Aldi bike cam light

August 14, 2019 at 21:52 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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As you may remember, a while ago my Cycliq rear camera light died on the operating table. Cycliq offered me a 15% discount on a new one, which was sort of nice and sort of not very generous too. Anyway, serendipitously, the very next week Aldi were offering integrated rear light bike cameras for just $69. So I bought one.

It’s clear that someone took a Fly6 to China, and asked a factory there to make something similar but at a very low price. It takes a lot of its design cues from the Fly6, although it’s a lot bigger overall. It has IPX4 waterproofing (which is less than the Fly6, but adequate for most purposes), similar arrangements of buttons and slot covers, and some similar features.

First up, it’s somewhat bulky and heavy. I don’t really care, but if you like your bike to look sleek and / or worry about weight, this is not for you. It uses a rubber bungee things to attach to the bike, and this is actually pretty good – one of the better designs of such things. Better, in fact, than the original Fly6 clip.

It can take a maximum 32GB microSD card, and records in 1080p, 30fps. The video files are broken up into 10 minute pieces, and you can fit about seven hours of footage on a 32GB card.

The light is quite bright, and has steady and two flashing modes, but it’s not spectacular. You can turn the light on and off independently of the camera; there are separate switches for the two functions. A dim green LED lights up to show the camera is operating. The camera automatically overwrites the oldest footage on the card as it goes, so there’s no need to manually delete files on the card.

The battery lasts for about 3 hours, some way short of the claimed 5-6 hours. When the battery gets low, the camera turns off and it bleeps, but the light stays on for a while longer. The manual claims it stays on for 1-2 hours, but it doesn’t; you get about 30 minutes of light before the battery goes completely dead.

There is no function that turns off the camera if you are in a crash, but the recommendation is to put a big SD card in so the battery runs out before your crash footage is overwritten. With the supplied 8GB card, this could happen, but with a 32GB card you are safe – the card will not fill up on a single battery charge.

The quality of the video is just OK. Less good than my 2nd gen Fly6 (which was only 720p), and I’m sure nowhere near the latest Cycliq cameras. There is no stabilisation or other tricks. As is often the case with these cams, the audio is as good as useless. Night time performance is pretty terrible; there’s note much chance you will be able to make out a number plate on footage taken when it’s not daytime. Also the lens seemed to get scratched very easily; it obviously gets dirt on it from it’s position above the wheel, and wiping it away has scratched the lens a lot in a short amount of time.

Here’s some samples of video:

Daytime – road

Dusk – off-road

Dark – Road

One thing you will notice is that the red flashing light leaks into the video, especially at night. That doesn’t bother me, but if you are hoping to capture epic footage for your cycling film, it’s probably not for you. Actually, if you want good video quality, it’s probably not for you. But if you just want a basic cam to record the daily goings on on your ride, it works quite adequately. My Fly6 lasted four years, so at a quarter the cost I will be quids in if it lasts more than twelve months.

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Bike on bike action

August 24, 2010 at 22:30 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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I went away two weekends ago weekend (I was playing at the Dubbo Jazz Festival, which was lots of fun), so went to the airport directly from work on Friday night. This meant my bike stayed in the office all weekend. I of course road to work on Monday on a different machine, and then ended up with two bikes at work.

This continued for a whole week; I rotated the bikes around (including having a fun day where I rode the fixie to work, then later in the day rode the tourer to North Ryde and back for a meeting, commuted home on the fixie and then went shopping on the radish), but it was still all very unsatisfactory. At some point I was going to have to get to work on public transport in order to ride home on the bike that remained in the office – either making for a horrendous morning commute, or taking up a chunk of valuable Baby Chillikebab time at the weekend. Surely there was another solution?

Then it came to me. Ride the folder to work, ride home on the tourer (which by this time was back at the office), then the next day, take the Radish – and strap the folder to the back of it for the ride home. Excellent! Where there’s a bike there’s a way…

So that’s the plan I put into action on Monday. I wheeled the folder out of the shed, dusted it down (poor neglected thing!) and rode it in. Either it’s grown, or since I’ve been riding the Radish I’ve become more tolerant of small bikes, as it was less uncomfortable than I remember. It was actually kind of fun to ride, albeit hard work on the hills. Monday evening I rode home on the tourer (via an orchestra rehearsal in Crows Nest), and this morning took the Radish to work. Man, I really have to get the gears sorted on the Radish. They are horrific; they jump around all over the place. Another trip to the LBS may be in order. The gears on the folder are superb by comparison – and that’s a $200 bike from Aldi…

I ducked out of work at lunchtime, and bought a couple of tie-down straps and some bungy cords, and then come home-time folded up the folder and strapped it to the back of the Radish. It went on quite easily, although added a lot of weight – and width! I didn’t cut through the queues of traffic for fear of putting a large scrape along someone’s door, and that amount of weight fairly high up did make the bike a trifle unsteady. Not badly though; the Radish really does handle big loads with aplomb.

