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Verdict: 
Lightweight and unobtrusive full-HD camera but limited battery life and audio recording isn't great
Weight: 
62g

The RoadHawk Ride R+ shoots good-quality video and occupies minimal bar or helmet space, although it's up against some stiff competition in the action camera arena.

  • Pros: Clear picture, small and lightweight, easy to use
  • Cons: Limited audio capability, short run-time

For a growing number of cyclists, action cameras have become a final line of defence against a road network that hasn't been designed with safe cycling in mind. It's no wonder then, that the market for such recording devices is becoming saturated. 

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The creator of the RoadHawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition Camera – previously marketed as the dogcam Bullet R+ – looked to find a niche with its previous flagship camera, the Bullet HD 2, which it launched as the smallest and lightest 1080p action camera on the market.

Sensibly, the RoadHawk Ride R+  retains much of what made the HD 2 special. The device's matt grey, brushed aluminium, bullet-shaped finish brings an elegant, low-profile action camera option to a market dominated by GoPro's boxiness.

Roadhawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition Camera - top.jpg

Fortunately, the device doesn't only look good, it captures good-looking footage, too.

Let's start with what the device can do. The RoadHawk Ride R+ records both 1080p and 720p at customisable frame rates of 30/25fps and 60/50fps respectively. Handily for road users, it employs a Loop Mode that records in 15-minute segments, your oldest footage getting overwritten by the new.

Waterproof & light

It's waterproof up to a depth of 10 metres. I didn't try it at that depth – it didn't seem particularly relevant for cycling! – but I've used the RoadHawk Ride R+ in the rain on many occasions and it has coped absolutely fine. 

It is superlight, coming in at just 62g, and has adjustable optimisation levels: brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness and mic level.

You get a bunch of out-of-the-box peripherals with your RoadHawk Ride R+ , which you don't get with all rivals. Among your in-box goodies you'll find mounts of the tripod, sticky, helmet and handlebar variety, along with a wrist-mountable RF (radio frequency) remote control and receiver. With this add-on you can start or stop recording and take still images with the click of a button. Personally, I didn't find it that useful and wasn't totally sure if my clicks had been successful.

Roadhawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition Camera - remote.jpg

The RoadHawk Ride R+ is the most pleasant camera ever to have graced my handlebar. It's good looking, small, lightweight, and relatively straightforward to use and set up thanks to its handy laser pointer (the laser just allows you to get the angle right during setup, it doesn't stay on while you ride). It also looked at home next to my similarly shaped lights, and the slide-to-secure mounts that come as part of the package were all solid and safe.

Roadhawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition Camera - parts.jpg

The camera produced good footage, too. When recording at 1080p, you get a clear image that isn't affected by road vibrations, and the RoadHawk Ride R+ handles changes in light levels admirably, especially if you take the time to grapple with the optimisation software.

In normal daylight conditions the footage is good enough that you can read the registration plates of traffic you interact with on the road. As you'd expect, the footage is less clear at night and/or in rainy conditions. At those times, if the registration plate is right in front of the camera you'll be able to read it every time, but it's not always possible if something is coming towards you on the opposite side of the road. Sometimes you'll get the info you need, but sometimes you won't.

The camera's image-capture standards aren't matched by those of the audio. The literature that comes with the device states that in order to make the most of the microphone you've got to use the rear cap with holes in rather than the solid waterproof cap – so you can't have full waterproofing and full audio at the same time. Using the holey rear cap does make sound audible, but the microphone isn't great for deciphering language – something that would be handy if you're ever involved in a roadside altercation. It will pick up normal level talking if you're within a few feet of the mic, but it gets swamped and becomes difficult to hear if there's background noise. You certainly don't get the clarity that you do with the visuals.

Easy to use

Turning the RoadHawk Ride R+ on is simple enough – you press the on/off button and you're greeted by a buzz and a handy laser beam that points out the centre of what will be recorded. Whenever it's on, it's recording. You can tell when that it is thanks to a blue/green LED that sits next to the on/off button. If you have the camera mounted to the underside of your handlebar, it's a bit of a pain to check whether the LED is flashing to signify that it's on. Telling whether the LED is on or not can also be difficult in bright conditions.

