The Best Cameras for Cycling Compared: from cheap to top. Where to mount a bike cam (handlebar, helmet, & more…), how to choose an action cam, and some 360 models
So what is the best camera for cycling? Is there a product that can claim to be the best bike action cam? Let’s see what we find out.
Recently action cameras have turned into the staple of mountain biking, many bicycle tourers went intensively into vlogging, and even road cyclists are starting to use action cams, especially cycling safety cams.
You rarely see a single rider who doesn’t have one of these strapped on his/her helmet or on the handlebars (or chest, or… we’ll see).
Due to this huge and ever-growing demand, there are many manufacturers who have introduced new action cameras on the market. GoPro is a world-renowned brand, but are still GoPro the best bicycle cameras?
There are many others like Sony, Garmin, and Olympus which are coming our with impressive stuff. And then a plethora of cheap Chinese brands that are getting better and better.
We put together a list of the best action cameras (in our opinion) for cycling. Several of these we tried ourselves, while for others we relied on reviews from friends and online. Read on to find the one to capture the most thrilling moments of your life.
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Things to Consider When Buying a Cam for Cycling
This is pretty much the standard feature on every action camera on the market. But not all of them perform the same, and you have to keep in mind that image stabilization is maybe the key feature when using a cam for cycling.
Especially for mountain bikers, but not just for them, the bumps can make your footage incredibly shaky, to the point of being unusable. You want the best image stabilization ever, even at the cost of sacrificing image quality.
The technology that is used for image stabilization in most cases is gyro or optical. Gyro has a sensor for electronic movement for the eradication of shakes.
On the other hand, optical image stabilization has lens movers that counteract any jerks or shakes. But none of them both are better than the other.
Size & Weight
The best action camera for cycling needs to be lightweight and it doesn’t need to be that big either. No matter how you use it, your camera needs to be lightweight and small in size for ease in use.
Video & Photo Quality
It is obvious that going for a better image quality will require paying for it, quite a high price if you want the best.
The minimum resolution on a modern action cam is 720p but you should go for a 1080p FHD (Full High Definition) if a (semi)professional-looking quality is what you want to achieve.
The top cams nowadays can record 4K footage, but do you really need that? Do you have a computer capable of editing that footage? 4K quality is much higher than FHD but not all displays can reproduce it, the file sizes are huge, and the battery drains faster.
Yes, you must keep in mind that with better image quality battery life will get influenced heavily.
On the other hand, 4K makes you cable of cropping the video and still have an FHD video. (4K is 3840 x 2160 pixels, against the 1920 x 1080 pixels of FHD), which opens interesting video-editing possibilities.
But if you’re not a pro videomaker, just want to try out recording some bike adventures, and don’t want to spend too much, we recommend going for a FHD (1080px) action camera.
Primarily, there are two main mounts that you can use for your action camera on a bike: handlebar and helmet.
With the helmet mount, you will get a more immersive experience. The angle will change as you turn your head and the video will be a lot more engaging, but also a bit confusing if you move your head too much.
The video from the handlebar mount is not very engaging but the view will be a lot more stable. You will have to compromise on the shock absorption feature, cause the handlebar gets all the bumps.
On the other hand, you can easily turn a handlebar camera on yourself, and even talk into it while you’re cycling – cycle-vlogging – pretty trendy… but you’ll need good audio features for that (more about audio later).
Very popular among the mountain bikers is the chest strap camera mount, which shows the front of the bike and the terrain in detail. Cool angle for tricks and action footage.
There are many other ways to mount an action cam on a bike: using selfie sticks (tied with zip-ties or such), or movable clamps – just to mention a couple.
The availability, compatibility, and variety of the mounts should be taken into account when choosing a video camera for cycling. GoPro compatible mounts became the standard, with many Chinese brands using the system.
Classic camera screw-mounts, on the other hand, enable compatibility with tripods and selfie sticks. Adapters screw/GoPro are also easy to find and cheap.
Does a Cycling Cam need to be Waterproof?
Most of the bike cameras mentioned here can easily survive a big splash of water and even medium-light rain. This should be enough for most cyclists.
Some of the cameras also come with depth capabilities and they are inherently waterproof, some require an underwater case, which usually compromises the audio recording, while other up-market models have a full impermeable construction
Ease of Use
In such a scenario where you are sitting on the bike, ease of use refers to how easily you can use the camera on the go and how easy it is for you to use while you are wearing gloves.
All the buttons need to be very easily accessible so you can easily access all the controls while you are riding.
