Rear Facing Bike Cameras or Camera & Light. Is there an alternative to the Fly6?

If a texting driver or a close pass takes me out i’d like to have evidence, so i ride with a rear camera. I’ve used a Fly6 for years and it’s worn out. Cycliq products feature heavily on 'cycling products i’d never buy again" thread, it sounds like they now have have poor reliability and customer service.

Has anyone used an alternative? is the bad reputation of cycliq exaggerated?

Here’s what i’ve considered:

  • Drift Ghost XL: Action cam popular with motorcyclists. Another thing to charge (no light), one fo my bikes has a D seatpost so harder to mount.
  • Knockoff fly6 from Amazon: bulky, don’t want unknown quality from a safety device.
  • Garmin Varia: might prevent a crash, but no camera. i know its foolish in some ways but i want evidence if it does happen.
  • Cross my fingers and get a new Fly6. Even sent them a sales enquiry about the product, no response! Guess i would be in trouble if i had a problem with it!

What would you choose? Are there other products to consider?

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Outside of its water resistance, I have zero issues with the Fly6… that’s really the only fault it has. If you don’t ride in the rain, I wouldn’t worry about it. For the few occasions I do ride in the ran, I just mount the GoPro under my saddle looking back. Not as convenient as the Fly6 but I know it won’t fail from water splashing on it for two hours. As far as their customer service, they weren’t quick to respond but they did get me squared away with a replacement on both units that failed from water intrusion.

Varia isn’t preventing any crashes and isn’t doing anything for you if one does happen.

I definitely wouldn’t trust a knock-off Fly6 over a legit Fly6.

Drift/DJI/GoPro, they all work great but they’re not as convenient as a light/camera combo with the crash specific focus of the Cycliq.

My take is that the Cycliq stuff is really good at what it does but it needs more refinement. I’d honestly rather pay Cycliq and have a product that is 90% of what I’d want it to be and keep them getting paid while developing the next gen version of it then pay for another camera setup that’s going to also only be 90% of what I want but the company is more broadly focused, sort of a late stage kickstarter perspective rather than considering it a 100% finished product… but that’s just my personal $0.02. I took the same approach with the original gigantic Karoo head unit and Hammerhead hit a home run with the Karoo 2, so I’m hoping for the same with the Cycliq stuff.

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Absolutely this.
The 3 of the current model (that I’ve had) that died all were in the rain.
Actually if I put the fender on, it seems to cope with moderate rainfall.
It’s a bit sad, because the original kickstarter and first production models never had any issues in the rain.
The other complaint is that battery life has gone backwards. I get 4 hours tops on a warm day, less if it’s cold. Earlier editions would get 5 and 6 hours.

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Thank you for your considered and helpful replies, i didn’t even know this was an issue.
Cycliq sell a silicone cover now which might be an attempt to mitigate the problem.

@tbro21 I can’t stretch to an action cam AND a new fly6, and in the rain is when i have seen some of the most “blinkers on” driving! (i mean horse tack blinkers not the car indicator… ignoring things in peripheral vision)

@Claude_Cat were the 3 that died warranty replacements? I think mine that just died was the next one after the kickstarter, no bluetooth. I would buy the same product again in 5 minutes if it were still made!

Yes, all were replaced under warranty.
The one I’ve got now has been going for about 6 months.

That’s new. Might have to get one.

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There’s a company called Tooo Cycling that also has a rear camera light. As I hear it, the first generation had some issues, but they’re out with a 2nd gen in Singapore and trying to roll it out to other countries.

But honestly, most of what I’ve heard is straight from the company, so I’m a bit wary about the camera. OTOH, I bought in on the original Fly6 Kickstarter, so I’ve proven that I’m not all that discriminating of a consumer.

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I own a fly6ce and a fly12ce, and have generally good experiences with both of them. They did an entire unit replacement when I contacted them about replacing the little rubber flap on the 6ce. In all, I’m happy with my purchases, and my complaints are minor.

  • I wish the battery were longer and/or user replaceable on a ride. The 12 has about a 2hr battery, but rides are often longer and then I’m SOL. It would be nice to swap in a new battery on those longer rides. To me, this is the primary reason I don’t sing their praises.
  • I wish the mounts were garmin/gopro standard. Having to 3d print or use their custom mounts is annoying as hell.
  • I wish their phone software was better. Generally, this is a set and forget device, but if you have to use the ios app it is finicky and generally a pain to use.

If you’re looking for a light that also records “just in case”, they work pretty well. If you’re looking to get gopro-type footage after your rides, or want coverage for longer rides, these devices probably aren’t the answer.

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Interesting - thanks! I reckon they should just give one to every existing Fly6 Gen3 customer, surely they would save a fair bit on all the returned units due to water ingress of the supposedly “Water and dust resistant for all‑weather use” (from their website). I’m on my third. The last one was replaced with very little pushback, I suspect they know it’s an issue.

