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Verdict: 
As an all-in-one camera-light package it's good, with a few notable issues to be aware of
Weight: 
112g
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The Cycliq Fly6 CE updates what was arguably the best all-round rear bike light/camera combo. The redesigned mount and upgraded camera spec are welcome, but there are other issues that really shouldn't be happening on a £170 light.

  • Pros: Better camera, better mount, larger battery, USB-C charging, auto date/time setting
  • Cons: Poor placement of the charging socket, buttons harder to use, app can be a faff, possible water ingress issues, won't work as a light without Micro SD card

It's fair to credit Cycliq with if not inventing, at least making the rear camera/light combination into a real-world usable package on a daily basis. Back in 2014 George gave the Mk2 version of the original Fly6 four stars, high praise for a £175 device that only put out 30 lumens – a laughably meek offering by 2019 standards, where 100+ is the order of the day. Anyway, I purchased the Mk2 Fly6 soon after and have used it many hundreds of times since, with only the one disaster where the bracket snapped off and I returned from a ride apparently £175 poorer. To its credit Cycliq did replace the light; this was a known issue and a major improvement for the Fly6 CE is a total redesign of the fixing.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Image quality

First and foremost, you're purchasing a Fly6 to record evidence of dangerous driving, in the hope that it might lead to a police prosecution or a speedily decided insurance claim in your favour in the event of an actual collision. I dislike these cameras being called 'safety' devices, as they do not keep you safe. Separate infrastructure and firmly enforced, visible policing backed up by a robust judicial process and sentencing helps to keep you 'safe'. What this camera does is make it more likely you'll get money – or justice – out of whoever hit you.

> How to choose the right bike camera

The CE's upgrade to video quality of 1080p at 30 or 60fps is the headline improvement, along with the jump to 100 lumens of red LED light from 30. The image quality is certainly improved, but I found over a number of cases where I wanted to pass footage to police, that the CE still suffers from shortcomings in overcast, shadowed or fast-moving environments. There wasn't consistency in what did or didn't work – generally the rule of thumb was that if it was a brighter day, and the vehicle you were filming was going slower, the more likely you'd get a clear still of a number plate – but no guarantees. Certainly don't expect to get crystal-clear frame-by-frame footage all the time.

The latest firmware update purports to improve image quality in dark environments, which is a plus of the user-updatable system where functionality, performance and options can be improved over time, helping keep your investment valid. Recent updates improved battery life and changed how various algorithms such as the auto-camera-off 'Safe Home' feature worked, to keep a possibly legally-required rear light working by stopping video when the battery is flagging.

Cycliq Fly6 Hd Camera and Rear light - unit.jpg

App faff

In his review of the Fly12 CE front-facing light/camera, Dave found the app to be somewhat of a faff – and it's the same app with the same issues for the Fly6 CE. You need the app to properly configure the CE, and both Android and iOS are supported. You can change the name of the Fly6 in the new app, but not that of a Fly12 if you happen to own one.

Once the app scans and finds the light, it shows battery level and the percentage of free space on the memory card – you can also access the video/sound settings, and you can remove certain lighting options if you don't want to have to cycle through them using the buttons on the light. Finally, you can quickly turn on the theft alarm.

The theft alarm feature isn't a bad idea but the execution is poor. When the light (ie your bike) is moved, the LEDs start flashing, it starts beeping constantly (not that loud, mind), and most importantly, if your phone is within Bluetooth range the app will alert you with a klaxon sound and vibration. Note that if you have Do Not Disturb set on your phone, or your phone is locked, or the sound is muted, the app won't override this – you have to have the app open, on the screen with your phone unlocked, in order to receive theft notifications. So during that 30-minute cafe stop your phone needs to be awake the whole time. Not great.

Cycliq Fly6 Hd Camera and Rear light - speaker.jpg

Also annoyingly, you can't be connected to two lights at the same time – so if like me you also have the Fly12CE to wrangle at the start of a ride, you need to connect to one light, set it, disconnect, connect to the next light, and so on. Of course you can just press the power buttons, if you are certain of battery level and what options you want.

