Under the hood of the Fly12 – Integrated Bike Light and Camera Review

bike camera review

The Fly12 is new, but not that new for me. As a beta-tester, I have already relied on this nifty bike light and camera combo from for over a year and it accompanies every time I ride my bike. During this time i’ve had the opportunity to see what what it can do well and where it needed to improve (which it has is many ways). But biggest plus has been able to rely on this cleverly integrated light and camera which takes away a lot of the hassles of your average sports action camera. The biggest strength of the Fly12 is ‘set and forget’.

Priced at $499, the Fly12 it sits in the premium price range, ahead of the Garmin Virb and and Shimano Sports Cameras which are the closets competitors in ‘bike specific’ cameras. On pricing it compares with the Garmin Virb XE or the GoPro Hero 5 sports action cameras but in many ways is a better video camera for your bike. The integrated light is a feature unique to the Fly12, it was designed to mount on the handlebars plus it integrates with the popular ride sharing app, Strava to overlay ride data onto your video footage.

In case you are wondering what Fly12 means, it’s sibling is the rear facing bike camera and light called the Fly6. Think of a fly on the wall and clock hands pointing at 6 O’Clock. Got it?

 

Unboxing and Setup

Let’s take a look at some of the details of the Fly12. Inside the nice packaging you get the Fly12 integrated camera and light unit along with a micro-USB charging cable, a mount for your handlebars, a tether and an SD card adapter. The camera is delivered with an 8 GB micro-SD card and as many computers have an SD card reader, the supplied adapter allows you to load the micro-SD on your computer.

cycliq fly12 review

fly12 unboxing

fly12 light camera charging

Before you start, the first thing you need to do is get a a bigger micro-SD card. Opt for a 32GB or better, a 64GB card. As a tip, keep an eye on the ‘card speed’ because the memory card needs to be fast enough for live video, the super-cheap cards are typically unsuitable because they are too slow. As the strength of the FLY12 is to loop the recording and rewrite over old video, the larger your card, the more video data can be stored. On my first ride with the Fly12 provided for review, I forgot to switch out memory cards and in horror discovered that the first part of my 100km ride was lost.

The Fly12 unit, along with the mount ,weighs 260 grams and is heavier than you may expect. Most of the weight from the internal battery but trade-off is the integrated, powerful bike light and a long recording time. I used the prototype camera during a long distance cycle tour capturing over 6 hours of video footage each day and Cycliq say it can go up to 10 hours. The recording duration of the camera is influenced by the light setting, if the light is on the high power steady mode, the total recording time will drop. In contrast, flashing light settings and load light modes will reduce the battery drain and increase recording time.

The unit is waterproof and rain is no issue (though it will affect the picture quality of the recording). The Fly12 is well built and feels robust and I particular like the rubber seals for the micro-SD slot and micro-USB port which improve upon the design of the early prototypes and simply work well.

 

Mounting the Fly12

The Fly12 Camera and Light unit comes with a handlebar mount and can be positioned either above or underneath the handlebars. The supplied mount works best on the larger 32mm diameter handlebars and for thinner bars, simple wrap some old tubing around it to fill space before mounting. I used the camera both on a road bike with the camera mounted under the bars and on my commuter with the camera mounted on-top. It is easy to remove the camera as the mounting screw can be fastened and undone by hand.

fly12 screw

fly12 handlebar mount

kedge go big pro mount

Mounting under the handlebars is a far nicer option however gear and brake cables can prevent this. My solution is to use a 3rd party K-Edge GoBig Pro mount which pushes the camera forward and provides enough clearance from the cables. The K-Edge mounts are however ridiculously expensive ($70) and the supplied screws are prone to wear so make sure you use the Fly12 screw. If you search for cheaper alternatives, avoid plastic mounts because the plastic flexes and impacts the video quality.

fly12 recording

When the camera is mounted on top of the bars, an LED light is visible and indicates that the camera is recording. Unfortunately there is no LED on the other side so if you mount the camera under the bars, you get no indication that the Fly12 is recording unless it is dark enough that you can see the light or you put your hand in-front of the camera to check that the light is on.

Once you have fastened the mount, it is super easy to get started. Give the camera a healthy charge using the USB cable (the light on the top turns green when fully charged), mount it and and you are ready to ride. Press and hold the power button to turn it on and you will hear some beeps. If you press the power button it changes the light mode, you have 3 light modes each with 3 levels of power. And that is all you really need to know for you daily use.

