While there are already video cameras suitable for bikes (GoPro, Mobius, Sony), the recently available Rideye, a Kickstarter project, offers “black box” features not found in other cameras.
Is it worth the $200 asking price for the 8GB version? It all depends on what you’re looking for in a camera. If your primary concern is to have evidence video in the event of an accident — the Rideye (pronounced “ride eye”) is the obvious choice.
It’s built like a tank. We’re talking about a CNC 6061-T5 aerospace-grade aluminum body, which can withstand some serious pounding in the event of a crash.
The built-in accelerometer insures that the video up to and including impact will be captured.
Battery life is about 10 hours. While that’s way better than the Mobius (1 hour) or GoPro (2-5 hours), it’s still not long enough for an all-day ride. Battery technology has room for improvement. Electronics can be designed to use less power, but the bigger issue is lithium-ion battery chemistry.
I’ve been using the Rideye and I don’t have any major complaints, just minor ones. First, this is not a light camera. It weighs in at 200 grams (mount included). You’ll notice it has some heft when you pick it up.
Second, the rubber band that wraps around the handlebar may stretch with use. Only time will tell. It’s a clean, simple design, but it may sacrifice durability for convenience. There is some jiggling on the handlebar, but it doesn’t affect the still image, which is sharp and clear 1080p quality.
At 170 degrees, the wide-angle perspective captures everything you need to see.
One feature I really like is ease of use. There is only one button, on top. Press it to start. You’ll see a small red LED start blinking every second when it’s on.
If you want to capture a moment, press the button down. It will capture the current 5-minute segment, as well as the previous and next five minutes.
Otherwise, the video works in an infinite loop, overwriting after 1.5 hours for the 8GB version, every 6 hours for the 32GB model ($250).
Files (.mov) are accessible through a standard MicroUSB cable. You will need to set the date/time in a TXT file, which is easy.
Check out the video sample in hi-res, and you’ll see that parked car license plates are easy to read. It’s a different story with a passing car. License plates in the far left lane can’t be read. Car plates in the same lane to your left may or may not be legible. A lot depends on the lighting and vehicle speed.
Bottom line is that if you’re a daily commuter (ideally 1 hour total daily) you will find the Rideye a useful addition that will only need charging once a week. Owning a Rideye is a lot like wearing a helmet. You won’t need it often, but when you do, it could prove useful in court.
Rideye brings to the forefront another issue with today’s well-equipped cyclist. We have too many doo-dads: camera, bike computer, bell, light. It’s hard to fit everything onto the handlebars.
I’d like to see a device more like a smartphone that serves multiple roles. It’s something for the next inventor to conjure up.