Motorcyclists love to tell stories about things that happened while they were riding. Having video evidence to back it up makes the stories even more fun. Who would believe you if you said that, as you were hard on the brakes from 160+ mph into Turn 2 at Laguna Seca, a ground squirrel ran across the track in front of you and the $100,000 Ducati Superleggera you were piloting? Well, Troy was able to document Mister Squizzles’ near-fatal dash, thanks to his helmet cam, and put an end to our disbelief. (See the proof here.)
Heroics aside, traveling by motorcycle is even more fun when you can capture the important moments of your trip while you’re actually riding. Group rides can be relived later. Track day lean angles can impress your buddies. Then there are the workday road warriors who commute via bike through the concrete canyons of their local city. They need the moto-equivalent of a dash cam to keep tabs on the other road users who are often paying more attention to their breakfast burrito than the other vehicles around them.
You just need to choose the right action camera, and you’ve got a ton of options. There are helmet cams, 360 cams, and even permanently mounted dash cams for commuters to use in case of a mishap. No matter what you want to record, there is a camera to handle that task. So, we’ve chosen what we think are the best motorcycle cameras around. Let us know in the comments if you have a personal favorite that isn’t mentioned here.
Table of Contents
Yes, GoPro has a 360-degree camera, but for as good as the Hero 11 Black is, GoPro’s 360 cam is average, at best. That’s where companies like Insta360 are making a name for themselves.
The insta360 ONE X2 is the action camera for the rider who wants maximum versatility. Whereas other action cameras require you to be precise with how you position them, the ONE X2, like most 360 cams, allows you to be lazy because you’re going to capture everything around you, anyway.
With the ONE X2, however, you get many of the same features mentioned with the GoPro Hero 11 Black, but inside a 360 cam. This means 5.7k 360-degree video capturing, Steady Cam mode, FlowState Stabilization (another term for image stabilization), an ultra-bright touchscreen, waterproofness up to 10 meters, AI editing capability, four microphones capturing 360-degree audio, Insta’s Timeshift feature, and voice control.
As far as tech specs go, the ONE X2 can shoot in 16:9, 1:1, and 9:16 aspect ratios. Its ISO ranges from 100-3200, with video resolution up to 5.7K, 30fps. In short, this is one of the best 360 action cams out there today. (Well, at least until we get to test the insta360 X3 listed below.)
The trusted name when it comes to action cameras, GoPro’s latest top-o-the-line model is the Hero 11 Black, and boy does it pack a punch. There’s a lot to unpack with the 11 Black, but the biggest advancement comes in the form of its ability to shoot 5.3K at 60fps, giving you smooth, high-definition videos to share. How much more resolution? How about 91% more than 4K and a whopping 665% more than old-school 1080p! And if you want to capture still photos, you’ve got 27MP at your disposal or simply grab a single frame from the 5.3K video for the same resolution. Or how about the ultra-wide 8:7 aspect ratio that increases the vertical field view by 16% over the previous generation. You can even crop from 8:7 to more traditional ratios of 4:3, 16:9, and 9:16 without losing resolution.
Of interest to motorcyclists is the advent of HyperSmooth 5.0 which will make the Hero 11 appear to float along, no matter how rough the terrain is. Additionally, the Hero 11 is waterproof to a depth of 33 ft., and although we hope you don’t take your bike to those depths, we hope you’ll record the epic monsoon you rode through during your tour of the Southwest. Finally, the Hero 11’s battery’s performance has been extended by up to 38% under normal conditions and is significantly increased in cold temperatures.
Like the previous generation GoPro, the Hero 11 is cloud-connected, meaning that from the moment you charge it, your footage can be automatically uploaded to the cloud. This last bit requires a subscription service, but if you plan on using the camera a lot, it’s worth it. There are screens front and back for better framing of the shot, no matter where you stand.
INNOVV has been producing progressively better motorcycle dash cams at reasonable prices for over five years, and we’ve typically had good results from them. Now, the company is stepping more directly into the action camera market with a helmet cam that offers some distinct differences from the 800-lb gorilla in the market.
