I recently received the a Fly6, V2.0 safety camera/light. Overall I’m very impressed. Even from the moment that you open the box, this is a device that screams – “We thought about that!” However given this is two products in one, does that make the Fly6 a jack of all trades and master of none?
Fly6 Camera Review
What is the Fly6? Fly6 can be described as two things. On the one hand, it’s another Kickstart Darling, generating $ 266,594 for a couple of Australians who had the lofty idea of making drivers become considerate through a ubiquity of cycling video cameras, on the other hand it is what is says on the tin – a combination tail-light and HD camera, which frankly works very well!
I’m not really one for “unboxing videos” etc, I’ve always thought them slightly odd, but I would be remiss if I didnt comment on the retail packaging that the Fly6 arrives in. This is an Apple-esq approach to presentation! Frankly, the experience of receiving and opening it does make the Fly6 seem an incredibly polished product!
I understand that part of the overall plan with the Fly6 is to eventually make drivers aware of cameras on bikes, and thus make them more courteous – hence Cycliq’s latest project the Fly12 – is unsurprisingly a FRONT camera/bike light combo. However, given this, I’m not ENTIRELY sure what the intended use/locations are for all of the included stickers. Don’t misunderstand me, I like stickers, especially if they are free. Certainly the point is to advertise the camera exists, but where does the company envisage they go? On the bike? The helmet? Your locker?? Maybe I’m being dense (quite likely)
There is one slight dip when you are getting the camera out for the first time – the marketing material as very well produced, and the device is very well designed to look svelte. However its not. When you actually take the Fly6 camera out of the box, it strikes you the this really is a stocky bit of kit… But maybe that is a unrealistic expectation given that it contains a LIGHT as WELL as a camera.
From the photo above, you can see that Fly6 is actually quite thick. However a good proportion of that size is actually the angled wedge at the back, which is required to allow the camera to sit as near to a horizontal angle to the floor as possible.
Fly6 has a schematic on their site, showing that the bulk is made up mainly of the battery pack!
The camera actually feels to weigh very little, and including the straps and mount comes in at a total of 141g, which easily rivals some of the large rear lights – AND THIS CONTAINS A CAMERA!
The mini USB port has morphed to a micro USB port, and moved up to the side of the unit. I’ve had devices before with floor facing USB charge ports. Regardless of the rubber, eventually they have died, so moving to the side is always going to be a plus point for me!
The camera has been improved since the first edition, both with the removal of the clear lens around the top LEDs that encircle the camera – which apparently caused reflection to the camera. However given its supposed to be for safety, i’m a little surprised we didnt get a pixel bump to 720p. Identifying some car number plates can be tricky if you review the YouTube videos. However in the UK, that doesn’t appear to be an issue, with the larger number plates
Fly6 Test videos
Initial video after a tune up a Stratford Cycle Studio – chosen as there is a lot of detail on the brick work, giving an idea of what the camera is capable of close up
Cycling video through Stratford traffic – showing ability to pick up number plates, and HORRIFIC smog from the towns buses!
With the Garmin Virb elite, and several other action cams, there is a built in GPS for adding data overly that will sync perfectly to the video. There is no wifi or GPS in the Fly6 but Garmins own VIRB EDIT software can be used to put on the after mentioned overlays! However the Fly6 does have a mild irritation for the Mac user – movie format is .AVI which isn’t handled superbly on the Mac. Plus, in order to use the Virb Edit software, the movie needs converting into Mpg. But again, there is a 3x price difference between the VIRB and the Fly6, so the Fly6, is still working out at very good value!
The Fly6 comes with an 8gb card, with the footage split into 10minute files. This can sometimes make finding easier, if you know roughly on the route when you think event X happened. If you not sure, it can be a bit laboriously looking through all the files.
One other feature with regard to recording, is looping. If you card fills up- or you are just using the Fly6 as a safety camera, when the 8gb is full,the camera will record over the oldest clip reducing your maintanence to just charging.
The Fly6 comes with a series of rubber wedges to put between the frame and the Fly6 in order to get that 90deg angle -two zero-degree spacers, one five-degree spacer, one 10-degree spacer, one aero seatpost spacer – which is an odd looking thing!
The mount has been one of the few real down sides in terms of the Fly6. You slide the unit onto the outside of the mount and then there is a reassuring click. Getting it off again is a COMPLETELY different matter.
So you press the little tab to remove the camera, and nothing moves, you remove it from the frame and try to do it careful. Still unable to slide the camera off the holder. screwdriver into the clip (which isn’t very big) and push, still nothing. Pushing HARD with the camera into the carpet, no movement. Now my hands are hurting. Even trusty WD40 wouldn’t budge it!!!. Finally it moved, after the clip had broken – thankfully Cycliq gives you two mounts – initially presumably for two different bikes. However I do wonder if its that the camera is just ridiculously hard to get off the mount.
Cycliq even have a short post on their site about the slide fitting being too tight. They suggest that is needed to stop the camera moving, and to prevent it slipping off whilst cycling.
The Fly6 does take up a fair amount of room on the steam post….but so what? how many things are you wanting to put on the seat post? Yes it may not be exactly inconspicuous, but that wasn’t really the point. For that matter, this is practically a light weight compared to the bulbous Garmin Virb. As for aesthetics, I dont think GoPro actually con conceptualise anything other than rectangle.
The Fly6 kicks out a respectable 30 lumens rear, sufficient to run as a day time safety light if you wanted it to. There are four different light modes, two flashing modes and one solid output mode for the main LED, in addition to the ring of LEDs which chase around the lens when the unit is on.
There is no screen of any sort, even to detect battery level, this is done through audio beeps at power on. With 4 beeps indicating full power, down to 1 beep suggesting >25% power.
What you don’t want to do, with a device that is largely about safety is sacrifice film for safety. As a result, when the batteries has 5% remaining, the unit will emit three long beeps, and switch the camera off, leaving the light running. There is enough juice at this point to last for about 90mins of light. Hopefully enough to get you home safety. Its a nice feature actually, something I wish more lights had.
Got your back
The Fly6 justifies its place on your stem very easily, with the point that you need to carry a light, so may as well have two things in one. Its safety features are very well designed and the recent price drop, coupled with its availability on Wiggle for £99 now makes it a very compelling option.
I don’t think that drivers are going to change their behaviour currently, on the slim chance that a cyclist has a camera. BUT I do think that for riders in cities, who feel vulnerable in traffic, the camera will certainly help out with dangerous and reckless driving, and certainly act as a record for events.
If you are happy to unclip the whole bit of kit, then you’ll have no problems, but the mount could do with a slightly improved design to allow for ease of removing the camera for charging etc.
It will be interesting to compare the 720p footage against, 1080p from something like the Garmin Virb.