Review: Fly12 and Fly6 Camera and Light Combination

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

“It all started one afternoon in the Perth hills when product founder Kingsley Fiegert was enjoying a late afternoon ride. Without warning and from behind Kingsley was hit with an object fired from a slingshot out of a passing car. A few choice words may have left Kingsley’s mind at the time, but the incident definitely didn’t. He thought about it for the next week, and after a long conversation with his son Josh, a rear-facing bike camera was an obvious solution.”

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review
Pictured above, the Cycliq Fly12.

“From a crowd-funded start-up to an Australian Stock Exchange listed entity, Cycliq now sells its products all around the world.” The Fly6 was the result of that crowd sourcing campaign, and since then, Cycliq’s product line has expanded to include the forward facing Fly12.”

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

I commute to work 20 miles (round trip) from my home outside of town diagonally across the city to my work. For a relatively small town, the traffic can be pretty bad, especially around the University at peak times. I’m a pretty intrepid cyclist in traffic, but for the last few years I have ridden front and rear flashers for a bit of extra visibility. I have attempted mounting cameras to catch the perpetrators who throw stuff at me, or act rudely. But the hassle of multiple devices (2 cameras, 2 flashers) memory cards that need to be erased, 4 batteries to keep charged always led me to abandon the effort.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review
Pictured above, the Cycliq Fly6.

The Fly12 and Fly6 combo camera/lights looked like an interesting proposition for a regular commuter. First, both operate as excellent lights for commuting.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

The Fly12 has a 600 lumen headlight which is more than adequate for paved commuting. It also has a variety of flashing and pulsing modes, as well as multiple brightness settings; all common features in a headlight.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

The Fly6 rear flasher also has all you would expect from a rear taillight/flasher. It has both a circular LED pattern at the top, and a linear led below that.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

The top lights sort of “whirl” around the camera lens, while the linear array has all the typical flashing settings you would expect.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

What really sets these devices apart are the integrated cameras. Both are very high quality and similar to other cameras you may be familiar with. They include HD resolution, stabilization, multiple frame rates and lower resolutions if needed.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

A key feature is the “looping” video storage. Each camera can be set to save files in a range of time epochs. If the microSD card fills up, the oldest file is overwritten. From a practical perspective, this is a huge advantage.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

Having to remove and erase cards, or remove the lights to attach via USB to erase the cards is a hassle, and one that led me to abandon a standard camera setup. Worse of course, is missing key footage because your card is full. Any file (epoch) can be permanently saved with a single button press.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

Built in to both camera’s firmware is the ability to detect an “accident”, defined as your bike tilting more than 60-degrees. Such an accident locks the most recent file from being overwritten, presumably as evidence of what just occurred. I tried it (without crashing) and it worked just fine. Another feature that uses the same technology apparently is a theft alarm, which I did not try.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

There are a number of convenient features like battery life indicators (beeps) that allow you to know how much (%) of the battery remains. It also has a “get home safely” feature that shuts off the camera and maintains the light when the battery gets too low.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review
Pictured above, Fly12 accessories.

Both light/cameras have built-in Bluetooth, and a free program allows you to adjust the dizzying array of options via your phone. I set it up once, and just left it there. I reduced the number of flashing, pulse, and brightness options to just 2 of each, to simplify the real life use of the device buttons to change settings. Otherwise, you need to cycle through many different settings. In the real world application, I found that I didn’t need but a couple of options.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review
Pictured above, Fly6 accessories.

I used the devices for over a month of daily commutes, and for the most part they both worked flawlessly. The rear microSD card has a tendency to pop up (and disconnect) as you fiddle with the little silicon water cover flap. I could not reliably get that cover to work. I did ride in the rain (with fenders/mudguards) and had no issues with water intrusion.

How did it work? The lights were bright, just as you would expect. The camera images were certainly on par with my Garmin VIRB, and GoPro’s I have owned. Image stabilization seemed quite good.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

I had the front camera mounted upside down, under a Garmin, on a plastic Barfly mount and expected some jitter, but got none.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

The rear light was mounted on the seatpost. The image quality was good enough to pick out license plates in good light, but not in low light situations (at least with the front). In Florida we don’t have front license plates, so I didn’t check out the rear’s ability to image license plates. I tested neither device offroad, or on gravel.

cycliq fly12 and fly6 review

Overall, I found the FLY12 and FLY6 to be excellent products. Well designed, robust, good quality, with many practical features for the commuter. I think the cameras could also do a good job for recreational filming purposes as well. I like them well enough that I am likely to purchase a set for my commutes.