The helmet-mounted INNOVV H5 camera (or DVR as INNOVV refers to it) brims with features. With a maximum resolution of 4K at 30fps, in addition to 2.7K at 60fps and 1080P at 60fps. The SONY 4K image sensor features a built-in image stabilization capability. The still camera function offers choices of 20, 10, and 5 megapixels. Finally, the camera can support MicroSD/TF cards up to 512GB, for roughly 4 hours of 4K video time. The camera has a built-in microphone for recording ambient sound, and an optional boom-microphone adapter is available as an accessory.
The H5’s form factor is unusual (and polarizing), favoring a narrow front face when compared to most GoPro-like action cameras, choosing instead to put the bulk of the camera to the rear instead of the side. The camera’s dimensions are 1.3 x 4.3 x 2.2 in., making it look a good bit larger than GoPro’s 2.64 x 1.34 x 1.85 in. Given the larger dimensions, you would probably be surprised to learn that at 5.1 oz., the H5 weighs less than the 5.4 oz. GoPro Hero 11. Additionally, the H5’s smaller front facing surface area reduces the forces generated by the wind blast at speed (when mounted on the side of a helmet), while simultaneously allowing for a larger battery. If you’re still undecided, take a look at the full review linked below.
The newest offering from insta360 is the X3, and it sure is impressive. Utilizing dual 1/2-inch sensors, X3 captures 5.7K 360 Active HDR video, so you’ll never miss the action. In post production, you choose your favorite angle after the fact with easy reframing tools in the AI-powered Insta360 app. This takes away a lot of the fuss of setting up the action camera versus more traditional ones and allows for cool effects, like panning with your subject as you ride past it – great for documenting those track-day exploits! Speaking of railing around corners, FlowState Stabilization (image stabilization to you and me) and horizon leveling algorithms come together to deliver incredibly smooth videos where the horizon stays level throughout the corner, just like on MotoGP bikes.
In addition to video, the X3 is capable of 72MP photos and 8K time lapses. To give your ride a cool third person view, the 360 Lens with X3 makes the accessory Invisible Selfie Stick totally disappear from your shots for impossible drone-like footage and third-person perspectives.
The other upgrades included in the X3 consist of: an 1,800mAh battery for longer recording times, waterproof to 33 ft., and a huge, new screen for operating your X3!
How cool does this sound? We are anxiously awaiting our sample from insta360 to give it the full MO-Tested treatment. Keep an eye out for our full review.
The Sena 50C is the latest intercom/camera hybrid to join the 10C EVO in the company’s lineup. The 50C combines Bluetooth communications with 4K video. The camera captures video at 4K 30fps. Other video features include Video tagging and Smart Audio Mix. When the 50C is in standby mode, the Video Tagging feature records the minute before and after the rider presses the Video Tagging button. Smart Audio Mix allows for Bluetooth conversations to be recorded to the captured video. Then the Sena 50C is also a Bluetooth communicator that now uses Sena’s mesh technology with a claimed one-mile range. Pairing to your smartphone allows for calls, music, or GPS directions to be broadcast to the rider. The unit also now uses Harman Kardon speakers and allows for the use of voice commands. Additionally, the camera preview mode lets the rider verify that the camera is in the correct orientation for the bike they are riding. Videos can also be downloaded to the phone for sharing. The Sena 50C comes with a three year warranty.
The Sena 50C retails for $549.
If you want to record what’s happening both in front and behind your motorcycle, Innovv is where to turn. Its multiple product offerings consist of different variations of tiny, discreet cameras that are perfect for recording video without making it obvious to the world.
