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Fly6 Long Term Review

What is it?

Fly6 is a rear bicycle light with a built-in camera that automatically starts recording when you power on the rear light. It is simple and easy to use and can fit on most bicycle seatposts. The Fly6 comes with 6 hours of battery while recording video with lights flashing.

Installation & Setup

The Fly6 is configured to be attached to a round seatpost via a velcro strap, the kit includes a wedge for aero seatposts. It is very easy to install and remove for charging.

 

Out of the box the Fly6 can be mounted to the bike, power on and start recording however it is a good idea to set the date and time on the device before your first use. There is only one (annoying) way to set the date/time. Connect Fly6 to a computer via the USB cable. Once the Fly6 appears on your computer’s filesystem, locate the directory called “Fly6” then you will need to edit the “CONFIG.TXT” in a text editor. This is not very user friendly nor easy for anyone outside of the supergeek category.

 

The first row must be modified from 0 to 1 then set date and time in row two. After all this is done, save the file. The next time you power on the Fly6 the unit will update the set date and time, therefore you must power on the Fly6 soon after the CONFIG.TXT has been edited to make sure that the time set is accurate.

 

Downside of the Velcro mount

If you mount the Fly6 high up on your seatpost and have above average thigh muscles, the inside of your leg can rub on the velcro strap which can damage your lycra. Any cyclist would know that velcro and lycra don’t play well together so many Fly6 would need an upgrade on the mounting solution.

A workaround to this problem is to mount the Fly6 lower towards the seatpost collar to allow more clearance between your inner thigh and the Fly6 mounting strap.

Video Quality

The Cycliq Fly6 comes with a video resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per seconds. I use the Fly6 in almost all weather conditions and the quality of the video is good in good light condition. The very first day using the Fly6 on my commute captured a car passing so close. After minutes of downloading and trimming the video I took the video footage to the police and the driver was later called in for questioning. So a very good device to have your back.

 

During a big downpour the Fly6 can struggle to capture car number plates if the car headlights are on and directly pointing at the camera or if you are cycling at speed, the water coming off the rear tyre can spray back to the camera, covering the lens with road grime and dirty water.

 

Another time that the Fly6 struggles to produce usable image is dusk and dawn, when the sun is at a low angle any video camera would struggle with the exposure value, making the scene too bright or too dark thus losing sharpness and ability to capture car number plates.

 

The frame rate of 30 frames per second is another downside of the Fly6. 30fps does not offer clarity image when taking a screenshot of the video footage, especially if you are trying to capture a fast moving object (such as a car zooming pass you) in low light.

 

Built Quality

After using the Fly6 for over 5 months, I haven’t noticed any signs of damage or wear on the mounting straps nor the lens. All the rubber seals are still in good condition and the unit is really well waterproofed. The rubber flap that covers the microSD and USB port is still intact. Only downside is the velcro catching on the lycra as I have mentioned above.

 

What is it like to use?

The Fly6 comes with 2 buttons, one on the left and one on the right. On the drive side is the button to change the brightness of the light and on the non drive side is on ON/OFF button. To me after using this for 5 months I still find myself pushing the wrong button to power on the device as both buttons are same shape and height. If the buttons were located top left and bottom right this would be easier to intuitively go for the buttons without having to think of which side of the bike you are standing on and not have me pressing this thing for over 3 seconds and still no light, damn! Wrong button again.

The Fly6 comes with a sort of crash detection system. If your bike is stationary on an angle of more than 30 degrees for more than 5 seconds, the Fly6 will automatically enter “Incident Protection Mode”, it will sound 3 loud beeps. The Fly6 will continue to record for an hour and turn itself off. This is very useful but for many times I have stopped on the roadside, forgot to turn off the Fly6, lay my bike down flat and BEEP BEEP BEEP goes, Fly6 footage protection mode enabled.

 

Extracting the video footage off the Fly6 can only be done by removing the microSD card and connecting it to a computer. It would be easier to have Bluetooth to enable downloading of video footage via a Smartphone.

 

The Fly6 doesn’t come with any software to download nor edit the video, Cycliq recommend using a free video editing software by VideoPAD. I have used this software and it is good for something that you don’t have to pay for.

 

Fly6 claims 6 hours of battery life, but I have not done a burn time test to prove this. From day to day use, I have never run out of battery during a ride. My daily commute is about 40-50 minutes each day and I change the Fly6 once a week so this is close to 6 hours of battery life.

 

How bright is the rear light?

I have been using the Fly6 mostly in the highest brightness and flashing setting. The Fly6 comes equipped with many LEDs, an LED ring around the lens which rotates around the lens to let you know the camera is recording and 4 LEDs in a line down the centre, one of which has the maximum brightness of 30 lumens. I find this latest version of the Fly6 [v] to be bright enough for my local commute.

 

Below is the video comparison of the Fly6 and the Radbot 1000. Top is Radbot and below is Fly6

The unexpected bonus

At first the Fly6 to me is just like taking out an insurance policy, having something recording like a blackbox incase I need the video for an evidence to a nasty incident. What i didn’t think this little rear light with an integrated camera would give me is the opportunity to see my riding friends out having a good time or to see the face of that guy who tried so hard to draft you.

The face of a man that tried to draft me.

 

Some of the screenshots from the video can give you an image that you would not able to take with a handheld camera or a smartphone.

For more information about the Fly6 http://cycliq.com/products/fly6/

Pros

Well executed, combining rear light and camera

Easy to use, turn on the light and camera starts recording

Crash detection, Auto save footage

Good battery life

Good waterproofing

Well built

 

Cons

Velcro mounting strap catches on lycra

Lens is susceptible to road grim being stuck on

On button is near identical to light dimming button

Hard to set date and time

No Bluetooth