If you like to map new horizons then you should go for an inbuilt GPS feature as well. This is not going to be the primary feature of your camera but it’s nice to know where each picture was taken.
Built-in GPS indeed, adds a geotag to each of your shots, making it ultra-easy to create nice photo-maps with apps like Komoot or Strava.
All modern action cams work with SD cards, but not some don’t support 64GB or 128GB cards.
A big storage capacity is always good but if you are not the type to film your entire 4-hours ride, and can remember to frequently transfer media between your devices, then even a memory of 16GB to 32GB will work well for you.
Another important point for you to consider before buying the best action camera for cycling is battery life. As there is an increased demand for lighter, smaller cameras with power packed in their lens, batteries are always going to have a hard time.
The battery technology is the one that really lags behind in all technology. Therefore, our options are going to be limited here, you won’t find a high-quality cam that will last more than 4 hours.
Field of View
Field of View is a parameter measured from the front leans and expressed in degrees. It is the equivalent of focal length in traditional photography.
A 140-degrees FoV means that the camera is able to cover 70° from either side of the lens as well as up and down. A lens with a 10mm focal length has a Horizontal FoV angle of 120°, and a Vertical FoV of 100°.
An action camera is by definition, a camera that can capture as much action as possible without you having to aim, thus the wide Field of View.
Typical FOV values are (Linear 90° → Wide 130° → Superview 170°), by including more surroundings, the result is a more immersive video.
Technically, the FoV is determined by the amount of space between lens and image sensor (the further the lens is from the image sensor, the narrower the FOV). On GoPro’s, the field of view is determined digitally by cropping and scaling the widest possible image.
Wide angles though distort the image. Most action cameras, however, have distortion control settings built into them that slightly reduce FOV but takes away 95% of the distortion, without noticeably reducing quality.
360 cams have a 360° field of view, like a sphere, it means the capture everything around them. The result is odd, but you can then crop the image obtaining any angle you like, any perspective of the surroundings. Of course the narrower you crop, the more resolution you loose.
If you are looking at high-end options then you will have Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, and NFC. However, these connectivity options are not mandatory for normal operation but with these, you can live stream or watch your ride after connecting your action camera with other devices.
Are you a bike rider and looking for the best helmet camera to record your trips? You don’t want to sell a kidney? We recommend you to buy the AKASO V50 action camera, probably the best budget camera for cycling for the specs (20MP and 4K with a 30-fps image).
Akaso is one of the many Chinese tech brands that are coming out like mushrooms after rainfall. The Chinese though are getting very good at this, we can’t afford to ignore their efforts, especially when they come out with such a cycling action cam like the V50.
Due to the great price to quality ratio, the Akaso is also a great gift for travelers of all kinds, not just cyclists.
The AKASO V50 action camera has an inbuilt 2-inch high-responsive IPS touch screen. You can preview the photos and video, customize setting, and makes the shooting easier than before.
It is equipped with advanced EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization), which gives smooth and steady videos. It ensures a brilliant shooting experience for the price also when riding on bumpy terrain. Maybe not the best for MTB though.
The V50 cycling cam features 2.4 GHz inbuilt WiFi connection so you can connect it to your smartphones through the iSmart Pro plus app. So easy to share your videos and pictures to social media, directly from the cam.
Adjustable viewing angle between wide, super wide, narrow, and medium
Comes with two 1100mAh rechargeable and long-lasting batteries
Features a distortion calibration that improves image distortion
Durable and offers waterproof depth is about 30-meter (with included case)
Updating firmware is a big issue
Poor quality in low-light
Distortion and enhanced EIS can not be used simultaneously
2. Crosstour CT7000 Camera – Best Cheap Camera for Cycling
For less than 40 bucks, you can’t really expect the best, nevertheless, the design of the Crosstour CT7000 camera fulfills your need for several cycling styles. It has built-in Wi-Fi connection and supports both Android and iOS.
The full 1080P HD resolution
The combination of 1080P and 12M captures decent quality videos and pictures easily. Given its low price range, it is a great gift for your friends, kids, and more. Additionally, the ISmart DV APP can operate the Crosstour CT7000 camera remotely to download, view, or delete files easily on your smartphone.
Wide Angle Lens and Image Stabilization
The best feature of the Crosstour action camera is its 170-degrees wide-angle lens. Image stabilization is poor when compared to more expensive cameras.
LCD Displayand Accessories
It has a large screen LCD display screen, which allows you to view pictures or videos more clearly. Your package comes with eighteen multifunctional accessories.
Are you looking for those best action cameras for cycling that come with the long-lasting battery? We recommend you purchase an APEMAN A80 camera. This action camera is equipped with dual 1050-mAh batteries that can record up to 1.5 hours at 4K resolution.
