Review: Fly6 camera light
The perception, among a lot of cyclists, is that the whole world is against them, drivers especially. This is a perception reinforced by the drivers that actually do hate us, who take great pleasure in making their views very clearly known.
But there are a hell of a lot of drivers on the road, and most of them don’t honk or swear or punish you with a close pass. Unfortunately we don’t tend to remember them, and the point as we all know is that it only takes one …
It only took one joker to shoot Kingsley Fiegert in the backside with a slingshot while he was merrily cycling on his way for the Fly6 camera light to be invented.
“By the time he realised what just happened the young men had driven off,” explained Andrew Hagen, the co-founder of Cycliq, parent company of Fly6. This left Kingsley with a sore rear and no means of tracing the perpetrator. “The concept to capture the evidence was how it started.”
Three years later, in November 2014, the Fly6 camera light was launched: “The name is a combo of two sayings: First: A fly on the wall; and second: The military term for your back is your 6 o’clock or ‘6’,” says Andrew Hagen. The pair, based in Perth, Australia, have worked together in property development for a decade and have known each other for 20 years. It goes without saying that they have a fondness for cycling.
The Fly6 camera light is a rear light with a built in HD camera (1280 x 720px) which films on a continuous loop, meaning you can turn it on and forget about it. The light itself is a decent 30 lumens and offers numerous illumination options to suit all sorts of conditions, from daylight to thick fog. By holding back from sticking a ridiculously bright LED in, the battery life is a very respectable five hours.
The camera delivers a very decent, stable image, thanks to built-in technology that accounts for road vibrations and the light, with its myriad LED dance routines, is sure to catch the eye of following drivers.
Whether they will notice the little camera lens steadily recording them is another matter, but chances are they won’t, so surreptitious is the device. For all intents and purposes the Fly6 looks like any other light, and not a very expensive looking one at that, making it ideal for covert surveillance.
So it is mildly disappointing that with at least four months of continuous use under our belt, we have failed to get in any scrape serious enough to feel it necessary to download the footage for use as evidence. There have been a couple of close passes, and we mean a couple, but when you view them on the computer they don’t look that bad at all. Maybe it’s the wide lens. The worst incident in that time was an oncoming car that failed to stop at a mini roundabout as we were turning right the other week. That was close but it was also oncoming which means the gravity of the situation was lost on a rear-facing camera.
As with most gadgets, there is that novelty period when you download all your rides and play through an entire three-hour trip to check out the bike handling skills of your fellow cycling group, but you’ll soon get bored with that. One thing you’ll notice, if you ride without mudguards, is the tendency for the lens to become covered over with mud quite quickly. On wet days or during winter riding you’d be well advised to give the lens a wipe every now and then.
Downloading your footage is a doddle, although in these days of wi-fi connectivity, still involves a little too many mouse clicks. Firstly you have to physically plug the Fly6 camera light into your USB port before launching VLC media player (easily downloadable from the net if you don’t already have it). You then need to find your ride files (located under the Fly6 icon that appears when you plug it in) and drag them over to VLC. Then you can watch them or save them or whatever.
Build is bombproof. We have been through all sorts of weather on and off-road and not once has the Fly6 even hinted at letting us down. The rubber connection cover fits very well to protect those sensitive ports and the unit is manufactured to an incredibly high standard. At 4oz the weight will never be an issue and size of it is no bigger than a standard rear light. It is a little deeper but not so much as to pose a problem.
What the Fly6 camera light makes you realise is that there is a perception of inherent danger on our roads which is thankfully not borne out by reality. This reality of cycling in the UK is distorted by hour upon hour of Youtube video, uploaded by militant cyclists who feel they have been disrespected or who have taken it upon themselves to behave as vigilantes. They won’t show you the hours of uneventful, pleasant riding, because who’s going to click on that?
There are the terrible fatalities in London, none of which should have been allowed to happen, but they do still need to be taken into perspective.
And that is the thing with the Fly6 camera light - the camera element is a thankfully largely unnecessary piece of equipment. The great thing about it is that it doubles up as a light, which in contrast is totally necessary, so there’s a reason to use it, and it is so unobtrusive that its use doesn’t even require a second thought.
But should the statistically unlikely actually happen and you get shot up the backside with a pellet fired by a spotty yoot with a catapult you’ll have the evidence there to take the matter further. Fly6 is an added insurance policy that will provide you with great peace of mind, even if, as with all insurance policies, you hope you never need to use it.
NB: Cycliq, the parent company of Fly6, are on the verge of releasing a front-facing light, called the Fly12. You can help fund it here
Summary: A solid camera-light combo that is so unobtrusive that you will forget it is there. Rock solid construction will put up with everything the road can throw at it, plus some. But be sure to wipe the lens occasionally if you’re riding in foul weather without mudguards. The light alone is worth the money, frankly.
4 / 5