Whether you’re a downhill daredevil or cross-country explorer, capturing your mountain biking adventures in stunning detail takes the right action camera.
After hitting the trails and testing the top models on the market, we’ve narrowed down the best action cameras specifically for mountain biking. These rugged cameras can handle the crashes and weather while shooting smooth, high-quality footage of your epic rides.
The cameras are packed with cutting-edge tech like image stabilization, voice control, and 4K video to turn your rides into cinematic masterpieces. Plus, they’re designed for simple one-button operation, even with gloves on.
Best Camera for Mountain Biking Photography
Here is a list of the best action cameras for mountain biking photography in 2024:
- GoPro HERO11 Black: Best for low-light performance.
- DJI Osmo Action 3: Best for pro-level 4K quality.
- Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch Edition: best for 360 video.
- GoPro MAX: Best for VR-ready footage without the learning curve.
- Cycliq Fly6 CE: Best Integrated Safety Light + Camera.
- Olympus Tough TG-6: Best Rugged Camera for Mountain Biking Photos.
- AKASO V50 Elite: Best Budget Action Camera.
- Panasonic Lumix FT7: Most Durable Camera for Mountain Biking.
The HERO11 Black makes capturing killer mountain biking footage easy with preloaded shooting modes like TimeWarp 3.0 for stabilized hyperlapse videos. It features a large new image sensor capable of up to 5.3K video resolution and 27MP photos. This allows it to capture crisp, highly detailed footage even in low-light conditions.
The star of the show is GoPro’s latest HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization with Horizon Lock built-in. Even on rough downhill tracks, the footage stays smooth and steady, almost like it was filmed using a gimbal.
I was blown away by how well it handled fast panning motions and vibration from mountain bike tires rolling over rocks and tree roots. No other action camera comes close in terms of stabilization.
It survived several crashes unscathed during testing. The built-in waterproofing down to 10 meters means you can film epic splashes through puddles and streams without worrying about damage.
The camera’s battery life is another significant improvement over previous models. The HERO11 Black uses an advanced 1720mAh lithium-ion battery, which extends recording time by up to 38% in moderate temperatures over previous GoPro cameras and batteries. This means you can capture more of your ride without worrying about running out of battery.
Right out of the box, the Osmo Action 3 feels extremely durable and premium. The metal frame and Gorilla Glass lens cover can clearly withstand a lot of shocks and impacts, which is crucial for mountain biking.
We also liked the new magnetic quick-release system – it makes swapping mounts effortless while still keeping the camera securely locked in. The camera is also fully waterproof down to 16 meters without any housing required.
In our experience, the image quality of the Osmo Action 3 is on par with the GoPro Hero 11, especially with the latest firmware update that enables 10-bit color.
Footage is sharp and stabilized even in low light conditions thanks to the f/2.8 aperture lens. The wide field of view captures more peripheral action which is great for conveying speed.
For mountain biking, the different stabilization modes like RockSteady and HorizonSteady work amazingly well to smooth out vibrations and bumps even at high speeds.
Having tested all three levels of RockSteady stabilization, we found Horizon Balancing to be the best for mountain biking photography. It smooths out bumps and vibration in the pitch axis while keeping some natural movement that looks pleasing for action sports. Horizon Steady locks the horizon perfectly but looks too “floaty” in my opinion.
The Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch Edition is a dual 1-inch sensor 6K 360 camera. It offers the ability to shoot 6K video with FlowState stabilization and 21MP photos, providing a high dynamic range and excellent low-light performance. This makes it ideal for capturing the fast-paced, high-intensity action of downhill mountain biking, even in varying light conditions.
It delivers unparalleled image quality compared to other consumer 360 cameras we’ve used. The massive 1-inch sensors provide superior low-light performance, capturing crisp details even in dark forest sections. Shadow areas retain more information due to the high dynamic range.
And the 6K video resolution enables reframing stunning 4K footage in post without losing sharpness.
A key advantage of the ONE RS system is its modular design enabling lenses to be swapped to suit different shooting needs.
For mountain biking, we opted for the 1-inch 360 module to capture immersive point-of-view along with alternate perspectives. But the 4K boost lens can be used for standard wide angle POV similar to a GoPro. This versatility in a rugged, compact form factor is ideal for diverse outdoor action.