APEMAN A80 camera has an inbuilt smart gyroscope and electronic image stabilization (EIS), which delivers a surprisingly smooth video for the price tag.
The manufacturer uses an advanced IP68 waterproof case that can bear high-pressure underwater more than 40-meters or 131-feet. Therefore, you are able to explore and memorize the unique and unknown world of underwater, let alone cycling under heavy rain.
Not cycling-related but the APEMAN A80 camera features a Dash-Cam mode that connects to your car charger. The camera will start recording automatically once the car’s engine started. Furthermore, automatically store files and shutdown with the car’s engine.
You can’t mention action cameras without thinking about GoPro. The Hero 8 is an innovative model that comes with a few new features. The cutting-edge construction makes it waterproof even without a case, so finally eliminating the issue of inaudible audio.
The built-in microphone has indeed been improved, even though it is still mono and not comparable to the Sony.
The touchscreen is embedded and new software controls have been introducedç exposure control, protune, touch zoom,and others.
The GoPro Hero 7 comes in Silver Version (cheaper) and Black Version (top).
GoPro Hero-7 camera features a Hyper-Smooth video stabilization that captures smoother and professional quality recording with no gimbal stabilizer. Furthermore, you can film ultra high definition 4K videos at 60-fps.
Super Slow Motion
The ideal feature of GoPro Hero-7 camera is that it can capture and record full high definition 1080p at 240-fps. That’s an impressive slow-motion capability for truly breathtaking videos. Great especially for MTB, bike polo, and other action-heavy cycling activities.
Another great selling point is that GoPro Hero-7 camera comes with a bundle of accessories kit, micro-SDHC 32-GB U3 memory card and a spare original battery.
GoPro launched its new 2020 model, it’s pretty similar to the Hero 7 (same sensor) but features improved audio and image stabilization, and doesn’t need a case, as it has the mount already attached to the cam.
Downsides are: can’t use filters, it’s a bit bulkier, 80USD more expensive… worth it? I think not.
5. Sony FDRX3000 Camera – Best Cam for Cycling in the Rain
We used a previous model of the Sony FDRX3000 camera and were quite happy and impressed, especially with the audio features and image stabilization, a bit less with the image quality.
The 2020 Sony FDRX3000 could ultimately be really the best action cam for cycling! Zeiss lens, 3x Zoom, splashproof and waterproof up to 60m with the case, stereo audio and noise reduction, GPS… and I could go on with more cool features!
It is equipped with the ZEISS Tessar lens. You can choose from 3 different viewing angles as per your requirements. Selectable viewing angles are medium, narrow, and wide.
Premium-quality audio and video
You are able to capture fast-moving objects and a multiple burst mode setting is accessible. Additionally, it has an inbuilt microphone that records hi-quality stereo audio without any wind noise.
It is a combination of NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. These allow you for direct connection and control with your smartphones. You can also adjust the beep volume.
Garmin recently went int the action camp market with a couple of models, which are quite interesting and present an innovative approach.
The VIRB Beach Camera has voice-control, built-in GPS (of course) and external sensors with connectivity to Garmin devices, able to capture performance data like speed, elevation, heart rate, and G-force.
It has one of the best bike camera display (1.75-inch touch screen) and a bundle of included accessories that make most competitors pale in comparison. You can record ultra-high-definition 4K/30-fps footage also underwater with the waterproof case.
VIRB Edit and App
It is equipped with three-axis image stabilization, which permits you to capture steady and smooth videos. You can also use a free desktop application to edit, compile, and share your footage from a camera.
Garmin VIRB Beach camera equipped with inbuilt GPS and sensors which allows you to capture data of G-Metrix to prove how fast, how high, and how far you went. Additionally, a high-sensitive microphone also records clear audio.
Your purchase comes with SanDisk micro-SDHC 32-GB memory card, case, chest harness, floating handle, helmet/head strap, bike handlebar mount, anti-fog kit.
World-leading brand in commercial drones, DJI has manufactured one of the best 4K action cameras for cycling. Super-small and compact, it packs a lot of hi-tech – including 2 LCD displays, DJI Osmo-Action is the only action cam with a selfie-screen.
CMOS Sensor and Lens
DJI Osmo Action camera has a powerful 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and a broad f/2.8 lens supporting 4K 60ps HDR video recording.
Moreover, you can also capture slow-motion objects videos at 1080P and 240 frames per second. These allow you to capture professional and high-resolution videos wherever you want.