I got several comments from fellow commuters on the way home – one guy really seemed quite interested in the Radish. My stock line was an airy ‘Oh, I always carry a spare bike, in case the main one breaks down…’

So my list of things I have carried on the Radish is growing:
#1 Two weeks worth of shopping
#2 Trombone and associated bits and bobs
#3 Folding bicycle

Any ideas as to what I should carry next?

Another new bike!

October 15, 2009 at 22:45 | Posted in bicycles | 1 Comment
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Well, as you may have seen elsewhere, I bought another bike. I did something that I would probably never recommend to anyone; that is I bought a bike from a supermarket, in a box, sight unseen. I was given some confidence, however, by the positive vibes given on some internet forums. And for $200, well, I reckoned I could justify it simply as a toy.

So I popped out at lunchtime today and bought one from the Aldi in North Sydney; they had perhaps 12 of them in stock. People seemed interested in it as I took it form the pile and to the checkout; several people asked me whether it was any good, and mentioned they were interested in a bike.

This theme continued; I took it back to the office, and took it out of the box. Lots of people cam over to see it; and were very interested, Much more interested than they have ever been in any of my other beautiful bikes. Several people wanted to take it for a ride, including the CEO, who rode around the office on it, barking out pretend orders to people as he sailed past their desks.

It’s an interesting thing. My road bikes look, I suppose, a bit scary to non-cyclists. Something rather serious that you need to know what you are doing; all those levers, dropped handlebars, narrow saddle and such like. This bike positively encouraged people to have a go on it; everyone wanted to sit on it, ding the bell, go for a ride. It just seemed like fun; this kind of reinforces a feeling that I have that people are put off cycling (or even see it as dangerous) because it requires all this special equipment. Show them a bike that can just be hopped on, in normal clothes, with a comfy saddle, that doesn’t look like you need to ride fast, and it brings out the inner child in people – ‘wow, that’s so cute and fun!’

Anyway, ‘what’s it like to ride?’ I hear you all clamour. In a word, small. I’m not especially tall (about 175cm), but even with the saddle as high as it would go, it felt like my knees were round my ears. And the handlebars seem very close too. Whilst this is fine for riding round the office, it gets very tiring riding over the SHB into a headwind…

The steering is also quite twitchy, but I soon got used to that. Getting out of the saddle to climb a hill (man, Anzac Bridge was hard work) is a bit difficult; the twichyness is amplified, and you have to work quite hard to keep the bike stable.

Gears (6 speed Shimano, bottom of the range jobs) are so-so; they don’t seem to be adjusted perfectly (no surprise there), and they also mis-shifted a few times. But they work, and are set at pretty low ratios for low-speed cruising. Brakes work quite well, although they grab somewhat; you go from ‘gentle slowing’ to ‘locking up the wheel’ rather quickly.

But all in all, not too bad for $200. It seems solid; it has mudguards (yay!) and a rack which are quite sturdy, and the build quality is actually quite OK. Cheap tyres, of course, but they are standard 20″ size, so it would be easy to change them – Schwalbe make most of their puncture-resist tyres in 20″ size, for example. It’s a bit tricky to fold up; I haven’t yet got the knack of knowing what angle to put the pedals at to fold it; get the angle wrong and the pedals catch on the brake levers or cables.

Riding home was hilarious. I rode with a friend (who has a rather beautiful Masi), and he just couldn’t stop laughing. I just looked so ridiculous. Especially as I as all dressed up in my best roadie spandex. And it was hard work – it’s about 12km, but when I got home my legs were dead; my knees also felt it a bit because of the low saddle. Still, no-one overtook me, and I did manage to drop a few roadie-types on the way…

Once I got home, I had to admit to Mrs Chillikebab that I’d bought a new bike. ‘When are you going to use that?’ she asked. When i suggested that it might be suitable for her, she snorted ‘ah, you bought it for me, I see…’. The look she gave me, coupled with the fact that she is nearly six months pregnant told me that I wasn’t getting anywhere with that angle. Then she just shook her head in a resigned way.

So the only decision left is whether to ride it to work tomorrow. I left my Salsa at work in order to ride this one home, but I do have another road bike in the shed I could ride in with. Or I can take the Aldi special. The ride to work is much more uphill. Hmmmmm.

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