This article was kindly sponsored by GoPro who provided the GoPro Hero 9 camera. ADVrider purchased the mounts and gimbal. The options and advice represented in this article are ADVrider and the author’s alone.
Did you read the ‘What’s In Your Bag?’ article and think, that’s cool and all, but I don’t want to carry all that gear! I think I can do it all with a phone and a GoPro, I just want a way to create some interesting angles…then this article is for you!
GoPro’s and action cameras are great, a very reasonable way to get almost professional video but the mounts can be expensive and quickly add up to more than the camera.
This is a list of cheaper and more durable options for the motorcyclist to get that unique viewing/ filming angle you were looking for.
When action cameras first came out you had a choice or right side up or if the GoPro was upside down you go into the settings and change it…it was a pain.
The newer GoPro’s now do that automatically for you, letting you mount the camera in almost any position and the shot be oriented correctly. This of course helps with mounting the camera. Don’t forget horizon leveling to make it even easier still
Enter into the search bar ‘GoPro mount kit’ and you will have literally thousands of options of combined kits for around $20 or so and for most activities they will be all you’d ever need.
For motorcyclists, and more importantly adventure motorcyclists they might not hold up to what hardship we can potentially put them through.
Plastic mounts left out in the sun day after day weaken and crack, cheap mounts have a small retaining nut pressed in that can often fall out or fail…sound familiar?
I had a look around to see what I had that I know had lasted and was better quality than the normal low-grade plastic options.
The original, this one from GoPro, the radius mount, good for mounting on helmets, windshields, bodywork, etc. The quality seems a little better than the cheapo, GoPro has improved the threaded insert to be stronger, and it’s free, sorta, it’s included with your camera!
Some riders love it, some hate it. I’m with the latter group, I forget it’s there catch it occasionally on trees and it might dislodge or change the rotation slightly, then you get a good sky shot.
The helmet is also seen a lot which can be good and bad depending on what you are going for.
You could of course mount it to the side of your helmet and by adding an additional arm if you want your video to play in landscape orientation, if you went portrait mode (good for Instagram) nothing additional needed.
Still, on the helmet you could go a little different and do a chin mount, Dango Designs makes in black, orange, red, or blue to match your helmet or bike.
The best price I found on this was from TacoMoto.co for $49.95 w/ free shipping – cheaper than Amazon
Double-check your helmet chin area for a wind deflector as it might impede the fitment
It’s a very strong spring clip with an integrated mount, that can be rotated in 90-degree increments. It also could be mounted in a few different locations including your windshield dependent on the angle it sits at, but the GoPro will sort out the orientation for you.
If you are shooting a video for Instagram or Tiktok to be seen on a phone, why not try filming in portrait mode for a change?
There are a couple of mounts I have that I use all the time, GoPro to 1/4-20, so it can be fitted on multiple still camera mounts
…and GoPro to Ram mount, both were in the $8-10 range, and are easy to find from different online outlets.
The reason I use these over the plastic is they are a lot more durable and CNC machined not cast aluminum, with a machined in threaded section, not a nut that can fail, or fall out.
I combine the Ram mount with a 6-inch arm most are familiar with, I had one laying around but are approximately $20 to buy.
To mount it to the bike I don’t use the Ram ball as I have had too many failures, heat and vibration are not their friends.
Instead, I use an aluminum machined version from MotoManufacturing. This is mounted in a mirror mount and offers lots of range of motion as you can imagine.
With it being on the left side it is easy to hit the record button for a timed clip and I can actually see the video on the screen has started.
If you want something with a little more reach and multiple mounting options, depending on your bike then a ‘Magic Arm, with Suoer Clamp’ might be your answer.
This is an 11-inch articulating arm and is great to mount, using that threaded GoPro mount to bars, luggage racks, crash bars.
Mounting positions are obviously many, angles can be as unique as you want them to be.
***a word of advice, the clamp comes with rubber strips mounted, remove those for a more solid grip, but it might slightly leave a mark if clamped too vigorously
Over or around luggage for a third-person view
Maybe down low for wheel action or a river crossing because that GoPro is more waterproof than your bike!
or on the bars so you get in the shot
For all the onboard riding shots for the Royal Enfield Himalayan, I filmed, the Magic Arm and a GoPro 8 Black were used
Next up is an Ultra Pod ii, this is a mini tabletop tripod designed to hold a heavy DSLR, small enough to fit in a tank bag but very strong, good if you don’t want a full-sized tripod.
