The Cycliq Fly6 CE updates what was arguably the best all-round rear bike light/camera combo. The redesigned mount and upgraded camera spec are welcome, but there are other issues that really shouldn't be happening on a £170 light.
It's fair to credit Cycliq with if not inventing, at least making the rear camera/light combination into a real-world usable package on a daily basis. Back in 2014 George gave the Mk2 version of the original Fly6 four stars, high praise for a £175 device that only put out 30 lumens – a laughably meek offering by 2019 standards, where 100+ is the order of the day. Anyway, I purchased the Mk2 Fly6 soon after and have used it many hundreds of times since, with only the one disaster where the bracket snapped off and I returned from a ride apparently £175 poorer. To its credit Cycliq did replace the light; this was a known issue and a major improvement for the Fly6 CE is a total redesign of the fixing.
First and foremost, you're purchasing a Fly6 to record evidence of dangerous driving, in the hope that it might lead to a police prosecution or a speedily decided insurance claim in your favour in the event of an actual collision. I dislike these cameras being called 'safety' devices, as they do not keep you safe. Separate infrastructure and firmly enforced, visible policing backed up by a robust judicial process and sentencing helps to keep you 'safe'. What this camera does is make it more likely you'll get money – or justice – out of whoever hit you.
The CE's upgrade to video quality of 1080p at 30 or 60fps is the headline improvement, along with the jump to 100 lumens of red LED light from 30. The image quality is certainly improved, but I found over a number of cases where I wanted to pass footage to police, that the CE still suffers from shortcomings in overcast, shadowed or fast-moving environments. There wasn't consistency in what did or didn't work – generally the rule of thumb was that if it was a brighter day, and the vehicle you were filming was going slower, the more likely you'd get a clear still of a number plate – but no guarantees. Certainly don't expect to get crystal-clear frame-by-frame footage all the time.
The latest firmware update purports to improve image quality in dark environments, which is a plus of the user-updatable system where functionality, performance and options can be improved over time, helping keep your investment valid. Recent updates improved battery life and changed how various algorithms such as the auto-camera-off 'Safe Home' feature worked, to keep a possibly legally-required rear light working by stopping video when the battery is flagging.
In his review of the Fly12 CE front-facing light/camera, Dave found the app to be somewhat of a faff – and it's the same app with the same issues for the Fly6 CE. You need the app to properly configure the CE, and both Android and iOS are supported. You can change the name of the Fly6 in the new app, but not that of a Fly12 if you happen to own one.
Once the app scans and finds the light, it shows battery level and the percentage of free space on the memory card – you can also access the video/sound settings, and you can remove certain lighting options if you don't want to have to cycle through them using the buttons on the light. Finally, you can quickly turn on the theft alarm.
The theft alarm feature isn't a bad idea but the execution is poor. When the light (ie your bike) is moved, the LEDs start flashing, it starts beeping constantly (not that loud, mind), and most importantly, if your phone is within Bluetooth range the app will alert you with a klaxon sound and vibration. Note that if you have Do Not Disturb set on your phone, or your phone is locked, or the sound is muted, the app won't override this – you have to have the app open, on the screen with your phone unlocked, in order to receive theft notifications. So during that 30-minute cafe stop your phone needs to be awake the whole time. Not great.
Also annoyingly, you can't be connected to two lights at the same time – so if like me you also have the Fly12CE to wrangle at the start of a ride, you need to connect to one light, set it, disconnect, connect to the next light, and so on. Of course you can just press the power buttons, if you are certain of battery level and what options you want.
So the software and features are a bit of a mixed bag. The hardware is the same mixed bag – the improved mount being better, but the two buttons are now completely flush and hard to actuate with thick gloves on. The old buttons on the Fly6 were quite raised, and you definitely knew you were pressing them.
A major gripe of mine is with the little rubber flap covering the charging and Micro SD card ports on the top of the light. This cover is very easy to knock open with your hand when wiping the lens, which you'll likely be doing often if it's a damp day. This means that the USB-C and SD ports can get clogged with muck, and more than once I had to get busy with a toothpick to de-clog things. The fit of the rubber is snug, so until you've removed all trace of mud it's not going to close either – doing this road or trailside is not an exercise in happiness reflecting £170 well-spent.
As the rubber cover sits on top of the SD card, it is also rather disconcertingly easy to press the top of the SD card through the rubber, making it click out, and likely fall out completely. This is bad for two reasons: firstly no recording, and secondly no light – if the SD card falls out the light function won't work, potentially leaving you light-less until you purchase another card.
There have been reports of water ingress problems on many internet forums, but I found my one to be sound. Best keep your proof of purchase handy.
The new quarter-turn mount system is a great improvement on the old version, the small bracket fixing to your seatpost with a rubberised Velcro strap. You also get adapters and a longer strap for use on aero seatposts. The light clicks into place firmly and there's nary a hint of movement, and over some very long, rocky gravel road and track descents it stayed put.
Unlike the original Fly6, you don't get a Micro SD card included – so you'll need to factor that into the purchase. A 32GB card is good for about two hours' recording before it gets overwritten, but any files of incidents that you've tagged by pressing the 'Q' button or that have been locked by the 'falling over for a bit' sensor will be protected.
If you own a newer ANT+-enabled bike computer such as a Garmin 520, you can add the Fly6 CE as a light, and operate controls from the computer. This is likely to be preferable to faffing with the app for basic on-off settings. Check Garmin's or the ANT+ website for compatibility with your Garmin/ANT+ device first though.
