Helmet cameras for cyclists – our pick of the best

‘Helmet’ cams are an increasingly popular cycling accessory (although we acknowledge that you don’t all attach them to a helmet). Recording your rides gives you the ability to edit, chop and create great films so you can show friends and family what you’ve been up to – and it also gives you ammunition should you have to prove your version of events in the case of a collision.

Cyclists like choice. Though the sports action camera market is far from saturated, there are a lot of options out there to choose from.

Here’s a look at some of the best:

GoPro

GoPro lead the market in sports cameras, and they make some amazing quality equipment. With a recent decision to leave the entry level market, GoPro will be focusing on high end action cameras going forward, so should be a reliable option for a high spec camera going forward.

Hero4 Session

There are a few options, the newest and cheapest being the Hero4 Session, at £157. This is the smallest GoPro yet and is waterproof, making it perfect for using around London. There are sacrifices to be made for the small size however. The still pictures are only 8MP, not bad and certainly capable, but not the highest resolution out there.

There are two models above the session, should you need higher quality, professional level video footage. The Hero4 Black records 4K Ultra footage and will set you back a cool £320. This is a good option if you are intending to use the camera outside of commutes for things such as holidays or any profession content.

GoPro sponsor trials rider Danny MacAskill, and his video ‘Cascadia’ was filmed mostly on a GoPro Hero4 camera:

GoPro: Danny MacAskill – Cascadia

Contour

Contour cameras are another option. Contour promise good quality, and they get one over on the GoPro by being a more helmet friendly, narrow shape. They are about the size of a high powered bike light, meaning they will not stand out too much in city traffic.

The Contour Roam 3 is the newest offering, currently available for a pretty good price of £128.09 on Amazon.co.uk. The frame rate and quality is similar to the GoPro Session. The still image quality is a little lower at 5mp, good enough for snaps but not  large prints.

We can share some of our own footage to show you what an older version is like – here’s a short video from my (first ever!) attempt at riding off road – please excuse my wobblyness (I’m a roadie), but hopefully you can see how clear the video is (the new one should be even better!):

Garmin Virb

The basic Garmin Virb is unique because it combines it’s 16 mega pixel video footage with all some other features you’d expect from Garmin -the power to use Ant+ pairing. This means you can connect a heart rate monitor, or you can connect it to one of Garmin’s GPS units to have a remote control.

The Virb HD sets itself apart from the GoPro or Contour by having 16MP stills capability, along with a colour screen for instant playback. It is a little larger than the others but the screen makes selecting options easier and it is still waterproof enough for cycling around town (an extra case is required should you wish to dive with it). Available on Amazon.co.uk for £99.95, its a good option if you are after an easy to use camera for cycling adventures and stills photography.

Garmin Virb Helmet Camera

There is also a Virb X. It is more of a GoPro esq shape with pretty similar features. The photo quality is lower than the Virb HD but the unit is more waterproof and has integrated GPS and wifi. It is more expensive at £206.35, but a good option if you want to do some serious cycling adventuring.

 

Garmin Virb XPolaroid Cube

Dinky and fun looking, the Cube if you just want a camera for occasional use then this one would be a great option. Aimed squarely at the lifestyle and/or family user, it would still work for use to document commutes or urban adventures in London. The battery does not last quite as long as the others, you get 90 mins at best, but is long enough for most commutes. The image quality is the same as the others, but we have not tested the lens quality.

Polaroid cube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is splash proof but not waterproof on its own, but you can get a case for it, much like older GoPros. It you don’t cycle in bad weather, splash proof should be good enough. It has a built in magnet, making mounting easy. At £89.99 it is the cheapest option as well as the smallest. This think is seriously small, and if you don’t pick the pink one, pretty stealth.

Accessories

Of course, all the cameras above need things to go with them.

If you wish to attach the camera to your bike, there are various bike mounts for the GoPro, Contour or Garmin. If you want to be able to continue filming when you are off the bike, then you can mount the cameras to your body or your helmet.

Depending on the camera, you can also get various filters and editing softwares to take your movie making to the next level. These little cameras end up being somewhat addictive, and once you have started using one, you may end up recording most things you do in life – whether your friends and family wish to watch footage of your every move is up to you!

Do you use a camera to record your rides? What did you go for?

P.S. This video from Vimeo will make you chuckle!

