After reviewing the original Fly6 and subsequently substituting my old light for it, the mark 2 has arrived and I wanted to see if they had developed on the initial backlight/camera combo. The short answer is 'yes'.
When first opening the box the first thing that you notice about the latest Fly6 is that it is considerably smaller than the previous model, coming in at just over 7cm compared to the previous model's 10. So before I've even turned it on one of the only issues that I had with the previous model (not being able to to comfortably fit it underneath a saddlebag) is fixed.
The attachment to the seat post uses the same system as previously, with rubber straps attaching to a plastic bracket with rubber spacers behind to make sure that the camera sits straight and that it doesn't damage the seat post. One of the slight problems with the last model was that it was very difficult to remove just the light from the bike, but this has been solved with this version. In fact, I had become so used to the immovable aspect of the mark 1 that I was nervous about the light jumping out of the bracket. However, my fears proved to be unfounded as it stayed in place through rough roads and driving rain.
One surprising aspect of the new Fly6 is that despite it being smaller, it is fractionally heavier. However we really are talking fractions here, at a touch over 4g more than the previous mode - even weight weenies shouldn't be troubled by that.
The changes to this model are not huge but they have improved aspects that are important to the overall performance.
For instance the battery on the previous was good, but the battery on this version is better, lasting for around 6 hours compared to the 5 in the last.
There is also an improvement in the light output from 15 lumens to 30. I was worried that this could cause burnout with the imaging of the camera, as brighter lights would cause more flare, but in reality the opposite is true.
In the previous model, it is possible to see that there is a light around the edges of the picture, whilst in this one, you can't see it at all. In fact when I look at the imaging, the only reason you know that it is on a backlight is because of the red light reflecting from the number plates of cars and the reflective jackets of cyclists behind me.
The image and sound quality are both slightly improved from the last model too. Although the mark 1 provided good quality imaging, this one goes slightly better. It is not the 1080 HD recording that you get from Go Pros or similar, but it is not designed to be an action cam in the same way, despite it still managing to be effective for that use.
The other major change to this version of the camera is the location of the USB and memory card slots, moving from the bottom of the unit to the right hand side. The previous location of these wasn't an issue for me in the several months that I used it, but if it was being used on a particularly wet day, without using any mud guards, I can see how some may have been wary of its positioning.
In terms of operation, it maintains the one button on each side for operation. The right button acting as the on/off switch and the left button varying the flash pattern from full 30 lumen output to just the LEDs around the camera (these show when it is in operation). The battery life uses the same beep orientated monitoring system, with each beep representing 25% of battery life remaining. It also emits three extended beeps when the battery needs charging, but runs for 90 mins as a light alone, allowing you to get home with a rear light.
My favourite aspect of the Fly6 is the recording functionality that I noted with the last model. Unlike other action cams, this records in loops meaning that when the memory has been depleted, it simply records over the oldest file. The device also has a safety feature to make sure that any footage that may have been taken in a crash is not recorded over. When the camera is horizontal for 4 seconds, it will keep recording but not delete the footage from the minutes leading up to or after that point.
The unit is more expensive than the previous version, and more expensive than the combination of separate camera (say the Dogcam Bullet R) and light that you would need to do the same job. On the other hand the Fly6 is actually purpose built for the job and does it really well. So it is not only an investment in a light and a camera though, it exists as a protection in case something did happen while you were cycling. In fact, now I get the same feeling as driving a car without a seatbelt if I don't have it on my seat post whilst cycling.
Overall, I have been very impressed by both units and once you start using them it is hard to go back to a regular light. In terms of cycling safety, these two units could be revolutionary. We have seen through videos where people have been using one that they can make a significant difference when the worst does happen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLoz3zUVKPY), poor driving needs to be flagged up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vVvkqMrc3E) or when somebody sat on your wheel does something embarrassing (http://vimeo.com/109523905).
Top quality light matched by top quality safety camera
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Make and model: Fly6 The New Fly6
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It is aimed at both the safety conscious commuter and the avid cyclist who wants to record their rides without having a camera attached to his or her helmet.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Resolution 1280 x 720
Frames per second 30
Video File Format AVI
Video Encoding/compression (codec) H.264
Time Stamp YYYY/DD/MM HH:MM:SS
Sensor viewing angle wide - 100 degrees
File Sizes 10 minutes or around 650MB
Compression 16bit PCM/mono/32KHz
Charging Mini USB (USB2.0)
Connecting to computer Mini USB (USB2.0)
Memory Card MicroSD
Capacity 2600 mAh
Battery runtime up to 6 hours
Battery runtime may vary based on settings and environmental conditions
Battery life diminishes over time
MICRO SD CARD
8GB class 10 microSDHC card
4 options from 100% through to off
2 flashing options and solid on mode
Up to 30 Lumens
The one issue from the last product that I had has been solved (the bracket attachment). Light feels solid and reliable, with no issues in any weather conditions found.
Great quality video & audio combined with double the light output, and no flare on the videos, I am impressed.
Seems like a durable product that has taken everything I/nature has thrown at it.
The combination of upped spec and smaller size has increased the price and although I'd view it as an investment it's also true that the jump in price is going to prove a stumbling block for some. Also loses a mark as the older model is still available at a lower price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed admirably, recorded audio video well in varied conditions and the light made me very visible.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It is simple to use and once again the recording feature that allows older footage to be deleted is a brilliant idea.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If I am going to be a stickler, maybe would have been good to see more changes?
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
An upgrade on what was already a revolutionary product, once again I am impressed.
Age: 27 Height: 6 ft Weight:
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.