By Stefan Abram published
Sometimes called action cameras, helmet cameras or adventure cameras, bike cameras are small and incredibly designed cameras that can capture HD footage without weighing you down or being ungainly.
Whether it's the 'on board' camera angle from the professional peloton, check out the on bike highlights of the men's Paris Roubaix 2021 or footage of stage three of the 2021 Tour de France for a heart pumping ride while sitting at your desk, or watching the Olympic track cyclists tackle a sprint from the comfort of your own sofa, there's nothing quite it's as close to being part of the on bike action without the actual participation.
Sharing our two wheel exploits with family and friends has become a global phenomenon with the rise of data recording Strava and other GPS tracking cycling apps and bike cameras providing a more exciting way for sharing our best rides, or ride edits with fellow cyclists.
There is however another dimension to owning a bike camera, to capture evidence for when a bike ride goes wrong. Much like a car dash-cam, these cameras will allow you concrete evidence should you find yourself in a situation where you need it.
In the UK there is even a dedicated website, Nextbase, that can help you summit action camera footage directly to the police, drastically reducing the process time and complications.
Whatever your reasons for purchasing a bike camera, be it a helmet, bars or seat post rear-view camera, you can be assured there's a perfect one for you.
We've included lots of helpful hints and tips, which you can navigate to directly from the quick link at the top of the page. But first we have our hand pick best front and rear view cameras which we think are the best you can buy right now.
Or, if you're looking for a deal, we've put together the top discounts we've been able to find in our best January bike sales hub page – and tech items is always a category that sees some hefty reductions.
Our pick of the best bike and helmet cameras
Best bike camera all round
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The hardest thing about the Insta360 Go 2 Action Camera is deciding what it's not the best at, as it easily have top the charts for lightest, smallest and easiest to use, hence it maxing out as best bike camera all round.
Likening it to the size of wireless earbuds in a charging case, the Insta360 Go 2 Action Camera really is small. The actual camera is about half this size, but as the case acts as a charge and stand, it makes sense to always use.
The controls and screen are really minimal, just a setting option, but the app allows you to double check live images, so you can ensure you get just the right angle.
There's an overwhelming array of resolutions and image options, it's a case of playing around with it until you see what you like, it's that easy!
The other real perk is the mounting options, with three as standard. A pivot stand, a clip mount and a magnetic pendent. They add lots of versatility to your footage angles, although the magnetic pendent probably wouldn't hold out over super rough movement.
The editing software is simple to use, but with no 4k recording option, you might find it not as high quality as some of the other options on the markets, such as the GoPro camera family, and the factory standard case isn't waterproof (although camera is).
There's no loop recording setting however, making this not the one for you if your looking for additional on the road security.
Easy to grab and go, make home edits and share with family and friends, you can even decorate it gloss white exterior with a funky stick on skin making it a great camera to capture great riding memories on.
Best modular bike camera
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Where the Insta360 Go 2 Action Camera is a amateur photographer and film person delight, the same goes for the Insta360 One R and more experienced users.
The modular design of the bike camera allows buyer to select exactly what they need on board thanks to a selection of choices, from lenses to storage cards, batteries to sensors, with bundle deals the best way for getting all you need to get rolling as quickly as possible.
On test, we got to grips with the Insta360 One R Expert Edition Ultimate Kit. It's a bundle that included absolutely everything you could possibly want from a bike camera, with multiple lenses and batteries, as well as a mounts and even a selfie stick. We also really like that it can be programmed on a loop recording, doubling up as a road safety option as well as an action cam.
It easily is functionality comparable with a GoPro Hero 7, but with a lot more features, making it a competitive option for anyone starting out with their own equipment, or looking to upgrade as it's probably quicker to get to grips with if you've had a little camera experience already.
That said, the ability to interact with the camera via your smartphone does mean that when it comes down to selecting resolutions and the final edit.
It's a great collection of features in one bike camera and could easily be your ideal.
Best bike camera on a budget
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If spending hundreds on a bike camera right now isn't in the offing, then you'll be please to discover there is a more affordable option, that is well worth exploring.
