Saturday, 30 August 2008

What do you want?

As adventure bikers living in South Africa we all very fortunate to live in a country that has such stunning scenery, good weather (excepting this weekend, which has been atrocious) and good people to ride with. 

However, being quite isolated from Europe and the US, allot of our biking accessories have to be imported. This has had the effect of high priced trick bits, which have only been afforded by the high income consumers. A great example of a South African success is Wild at Heart, (see link), who have began to manufacture their own accessories, and with the hard work of Johan (owner) we are now spoiled with a wide choice of locally made, high quality and well priced biking bits. 

One area that I personally feel we still need some catching up is in the publishing industry. Wouldn't it be great to have one source of reading material that provides everything we want to know about. You may be thinking "Top Bike" does this, but for me one magazine a month is not enough. This is the point of this Blog. 

My vision is to create an active space where, together with the effort from readers and myself, we can provide each other with interesting reads, news updates, trip reports and all the other interesting aspects relating adventure biking SA.

Tell me what you guys want... and feel free to add posts, so we can deliver South Africa's most interesting and frequently updated read. 

Friday, 29 August 2008

Helmet Hero Review


Video quality - 512 x 384 pixels

Picture quality – 3 MP

Battery Life – 1 hour

Waterproof – 30 meters

Size - 31.7 x 44.4 x 66 millimetres

For some while now I’ve been looking to capture my adventures on video, to show those at home what they miss out on and for future memories. Being a student, cost is a limiting factor, however I was not prepared to compromise for quality comparable to that of some pirated movies. Doing a little research I decided to purchase the Helmet Hero. The Helmet Hero is a budget camera made by GoPro specifically designed for extreme sports. The camera comes with 4 different camera attachments, guaranteeing the camera to fit all helmets.

Due to the nature of adventure riding I had a few prerequisites. The camera needed long recording time, needed to be waterproof, robust, light and easy to use. The Hero satisfied all of these requirements. The camera uses flash memory, which can only be extended to 2GB on this camera. This gives the user around 1 hour of video time or 1400 still images, or a combination. In order to extend this recording time I simply purchased more SD memory cards.

The camera is powered using AAA batteries. The camera is supplied with standard alkaline batteries, however these will only last up to an hour if you lucky. This can be improved on by purchasing either rechargeable NiCad’s or the best option Lithuim Ion batteries which should last at least 4 hours. The Lithium batteries have been known to perform better in more extreme temperatures.

The camera is enclosed by a hard polycarbonate case. This allows the camera to be dust and waterproof.

The case features two buttons used to control all the camera features. These include:

  • single photo
  • multi-burst
  • video
  • timed single
  • single photo every 5 seconds
  • delete photos

Installing the camera onto your helmet is very easy. Most attachments use an extremely sticky 3M double sided tape. As long as the helmet is cleaned properly before applying, this can be trusted. I’ve used silicone in order to stop water getting in under the tape in future.

A few minutes should be spent adjusting the angle of the camera to make sure you capture precisely what you looking for. I advise riding on your bike to do this, as I found out the hard way by videoing the ground for 30 minutes the first leg of my trip.

This is a great little camera. It provides good enough quality for computer screens, however its ability becomes a bit stretched when viewed on a TV and can only be used during the day.

Sexier looking and higher quality recording devices can be purchased, however these tend to cost 3 to 4 times more.