Fly6 was created with the ambition of ensuring drivers know that they are being watched and recorded – in the hope that this would cause them to act responsibly. And of course, in the event they don’t, they are on camera.
The practice of riding with a camera on the helmet or handlebars has become pretty common, and we’ve seen plenty of examples of it resulting in police action and prosecution. However, until now, what’s going on behind the cyclist has been a black abyss for evidence. Not now.
The Fly6 is a rear light, with a high definition video and audio recorder built in. A quick download allows you to embed time and date in the right hand corner, making it a perfect tool should evidence ever be required.
Of course, the Fly6 can also double up as a fun toy for those who want to capture their rides from the front and back, in order to make short films to post on YouTube and share with their friends – and I can also see a rear camera being really fun for crit or road racers, who want to see what was happening in the pack (especially just before the final sprint to the line).
Launched via a Kickstarter project that eventually reached its target, Fly6 was backed by 1,780 people, and the first units have just been released. A unit will set you back $135, plus delivery, and they are expected to arrive in June or July.
Setting up the Fly6
The Fly6 arrived in a very stylish box, which included 2 plastic mounts, several rubber spacers, an aero spacer to make the light fit an aero seat post, rubber bands to attach the light, and a USB cord to wire it up to my computer.
Attaching the light is incredibly easy. The Fly6 slots onto a mount, and spacers are used to ensure it is sitting perpendicular to the ground. Rubber bands then fit onto each side of the mount.
The inclusion of a mount for an aero seat post impressed me – and I tested it riding my time trial bike, and it worked fantastically. Finding a light that sits straight on a TT bike is a bit of a challenge in itself, let alone one that also records the action.
It’s a good idea to programme the Fly6 with the correct date and time, and this was very easy. I simply plugged the Fly6 in, opened the ‘Fly6’ folder now under ‘My Computer’, selected ‘Date and Time Config’, which was a folder holding a Notepad document, edited the details , and then resaved the file on the Fly6 – job done. I’m not the most computer literate, so I was pleased the job was simple.
Charging the Fly6 is simple, it just plugs in via USB, and full juice gives you around 5 hours.
The Fly6 is waterproof, but of course if you ride through some really dirty conditions and the lens becomes covered, all you’ll see is mud splatters on screen until you wipe it.
The camera is a 720HD, and does work in low light conditions, but it won’t work in the dark. The lens has a 130 degree view, so you can see what’s going on either side of you, rather than just directly behind.
In terms of brightness, demo models have about 10 lumens, but the on-sale models (in their sixth-generation) should give out about 15. I checked the brightness out in the dark, and it seemed sufficient, but it’s worth nothing that illuminating you isn’t the Fly6’s primary job, really.
Fly6 in action
The mount is very stable, and I didn’t notice it wobbling around behind me.
I’ll admit when using it for a time trial, I was a bit worried that: 1) the mount might slip, smashing it into my rear wheel, and ending my race, 2) it might be actually quite heavy, thus making my other attempts to lessen the weight of my bike a waste.
Thankfully, everything stayed firmly in place, and the Fly6 weighs in at just over 100 grams.
With just two buttons, one for ‘on/off’ and one to take the light from bright, to dim, to totally off (recording only), operation was pretty simple.
Watching the footage
The footage is recorded in 15 minute intervals, and each of these is automatically saved in a file, named by the date and time. Each day’s recording is also automatically filtered into a new file, which was very neat and easy to access.
All footage was saved as AVI files, and I could view these straight away on my Windows laptop. I could also open the files with Windows Media Player and Movie Maker easily. The files were all about 800 MB in 15minute chunks, and still around 200 MB when I cropped them down to 4minute sections, so to save myself waiting 5 hours to upload to YouTube, I took screenshots.
Here’s the Fly6 on a sunny day, racing down a Time Trial dual carriageway:
Here’s someone overtaking me 🙁 :
And here’s the Fly6 on a slighly damp day – as you can see, the lens has some blur from moisture on it, but you can still see the numberplate of a car (this driver did nothing wrong at all, it’s purely an example):
The Fly6 also, as you can see, struggles a tiny bit when the sun is low and shining directly on it, but you still get a crisp picture:
The Fly6 performed exactly as it should. It had everything needed to make it work included in the box, and nothing was complicated. If I were unfortunate enough to be caught up in an accident, I would be pleased to have it with me.
In terms of enjoyment of the footage, I can’t say I captured anything inspiring, and to make an engaging video, I think you would need to combine it with footage of what’s going on ahead.
Used as a toy, the Fly6 is quite an expensive one that doesn’t provide that much excitement, but if you are unlucky enough to need it to fight your corner, it will certainly provide the evidence required.
To find out more about the Fly6 visit their website.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.