DJI’s RockSteady EIS
DJI is famous for the great quality of its image stabilization algorithms, RockSteady EIS, which delivers shake-free footage.
If you like HDR shots (High Dynamic Range) then DJI Osmo-Action camera should be your first preference. You can also enjoy a great dynamic range improving the transition between dark and light. The HDR function can be operated also on hyper-lapse and time-lapse modes.
8. Olympus TG-Tracker Camera – Best Cam to Track your Bike Rides
The Olympus TG-Tracker is a rugged and bulky action camera with a lot of interesting features and an affordable price tag. Designed like a mini camcorder, the Olympus (6.35 ounces) is more than twice as heavy as the GoPro, and almost double its size.
But it also has a foldable and orientable display, a lot of external controls, and it’s waterproof without a case up to 30 meters/100ft.
With all these tracking capabilities, the Olympus TG Tracker can also be used as a great-performing cycling safety-cam.
Action Tracking Sensors
It is equipped with five inbuilt action track sensors that automatically capture extra data to compel your audio and video. These include GPS, accelerometer. e-compass, temperature sensor, and barometric pressure sensor. The Olympus TG-Tracker records your ride like a cycling computer (and even better)! All these data can also be recorded independently from the video and viewed in the app.
Ultra-Wide Field of View
The only cycling cam in this review to have a 204 degrees FoV, really ultra-wide and immersive, maybe too much. While it is great to have more surroundings in your capture, this is also harder to manage, and some unwanted stuff can get into the frame.
There is an option to change the FoV to a handier 157 degrees, although it is a bit hidden in the menus.
Tilt-Out Display Screen
Olympus TG-Tracker action camera comes with a 1.5-inch LCD tilt-out monitor screen, no other action cam has that. You can view your photos and videos as well as customize multiple settings according to your requirements.
9. Fly12 CYCLIQ Action Camera – Best for Cycling Safety Camera
If you are looking for a long-lasting battery along with a safety camera then we recommend considering the Fly12 CYCLIQ action camera. You can use it for long rides, record everything, and use the footage in case of an accident.
The Fly 12 CYCLIQ is an integrated system comprising a 1080P full HD bike camera, a 400 Lumen bicycle light, and a bike’alarm. This device easily integrates with Strava.
The Fly 12 records MP4 1080p HD video at 60fps or 30fps, or 720p video at 60fps. It’s clear enough to get good definition, helped by electronic image stabilization. The viewing angle is 135 degree. The unit is IP67 rated, so it can handle rain, dust and be submerged in a meter of water.
Camera plus Bike Light
This camera comes with a combination of bike light and a full high definition camera. Your purchase saves weight and decreases the clutter on the handlebar.
The best thing about the Fly12 CYCLIQ action camera is that you can convert it into a bike alarm. When your bike is touched Fly12 CYCLIQ camera beeps, start recording, and starts flashing. Furthermore, you will receive a notification on your smartphones. This is the best cycling safety cam available on the market.
CYCLIQ also manufactures a rear light and safety cycling cam, the Fly6, check it out here.
10. MADV Xiaomi Camera – Best 360 Ultra HD Cycling Camera
This really is our favourite cycling cam in this review. We owned one (which got stolen in Norway) and really loved it! Some of the pictures featured above have been taken with the Xiaomi Madventure.
As mentioned before, the great thing about 360 cams, besides taking silly tiny-planet videos, is the ability to crop the image at any angle and create fake but perfectly-smooth camera movements in post’production!
If you want really cinematic shots, we suggest buying the MADV XiaoMi Camera. It is equipped with six-axis electronic image stabilization so you can capture fast-moving scenarios with accuracy, the image quality is astounding and the microphone capabilities are over-the-top, making this one of the best cycling cams for vlogging.
360-degree Video Editing
You can connect the MADV camera with your Android and iOS devices and edit on the spot by cropping and zooming in or out the view angle.
Moreover, you can manually control the exposure, the shutter to more than 32-second, ISO setting, and aperture. These full-manual settings make it the perfect camera for a dark environment, really great for your night bike rides.
It equipped with 1600mAh battery, which allows you to record more than 75-minute to 90-minute of high definition panoramic videos. In addition to that, the WiFi connectivity works well, allowing you to control the camera from your smartphone
Sony Image Sensor
MADV XiaoMi Camera is among the best ultra HD cameras for image quality. It is equipped with dual ½.3-inch Sony image sensors. 24MP at 5K resolution (6912 x 3456)..
