I have been a fan of, and running a Cycliq Fly12 since it was first released. I’ve normally got so much cluttering up my bars, it’s a life saver, but the video has always been a little lack luster. Now the Cycliq Fly12 CE is a complete hardware rebuild has such a big change produced better video results? Let’s see
Cycliq Fly12 CE Review – Action Camera and Bike Light Combo
Cycliq came out of nowehere a few years ago as a Kickstarter darling producing the rear facing Fly6 camera and bike light – The naming from the almost WWII-esq fighter pilot speak “I’ve got your 6” ie. “I’m covering your rear.”
The concept was cool, and certain got a lot of people talking, but to my mind, it wasnt until the release of the Fly12 – a forward facing bike light and camera that really upset the apple cart.
You see, the original Fly12 was more than just rthe sum of it’s parts. It was your footage of an epic ride, with a great day light visible light. It was your main bike light on the way home, with a safety camera thrown in too. It was your race companion, with a crash sensor on board. Ultimately it has lived on my bars for a few years now, and was one of the earliest products I reviewed
So history lesson out of the way, let’s get on with the unboxing and the testing, as there are quite a few interesting features on board now – that which I was most intersted to try out is the new ANT+ integration. No more faffing around with buttons at the start of the ride, pair the Cyclic Fly12 CE to your bike computer, or watch and when you it “start” on your GPS unit – the Cycliq Fly12 wakes up, and starts recording. Well that’s the theory, hopefully it will work!
In this review I’ll largely be comparing to the original Cycliq Fly12, but also the Shimano CM2000 which I recently reviewed (largely as it is still sat on my desk and hasnt been returned yet!!)
Cycliq Fly12 CE Design
First up is the obligatory unboxing:
We have the Cycliq Fly12 CE looking like a black box of playing cards, a USB-C charging cable (yes you read that correctly, we are now living in the future of fast charging USB C!), lanyard, Gopro Mount adapter, Cycliq Fly12 bar mount, and cradle and some dead tree manuals
I think I’m actually going to talk about the mount first, as this, from a usability stantpoint is one of my favourite bits on the Cycliq Fly12 CE. On the back of theCycliq Fly12 CE now is Garmin-esq quarter turn mount
The Cycliq Fly12 CE is waterproofed to IPX 67 – being water and dust proof to 1m – you are not going to be using this as a dive camera! The SD card is access through a panel on the side of the unit, which also reveals the USB-C charging port, the reset and Master reset button.The door is then closed and clicks locked to prevent accidental openings.
There is a status light on both sides of the camera, so it should never be very taxing to tell what is going on with your unit. Which was always a peeve of mine, needing to lean under the bike to check the light, which was then upside down when under mounting the Fly12
The original Fly12 lens and light were fractionally recessed, on the new unit they are flush with the front of the Cycliq Fly12 CE. Making then potentially more easily scratched if you drop the unit
The unit has two buttons on one side. The top power button allows you to switch the unit on and cycle through the lighting modes. Normally the camera will loop over video, starting by deleting the oldest. However, if you want to preserve footage whilst on the ride. Pressing the bottom button, or “Cycliq button” will lock the previous 5 10, or 15 min section as you have set in the app.
It isn’t all plain sailing though for Cycliq, one area that cost cutting seems immediately apparent, rather than etching their safety data onto the camera, the company has instead opted to use stickers instead. Now I actually have no issue with the use of stickers at all, but what is irritating, was that on this unit, they were starting to peel when i opened the box. Which does ever so slightly impact the otherwise great design work we can see here
Cycliq Fly12 CE Specification
- File Type: H.264 MP4
- Video recording mode:
- 1920 x 1080 60/30fps,
- 1920 x 1080 HDR 30fps,
- 1280 x 720 60fps
General device specs
- Device weight – 195 grams – quite a saving from the 244g on the original Fly12
- Viewing angle: 135 deg
- Battery: 4200mAh and 2.5 hr fast charge
- Charging can also be done on the fly, and if dash cam mode, the battery door open alarm is disengaged
- Size: 8.4 x 5.5 x 3.3 cm
- Battery Duration: up to 8hrs with light off
- Max SD card: 64GB
- Water resistance: IPX 678 – 30m for 60mins
- Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth
- Light: 600 Lumen=
- Other bits:
- Incident Protection Function
- Bike Alarm
Garmin Connect IQ – Now Cycliq appear to have promised something that has not delivered yet. They claim that the Fly12 CE will have a Garmin Connect IQ app that will allow direct control over some of the units functions from your compatible Garmin Edge unit. As yet this has not been released, and thus cant be reviewed yet. But I do find it annoying when something is discussed in a manual but is not available even a while after release.