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45 Responses to Helmet cameras for cyclists – our pick of the best

  1. Alex 05/05/2014 at 1:10 pm #

    On a related theme, just ordered a Fly6 from fly6.com It’s a rear facing camera+light that was developed on a kickstarter. Some of the example videos (footage of unaware drivers sat in traffic) are funny, although rather unsettling…

    • Berny Breen 12/02/2016 at 2:43 pm #

      @Alex – I agree on the “unsettling stuff”. It is a great little camera and records in 10 minute “chunks”. Just be aware that it does not work that well on unlit roads at night.

      What is good though is when you have had a “near miss” or “punishment pass” or whatever and you get home and watch the playback. It always seem closer when watching the replay. (It even picks up your yells of indignation so keep the language clean if you plan on playing back to family members!)

      I would recommend that you set it up so that your rear wheel is slightly in view. It helps with perspective.

  2. Rangjan 08/05/2014 at 3:49 pm #

    Drift Ghost is a great camera too.

  3. Andrew 08/05/2014 at 4:04 pm #

    I’d steer clear of Veho products. I have their Muvi Micro camera and Pebble recharging pack. Both are, frankly, complete rubbish.

  4. Kate 08/05/2014 at 4:47 pm #

    I also have a Fly6 on order from Oz as it seemed such good value for money being a rear light too.

    After having a nasty encounter with a vicious BMW driver recently I am also considering getting a helmet cam and will probably go for the little known Mobius. It gets really good reviews from Techmoan (Youtube review guy) esp if you don’t want the GoPro/Contour price tag.

    Mobius have just brought out a waterproof case for it so it’s only recently become a viable cycling cam. All in I think it totals about £90 including the bike/helmet mounting kit and waterproof case.

    Definitely a better option than a Veho 😉

    • Flashgordon 12/02/2016 at 10:41 am #

      The Fly12 is coming.

      Front camera and light.

    • SanskritFritz 12/02/2016 at 1:48 pm #

      The Mobius is definitely a very good choice. I use it for years already. Make sure you buy the C2 lens version with 850 mAh battery.

  5. kris 08/05/2014 at 5:12 pm #

    U cant really beat polaroid xs 100 waterproof camera for around 100 quid included all kind accessories for handlebar, helmet, car and more in same box.. It has got 16mb sensor. Waterproof up to 10 m i think…

  6. andy 09/05/2014 at 10:26 am #

    The future of helmet cams. 360 degree field of view. http://www.centrcam.com/

    I use drift ghost. OK, but dodgy batteries. Good field of view, and alright in low light conditions. Why cant anyone create a handlebar cam with 4+ hours of battery without the need to bring a portable power pack?!

  7. SteveP 09/05/2014 at 11:33 am #

    I bought an earlier GoPro but found it unintuitive to use and with proprietary mounts that just aren’t that good.

    I wanted something eay to use, with decent quality and that would mount on the bike, not on my helmet (just looks idiotic, IMHO).

    I settled on a Wingman HD for ease of use. It has a standard tripod socket built in and an LCD screen so you can see it is functioning. I think the video is better on the latest GoPros, but then the video from my Canon 6D is fantastic 🙂

    http://www.webbikeworld.com/r3/delkin-wingman-hd/review.htm

  8. Rob 09/05/2014 at 12:25 pm #

    One word of warning against the vehu, I had an almighty head-on with another cyclist who decided to suddenly cut across me on a dual direction cycle path (cheers mate!). When I went to review the footage (the plus side to these encounters, getting to review the gory details!), it had been wiped by the impact. So, in short, it was remarkably good at getting mr taxi man or m van man to get back into his vehicle once they had hopped out to give some abuse (Carry on mate, I’m recording. Oh, what’s that? Change of heart? Well, have a nice day then!) but I wouldn’t want to rely on it in any serious incident. Also, 45mins is a bit short.

    This Thursday Aldi are selling a load of camera kit, including, a Looks-Like-A-Go-Pro set for about £45/£50 quid. I would highly recommend that option if looking for a bike mounted camera. UK based, physical outlet, 60day money back etc. Not sure I’d wear it on my helmet though(nor a GoPro proper). Seems to be asking for trouble if you were to take a blow to the head region.

    There are also some glasses (sunnycam) which can record in hd and can be found for around £100ish. These seem ideal to me for a front facing set-up. I’m going to be looking into this option a great deal more!

