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alan Katkich

alan Katkich

Best Motorcycle Helmet Camera: Let The Ride Last Forever

So you are looking to film your next round the world adventure. Or maybe your ride to the coffee shop. Either way, a sports cam is what you’ll need. Let’s have a look at what’s the best motorcycle helmet camera. 

If you are in a hurry and want to just see what I think is the best motorcycle helmet camera, it’s the

>> GoPro Hero 9 Black<<

Helmet cams have been popular for years now. Riders have used them to set up moto vlog channels on YouTube. They’ve filmed their bike trips to share with friends.  Some used them to make sure any potential traffic incidents are recorded for video evidence. 

The choices available to you are huge and the specs of all the different ones can become overwhelming when trying to decide which one to get.

It’s best to start by breaking down your priorities first in order to make the decision easier. There are some that will perform better for what you want to use it for than others. That’s the beauty of the choices in the market today. Decide what your priorities are, how much you want to spend to fulfill those priorities and you will find the best motorcycle helmet cam suited for your needs.

In this review we will look at

Image Quality

4k quality is great. Some even have 5k now. but it’s not the be all, end all. It’s a bit of a balancing act here. Shooting at 4k at 60 frames per second (fps) constantly will drain your battery and fill your SD card fast. Now for some that’s acceptable. If you are taking this super seriously then top quality production is what you want. For most 1080p or even 1440p at 60 or 120 fps is more than suitable. Your fps will smooth out the motion in your video.  A higher fps means your camera is capturing more content therefore it produces a smother, less choppy or grainy finished video. You could also have a high quality image but if your image stabilization isn’t great it can ruin the outcome.

As reference, 1080p and up with at least 60 fps will give you good results. 4k or even 5k will be fantastic.

Take note of image quality but look at it in context of other specs, not on its own.

Stabilization 

One of the specs to consider mentioned earlier is stabilization. 

Some cameras have it. Some don’t. 

Some cameras stabilize  better than others. There are basically two kinds of stabilization. Optical and digital. 

Optical stabilization does a better job than digital image stabilization. 

Optical stabilization uses a tiny gimbal on the lens itself in the camera which is very effective at giving a shake fee image. 

Digital image stabilization uses software to reduce blur. It uses pixels from outside the frame of view as a motion buffer for a smooth frame to frame transition. 

Build Quality 

Your camera will be out in the elements. It will likely be dropped a few times. 

Some cams are waterproof through their own design. Others have a removable case that gives them waterproofing. waterproofing is important if you hit rain. Some are submersible but for a helmet cam that’s not our priority here.

 The lens should be scratch resistant. It will need to withstand the dust and dirt that riding at high speed on the roads will throw at it.

It needs to withstand dropping it as well.

Be aware of this fact. There are some on the market that seem like a price you can’t refuse but it’s only a deal if you have to buy it once.

Battery Life

Helmet cams are all over the map when it comes to battery life. There are some that will drain in 45 minutes if you are shooting at 4k and a high frame rate. Others have removable batteries that can be swapped out if one is dead. Usually you need to buy the spare battery separately. Others can charge while you are riding if you have a USB charging setup on your bike. Some riders use a power pack to charge while riding if the camera is capable of it. 

Just be weary of manufacturer’s claims on battery life. Use it as a reference in comparison to other cams. Just don’t take them literally. 

If you are using it for long trips, this will be an important consideration.

If you are using it just for fun once in a while, you can get away with less 

Audio Quality 

If you are moto vlogging or want to accentuate the exhaust note on your bike for your videos, you will need good audio. 

A word to the wise here. Just get an aftermarket external mic. You can use the camera’s audio to start but eventually you will need to upgrade unless you are just using it as a dash cam. Some will claim to have “wind reduction”. The wind at 75mph on your bike is not what they are referring to here. So, if audio is important, get one with external mic capabilities. 

With all that out of the way, here are my picks for best motorcycle helmet camera. 

1. GoPro Hero 9 Black

GoPro has been the leader in the action cam game for many years. While others have closed the gap, GoPro continues to come out with new products. Case in point, this year’s newly released Hero 9 Black.

Imagine quality is excellent. It can shoot up to 5k at 30 frames per second (fps). Sounds great but kind of useless right now as most streaming services and devices don’t support it. The benefit is it allows you to crop with less quality loss. Its 4k at 60 fps is more useful overall. The new Hyper Smooth stabilization upgrade on this year’s Hero 9 is fantastic. It operates as if it’s on a gimbal. It’s that shake free. Couple that with the horizontal leveling feature built in and you have one super steady, shake free camera for filming your ride. 

The Hero 9 is cage less. Meaning it doesn’t need a case to be water resistant or to mount it. Its Mounts are now foldable into the bottom of the unit. 

This year GoPro has a replaceable lens cover. This allows you to swap it out if it gets scratched. 

