Viofo MT1 Dual Motorcycle dashcam on a Bicycle

Nigel

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The Viofo MT1 is a Dual Motorcycle Dashcam, so I installed it on my bicycle, excellent results, but a few issues to note:
  1. The MT1 runs on 12 volts, 9 volts minimum, not sure what the maximum is, but probably over 24 since most hardwire kits work with 24 volt truck batteries (needs checking when the specification is available). If like me, you want to run it from a USB power bank then you need a USB to 12 volt converter, or use a USB PD power bank and connect through a voltage negotiator such as the ZY12PDN - http://budgetlightforum.com/node/69061. I run mine at 9 volts from a USB PD power bank because that should be the most efficient, better to have the power bank output close to the correct voltage.
  2. There is no EIS stabilisation, so you need a good mount, but of course even with EIS a good mount will give a better image, and if you have a good enough mount then you don't really need EIS.
  3. The cables are a bit long, and the excess takes up storage space, which I don't have a lot of. Of course it is better to be too long than too short, but it might be nice to have a short cable version for bicycles.
Good points:
  • Discrete compared to a teletubbie action cam on your helmet!
  • Permanent install, just plug the power bank in.
  • Properly waterproof, or at least rain proof, even the power connector, although not my power bank. (Keep the SD card slot pointing downwards unless it is under cover.)
  • Good audio quality, certainly compared to an action camera in a waterproof case.
  • Good video quality, the IMX291 is good in the dark, has good dynamic range for the shadows, and low motion blur. Only 1080 resolution, but do you really need more from bicycle video?

This video has 4 clips:
  1. Slow speed and stopped with rear view picture in picture.
  2. Riding over cobbles, stabilised on the computer using ffmpeg, produces a nice result, don't want it too floaty but the centre is steady, just some rolling shutter distortion at the top and bottom that makes it look realistic.
  3. Faster speed on smooth cycletrack, with a lot of traffic in the coronavirus lockdown!
  4. Timelapse, the front view is stabilised using ffmpeg because my steering is not smooth at 5x speed, rear view is not stabilised.
Apart from the rear view overlay and the stabilisation on the cobbles and timelapse front view, the only processing done was a conversion to 60fps, timelapse looks much better at 60fps and Youtube gives some extra bitrate. Obviously original video is better quality than Youtube video!


I've tried a number of mounts, they all vibrate to some extent, aluminium is useless, the thicker the aluminium the slower it resonates and the more visible the problems. Plastic Gopro mounts are surprisingly good, but I ended up making my own from carbon fibre, at 6mm thick you can hit it with a hammer and not see the image move!

Rear camera (started with an aluminium mount like on the reflector, but that had visible vibration):
(orange cables are the lights)


Microphone and remote control (if you don't want wind noise, then you do want a fluffy wind shield):


Front camera, the mount can't come off the front of the frame due to the brake cable which rotates with the steering, the camera cable should follow the mount (not finished yet):


Frame grab:
 

Leonauto

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Great embodiment! (y)
It is possible that the placement of the rear camera under the seat, which would be slightly higher (to improve the viewing angle) and closer to the wheelbase of the bike / between the axles of the wheels (slightly reduces vertical vibrations when driving).
Although, if you have a trunk in the back, this placement will not be successful. :unsure:
 

CaptureYourAction

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@Nigel, is this the redesigned unit or the original?
 
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Nigel

Nigel

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@Nigel, is this the redesigned unit or the original?
It is an original, although it does have the wrong clamps fitted so doesn't look quite original.
Great embodiment! (y)
It is possible that the placement of the rear camera under the seat, which would be slightly higher (to improve the viewing angle) and closer to the wheelbase of the bike / between the axles of the wheels (slightly reduces vertical vibrations when driving).
Although, if you have a trunk in the back, this placement will not be successful. :unsure:
Yes, that would work well as a dashcam, but I like the clean view with no lights/reflector/trunk/etc at the bottom of the image, for movie making.

Not sure it would make much difference, I have no suspension on my road bike, front or back, and the seat is as far forward of the rear axle as the rear camera is back from the rear axle. Only real difference is that I could then attach the mount to the steel frame instead of the aluminium mudguard fork, but they both go straight to the rear axle so there is not much difference in stiffness.

It is not movement of the bike frame that is the real problem, it is always vibration and resonance within the mounts that cause the issues. If the mount is stiff enough then the result is good.
 

SawMaster

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The very few rear cams I've seen on bikes were under-seat, and all fronts were handlebar mounts (which is not a good place for the front cam). One local guy has only a rear cam; as he puts it "I can deal with what's in front of me, I want pics of whoever runs over me from behind!":p

The MT1 looks near-ideal for this job, lacking only a range of aftermarket mounts to be perfect. With so many variations you can't really expect those to come with the cam.

Phil
 
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Nigel

Nigel

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The MT1 looks near-ideal for this job, lacking only a range of aftermarket mounts to be perfect. With so many variations you can't really expect those to come with the cam.
The MT1 cameras come with sticky and screw mounts ideal for motorbike fitting, but they will also fit on a Gopro mount, and there is plenty of choice with them, Gopro mounts are surprisingly good when attached to the frame. I would probably have made do with one on the front except that to get the handlebars and wheel out of the image I wanted the front camera well in front of the brake cable, if I didn't mind the handlebars in the image and not centred then the camera could have gone right beside the frame front tube, then a Gopro tube mount would have been fine (although it prevents the steering turning more than 90 degrees). Using a Gopro mount to reach this far forward resulted in more vibration than I was happy with.
and all fronts were handlebar mounts (which is not a good place for the front cam)
If you have handlebar mounting then you do need EIS to smooth your balancing of the bike, because if you don't adjust the steering continuously while pedaling then you fall off! Also seems to be more vibration in the handlebars than the frame. I was reasonably happy with the Gitup Git3 on the handlebars, but solid frame mounting is definitely better, you don't get the motion blurred pixels that EIS can't correct.
 
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R1KSU

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Random dog out for exercise at 3.13 :)
The mic is in the remote?
 
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Nigel

Nigel

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Random dog out for exercise at 3.13 :)
Yes, the lockdown rules say that dogs as well as humans should get out for exercise and stay fit and healthy to better fight the virus, although it seems to be cats that catch and spread the virus, not dogs.

The mic is in the remote?
Yes, it is a small hole at the cable end of the remote. There is another in the DVR main box, but that only works if you unplug the remote, and then I can't see if it is working or not because the LED indicators are all in the remote, as is the wifi button. The fluffy windshield makes seeing the LED indicators a little difficult, although I can still press and feel the buttons. The remote attaches to the bike frame using a magnet, so is easy to pull off to use.
 

R1KSU

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I use the MT1 on my motorbike in Blackpool, cheers
 
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Nigel

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I use the MT1 on my motorbike in Blackpool, cheers
You can take your motorbike out somewhere scenic for your daily exercise now, no need to stick to the bicycle now Boris has overruled the police! :)
 
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Dan Robinson

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Looks like a nice setup, I am looking for something like this for my bicycle. How long does your battery last running both cameras? Most of my rides are 1 to 3 hours long.
 
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Nigel

Nigel

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Looks like a nice setup, I am looking for something like this for my bicycle. How long does your battery last running both cameras? Most of my rides are 1 to 3 hours long.
My 10,000mAh (36Wh) USB powerbank lasted over 6 hours, although it is a very well used powerbank, was used for powering parking mode in the car for a year, should probably get more.
My 6,000mAh powerbank empties on a 3 hour ride, small powerbanks tend not to do as well as their capacity suggests.
More than 10,000mAh is extra weight.
 
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