You’ve probably noticed a growing amount of helmets with tiny cameras strapped to the top these days – they’re becoming an increasingly common feature on roads, and they’re here to stay. Although arguably more popular with cyclists than bikers at the moment, more and more motorcycle owners are strapping on lightweight video cameras to record their rides. But are they actually worth it?
The biggest positive is, of course, that if you’re in an accident that isn’t your fault, you’ve got the footage to prove it. Filming in a public space is perfectly legal, and providing a copy of the footage to the police may help the case for a payout or conviction.
Helmet and motorbike cameras are also perfect for preserving your favourite routes – holiday snaps aren’t easy to capture from a bike, but with a helmet cam you can film the whole ride to relive later. You can share your videos with fellow biking enthusiasts from around the world on YouTube, too, and get involved with an ever-growing community of helmet, bike and dashcam filmmakers.
Of course, the downside of filming every ride is that if you’re in an accident that is your fault, you’ve got it on record too.
They’re also a bit on the pricey side, so unless you can borrow one to try out, it’s hard to sample them to see if you’re a fan without spending some substantial cash.
What’s on the market?
GoPro are the leading lights of the action camera world, and they set a standard that’s hard to beat. They come in all shapes and sizes, with a range of mounts that mean you can attach them to just about anything – both your helmet and your bike. However, the newest models – currently on the Hero4 range – typically cost upwards of £400. Fortunately, the slightly earlier models still do everything you could possibly need: the Hero3 White films in 1080p at 30 frames per second (up to 60fps in 720p) and can be picked up for less than £200.
The Garmin Virb is a good alternative that also comes in at under £200 – it’s a little more capable than the GoPro, able to capture 1080p video at 60fps, but it’s also a fair bit bulkier and heavier – it’s better as a motorbike camera than as a helmet cam.
The MiGear action camera is the low-cost alternative, ranging from £50 to £100 depending on the retailer. But although it boasts similar tech specs to the others, it cuts corners in other areas to bring the price down – it’s good for getting a taste of the technology, but you might find yourself wanting to upgrade sharpish if you like it.
Of course, there’s plenty of other alternatives out there – take a look around and you’ll certainly find one that suits you.
What can they do?
Take a look at the videos below, uploaded by camera-wearing, bike-riding YouTubers. We’re sure they’ll have you itching to get out on the road to do some filming of your own.