- 4 / 5 Bee's Knees -
Heard of Cycliq? Me neither, glad that’s out of the way. Heard of GoPro? You’re on the internets, of course you have. How about Niterider? I sure hope so. Well here we go folks, if you remember those old Conan skits “If They Mated,” the product up for review would be the offspring of a GoPro camera and a Niterider taillight. What we have here ladies and gentlemen is the Cycliq Fly6. Part 720p camera, part taillight, all that and a bag of potato chips.
This seems like an odd place to start a review but I’d like to begin with the packaging. You can tell a lot from a product just by the horse it rides in on and I have to applaud Cycliq for putting together a very presentable box with tons of contents and ample product protection. This enhances the experience of buying a neat gadget like this. Crack open this treasure chest and you’ll find the camera/light, two mounts, four short straps, two longs straps, one aero mount/shim, four standard angle shims_(deep breath)_a USB charging cord, an 8GB micro SD card plus a SD card adapter, quick start guide, frame protection decals and a partridge in a pear tree. This thing is packed with goodies. Let's break it down.
There is an ample supply of mounting hardware to accommodate standard and aero posts along with four shims to accommodate various seat post angles. In addition, the two mounts and six straps allow for quicker exchanges of the camera between bikes by leaving a mount on each. I cannot evaluate the aero shim but can definitively say the standard mount and shims provide a great camera angle and eliminate any camera shaking or shutter. Because the fitment is so secure, releasing the camera from the mount requires two hands and some effort. While the mount worked flawlessly for me, it is ascetically a bit bulky or maybe unpleasant.
As for the light portion of this unit, you do have independent control of the light settings while the camera is on. You can choose from: off, three levels of constants and three levels of flash with two patterns to choose from. Toggling between all the light settings was a little counter intuitive. Think of the power button as a mode switch and the light button as an intensity button, that will get you on the right track. Again, if you watched the unboxing video with appended clips of usage, you’ll notice the effect running the light has on your video recording. In terms of intensity, I’d say the 30 lumen Fly6 is on par with many mid-range output lights.
Now onto the camera portion. With 720p resolution, a six hour runtime and audio recording, the Fly6 looks more and more sweet. Operation of the camera is a bit more idiot proof than operation of the light. When the device is turned on, a set of led’s will scroll in a circle to advise you that recording is live. Video is filmed on a constant 2 hour loop (up to 8 hours with an aftermarket 32GB card) unless a crash is detected. If a crash is detected the device records for one hour post-crash, saves all recordings pre-crash and turns off. A crash is defined as a change in orientation of 30 degrees (my manual indicates 30 degrees, online indicates 60) or greater for 5 seconds or more. Audible alerts are also present to advise you of crash detection, a low battery or the current status of the charge during startup and shutdown. Enhancing its use as a security camera, date and time are integrated into the recordings. Take note that the date and time must be manually set while tethered.
Performance is key here and this product couldn’t be easier for a consumer to self assess by viewing recorded footage. I’ve shot and appended a handful of video clips to the end of my unboxing vid to illustrate the video and audio quality. In my opinion, the audio is as-expected. With a waterproof rating of IP55, I wouldn’t assume the fidelity would rival anything brilliant. Lets just say the audio is about on par with a standard GoPro. How about the video? This is a subjective area and here are my thoughts. As an action camera purely for sport and leisure, the 720p resolution fits the build and nicely supplements 1080p recording you can get from a forward mounted GoPro not to mention a Fly12. Colors are accurate though maybe a touch over-saturated. Where I think the Fly6 falls short is in night time camera exposure and daytime character definition. As most people will likely conclude from my sample vids, raw nighttime footage that is not supplemented with a bike light or street light is accurate but underexposed. This isn’t entirely surprising since this light wasn't necessarily designed for nighttime use. During daytime riding the camera lacks the definition needed to consistently distinguish license plate numbers. In the event of a crash, this would be invaluable if you were injured and need to pursue an at-fault driver. After analyzing footage frame by frame, roughly half of the license plate numbers of vehicles within 5-10 feet of me we indistinguishable. Now, without a doubt the picture provides considerable information including the vehicle description and how the accident may have occurred but I’d like to see the resolution reach a level where a plate number is easy to read on each vehicle. In the defense of the Fly6, I suspect that most plate numbers would come into clear view if a vehicle were to strike you directly from behind but I ride enough to know that a side swipe is of equal likelihood.
Speaking to a new generation of gadget hungry riders, the Fly6 is a terrifically neat product with smart programming and numerous safety features. The build quality of the Fly6 is undeniably good though the mount leaves it looking a little chunky. Though I mentioned a lack in character definition and marginal nighttime exposure, the 720p spec is a proper choice to balance quality and price for a product like this. I wouldn’t be doing consumers any favors by under-scrutinizing every angle of the products I review. It is likely that a 1080p spec camera would achieve notable improvements in resolution, but this is besides the point. As a whole, the quality of the recordings are very good in my opinion and again, consumers can decide for themselves with the provided video footage. When it comes to providing a sense of security for commuting cyclists, increasing ones visual presence day or night, or bringing your unforgettable experiences to friends, family and likely a few internet trolls, the Cycliq Fly6 is nothing short of a terrific product. Expect to see more videos in the future supplemented with the Fly6!