The battery life is average with about a half days shooting in real world usage being the norm. Buy an extra battery for heavy usage.

Lens mods are also available on this camera allowing you to swap them out if desired. 

A big upgrade is the forward facing screen to go along with its back touch screen. Not very useful for helmet users but a nice feature. 

This Hero 9 Black has all the features and picture quality any moto vlogger could need. 

At a reasonable price point I’m calling it the best camera for motorcycle riders.

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2. Insta 360 One R Twin 

360 shooting is becoming a big thing in the action cam world. The Insta 360 is a big player. 360 shooting allows for some cool effects on your bike. You can create a shoot that looks like you are being filmed from a vantage point away from the bike and  get a 360° field of view.

The cool thing about this camera is its mod ability. You can conceivably have several cameras in one. You start with a base and add lenses, a screen mod  and other lenses as you like. It’s like lego for your action cam. 

The One R Twin has a 360 lens and a one inch 4k 60 fps lens with a touch screen included in its package. 

Imagine stabilization is really good along with picture quality. One of the things that contribute to its great image quality is its large sensor in the one inch lens.

Another plus with the insta 360 is you can use GoPro style mounts. As well, Ram Mount has several options too.

It is slightly weighty. Not a huge deal but can contribute to excessive shake if you are mounting its available invisible selfie stick off your bike.

The Insta 360 is a bit more in price than the GoPro. If you add up what you are getting in the One Twin package it’s a bargain compared to building the same system buying a separate 360 GoPro camera and a 4k cam to equal this.

Battery life is what I would consider slightly below average but you can purchase an optional bigger battery with longer life and have two. 

The unit is waterproof without a case but needs the case for mounting. 

If your goal is filming on your bike plus other content creation, the Insta 360 One R gives you a lot more creative options. 

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3. DJI Osmo Action 

A great option for your motorcycle helmet camera is the DJI Osmo Action. It comes in a bit cheaper than the GoPro Hero 9. This camera, for its price, packs a lot of features. 

It can shoot in 4K at 60 fps. You can also get great results at 1080 at 240 fps.

Stabilization is good with its RockSteady option turned on. This is a digital stabilization feature. 

The unit features a front screen which is great for off bike shoots. 

The unit itself is waterproof without its case.

Mounting options include the standard GoPro type Mounts.

One thing I liked about the DJI was its intuitive touch screen. It is very responsive. More so than the GoPro.

Battery life is average with about an hour shooting at 4K 60 with RockSteady turned on. 

If you are just getting into the world of helmet action cams, the DJI is a great starting point. For a bit less cost than the Hero 9 or the Insta 360, you get a quality camera with excellent image resolution and stabilization. 

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Gopro Hero 5 Session 

If you are on a bit of a budget you can still get a really good helmet cam. The Gopro Hero 5 Session can be had for a song. It came out  in 2016 but is still available as of this writing.

I love its compact, simple design. 

It has one button operation. Just press it or use voice commands and it’s ready to shoot.

It can shoot at 4k 30 fps. The image quality is really good at 1080p at 60 fps.

Its digital stabilization isn’t as gimbal like as today’s latest cameras but it does a good job. 

It’s a rugged, waterproof self contained unit. 

The biggest drawback is its battery. 

You typically get about an hour shooting. After that you must charge the unit. There is no replacement battery to swap out. This makes it less than ideal for a travel camera. If you are looking for a simple, small camera that gives a clean look when mounted on your helmet, this is a great option. 

If recording traffic as a dash cam is what you want then this is great for that.

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5. Sena 10c Pro 

This is your all in one option. If you don’t want a bunch of devices and wires on your helmet the Sena 10c Pro is for you. 

It’s a Bluetooth headset and an action cam all in one.

This thing can be your communication device if you are with other riders. It will connect to your phone for navigation directions, phone calls and music. 

It’s your helmet cam as well.

No need to purchase and install an external mic either as it comes with it for your Bluetooth communication. 

One simple install and you have everything you need 

The camera’s top image setting is 1440p at 30 fps. It will shoot 1080p at 60 fps as well. 

The picture is good. The lack of stabilization is its downfall.

One cool feature is its ability to loop footage. This makes it a great dashcam option. It will continuously film and over ride without you having to do anything.

The battery life will be eaten quickly at its 1440p setting but it has the ability to charge on the fly. You can use a power pack in your pocket or your on board usb.

As a dashcam or a just for the pure convenience of an all in one, one purchase unit, nothing on the market compares to the Sena 10c Pro. 

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Conclusion 

As noted above, I feel the new Hero 9 is the winner here. I must say the margin of victory over Insta360 is very small. It really comes down to your needs. I feel the horizontal leveling on the Hero is a game changer in the stabilization category. It’s really amazing. If shooting in 360 isn’t a priority for you then the quality and stability of shooting your riding adventures will be a bit better on the GoPro Hero 9

Happy riding and click on our partner!

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