    Finally, I looked at the Fly6 rear unit. Looks pretty decent but what put me off was half the year I’m cycling in the dark and I’m not sure I can justify the cost having purchased an expensive rear (vis180) already.

  9. Mark 09/05/2014 at 2:53 pm #

    ive been thinking about it for a while and im finally going to take the plunge and get a budget camera as recommended above . simply to record my commute across central london in case of a crash and i need to prove it wasnt my fault.(touch wood it never happens!) –

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Full-HD-1080P-Waterproof-Bicycle-Bike-Helmet-Sport-Wifi-Camera-Cam-DV-Camcorder-/161282578199?_trksid=p2054897.l5658

    one question though. IF i wanted to upload to the internet, how do i crop the video? no one wants to scroll forward 20 minutes to “get to the interesting bit” do they!

    NB i dont want to be spending hours at home tarting it up and adding “zoom ins” and text etc. just literally crop the 3 or 4 minutes of “good footage” to make the file smaller and easy to upload online…..

    I dont want to have to pay for or use highly technical software. just something really quick and easy, otherwise i wont bother doing it (my evenings are too valuable!)

    thanks for any advice

    • Andreas 09/05/2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Good question – are you on a windows or a mac? Both have free built in software that allow you to edit video quickly. Windows Movie Maker and iMovie on a mac.

      • Mark 15/05/2014 at 8:51 am #

        hi Andreas, Im running windows 7, does it have windows movie maker?! i’ve never seen it before, i must have missed it when i upgraded from xp to 7. thanks!

        • Andreas 22/10/2014 at 7:30 am #

          Hey Mark – sorry I didn’t see your reply sooner – but I believe Microsoft made this part of the Windows Live suite. Just have a google and you’ll be able to download it on to Windows 7 for free.

      • Mark 22/10/2014 at 12:43 pm #

        thanks i have found windows movie maker now – very easy to use. if you are interested, see my videos here –

        https://www.youtube.com/user/markrobinhood1984/videos

        if you ever want to publish any on your website please simply credit me. thanks!

  10. Rob Skinner 09/05/2014 at 6:07 pm #

    I love my GoPro. Clever piece of kit, although I agree with the comments that it’s not very intuitive to use.

    Andreas: iMovie is great for quick edits, but you may want to look at my tips for getting it to work with GoPro footage. http://robskinner.net/2013/12/31/how-to-use-gopro-hero-3-with-imovie/

  11. TOM 09/05/2014 at 6:53 pm #

    when I looked at GoPro’s (admittedly a couple of years back) , they had no LCD review screen , 1980’s looking menus on a tiny data window and expensive.

    There weren’t so many to choose from back then and I settled on a Kodak PlaySport zx-5.
    It’s water proof to 10 feet depth , has interchangeable SD memory card slot (I carry a 16gb card in it and have never filled it) USB rechargeable, shoots stills , drop resistant , color LCD display , standard tripod socket, sound , a comprehensive menu system, zoom and lots of cheap accessories.

    I got the fisheye addon lens for it for $25 MSRP. When mounted on the bars of my roadbike, the field of view is so wide that both brake hoods are in the picture.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kodak-PlaySport-Waterproof-Pocket-Camera/dp/B004FLL5BI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399657831&sr=8-1&keywords=kodak+playsport+zx5

  12. David 11/05/2014 at 5:12 am #

    As it happens, I bought a Wi-Fi Cam a few days ago (from JB Hi Fi here in Oz). Half the price of a Go Pro. I haven’t fully tested it yet, but so far everything works, and the free app gives a good remote viewfinder/control. I think the app also allows basic trimming of the clip and deletion of unwanted shots in-camera. I will do some tests and report back. I should add that I was on a budget, otherwise I would have gone for the Go-Pro.

    • David 11/05/2014 at 9:00 am #

      Oops! I put the wrong retailer in it should read Jaycar. Only mentioning g the retailer in case it helps someone in Oz track down the camera.

  13. Dave Leach 11/05/2014 at 9:10 pm #

    Veho Muvi – worked for about 10 or 12 rides, and then never worked again. 🙁

  14. Ian 14/09/2014 at 9:24 pm #

    I have to say, I’m a little disappointed in the review light approach. Go pro is a no go, as it’s really obvious and to get the best view, without a lot of bounce, you’d have to mount it on a helmet, which makes you look like a telly tubby. The other issue, is go pro just keeps recording, it won’t loop. So unless you want to find that at the critical moment, the card is full, and it’s stop recorded, it’s not so great.

