Capturing footage from your rides is becoming increasingly popular and much easier to do than in the past. This is in no small part down to the ever-improving technology of action cameras.
However, selecting the best bike camera for you, your bike, and your rides can be tricky. The choice is wide, but we’ve refined that down to a list that contains six of the best. They cover a wide range of price-points.
So, let’s get to it and find the perfect bike camera for both your needs and budget…
- 1 Why should you invest in a bike camera?
- 2 Top 6 Best Bike Cameras To Purchase In 2021 Reviews
- 2.1 1 Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Aviation Bundle – Best Voice Controlled 4K Bike Camera
- 2.2 2 Sony FDRX3000/W Underwater Camcorder 4K – Best 4K Bike Camera for Wind Noise Reduction
- 2.3 3 DJI Osmo Action – 4K Action Cam 12MP Digital Camera with 2 Displays – Best Value 4K Bike Camera
- 2.4 4 Olympus TG-Tracker with 1.5-Inch LCD – Best Premium 4K Bike Camera
- 2.5 5 Garmin VIRB 360 Action Camera – Best Premium 5K Bike Camera
- 2.6 6 GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera with Touch Screen – Best Value GoPro Bike Camera
- 3 A Best Bike Camera Buying Guide
- 4 Looking for other Brilliant Bike Accessories?
- 5 So which is the Best Bike Camera?
Why should you invest in a bike camera?
Riding your bike can be great fun. When we’ve had an epic ride, it’s always satisfying to be able to look back at the photos and footage in the same way as you would with your holiday snaps and videos. Whether you’re watching them on your own, with friends, family, or through social media, these are memories worth celebrating and keeping for future viewing.
It’s possible to do all of this with the standard camera on your phone, but unfortunately, the demands thrown at it by cycling are liable to be too great.
That’s where the best bike camera options come in…
A bike camera needs to be tough and have an excellent mounting system. It also has to have excellent stabilization and be waterproof for those rainy days. These kinds of features are only likely to be found on bike action cameras.
So, if you want to catch the very best from your riding footage, a bike camera is very much a must-have.
Top 6 Best Bike Cameras To Purchase In 2021 Reviews
1 Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Aviation Bundle – Best Voice Controlled 4K Bike Camera
This is a well-made and robust high-definition action camera. It enables you to shoot in 4K in slow motion or take high pixel still shots. Even better, it features three-axis stabilization so you can capture stable footage even when you’re riding over the shaky stuff.
It has a color touchscreen that, although small, is very responsive and close to what you’d expect on a mid-range mobile phone. It also comes with a suitably waterproof case that still allows you to use the touchscreen functions.
One of the super cool features is its voice control. This lets you stop and start recording plus tag your video by voice only. That’s excellent when the road ahead is challenging. Being able to focus on your riding instead of the camera is a massive plus for us cyclists.
The Garmin VIRB is compatible with GoPro accessories, which is an advantage to anyone who already has a GoPro or is considering buying one. It also comes with a GoPro compatible handlebar clamp. That will give you incredible footage of your ride without ever having to touch your camera once you start rolling.
Other superior features…
Not surprisingly, you can use it as a GPS device. It also has a built-in recorder to log your position, speed, and elevation. All of this can be live-streamed in high definition to YouTube at the touch of a button and used to overlay your riding footage.
It’s a great function that’s accessed via the VIRB for Apple users. So, what about Android users? Unfortunately, it’s not offered, which is crazy considering more than 90% of people with smartphones use it!
What do we think about this?
It’s pathetic, and Garmin should hang their heads in shame. Is that clear enough for you, Garmin?
However, Android users can at least take heart in the fact that they can still take advantage of the built-in microphone. And in fact, just about everything else that the camera has to offer.
- Strong build.
- Voice control.
- Waterproof case.
- Good software.
- Livestream function not Android compatible.
2 Sony FDRX3000/W Underwater Camcorder 4K – Best 4K Bike Camera for Wind Noise Reduction
This is priced at the higher end of the spectrum, but it has enough features and quality to justify the price-tag. However, for the same kind of price as a GoPro Hero, does it have enough to warrant your hard-earned cash?
