Today cyclists are becoming more defensive when it comes to cycling in town and generally. So it is no surprise that the market for bike cams is growing. Cycliq launched the first dedicated bike cam with the Fly6 and have now gone back to the drawing board for the Cycliq Fly6 CE – so, is it worth the upgrade?
The Cycliq Fly6 made a big splash when it was launched. Even the name, Fly6, conjuring great images from the fighter-pilot esq call of “I’ve got your six!” Indicating that another pilot was watching the other planes tail or their Six O’Clock
But compared to some of the other action cameras of the time, such as the GoPro Sessions, the Fly6 didn’t have the best sensor but was the ONLY action camera to incorporate to incorporate a rear-facing bike light. This limited the user base to the Fly6 but also gave Cycliq a utterly unchallenged niche in the action camera and the cycling light markets.
With more than two years to refine the design, has the Cycliq Fly6 CE got the technological chops, not to beat the competition, but to entire existing Fly6 users to upgrade? Just possibly
So what does the new device bring to the party?
- Improved image sensor
- BlueTooth and ANT+ communications (hence the CE standing for connected edition)
- Revamped mounting system
- Brighter LED lights AND a better battery burn time.
All of that seems like a pretty comprehensive product redesign. So let’s take a more in-depth look!
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Design
Very much like the Cycliq Fly12 CE, the new box for the Cycliq Fly6 CE is a more environmentally friendly package, out with the heavy duty plastic, and in with the recyclable cardboard (well apart from the primary plastic light holder, but credit where credit is due!
While eco credentials are very good, we need to know what is in the box!
So what have we got here?
- Standard seat post strap (shorter)
- Aero velcro strap (longer)
- USB to USB-C cable
- Seat post mount
- Four seat mount rubber adapters
- oh and the Cycliq Fly6 CE
It is worthwhile noting the Cycliq Fly6 CE has an evolved mount, derived from the previous strap mounting. A comprehensive collection of rubber inners is provided to allow mounting on a wide range of seat posts.All of which have four rubber squares which interface with the new 1/8 quick release mount to ensure that the unit doesn’t slipCycliq also realises that the seat posts on modern bikes are getting a touch crowded, and as such will be releasing a telescoping mount which will allow attachment to seat rails or a rear pannier mount.
As you might have noticed there are a couple of omissions from the box, which may be more or less important to you personally. Firstly there is no USB charger. For me, that’s not really an issue. What is a little more surprising, is the lack of bundled SD card, especially as one was previously included.
Right so perhaps need to actually look at the Cycliq Fly6 CE itself now! Just from a quick glimpse, you can see that Cycliq has revamped every single piece of the unit.Personally, I like the slightly more stealth design. You certainly want your light to be bright and loud when cycling. But when parked, perhaps something a little less noticeable and thus likely to get pinched?
One of the better bits of the redesign in the new 1/8 mount. Rather than having the older slide mount and rubber bands, we now have a capable, and far more comfortable to use turn mountThis is obviously accompanied by the bike fixing, which is so much easier to use. When you’ve just commuted home on the bike, in the wet, with cold hands, you don’t want to be faffing around with straps and rubbers to charge a dying battery. No issues now, just twist and the unit comes free of the mount. BlissSpeaking of charging just above the 1/8 mount is a rubber flap which opens up to reveal the USB-C and the micro SD slot. It’s worthwhile noting that this can be a touch irritating to push back into place quite like the fact that Cycliq has made the “q” on their logo to charging light, which will turn green when the battery is full. Minor point, but a nice touch.
What isn’t quite so nice is that the charging port is so tight, that I can’t get another cable to sit comfortably in the slot. There may be a reason for this – the Cycliq Fly6 CE ISN’T fully USB-C power compliant, ie. I won’t be charging this from a USB-C on my MacBook. A minor irritation but not the end of the world. Slightly more irritating is that you won’t be able to access the SD from another USB-C port either. So keep that USB-C to USB-A charge cable handy which Cycliq kindly threw in!On the top there is the surprising loudspeaker, which is used to confirm that the unit is powering up, is recording (if you have set audio feedback in the app) and to sound the bike alarm if someone fiddles with your bike.On either side of the unit are the Power/Light adjust button, and the Cycliq file protect button which prevents the last 15mins of film from being overwritten. The buttons are similarly lacking in feedback to those of the Fly12 CE. As the buttons are directly mounted opposite each other, I’ve found over a week I quickly end up with a series of protected videos due to hitting the Cycliq button when powering down the power button is used to cycle through the different light options, Frankly, I’d be happy to have ditched the Cycliq button, and to rely on the internal crash sensor, and use this button to change the light settings. Certainly an odd choice.