The Innovv K3 is prepared to handle any weather condition you ride in and is rated IP67 waterproof, meaning the K3 is completely dustproof and can be immersed in up to three feet of water for a period of 30 minutes. So, unless you’re planning on launching your bike into a lake, you’re sure to be covered. The remote control has been upgraded to full metal construction and gives the rider the system status at a glance while riding. The K3 has also received a microphone for recording engine sounds or rider narration. The cable is long enough to reach the rider from many remote mounting locations for the DVR unit. Dual HD cameras record front and rear views simultaneously in your choice of 1080P 30fps or 720P 60fps, and a WiFi connection allows for reviewing and sharing of videos directly on a smartphone. Parking mode can record any attempts to molest your motorcycle while you aren’t there. The built-in, user-adjustable G-sensor automatically protects the current recording from erasure if the unit detects an accident. Loop recording starts recording over the oldest files first when the microSD card fills up. Still, with a maximum card size of 256GB, you can record approximately 18 hours of video before the unit overwrites old files.
Motorcycle Camera FAQ
What is the best motorcycle camera?
As the action camera market has matured and diversified, that question can only be answered by asking more questions: What do I want to use the camera for? Do I want to mount it permanently on the bike or move it around? Do I want the camera with the highest resolution? All of these questions can be answered with one of the models above.
Are motorcycle helmet cameras legal?
Good question. It depends on the state. For example, in California, objects that protrude more than 5mm from the helmet are illegal, but we’ve never seen it enforced.
Where is the best place to mount a 360-degree camera on a motorcycle?
We’d recommend mounting it on the tank or the handlebar. That way both the road and the rider can be seen in the video. That said, there are plenty of other places to mount a camera and lots of different mounts that give the option to get some really interesting angles of your ride.
Recent Updates: March 2023: Added insta360 X3, GoPro Hero 11, INNOVV H5. Removed insta360 Go, GoPro Hero 10, GoPro Hero 9, Cambox V4 Pro. August 2022: Replaced Sena 10c EVO with 50C, updated FAQ, added to additional resources. March 2022: Updated imagery, added Insta360 One X2 review link, and changed camera ranking. September 2021: Replaced the GoPro Hero8 with the GoPro Hero10 Black, removed Insta360 R and replaced with Insta360 ONE X2.
MO Tested: Insta360 One X2 Camera Review
Here at MO we’ve become fans of the new kid in the action camera room – Insta360. As the brand name implies, its specialty is 360-degree cameras which allow the user to capture all the action surrounding the camera, and decide after the fact which elements of the action they’d like to feature in their video. The beauty of this is that you never miss the action because the camera was mounted or pointed in the wrong direction. We’ve previously tested Insta’s One X, One R Modular 360 camera, and the tiny GO 2 pocket action camera.
Insta360 One X2
Sleek, easy to handle package
Fantastic smart phone and desktop apps
Never miss a shot again
Vulnerable in a tumble
Optional lens covers rumored to introduce glare
Standard video limited to 1440p
The One X2 is version 2.0 of Insta360’s first consumer camera, the One X. That camera made capturing unique perspectives of all the action easy with video modes like Bullet-Time, Hyperlapse Time Shift, and Deep Track automatic subject tracking in post. Flow-State stabilization worked very well and was a huge boon for motorsport video. The One X had oodles of potential for changing the action camera game because of the advantages of a constant 360° field of view, but was let down by buggy file stability and a somewhat difficult to use two button camera interface with a dated LCD screen.
The One R addressed the file instability issues of the One X and added a color touch screen and modularity with a standard action camera 4k lens. It was also first in the action-camera space with a one-inch sensor lens option capable of shooting up to 5.3k, giving it the flexibility of being a 360 camera, standard action camera, and a higher-resolution low-light capable action camera all in one. The form factor was a more traditional chunky square camera body, and the One R camera itself was wider between the two 360 lenses compared to the One X. A wider camera in the 360 world means a more noticeable stitch line where the AI software stitches the two images from each lens into one.
Which brings us to the Insta360 One X2, which really is what the One X should have been from the start – an easy-to-use 360 camera with robust files, a modern, color touchscreen to control the camera and display vital information, and a sleek pocket-friendly profile for fans of iPhones.The incredible smartphone software and robust yet easy desktop software remain. How does the One X2 stand up to the demanding world of being mounted on screaming, vibrating, speeding motorcycles? Smash the video link below to find out. So far, after many months of that kind of abuse making a bunch of moronic videos, the One X2 has become an invaluable piece of camera gear.
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