In recent years, motorcycle dashcams (the term is best used as a generic one for on-vehicle video recording) have taken off enormously, primarily as a result of a swathe of cash-for-crash accidents, where unscrupulous individuals would deliberately cause road-traffic accidents to get a pay-out, whether from an insurance company or from the individual themselves.
However, the dashcam can provide a record of what actually happened and since they have become cheap and accessible, this kind of activity has decreased.
They are also a useful source of footage for all kinds of TV and online shows, highlighting just how bad driving and riding standards around the world can be.
Related: Best action cameras
While dashcams for cars can now be had for the price of a family meal from a fast-food restaurant, the demands of motorcycle dashcams is slightly different, not least because of the exposure to the elements of at least the lenses themselves.
Black Friday is the perfect time to purchase a dash cam and make a saving too. Deals will be rolling across November until the big day on November 25th.
Best Motorcycle Dash cams
Here is a selection of other motorcycle dashcams that should keep you covered...
This dashcam from Vsysto is Amazon's Choice for 'motorcycle dashcam' and gets pretty good reviews
Tested by MCN Deputy Editor Emma Franklin, 1 month, 1000 miles. Quality 5/5, Value 4/5. The
Tested by MCN Editor Richard Newland, 4 months, 4250 miles. Quality 4/5, Value 4/5. Fitted to
4. Sena 10C Pro
OK, so this isn't strictly a dashcam, more of a helmet cam. But the Sena 10C Pro does the same
5. YDI Dashcam
This system uses twin lenses, each with a viewing angle of 150u00b0 recording to a central unit
The GoPro is the archetypal action camera, it's so successful, it has become a generic term for
If you ride multiple bikes, then fitting a dashcam to each may be too expensive. A potential
Things to consider when you are choosing a dashcam:
It goes without saying that a dashcam for a motorcycle needs to be a fairly different beast to one intended for a car. On a bike, the lenses certainly will be exposed to the elements and the main recording unit will also suffer from vibrations, for example, during use. So the lenses needs to be fully waterproof and the main unit vibration-proof and ideally, waterproof as well.
The lenses are the eyes of the system and there is a compromise here; a wide-angle lens will catch the action from all around the bike while a narrower one will highlight detail farther away. Many regard a lens angle of around 170° as ideal for use with a dashcam since this will capture as much information from around the bike as possible. And while some systems use a single camera lens, others use two, one at the front and one at the rear to provide information about rear-end impacts, for example.
Integrated or separate lenses
Some motorcycle dashcams are single, integrated units and work standalone, ie with a power supply but no other connection. Others use a central recording unit and separate lenses that can be positioned around the bike. Ultimately the choice is up to you but the former is more transferable, ie you can potentially use it on several bikes while the latter would be hard-wired to the bike and would stay with it. In addition, the lenses would be smaller and less obtrusive than mounting a complete camera on the bike.
Like the angle of the camera, the greater the video resolution, the more information will be available in your recordings. Details such as vehicle numberplates or identification of people is much easier the higher the resolution. Ideally you’d want 4k resolution but as an absolute minimum you should be looking for 1080P. Alongside the resolution is the frame rate, which can affect how accurate the footage is in terms of its ability to identify key data. 30 Frames per Second (fps) is generally the minimum you should be looking for.
Some units come with built-in GPS tracking, that can help identify the location of any incidents where video evidence is necessary. They can potentially confirm your speed and travel and can also serve as a journey log for later use or to share with other riders.
Some systems – particularly those with hard-wired recoding units – will have a corresponding smartphone app that will allow you to monitor the video recordings or live-view the camera lenses so that you can position them correctly and download video from a main unit.
Some systems have accelerometers, or g-sensors, built in which will sense an impact and automatically store the video footage from a pre-set period before this impact as well as following it.
Once you have chosen your dashcam, there are several other areas that you need to consider to get the most from it.
Whether you use a dedicated motorcycle dashcam or improvise with an action camera, you need to be recording in loop mode, so this is what you need to look for on an action camera. This effectively fills up the memory card and once full, deletes the oldest footage and overwrites it with the newest, so the card is always full of the last period of riding, depending on your card’s capacity. Also remember to turn it on and start recording – this may well be automatic with hard-wired systems, but you will probably need to do it yourself on smaller units or action cameras.
Inevitably most dashcams will record onto a memory card and some will specify a maximum size of card. We would always recommend buying a branded version and the highest speed possible, particularly if you are using a high-resolution camera and lenses, to ensure you capture and keep all the relevant details from your rides. Most are likely to be a microSD format with an adapter to allow you to remove the card and download footage to your computer easily.
While hard-wired systems that use a central recording unit will be permanently connected to the bike’s battery, if you are using a more portable device, then you may need to make sure it is always charged ready for each ride. For an action camera mounted to the bike, you may be able to power this up from an accessory or USB socket in use but bear in mind that many action cameras don’t have waterproof charging options.
Permanent systems will generally mount a lens at the front to cover the full view ahead. Similarly, a rear view will do the same. If you are using a standalone dashcam or an action camera, then you will need to mount it to the bike so that it captures the full view yet does not interfere with your view of the road ahead. You also need to ensure that it is mounted securely and won’t move around in use – it is no use if you rely on some video evidence and the camera is shaking so much you cannot make out the necessary details.
Clearly a camera covered in road grime is of no use, so keep the lens(es) clean with a wipe over with a damp cloth between washing the bike as a whole.
How we chose this list
The following list is made up of cameras that we have actually tested ourselves or have been tested by our sister titles such as RiDE (available through the Bikes Unlimited app) or have received extensive reviews online.
Be the first to know what's coming in the latest issue of MCN, plus the latest road tests, recommendations, and competitions. Sign up to the MCN newsletter.