I got my first handlebar camera the day after I had my first wreck. It was dusk in December and I was getting onto the highway when this van pulled across my lane and I had to hit the brakes. They locked up and I high sided it doing about $3,000 in damage to my bike. Luckily, it was not totaled and I came out ahead on the repairs, but it still went on record as being my fault. Since I didn’t come into contact with the van they weren’t at fault, but if I could have shown that there was nowhere for me to go then I probably would have come out $500 better.
There are a lot of reasons to invest in a motorcycle camera. They are a great way to record your adventures. I managed to get several awesome shots when I went out west thanks to my little GoPro. Then there is also the practical reasoning behind getting a camera. I learned my lesson the hard way, so take it from me, don’t rely on the police to do you justice if you don’t have video proof. No, I did not come into contact with that van officer, I would be dead if I did.
So, the thing about dash cams and backup cams is that they are uni-purpose. This means that they serve one purpose and that is it. Don’t get me wrong, they do their job very well, but that is all they do. These cameras that I have listed, however, are multi-purpose. Especially with the GoPros, you can take it off of you handlebars and mount it to anything with a GoPro mount. The same camera can be your dash cam, handlebar cam, and adventure camera. Try doing that with a regular camera or your phone. And if you like to go sport outdoors, a GoPro is usually nice to have as well.
They Are Tough
The next thing that you need to know about the cameras on this list is that they are all tough cameras. They are all waterproof and shock resistant, so they will hold up to anything you can throw at them. I have personally run several mud runs with my GoPro and never had a problem, so you can count on them to hold up to the rain. You are also much more likely to actually have usable data with one of these than you would be with a regular camera as well if you were to have a wreck. Thanks to the shell, each camera listed should be able to stand up to a wreck. Will they stand up to being run over by a semi? Possibly, but I wouldn’t recommend testing that theory.
Best Motorcycle Cameras
|Motorcycle Camera||Main benefits|
|GoPro Hero5 Black||• 4k video at 30fps|
• waterproof up to 33 feet
• Fits all GoPro mounts
|GoPro Hero5 Session||• Quality Video|
• Smaller than the Black
• Relatively inexpensive
|Contour Roam 2||• Easy On/Off, one switch|
• Small camera
• Good for basic video recording
|ODRVM Motorcycle Camera||• Removable Battery|
• 32GB expandable storage
• Can use GoPro accessories and mounts
• Waterproof up to 30 meters
|GoPro Hero||• Name brand GoPro|
• Waterproof up to 150 feet
• Cheapest GoPro
• Can record at 1080p
GoPro Hero5 Black Review
I promise this entire list will not be GoPros, but the fact of the matter is, they were one of the first companies to offer a waterproof camera that is of this quality and they have only gotten better. Since the first GoPros were introduced, a mass of copies has popped up, but there is still something to be said for the original. Don’t get me wrong, GoPro has not been riding on their reputation. The Hero5 Black is their best motorcycle camera yet.
The Hero5 Black, like all GoPros, is waterproof, wind proofs, and very durable. What sets the Hero5 Black apart is the video quality. GoPro does offer a budget camera, the Hero, which will be on this list, but it has much more limited capabilities. The Hero5 Black is capable of recording 4k at 30fps. This is better than most standard use video cameras being sold today.
Don’t think that the only thing keeping a GoPro safe is the case. The Hero5 Black is capable of being submerged up to 33 feet, or 10 meters, without being in its case. With the case, it is hard to say how deep it can go, but there have been people who have recovered theirs from the bottom of the ocean months later, so you can rest assured that this is one tough camera.
Conclusion: If you want the best of the best motorcycle cameras, then this is the one to get. It has better video quality and is tougher and more durable than just about anything else.
GoPro Hero5 Black key specs
- 4k video at 30fps
- waterproof up to 33 feet without a case
- Fits all GoPro mounts
GoPro Hero5 Session Review
The Hero5 Session is the little brother of the Hero5 Black. It is much smaller and lacks the 2 inch LCD display on the back, but it still comes in with some impressive specs, especially for the price. This is not a flagship camera, but it is more than capable, delivering almost the same video quality as the Black. At 4k the Session is able to record at 30fps, so it goes toe-to-toe with the Black, but with 1440p and 1080p it records at a lower fps than the Black. The Black records 80 and 120fps respectively, while the Session delivers 60 and 90fps respectively.
One of the biggest draws of the Session is that, minus the LCD display, it is essentially the same as the Black edition, but it costs significantly less. Realistically, you are unlikely to notice a difference in quality between them, but if you want to check your videos and pictures while you are out then you will need the display, but otherwise you can get by just fine without it. I didn’t have one on my old Hero and never missed it.
Conclusion: If you are looking for the best possible camera, but don’t want to spring for the Hero5 Black then go with the Session. Video quality is top notch, but it reduces the cost by not including an LCD.