Hardware

So the software and features are a bit of a mixed bag. The hardware is the same mixed bag – the improved mount being better, but the two buttons are now completely flush and hard to actuate with thick gloves on. The old buttons on the Fly6 were quite raised, and you definitely knew you were pressing them.

Cycliq Fly6 Hd Camera and Rear light - side 2.jpg

A major gripe of mine is with the little rubber flap covering the charging and Micro SD card ports on the top of the light. This cover is very easy to knock open with your hand when wiping the lens, which you'll likely be doing often if it's a damp day. This means that the USB-C and SD ports can get clogged with muck, and more than once I had to get busy with a toothpick to de-clog things. The fit of the rubber is snug, so until you've removed all trace of mud it's not going to close either – doing this road or trailside is not an exercise in happiness reflecting £170 well-spent.

Cycliq Fly6 Hd Camera and Rear light - USB and memory card slot.jpg

As the rubber cover sits on top of the SD card, it is also rather disconcertingly easy to press the top of the SD card through the rubber, making it click out, and likely fall out completely. This is bad for two reasons: firstly no recording, and secondly no light – if the SD card falls out the light function won't work, potentially leaving you light-less until you purchase another card.

There have been reports of water ingress problems on many internet forums, but I found my one to be sound. Best keep your proof of purchase handy.

The new quarter-turn mount system is a great improvement on the old version, the small bracket fixing to your seatpost with a rubberised Velcro strap. You also get adapters and a longer strap for use on aero seatposts. The light clicks into place firmly and there's nary a hint of movement, and over some very long, rocky gravel road and track descents it stayed put.

Cycliq Fly6 Hd Camera and Rear light - clamp.jpg

Unlike the original Fly6, you don't get a Micro SD card included – so you'll need to factor that into the purchase. A 32GB card is good for about two hours' recording before it gets overwritten, but any files of incidents that you've tagged by pressing the 'Q' button or that have been locked by the 'falling over for a bit' sensor will be protected.

Cycliq Fly6 Hd Camera and Rear light - side.jpg

If you own a newer ANT+-enabled bike computer such as a Garmin 520, you can add the Fly6 CE as a light, and operate controls from the computer. This is likely to be preferable to faffing with the app for basic on-off settings. Check Garmin's or the ANT+ website for compatibility with your Garmin/ANT+ device first though.

Battery life

Over a typical four-hour ride with the light set to its brightest flash, the battery was sufficient – you get audible battery level warnings at startup and shutdown, and you can set regular reminder beeps that it's still recording. If you need to capture a poor driving incident, a quick press of the 'Q' button gives three chirps to let you know that section of footage has been protected and won't be overwritten. If you have an ANT+-compatible model, your head unit will show battery level too.

Once back home and wanting to review footage, you'll likely have to pop the SD card in your PC. You can access it via the USB-C port, but if the light needs charging you'll likely get an error warning that it's wanting too much current. With the light charged, accessing the card via USB-C is fine.

One major bonus of the new CE firmware is, unlike the earlier versions of the Fly6, you don't need to manually set the footage date/time by saving a config file – it all happens automagically as the light talks to the app on the phone.

Conclusion

So overall a very mixed bag, for your £169.99 RRP or more likely around £140 at time of review. It's good to see Cycliq investing in the app and new firmware to improve the user experience and battery/camera performance, but you can't help feeling this is stuff it should have got right at the launch of the updated CE models. The hardware foibles of rubber cover, button feel/position, and reported water ingress will hopefully be sorted in the Fly6 Mk 4. Until that comes out, the Fly6 CE is still – warts and all – the best all-in-one rear camera/light package out there.

Verdict

As an all-in-one camera-light package it's good, with a few notable issues to be aware of

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Cycliq Fly6 CE Camera and Rear Light

Size tested: 3.5 cm (W) x 4.4 cm (L) x 8.4 cm (H)

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

It's for people wanting to record for posterity or prosecution, the antics of other road users approaching from behind.

Cycliq says:

The Fly6 rear facing bike camera and 100 lumen light is engineered for peace of mind on the road and a run time that lasts as long as you do.