After effortless offloading of footage via the Insta360 app, we found its suite of editing tools allowed quick enhancement of clips using keyframe selection, speed ramping and more.
The excellent flowstate stabilization ensured even handheld follow camera clips were easily smoothed. For mountain biking videos, the ONE RS 1-Inch Edition’s advanced capture capabilities combined with Insta360’s user-friendly editing make the production process seamless from trail to upload.
The GoPro MAX offers a unique 360-degree capture capability, which can add a new dimension to your mountain biking videos. This feature allows you to capture everything around you and edit the shot composition later, providing a level of creative freedom that’s hard to match with traditional cameras.
With its dual 180-degree lenses, the MAX captures 5.6K 360-degree videos and 16.6MP 360-degree photos, providing immersive footage of your rides.
Like other GoPros, the MAX is built tough to handle crashes, mud, and weather. It’s waterproof down to 16ft without a case, so you can ride in rain or through streams without worries.
The MAX can record up to 78 minutes of 5.3K video per charge. For longer rides, we recommend picking up a couple of spare batteries. The camera is quick to recharge, with a full charge taking around 2 hours.
One of the key advantages of the GoPro MAX for mountain biking is its ability to reframe 360-degree footage into traditional flat videos with your choice of aspect ratio, such as 16:9 or 4:3. This allows you to capture every angle of your ride and choose the best perspective during post-production.
The Olympus Tough TG-7 is a compact, go-anywhere camera that’s built to withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures.
Its durability is one of its standout features, with the ability to withstand drops, crushing forces, and extreme temperatures. This ruggedness makes it an excellent choice for mountain biking, where it can handle the bumps, shocks, and occasional falls that come with the territory.
Additionally, the TG-7 records crisp, stable 4K video at 30fps, which is essential for capturing fast downhill runs and trail feature. Its dual sensor-shift stabilization effectively reduces camera shake when riding over bumpy terrain.
While quality lags behind the superb stabilization and dynamic range of the Hero11, the TG-7 produces pleasing 4K footage that easily meets the needs of most mountain bikers. Slow motion options in 1080p or 720p capture dramatic crashes and jumps.
Several bonuses make the TG-7 well-suited for mountain biking. The onboard GPS automatically geotags your location on images and videos while interval shooting modes create engaging hyperlapse videos of your rides.
The Akaso V50 Elite records crisp, stable 4K video at up to 60fps, allowing mountain bikers to capture fast-moving trail action in stunning quality. The Sony image sensor provides excellent dynamic range and color reproduction in both videos and 20MP photos.
While the 4K video quality meets expectations for the price, the V50 Elite does not have the absolute best image quality on the market. When compared side-by-side with footage from a GoPro Hero 8, the V50 Elite shows slightly more graininess and lacks some vibrancy. But for the budget-conscious, the video is very good given the huge price difference.
The built-in electronic image stabilization (EIS) helps smooth out bumps and vibrations during mountain biking. It works fairly well when recording in 1080p and delivers usable footage. However, when shooting in 4K, the EIS has more difficulty stabilizing the image and results in a “jello” effect.
A major advantage of the V50 Elite is it comes with a full bundle of accessories for mounting on helmets, bikes, bodies, and more.
For casual mountain bikers and beginners, the AKASO V50 Elite represents excellent value as a feature-packed 4K action camera under $150. It delivers good enough video quality, stabilization, durability, and accessories to capture fun rides on a budget.
The Sony RX100 VII packs a surprising amount of features into a camera body that can fit into your jersey pocket. It has a 20MP 1-inch sensor, 24-200mm zoom lens, rapid-fire 20fps continuous shooting, and 4K video recording.
The compact size coupled with this powerful performance makes it ideal for mountain biking. You barely notice it mounted to your helmet or chest, yet it delivers stunning image quality even in challenging lighting conditions on the trail.
One of the most impressive capabilities of the RX100 VII is its autofocus system. It uses 357 phase-detect AF points and 425 contrast-detect points to achieve lightning-fast focus acquisition and tracking. This is a game-changer for mountain biking, where you are constantly moving over varied terrain. The camera locks on instantly and tracks your subject smoothly without hunting.
It even maintains focus when shooting video at up to 4K 30fps. This level of AF performance is unheard of for a compact camera.