The Cycliq Fly12 CE instruction manual can be found here:
Using Cycliq Fly12 CE
A recording is initiated in one of two ways. Either by pressing the power button, whereupon you are greeted by the startup charms. Or conversely, by starting a ride on an ANT+ connected headset. The Cycliq Fly12 CE is searched for, and connected to as any other sensor.The Cycliq Fly12 CE doesn’t fully switch off when you power it down but sleeps instead. Hence when you start a ride from a connected GPS unit, the Cycliq Fly12 CE receives a signal to wake up
With the light networked formed the Cycliq Fly12 CE powers up, and when you hit “start” for your activity the Fly12 CE starts recording. Similarly, when you stop your GPS, the Fly12 CE also stops recording, so you’re not left with hours of footage of the garage wall!Whilst you can just hit start and go riding with the Cycliq Fly12 CE, if you want to tweak any of the settings with regard to bike alarm, HDR, or video resolution you need to download the CycliqPlus app from either Google Play or iTunes
Each time the Cycliq app is loaded, your phone will scan for any compatible units – here picking up the Fly12 and the Fly12 CE.
The app overview is actually very simple. It allows you to start recording, tweak the settings and switch the alarm off if triggered
Crucially though the app allows you tweak the settings. There is one very useful setting the HDR function. You see without this engaged, I actually found the footage from the Cycliq Fly12 CE, on an overcast day, a little dark. The downside is that the camera cannot also have image stabilisation on at the same time.
There is a crucial word with regard to that stabilisation, electronic, NOT optical, which is a little like handmade vs hand finished. You see in optical stabilisation the actual camera module will move around inside a little suspension housing, literally reducing the movement transmitted from the camera body to the sensor.
With electronic stabilisation, the picture is steadied based on computer algorithms of the received picture. Meaning i) it is not as effective ii) this results in a slight cropping of the image and iii) can be done using separate software, such as iMovie, in post-production. As a result, I largely opt to keep EIS off, and HDR on.
Once you are installed and happy with the settings – it’s time for a spin! In this review, the Cycliq Fly12 CE is being pitted directly against the older brother the Fly12, and the recently reviewed Shimano CM2000… and yes this little combo does make by bars look a little top heavy!
Cycliq Fly12 CE Camera Quality
THE question with all action camera’s is what is the quality of the recording like?
Well here is a YouTube Video comparing all three cameras
But for those of you whom cant access the video due to being at work etc. here is a comparison of the films. To my eye, the Shimano CM-2000 is still the superior camera. Yes is can record in 4k, but even when using 1080p video, the Fly12 CE can’t quite match it. The Fly12 CE now has muchg better footage than it’s older brother, which is overly sharpe, resulting in artefacting which can affect number plates.
Here are nice bright shots, with the Fly12 CE using HDR
By comparison, the Fly 12 does well with straight forward video, but for the Fly12 CE, with HDR off, things are just too dark
Cycliq Fly12 CE Conclusion
I’ve always been a fan of the Cycliq Fly12 as I have said several times now. This unit is NOT the one to buy if you are wanting to last word in optical clarity for a cycling camera. If that is your thing then I’d direct you to the Garim Virb Ultra 30 which will happy give GoPro a run for their money. But if you are wanting a fire and forget commuter camera, something which has “got your 12” when cycling along, you cant do better than the Cycliq Fly12 CE.
This unit is not perfect. But an action camera that you use, is MUCH better than one that more often sits at home as it’s a pain to use. My hope is that I’ll keep using the Cycliq Fly12 CE just as a bike light and never have to review the footage. But just in case I do, I’ll keep the HDR toggle swithced.
Staying with ease of use, the feature, for me that drags the Cycliq Fly12 CE into 5/5 terriory is the current ANT+ integration with Garmin head units… and the best part, that is smart tech that works! Frankly I dont think you can ask for more than that!
As ever, any comments, drop them below!