11. Garmin VIRB-360 Camera – Best 360 Bike Cam for Wet Weather
Garmin presents its 360 monster-cam, a monster of performance and, unfortunately, also price (600+ USD). The VIRB-360 action camera can capture a whole sphere of high-resolution audio, videos, and photos.
It comes with efficient video stabilization, a cinematic 5.7K resolution at 30-fps (but you’ll have to stitch the image yourself) or 4K (auto-stitches simplifies the editing process).
Hyper-Frame Director Mode
This Garmin VIRB-360 camera offers a Hyper-Frame Director mode. This mode offers you an incredible editing power. Similarly to the Xiaomi Madventure, you can reframe contents with ease after filming.
Desktop Software and Mobile App
You can use both a free mobile app and desktop free software for editing, stabilizing, and sharing audios, videos, and photos. You can connect this camera with both Android and iOS devices by using the NFC connection.
Best for Adventures
This rugged construction camera can capture underwater moments without a waterproof case. A winning point when compared to the Madventure The underwater depth is about 10-meter. This small size camera is ideal for plentiful water, beach, and snowy adventures.
12. GoPro MAX Action Camera – Best for Live Streaming
GoPro MAX is the 360 model from GoPro, designed for versatility. As opposed to most 360 cams, here you have the option to shoot traditional GoPro angles, with a choice of 13mm, 16mm, 19mm, and 27mm.
An unbreakable stabilization feature, a user-friendly app, and full manual controls (bitrate, shutter speed, white balance, exposure, and so forth), make this expensive cam a great choice for those who can afford it.
Its front-facing display is a unique feature in the 360 cams world, making this the ultimate product for cycling vloggers, also thanks to the reliable live-streaming capabilities.
The camera has two lenses, like every 360 cam, but can multiply them to four through a digital lens function, allowing shooting in any direction without moving the camera.
These lenses include narrow, wide, Max SuperView, and distortion-free linear. Therefore, you are able to capture a view with different angles as your requirements.
Max HyperSmooth is the king of stabilization, which delivers the clearest and smoothest video when compared to other action cameras (except maybe the Xiaomi). You can also change its horizon leveling whenever it is required.
Editing and Reframing
Using the mobile GoPro app, you can easily transform 360-degree footage into conventional photos and videos. You can edit, playback, and share this content with your friends, family, and social media.
Shotgun Mic Performance
Directional audio in Hero mode lets you prioritize sound from either side of the camera, no matter which lens you’re using perfect for logging.
How an action camera is different from other rugged or traditional cameras?
Action cameras are specifically built for sports. A very sturdy construction, small size, and a light weight, are the most important caratheristics. Most of them can shoot slowmotion videos at a high framerate, and have wide lens angles. Action cameras are built for action and to be used in action. The controls on these cameras are straightforward to access and in some cases, you can use them completely handsfree too. The rugged or traditional cameras are larger and more delicate, they are not designed to be used in action situations.
Where should I mount my cycling camera?
Primarily, there are two main mounts that you can use for your action camera on a bike: handlebar and helmet. With the helmet mount, you will get a more immersive experience. The angle will change as you turn your head and the video will be a lot more engaging, but also a bit confusing if you move your head too much. The video from the handlebar mount is not very engaging but the view will be a lot more stable. You will have to compromise on the shock absorption feature, cause the handlebar gets all the bumps. On the other hand, you can easily turn a handlebar camera on yourself, and even talk into it while you’re cycling – cycle-vlogging – pretty trendy… but you’ll need good audio features for that (more about audio later). Very popular among the mountain bikers is the chest strap camera mount, which shows the front of the bike and the terrain in detail. Cool angle for tricks and action footage. There are many other ways to mount an action cam on a bike: using selfie sticks (tied with zip-ties or such), or movable clamps – just to mention a couple.
Read more on our full article!
Box style, cube styles, bullet-style: what’s the difference and which one is the best?
A majority of the camera for cycling fall into the category of Box style. They also come in a vast range of resolutions. On average their FoV is around 160-degree. The cube style is compact and you can mount it in a small area. These are extremely lightweight and there is only one button on them to start and stop the recording. The average FoV here is around 140-degree. You might not find many resolution options though. These action cameras are very sleek and long in design but there are no major brands on the market that specialize in this style of an action camera. There are some Chinese models available so quality is going to be slightly off.
Should I go for FHD, UHD or 4K?
It is totally up to you, which resolution you should consider for your rides. The best in class is 4K and the video quality is going to be exceptional. This is again the case with UHD as well but both these formats also consume a lot of battery. FHD and HD are good choices for you if you go on long rides because they are good with picture quality and also don’t consume much battery.
Read more in our full article!
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