 

Unleashing more settings with the Cycliq Plus App

The Cycliq Plus app is available for Android and iOS and gives you access to lots of settings such as changing the video resolution, adjusting light settings, remote recording, setting the bike alarm and sharing video footage.

cycliq plus app

cycliq fly12 settings

I tested both the Android and the iOS app and on both systems and while the features of the app is good, actually getting a connection to the camera has proven difficult at times.

In brief, you can connect to the Fly12 via BLE – Low Energy Bluetooth and can adjust most of the settings. If you want to watch and export videos, then you connect to the camera over WiFi. The following videos provide more details on connecting and as well as how to connect with Strava and export videos with Strava data overlays.

 

Cycliq Fly12 on Video

 

 

400 Lumen Bike Lights

The integrated light is excellent and I have used it for riding in pitch black conditions through to daytime riding. For riding in dark conditions the beam pattern is balanced and it gives you enough light to identify potholes and obstacles. It strikes a nice balance between providing enough light but without making the entire unit too big and bulky. There are three main light modes (steady, flashing, pulse) and each are available in high, medium and low power. I prefer the pulse mode which has a steady light for half a second that then flashes twice.

 

Bike Alarm

This is a bonus feature which I accidentally set and tripped so ended up rushing to load the app and turn off the loud peeping sound coming from the camera. The alarm is a good idea for the coffee shop although it doesn’t replace a bike lock when you leave your bike unattended.

 

HD Video

Cycliq probably wont appreciate it if I say that cycling footage can get rather boring. When nothing exciting is happening, the novelty of watching your rides wears off fairly quickly. But that is why the ‘set and forget’ format of the Fly12 makes sense, just charge it regularly and when something does happen, you have access to the footage.

The Fly12 loops the recording and the camera takes care of the rest and incrementally overwrites old video. The video is recorded in 5 minute blocks (ca. 755mb) and a thumbnail version (ca. 42mb) is also stored which is used for video previews when using the Cycliq app. The MP4 format makes the video easy to access and view and you can get the footage by connecting over USB, by removing and accessing the micro-SD card (with the SD card adapter) or using the Cycliq Plus app to export and share video.

An incident mode (active by default) detects if the camera is on its side and then sets the camera to stop recording after 30 minutes to ensure footage surrounding the incident is retained. If you capture footage while riding that you want to save, you can press the wifi button which will save 5 minutes of video and prevent it from being overwritten. The idle mode (also active by default) lets the camera turns itself off when there is no movement for a while.

In terms of video quality, the Fly6 doesn’t have the finesse of the GoPro Hero 4 black but in my experience, it is comparable with the Garmin Virb XE and better than the regular Garmin Virb and Shimano Action Camera. Video quality on any camera will always be affected by the light and weather conditions, the better the light and clarity, the better the results. Bike mounted camera’s have to contend with vibration and I feel that the image stabilisation of the Fly12 is quite mature along with the ability to adapt to different light conditions.

Budding filmmakers expecting broadcast quality video may be disappointed but this is a bike camera better suited to the everyday rider who wants to capture each ride. If something amazing happens, or something bad, it is on video. The footage also contains the Cycliq logo and timestamp in the bottom right corner which is useful for documenting the exact time.

cycliq fly12 video

 

In a Nutshell

The Fly12 is not a cheap bike camera but it is coupled with a powerful light and is built specifically for cycling. Unlike many sports action camera’s, it works exceptionally well as a bike camera. In fact, it is the best bike camera for everyday riding and will take care of you whether you just want the convenience of a ‘set and forget’ bike camera or want more interaction to control the settings and share video.

For more details and ordering, visit cycliq.com

 

Competition – Fly12 Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Emma R. who captured my attention with her entry.

Things will look sweet
As I capture the street
With my Fly12
Lighting the way

Thank you to everyone who entered (I read every single entry in the comments and facebook). Thank you to Cycliq for kindly providing this prize.



Alternative Text
About The Author

Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a professional design business, Signale. As the driving force behind Bicycles.net.au he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.

79 responses to “Under the hood of the Fly12 – Integrated Bike Light and Camera Review”

  1. Mark Lawrenson says:

    Rather than the ute that nearly clipped me this morning, I’d prefer to review the (slow) footage of climbing Tourmalet! To prove I did it!