Sample Video

Cycliq


Article on behalf of Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience. Many thanks to our guest reviewer, Dr. Pain.

11 COMMENTS

  1. This review doesn’t give me confidence that they’ve improved the video quality of the original Fly6 much. The video quality of the original Fly6 was pretty bad, especially in non-ideal lighting conditions. (You pretty much only had a chance of identifying a license plate in ideal lighting, *if* the motor vehicle was very close, and *if* the closing speed of the motor vehicle was low.)

    • My wife got both the Fly12 CE and Fly6 CE. Video for the Fly6 CE is decent – it is actually pretty similar to the Fly12 CE. Neither are up to top of the line GoPro or Sony action cams, but still plenty decent. She shoots 1080p with image stabilization for both the Fly12 and Fly6.

      Only issue she had with the Fly6 CE is the mount. The mounts included work OK if you have a stripped road bike. But if you have a seat bag, suspension seat post, or you are female, you may not have enough seat post exposed with a view over a 700c tire. (The rack mount fits none of our racks.) We finally found the BarFly seat rail mount has a mount arm extending long enough to reach out over her seat bag and locates the Fly6 high enough to see over her rear rack.

  2. i used the previous model despite bad amazon reviews and glowing bike sites reviews… and i sent it back. the thing barely worked the way they advertised it, weights a ton, the light is shit (bad light and blinds everyone, whaaat), and the camera is as good as any 50usd aliexpress camera…

    i prefer my high quality light and sony action cam. plus they cost less..

    i sooo highly doubt they fixed anything. the android software is particularly horrible

    • I owned the previous models of these, and have been using the new Fly12 and Fly 6 CE for a couple of months now. I can attest that both are vast improvements over the prior models. The fly 12is lighter, more compact and has a much more powerful light. Same for the rear camera–more compact (which was a big issue with the old Fly6). I also like the new quarter-turn mounting system. My old Fly12 broke when the mounting screw came loose (partially due to the weight of the thing, and the crappy thumbscrew).

      My only issue is that the new Fly6 on/off button can be difficult to locate (especially with gloves on) and doesn’t always seem to turn on or off on the first try. Despite this, I have found the combination of these two devices to be great commuting companions. The new fly12 is light enough that I’ve even left it on for training rides.

  3. John Watson, I looked at the video you uploaded to youtube. The license plates are a total blur. There’s not a chance of reading even one digit off them.

    • With the video set to play at the highest resolution on my 5k monitor, I had no problem identifying a license plate number, and that’s without using any software to sharpen details.

      Don’t confuse what you see on your screen with the information available in each video frame.

  4. Beware: The cycliq Fly 6 and 12 have only a 12 month warranty. Being quite expensive, I naturally expected it to last indefinitely as it contains no moving parts. My Fly6 failed after 3 yrs only, despite suffering no abuse, wet weather, etc: It simply stopped working and recording whilst riding recently. Though 1/2 charged, it would not recharge, switch on or download data. Considerable contact with Cycliq was totally unsatisfactory as they do not repair. Their solution – Purchase another unit (for a slight discount)! I would suggest you purchase an independant high powered tail light (e.g., Bontrager Flare R) and a proven camera such as the GoPro, otherwise you will eventually be wasting money (In my case, $80 per year for 3 yrs use). I have read other reviews and have discovered that many people are dissatisfied with the Cycliq products, going so far as to suggest they are junk and a scam.

  5. Don’t waste your money! Take a look at the reviews on various sites. Notice how polarized they are? Lots of high marks and lots of low marks. Sure these cameras work great for a few months. People get them and write glowing reviews. But if you don’t get around to writing that glowing review while it’s working – don’t worry – you’ll get a chance when the unit stops functioning and you can’t get help from their tech support. You just bought a very expensive paper weight!

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