I just purchased a Cycliq Fly6 from my good friends Micki and Charles at InRush Bikes in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I used to work with them at another shop in FW, and when I posted on Facebook recently about some close calls on my commute, they chimed in recommending this product. I did a little research, then pulled the trigger. And I’m glad I did!
The Fly6 is a video camera integrated with a red LED blinky light. For a commuter like me, it’s the best of both worlds. I ride year ’round, day and night. I’m always on the lookout to improve my visibility, and I’ve been eyeing various video cameras for a while. Besides the price tag, I’ve always thought that the Go Pro models fell short. There just has to be a more elegant way to package an action camera for sports. Cycliq has found that elegance.
Out of the box, it’s super simple to set up. The mounting hardware is easy, and the instructions are pretty clear. Within about 15 minutes, I was ready to roll. The only frustration I had was setting the date and time. I actually discovered this later, and I am still tinkering with it. You have to use a command prompt and manually enter the time. This seems like no big deal, except that, given the purpose of the camera (footage may be needed in court), the time stamp is a pretty important factor. It would be much nicer if this were pre-set somehow, or at least easier to do manually.
The size is comparable to other top-brand safety flashers from Planet Bike or Portland Design Works. It’s about the same size as my Garmin Edge 705. There are several options for flash modes, as well as a “courtesy dimmer” feature, that allows you to make the LEDs a bit more subtle. This could be good for group rides or if you need to conserve battery life.
So, set it up, mount the light on your seatpost, turn it on, and ride. When you turn it on, it really just looks like a regular rear blinky light. I kind of like this. Unless you tell someone they’re being taped, they’ll have no idea. If you use this on group rides, you might want to check with the ride leader to make sure s/he is okay with it. FYI, this little bugger also records audio.
This First Impressions “review” is just that, and I didn’t have a chance to really put it through its paces yet. I’ve recorded 4 short rides, so I can’t speak to battery life or durability. I also can’t testify to some of the more detailed video features.
After riding, uploading and/or viewing the footage is pretty easy. The Quick Start Guide provides links to a video player, converter, and editor. I found all three of these to be very easy to use. Cycliq claims that the Fly6 will overwrite footage, so it just keeps on recording. When you open the folder that has the video files, you’ll notice that they are in 10 minute segments. I poked around the user forum, and Cycliq says the 10 minute segments are designed to make it easier to find an incident amidst a lot of footage. Anyway, I found it very easy to view, edit, and upload footage. Here is a clip from one of my first commutes. The first few minutes are from the beginning, then it cuts to the last two minutes of the ride.
So far I really like this gizmo. The resolution is such that if a car is running you over, the Fly6 will record the license number. It’s steady, and the LED light is a useful safety feature for any biker, but especially for commuters.
The biggest drawback, for me, is a pretty huge one. The ONLY way to mount this light to your bike is on the seatpost. There’s no belt clip, no rear rack mount, nothing. While the size is pretty average as lights go, it does take a lot of real estate on your post. My road bike does not have a sloping top tube, and I have a seat pack under my saddle (not a very big one). There is not enough room to put this light on my road bike. While my commuter has enough room on the seatpost, I will not be able to put anything on the rear rack without obstructing the view of the camera. The same goes for my touring bike and my tandem, both of which have rear racks. I’ve posted on the Cycliq support forum my suggestion for additional mounting options. A rear rack option, as well as a retrofit to mount on the seat stay. Cycliq seems to be pretty responsive to user suggestions, so hopefully some additional mounting options are in the works.
If you have the room on your seatpost, I think this is a great product. The price is right ($169 MSRP), the LED is bright, and the video could be extremely helpful if something unfortunate happens. Unlike a GoPro, the target market for the Fly6 is pretty specifically for cyclists wanting some video insurance out there in the wilds of the urban jungle. I suppose some users could use it to record extreme commutes or something, or riders behind in a criterium, but this is really for those who need some peace of mind amidst traffic. I think it does the trick, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this holds up in the coming weeks and months.
Stay safe out there!