  2. David Jones says:

    I’ll get in first with a positive, shot nearly a year ago with a Contour Roam 2, just processed/uploaded.
    https://youtu.be/gyHmV_ZEcM8

    “Show how much people love paradigm-shattering potential of bicycles while living in an automobile addicted culture”.

    Note I’m riding in a banned cycling area enforced by council beach inspectors. A City of Stirling by-law from 2009/2011 mandates an absolute ban, no discretion, for any bicycles or wheeled recreational devices in the beach reserve. The only known cycling ban on beaches in this vast island continent with over twenty thousand kilometres of coastline.

  3. David says:

    Regularly use camera to video blog about bicycle snow plowing and show how well they clear unplowed pathways. http://bit.ly/2dIeKCb
    Been plowing for 3 years. Biggest issue with cameras is poor cold weather battery performance. A camera that works reliably down to -40C would be great!
    -<{===

  4. Quang Vuong says:

    I would have loved to capture and share the beautiful landscape in Tuscany all of which is only a memory in my mind. .

  5. tallywhacker says:

    The driver that brake checked me. I went through the rear window. I got the number plate but according to the police without video its just he said/she said.

  6. Trev says:

    I would love to have captured the couple of bears that popped out of the bushes on our last tour in Canada. Adrenaline = Camera fumbles.

  7. Stuart Dix says:

    One dawn ride I simultaneously scared a bush turkey and a wallaby into a surreal paceline! Needed a camera to prove it actually happened!

  8. Ed says:

    It would be great to capture any moments, weather illegal / dangerous moments for evidence or just beautiful riding scenery Bliss 🙂

  9. Ironhanglider says:

    I overtook someone whilst climbing a hill once, and no-one believes me!

  10. Danny M says:

    I would love to capture my insane effort sticking to Sagan’s wheel before slingshotting to victory at the Worlds. But this is not the FlyVR…

  11. Hedley Finger says:

    I would like to show my non-cycling wife the beautiful scenery along so many of our groups Thursday rides

  12. Michael Walker says:

    I’d love to capture the footage of next time I go over the bars at Lysterfield. Makes for great holiday viewing

  13. grimbo says:

    I like to keep clips of drivers being jerks. It irks me that riders get so much grief for what are minor transgressions, yet drivers are oblivious to their awful and truly dangerous behaviour.

  14. Nic Z says:

    I would have loved to have captured my Willunga Hill wipe out, where the bike I did a 360 degree somersault, only to have been outdone by my bicycle doing a 720 degree spinning bicycle. Wouldn’t want to capture the ambulance journey to Flinders though!

  15. Steve B says:

    Chased idiot who just stole a bike for a few K but he got away. Would have loved to capture his stupid face on video.

  16. Warren says:

    I’d be able to record all the cars that don’t give way to my when I cross at a marked crossing or running red lights when I have the green pedestrian walk sign

  17. Sean McVilly says:

    At 42kph, overtaken by B-double on Waterworks Road, The Gap. All OK. However, turns left in front of me into servo, 100m down the road.

  18. Stephen Lloyd-Jones says:

    Coming down a single track, hit tree on right, rolled down hill on left, stopped upside down still clipped in, bike above my head. Stunning!

  19. Christos says:

    I could record footage of the beautiful Reefton Spur and like places, to relive again in the cold winter months on my Indoor Trainer

  20. Martin says:

    I would loved to have recorded most of the Giro della Donna ride last year. Absolutely stunning ride and put together a fitting video show casing it.

  21. Mark says:

    I would like to capture the next one 🙂

  22. David Clarke says:

    I would like to video the rail trail and animals, birds that appear and have footage to show friends and family. Accident footage is a plus.

  23. Daryl says:

    Capture regular work commute encouraging others that don’t to ride more often. Become a better ambassador for cycling. Also first Amy’s Gran Fondo this year!

  24. Andy Davis says:

    I would love to be able to capture the competition, camaraderie and scenery of our regular morning pack rides.

  25. David says:

    My first thought was about experiencing and recording a Petit Oppy or Fleche Opperman. A dream to do and share about riding. Inspiration for perspiration!

  26. Mark Szutta says:

    Touring from Canberra to Melbourne I would have loved to have captured the mesmerizing changes in light and colours through sunrise and the through sunset.

