Capture epic footage and protect yourself from unruly motorists with the best bike-mounted and wearable cameras
The best cycle cameras record video while you ride, which can be useful for a number of reasons. Perhaps you’re a content creator looking to document your two-wheeled adventures and share them with an audience, in which case you’ll need a simple way to record footage on the fly. Or perhaps you’re sick to the rear derailleur of inattentive drivers nearly knocking you off your bike and want to cover yourself in the event of an incident.
Arming yourself with a cycle camera will enable you to do all of the above and more. Think of it as a dashcam for your bike. It’s there to record evidence that can be used to prove your case against a potential reckless motorist, and it may also act as a deterrent for dangerous driving if it’s spotted by the car behind.
Some cycle cameras are minimalist and geared towards personal safety, while others shoot in high definition and are better suited to those looking to create entertaining videos of their rides. Which one will be best for you depends largely on how you intend to use it, and our guide will hopefully make it a bit easier to decide.
Our testers have spent many hours out on the road putting the latest and greatest cameras through their paces. Keep reading for the need-to-know info on cycle cameras in general, followed by our pick of the best options on the market right now.
Best cycle camera: At a glance
|Best all-round cycle camera
|Insta360 Go 3 (£400)
|Check price at John Lewis
|Best cycle camera for video projects
|GoPro HERO12 Black (£400)
|Check price at GoPro
|Best premium cycle camera
|Insta360 X3 (£460)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best rear-light cycle camera
|Garmin Varia RCT715 (£300)
|Check price at Garmin
How to choose the best cycle camera for you
Will a cycle camera make me safer?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that riding with a visible camera could make the road a safer place for a cyclist. Drivers may be more likely to pass slowly and leave plenty of room if they think there’s a chance they’re being recorded.
In the unfortunate event that an incident does occur, it’s often one person’s word against another’s. In this case, having a camera means you have some evidence to back your story up.
Where should I mount my cycle camera?
Where you mount your cycle camera is largely a matter of personal preference. If your main objective is to document your rides for entertainment then you’ll probably want to mount it on the bars, your helmet or even on your body.
If, on the other hand, you’re planning to use your camera to record potential traffic incidents, then it’s best to mount it on the seatpost or saddle to capture other road users coming up from behind.
Some cycle cameras, particularly those with integrated lights, are designed to be mounted in specific places on the bike. For example, a front-light camera will need to be mounted on the bars, while a rear-light camera should be mounted on the seatpost to face backwards.
What is video looping?
Some cycle cameras have a handy function where they will loop back and begin recording over previous footage when they run out of memory. This is very handy if you want to have your camera on all the time to catch potential road traffic incidents and close passes from dangerous drivers.
How we test cycle cameras
To get to grips with the best cycle cameras on the market, our testers spent hours logging miles out on the road and trails to see how they performed. We used these cameras in all conditions and at all times of the day to see how they performed in low light and unfavourable weather.
We also spent lots of time getting to grips with any accompanying apps and/or software to assess user experience, while keeping a note of things such as battery life, charging time and general ease of use to help you make an informed decision.
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The best cycle cameras you can buy in 2024
1. Insta360 Go 3: Best all-round cycle camera
Price when reviewed: £400 | Check price at John Lewis
Insta360 has gained a glowing reputation in the action camera world for its dinky 360-degree cameras, but that’s not all it does. This clever wearable option goes toe-to-toe with traditional action cams such as the GoPro. And while it may not shoot in 360 degrees, it does have a number of unique useful features that you won’t find anywhere else.
The main camera is a tiny, thumb-sized unit that can be attached to your bike or body in a number of clever ways. Our favourite way to wear it is by using the magnetic pendant, which can be placed on the inside of a piece of clothing to hold the camera in place on the outside. This allows the camera to be positioned almost anywhere on the body, which makes it easy to get the perfect angle. You can also purchase a “bike kit” separately, which allows you to mount the unit on various parts of your bicycle instead.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this camera is the Action Pod, which is an all-singing, all-dancing charging case that effectively turns the Go 3 into something strongly resembling a GoPro, complete with articulating touchscreen and battery booster pack.
Read our full Insta360 Go 3 review
Key details – Video resolution: 2.7K; Battery life: 170 minutes; Mount: Various mounting options; Loop recording: Yes
2. Garmin Varia RCT715: Best rear-light cycle camera
Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Garmin
Garmin’s original Varia radar rear light was a classic example of one of those pieces of kit you can’t ride without once you’ve experienced it. The Varia connects to your head unit to relay information about other road users approaching from behind. This means you can see when there’s a car behind you and roughly how fast it’s going without having to look over your shoulder.