Let’s find out…
In terms of lens quality, this is right up there with the best. The Zeiss lens is top-notch and pretty much as good as it gets. Be assured that whatever film or still images you capture will be first-rate.
You can shoot in 4K, and the optical quality for still images is rated at 12MP. This is all you’re ever likely to need. However, with newer action cameras offering 5K, there may be a fear that you’re missing out on higher-rated definition even if it’s unlikely to be much used.
The Sony FDRX3000 has a splashproof casing, so it’s good enough in practical terms for most situations. If you want to take it underwater, they have that covered, too, as it comes with a waterproof case as part of the package.
The waterproof housing is great, but when you can buy cameras that are already waterproof, without needing to add a case, it does leave it kind of feeling a bit behind the times.
Another area where it feels a little wanting is the lack of a touch screen. Again, there are plenty of action cameras that feature this at much lower prices. It not necessarily a deal-breaker but it does little to further Sony’s cause.
The wind noise reduction built into the camera is first-rate, as is the zoom function and the remote control. We’re also big fans of the stabilization software that does an excellent job of smoothing out your footage when you’re on the bike going over challenging terrain.
Finally, there’s also an extensive range of affordable accessories. This includes a bracket to fit onto your bike’s handlebars. That’s one to keep us cyclists happy.
- High-quality Zeiss lens.
- Effective built-in wind reduction.
- Remote control.
- Easy to operate zoom function.
- Smooth stabilization software.
- Not waterproof without the case.
- No touch screen.
3 DJI Osmo Action – 4K Action Cam 12MP Digital Camera with 2 Displays – Best Value 4K Bike Camera
In terms of the best value for your money, this is a tough camera to beat. It offers all of the features that you typically find on more expensive cameras at almost half the price. This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the best budget bike camera for cyclists who are still looking to keep the quality high.
So, what precisely do you get for your investment?
Firstly, this is an all-waterproof camera, but unlike the Sony FDRX3000, you don’t need to have to put it in a case every time you go in the water. It’s waterproof down to 11 meters, which might not be as good as the 30 meters you get from a GoPro, but in practical terms, it’s more than sufficient.
High-end features include a touchscreen that’s nice and responsive and includes easy to navigate functions. Additionally, you get a 2.3” screen on the back and a front screen that measures just an inch but is big enough to see if you’re properly in the shot when the camera is turned around on yourself. A great feature and one that GoPro has only just got around to providing!
The quality of the images captured is up there with the best. To help you get that perfect shot or piece of footage, the DJI Osmo Action Camera is equipped with slow-motion and time-lapse. Plus, you get EIS stabilization to give you smooth footage for the times you and your bike are going over rugged trails.
Other great value features…
The stabilization is right up there with GoPro HyperSmooth 2.0. However, it’s not to the incredible heights of HyperSmooth 3.0 that’s now on GoPro Hero 9s. Still, given that nothing much else is, and considering the price-point, it’s impressive.
Other great features to finish up include a Quick Switch control, snapshot recording, and photos, voice control, dynamic range light enhancement, and some first-rate editing software compatible with Android 7.0 and Apple 10.0 or higher.
- EIS RockSteady stabilization.
- Front and rear color screens.
- Voice control.
- Easy to use the menu.
- Touch screen.
- Only waterproof to 11 meters.
- Shaky footage unless stabilization is kept enabled.
4 Olympus TG-Tracker with 1.5-Inch LCD – Best Premium 4K Bike Camera
This is another action camera positioned at the premium end of the market. As such, we expect some premium features and quality to justify the price-tag.
So, how exactly does it stack up?
As far as the good stuff is concerned, one of the most significant plusses for us is the all-important lens quality. On this score, the Olympus cannot be faulted. It’s impeccable for a camera of this type. Hardly surprising given the history and credentials of Olympus as a long-established camera manufacturer.
The camera can record in 4K and is equipped with an F2.0 high-speed lens that will quickly adjust to changing and difficult lighting conditions. It’s also equipped with a super wide-angle lens with 204 degrees capability. This means you’re able to capture high quality still film wherever you are and regardless of the light.
If the light becomes particularly troublesome, you even get a 60 lumens light on the front of the camera. Perfect for capturing footage in close quarters when it’s dark. A handy backup flashlight too.