The device is without any sort of signifier as to whether it's running out of battery or storage – although, as mentioned, you can set it to record in Loop Mode where it'll simply overwrite your oldest footage until you tell it to stop. You can also swap out the 8GB micro SD card provided for a 32GB card for more storage capacity (they cost from about £7 online).

Roadhawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition Camera - ports.jpg

The internal battery lasts 60-90 minutes on a full charge, depending on chosen recording quality. That'll cover most people's commutes into work and home again, but not a long weekend ride, for example. Well, you know how long 90 minutes is! If you need longer run-time you could always use a USB battery pack although, of course, that'll add expense and bulk.

The optimisation software, while handy, isn't especially easy to use. The control panel provides a number of adjustable settings. It would be better if there was a live camera feed to give you a frame of reference for any changes you make. The lack of a direct feed meant that the optimisation system had a hit-and-hope feel about it. After a lot of tweaking, I did eventually end up with a better, less grainy image.

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The camera's cylindrical shape allows for adaptable positioning. I attached it to my seatpost for one ride in order to get a rear-view image but my riding position meant I kept knocking it with my inner thigh. While that particular setup didn't work for me, having it as an option without having to purchase a specific mount may be worthwhile for different bikes or riders.

The RoadHawk Ride R+ is smaller and less conspicuous than something like the GoPro Hero5 Session. The Hero5 Session can shoot in 4K – whereas the RoadHawk Ride R+'s maximum resolution is 1080p – and has a greater capability all round, but it's £60 more expensive at £199.99.

Although the RoadHawk Ride R+ offers many positive features, the RF remote control struggles to justify its inclusion, the camera's limited audio capability is a loss for use in a road environment, and the battery life doesn't lend itself to day-long ride captures.

On the other hand, as far as road cycling and action cams go, you're unlikely to come across a better looking option as your on-bike companion, and for the money you get an excellently optimisable image. The weight and slim, unobtrusive looks of the device are also big plus-points.

Verdict

Lightweight and unobtrusive full-HD camera but limited battery life and audio recording isn't great

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road.cc test report

Make and model: RoadHawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition Camera

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?

Everything below is direct from RoadHawk:

As a cyclist, you have probably been in countless situations whereby you wish you could’ve replayed an incident – whether that is a crash or a near-miss. With the RoadHawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition, you can record every moment of your commute, training or leisurely rides and prove your innocence when things don’t go to plan. This camera is also ideal for horse riders."

This waterproof, aerodynamic and extremely robust camera is designed for use cyclists in all weather conditions. With a tough aluminium case and mounts for fitting to your bike or helmet, every ride can be recorded for evidence against angry, inconsiderate or careless drivers or for sports action use.

Superb footage quality

With a 135 wide-angled lens, 1080p resolution and an optional time and date stamp, you can guarantee you are recording all of the view ahead and not missing a detail. Number plates, faces and poor driving are no match for this helmet cam. The RoadHawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition is also able to take 5 megapixel photographs for those scenic adventures!

Loop recording mode

With an optional loop recording mode, you can ensure your entire journey is captured as your oldest footage is overwritten to replace it with the newest.

Large memory

The RoadHawk Ride R+ Cycle Edition is supplied with an 8GB MicroSD card which allows you to record around 90 minutes of high-quality video footage (1080p). When upgraded to a 32GB card, the memory capacity is increased to around 5 hours (subject to power).

Simple operation

To turn the camera on, simply hold down the button on the top of your device. To turn off, do exactly the same! A short vibration will let you know if your device is recording so there is no need to remove your helmet.

Resolution: 1080p
Viewing angle: 135 degrees
Loop recording (optional)
8GB Micro SD card included. Compatible up to 32GB.
Date/time stamp (optional)
1080P (30fps) 720p (60fps) resolution
Waterproof up to 10 metres (5 metres when battery connected)
5MP photo mode
Vibration alert
One button operation
90 minute battery life

What's in the box?
1 x RoadHawk Ride R+ Camera
1 x 8GB microSD memory card
1 x Pro clamp cradle
1 x Adjustable clamp cradle
1 x Handle/bar mount
1 x Curved tray mount
1 x Flat tray mount
1 x Additional vented rear cap
1 x Lanyard
1 x Spare o-rings
1 x USB cable
1 x RF remote controller
1 x RF remote receiver