The Akaso EK7000 Pro action camera really impressed us on test, proving that it is possible to buy a bargain, without totally sacrificing performance. Clearly a nod to the GOPRO brand of action cameras, notable the entry level Hero 7, with the Akaso also mirrors a few of the features too, such as stabilisation and the ability to shoot in in 4k/25fps, 2.7k/30fps or 1080P/60fps modes as well as shooting 16Mpixel stills.
It also allows you to flip the image (in case your mounting under your saddle) burst photo and even loop record, ideal if you are wanting to use it for dash-cam like safety.
The waterproof case comes as standard and is compatible with GOPRO mounts, making it tricky for anyone other than the user to realise that it isn't one of the original adventure camera purveyor's units.
The wrist remote is a nice touch, as it the 2" touch screen, which makes it easy to select which camera feature to use and instantly watch a play back, although you can also use the Akaso app and do all from a smart phone too.
It comes with two batteries as standard, so you can get around three hours of use if you remember to switch over mid way.
It really is an impressive package, the only re downsides is that you'll still need to invest in an Micro SD card and the image isn't quite as good quality, but for the price, you can't get better.
GoPro HERO8 Black bike and helmet camera
Best bike camera for pro like footage and shots
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
GoPro is synonymous with action cameras, and have built up a tradition of producing some of the best action cameras on the market and the GoPro Hero8 Black one of the best.
It's hard to imagine that we don't seem to have an actual review to dive in to, but its safe to say anything coming out of the house of GOPRO will have our stamp of approval.
If you're looking for an all encompassing bike or helmet camera, the Hero8 Black is a good place to start and stop your search. Using the same build as previous iterations, the Hero8 Black is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand with room to spare. Weighing just 116g you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's a rather light camera but compared some others on the market, it's not the lightest.
That is forgivable though when you see the features packed into it. The Hero 8 Black has done away with needing a waterproof case, integrating the waterproofing into the actual unit itself. Combine that with the new 4K shooting quality and you have a camera that can shoot anything, anywhere, straight out of the box, with even a live stream option available.
When it comes to mounting the GoPro, there's an abundance of choices out there from attaching it to your helmet to your handelbars and even your chest via a harness. Being one of the first action cameras on the market GoPro have cultivated their range of mounts so there's something for everything.
It's not the cheapest of cameras, if you starting out or just want something for back up on the road in case there's an incident, you'll probably be better off with on of the cheaper Akaso EK7000 Pro action cameras, but if you're a budding movie maker and want the creme de la creme, then this is the one for you.
Drift Ghost X bike and helmet camera
Best bike camera for long recording times
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The great thing about the Drift Ghost X is the battery run time, with five hours as standard, and up to a whopping eight hours if you invest in the long life battery model.
While we haven't played with the Ghost X model, we did get to grips with the Drift Stealth 2 and thought it was a really attractive option.
A good option for riders new to the world of bike filming, as it's low price and decent capabilities mean it's ideal for people on a budget. Combined with the long battery life, it makes it a much easier learning tool for when you have to shoot a lot of footage while working on your first edits.
It does lack the 4k shooting capabilities of others listed here, but it can shoot in 1080p (HD to you and I), can take photos with its 12 megapixel camera and has a solid five hour battery life when shooting in HD. The camera also has WiFi connectivity so you can chuck your videos onto your phone with ease.
The selection of Drift mounts is quite broad and includes the option to attach it to your helmet through its vents, to your handlebars and even to your shoulder via a harness. However, they are specific to just that brand of camera, so you will be limited in after market options.
Even if all the thrill of making your own bike movie isn't for you, it's the best bike camera for anyone wanting a camera for just loop recording on long rides with the super long battery time. With just a simple tap to turn a loop recording in to an archived one, it's super easy to use in the heat of the moment. Ideal for longer adventures when you just want the extra element of safety recording on the road.
Best bike camera for GPS and metric capturing
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Not sated with dominating the best cycling computers market, Garmin also expanded in to bike cameras too, very briefly.
