GoPro Hero3 bicycle handlebar mount review

Over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to try multiple bicycle handlebar mounts for my GoPro Hero3. Not that I wanted this opportunity, but it turns out that most  mounts don’t work that well.

The run down

First I tried the official GoPro handlebar mount:

Official GoPro handlebar/seatpost pole mount

It was easy enough to mount on the bike, but to get the finger screws to stay tight while riding so that the camera would stay upright, I had to break out a screw driver to tighten down the screws. The mount also did not allow for any amount of side to side swivel, the camera could only be mounted straight ahead.

I used it to mount the camera so that I could take some video on my mountain bike and then rode with it on my road bike twice. On that second road bike ride, the mount snapped and I ended up returning it.

Next I ordered the Pedco UltraClamp Assembly for Cameras, Scopes and Binoculars.

The Pedco handlebar mount

This mount was very easy to install and allowed the camera to swivel which I found very important. It requires the tripod mount for the GoPro in order to attach it to the camera. However, it was very large and the camera sat very high above the handlebars which I wasn’t too crazy about. On my first ride out with it on my road bike, the set screw that keeps one of the swivels in place kept unscrewing. There was no way to keep it tightened other than by hand screwing it and I was not capable of tightening it enough. I ended up returning it.

Then I tried out the Arkon handlebar mount.

ARKON CMP227 Motorcycle and Bicycle Handle Bar Mount for Cameras with 1/4 20 Screw Thread

It seemed like a decent mount. Much more compact than the last two and still allowed me to swivel the camera side to side, which I liked. It also requires the GoPro tripod mount. However, it just is barely too small to fit around the handlebar on my road bike. It does fit the mountain bike handlebars so I held on to this mount since it was rather inexpensive. I have yet to try it out. I’ll update this post once I take it for a spin on my mountain bike.

Finally, I’ve been using the Charger City Strap on Camera Mount:

ChargerCity Strap on 360 degrees Swivel Adjustment Compact Camera Tripod Mount for ATV Motorcycle Bicycle Bike Handle Bar with Tripod 1/4 20 Screw Thread (Compatible with any Shape Bar range from .75 inches to 1.50 inches)

This mount is nice because the strap mechanism can fit around many different parts of the bike. It’s rubberized so it doesn’t damage the finish and also stays in place for the most part unless you are doing a lot of bouncing on a terrible dirt road. I’m not sure that I would try it on my mountain bike because I don’t think it would stay in place. The two different swivel points provide for a wide range of camera positioning options but it is impossible to actually swivel the camera while riding, at least for me. I have to stop and loosen the upper screw in order to reposition the camera, but it’s better than nothing. This mount also has to be used with the GoPro tripod mount. I first had trouble with getting the tripod screw on tight enough so that when I loosened the upper mount screw, I was really just loosening the tripod screw. Now that I figured that part out, this mount has worked well on four rides for me. Hopefully it’s a keeper.

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Another video made

I finally came back to the rest of the video I took with my GoPro Hero3 while mountain biking a few weeks back and edited down the footage from the BMX Loop at Walnut Creek Park. While this trail has a couple of technical spots, it also has super fast sections where you get to go over small ramps and zoom around switch backs. Towards the end of the mountain biking trail is where you find the BMX park. On the day that I took this video, there were some people out doing maintenance on the BMX ramps. Whenever I come across people riding their BMX bikes in the park area, I like to stop and observe them for a while. It looks super fun!

Once again, I need to learn how to make these videos less grainy, although this one does appear slightly better than the previous two. I think it looks best if you go to YouTube to watch it, rather than watching it in the embedded size.

Previous videos: First try at making a video

Today’s video:

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First try at making a video

My lovely husband gifted me a GoPro 3 video camera for Christmas. I wonder if this means he wants me to try more adventure sports…

Anyhow, we picked up a handlebar mount for the GoPro since biking is the closest to any adventure sport that I get. I tried it out over this weekend and used iMovie to create two YouTube videos.

A few lessons learned from using the GoPro:

  • The handlebar mount can’t just be hand tightened. There’s a reason why the finger screws have a phillips screw head in the center of them. To use a screw driver so that the camera doesn’t end up filming the ground!
  • The battery doesn’t last that long. From a full charge I road my bike for about an hour with the camera on, but it wasn’t taking video the whole time. I took about 18 minutes of video and the battery was already showing just one bar out of three.
  • I need to learn more about video formats. Both of my YouTube videos look sort of grainy / pixelated. I used all the default settings in iMovie.
Back view of the camera on my handlebars

Back view of the camera on my handlebars

Front view of the camera mounted on my bike

Front view of the camera mounted on my bike

For the first video, I took two clips from my ride and cut them down a bit. I sped up the speed to twice the normal speed. The afternoon Texas sun was strong so the trails aren’t the easiest to see in that contrast-y light. I’ll have to redo them in better light on another day.

For the second video, I selected shorter clips and let them play in real-time. If you look closely, you’ll see some dogs playing in the creek crossing.

I have at least one more video from that day of riding the BMX loop that I want to edit and upload. I expect that to take a bit more time. Maybe I’ll learn how to create clearer videos by then 🙂