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How to Set Up Motorcycle Cameras

Updated on September 14, 2010

Riding your motorcycle is a pleasure only other riders will understand. When it is not possible, then you can always rely on the internet to provide some good footage to watch when you can't. But what if YOU want to make the footage?

Well you can! It can be quite simple or complex, expesive or cheap, depending on your ingenuity and working spirit. You can mount your camera on the handlebars or beside the bike somewhere to a more intense action shot (like the front forks or rear suspension). You could even mount it on your head, although that might be a bit dorky looking on anything but a small bullet camera.

Bullet cameras are the more professional way to do this, and they are smaller so you have more options on where to feed them. However they don't have their own on board recording facility, so you will need to wire them to another device, such as an Archos, smart phone or specific recording device.

This guide will give you advice on how to set it up, and what you need to do to get it working.

Cheap and Effective Way of Recording your Motorcycle Journeys

The chances are you already have a digital camera that can record video. They are cheap to get these days, as are the memory cards to use them with, the bigger the better so you can record video for longer.

This is an all in one solution too, the only thing you need is a mount. The disadvantages are these cameras usually have small buttons, and that makes things difficult on the motorcycle, you might have to stop to turn it on and off, meaning video editing might be required post processing depending on what kind of movie you are taking.

Cameras have the same mount universally underneath them (this is so they can all fit on the same tripod styles) This makes it handy to make your own mount. You can even adapt a standard cheap tripod and chop off the bits you don't need, and bolt the bits you do onto the handlebars.

Depending on your motorcycle you will need to make the mount yourself, this is where a bit of metal work experience will come in handy. The fuel tank pump entrance may also be another place to build a mount on.

If you are not after a riders point of view camera, then you can also fashion your own mount to go on the side of the motorcycle in places like the front forks, pillion passenger foot pegs, or even motorcycle luggage boxes. Take extra caution not to allow the camera to get in the way of normal motorcycle operation like suspension travel.

Another option for mounting the camera is adhesive or velcro. However please be careful when doing this not to damage your paintwork.

Advanced Motorcycle Camera Set Up

For a more complete system you will need the following items:

  • Camera
  • Power Source
  • Recording Device
  • Mounts for each part
  • Wiring for each part

Wiring is usually included with each major item here. However you may need to buy additional wiring to extend the cables dependent on where things are mounted, and how big your motorbike is.

Cameras are readily available and some come with mounts already. They will feed their image through the cable to a recording device in a processed format that a computer can understand and record. or have a processing box before doing so. These are available off-the-shelf at reasonable prices. For HD video you will need to spend a bit more. Some even have gyro's built in, so the camera's image will remain stable and not be effected by the movements of the motorbikes suspension and road so much.

For mounting if you don't have something usable pre packaged with your camera then you might have to be a bit clever and fashion your own one, see my advice above for ideas. With smaller camera's a simple fastening like cable ties can be good enough to hold cameras in place.

You will need a recording device also. Dependent on the camera output, you can use a smart phone, another camera (many have video inputs) or a tablet PC like an Archos. This is a more expensive way of doing it, but you get much more out of such a device than recording motorcycle footage!

Lastly it all needs to be powered. Many of these items have batteries, however they all will work on a 12v input too. For long distance trips where you don't want to keep taking out the batteries and charging them nightly, you can wire up your motorcycle like a Harley Davidson battery to the recording device (this will also power the remote camera through the same line the camera is feeding the images through).

That's about it! Hope that helps you budding Valentino Rossi's out there. Enjoy!

Motorcycle Camera Video Footage

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