Over a typical four-hour ride with the light set to its brightest flash, the battery was sufficient – you get audible battery level warnings at startup and shutdown, and you can set regular reminder beeps that it's still recording. If you need to capture a poor driving incident, a quick press of the 'Q' button gives three chirps to let you know that section of footage has been protected and won't be overwritten. If you have an ANT+-compatible model, your head unit will show battery level too.
Once back home and wanting to review footage, you'll likely have to pop the SD card in your PC. You can access it via the USB-C port, but if the light needs charging you'll likely get an error warning that it's wanting too much current. With the light charged, accessing the card via USB-C is fine.
One major bonus of the new CE firmware is, unlike the earlier versions of the Fly6, you don't need to manually set the footage date/time by saving a config file – it all happens automagically as the light talks to the app on the phone.
So overall a very mixed bag, for your £169.99 RRP or more likely around £140 at time of review. It's good to see Cycliq investing in the app and new firmware to improve the user experience and battery/camera performance, but you can't help feeling this is stuff it should have got right at the launch of the updated CE models. The hardware foibles of rubber cover, button feel/position, and reported water ingress will hopefully be sorted in the Fly6 Mk 4. Until that comes out, the Fly6 CE is still – warts and all – the best all-in-one rear camera/light package out there.
As an all-in-one camera-light package it's good, with a few notable issues to be aware of
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cycliq Fly6 CE Camera and Rear Light
Size tested: 3.5 cm (W) x 4.4 cm (L) x 8.4 cm (H)
Tell us what the light 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's for people wanting to record for posterity or prosecution, the antics of other road users approaching from behind.
The Fly6 rear facing bike camera and 100 lumen light is engineered for peace of mind on the road and a run time that lasts as long as you do.
Combining a 100 lumen rear light with a full 1080p HD action camera with audio the Fly6 CE is the ultimate in cycling devices
The Fly6 CE comes with a new and improved 1080p HD action camera that includes fully integrated audio. The camera shoots in MP4 in 5, 10 and 15 minute burst which allows you to capture the best footage of your route from a rear position. To ensure that you only capture smooth film, even when you are travelling at speed or over rough terrain, the camera comes with 6-axis stabilisation.
The fully integrated rear light has up to 100 lumens of light output which comes with various light settings which you can choose between dependent on your cycling environment or battery life.
The Fly6 has a huge 7 hour battery life when both filming and in light mode. When you need to charge the device it is USB-C fast rechargeable which allows you to quickly recharge while on the go via any standard USB port.
The device comes with multiple different connectivity options which allow you to control the Fly6 and also to download your footage. Firstly it can be controlled via ANT+ connectivity. If using a smartphone you can connect via Bluetooth to both control the device and also download and share any footage taken.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
User Manual: Download the Fly6 CE user manual
Firmware: Download the latest Fly6 CE firmware
Bike camera resolution: 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps or 30fps (1920x1080 16:9), 720p video at 60fps (1280x720 16:9)
EIS: 6-axis Electronic Image Stabilisation
Viewing angle: 135° wide angle
Recording structure: Looping video recording
Segment size: 550MB – 1.2GB (5 min segment at 1080p 60fps)
Video format: MP4
Max brightness: 100 Lumen
Light modes: Constant, flash, pulse
Brightness setting: Low, medium, high
Output: 5 volume levels for alerts
Microphone: Stereo recording
Alerts: When turning your device on or off, an audible battery status will sound, alerting you to the current battery level.
A recording alert notification can be set which provides a confirmation chime at 3, 5, and 10-minute intervals to notify you that your device is still recording video footage.
Size and weight
Max microSD card size: 32GB
Type: Class 10 microSDHC
Supported SD cards: See the full list of recommended microSD cards.
Type: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (built-in)
Watt hours: 11.84wh
Charge port: USB-C fast charge accepting up to 2.1 amps.
Charge your Fly6 CE using a USB wall charger (not supplied) or a USB port on your computer.
Water and dust resistant
Ingress protection: IP56
Nanotechnology: We've used nanotechnology on the inside and outside of your Fly6 CE to protect it from the
elements. This process modifies the entire surface area of the circuitry at a molecular level, permanently leaving your
device in a hydrophobic state. This should greatly enhance the longevity of your Fly6 CE device
Cycliq 1/8th turn quick release
Strap pack provided to mount the unit to your seat post (also fits aero seat posts)
Operating temperature: 0-45°C (32–113°F)
Storage temperature: 0-45°C (32–113°F)
In the box
1 x Fly6 CE
1 x Seat post mount
1 x Standard seat post strap
1 x Aero seat post strap
1 x 0° Spacer
1 x 7.5° Spacer
1 x Narrow aero adaptor
1 x Wide aero adaptor
1 x Quick start guide
1 x Safety information and warranty sheet
1 x USB to USB-C cable
1 x Safety tether
It feels hefty and solid, and the mount likewise is good.
There are a lot of options, and you can get it wrong by pressing the wrong buttons. The app does a lot of re-synching, and is not overly intuitive.
I like it more than the previous version.
That rubber cover really is a shocker.
4hrs on a charge with bright light and highest-definition recording isn't bad. Charging via USB-C is quick too.
Overall performance is OK, with some notable let-downs as discussed.
Mine's lasted, but many others report leaking issues.
£169 really is a lot of money.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Accepting that variable dim light is always going to be a challenge, the Fly6CE does OK at capturing detail.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The mount is very solid, and the app is much better than at launch.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The rubber cover really is a let-down on a device this expensive.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's really no all-in-one rear-facing competition to the Fly6 CE – apart from an occasional Aldi offer, but the reports on the internet are consistently very poor.
Did you enjoy using the light? OK, yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Not right now.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Only if they really needed a camera/light, now.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's good, but could be so much better; major markdowns for the rubber cover, the buttons, and a few annoying features.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.