The RX100 VII has built-in optical SteadyShot stabilization that works extremely well for reducing camera shake. When combined with electronic stabilization in video mode, the footage is remarkably smooth and stable. The stabilization even works at the full 200mm telephoto end of the zoom range, allowing you to capture steady long-range trail shots.
WHAT ARE SOME DESIRABLE FEATURES MOUNTAIN BIKERS SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A GREAT ACTION CAMERA?
IMAGE & VIDEO QUALITY
This may be one of the most important considerations because this is arguably the factor that will effect the quality of the finished video more than anything else. The first thing to look for will be the definition the camera is capable of filming in, and there are 2 basic kinds of definition to look for: HD (High Definition) and SD (Standard Definition).
SD cameras will usually be less expensive that HD ones, but users should be aware of the fact that SD cameras will produce videos of much lower quality. HD video cameras will come in 2 basic resolutions, and these are 720p and 1080p, respectively. For those that will be uploading their videos to the internet, 720p offers an competent level of performance at a reasonable price.
Another facet of image quality is frame rate. All things being equal, a higher frame rated will usually produce a higher quality video in most situations. Prospective photographers will want to select a camera that shoots at least 30 fps, but selecting a camera capable of filming at 60 fps will provide even higher quality videos, especially in fast action situations.
Finally, users should select a camera that can handle various levels of lighting; some days will be sunny and others cloudy or rainy, and it will be of vital importance to use a camera that can bring the best out of an image no matter what the ambient lighting conditions may be.
BATTERY LIFE AND MEMORY
It will be of little use to the rider if the battery of the camera runs out every half hour. Therefore, users should select cameras that feature at least several hours of reserve battery power, and should avoid cameras with built-in batteries. Not only will this make filming easier, but the rider will have to pack fewer spare batteries, thus saving space and weight.
Memory is also a common concern among video makers. Users should always make certain to purchase a camera that has space for an upgradeable memory card; this will enable the individual to easily upgrade to a higher level of memory whenever necessary.
The prospective buyer should always purchase a camera that is small or large enough to be easily mounted wherever they please. In the case of helmet mounted cams, smaller is usually the better choice.
A decent mountain biking camera will come with easily accessible controls that will usually fit into the palm of the riders hand.
Mountain bikers will in most cases find it very useful to purchase video cameras that feature lenses with wider angles. This will help riders avoid the annoying tunnel vision effect found on lenses with too narrow an angle. But individuals will not want the angle to be too wide, or they risk creating a fish bowl effect.
(^ Normal VS wide angles len)
Finally, bikers will want to purchase a camera with decent audio quality in case they want their viewers to experience the exhilarating sounds that come part and parcel with a great ride.
In a perfect world, every mountain biking trip would feature sunny days and blue skies. In the real world, riders will have to deal with heavy rain at times. As a matter of fact, some riders may ever prefer to ride in less than perfect weather for one reason or another. The bottom line is, this means a lot of water – and perhaps mud – will possibly be showered on the camera.
SLOW MOTION VIDEO CAPTURE
Because of this, riders will want to make sure that whichever camera that they settle on comes with a water/weatherproof housing. This will help to ensure that their investment is always protected from any water related damages.
There will be times when riders may want to give their videos a little extra style, and a mountain bike video camera that offers slow motion video capture is a great way to give videos a little extra character. Cameras that feature this kind of technology also generally offer simple photo capture as well. Thus, riders will want to obtain a camera that comes with these invaluable features.
WHAT ARE SOME CREATIVE WAYS TO MOUNT THE CAMERA?
There are a few basic ways for riders to mount their cameras for variety and effect. On common and popular method is to mount the camera from the helmet of the rider. This provides the video with realistic and interesting perspectives, and really brings viewers into the riding experience. The camera may be mounted facing forward, backwards, or even sideways.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BETTER BRANDS AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET?
Another great place to mount the camera is under the seat of the bike facing backwards, providing very interesting and varied pictures. A final common method is to strap the camera to the chest of the rider from a special harness. This gives watchers the feeling of being in the video without having parts of the helmet appearing in the frame.
There are several companies out there that make great cameras and are worthy of mention. These include:
Mountain biking and video are a natural match that go great with one another. Riders who keep in mind the features mentioned in this article and look into some of the brand names that were mentioned will be sure to have the riding- and the filming – experiences of their lives.