    What we need is a waterproof dashcam type offering.

    • Mark 15/09/2014 at 9:47 am #

      i’d say it was a good review. it gives pros and cons of expensive and cheaper models.

      i was waiting for a budget camera to come onto the market that would also provide good movie quality.
      and aftwer reading this article i bought the “Full HD Wifi Cam”, its perfect in every way (the case could be more robust and certainly wouldnt survive being submerged in water) but for £58 what do you expect? also, once you put a big memory card in you will strugle to fill it (well, unless you are lazy and never delete anything) – go out on a long ride with an empty memory card and full battery and you can record for 2 or 3 hours no problem.

      as for mounting on a helmet – i see this as a good thing. its obvious you hve a camera on your head and this could help if a driver was thinking of behacing badly. conceal the camera and they will go ahead and cut you up. make it obvious they are being recorded and it could help difuse a situation or prevent bad road behaviour before it even begins…..

  15. John 21/10/2014 at 12:28 pm #

    I bought a WiFi camera as listed on the blog the WDV500. Though it worked it had some very serious shortcomings. I did not find this out until using and after “the horse bolted” READING the reviews! Have now gone for the SJ400 which is similar but the reviews are excellant. Mind make sure you order the original and not the fake/copies which abound……..

  16. Mikey 11/11/2014 at 1:41 pm #

    I have used a Veho Muvi for about 2 years commuting with the Veho waterproof case. I haven’t had any problems with it not working, however it isn’t HD, so would not get a numberplate unless right in front of me. After 2 years, battery is starting to wear out, so can only get about 20-30 mins on a full charge now.

  17. Ian Franklin 27/11/2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Replay 1080XD good footage, unobtrusive 100 min run time. Run mine with 32gb card + an external batterry for additional 4 hours run time. Given 7 videos to Police and they’ve acted on every one. 1 prosecution and 6 warnings helps get the message across to motorists that they are too close or driving badly. Now superceded by Replay Mini XD 1080 £140.00 http://www.dogcamsport.co.uk/RePlay-Mini-1080-Bullet-Camera.html

    • Al 19/02/2016 at 2:49 pm #

      +1 on the Replay XD, I’ve been using my Mini XD 1080 for a year now and it’s great apart from 1 minor mod (had to get a rubber o-ring to stick inside the rear cap because it was vibrating when mounted on my handlebar). I tried out the Contour Roam but found it was too big/unwieldy to use on my bike helmet day in day out so had it returned. The Mini XD weighs 60 grams, and has a 24mm diameter so you can use it with a conventional light helmet mount.

  18. MJ Ray 09/02/2016 at 9:44 am #

    Isn’t attaching lumps to the outside of your helmet a no no since they stopped designing/testing them for impacts onto stone-shaped objects?

    • Mark 12/02/2016 at 5:55 pm #

      simple. dont wear a helmet then. they arent designed to withstand anything more than falling over at slow speed anyway!!!

  19. Jim 12/02/2016 at 1:33 pm #

    The US RideEye http://www.rideye.com/ is also a good quality camera and reasonable price.it’s more a blackbox type (will auto save if in a collision). Has a variety of mounts front,rear and helmet.

  20. Simon H 12/02/2016 at 4:15 pm #

    There are overlooked risk issues with these if helmet mounted as they seriously compromise the protection afforded by helmets. The awful experience of Michael Schumacher proves that helmets with a camera attached are potentially extremely dangerous.

    • Mark 12/02/2016 at 5:55 pm #

      SERIOUSLY?!

      a cycle helmet is tested to fall from 1.5m above ground onto the floor at 12mph. NOTHING ELSE> comparing to Schumacher crashing on a ski slope is apples and oranges.

    • TOM 16/02/2016 at 7:00 pm #

      as I understand it ..he fell and hit his head on a rock that was below the bottom of the helmet line.

      >>On 29 December 2013, Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son Mick descending the Combe de Saulire below the Dent de Burgin above Méribel in the French Alps. While crossing an unsecured off-piste area he fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a head injury despite wearing a ski helmet. According to his physicians, he would most likely have died had he not been wearing a helmet.

