CYCLIQ REAR LIGHT WITH INTEGRAL CAMERA (3Month Test) £99.99 117g
Cycliq Fly 6 rear light with integral camera combines a four function blinkie, capable of producing 30 lumens in the highest steady/flashing modes with a 720pHd camera. In terms of firepower, 30 lumens sounds quite modest these days, although in common with cameras, lens and diode quality have much greater impact upon quality.
Opening the box and you’re met with the unit, charger and a bewildering array of rubber bands and an aero post adaptor. We’re talking a near as damn it universal, limpet-like tenure to seat-posts, seat tubes and I’ve successfully persuaded ours to play nicely with a Yak pattern trailer.
When post mounted, make sure you’ve a decent amount showing, especially if it’s jockeying for space with a bigger wedge/saddle bag. My TT inspired Holdsworth doesn’t run a rear brake, so I was able to pop ours on the seat tube, without it being obscured.
Build quality is reassuringly good throughout. The polycarbonate lens and sturdy resin body show no tell-tale swirls or other damage despite being subjected to daily and sometimes muddy service on my rough stuff tourer.
Experience suggests that while USB models have come along leaps and bounds in recent years, water and other ingress has the potential to sneak past the port cover. Cycliq have sensibly positioned this and the micro SD port beneath a beefy silicone cover on the right-hand side. From here you can download your footage via the usb cable.
An 8gb unit comes supplied as standard but as with Go-Pro and their homages, it will accept up to 32g. Unless you are determined to rub riding companion’s noses in the fact you led the group start to finish; this is designed as a safety product. Rather like car dash-cams, it will simply record on a continuous loop in ten minute segments, automatically wiping the card once full.
However, the camera component incorporates “incident protection technology”, whereby, if the camera registers being left at 45 degress for 5 seconds it automatically starts recording for up to an hour. Theoretically at least; this will log everything that followed without losing previous footage.
Passing my hosepipe test with flying colours, I’m pleased to report its withstood being regularly blasted with wet, silty stuff and partial submersion when attached to the trailer and tackling some waterlogged lanes.
As with most lithium ion/polymer cells, give it a really generous charge before first use- four hours from the mains but add another 15-20 minutes from a PC or tablet. The song remains the same for zero to hero refuelling. However, Cycliq have made things (almost) idiot proof. The sensibly proportioned and very positive switches are easily engaged wearing full-finger gloves. The left operates the camera, right selects lighting mode, so they can be used simultaneously, or in isolation.
Unintentional engagements have been a moot point. Depressing for a few seconds brings the unit to life - a series of beeps. Four denote it’s fully juiced, one says you’re down to 25% - roughly an hour, so the likelihood of being plunged into darkness is highly unlikely. When reserves dip painfully low, the system will switch off the camera and the light will run for at least 90 minutes.
Light orbiting the lens indicates the camera’s also recording. Talking of which Cycliq quote 6 hour maximum run times in the most frugal setting. I’ve managed a consistent 5hrs 52, which is close enough for all but the most pedantic.
There seems an increasing resentment shown towards motor/cyclists sporting cameras and bars - anecdotally I’ve certainly noticed a more hostile, combative attitude toward me when mine are clearly visible. However, the stealth fit and forget nature records the worst behaviour without enticing it in congested town centre traffic. No danger of missing a magic mid-ride moment either.
Image quality isn’t on par with 1080 HD action cams, especially in low light and the integral microphone picks up a fair bit of interference. Otherwise, it will give lower mid-range models a seriously good run for your hard earned. Footage is easily sharp enough to use as evidence in the event of a collision, or just recording a group ride from another angle.
30 lumens is top, though subsequent prods engage lower settings. General consensus suggests 30 lumens is visible to around 350 metres steady, 500 plus in flashing on a clear night, dipping to 200/350 through neon saturated town centres. Medium has been my go - to for general riding and late summer evenings-flashing is the most extrovert; especially when tackling roundabouts and other junctions - visibility ranges from 220 metres on the open road, 180 through town. Frugality aside, lowest is bang on for cloudy, overcast days and won’t irritate riders following behind.
Comparisons with other cameras are tricky, especially when we’re talking value for money. To date; this is the only unit of its kind on the market. If you are looking to capture point of view adrenalin rides, with a bit of commentary, there are better choices. That said and while I usually carry two lights; this combination has become my unit of choice.