Bike Intelligencer » gopro All bike, all the time Wed, 13 May 2015 21:53:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why GoPro Will Rock the Show at Sea Otter 2014 Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:19:21 +0000

A lot of us have been using GoPro Hero action cams since they first appeared on the scene nearly a decade ago.

Those of us who suffered with GoPro’s predecessors — huge, heavy, lo-res, bulky camcorders, either jerry-rigged onto our helmets or wired to an anchor weight fanny pack of batteries and controls — knew right away GoPro was onto something big.

They are, after all, the ultimate “selfie.”

One emerging application for cyclists: Loop video of commutes and road rides for safety purposes. If you get in an accident, the GoPro’s record will help document what happened.

For the same reason, we wonder if GoPro won’t wind up being built into cars. And used for DIY home-security systems.

Just don't crash!

Attach it anywhere…

We love GoPros for their light weight, HD output, battery life, multiple mounts, durability, versatility… well, we’re starting to sound like an advertisement.

Which GoPro really loves. Especially now.

The Silicon Valley company, which moved its headquarters from Half Moon Bay partly to be closer to the tech pulse, recently applied for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It was called a “secret” application, but that just shows GoPro’s sophisticated marketing acumen. What gets more attention than something “secret”?!

This comes after GoPro was featured in a fawning “60 Minutes” special and considerable Wall Street attention to GoPro’s annual doubling of revenue.

Whatever the case, there won’t be anything stealth about GoPro’s presence at the Sea Otter Classic bike fest April 10-13.

GoPro traditionally is a marquee presence at Sea Otter, its big booth topped by a huge pennant featuring a constant churn of activity as riders come and go to fiddle with their cams. You typically can score a great deal on GoPro cameras and accessories, too.

This year’s event promises blow-out potential. It’s possible GoPro will use the combined incentive of Sea Otter and its IPO to roll out something really huge.

We can only speculate what it might be. A game changer in mountable, wearable, wireless, mega-HD, socially networked, blah blah blah?

But one thing is clear: You’ll have a hard time missing GoPro at Sea Otter.

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Sea Otter Action Cam Outlook: Will Shimano Show? Mon, 10 Feb 2014 21:58:34 +0000

Even as San Mateo, CA-based GoPro continues to consolidate its helmet-cam market dominance, new players keep giving it a try. The latest: Shimano, a vaunted name in cycling, but a tyro in optics.

Just this week Shimano announced the CM-1000 “sport cam.” Some specs are impressive: Featherweight (86 grams), good battery life (2 hours on 4-hour charge), low-light sensitivity (16mp CMOS sensor), waterproof to 32 feet (no case needed). Wi-fi connectivity and ANT+ compatibility (for performance and training stats) are big pluses too. And all for $299 — a Ben Franklin less than GoPro’s top model (although GP’s step-down “silver” model matches that price, lacking only best-breed HD).

86 grams!

CM-1000 is latest to tilt at GoPro’s empire

There are a lot of unknowns, including mounting options (chest mount particularly, given its horizontal orientation and nearly 3 inch length) and compatibility (will it fit GoPro mounts?). Another biggie: Durability. Controls are exposed and that light weight gives one pause. Finally, the full-on HD spec at just 30 fps seems on the shy side, but we’ll see.

Also, who’s making this bad boy for Shimano? (We assume it’s not getting into the electronics business.)

But the proof’s always in the pudding. When we saw the announcement we were stoked at the prospect of testing the CM-1000 at the upcoming Sea Otter Classic bike fest in April.

Unfortunately, the announced availability isn’t till May. Typically availability is even later than announced dates. The early announcement makes us wonder if it’s a pre-emptive move aimed at something in the works from GoPro.

Sea Otter might not be the best venue for Shimano’s rollout anyway. GoPro is a Gold Sponsor of the bike fest, has a huge, popular booth centrally placed, and keeps the groms fully equipped as they fly around the jump and stunt pits. Break a case or a mount? Run out of juice? Just go to the tent and they’ll fix ya up.

And if GoPro does have something new up its sleeve, Sea Otter is the logical place to show it off.

Competition is good for any consumer product. And GoPro’s cams have some limitations (we’d still like to see an LCD monitor although we understand rationale for omitting; a ball mount option would be great, too).

But till something blows us away, GoPro gets our nod for being home-grown, forward-thinking, customer-responsive and reasonably priced. We like supporting U.S. brands. As for anyone challenging GoPro’s near-monopoly, we’d rather see someone other than a much bigger near-monopolist like Shimano take it on.

In the meantime, alt-GoPro buzz is focused on the CamOne Infinity.

How serious Shimano’s entry is will take some time to ferret out. Remember Sony? Toshiba? Polaroid? See any of these puppies on the trail lately?

For a rundown on the increasingly crowded sport-cam market, check out GizMag’s comparison matrix.

MTBR’s comments section has some good input too.

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For a Merry Cycling Christmas: Helmet cams explored Mon, 07 Dec 2009 10:52:08 +0000 Our first installment on gift ideas for that supremely deserving cyclist on your list involves helmet cams. Everyone on two wheels wants one of these things. On a recent ride at Soquel Demo Forest I counted no fewer than a dozen helmet cams. They’re the hottest thing going for Gen X-treme. YouTube has had to build a new server farm in Sri Lanka to accommodate the explosion in helmet-cam videos. OK I made that last bit up.

I cannot claim hands-on familiarity with the breadth of today’s cammery. Back when I got my first helmet cam, circa 2002, there were two models. It was easy to master the landscape, although both were bulky, incredibly complex to set up and difficult to operate. All that, plus grainy resolution too! But we pioneers were glad to have ’em, because the alternatives were duct tape with a standard, brickian camcorder, or one-handing your way to certain biffdom.

Today the market is exploding. The good ones come with High Density, which is pretty cool as long as you have plenty of storage and a frame rate (60 fps) to support it. Expect to spend anywhere from two bills to the $700 range.

GoPro makes several popular models, including the HERO HD. I tried an earlier (non-HD) iteration a couple of years ago and found it to be flimsy and less-than-advertised in performance. But the new models look more robust and are getting decent reviews.

Seattle-based Twenty20 has produced the new ContourHD, billed somewhat hyperbolically as the first “wearable HD camcorder”, whose specs look fantastic. I may spring for one and review it, but for now you can check it out in the links below. I do like the idea of wireless, and reviews say the control panel is easy to use even with the camera atop the helmet.

Wireless is a big deal: My original kit had (and today’s models still have) a wired camera. The lens unit was light, bulletproof (you can ride over it with a truck if you’re prone to that sort of thing) and versatile (could mount just about anywhere) but the dang wires were a real downer. VioSport also offers a popular wired camera.

I also prefer rechargeable batteries, but others argue that you’re dead in the water on road trips without an outlet. I carry an inverter in my rig (which uses a cigarette lighter port to provide AC) for just that reason, but it’s a personal preference. Oregon Scientific offers models using conventional batteries.

REI carries a pretty good line in helmetcams. I’d start with the Contour and HERO and work from there. Shopping around is definitely recommended.

A site dedicated to helmet cams.’s take on helmet cams.

A good mountain biking video making wise use of helmet cam footage from Galbraith Mountain, Bellingham WA

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