Australian bike-tech company Cycliq has gone from strength to strength with their technology driven cycling accessories. They have carved out a niche of bike specific cameras with the Fly6 rear camera, Fly12 front camera and recently released the duo mount (via kickstarter) which lets you mount both a sports action camera and cycle computer. We are taking a closer look at the Fly6 which has just moved into the third generation and features a rather subtle but important upgrade.
In a nutshell, the Fly6 is a rear mounted camera with integrated red light and films in a continuous loop. With 1280×720 video resolution 30 frames a second you can capture the action behind while you ride. Traffic offender and crash videos make it to youtube and the set-and-forget style camera means that you only have to remember to charge it.
If you are new to the Fly6, the camera integrates a rear red light and will replace your previous stand-alone light. There are brighter and more powerful rear bike lights available but this 30 Lumen light has performed well in all hours and all weather conditions and is integrated – so I have one unit and not two. The light can be dimmed (good for riding in bunches) and you can choose from different light sequences.
The newest Fly6 is very much about a new mount and it is otherwise almost identical to its predecessor. Detailed information about the video quality and light performance can be found in our earlier reviews:
Fly6 Generation 1 Review
Fly6 Generation 2 Review
The Little Things
Before we tackle the new mounting solution for the Fly6, I have spotted three minor differences which we can cover quickly. Because of the change of design to the back section of the Fly6 unit – the overall weight on the new version increases 14 grams to 127 grams. The date format also changes and instead of an all digital display (e.g. 2016/12/25), it moves to mixed format (e.g. Dec 25 2016) and eliminates confusion between the American date format and the rest of the world. The last change is ‘under the covers’ and is an improved battery management which should give the unit a longer run-time however in the specs, Cycliq retain the quoted 6 hour filming duration (which also depends on the light setttings).
Velcro Wonder Stuff
On the first and second generation Fly6 unites, rubber mounting straps were used for mounting and these worked well for many cyclists however were susceptible to over-stretching and breaking which was frustrating as the straps were hard to replace. In fact, the rubber straps were intended as a more permanent mount and the Fly6 was meant to unclip from a plastic mount but that never worked particularly well, every cyclist I know with a Fly6 would simply use the rubber straps.
3rd Generation Fly6 (left) and 2nd Generation Fly6 (right)
There was always room for improvement although the rubber straps also added flexibility and convenience in mounting and Cycliq have sought to retain these attributes by switching to a velcro fastener and ditching the superfluous plastic mounting bracket. The back of the Fly6 is now simple and has a slot through which the velcro strap passes. The velcro straps have a non-slip surface on the inside to prevent the camera from slipping and sliding on your seatpost. If you ride a bike with an aero seat tube, an aero adapter is supplied.
Two different velcro lengths are provided, a shorter which works best for traditional round seat posts and a longer one for Aero seat tubes. I had to trim the long strap as it was far too long.
With the velcro it is just as easy to remove the Fly6 for charging and to quickly mount it securely. A side-effect of velcro is that it can scuff finely woven fabrics such as polyester (lycra) which is typically used for cycle wear. I found this out the hard way after the edge of the velcro strap lifted and while I was pedalling it started catching the inseam of my expensive cycling knicks and created a fluffy mess of polyester strands. This may not be an issue faced by all riders – I have a compact body position and pedalling stroke so it is a problem for me if the velcro lifts. While I cut the velcro to size, I am still experimenting with DIY alternatives – the slot of the Fly6 is quite accommodating I can thread through cable ties or other narrow things to fasten and will keep you up-to-date if you think you will face this issue as well.
The upgrade of the Fly6 by Cycliq is a smart move and I think it is an incremental upgrade which allows Cycliq to rely on much of the existing technology while they secretly develop a new version with better video resolution and quality along with a better battery life in a more compact case. I am just guessing but enhanced video with 1080p resolution is the logical next step.
Cycliq have also announced that they are planning to list on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), behind the scenes it is through an acquisition of Cycliq which is connected to performance requirements. You can read more on the plans for the Cycliq ASX listing on Business News, the implication is a continuing technological drive which is good news for cycling tech nerds.
Existing Fly6 however owners don’t need to upgrade to the new unit just yet, but for all other riders, the Fly6 is a must-have. I have ridden with a Fly6 for over two years and while I rarely review the footage, it feels better knowing that you are covered while cycling on the Australian roads with the Fly6 recording.
At $199 it is priced fairly and will make for an excellent Christmas present for the obsessed cyclist. Cycliq currently have a good Christmas deal on the Fly6 and are including a nice cycling jersey in the price when you order online. More on Cycliq >