The finally that leaves the main party pieces of the Cycliq Fly6 CE, the camera, the same as that now housed in the Cycliq Fly12 CE. The camera has been upgraded from 720p in the original to 1080p here, but dropping the HDR recording from the Fly12 CE. In addition to the sensor, the lens has also been changed to give a wider field of view, up from 100degrees to 135degrees, which is great for recording what is going on at your six (Yes I went there eventually), but also giving a view around bikes with racks. However, I would have preferred it if the camera lens was slightly more recessed, as was the case on the original Cycliq Fly6, Mainly as it would provide just a touch more protection, given that somehow my unit has already managed to sustain a slight chip towards the edge of the camera module. Nowhere need the field of view, but still hows vulnerable these units are just above the rear wheelThe camera unit is surrounded by a ring of LEDs which strobe around the unit. These are always lit when in the camera is recording
Underneath the camera are the three main LEDs which provide the actual cycle light. At 100 lumens I find the Cycliq Fly6 CE perfectly good to use as a daylight bike light, and pretty much have it with me on all rides now. The top and bottom LEDs are straight forwards, while the middle one has a projector lens over it to maximise visibility
Cycliq Fly6CE – Specification
- File Type: H.264 MP4
- Video recording mode:
- 1920 x 1080 – 30fps,
- 1920 x 1080 – 60fps
- 1280 x 720 – 60fps
- So the same resolution as the new Cycliq Fly12CE, merely without the HDR function
- optical image stabilisation included
General device specs
- Device weight – 110 grams )so a fractional weight reduction from the 127g original)
- Viewing angle: 135 deg
- Battery: 3200mAh and USB-C 2hr 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 4.4 x 3.5 cm
- Battery Duration: up to 7hrs – 60mins “home safe mode” with camera deactivated
- Max SD card: 64GB
- Water resistance: IPX 678 – 30m for 60mins
- Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth
- Light: 100 Lumen (up from 60)
- Other bits:
- Incident Protection Function
- Bike Alarm
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Manual
The Cycliq Fly6 CE user manual can be found HERE
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Using the Device
A recording is initiated in one of two ways. Either by pressing the power button, after th,at you are greeted by the startup charms. Or conversely, by starting a ride on an ANT+ connected headset.The Cycliq Fly6 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 Fly6 CE receives a signal to wake up.
It is MUCH better to use both the Fly6 CE and the Fly12 CE with a cycling HEAD UNIT, rather than a watch such as my Garmin Fenix 5. The issue being that when you power up a cycling head unit… you are probably going cycling, so not a bad thing if you lights power up.
However if you merely open the activities section on a Garmin watch, the light would activate, which is a touch frustrating, if you are about to head out of a run, and suddenly you see your garage light up!
While you can just hit start and go riding with the Cycliq Fly6 CE if you want to tweak any of the settings about bike alarm, 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 Fly6 CE and the Fly12 CE.The app overview is actually straightforward. It allows you to start recording, tweak the settings and switch the alarm off if triggeredWithin the app if you wanted to you can toggle electronic image stabilisation off… but the only reason to do this is if you desparately wanted the Cycliq watermark and time stamp on your video
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 slight cropping of the image a,nd iii) can be done using separate software, such as iMovie, in post-production, so whilst it is useful, don’t expect wonders from your seat post mounted movies!
Once you are installed and happy with the settings of the lights and sound volume – it’s time for a spin! In this review, the Cycliq Fly6 CE is being pitted directly against the recently reviewed Shimano CM2000… as it didn’t really seem fair to put the Fly6 with the only 720p here up for comparison
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Footage
When the Cycliq Fly6 first came out, for its time it was a great bit of kit, but let’s be honest, even at 720p the footage wasn’t the clearest, and frequently the most important aspect of the camera, the ability to clearly determine number-plates was limited by the image sensor used.
Surprisingly even though the camera was attached to a light, trying to identify a number plate art night was practically impossible with the device, which to some degree did undermine the use case!
With that in mind, here we’ve foot of the two cameras recorded with regular traffic, going through an underpass, and then late night riding
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Traffic Footage
All footage in these videos is unedited apart from the trimming and timing.