This could also be the winner of quickest bike camera to become discontinued, which is a real shame as there was quite a big fan club behind the Garmin
A downsize against the original Garmin Virb Ultra 30, with users loving the way they could overlay GPS and metrics data, such as heart rate, speed, distance on to their end ride edits.
As there are still a few to on sale to be snapped up, and always a healthy second hand market, we've left the Virb Ultra 30 in our buyers guide as it really is one of the best bike cameras out there.
Along with all the geeky ride data, the camera also has some really cool practical features, such as the capability of be used in conjunction with the GoPro mounts with no compatibility issue giving users the a plethora of mounts to choose from.
We also really like the fact that the Virb Ultra 30 can take high-quality images and is easy to control via voice recognition, meaning that your phone can stay stowed way for the duration of the ride. It even responds to a "remember that bit" for the ability to show reel your ride highlights.
The connectivity with other Garmin products is nifty, especially if using the loop recording feature, almost acting as a complete black box.
The downside, as well as the obvious discontinuing aspect and the fact that you also have to splash out on a memory card at the same time, is the really short battery life and the weight, making it not really an option for a helmet mount.
Best bike camera and rear light duo
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If you're looking for something that will provide evidence of what happened when you were out on the road then this could be the answer. The Australian company created the Cycliq Fly6 to enable riders to film behind them when they riding and to save footage in case of a crash.
The device continuously films and, when it has no more space, it films over previous footage. However, if you happen to crash the device will save that segment of film for later preventing it from being filmed over again. Using gyroscopic sensors inside, the camera light combo can detect when a severe change in speed or direction has happened, as you have in a crash. The whole system can last up to four hours giving it a pretty good life span for both a camera and a rechargeable light.
The Cycliq Fly6 is purely a seat post job and is supplied with a heavy duty rubber mounting to attach to any seat post without scratching it or running risk of the camera falling off.
It's the only rear facing specific bike camera that we would recommend at present, although more are entering the market all the time, so we're looking forward to seeing what else can rival the Cycliq.
In the mean time, it can feel a little costly when comparing against the multi-mounting point options bike camera, such as the Drift Ghost X above. But when you factor in the cost of a decent bike light, and the puzzle of trying to get both mounted at the rear of your bike, the Cycliq suddenly seems a much more viable option for the job.
Which camera is best for cycling?
Purchasing a bike camera needn't been a challenge once you work out what your priorities are, and then it's a case of picking one that meets these needs. Here's what to look for to help find your perfect bike camera.
Cycling Safety camera
Unfortunately near misses, incidents and even attacks can happen anywhere while out riding. Having video evidence of these unwelcomed occurrences is fast becoming more common place as police increasingly recognise the importance in providing valuable evidence in the helping them to take positive action or even convicting other road users of dangerous driving or assault.
The good news is that the best bike cameras for this level of use are much more affordable.
To get the dash cam like option, look for cameras that have a 'Loop Recording' setting. This will passively record your ride throughout it's the duration/ the time span of the camera battery life, constantly overwriting, until you select 'archive'.
The most important things to look for in a Loop recording camera is how instinctive the ability to archive a recording is, especially once you have adrenaline coursing through you and everything becomes pretty chaotic in the aftermath of an incident.
Ideally there should just be a one button archive record button on the camera to press, but anything more than two will become too complicated in the heat of the moment.
If you're not too tech savvy, also look for the ease of getting the footage off the camera, formatted, saved and sent on to the authorities. It might be worth spending a little more on a camera that comes with a smartphone app, which will render the video in to a usable format automatically and allow you to save to your camera reel and share.
Always do a few test recordings and savings prior to heading out on the road as the last thing you want to do is somehow delete the recording rather than saving and sharing it
Helmet or frame mounted bike camera?
Most of the population of cyclists opt for either a helmet or frame mount for their bike camera. There is a third option of a chest mount, but in general these are the reserve of mountain bike riders who need to keep the camera close to their chest when participating in a more dynamic style of riding.
There are pros and cons to both options, it all depends what suits you the most.
A bike camera helmet mount will capture a very similar view as to what the actual rider sees, which can be pretty cool for shooting a bike ride film, or taking stills from if you saw something to the side that you wouldn't have captured if the camera was mounted front or rear.
