If you’ve ever been out on your motorcycle and tried to describe it to others, you’ll know you can’t do it justice. You want your audience to know every tight turn and how the terrain looked and felt.
An action camera gives a first-person view of all the exhilarating action and is the next best thing to being there. The technology has moved on at an unbelievable rate. 15 years ago, I can remember strapping a mini-camcorder to my Hornet 600’s tank, thinking I was pushing technological boundaries…
These days, cameras as so small they’re easy to mount anywhere on your bike or on your person. A lot of bikers mount theirs on their helmet, which is why in biking circles they’re referred to as helmet cameras but essentially an action camera is a video camera that can be mounted anywhere – but there are a handful of motorcycle-helmet specific options, all covered in this guide.
Left with the hard decision of choosing which action camera is right for you; it’s bound to be confusing. There are motorcycle specific action cameras, but “standard” ones do the same job with the correct mounting equipment.
With a flooded market of action cameras including makes from the big names like GoPro, Sony and Drift and motorcycle specific brands like Garmin, TomTom and Sena, we’ve put together a comprehensive list to bring clarity to the ever-expanding market out there.
The good news is, whether your budget is big or small, and depending on the level of tech and features you’re looking for, prices for action cameras range from the super-accessible £30 to a Hollywood blockbuster budget-busting £800+.
For the less technically minded folks, looking for a decent action camera can be a minefield if you don’t understand the jargon used by the manufacturers.
We’ve created a cheat sheet to help decipher the tech-speak and help you make a better decision.
Action Camera Cheat Sheet:
4k/1080p/720p: The number of pixels present in the screen’s resolution. 4k has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and creates a cinematic, smooth look. For full-HD and standard HD, which still provide great videos, you will see 1080p (which is 1920 x 1080 pixels) and 720p (which is 1280 x 720 pixels).
FPS: Frames per second. The number of frames shot per second. The higher the number, the smoother the video.
MP: Megapixels. Used to describe the number of pixels in a digital photo. The higher the MP, the more detail in the shot.
Wide view angle: Creates a detailed image for wider frames compared to a normal lens.
GPS: Global Positioning System. Satellite navigation that pinpoints your location.
If you’re looking for a great motorcycle action camera, check out our guide below.
Everything you could want from a helmet camera
One of the best-known names in the market, the GoPro Hero 7 Black is packed with professional features. The rugged, waterproof up to 10m design means you don’t have to worry about cases. With voice control to take pictures and tag videos, and hyper-smooth videos, it couldn’t be easier to use.
GoPro Hero 7 footage example
As you can see from the above footage, GoPro is the name in the action camera industry for a reason.
While the cheaper rivals sometimes beat the GoPro on the spec sheet, with slightly higher resolutions, larger screens or more features, the specs don’t always tell the whole story.
When it comes to the footage – which let’s be honest is all that matters – the quality of the GoPro is above all others, which is why it gets my recommendation.
Mounting it on your motorcycle is much easier with a case – which doesn’t come in the box – but there are plenty of great choices on Amazon, like this one.
Amazing value for money 4k action camera
While there are lots of well-known brands out there – it’s hard to argue with this 4k resolution camera and mounting kit. Perfect for track days or tours, it supports 4k at 24fps or 1080p at 60fps and features image stabilization, a waterproof case, touch screen and spare batteries. It comes with a comprehensive set of mounts and works with all the GoPro mounts, too. The image quality is superb.
Campark ACT74 footage example
We were >> this << close to awarding our Best Pick to the Campark ACT74. It’s a fraction of the price of the GoPro Hero 7 Black but it misses out on our top award because although the footage is great, it’s just not quite as good as the GoPro.
But for most of us, it’ll do the job perfectly, recording crisp and clear footage with good audio. When you compare the Campark to the GoPro you can see how the Campark has a slightly higher contrast; the blacks are very saturated and the clarity isn’t quite as good as others on the market but we’re being picky here.
For a small price, the Campark ACT74 comes with loads of high-tech features that could rival the more well-known brands.
The action camera features ultra-HD 4k video recording at 30fps. It even comes with two batteries that give you up to 180 minutes of recording time. The finished videos have a sharp image and a professional look. With its 170-degree adjustable wide-angle lens, you can record stunning wide angled shots without losing detail.