Combining a 100 lumen rear light with a full 1080p HD action camera with audio the Fly6 CE is the ultimate in cycling devices

Action Camera

The Fly6 CE comes with a new and improved 1080p HD action camera that includes fully integrated audio. The camera shoots in MP4 in 5, 10 and 15 minute burst which allows you to capture the best footage of your route from a rear position. To ensure that you only capture smooth film, even when you are travelling at speed or over rough terrain, the camera comes with 6-axis stabilisation.

Rear Light

The fully integrated rear light has up to 100 lumens of light output which comes with various light settings which you can choose between dependent on your cycling environment or battery life.

Charging

The Fly6 has a huge 7 hour battery life when both filming and in light mode. When you need to charge the device it is USB-C fast rechargeable which allows you to quickly recharge while on the go via any standard USB port.

Connectivity

The device comes with multiple different connectivity options which allow you to control the Fly6 and also to download your footage. Firstly it can be controlled via ANT+ connectivity. If using a smartphone you can connect via Bluetooth to both control the device and also download and share any footage taken.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

From Cycliq:

Tech specs

Fly6 CE

Download

User Manual: Download the Fly6 CE user manual

Firmware: Download the latest Fly6 CE firmware

Video

Bike camera resolution: 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps or 30fps (1920x1080 16:9), 720p video at 60fps (1280x720 16:9)

EIS: 6-axis Electronic Image Stabilisation

Viewing angle: 135° wide angle

Recording structure: Looping video recording

Segment size: 550MB – 1.2GB (5 min segment at 1080p 60fps)

Video format: MP4

Light

Max brightness: 100 Lumen

Light modes: Constant, flash, pulse

Brightness setting: Low, medium, high

Audio

Output: 5 volume levels for alerts

Microphone: Stereo recording

Alerts: When turning your device on or off, an audible battery status will sound, alerting you to the current battery level.

A recording alert notification can be set which provides a confirmation chime at 3, 5, and 10-minute intervals to notify you that your device is still recording video footage.

Size and weight

Height: 8.4cm/3.3in

Width: 3.5cm/1.4in

Depth: 4.4cm/1.7in

Weight: 110g/3.88oz

MicroSD cards

Max microSD card size: 32GB

Type: Class 10 microSDHC

Supported SD cards: See the full list of recommended microSD cards.

Battery

Type: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (built-in)

Size: 3200mAh

Watt hours: 11.84wh

Voltage: 3.7v

Charge port: USB-C fast charge accepting up to 2.1 amps.

Charge your Fly6 CE using a USB wall charger (not supplied) or a USB port on your computer.

Water and dust resistant

Ingress protection: IP56

Nanotechnology: We've used nanotechnology on the inside and outside of your Fly6 CE to protect it from the

elements. This process modifies the entire surface area of the circuitry at a molecular level, permanently leaving your

device in a hydrophobic state. This should greatly enhance the longevity of your Fly6 CE device

Connect

Bluetooth

Ant+

USB-C

Mounting

Cycliq 1/8th turn quick release

Strap pack provided to mount the unit to your seat post (also fits aero seat posts)

Sensors

Gyrometer

Accelerometer

Temp. range

Operating temperature: 0-45°C (32–113°F)

Storage temperature: 0-45°C (32–113°F)

In the box

1 x Fly6 CE

1 x Seat post mount

1 x Standard seat post strap

1 x Aero seat post strap

1 x 0° Spacer

1 x 7.5° Spacer

1 x Narrow aero adaptor

1 x Wide aero adaptor

1 x Quick start guide

1 x Safety information and warranty sheet

1 x USB to USB-C cable

1 x Safety tether

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

It feels hefty and solid, and the mount likewise is good.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
6/10

There are a lot of options, and you can get it wrong by pressing the wrong buttons. The app does a lot of re-synching, and is not overly intuitive.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

I like it more than the previous version.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
4/10

That rubber cover really is a shocker.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

4hrs on a charge with bright light and highest-definition recording isn't bad. Charging via USB-C is quick too.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10

Overall performance is OK, with some notable let-downs as discussed.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10

Mine's lasted, but many others report leaking issues.

Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
5/10

£169 really is a lot of money.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Accepting that variable dim light is always going to be a challenge, the Fly6CE does OK at capturing detail.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The mount is very solid, and the app is much better than at launch.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The rubber cover really is a let-down on a device this expensive.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

There's really no all-in-one rear-facing competition to the Fly6 CE – apart from an occasional Aldi offer, but the reports on the internet are consistently very poor.

