Cycliq Fly 12 CE and FLY 6 CE

HOW MUCH?! Is my initial reaction – as I think would be the sober reaction from anyone who was doing research into the current Cycliq Fly 12 CE122 and Cycliq Fly 6 CE601 cameras/lamps.

There are a tonne of reviews out there – however, my experience was kinda mixed… a bit boo and quite a lot of yay. So yeah – as much a reference as anything else – here is the review of some coming to this from the point of view of being ploughed into by a driver twice in his life with serious consequences. Both occasions driver error. One occasion driver denying it. Enter looping video with stats and specifics to tell a tale when either I cannot or when they … erm… fabricate events.

// General Experiences

 

Packaging was very nice indeed – needlessly so – but then again you would not want something like this in an antistatic bag with loose nuts and bolts would you? No.

Fastenings are really rather neat. The back one – despite initial appearances is really quite a dream to fit, maintain, use. The front option I went on an entry level (and I am paying for it) combined Garmin and GoPro mount. The Fly 12 has a GoPro mount option – so you can attach their mount to the usual interleave and bolt through to retain. Both units seem well retained and I do not move around. As is the norm with the expensive tools, they have a retention loop like your Garmin has. Loop around the bars, through itself, and twist into place. Both units have an 1/8  of a turn rotary lock mechanism – while less than a Garmin essentially “the same” idea.

Both units have ONLY TWO BUTTONS. One Q button for marking an event – and one power button. This is a bit of pain – as everything else you have to control through your phone (or PC I believe if cabled to it – not an option I have explored). You can control it from your Garmin also. This sounds like a good idea however the reality for me was that in a Bagpuss style – when the Garmin woke up – your lights woke up – cue a disco wherever you are. Remember Garmins turn on when you remove their power… why this is I shall never know. #Winning.

I am a technical person. Its a failing. I find the lack of control ON the device a thing that frustrates me – I am guessing it makes it a lot easier to waterproof and manufacture and makes more space for battery and hardware – a good thing.

Firmware update. Following the instructions for the rear I broke it. A two-stage update that essentially rendered it findable by the phone until the battery died. I am now terrified of updating the thing (genuinely). However, in both cases, this can be done by dropping a file onto the micro SD and starting them up (and repeating as necessary – rear is more than one step).

Configurations are remembered by saving them to the card. The rear does not hide it – the front does – with a dot file in a Linux style.

You are able to control camera modes, light modes, format the card and so on from the phone application.

The devices will do Date and time on the video stream, and is capable of pulling the strava stream (if linked) in editing (see software below) – and from this can overlay both mapping and data. The overlay will contain three fields, one of which will be speed – and two others – the examples here show heart rate and elevation. Do I have faith in the figures – at times no – specifically speed, it seems to lag (ahead or behind) a lot more than than I would like to see – which you can see in the videos (more obvious if you know the roads) – the mapping is at a much more tiny scale – and because of this it matters not. I am guessing this is because usually I am not wondering about, or looking at how often Strava logs data… and how much it does by extrapolation/interpolation.

Feedback. After a while you get to know the whistles and chirps it makes. Initially clueless to them – however these are references to battery levels and turning on and off, or warning you of low battery levels. Recording is indicated by a lamp flashing green or red (low battery) on the side of the Fly 12, or the rotating ring of lights on the Fly6. It will maintain the mode it was in before if the card is present – however it took me a while to realise if it was unable to record last time it powered up (for example attaching to it with a phone while off the bike when there is no SD in it) – it will start and not record…. so phone out – switch on.

Technical support is personable – but they are on the other side of the planet from me – so realising that if I message during the day they see it at night. Warranty replacement of the rear unit was however fine once they had ascertained the nature of the problem. Nice people… and what seems like a small support team.

Keep in mind this is written from the point of view of someone that may find the footage useful as an ‘actioncam’ however is actually looking for a dashcam / black box – and as (bad) luck would have it have already submitted to the local plod for a few cases of dangerous driving – one of which as been followed up on. No bad thing. What I am not however is THAT GUY, who rides around with a GoPro ontop of his helmet as some kind of self-appointed enforcement officer… it just just peace of mind… and with that clarity and accuracy are key.