The Olympus TG-Tracker is also waterproof to 30 meters, which puts it up there with the best. The five-axis stabilization is also high-quality though still a little way off HyperSmooth 3.0.
The ability to use GPS to track and record your rides together with built-in WiFi and an excellent bike mounting bracket all count heavily in its favor. All in all, this is a compelling package.
All good then?
Yes, pretty much, though there are never the less a couple of small moans and niggles.
Firstly, the tilt-out screen feels a little old-fashioned, and we think it’s just something that lends itself to getting broken. We’re not a great fan of this design though we accept that some may still prefer it. Another thing is that at just 1.5”, the screen is relatively small compared to a lot of less expensive alternatives.
Many better options…
The final point is that even though Olympus tells us in their literature that 4K is ‘top end’ recording technology, it isn’t. 5K guys and girls. This doesn’t greatly detract from the undoubted optical quality, but it also doesn’t alter the fact that there are plenty of action cameras that now offer 5K at the same kind of price.
- High lens quality.
- GPS track and record function.
- F2.0 high-speed lens.
- Wide-angle lens.
- Waterproof to 30 meters.
- Tilt-out screen.
- Screen size.
5 Garmin VIRB 360 Action Camera – Best Premium 5K Bike Camera
This is such a cool camera that we all want one. It’s not a case of needing one, but there’s no doubt that the desire is strong to put one in our cart as soon as possible. The only thing stopping us is the eye-watering cost that places this little camera at about twice the price of most quality action cameras.
So, why do we want one so much?
Put simply, it has the ability to record footage and take stills through a full 360 degrees. What was once only the domain of Hollywood studios can now be yours in a high quality, super lightweight, and super small package.
This has got to be one of the coolest action cameras on the planet.
Being able to record 360 degrees footage on such a small camera is mind-blowing enough, but to also be able to do so in 4K and without any post-production is crazy. All this is done via auto-stitching on the device. We’re genuinely lost for words.
If all of that in itself isn’t enough, you can also shoot in 5.7K, and you get a load of features in this tiny camera that you’ll find on other action cameras. This includes being waterproof to ten meters, having the ability to Livestream and take stills up to 15 megapixels, voice control in six languages, and having very high-quality smooth stabilization technology.
We readily admit it’s got a tiny 1” screen, it’s not as waterproof as other action cameras, and it costs a lot. But these are just mere inconsequential details, and we don’t care. We still want one!
- 360 degrees film and still capture.
- No post-production necessary.
- 360-degree filming.
- Features voice control.
- Smooth stabilization.
- Small 1” screen.
- The cost.
6 GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera with Touch Screen – Best Value GoPro Bike Camera
We love the Garmin VIRB 360 Action Camera, so naturally, we want to love the 360 degrees action camera offering by GoPro. We already love the GoPro Hero series, so at a keen price in comparison to the Garmin, what do we make of the GoPro Max?
Single SD card use…
Firstly, this is a significant improvement on the camera it replaces, the GoPro Fusion. The older version required two SD cards, and all the stitching needed to be carried out on desktops. The GoPro Max has done away with all of that to get a camera that gives you 360 video and still captures with on-camera auto stitching and while using just a single SD card.
It has most of the features you get on the GoPro Hero series, which includes a touch screen, a front and rear camera, excellent wind reduction technology, and live streaming.
It has similar features to the GoPro Hero 9, though noticeably, the slow-motion function only has 2x capability. Plus, although it’s capable of 5K footage, it doesn’t have the same number of frame rates or resolution options.
Other areas the Max falls a little short is in its waterproof rating. At just 16 feet, this is less than we’d expect or want.
The last feature that is wanting of the Hero series is its stabilization. It’s not up to the same level as either HyperSmooth 2.0 or 3.0 found on Hero 8 and 9, respectively. We also don’t think it’s as good as that found on the Garmin VIRB 360, which is frankly a bit of a surprise.
You can still use this bike camera as a regular GoPro when you get bored of shooting in 360, which could happen quite quickly, but it won’t give you the same level of flexibility of features and functions that you’ll get with Go Pro Hero 8 or 9. We also don’t think it provides the same wow factor as you get with Garmin VIRB 360 that just makes you want to use it every time you go out.