It also features a powerful rear light with connectivity and smart features such as the “peloton” setting, which will automatically dial down the brightness to save the eyes of riders behind you.
Now Garmin has taken everything that was fantastic about the Varia radar rear light and incorporated a camera, too. Granted, it’s not much good for those looking to upload their action-packed escapades on YouTube, but if your main objective is to document near misses and hold dangerous drivers to account then it’s just the ticket.
Key details – Video resolution: 1080p; Battery life: Between four and six hours depending on light mode; Mount: Seatpost; Loop recording: Yes
3. GoPro Hero 12 Black: Best cycle camera for video projects
Price when reviewed: £400 | Check price at GoPro
GoPro is a name that should need no introduction. The brand’s fun-sized action cameras have a reputation as the gold standard when it comes to shooting high-definition video in high-octane environments, whether that’s jumping off cliffs in a wingsuit, hitting the stage at a music festival or cruising glorious mountain descents on your road bike.
Thanks to its crystal-clear high-resolution recording and class-leading stabilisation, the Hero 12 Black is perfect for those looking to create videos with high production values. A lesser camera might suffice for keeping a personal record of your rides or sharing with friends, but if you’re a serious content creator putting your work out there on social media or YouTube, you need a tool that’s up to the job.
With increased battery life, the ability to shoot vertical video and a new HDR mode for increased dynamic range in videos, this little camera offers a serious step up from its predecessor and from most cycle-specific cameras on the market. And while the Hero 12 Black isn’t designed exclusively for cyclists, the brand offers all manner of mounting options that make it straightforward to achieve your ideal setup on the bike or off.
Read our full GoPro Hero 12 Black review
Key details – Video resolution: 5.3K; Battery life: 70 minutes continuous recording at max resolution; Mount: Various mounting options; Loop recording: Yes
4. Insta360 X3: Best 360-degree cycle camera
Price when reviewed: £460 | Check price at Amazon
It’s not cheap, but if you have pockets deep enough you could be recording your rides in stunningly clear 360-degree video with the help of this nifty little camera from Insta360. It makes creating high-quality content a breeze, with an easy-to-use design and integrated app that allows you to edit and publish videos in just a few minutes using only your phone.
Shooting in 360 degrees is perfect for cyclists. When you’re riding, you either operate the camera with one hand or have to decide on a specific place to mount it, meaning you’re stuck with that particular view. This way of filming takes all of that out of the equation, as the camera will capture your whole environment regardless of where you point it. The camera also comes with a six-axis gyroscope, which allows you to shoot super-smooth gimbal-like footage, even on rough terrain.
Design wise, the X3 stays true to Insta360s pocket-sized approach to filming while incorporating a 2.29in tempered glass touchscreen and a four-button control for ease of use. All of this makes it perfect for mounting discreetly on the bike or shoving into a jersey pocket when it’s not being used.
Read our full Insta360 X3 review
Key details – Video resolution: 5.7K; Battery life: 80 minutes continuous recording at max resolution; Mount: Various mounting options; Loop recording: Yes
5. Techalogic CR-1: Best budget cycle camera
Price when reviewed: £105 | Check price at Amazon
If you like the idea of something like the Garmin Varia RCT715 but don’t have a spare £300 to throw around, this slightly more affordable option from Techalogic might be a good alternative. You’ll have to sacrifice the radar function, but you’ll still get a powerful rear light complete with an integrated camera for capturing clear video of the road behind.
There’s no getting around the fact that this perhaps isn’t the prettiest gadget on the market, but if you can look past its chunky, outdated design, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the CR-1’s performance.
Not only is the light powerful and easy to use, but the footage from the camera is clear even in low light, and there are a number of clever features to help keep you safe while riding.
One is something Techalogic calls “Sensor Mirror”, which sends a reversed image to your phone so you can see what’s approaching from behind, just like using a mirror. The only downside is you’ll need to mount your phone on your bars. This will be fine for commuters and casual cyclists, but aero-obsessed roadies might not be impressed.
Key details – Video resolution: 1080p; Battery life: Six to seven hours depending on light mode; Mount: Seatpost; Loop recording: Yes