Motorcycle riding can create some of the best and most freeing memories of our lives. When we’re on two wheels, friends are made, sights are seen, food is tried, and at the end of the day we undoubtedly want to remember it all.
Except we usually don’t.
Whether it’s hours, days, or years later — eventually the brightness of those memories can start to fade, which is exactly why a lot of riders opt for an onboard camera to capture every moment for them.
Buying the best motorcycle camera for you isn’t as simple as opening Amazon and choosing from the top 3. Factors like camera purpose, budget, mounting area, and feature specs all come into the equation while picking the perfect product. Read below to find out how to make the right choice, and check out some of the top-rated cameras of each type!
How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Camera
Buying a motorcycle camera is a big and exciting step for a lot of riders. Every rider likes to buy themselves (or their bikes) “gifts,” but choosing the right type, make, and model of motorcycle camera can be a daunting task.
First, carefully consider your filming needs. Will you need the camera to stay on the bike permanently, or should it detach so that you can carry it with you when you park? Should it have editing capabilities, or would you rather have it record on a continuous loop? Should the camera be able to track riding stats, location, or riding habits, or are you merely looking for the best image quality possible?
After deciding what the purpose of your camera should serve, the next logical (and least favorite) step is to determine a budget. Cameras pricing can vary wildly within the market, with some models going for as low as ~$50 to over twelve times that price. While shopping, it’s important to remember that brand names don’t necessarily mean the best quality. Take the time to compare specs, guarantees, and payment plans.
Finally, you’ll need to determine what kind of camera is compatible with your bike and current tech. Most cameras these days will come with either standard or aftermarket mounting options. Many are weatherproof, have their own apps, and some even feature on-unit ECU’s or additional hardware that will need to be installed.
Now that you’ve determined exactly what your motorcycle camera should do, let’s take a look at what the market has to offer.
Types of Motorcycle Cameras
Photo credit: ruggedmotorbikejeans.com
Whether you want to capture an upcoming vacation on film, avoid collisions, or prove to your friends that you really were going that fast on the track (for the record, we believe you) — there’s undoubtedly a camera out there that will fit your needs perfectly.
Everybody has heard of GoPros, but motorcycle camera variety and functionality actually extends far beyond that popular brand. Each type of camera is designed by manufacturers to meet specific needs and riding styles:
- On-Bike Motorcycle Cameras
As the name suggests — these types of cameras are mounted directly to some part of the motorcycle. Typically these models will feature a ball-and-base mounting style that either sticks or screws onto the bike, though some feature a “clamp” style base that attaches similarly. Popular mounting areas include front fairings, frame trellises, tank, and rear fairings. Positive features of this type of camera include hassle-free recording, you can risk missing out on some footage if you don’t have a dual-camera or 360 system due to the fixed filming area.
- On-Body Motorcycle Cameras
On-body cameras are a popular choice for many in the motorcycling world. These versatile cameras are compact, lightweight, and typically attach to a rider’s helmet or chest (via a harness). Benefits of this camera type include the ability to change the field of view with a simple head turn or body shift.
Another benefit of this type of motorcycle camera is its one-size-fits-all approach for most riders. Unless mounted cameras, on-body cameras can fit just about anywhere on just about any rider. Unfortunately, though this versatility comes with a cost. Any on-body camera will always pose a safety issue if the rider is in a collision or crash situation.
- Motorcycle Safety Cameras
Safety for most motorcyclists is the top priority no matter what or where they ride. In recent years, motorcycle “safety” camera systems have been developed to help them in that effort. Cameras like Ride Vision can help riders to anticipate when a collision threat might be present. These camera systems are usually integrated into the bike’s ECU somehow, with some systems even directly affecting bike function. Many motorcycle camera safety models will feature in-app functionality, looped recording, GPS tracking, and more.
- Motorcycle Action Cameras
Action cameras that are compatible with motorcycles are becoming more and more common these days. Most modern motorcycle cameras are water, dirt, dust, and even impact resistant. Some motorcycle action cameras are even more resistant to extreme temperatures than others.
Now for the fun part — buying a camera! Once you’ve determined the type you need, then it’s time to choose a make and model. Comparing and contrasting camera types is an important step while shopping. Check out some of the most popular models in the motorcycling world right now below:
High-Resolution Motorcycle Cameras
- GoPro Hero7 Silver ($199)GoPro is inarguably a pioneer when it comes to the action camera market, and with the help of this camera, you will be able to document all of your moto-adventures in striking clarity for under $200! This camera is waterproof up to 33ft (10m) and delivers a crisp 4K 30fps recording. The combined app and built-in GPS can be used for tracking metrics like speed and elevation, and image stabilization offers a detailed and stable production of high-resolution video.
- GoPro Hero9 Black ($379)
If you are a rider that takes your adventures seriously then you’ll undoubtedly be hearing about this state-of-the-art camera sooner or later. Featuring some of the most advanced specs on the market, the GoPro Hero8 black boasts voice control, scheduled capture, live streaming capabilities, Superphoto +HDR, hyper smooth multi-stabilization levels, and more. It works with all resolutions and framerates and offers you a stable 4K UHD 2160p quality recording.