From a security aspect, a helmet camera it also keeps it with you (assuming you take your helmet inside at a cafe stop.
Safety wise, as mentioned above, it captures what you see, so if there's an altercation between you and say a car driver, or if you have the awful unfortunate experience of an incident that takes you away from your bike it could offer good footage evidence.
The down side is the additional weight it adds, which doesn't need to be a lot before your neck starts feeling the strain. Unless it works on voice or another form of remote control it will challenging to function and impossible to know when the battery needs swopping/ or the storage is full (or if you anything like us, constantly doubting yourself as to whether or not you switched it on will drive you potty taking your helmet on and off to double check)
If you do want to opt for a helmet mounted bike camera, just ensure it's compatible with your helmet. Vented helmets are straight forward with normally the use of Velcro straps or elastic bands, but if you have a smooth lid with no vents, you might need to look for suction cups or a whole helmet band.
Mounting a bike camera on your frame can be one of the easiest way to get going. There are several different mounting positions to pick from, and in general frame mounts will come with the camera, although you might need to invest in a waterproof case to be on the safe side.
Going with a forward facing angles not only gives you a few positions to choose from, on top or under bars, and even on the top cap as shown in the above image, a camera out front makes for simple functioning, with everything in vision and settings options in easy reach.
If you go with a rear mounted option on your bike, you'll have to spend a little more time ensuring you have the correct function set and that it is on and recording. It's also worth while reaching down to give the lens a little clean every now and then to clear away and rain spray from the back wheel.
Whatever the option you choose from, make sure that there is a quick release function so you can grab your camera when you are off the bike.
If you are using a frame mounted bike for safety reasons, then always make sure the lens is clear and that the filed of view isn't obstructed by your hands or panniers. you also might need to consider space on the bike for the additional technology of computers and lights.
Bike camera picture quality and recording time
When it comes to the best bike cameras quality and quantity have a lot in common. The higher the picture quality to shorter the video. This does of course all depend on the on board memory of the camera, or more likely the size of the micro SDcard that you pair it with.
Even the most basic camera will have a high definition recording setting nowadays as standard. However, many now come with 4K, which creates an images that is four times sharper than HD and it's becoming a standard benchmark for higher quality cameras.
If you want to get the clearest image possible this is the way to go. HD is still a solid video quality and thanks to progression in technology you'll be able to record in HD for much longer than previous action cameras.
When it comes to safety only cameras, having the highest quality will be less of a priority over a longer battery run time, although you need to ensure it's still good enough to be able to use as evidence should the occasion arise.
If you're wondering what the best SD card to get in order to get the most out of your bike camera, then the Projectgo.pro website has a really useful resource tool. It's aimed at the GOPRO family of action cameras, but the information on what SD card size to choose from is really helpful.
Bike camera connectivity and compatibility
Plugging things in with actual wires is becoming less and less common, with many cameras opting to have built in WiFi connection among others. This lets you transfer files to your phone or computer wirelessly with relative ease.
Other connections may include ANT+ or Bluetooth which would allow you connect your cycling computer, heart rate monitor or even power metre to make those videos look even more professional.
All of the products that feature in our best bike camera buyers guide use an iOS or Android app too which makes it much easier to get to grips with selecting settings and functions over a complicated sequence of button pressing.
If the camera you have comes with a screens, then it can be a great feature as they can allow you to see the footage as you record it much like a viewfinder. This is perfect if you want to make more serious videos of your riding or general adventures.
Otherwise, cameras without screens rely on you seeing the footage after you've filmed it and uploaded it to your computer. However, if you're just using it for commuting and insurance purposes, screens are more of a bonus than a necessity.
Built in editing software
With their own apps or landing platform often comes easy to use editing software. This is great if you want to do some video editing on the move, or are just dabbling with making your own films and don't want anything overly complicated, e.g if just wanting to share footage of an incident.
MP4 or MOV files are probably the easiest to process video wise, while a ready to use JPG photograph is super easy to share immediately.
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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