great piece of kit and now better value. If you want some great GoPro features then this might be the sweet spot.

Features:

  • Elegant design – the battery can be removed without unclipping the camera. Useful for those mid-ride battery swaps.
  • Hypersmooth 2.0 – still great at smoothing out the video.
  • 10 pre-sets – no time wasted out on the trails trying to capture the perfect video.

9. Garmin VIRB 360

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Megapixels: 15mp
  • Max Video Resolution:  5.7k/ 30fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 10m
  • Weight: 5.64oz

The Garmin VIRB 360 takes cycling footage to the next level. By cleverly automatically stitching images from a front and rear camera you get spherical 360-degree video up to 5.7K/ 30fps.

The four microphones not only allow voice control options to start and stop videos but also do a great job of eliminating wind noise from a ride. This can usually make the sound from action cameras on a bike unusable but not in this case.

Features:

  • Connectivity – the VIRB 360 can connect to an abundance of sensors and give GPS overlay for richer videos.
  • Automatic 360degrees metadata stitching – fancy words that mean you don’t manually have to do anything to stitch the images together, it is all done under the hood.
  • Swappable batteries – being able to replace batteries on the go helps to overcome the one hour shooting time.

10. GoPro Max

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Megapixels: 18MP
  • Max Video Resolution:  6k/ 30fps
  • Waterproof Depth: 5m
  • Weight: 5.75oz

The GoPro Max is what you might expect if the GoPro Hero and Virb had a baby. You can use a single lens to use it as a traditional action camera whilst also having the option of a 360-degree camera.

Having the 360-degree option means that poor framing and missing the perfect image are largely a thing of the past.

Features:

  • Max HyperSmooth Video Stabilization – even on bumpy roads you get super smooth and steady video.
  • Horizon leveling – built-in software detects the orientation so that your video footage is level.
  • Spherical audio – six built-in microphones work in stereo or shotgun directional audio with very impressive results.

Why Do Cyclists Wear Cameras?

There are two main reasons to wear a camera on the bike. The obvious reason is to record your day in the saddle to look back on when you are stuck inside and can’t get out on the bike.

This is especially true if you are doing an epic bike tour trip with your mates.

The second reason is one which every cyclist wishes were unnecessary. Bike cameras are useful for capturing evidence of dangerous driving and for insurance purposes, in the event you are involved in an accident whilst out on your bike.

Types Of Cameras For Bike Riding

Action

The cameras in this article all fall under the action camera category. These are mountable cameras for capturing footage of your ride.

With a bit of imagination, action cameras can be mounted anywhere. Most people opt for mounting directly to the bike, usually on the handlebars but it is not uncommon to see cameras on helmets or even attached to the chest for a unique perspective.

Compact

Also known as point-and-shoot cameras for their ease of use, compact cameras were firm favorites before the camera quality on smartphones quickly caught-up.

Phone

The best camera is the one that you always have on you. For the vast majority of cyclists, this means smartphones.

The fact that they are always in our jersey pocket means capturing unique cycling moments is easier than ever. You only have to go on Instagram to see how true this is. 

Bike Camera Features To Look Out For

Video Quality

Bike cameras will mostly be able to record in full High Definition, with some going up to 4K and 5K video quality. In general, the better the quality, the higher the price tag.

The jargon around video quality can become confusing. The bigger the number, the better the quality. 1080p will give a better image than 720p. 4K will perform better still.

Another consideration is that the higher the resolution, the more memory the video file consumes. You need to therefore factor in the cost of the right SD card.

If you are interested in super-slow motion shots then look for a camera with a high frame rate (240 frames per second) that will allow 8x slow-motion.

At a minimum, you should be looking for a frame rate of 30fps since this matches most TV’s. The higher the frame rate the smoother the video.

Size and Weight

The amount of features that can be packed into modern and compact bike cameras is astounding and for most riders, the excellent footage is worth any extra weight.

If you prefer helmet-mounted cameras, then the weight is perhaps more of an issue.

A lot of the space is taken up by the batteries, therefore a smaller camera will typically have a shorter run time.

Battery Life

Battery life varies wildly from camera to camera and depends on several factors. Looping cameras that are designed to capture video of accidents tend to have a better battery life than high-resolution cameras such as the GoPro’s.