So far the Fly12 front-facing camera has been fine, seems a bit more robust although these days I’m avoiding riding in the rain full-stop (a decent Zwift setup and Australian summer weather means we can be a bit more fussy about when to ride outside!).

Agreed on the battery life too, my Fly6 did’t even last 4 hours yesterday before going into ‘get home’ mode. The annoying thing is the ‘get home’ mode switches off the camera but leaves the light running - as I already have a Varia and other mini rear-lights I would prefer the opposite, or better yet a choice.

The only other cameras I’ve used was an Aldi-special which lasted about 9 months before flat-out refusing to record, and a helmet-mounted Contour Roam which works ok although the image quality isn’t really up to today’s standards.

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What does running it in record-only mode do? Hopefully marginally longer battery life and no “get home” mode. Why did I think the 6ce had six hour battery life?

I now run my 12ce with an external power bank attached. I like that it can run and charge at the same time. The problem is when it does completely charge to 100%, it beeps and shuts down, so I plug the power bank in an hour or so into the ride or just unplug and restart it.

I guess I could do the same with the 6ce, but then I’d have to run a cable along the top tube from my handlebar bag to the 6ce. Maybe I’ll run an under-saddle bag with just the power bank in it.

Needless to say, charging them while riding doesn’t do the waterproofing any good, but I guess it’s not that great to begin with.

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Is the gen3 the latest version they’ve been promising for last couple of years?
I have a gen2 that is really old and just keeps going - but I keep the light on the lowest setting and use other lights as well.
I’d prefer something smaller - and I’d get a separate camera if I could find one with comparable battery life.

The gen2 is better than the latest gen3. Mine lasted forever, everyday use (and I mean every day), all weather. Eventually the battery died, but I got full value from it.
Apart from being totally resistant to rain etc, the battery lasts a whole lot longer than the gen3.
The only thing the gen3 wins on is size and weight.

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I have a Gen2 - that’s been pretty solid. No issues with water. Battery life is okay - but I mostly just run it as a camera and also use a varia for the light. In recent times (sensibly or otherwise) have just been running the varia. If I was getting a new one, I’d definitely go the silicone cover.

I am hoping Garmin steps up and creates a Cycliq type camera system. It would be ideal if they could integrate with the Varia. It woud probably be pretty taxing on a battery, but maybe there could be an external battery that could be mounted on or under standard seat railings with connection to the camera/light (and Varia). I think the technology and demand is there, so I’m hoping to see something better coming along soon. I’m with you OP, I’m looking for what you’re looking for.

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It would be taxing on the battery, but in most cases you could only record when radar detected something, so for rides with not much traffic there wouldn’t be a huge extra power draw. This combined with being able to charge it while using it would be a great product.

The nice thing about the gen 2 Fly6 is it uses an 18650 battery, unlike the other generations. It’s not the simplest thing to replace- I reused the old protection circuit by soldering it in place of the new battery’s, but that made it so I could use the connector to the main board. I can take that dead Fly6 off your hands :slight_smile:

My problem, even before my battery died, was that it sometimes wouldn’t turn on, even though it was fully charged and I could connect to it with the app.

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I actually replaced the battery in the original Kickstarter version and that gave me a couple of years extra service after that. I haven’t cracked open the gen2, but I may do so. Always good to have a spare!

Further to Mark_H’s post re Tooo Cycling rear light/camera, I recently purchased their gen2 version. Provides great video clarity and an very visible tail light (80 lumens). Based on a few weeks of my experience, the unit operates for 8-9 hours with tail light on flash mode. Really can’t fault it at this point. I bought it from this site https://www.cyclexafe.com.sg/product/t95-tooo-gen-2-fhd-integrated-bike-rear-video-camera-w-lights/

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Good question - I hadn’t actually tried that :laughing: I usually just switch it on at the start of the ride in the usual mode (pulsing light and camera) then curse when I hear it start beeping four hours later! I may experiment next time switching the light off to see how long it lasts.

Just checked their site and four hours is to be expected: “Punch out up to 5 hours of continuous recording in camera‑only mode and up to 4 hours with lights on.”

Yes the Gen3 is the current version, battery flap is on the side compared to the Gen2 on the top. Didn’t seem to make a difference regarding water ingress though!

So when did the Gen3 come out? Does it look the same as the old CE?
I’d have said the CE was Gen3. Mine is the 2nd version they ever brought out - before CE. I had the original ones as well.
They made such a big deal in early 2020 about a new thing that would change cycling forever. If the Gen3 that’s for sale on their site now is that thing, then I’m disappointed. Not surprised. Just disappointed. ;-/