The video showing the footage of comparison between the Shimano CM2000 and the Cycliq Fly6CE is here on YouTube – One thing that is clear about the FLy6 CE is that the microphone is TERRIBLE, although this is somewhat minimised with the sped up footage
But let’s grab a couple of screenshots to discuss
So first off here is footage of the Shimano CM2000 on my regular commute to work.By comparison the Cycliq Fly6 CE footage is here.Of the two, the Cycliq Fly6 CE has slightly less distortion at the edges, but crucially less softening here. The numberplate on the Peugeot 208 is just a touch clearer, as are the details on the “To Let” signs.
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Underpass Footage
I quite like going through this tunnel on the route to work for testing out camera how the cameras react with extreme changes in light. First the Shimano CM2000Then we have the Cylciq Fly6 CE coming out of the tunnel.The Cycliq camera here retains more detail over all, although perhaps losing a touch of detail in the shadows. Certainly, the Shimano unit seems to have a touch more difficulty dealing with the difference in light levels.
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Night Footage
When it comes to night footage. The Cycliq Fly6 CE does a reasonable job of recording your night exploits, but there is a lot a blurring around lights, and car numberplates are an absolute no-no. But then I think that all current action camera would struggle with that!Just as an aside, showing a little bit as to “how the sausage is made” I recorded the above videos early on, but the memory card ran out on the Shimano when I was doing the Tunnel Test. Unfortunately, as I’m a clutz, I subsequently LOST my GoPro seat mount… So for the actual tunnel test video I MacGuyvered a GoPro helmet mount under my commuter bike. But the camera didn’t have quite the right angle; thus instead of faffing around further, I just shoved a stick in the gap to hold it for ten secs. Sorted!
Cycliq Fly6 CE – Conclusion
The Cycliq Fly12 CE was pretty much a home run for the company, mainly as it improves the cycling experience, AND reduced faffing before going out your bike. It feels almost disingenuous to say that the Cycliq Fly6 CE is by comparison quite adequate, but I just didn’t get the same “I need this in my life” type feeling.
With the Cycliq Fly12CE I have frequently downloaded the video to review just shake my head at when I’ve been egregiously cut up (obviously as a cyclist I’ve never made a mistake on the road EVER ?). By comparison, the Cycliq Fly6 CE is more of an insurance policy. You buy it, fit it and forget about it. It’s a bit if the technology, that once it set up and running, rather falls off your radar.
In many ways, the ability for the Cycliq FLy6 CE to “just work” is part of its charm.
Now I have found the Fly6 CE ANT+ connection a touch more temperamental compared to that the Fly12 CE, when using my Garmin Fenix 5, but didn’t have the issue so much using the Garmin Edge 1000
Ultimately there are no real competitors on the market to the Cycliq Fly6 CE, and to my mind, it fits into a similar niche as the Garmin Varia Radar. If you can afford the cost of entry, then it really is something which you should be riding with – Yes, you’ll likely never use the Cycliq Fly6 CE as anything more than a rear bike light, but like an insurance policy, the day you need it, you’ll be glad you had it.
Given there are no real competitors, the only comparison can be made with the original Fly6 – in which case we are looking at a pretty comprehensive overall, giving us a better camera, with a wider field of view, and improved operating battery life, without actually increasing battery capacity.
While the Fly6CE is the only camera in this class, it is also an excellent performer. The one day I WAS actually knocked off my bike, my bike camera was charging at home – now I won’t cycle without them – given the upgrades to the Cycliq Fly6 CE, I think it’s a worthwhile the upgrade to open your wallet for! After all, in a crash, more details, means more evidence. Sorry to give the end here a bit of a negative slant now, but we are talking about rear action cameras for cyclist here.
I have previously said that I always try to ride with my Garmin Varia Radar when outside of town, but Cycliq has managed to make an even more indispensable product.
Putting it simply, I won’t ride or commute without the Cycliq Fly6 CE – and that’s even with the caveat that this is a far from the perfect product!
So Cycliq Fly6 CE earns a TitaniumGeek Recommend along with it’s 4*
Fancy a CycliQ Fly 6 CE for yourself?
The Cycliq Fly6 CE used in this review was provided by Run and Ride and is available from their online store hereBetter yet, the team Run and Ride Hednesford have been on the blower.
If you think that the Cycliq Fly6 CE should be part of your cycling gear – use the code “Fly” on their site for a safe 12.5% off!