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Here are the features listed by RoadHawk
Date & Time Stamp
Memory Card Included 8GB Micro SD Card
Maximum Memory Compatibility 32GB Micro SD Card
Resolution 1080p (30fps) / 720p (60fps)
Photo Resolution 5 Megapixel
Can also be used by horse riders etc.
Insurance Approved
Software Compatibility PC / MAC
Power Cable (12v Aux) Optional Battery
Eligible for Evidence
Field of View 135°
File Format .mov
Microphone built-In
Mounts included: Pro Clamp Cradle, Adjustable Clamp Cradle, Handle Bar, Curved Tray & Flat Tray
Loop/Continuous Recording

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Did you enjoy using the product? I found the product sometimes frustrating, but the footage it produced was good.

Would you consider buying the product? Not at the price when a more cumbersome but far more capable GoPro is available.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 26  Height: 6ft 5in  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Moser Speed  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding

 

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.

6 comments

Avatar
kil0ran [1192 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

I've not looked at the market in detail but it appears to be crying out for a cam that can be used with an external battery pack whilst retaining waterproofness. 90 minutes simply isn't enough, not everyone has access to charge personal devices at work, which limits its usefulness as a commuter cam. 

Avatar
HawkinsPeter [2778 posts] 10 months ago
1 like
kil0ran wrote:

I've not looked at the market in detail but it appears to be crying out for a cam that can be used with an external battery pack whilst retaining waterproofness. 90 minutes simply isn't enough, not everyone has access to charge personal devices at work, which limits its usefulness as a commuter cam. 

I agree - also that 90 minutes would be maximum run time which you're only going to get when the battery is new.

Personally I use a Fly12 which is ideal except for its weight and bulk.

I'm surprised no-one makes a device like this one but with a replaceable battery (probably a 18650 lithium ion looking at the size of it). That would enable you to keep the small size and weight and carry a spare battery for when you need a longer run-time.

Avatar
LastBoyScout [498 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
kil0ran wrote:

I've not looked at the market in detail but it appears to be crying out for a cam that can be used with an external battery pack whilst retaining waterproofness. 90 minutes simply isn't enough, not everyone has access to charge personal devices at work, which limits its usefulness as a commuter cam. 

On recommendation, I bought a Veho Muvi K2, which claims a battery life of up to 4 hours. So far, I've got the better part of 2 out of it, but it has been very cold lately.

Avatar
Eton Rifle [118 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
kil0ran wrote:

I've not looked at the market in detail but it appears to be crying out for a cam that can be used with an external battery pack whilst retaining waterproofness. 90 minutes simply isn't enough, not everyone has access to charge personal devices at work, which limits its usefulness as a commuter cam. 

RoadHawk do sell exactly this - a waterproof external battery almost exactly the same size and shape as the camera (presumably so the same mounts can be used).    You connect it to the camera via the supplied cable.

I used this battery, together with the camera, for some months following a road rage incident but the camera is not that reliable and would repeatedly switch itself off without warning.  When it worked, it produced good footage in daylight but was next to useless after dark.  I'm currently considering whether to upgrade to a Fly 12. 

Avatar
kraut [168 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I agree - also that 90 minutes would be maximum run time which you're only going to get when the battery is new.

Personally I use a Fly12 which is ideal except for its weight and bulk.

I'm surprised no-one makes a device like this one but with a replaceable battery (probably a 18650 lithium ion looking at the size of it). That would enable you to keep the small size and weight and carry a spare battery for when you need a longer run-time.

Having just had the battery on my Fly 6 die, I second the call for replaceable 18650 batteries. I mean, it's technically replaceable if you're not afraid of messing around with electronics... but it doesn't look trivial. 

Being forced to throw away £150 of electronics because a replacable part breaks and and isn't replaeable is an ecological sin.

Avatar
kil0ran [1192 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

The Shimano action cam (CM-200?) has a replaceable battery, but can't be run from a power pack whilst charging. Similarly woeful battery life.
I'm not sure there is a technical solution, recording HD video requires considerable power. Probably a cam integrated with an ebike battery would be an option. I doubt a hub dynamo could provide reliable power