 

// Cyliq FLY 6 CE601

The Fly6 faces backwards and sees all the horrors unfold, and the faces your buddies are pulling when trying to keep up >:D

The light on it – in all fairness – is not something that I would be happy using. It will spend its life off mostly. My commuter/winter bike runs a Four4ths Scorpion on the rear, tucked up under teh saddle – nice and high, nice and visible. Even when it’s not on daytime or ‘riding into sun’ mode I have had feedback on visibility. Nice. How it should be. It is not a fair comparison, but the Fly – it’s a rear light that someone who doesn’t like on unlit roads in the countryside would be happy with. Sorry.

Two buttons again. One to power on and off, and tap to change mode, and one Q to mark events and lock segments on the SD.

Two lights in the top section indicate charge and special jobs (firmware/booting) – operation is mostly indicated by the LED’s around the camera lens going around it in a circle. A lot easier to see and interpret. More of an issue on the Fly 12.

While there is no HDR – there is again the image stabilization and time stamping. Alas, these two appear either or. The example is with the stabilizer off – and it looks fine to me as if to be used for evidential purposes then the time stamp is kinda nice to have. Here we have an example of me questioning the overlay speed. 13mph pootling around, 9 uphill, but listening to the freewheel there I would say that was probably faster. I would say lack of GPS – however, the rear wheel has the Garmin rotational sensor attached.

The mount is surprisingly good as it happens. I have mounted it lower down that the Scorpion – purely for aesthetics as much as anything else. It wraps neatly around the top of the seat tube. The velcro attachment feeds through an angled circular Garmin-like mount with a rubber insert in the rear. The different angles allow for attachment to several different types of frame angle or seat post angle – there is even one for aero seat posts… nice touch. The back of the velcro is coated with a particularly tacky rubbery compound which means that once tightened it really does stay put. Nice work… seriously… we need to see more of this kind of thought in the world.

This is regretfully negated by the ‘flap’ on the top that allows access to the USB C charging port and access to the microSD/socket. It is fidly to seat properly and does not have the confident feet of the door onto a weather seal that the front has… and call me picky – but I have seen a few comedy muddy asses in my time – that – back there – is right in the worst of the firing line. The flap for me shouts ingress. Even if the SD and the USB are both sealed – then I am feeling terminal corrosion. If that is the case – then any contact cleaner or ACF-40 that gets on the silicon flap is going to make that swell – never fit again and get replaced with duct tape. Classy.

Again – holding in for 5 seconds or so on and off – a Mario chime to say up or down, and beeps to indicate battery life. These are shown in the Garmin App – as discussed earlier – not for me. Madness.

Having it back there gives me a great deal of confidence – and from the example you can see below (compressed by their software – so a little lossy – but nothing like as bad as what happens when you upload to Vimeo or YouTube. The original images are staggeringly crisp for their size… and you will catch most numberplates – even at speed.

These 90 second chunks weighed in as compressed images at around 600MB each for 1080p at 60 frames per second. This is image stabilization off – and time stamping on.

 

 

// Cycliq FLY12 CE122

I got this with the intention of not using it as a winter light. I have a great winter light – my Sodom from Four4ths – fantastic bit of kit. However, for commuting and riding on my own I still want a light for visibility – especially at this time of year. There are a number of modes the lamp can use grouped by steady, flash, pulse. Pulse is nice if it is genuinely getting a bit darker, but flash is amazingly bright – and very quick to cycle. I would also say it has more retina ripping ability than the 700 lumens it claims. You can control which modes are available from your phone, and cycle through them (three of each, plus “off”) by tapping the power button when the device is on.

Turning on is a bit of a faff – holding the power button for around 5 seconds it chirrups its startup noise, and then a series of beeps. 3 beeps fully charged, 2 less, 1 less gain when you turn it on and off. It will also repeat these while in use with an almost Mario-esque sad noise for about to die. Awwww.

Quality. Oh my.

I am not even sure how you get 6 axis stability as they claim – I can think of three left-right, up-down, in-out …. I don’t think time and mass really count or shift that much when I am riding to be fair… unless marketing are counting those as one each? Whatever it is it is software and it does a really rather fine job.