- insta360 ONE R ($429)
This is an action camera perfect for riders that are looking for maximum versatility. One of the most popular action cameras on the market, it can transition from a 360° camera to a 4k 60fps wide-angle lens. Featuring 5.7k resolution, H.265 encoding, advanced image processing, and even an AI-powered finishing algorithm to ensure every piece of footage is as vibrant as if you were there all over again. Flowstate stabilization means that you won’t miss a moment no matter how rough the action is, varietal editing options give you the ability to highlight and keep all the best parts.
Cost-Effective Motorcycle Cameras
AKASO V50 ($99)
If you’re a rider on a budget who still wants to document your journeys then these cameras make great cost-effective choices. The AKASO V50 camera features 4k at 30fps, a 170° wide-angle camera, 2-inch touch screen with IPS display, external microphone input, and is waterproof up to 100ft (30m) within its case. Document your journey at a reasonable price with this lightweight, durable and compact camera.
Crosstour CT7000 ($48)
The Crosstour CT7000 may not have the allure of a big brand name like GoPro, but it will certainly get the job done when it comes to 2-wheeled filming needs. Their standard sales package features a 170° wide-angle lens, companion app, waterproof (up to 33ft or 10m) housing, GoPro compatible mounts, spare battery, and 1080p at 30fps recording capability. While not the most advanced motorcycle camera on the market, this budget-friendly option ensures that you’ll catch your memories on film without breaking the bank!
Motorcycle Safety Cameras
Ride Vision 1 ($599)
Some of the most modern and arguably most important tech on the market — Ride Vision 1 is much more than just a camera. This state-of-the-art collision avoidance system integrates with the bike to create a 360° field of view that protects both the rider and their memories of the ride! The Ride Vision 1 system functions by communicating between the unit’s dual cameras and on-bike ECU (main unit). A patented “predictive vision” algorithm calculates whether anything in the bike’s path might be a collision hazard (such as someone merging into the rider’s blind spot) and alerts the rider via non-intrusive LED indicators on each mirror.
Continuous-loop recording and a direct bike-battery connection means that Ride Vision is with you from the moment you turn on your bike’s key. With the Ride Vision app, riders can access ride footage, and even ride stats like lean angle, distance, ride length, and more.
A pioneer in its field, Ride Vision 1 is currently the most advanced, versatile, and affordable motorcycle safety cameras on the market — paving the way for what is sure to be the future of motorcycling safety.
Motorcycle Dash Cameras
While these cameras may not help you avoid an accident like Ride Vision 1, they can help to collect evidence of one (though we hope that feature is never needed!). The INNOVV K5 is a dual-channel camera system that permanently mounts to your bike. It features continuous recording of front and rear-facing views in HD 1080p 30fps, 720p 60fps, and 720p 30fps.
- THINKWARE Sports M1 ($349)
One of the most popular motorcycle dash cam options on the market, the THINKWARE Sports M1 has been a reliable provider of car dash cams for years. Having recently released their motorcycle camera setups, it’s clear that this manufacturer knows what consumers want when it comes to dash cams. Both cameras in this dual system feature 1080p HD video and use a 2.13MP Sony STARVIS image sensor for superior nighttime filming and crips daytime recordings. Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) means that footage is smooth even on the bumpiest of roads, and the entire system is promoted as being waterproof and element resistant.
Another crowd favorite in the motorcycle dash cam market, the HaloCam M1 is rugged, durable, and waterproof. Direct-to-bike battery wiring means the system can power on as soon as the bike’s ignition is turned, while an additional internal battery ensures that you have time to save your video files after the bike is turned off as well. This popular dual-camera system features HD 1080p video, waterproof lenses, and an optional GPS module.
When choosing a motorcycle camera there are a variety of factors to take into account. Details like personal budget, bike layout, camera mounting location and style, and camera system needs all will have to be considered before purchasing the perfect product.
Some models, like most dash cameras, are best suited for day-to-day filming needs. These will typically attach directly to the bike, come with an ECU and GPS tracking capabilities, and feature a dual-camera setup with continuous loop recording.
Action cameras are typically rugged, lightweight, and versatile. They can come in a variety of cost ranges and setup options, which include both on-body and on-bike mounting options.
Motorcycle safety cameras are relatively new to the market — with Ride Vision currently paving the way for this groundbreaking collision-prevention tech. Ride Vision 1 is a unique safety camera system that functions by working together with a dual-camera setup, onboard ECU (main unit), and patented collision prevention algorithm to warn riders of possible collision threats. Stats are saved within the Ride Vision app, which riders can personalize and modify to suit their riding preferences and feature needs.
Whatever your reasons for buying a motorcycle camera (or for us tech enthusiasts, another motorcycle camera) — it’s important to do your research and carefully consider your options. Check out forums, product reviews, and rider blogs to make sure you’re choosing the right fit!
For more great gear, riding, safety, and gadget content visit the Ride Vision blog page.
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