Again using the threaded mount to secure things
That velcro is to hold it closed but is also good for various mounting options and it has a universal joint on the top so orientation can be adjusted accordingly.
Another option could be a gorilla pod, a similar idea, I just prefer this because it can be strapped to the bike (or a tree) more securely.
If height is a requirement then a selfie stick for a camera is a good option, I got this one in Guatemala for maybe $5, I needed something to be able to take shots above crowds during Seman Santa, it is extendable, quick to use and lightweight.
This also has a 1/4-20 thread in it, so could be mounted to a tripod/ magic arm, etc for use on the bike. As GoPro has Hypersmooth image stabilization there is no longer so much of a worry about vibration like there was years ago.
What about a normal tripod, sure, I found this in a thrift store, it’s an antique Bilora from Germany, maybe $20. I use a full-sized tripod so rarely when traveling it’s just an item that seems like dead weight 99.9% of the time.
I use this occasionally for night shots when I want my bike in the shot, otherwise, I use the magic arm mounted to the bike as it’s a lot more stable.
But this is good if you wanted to do a ride by and no trees were around, it packs small, about 12 inches, and weighs maybe a pound.
What about products directly from GoPro?
They make a ‘Magnetic Swivel Clip’ it may look similar to the Dango Designs but it has a few different uses.
Yes, it’s a clip and can be used to maybe go on a helmet visor, a fender, a beak. The main difference is doesn’t have indents every 90 degrees so it allows you to swivel it to any degree.
Maybe mount it to your hydration pack, shoulder straps, windshield, road sign, bodywork, or gas tank because it’s also magnetic.
It might be the one mount that you can get the most creative with.
I had most of these lying around because of various photography assignments over the years.
If I were to narrow it down to what I would choose; it would probably be the Ram arm combination and the Magic Arm, so I could make a lot of interesting angles for videos and also use my stills camera with them too.
Another mount from GoPro that a lot of riders use is the ‘Chesty’, self-explanatory what it is and how it works?
I think the person I have seen use this the most on ADVrider is Lyndon Poskitt, this screenshot from 2020 Eco Race gives a great idea of what the viewer will see.
The bars, windshield, GPS, or dash will be prominent in the video and orientation can sometimes be tricky, especially if you have a tendency to move back and forth a lot…like in a race.
To counteract this, mount the camera upside down as it’s less likely to fold over, and check your most dominant riding position.
You will most likely want to be standing for the video and by doing that will be leaning slightly forward so remember to mount the camera at an angle so it sees what you want it to see, not just your gas cap!
A single-axis gimbal may also help your footage too if you don’t have horizon-leveling
What if you’re not racing or standing is this worth having on a motorcycle trip?
If you think out of the box, then maybe yes
or wear it back to front to show where you’ve been!
What about a gimbal?
That word ‘gimbal’ makes me think of thousands of dollars for a gadget I would rarely use.
Also, if you’re thinking that a GoPro has image stabilization and horizon leveling why would you need a gimbal?
Walking around shots, varying height but keeping correct orientation, foggy days, rain, trees, mist, nighttime, etc…all these play havoc with the camera and the gimbal can help correct them.
You could of course do it later with post-production software, but I doubt many would, especially if there is an easy cheaper option.
I looked around to find what seemed to be a good deal that a motorcyclist might actually carry and it not be too big and not too heavy, plus I want it to be able to charge from USB/12volt and somewhat weatherproof.
What I found was an iSteady Pro 3, on their site it shows it will only fit up to a GoPro 8, well I got the 9 Black to fit. It is less than $90 right now and works incredibly well, and would fit in a bigger tank bag.
,..they are not involved in this article what so ever, it just seemed like a good deal some readers might be interested in.
On the bottom and side, there are 1/4-20 threaded bosses for mounting
…why would you need it, or use it?
Have you ever tried to take a video from a low position and then raised the camera upward? It is very difficult to hold the camera in the same perpendicular orientation when you are doing this.
For example – from low to high, it will hold the same plane, which is tough to do by hand
Also, the option to pan around via 180 degrees or from front to back could be a bonus, and remember the GoPro will correct orientation for you, in-camera.
A gimbal might not be high on your list, or it may be at the top, but for this price, it doesn’t break the bank and could be fun to play with on occasion for some unique angles.
I hope this gave you a few good ideas, as the world now gets more information from video than ever, you might want to join in or just take some cool video for yourself.
If you have any other mounting options, drop them in the comments below