  21. Warekiwi 12/02/2016 at 8:46 pm #

    I use a Garmin Virb Elite (the older shape) as a helmet camera on most of my rides having tried others unsucessfully. The Elite model has built in GPS and ANT+ and also a “useless IMHO” WiFi function that was supposed to allow remote control from an Android smartphone. (It usually crashes the phone software after a short time) The ANT+ remote control is useful though as it allows the user to stop/start video recording and also take still photos from any compatible Garmin GPS (I use a Montana but it also works with most Edge models) Video quality is excellent and the free Garmin Virb Edit software makes the production of videos tagged with GPS data very easy. For an example see https://youtu.be/ckmtTY2avTs

  22. Colin G 13/02/2016 at 7:24 pm #

    I use a Mobius camera like another contributor, Hobbyking has them for about £47, mine is the standard lens, not the 120 degree version, it probably has the 520mAH battery but it’s easy to replace for the 820mAH when it deteriorates. I have ordered from China before too at eletoponline365. Techmoan.com has many reviews of these sort of cameras and much more, really worth a look.

  23. Andrew Wilcox 15/02/2016 at 10:03 pm #

    I have a Shimano CM1000. Easy to use. Interacts with an iOS app. A few video modes and photos. Easy to operate with large button and bleeps. I use it in short bursts at places I expect there to be incidents. Short videos are much easier to process and the “no action” videos can be deleted.

    My results http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFjAJqxAtPGoOJSrBQTGxDN8tTu4LVBl9

  24. Jono S 18/02/2016 at 10:04 am #

    Had my Fly6 for a week now and it inspires so much confidence because it’s like it has your back
    Recommended!
    http://www.mobilecycleservice.co.uk/collections/lights/products/cycliq-fly-6-rear-camera-light

  25. Elliot 17/03/2016 at 9:06 am #

    i’d love to buy a camera which could send the live image to my phone – so that i can check it’s pointing in the right direction. a few times, I’ve under or over estimated the angle i lean forward on the bike, so end up with a great video of the sky or the road, but nothing in front of me! the reviews don’t say if this is possible with any of them, though :/

    • Big D 20/04/2016 at 2:03 pm #

      The Drift Stealth 2 comes with an App that will do just that.

  26. Big D 20/04/2016 at 2:02 pm #

    After trying various cameras and setups I now use a Drift Stealth 2 with the helmet mounting straps. It’s very small so you don’t look silly and the battery lasts about 3 hours. Excellent quality footage too which will keep looping like a dashcam. On the rear I have the second generation Fly 6. The video quality is nowhere near as good as the Stealth 2 but it’s good enough in the day (not used it at night). It captures number plates and has a reasonable viewing angle. It’s also a rear light which is a bonus. So far I’ve been on rides of around 3 hours with it and it was still recording. If the battery gets low and the recording stops the rear light will continue to work for another 1.5 hours.

  27. Fukal 26/05/2016 at 1:03 pm #

    Would it be that hard to put full specs for each cam? Like battery life etc. Not just bumble through a quick rewritten blurb for each kesus

    • Tome1 02/06/2016 at 1:35 pm #

      No harder than Googling the information yourself on camera you’re interested in.

  28. Alex 27/05/2016 at 11:39 am #

    Is there a way to press a button on the cameras to “mark” the footage and then just upload a minutes footage on either side of the incident- say you were nearly knocked off/ cut up etc… Any software which does that and discards the rest of the footage? Thanks

    • Andrew Wilcox 27/05/2016 at 12:21 pm #

      I just turn my camera, Shimano Sport Camera with button on the top, on when approaching troublesome areas and then off. This gives me short clips which can be quickly processed by software on my PC. I just remember which clip has the interesting bit on and discard the rest. However most of my cycling is in the Hampshire countryside. I guess you need always on in the cities.

    • Big D 02/06/2016 at 1:42 pm #

      I can only speak from my experience and I go down the route of choosing a camera with a fairly long battery life (Drift Stealth 2) and big enough memory card (32gb) so that I’ve got all the footage of my ride. I can then discard the bits I don’t need.

      My rear Fly 6 camera also captures my entire ride with a long battery life but has the added function of saving a portion of footage before and after an ‘accident’. It stops this portion being overwritten if your camera loops the footage. It detects an ‘accident’ when the bike is tilted over at a certain angle for a certain time. Look up the tech specs on this model if that camera interests you.

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