Did you enjoy using the light? OK, yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Not right now.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Only if they really needed a camera/light, now.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's good, but could be so much better; major markdowns for the rubber cover, the buttons, and a few annoying features.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is: Velocite Selene

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.

16 comments

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cdamian [267 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Good review and it does match with my exerience. I probably would have rated it a bit worse.

I really like the improved hardware. I can even live with the stupid rubber port flap, though this is solved so much better in the Fly12ce.

But the software is amazingly bad.

Why can't you use the app to update the firmware? The update procedure of the device is probably the worst one of any gadget I own. Also: where are the updates, seems like nothing is happening any more.

You also can't use the app to preview or share any of the video on the cameras. You have to plug it into a computer and copy the files. I haven't used the Windows/Apple desktop software, because I don''t own one of those.

Maybe they wanted to avoid to make the mobile app even worse than it already is.

But all of this is only topped by the ANT+ connectivity, which was one of the reasons I bought the Fly6ce and Fly12ce. It constantly disconnects and switches to random modes. And sometimes you don't notice and ride around without any rear light for a while. I completely gave up on this feature.

In fact I pretend the "CE" (Connected Edition) never happened and just use the button and ignore the app and ANT+.

Avatar
Rick_Rude [489 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

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Boopop [45 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Hi,

Please note, you've reviewed a slightly older revision of the Fly6CE. I had one that let some mud in. If you look at the one they sent me to replace it (thanks cycliq!) the rubber flap doesn't potrude quite so far out on the body of the device. With the one reviewed, if you push your thumb up past the flap it'll open it. I assume that's how the mud opened up mine. My one new one (see photo) just has a tiny bit of rubber extending out to open it. This makes it much harder for it to open by accident. Cheers  1

Avatar
KiwiMike [1431 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Boopop wrote:

Hi,

Please note, you've reviewed a slightly older revision of the Fly6CE. I had one that let some mud in. If you look at the one they sent me to replace it (thanks cycliq!) the rubber flap doesn't potrude quite so far out on the body of the device. With the one reviewed, if you push your thumb up past the flap it'll open it. I assume that's how the mud opened up mine. My one new one (see photo) just has a tiny bit of rubber extending out to open it. This makes it much harder for it to open by accident. Cheers  1

Good call there Boopop, thanks. They were very quiet about that change. Their website images are still showing the model I have. 

Avatar
rix [269 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

There is a problem with a Velcro strap. It is not made for thinner seatposts. Cannondales have 25.4mm seatposts and Velcro strip is just too long. Even 27.2mm might be a problem.

Otherwise I am a big fan. My old Fly6 helped someone to provide evidence for police. Video quality has improved a great deal from Fly6, but still encoding could be better.

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schneil [14 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Another hardware update on the fly6ce.  My original (from 2018) would not charge on a USB C-C cable, only a USB A-C, but the replacement does. 

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bornslippy [26 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Really very annoyed about having to use their cable instead of a standard usb-c to usb-c cable. Poor engineering.

 

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bornslippy [26 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Really very annoyed about having to use their cable instead of a standard usb-c to usb-c cable. Poor engineering.

 

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taberesc [17 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

It’s amazing its got 3.5 stars. Looks like a 2 at best. If this had all the problems listed I would be sending it back and demanding a refund. 

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LesP [3 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

On my 4th Fly6ce. Great concept and usually good support when something goes wrong, however, my experience has been that something often goes wrong with the software or the mounts. On my first fly6ce, the mount wore quickly with the result that the fly6ce would fall off if I hit a big enough bump. Cycliq would not replace so I superglued the light to the mount. They did however offer a replacement at half price, which I took up. The next fly6ce had a better fit but had numerous software issues. It was replaced under warranty. The replacement was then replaced again under warranty and seems to be working fine, although I have only had it a couple of weeks. 

My fly12ce had mount issues also. It has a plastic mount like the fly 6ce. Going over a bump (on my roadbike), the mount sheared in two sending the light crashing to the ground, scratching the unit. Cycliq would not replace the unit, however they did send two replacement mounts and suggested I use the small strap as a safety - which I now do for both the front and rear.  