  27. Paul G says:

    Those early mornings when you are riding with a friendly group along semi-rural roads – stunning scenery, sun rising, smiling (but slightly grimacing with effort) faces… That’s what I’d love to record… 🙂

  28. Janelle forsyth says:

    There are many negative experiences we all talk about recording, but I would prefer to capture people’s facial expressions – joy, fear, effort etc. Priceless!

  29. Graham Perry says:

    Way out back of Crookwell a mob of kangaroos was pacing our group. They won but one slow joey jumped in front of one rider.

  30. Jason Brown says:

    I’m sick of looking at peoples faces on my fly 6, so a fly 12 would help me record the other end….

  31. Dave says:

    Capturing the seasons and many changing landscapes of my touring rides through our wonderful country to share and inspire people to get out there.

  32. David says:

    I would have recorded myself bouncing off the guardrail as I broke my collarbone into four pieces.

  33. Luke Cussans says:

    I rode up Lofty one summer night on dusk and could’ve used a Fly12 to count all of the animals watching – goats, deer, kangaroos, rabbits…

  34. Darryl says:

    Capturing the 4WD that overtook me at speed going downhill near Mundaring Weir and then spun 180 degrees before charging back at me.

  35. Shamwari says:

    2 years ago I had an on-coming red P-plater cutting a blind corner take me out as I was cycling in a Sydney suburb on my side of the road. I ended up with a broken neck (2 vertebrae), thoracic spine fractures (4 vertebrae) and a ruptured vertebral artery in my neck. 90% of people with my injuries die or are quadriplegics. I am in the lucky 10%. The problem is that the driver’s statement and the rubbish police report means that the driver was considered to have been an observer! I wish that I had had a Fly 12 to prove that my statement was the truth.

  36. Lucy Hancock says:

    Coming back down Norton summit would be great to re watch the sunset over Adelaide. Beautiful.

  37. Michael Walker says:

    I would have like to film riding through the Otway Ranges last Saturday when the hail came down so heavy that the road was white (and the temperature was zero but you cant film that) Brrr!

  38. Matthew says:

    On a positive note; I’d love to leave my Fly rolling while I do the Amy Gillet on the Great Ocean Road!

  39. gordon says:

    I would of love to have one to allow easy reviews of my kids cycling behaviour on their way to school to improve roadcraft.

  40. Kane says:

    My mate clipped a peddle crit racing, the back of the bike was thrown upwards, the rear tyre blew out and he avoided crashing!

  41. Michael says:

    I would have loved to have captured those giant beautiful bouncy mammary glands I saw coming in the other direction yesterday #freetheboob #bouncybounce

  42. Dexter says:

    I would have loved to capture the driver that sideswiped me (approached from behind) and drove off, effectively making the incident into a hit and run.

  43. Glenn Asquith says:

    I would love to have caught the truck that clipped me on video . . . or capture all of 3 peaks!

  44. Rob T says:

    I would simply use the fly12 record the thing I love doing when work and family life don’t interfere

  45. Jared says:

    A Fly12 would certainly come in handy to record the reactions to motorists when I use my 120dB AirZound airhorn. No one expects a bicycle to sound that loud.

  46. John Jenkins says:

    I was cycling late afternoon when an idiot in a ute passed me then threw his thong at me. Was a full moon , maybe it was justified.

  47. Tom Thuijs says:

    I would have loved to have captured a video of the 4 horses that were minding their own business on a country road. A crossroads if you will. It was an otherwise peaceful serene early morning with sun just rising above the nearby hills, just majestic. They appeared upset at being corralled back into the paddock that they had escaped from.

  48. Antony L says:

    Big Ride 2000 Tweed Heads to Sydney, my first multi-day event, too many experiences to remember. Big movie potential for the next one.

  49. Scott says:

    I would have loved to have recorded the look on my daughter’s face when she passed me in the car while I was riding – and she realised her old man wasn’t just all talk.

  50. Andrew Perelson says:

    I recently stacked it on a bike path and have no recollection of the crash. If that was on camera it would be very useful!

  51. Leigh says:

    I wish I had video from my sons riding their bikes with training wheels in the twilight so they remember in years to come.

  52. Robert says:

    Toddler darted across the road and hit the side of my bike. Would’ve loved footage to show my kids what happens if they run across.