GoPro Hero5 Session key specs
- Quality Video
- Smaller than the Black
- Relatively inexpensive
Contour Roam 2 Review
OK, this is our first non-GoPro motorcycle camera on this list, but it is a good one for those who just want something to put on their handlebars to record in case they have a wreck. This one has one small feature in particular that I personally love. There is no power button or settings. There is just a single, locking, On/Off switch. When you turn it on it will start recording and when you turn it off it will stop. It doesn’t get any simpler than that and when you are trying to get your camera working with gloves on when it is 20 degrees outside, you will be glad it is just a switch.
The video quality is not as good as a GoPro, but for the price can you really expect it to be? No, no you can’t, but that is not to say it is bad. The Roam 2 records 720p at 60fps. While this is not going to blow anyone away, we have already established that this is a good option for those who simply want a way to record your trips in case something happens.
The Roam 2 is also waterproof without a case. This reduces the bulk of the camera since you do not have to worry about having it in the case as well. By not having a case you also do away with one of the primary complaints with early GoPro models and that is muffled sound from the case. GoPro did make a separate back plate for this, but it sacrificed the waterproof feature to achieve it.
Conclusion: If you are looking for a cheap, easy to use, and waterproof camera then this is a great option. The video quality will not hold up the GoPro, but it is a much cheaper camera.
Contour Roam 2 key specs
- Easy On/Off, one switch
- Small camera, it doesn’t have a bulky case
- Good for basic video recording
ODRVM Motorcycle Camera Review
This motorcycle camera is somewhat generic and is clearly a GoPro knockoff, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Like I said earlier, GoPro spawned a mass of copies after the success of their first generation of cameras and they have only grown in popularity since. For the price this is actually a very impressive camera. It is rated waterproof up to 30 meters. That is about 100 feet deep. That’s a lot of water and a lot of pressure to stand up to, but it manages it.
Another thing to note about this camera is that it uses the GoPro mounts. This means that any mounts you may have or that you find for a GoPro will also work here. This is a great advantage since many generic cameras will use their own mounts. While this is understandable, it creates problems for the buyer. Not many companies are going to make mounts for a generic camera, but there are hundreds that make thousands of mounts and accessories for the GoPro. By piggybacking on this you can use these accessories on this camera.
Video is decent quality. It is able to record 1080p video at 30fps and 720p at 60fps, so this is about what you would expect in this price range. There is an SD card slot for storing your videos. It is able to support up to 32GB, so you should not be running out of storage space any time soon.
One last thing that I want to mention about this camera that I like about it over a GoPro, it has a removable battery. GoPro uses a built in battery which means that if it dies or if it won’t hold a charge then you are out of luck, but here you can replace it. In fact, the camera comes with an extra battery, so you have a spare right from the beginning.
Conclusion: If you want something that looks like a GoPro and performs almost as well for a fraction of the price then this is the best motorcycle camera for you.
ODRVM Motorcycle Camera key specs
- Removable Battery
- 32GB expandable storage
- Can use GoPro accessories and mounts
- Waterproof up to 30 meters
GoPro Hero Review
This is basically the camera that started it all. The GoPro Hero has remained largely unchanged from its earlier releases, but it is still sold as a budget model. A Hero costs roughly half of what you would pay for a Hero5 Black. This is money that could be spent on parts, so it is money well saved. The main draw here is that it is a name brand GoPro. You will get better specs from a knockoff and for cheaper, but then camera may not last as long as the Hero would.
The Hero is capable of recording 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fpd like the ODRVM camera we just mentioned. You are likely to get a bit clearer video from the Hero than you would the ODRVM, but it will largely be unnoticeable.
The hero is waterproof up to 135 feet. This is a bit further than the ODRVM and it can most likely go deeper without sustaining any damage. GoPro rates them on the conservative side in order to avoid warranty returns from people who’s camera go wet because they took it to the maximum depth for an extended period. If you take a camera that is rated, honestly rated, not conservatively, at 150 feet to that depth for several hours then you are likely going to be fine, but at that point you risk exposing weaknesses in the seals.
Conclusion: While the GoPro Hero is not the best camera in its class, I wanted to include it on this list as a budget GoPro for those who want a name brand camera. If you are looking for a basic, inexpensive camera that will last for years to come then this is the way to go.
GoPro Hero key specs
- Name brand GoPro
- Waterproof up to 150 feet
- Cheapest GoPro
- Can record at 1080p
There are many different camera options out there, so you are sure to find one that suits your style. If you want the best of the best then the only way to go is with a Hero5 Black or Hero5 Session. Either of these will provide excellent video quality and neither requires a case for water up to 33 feet. This means no more muffled sound from having your camera in an airtight case.
If you are looking for something a little easier on the wallet, however, then you may want to take a look at the ODRVM or the Roam 2. Either of these would make an excellent handlebar camera. The GoPro Hero is also an excellent choice for anyone who wants the reputation and longevity of a GoPro, but doesn’t want to spend the money for a Hero5 Black.
Looking for a motorcycle GPS as well? Check out our best motorcycle GPS review!