Most riders don’t think of cameras as a “safety” item, but the truth is the right camera can reduce insurance rates, protect your license, preserve memories, and even save your life.
Not all dash cameras are created equal. Some systems, like Ride Vision 1, can help you avoid an accident entirely, while others will only help protect you after the fact.
In the article below, we’ll cover some of the reasons why the right dashcam should be an essential piece of motorcycling gear. We’ll also dig into how dashcams work, the different types of dashcams currently on the market, and how to chose the best one for you and your ride.
Why You Need a Motorcycle Dashcam
Most of the dashcam footage we see online centers around vlogs, motorcycle tests, or a wide variety of reckless behavior — and while a lot of those things can make for great entertainment, there are much better reasons to consider adding a camera to your bike.
Reason to Get a Motorcycle Dashcam: #1. Documenting Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are tragedies, but unfortunately, they happen all the time. If you’ve been riding for a while, chances are you’ve experienced at least one (or the aftereffects of one) firsthand.
Nothing is worse than getting into a “he said, she said” back-and-forth argument with an insurance company. Chances are if you wind up going against a major corporation without any kind of camera evidence, you’ll likely be on the line for at least some sort of liability payment or an insurance rate increase.
That’s where a motorcycle dash cam makes all the difference.
Say for example that a vehicle steers into your lane and forces you off the road, causing you to crash. Clearly you’re not at fault, but without any physical contact between you and the other vehicle, your insurance company is unlikely to simply take your word for it. Especially if the at-fault party doesn’t bother to stop or doesn’t even see you (which we know as riders happen all too often).
If you’ve got a video of the incident from start to finish then the facts are clear. Providing dashcam footage to your insurance company can not only save you money on your premiums but may even also expedite any claims you have by providing concrete evidence of who’s at fault.
Reason to Get a Motorcycle Dashcam: #2. Legal Liability
Let’s be honest here … motorcycles are thrilling, speed is exhilarating, and sometimes it’s a little too tempting to open up that throttle (especially in remote areas). One thing leads to another, and the next thing you know you’re pulled over with a less-than-thrilled law enforcement officer whose writing you a ticket.
And while you may have very well earned that particular ticket, a dashcam can be there to back you up when haven’t been pretending to be Valentino Rossi on public roads. This is because many motorcycle dashcams come equipped with both speed registration and GPS tracking. If you’re ever pulled over for breaking posted speed limits and you believe you were not doing so, you can simply pull up your dashcam app data to prove otherwise.
These same features can be applied to a long list of potential liability scenarios: Improper lane changes, failure to obey traffic signals, reckless driving, you name it. If you’ve got video footage showing that you were riding responsibly, then you’ve likely got all the evidence you need to absolve you of legal liability.
Reason to Get a Motorcycle Dashcam: #3. Capturing Your Adventures
We’ve all seen it at least once – someone on a motorcycle taking out their phone to get a picture or video of that perfect view.
Don’t be that person.
We get it, motorcycling can be a stunningly beautiful experience. But whether it’s those incredible coastal or mountain views, local wildlife, or just a perfect stretch of twisty pavement, having a dashcam means capturing it all without sacrificing basic motorcycling safety practices.
Plus, if you opt for a dual-channel motorcycle dash cam, you can capture multiple angles at the same time. Combine that with the in-app video editor featured on systems like the Ride Vision 1, and you can build some pretty incredible clips with just your smartphone.
Different Types of Motorcycle Dashcams
Most motorcycle dashcams on the market today come in two options: single-channel, and dual-channel.
- Single-channel systems utilize a single forward-facing camera to record activity in front of the motorcycle. These systems tend to be simpler, budget-friendly, and easier to install, but often lack the tech and safety features of premium dual-channel systems.
- Dual-channel motorcycle dash cams feature a two-camera setup, with one recording in front and one recording behind. Most riders prefer dual-channel systems because they supply video evidence for rear-end type accidents, which are common with motorcycles in traffic. Some dual-channel systems can even alert riders to collision risks that they may not be able to otherwise see.
How Motorcycle Dashcams Work
Now for the fun part — actually buying the camera! There are a LOT of makes and models of motorcycle dashcams on the market these days, with new models coming out every year. Finding the right dashcam for you is going to come down to determining your budget, and what you feel is most important in your camera’s performance.
Check out some of our top picks below, and use the table to see the standout features of our picks:
Ride Vision 1 (Best Safety Features)
Price: Starting at $360
As we stated above, there’s currently only one motorcycle dash cam on the market that can actually prevent motorcycle accidents from happening, and that’s Ride Vision 1.
Ride Vision 1 is unique in that it uses its dual 1080p cameras to both capture video, and to act as proximity sensors to warn riders of potential collision hazards both in front and behind them. These notifications alert riders to collision threats like proximity hazards, dangerous overtake, and blind-spot warnings. The system utilizes an internal ECU and advanced AI algorithms to relay impending threats to the rider via bright LED indicators on the rearview mirrors.
