Fly 6 (Gen 2) – I’ve Got Your Back!

ALAN GRANT | 13th Jan 2015 | PRODUCT REVIEWS

Fly6 Gen 2

The makers of the Fly6 Gen 2 rear light/video camera primarily market the hybrid device as an electronic eye in the back of cyclists’ heads, and while it performs that task admirably, it has the potential to be a whole lot more than that.

At first glance the Fly6 looks like any other seatpost-mounted rear light and it executes that function perfectly with a choice of three modes; reaa solid red light and two blinking patterns.

And at only 87mm tall and weighing just 113g, the makers of Fly6 Gen 2 have managed to substantially reduce its size from the previous version meaning it won’t look out of place on even the top-range road and triathlon bikes.

It’s bright too, emitting 30 lumens on full beam, and the makers claim it will stay on for up to six hours on a single charge of its lithium-ion USB battery, although I didn’t have the opportunity to test it for that long.

But strangely for a something that looks like a light and functions as one, providing illumination isn’t the Fly6’s main purpose. The secret to its inception and its success lies in the high-definition camera housed inside the unit.

With friction between cyclists and motorists sharing roads showing no sign of abating, for the former group, having a camera recording what’s going on behind has two major benefits. The first is that it will capture any unfortunate incidents that might occur, but perhaps more importantly it might make drivers less inclined to act rashly against cyclists if they think they are being filmed.

There is much anecdotal evidence that the increasing number of cars equipped with dashboard-mounted cameras has resulted in better behavior from cyclists; nobody wants to be the latest YouTube “sensation” caught running a red light or gesticulating angrily towards a motorist. This is a good thing so we can only hope for a reciprocal effect.

While the vast majority of cyclists do not seek out confrontation on the road, most have had their patience tried on occasion, and some of the “angry cyclists” shamed online have claimed that the motorists initiated the incidents that led to their Internet infamy. Had those unfortunate cyclists had a Fly6 mounted on their bikes they would have at least been able to show their side of the story.

While motorists might not necessarily realise they are being filmed, because as previously mentioned, the Fly6 looks like a normal bike light, it has a clever rotating bezel design feature that tells you the camera is recording. The bright solid and flashing lights located on the lower half of the Fly6 can be switched off for daytime riding, but the rotating bezel lights will always remain on.

A critical mass of cyclists using the Fly6 will probably be required before most drivers become fully aware that it’s a camera, but it’s definitely a promising product on the safety front.

Technically, the camera is pretty nifty too. I was surprised at the quality when uploaded and viewed, especially with the footage captured on a pre-dawn ride with friends. The makers downplay the Fly6’s capabilities in the dark, but I beg to differ, at least for urban riding, as Singapore’s streetlights provided enough illumination to capture good quality video. It wasn’t the camera’s functionality that spoiled my footage, rather the bright flashing front lights of my riding partners were the culprit.

(Please note that the resolution of video was lowered when published in Youtube)

There is a slight red glow in the bottom centre of the frame from the device’s lights at night, but for me this was just an annoyance.There is no glow from the light. You can check this by filming into a dark night sky with nothing to reflect the light back to the lens. There must be something reflecting the ‘glow’ back onto the lens like a tyre or something else.
It’s in the daytime that the Fly6’s camera is at its best and it’s the amazing video and audio captured that make me think this device has a lot more going for it rather than its primary safety function. And I’m again going to disagree with the manufacturers over their statement that the Fly6 isn’t an action cam as I think it has the potential to be just that.
The quality and stability of the video recorded on my two test rides makes me want to fit a Fly6 to my S-Works Tarmac the next time I’m racing a crit as I think it will perfectly capture the high-speed, elbows-out drama, and it surely has off-road potential too.
While I didn’t have time to fit the Fly6 to my mountain bike and test it on the trails, I did do a flying lap of the UluPandanReservior, and the Fly6 handled the 6.2km of bumpy, uneven gravel track with aplomb (video 2 shows the full lap, apologies for the strap from my backpack spoiling the footage). More importantly, the camera kept recording.
(Please note that the resolution of video was lowered when published in Youtube)
I’m a longtime GoPro user and have frequently encountered problems with the camera turning itself on and off on bumpy rides and even worse … the mounts have even failed catastrophically twice sending my Hero flying to the ground.
With  Fly6, the light/camera fits firmly to a housing used to mount it the seatpost (perhaps too firmly as I couldn’t remove it), which is then attached to the seatpost using heavy-duty rubber straps. The device will fit to any bike thanks to a wide variety of straps and adapters (I had it on both 27.2mm and 31.8mm seatposts), including one for those pesky aero frames that usually leave backlights emitting their beams at an off-centre angle.
Reviewing the film is straightforward. I simply attached the Fly6 unit I tested to my Mac (it connects with a micro USB 2.0 cable) and opened the files using the recommended software (VLC Player) I downloaded for free.I say files rather than file, because a very practical feature of the software is that the camera records continuously in 10-minute loops of about 650MB. This makes it easy to look for a particular segment in the event of an incident with a vehicle rather than having to scroll through one large file.
The video file format is AVI with resolution of 1280 x 720 and 30 frames per second are captured.
The files are captured onto a class-10 microSD card, which can easily be taken out for download or just plug in the entire unit to your computer. Fly6 is of course equally compatible with Windows operating systems and software. It comes with an 8GB microSD card but will also accommodate larger cards up to 32GB with the manufactures only supporting Class 10 cards.
In summary, the Fly6 Gen 2 is a superb product, which has huge potential for both its primary and secondary applications.
Pros
– Highly visible lights.
– Exceptional HD video.
– Captures audio surprisingly well … perhaps too well as inane chat with friends is easily recognisable. But more importantly horn beeping and abuse from drivers will be clear.
Cons
– I had problems on my second test ride turning off the lights, but that could have been a user problem.
– I couldn’t remove the camera from the attachment housing. Not a big deal as necessary functions still accessible when linking to computer.
For more information on the Fly6, please click on this link :http://www.fly6.sg/
List of Fly6 Distributions Outlets :
– A Bicycle Shop Upper Serangoon (Visit: A Bicycle Shop Upper Serangoon Facebook Page)
– BikePlus Pte Ltd (Visit: Bike+ Pte Ltd Webpage)
– Chapter 2 Cycle (Visit: Chapter 2 Cycle Facebook Page)
– Culture Storck (Visit: Culture Storck Facebook Page)
– Cyclelogy (Visit: Cyclelogy Facebook Page)
– Radstation (Visit: Radstation Facebook Page)
– Rodalink – Woodlands (Visit: Rodalink Facebook Page)
– T3 Bicycle Gear (Visit: T3 Bicycle Gear Facebook Page)
– The Facility (Visit: The Facilitity Facebook Page)
– Wheeler’s Yard (Visit: Wheeler’s Yard Facebook Page)
* Note to all readers – Fly6 files are not compatible with iPhotos (fro those who are using Macs and IOS). We do not recomment using iPhotos. Recommended software will be : VLC Player.
You can download it for free and the installations are easy.
Fly6 Gen 2 is now available in Togoparts E-store too! Take a look now! : http://store.togoparts.com/fly-6-gen-2/