  53. Tony C says:

    If I won the camera I’d mount it backwards to record the happiness on my usually grim face at winning.

  54. Stanislaw Filipek says:

    A lovely motorist who showed patience and tolerance to me whilst I was riding home.

  55. Michael Retchford says:

    I would have loved to have the new Fly12 on my ride to Bribie surf-side last week to capture the whales breaching just of shore.

  56. Emma R says:

    Things will look sweet
    As I capture the street
    With my Fly12
    Lighting the way
    (sung to the tune of ‘Bicycle built for two’)

  57. Paul says:

    It would have been great to have captured footage of climbing the last 5 ks of the Stelvio in a whiteout snow storm.

  58. Nigel Apps says:

    On a regular Saturday morning ride once we had a African minor bird (the Rat of the sky) fly into the rear wheel spokes of the bike in front of me. That would have made an awesome slow-mo clip to share with the rest of the group, and my cycle club. One of those things – there’s never a camera around when you need one.
    I now ride with a Fly6, but a 12 would be trick.

  59. Dave says:

    Imagine the all the footage from the whole year condensed into 5mins… great memories…

  60. Paul Ferguson says:

    I’d love to see who threw a McDonald’s thick shake at me from their car window and yelled abuse at me.

  61. Warren Williams says:

    I believe that it will be of great benefit in showing people what some people think 1-1/2 meters is.

  62. Nick Stenhouse says:

    Aside from being a able to record numerous close calls with vehicles, I would love a fly12 to record my riding partner getting swooped by a manicial magpie. Share the love.

  63. Mike A says:

    Easy. That damn teletubbie that keeps appearing on our group rides!

    An image says 25 words or less 😛

    (copy+paste into browser, safe for work image)
    https://s22.postimg.org/4zqtr3dkx/teletubbie.png

  64. Darren says:

    The ride up Mt Hotham is one of our country’s most iconic rides. The Fly12 would be the perfect way to capture this most beautiful roads in our high country.

  65. Jason Miller says:

    Whilst it would be nice to record my normal rides – sadly Ingleburn is quite dull.

    But catching those muppet drivers for youtube would be worth it.

  66. Roger Whight says:

    I’d love the footage of when my wife was struck and badly injured. Would have saved 3 years of legal wrangling.

  67. Travis says:

    I would have filmed my accident where the car cleaned me up. Nearly 2 years later, just getting courage to come back now. Cheers

  68. Tony Maxwell says:

    Bunch riding can offer some variety of footage, and I would have loved to have been able to capture some of the early bunch ride training/skills sessions over the last few weeks which have been offered by my local Triathlon club.

  69. Travis says:

    A mate and I head out on Tuesdays to our local crit track to engage in some friendly sprint efforts to the finish banner. Who wins each sprint means nothing, but at the same time it means everything (each keeping score in their head). A fly 12 would be a great way to have some footage of who actually won the day. I’ll probably produce the footage to allow my mate to relive my greatest moments with same appropriately crafted motivational text.

  70. ShaunO says:

    Think of all the #foreverbuttphotos videos you could post on Instagram from your Bunch/Shop rides… In high Fly12 quality!!

  71. R. Little says:

    Used my bell but crashed under the Libby Cotter Bridge when two ARUP bridge workers panicked and jumped the wrong way. Broken arm!

  72. ChrisK says:

    Bicycle Network’s Around the Bay.
    Trees falling along the way
    Exhausted riders all over the place
    A Cycliq Fly12 would be just ace!

  73. nick kelly says:

    A beautiful and nearly catastrophic moment would have been the massive kangaroo just missing the lead peloton on the 2016 Ipswich 100mile ride.

  74. ChrisK says:

    Bicycle Network’s Around the Bay
    Falling trees along the way
    Exhausted riders all over the place
    A Cycliq F12 would’ve been just ace!

  75. Anthony Toh says:

    The light/camera combo will be really handy for a daily commuter like myself, as well on special weekend rides!

  76. Ross S says:

    My brother having to change three flat tyres in a single 4km tunnel while touring in Norway… and he’d have appreciated having the decent lighting!

  77. Andrew Schmidt says:

    This looks like an awesome camera, so handy in heavy traffic commuting.

  78. Jo says:

    To capture and share our training and race rides on social media. Would be such a value tool.