1080p at 60 frames a second, stabilized OR HDR (you cannot have both) – you chew through a LOT of space.

The maximum supported card size is a 32GB SSD.

You can choose how long you want each chunk – be that 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins. I have gone with the 5 so that there is more stored on the card, and less lost when it wraps. I am sure there is an overhead to smaller files, and also more chance of needing to stitch two of them together I guess.

The 90-second examples below are 250MB or thereabouts. 5 mins is a very very large file – 1GB – meaning that you can have about 30 files on an SD.  If you were looking to record an entire ride – this is not the tool you were looking for. I would expect to have 2.5 hours tops on a single SD card. … then of course it wraps around for you deleting the oldest image that is not locked and recording again.

Preserving a 5 min chunk (one before and after) can be done at any time by pushing the Q button – the only other button on the device.

Access to charge and install the SD card is via a door at the side with a sturdy spring catch. It looks strong enough to take a few hits. In fact – the whole unit does appear to have been constructed with the reality of being dropped, bounced, and slid as part of the deal. I am not super keen to try this understandably.

The front lens has a water-shedding coating – which actually works – bravo. The engineer who did this needs a pat on the back, however, this is indeed good for water. The mud you are more likely to get off of your tyres and buddies in front – not so much.

Charging is via USB C which is nice. It does not come with a charger – something worth noting if you were expecting one. USB chargers are ubiquitous and my favourite Anker IQ banks make short enough work of a recharge cycle. Worthy of note, however – once run flat this takes a fair old time to top back off.

These 90-second chunks weighed in as compressed images at around 600MB each for 1080p at 60 frames per second. This is HDR off, image stabilization on, the time stamp on.

This is another shot compressed by its own application – around 120MB for 1080p at 60fps. Harsh low light – stabilization on – HDR off – I am guessing if HDR was going to work – this would be the kind of scenario.

 

// Software

Either from their website – or from the app store you can download their software.

The software fulfils a number of jobs.

  1. The configuration of devices;
  2. Control of devices;
  3. Editing of videos.

Editing is pretty simple as it happens – even for me – who finds the whole moving image a challenge usually.

Pick the 5 minute chunk. Move the start and end to where you want them to be. Turn on Map and Data Overlay. Next. Wait. Save. Done.

Happy days. Very low friction – very useable.

The same can be said for the configuration. It scans for devices (even when “off) – you pick one, options to start-stop, alarm, settings etc.. Change settings. Exit.

What I WOULD like to see is an improved Garmin application – allowing you to see recording status – and most vitally have controls similar to say a car – lights on, off, bright – as opposed to what appears to either be automatic (random selector) or various states of on with no off. Please – more effort – more sensible options. It would be fantastic. No one likes standing by their bike trying to get gadgets working with a phone they had to take out of its sweaty proof bag having got all ready to go once.

 

 // Card Reader

So – you want to get the image off the microSD – but you want to use their editing tools to pull in the Strava data and cut it to size? No problem – if your device does not take SD cards – then you can plug in a reader. This was news to me.

Software free SD readers can plug into the bottom of your iPhone and read (only) data from the cards, and import them. Add your stock SD to MicroSD reader and you are good to go. Handy for when you are at work/cafe/out/car or like me do not use a supported OS to edit on that.

 

// Conclusion

Ever been involved in an accident. Ride a bunch on your own. Know how quickly things can get hostile. Maybe just want to re-run how something went to see if you were in the wrong and improve. Whatever the reason these are BY FAR the best-designed bits of kit I have seen for this job – married up with Strava you have how fast, where, how much effort, when, temp, elevation, and now… in glorious technicolour… the moving image. I was in the fortunate position of being able to purchase this peace of mind. I was fortunate enough to be hit head-on and from behind (over the last 40 years of riding) and survive. … but I equally realise that the day they don’t record, on another bike, run flat, something… will be the day they are needed. In the interim… its like insurance without feeling so screwed over.

Now – if they did an upgrade programme when they release new models… that would make them very very nice people indeed ;)

Generally speaking, THANK YOU Cycliq.

 

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