Cameras that have replaceable batteries are great for longer rides.

Screens

Bike cameras with integrated screens allow you to check the quality of the footage as you record it. If you want to find the perfect shot then having screens means you are not leaving it to chance.

There is nothing worse than downloading your footage only to realize that it does not quite make the grade.

For commuting, a camera without a screen is likely to be good enough.

Connectivity

Thankfully, the days of having to plug wires into our cycling equipment are becoming a thing of the past. Most modern bike cameras allow seamless, wireless uploading either using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

It might seem like a small detail but it does make a big difference.

Going a step further some cameras come with ANT+ connectivity and can be controlled from a compatible head unit.

Stabilization

Even on the smoothest roads, bikes rattle. Cameras with built-in video stabilization tend to do a pretty decent job of solving this problem.

The result is a much more professional looking cycling video. Stabilization is usually performed using a gyro or optical stabilization and both are solid options.

Waterproofing

Since most of us mere mortals cannot afford to live the pro-lifestyle in the sunny Mediterranean we inevitably have to put up with a bit of rain.

Most bike cameras should be able to withstand a rain shower with no problem with some even able to operate underwater.

If you are worried about rain damaging your camera then it is worthwhile investing in a waterproof case.

Editing Software and Apps

The use of apps has helped to simplify the camera interface. Instead of needing cumbersome hardware buttons to control different functions and settings, many cameras do this through complementary apps.

Within these apps, you will also see some video editing software so that you can touch up your content on the go.

Video: Making Better MTB Videos

Storage Capacity

Most bike cameras store the footage on microSD cards. These come in various storage sizes but it is usually better to use one high-capacity SD card rather than carrying extra in your jersey.

As the name suggests, they are very small and easily lost.

Field Of View

The field of view is measured in degrees and describes the width of the image. In basic terms, more degrees records more of the environment.

Field of View from a bicycle cameraPin

A field of view of 120 degrees means the lens captures everything 60 degrees on either side and in the vertical direction.

Bicycle Cameras: FAQs

How Is An Action Camera Is Different From Other Rugged Or Traditional Cameras?

Traditional cameras are too big, too fragile, and don’t mount securely to bikes.

Where Should I Mount My Cycling Camera?

There are two main options for mounting a bike camera. On the bike itself, usually the handlebars, or on your helmet.

Helmet cameras are great for seeing what you see but the extra weight on your head, not to mention the increased drag, put a lot of people off.

Does A Cycling Cam Need To Be Waterproof?

For most cyclists, in the real world, any bike camera should be more than able to withstand a rain shower. Unless you fall into a lake or plan on getting some swimming shots then full waterproofing is likely unnecessary.

If it is something you are worried about then buying a waterproof case is a good idea.

Why Not Use An iPhone?

There is no doubt that the picture and video quality on an iPhone is remarkable given that it is not a dedicated camera. They do not make good action cameras simply because they are too fragile and hard to mount.

Which GoPro Is Best For Cycling?

The GoPro Hero 9 is the standout action camera on this list and for good reason.

How Do You Film While Cycling?

If you want to create engaging and exciting cycling video content then you need to do more than just mount your camera and pedal. Nobody will want to watch that.

Think about what you want to achieve with filming and plan accordingly. This might mean setting up tripods to capture you as a cyclist with an epic backdrop.

Where Do You Mount A GoPro On A Road Bike

The most common place to mount is directly on the handlebars but there are almost unlimited options from the helmet to the chest.

Video: Best Spots To Mount A GoPro On A Bike

Conclusion

A bike camera is a great way to relive your most epic days in the saddle. You can create great content that will make you stand out from the crowd.

There are some great options out there but given their heritage in the field, it should come as no surprise that a GoPro comes top of the list. For cycling the GoPro Hero 9 is a stand-out piece of equipment for capturing great moments on the bike.

For commuters, the Cycliq Fly 12 is a neatly executed idea that combines a great light and camera.

If the thought of cycling with expensive equipment is not for you but you would still love some great video content, the Apeman A80 offers great value recording.

Pinterest Pin for Best Bike CameraPin

Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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