Want to capture a particularly exciting part of your ride and showcase it? No problem, the ACT74 comes with additional video modes; slow motion, loop recording and time-lapse.
If you’re worried about the weather, the camera comes with a waterproof housing.
The Campark smartphone app allows you to leave your camera happily mounted on your helmet or elsewhere and effortlessly change settings or share photos and videos. The camera doesn’t include a memory card, so it’s essential to make sure you have one before you venture out there.
I have been using one of the precursors to the Campark, an SJ4000 which is ‘only’ 1080p but the quality is superb, you can see the footage here.
Unless you absolutely have to have the best quality action camera out there, the Campark will be all the camera you need which is why it comes with our full recommendation and only narrowly misses out to the GoPro as the best action camera for bikers.
Anatomy of a quality motorcycle action camera
Knowing what action camera is the right one for you, it's better to have an understanding of the anatomy. Here’s our list of what you should be considering.
Rugged body or housing
Out on your bike, you’re bound to get spray, and the odd small object fly up. These may damage the camera, so having one that’s tough enough to withstand this is essential. Not all action cameras are tough on their own, but you can always buy a housing to add protection. If the housing gets a stone chip, it'll be cheaper to replace than a camera body.
With our trusty British weather (or if you’re lucky enough, the unpredictable climates abroad), it’s a good idea to make sure your camera is waterproof to some degree. You don’t want it damaged the first time you go out. The majority of housings are waterproof but some have holes in to control wind noise and these can let water in.
Wi-Fi capabilities stop any faff with cables and computers. You can download your videos and shots quicker.
Lens quality and viewing angle
Having a lens that’s suitable for wide-angled shooting means you can capture a wider frame and your videos stay in focus. It gives an immersive experience for viewers and creates the illusion they’re present but the wider the angle, the slower the footage will look.
60fps (or minimum 30fps)
For a camera to do your ride justice, having the ability to shoot at 60fps will give a crisper video. If you’re willing to splash out, it's not uncommon for some higher priced sports cameras to have 240fps capability.
There’s no point getting out there and finding you’ve lost your action camera due to a dodgy mount. Check out the manufacturer to see if they provide model-specific designs. Helmet mounts that are designed to fit the contours of the headgear are also worth looking at and you can also buy tethers, so if you're mounting in a precarious position, the tether will act as a back-up.
The battery life on an action camera can vary. If you want to record in 4k (high-quality), the battery life will run out quicker than shooting in 720p (standard HD). Some cameras come with removable batteries so if yours didn’t come with multiple batteries in the box, get yourself a few spares and keep them charged in case you need extra juice on the day.
Motorcycle ‘dashcams’ for continuous recording
Nextbase Ride Motorcycle Bike DVR Digital Driving Waterproof Video Recorder Action Camera
£139.95 from Amazon
Dashcams are becoming increasingly popular in the car world and some new cars even come with them as standard. They fire up every time you start your car (or bike!) and record your journey. They’re there primarily as something to use as evidence in the event of an accident.
Specially designed for motorcycles, the RIDE is the first of its kind by Nextbase. With its fully waterproof housing, 1-hour battery life but it comes with a full motorcycle hard-wiring it too. It offers full 1080p HD recording and GPS tracking, so you’re ready to capture your tours whatever the weather. The RIDE BikeCam is compatible with standard handlebar mounts and RAM mounts to provide that added level of security.
Safety is a top priority on this camera, and with its G sensor data protection feature, it will automatically sense a crash and start recording. The video will be saved before, during and after and cannot be overwritten, for your peace of mind.
Innovv K2 Dashcam
Another alternative is the Innovv K2 pictured above. It features a front and rear camera, it’s powered by the bike and will continuously record.
If you ride for a living or you do a lot of commuting miles, these kinds of setups are more convenient than a helmet-mounted camera as they’re discreet, don’t need charging and they continuously record, meaning you can practically fit and forget.
Recording 360-degree footage
If you’ve watched MotoGP on TV, you might have seen the new 360-degree cameras they use (if you have BT Sport you can control it from the app), the footage is super-cool
This space-age technology is actually available to mere mortals like you and I and the amazing thing is, it’s not ridiculously expensive.