In addition to lifesaving safety features, your ride footage and stats are all available to access via the Ride Vision app. Here you can also customize audio and visual alerts, change sensitivity, and track data.
If you’re an aspiring motorcycle vlogger then this is the camera for you. The Innov K5 is the only camera on our list capable of shooting in full 4K definition video.
It’s got some seriously high-tech features, including dual-band WiFi for ultra-fast file transfers, and a “smart parking mode” that utilizes an internal power supply that monitors your bike while you’re away without draining the battery. If you’re willing to spend the money, the K5 is certainly in the running for the highest visual quality motorcycle dash cam on the market.
Thinkware Sports M1
The Thinkware Sports M1 is a premium motorcycle dash cam with a premium price tag. But when you start to dig into the overall build and video quality it becomes clear why.
The Thinkware Sports M1 is loaded with all of the features you’d expect at its price point (1080p video, IP66 weatherproofing, mobile app with WiFi connectivity, night vision), but on top of that it also adds in advanced image stabilization technology for cinematic-quality recording that stays clear over bumps and engine vibration. For a solid all-around dashcam, the Thinkware Sports M1 is hard to beat.
WonVon MT1 (Budget Pick)
We get it, sometimes you don’t need something fancy, you just need to get the job done. Whether you’re strictly buying a camera for insurance purchases or you just want to test out a cheaper model before making the dive into something more advanced, budget motorcycle dashcams on the market are plentiful. Our top pick for a budget motorcycle dashcam is the WonVon MT1, because despite being a “cheaper” option – you wind up getting a lot for your money.
The WonVon MT1 shoots in 1080p front and rear, has a full-color LCD screen, and includes a remote switch for capturing photos on the fly. Possibly the most serious downside of this camera however is its lack of waterproofing. With the inevitability of getting caught on a rainy day eventually, this pick would most likely be a short-lived one.
Blueskysea has made a name for themselves in the motorcycle dashcam market in recent years, and the DV988 is their top-of-the-line camera. This system features a 4” full-color touchscreen display, front and rear camera, 1080p resolution, and Wifi connectivity along with a mobile app.
Add to that impressive package GPS connectivity and IP56 waterproofing and you might have the most well-rounded standard dashcam system for the money on our list.
The little brother to the DV988, the Blueskysea DV688 lacks the touchscreen display option of its larger sibling, but does include all of its other premium features. 080p recording front and rear, GPS functionality, and IP67 waterproofing for all exposed components make this a great camera at a lower price point.
If you like the idea of having a dual-circuit motorcycle dashcam, but don’t want to clutter up your instrument cluster with another display, the VSYSTO No-Screen might be your best bet.
This unit has the same 1080p recording quality, IP67 waterproofing, and loop recording technology as the premium cameras on our list, but relies entirely on its Wifi functionality to interface with your smartphone.
The Viofo MT1 is a little more costly than other “budget” products on this list, but it’s also got some high-end features thrown in that make it worthwhile.
The Viofo MT1’s dual-circuit cameras shoot full 1080p both front and rear, are IP67 waterproof, and also include high-resolution night vision, so you’re covered whenever you choose to ride. You can also use the Viofo app to stream real-time video on your smartphone, which will come in handy for vloggers trying to get that perfect shot.
Real Talk: The Limitations Of Motorcycle Dashcams
Ultimately, all of the dash cams on this list (with the exception of the Ride Vision 1), share a common limitation: They don’t directly contribute to rider safety.
And although it isn’t pleasant to think about, the best camera in the world with the clearest images money can buy won’t help if you’ve been hit while capturing them. We’re hopeful that in the future more motorcycle dashcam systems will feature unobtrusive safety-enhancement features like Ride Vision 1 does, but for now at least it’s the exception, not the rule.
Regardless of the type of dashcam you choose, safe riding practices are up to you. You might see your favorite online personality pulling some questionable stunts on the road, but that absolutely doesn’t mean that you should be replicating it. Some countries can even seize your video footage as evidence in a collision or property destruction case, so always think twice (for your safety, and others) before swinging a leg over the saddle.
When we talk motorcycle about safety, a common theme runs through every discussion: prevention is paramount.
Prevention is the reason safety gear features both highly visible colors and highly reflective materials, it’s the reason we have daytime running lights, and for some – it’s the reason we have those loud (and arguably cool) exhausts.
Every rider wants to get home safe after their ride, and we need all the help we can get when it comes to reaching that goal. While a motorcycle dashcam might not be what you’d consider a traditional piece of motorcycling safety equipment, as you’ve seen from this list it can prevent legal, financial, and even physical damage if chosen wisely and used correctly!
Combining great gadgets, gear, and riding skills is the best recipe for staying safe while enjoying every ride. Check out Ride Vision’s blog for more great content, and sign up below to stay in the know about upcoming events, product releases, and deals!