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BikeBud [262 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

An honest review of the Fly6CE, thank you.  My experiences are as follows:  

  • My first saw the lens coming off.  Evans sent it back & I got a replacement (having to be without my rear light/camera for a while - not great).  
  • My second has suffered from the memory card popping out (retained by the rubber cover), and therefore not recording.  
  • The feature which stops recording after a period of inactivity didn't work properly, so for a while I only ever got a short period of recording (until I tested it and switched the feature off). 
  • On my latest ride the first few minutes of recording seemed to be missing - no idea why.  
  • The battery doesn't last as long as suggested.  I now run it without the light, and have a TraceR running as my light.  The battery discharges fairly rapidly when stored for a few days - always needs a charge (quite slow) before using it, so some planning in advance required.

Essentially the concept is great, but the execution still needs some work.  When you're relying on having footage to use in the event of a "situation" this variability isn't really acceptable.  

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bobbypuk [82 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I like my Fly6CE but for a couple of points

  • That rubber flap is useless. It doesn't close when there is the slightest amount of muck near it, to be fair this does stop it from coming open, it's always open
  • I had an SD card fail and so the light stopped working. This is inexcusable, why can't I use it as a light without a card? I unwittingly cycled 5 miles with no rear light. Now I use a backup light as well
  • There's not of a lot point to recording as Thames Valley Police inevitably respond with "not worth doing anything"

 

Does capture good pictures from club runs though (as long as I can stay on the front)

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Martin5404 [1 post] 6 months ago
0 likes

I bought one from Amazon. Replaced immediately, as it did not work.

second one lasted less than ten days. I gave up and returned it. Very disappointed. When it worked the video quality was, I thought fairly good and the light more than acceptable.

seems my experience is not unusual when you look at other reviews.

Martin

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spen [261 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I,be had one of these, a 6ce, for about a year and it's had fairly light use.

 

Basically it's a very expensive paper weight.

 

The battery will not charge beyond 70%, by the number of other people mentioning this on the web this is a very common problem.

 

The app loses contact with the unit after a few seconds, meaning it can take well over a minute to be able to start recording.  I've reinstalled the app several times with the same result.

 

Today I went out for just over two hours.  When I've checked led tonight I have a 15 minute file which can be played and on file with a file size of zero which obviously cannot.  Neither the camera or the app gave gave indication that there was a problem.  I checked the file from Sunday and despite there being several files on the disk none are playable.

 

My advice, buy a cheap camera from Argos and a seperate light as this thing is useless!

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rix [269 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
spen wrote:

My advice, buy a cheap camera from Argos and a seperate light as this thing is useless!

I've been using Cycliq's Fly6 new and old versions. New one has better video quality but is very difficult to use. Basically you need a manual and smartphone app to use it. It is very complicated.

It fills SD card with LCK* files up to a point where no video can be recorded... but you would never know.

Buttons on camera are difficult to push even with your bare hands.

It does some stupid things like alarm... which you have no idea how to get rid of other than reading manual mid ride or throwing the damn thing in the bin.

After night of charging you might find out that thing dies just after two hours of riding. Other times it goes on for 4-5h.

It has only one mount, so if you have two bikes you have to move camera mount.
Old Fly6 had crap video quality, but none of above problems.

It has been a constant source of frustration on my bike rides.

AVOID!

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nniff [327 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I like mine.  There have been a couple of issues. I don't really use the app - no need, same light setting all the time.  However, the battery life was really poor and on invetsigation with the app it bacame clear that the light was showing a green light and stopping charging at 33%.  I contacted Cycliq and they pointed me to a firmware upgrade on the internet.  All good now.

I have two road bikes - one with an aero post and one with a round post. I do wish they'd put two mounts in the box instead of one, to go with the two straps.  I bought a rack mount for my commuter - that's good, and that came with two mounts.  THat's a very solid mount, which leads to my other gripe is that the quater turn mount is one way only, so that if it takes a hit from the wrong direction it's not going to release, something is going to break.

Other than that, I wouldn't be without it and Cycliq customer service is good.