There are two main players on the market, Garmin and GoPro.
If you’re unsure which 360 action camera is the right one for you, here’s a comparison table which makes things simpler.
Garmin Virb 360
GoPro Fusion 360
Number of Lenses
2 x f/2.0
2 x f/2.0
5.7K @ 30fps – 4K @ 30fps – 3K@ 60fps
5.2K @ 30fps – 3K @ 60fps
15 Megapixels 5640 x 2816
4K @ 30fps (Apple Only)
3 modes: stabilize, lock, follow (up to 4K)
6 axis Stabilization
Yes, up to 10m
Yes, up to 5 metres
MicroSD up to 128GB
2 x MicroSD up to 128GB
1-hour continuous video on full charge
Up to 75 minutes
360 Audio with 4 Mics
360 Spherical Audio
Gyroscope, Accelerometer, GPS, Barometer, Compass
Hyper-capture Augmented Reality Overlay
OverCapture Floating Camera mode
Garmin Virb 360
The Virb 360 has the impressive ability to record 360-degree videos that can also be used for immersive VR too. So how does the Virb record 360-degree videos? Well, rather than capturing a fixed view, this camera captures areas from all around. As this camera records every angle, it best to position the camera on your helmet, to save any unwanted shots of you or your bike. The higher viewpoint creates a broader view, and the stitches look seamless. One remarkable feature of this camera is its ability to live stream in 4k/30fps! Unfortunately, it’s only compatible with Apple now, but it certainly gives it the edge in 360 camera competition.
Check out the Garmin Virb 360 on Amazon
GoPro Fusion 360
Just like the Garmin Virb, GoPro recommends attaching the camera to a mount for the best quality 360-degree videos. The Fusion 360 has an additional feature called Protune which allows for more control during editing and capture. The invisible stitching for editing 360 videos is a great feature that saves time. You can edit videos on the smartphone app or desktop PC. One thing to remember is, editing on the app isn’t as seamless as using a desktop PC so it might be worth waiting to get home if you want to impress your audience.
Filming your ride: Ben's Top Tips
Experiment with different mounting locations. If you mount on your tank, invest in a versatile camera mount to raise the camera up to get a better view and reduce shaking.
Get used to the camera’s settings at home, rather than faffing around 3 minutes before your session starts.
Fully charge the batteries before you go out and take at least one spare
Plan your location, route and gear you’re taking before you go. You don't want to reach for your camera only to realise you've left a vital part of your mount at home.
Just because you're filming, doesn't mean you have to ride like a loon. Have fun and stay safe.
Fully sealed cases tend to give you an echo-ey tinny noise. If you get this with your footage, consider drilling a hole in your case or buying one that's pre-made to offer better sound quality.
Give the lense a good wipe with a microfibre cloth before each ride.
If you want to save battery life, shoot in 1080p rather than 4k, as it'll require less processing power.
Our shortlist: The best motorcycle action cameras
With over 70 different action cameras on the market, we’re spoilt for choice. We’ve picked our recommended options above but these cameras all made our shortlist.
They cover a range of budgets, features and applications but to make the short list they had to be capable of recording quality footage, get top real-world user reviews and come with the accessories you need to easily mount them to your bike or helmet.
In no particular order here’s a shortlist:
Crosstour 4k Sport Action Camera – £39.99 Amazon
A cheaper option to a GoPro, the Crosstour 4k records videos at 4k/25fps (so it isn’t on the same par in terms of fps) but still offers 1080p/60fps. Built-in Wi-Fi connected to the smartphone app allows you to stay hands-free. Astoundingly good for the price.
Yi 4K+ Action Camera – £219.99 Amazon
The world’s first 4k/60fps camera that gives your videos an exceptional finish. The camera has an easy to use touch screen and voice commands plus electronic image stabilisers to make videos ultra-smooth even the bumpiest roads. Live share means you can immerse others in your moment too.
Sony DSC-RX0 – £643.95 Amazon
Sony’s ultra-compact, shockproof, waterproof design really does allow you to use this camera anywhere. Super slow motion adds impact to your best bits of the video. Built-in Zeiss lens delivers high-resolution images without distortion, and its smartphone remote feature gives you handsfree control when you need it. It’s not cheap, mind.