The GoPro Max does a lot of things very well but nothing brilliantly. It’s a great all-rounder if you are prepared to sacrifice a little bit of extra functionality. Plus, as a final positive, if you do want to shoot in 360 regularly, it represents a significant saving over the Garmin VIRB 360.
- Responsive touch screen.
- 360 auto stitching.
- Livestreaming capability.
- Good audio.
- Limited resolution and frame rate options.
- Low waterproof depth rating.
- Stabilization could be better.
A Best Bike Camera Buying Guide
We’ve started the buying guide with stabilization because this is possibly the most critical feature of any bike camera. If you don’t have good stabilization, your footage is likely to be useless. Riding a bike over just about any terrain requires plenty of technological gizmos inside of the camera to keep things looking smooth.
How to get this?
Over the last few years, action cameras have become increasingly sophisticated and offer incredible stabilization levels. Currently, the GoPro Hero 9, though not featured here, is the best bike camera for getting smooth footage. It’s HyperSmooth 3.0 technology is fantastic. However, a couple of cameras on our list come very close to offering something similar.
The first of these is the very affordable DJI Osmo Action – 4K Action Cam, and the second is the Garmin VIRB 360 Action Camera. They are at the opposite end of the price spectrum, but both offer excellent stabilization.
Things move so quickly these days with camera technology that what was once considered cutting-edge can quickly be perceived as old fashioned in a relatively short space of time. 4K is an excellent example of this. It was just a short time ago considered as the pinnacle of quality for action cameras, but now it has been superseded with 5K.
So is 5K a necessity then?
No, this doesn’t mean that cameras that don’t have 5K don’t shoot great footage. Far from it, there’s a lot more to quality footage than pixel resolution alone. This is perfectly illustrated by the Olympus TG-Tracker with 1.5-Inch LCD. This camera’s optical quality is possibly the best on our list, but it still doesn’t offer 5K.
All in all, a camera with 5K is preferable but is not the only yardstick by which quality can be measured. However, if you’re still looking for a bit of 5K 360-degree action, you should take a second look at the Garmin VIRB 360 Action Camera.
A bike camera needs to be waterproof. The majority of us go out in a variety of riding conditions, and going out in the rain is, unfortunately, a more common experience than we would like. Being fully waterproof, rather than splashproof, is therefore imperative.
Some may disagree…
It could definitely be argued that the need for a bike camera that is waterproof to any significant depth is unnecessary. However, since our bike camera will almost certainly double up as an all-around action camera, we kind of disagree on this point.
Consequently, we see the advantage of having a bike camera with an excellent waterproof depth rating without adding a case. For this reason, we gravitate towards cameras with a 30 meters waterproof rating like the Olympus TG-Tracker with 1.5-Inch LCD.
Having a touchscreen can make using your camera so much easier. These days we’re so used to using a touchscreen on our smartphones that using one has become almost intuitive. The only camera in our review not to feature a touchscreen is the Sony FDRX3000/W Underwater Camcorder 4K. And frankly, it feels a little dated because of it.
Another feature we feel helps hugely to increase the bike camera’s usability is having dual screens. Since a lot of recording may be done with the camera pointing back at ourselves, being able to see yourself adequately framed in the shot is hugely helpful.
The DJI Osmo Action Camera scores well here since it has dual-color screens.
Looking for other Brilliant Bike Accessories?
Ok back to the best cameras for capturing cycling footage…
So which is the Best Bike Camera?
These days the choice of bike action cameras has never been better. Being able to record, store, and edit your footage has never been easier, either. We would be happy to use any of the six cameras we’ve reviewed. However, if we had to choose one to take home and lovingly attach to our bikes, it would be the…
Although it’s the least expensive option, we think it’s the most outstanding bike camera in our review because it’s packed with features whilst still being easy and intuitive to use. We also like the fact that it has dual color screens, excellent RockSteady stabilization technology, and voice control. Plus, this superb value camera is fully waterproof too.
It’s an excellent camera!
Enjoy your bikes and enjoy your rides.