Olfi One. Five Black – £149.99 Amazon
No built-in waterproof design but comes with an up to 30m protecting housing. Dashcam mode knows when you start your journey and starts recording automatically and turns off at the end of your ride. The rear LCD screen lets you preview photos and videos on the go.
TomTom Bandit (Bike Pack) – £209.00 Amazon
With its bullet-shaped design and built-in motion sensors that pick up on increased speed and tight bends, this robust, waterproof camera is perfect for mounting on your helmet. With an impressive 3 hours of battery life, never miss a moment.
Olympus Tough TG-Tracker – £254.00 Amazon
When Olympus named this camera, they weren’t wrong! The TG-Tracker is crushproof up to 100kg. With built-in GPS and compass, its equipped for any challenge. Shoot stable 4k footage with its 5-axis stabilisers working alongside its whopping 204o wide lens provides ultimate clarity of your point of view.
Garmin Virb 360 – £599.99 SportsBikeShop
Recording a full 360-degree horizontally and vertically, you won’t miss any part of the action with this waterproof camera. Recording at an impressive 5.7k/30fps it’ll give you ultra-clear, stable videos and photos.
GoPro Fusion 360 – £559.99 Amazon
This compact action camera creates seamless 360-degree videos for an immersive VR experience and coupled with its sophisticated stabiliser, it allows for smooth videos even on the bumpiest rides. Built-in waterproofing lets you to take this camera out on the road without the need for a protective casing.
Drift Innovation Ghost X – £299.99 SportsBikeShop
With its incredible 5 hours of battery life. Yes. You read that correctly. You never have to worry about losing power. Record at the touch of a button and never miss a moment. This mid-range action camera is fantastic value.
SENA 10C Pro – £319.99 SportsBikeShop
Designed for motorcycles, this action camera is one of the latest models from Sena. Mix sound from your intercom and music from your smartphone to add to your video. With the smartphone app, preview your shots right then and there on your phone. Its sleek module design provides a streamlined addition to your bike.
Don’t forget the memory card!
One last thing, before getting out there and recording your epic adventures, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a decent memory card. So, how do you know which is the right memory card for recording videos? 32GB will get you about 90 minutes of 1080p or 30 minutes at 4k. 128GB will get you 6 hours at 1080p and 2 hours at 4k so you can record an entire day’s track action or amazing back roads without having to download the data or swap cards.
Here are some of our recommendations.
SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB microSDHC Memory Card
£11.49 from Amazon
This is SanDisk’s fastest UHS-I card to date and speeds up transfers of large files. With its pro performance of up to 100/90MB/s read/write speeds, capturing quality data is not a problem for this card.
Samsung 128 GB Memory Evo Plus MicroSD card with Adapter
£21.99 from Amazon
Our 128GB pick is the Evo Plus with up to 100MB/s read and 90MB/s speeds; it performs as well as the SanDisk but with more memory. This little memory card is robust too; it can withstand extreme temperatures and water submersion so you can rest easy knowing your track runs are protected no matter what happens.
Action Camera FAQs
Are cameras allowed on trackdays?
Most UK trackday companies or circuits have fairly sensible rules when it comes to cameras. A few years ago, all but tank mounted cameras were banned but as long as you can demonstrate it’s well secured, you’ll most likely be allowed to run with one fitted. Check with your organiser about helmet mounts – some still won’t allow it.
How do I edit the footage?
If you’re on a PC you can use Movie Maker or if you have a Mac then iMovie does the job well. These editing applications will help you clean up wind noise or camera shake but the best bet is to get this sorted before you record as editing out these issues will take time and skill.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this review of the best motorcycle cameras:
1080p vs 4k – Filmora:
Ridiculous. Video is easier, not unrelated video
Score -4 ( Please stop wasting our time)
Video quality is excellent; Low light videos could be better, but if you have a flashlight pointed in the same direction it doesn’t matter. Vibration and beeps make it easy to know the status of the camera without looking at it (on/recording, standby, off). Great firefighter helmet cam!