I reviewed a lot of dash cameras this summer and it was time to try something a little bit different: a “dash cam” for my motorcycle. The first one to arrive was the Thinkware M1 Motorsports Cam system. This system features two high definition video cameras in basically nuclear explosion-proof cases, a central under-seat control box with a built-in GPS antenna, and a wired remote control that goes on your handlebars or top triple clamp. The system works just like a dash cam system in a car in that it is always recording once you start up your bike, but the remote control system lets you record longer sections of video if you want to capture a longer ride or a specific incident that happens in front of you. It also features electronic image stabilization and a decent app for setup and retrieving files recorded on the micro SD card. A shock sensor will lock the current video clip if the worst happens.
It took about half an hour to install the $349 Thinkware M1 system on my Honda sport motorcycle. The camera modules were actually larger than I expected and that precluded me from installing one under the chin of the bike’s fairing, as a big hit on the front wheel would have sent the front fender into the camera.
So instead I installed the front camera just on the left side of my faring as you can see in the photos. I installed the rear camera under my tail light. Installation is made simple with plug and play wiring and adjustable mounts that use very strong adhesive sticky tape. You wire the black power line into the negative battery terminal and the red positive line into one of your accessory fuses. That way the system boots up automatically whenever you activate the ignition and shuts down when you take out the key so it doesn’t drain your battery.
The system ran flawlessly for the entire time I used it and the video quality was top notch. The full 1080P HD video was clear and colorful, even at night, and I captured several fun rides using the “record” button mounted on the top triple clamp. There is also a second button on the controller to activate the Wi-Fi system of the Thinkware M1 so you can easily download clips to your phone using the app. The system records two video files simultaneously, one for each camera.
In automatic mode, the system records video in one-minute increments while you are riding. If you run out of memory while you are recording, the M1 system automatically deletes the oldest clips, just like a regular dash camera in a car. Since the under-seat control module is GPS linked and also has Wi-Fi, it can record speed data and the specific time and location of the video. That can be a good thing or maybe a bad thing, depending on how you’re riding and who wants to see the video. You do get the option to not include that metadata via the app.
Perhaps the best feature of the system is the electronic image stabilization. Past videos that I shot with cameras mounted on my motorcycles have been plagued with vibration, but the Thinkware M1 system really smoothed the video out and made my runs through the hills fun to watch. It also has a camera leveling assist feature that helps with initial setup.
The Thinkware M1 will work with more than just motorcycles, of course. This would also work well on off-road vehicles including pickup trucks, side-by-side’s, snowmobiles and other vehicles that might get very dirty or be used in adverse conditions. The camera modules, while large, are pretty bomb-proof (and completely waterproof) and got caught in the rain a few times with no ill effects. I never had to worry about the Thinkware M1 system performing under pressure, and the video always looked great. If the camera module size isn’t an issue for your vehicle, I’d recommend the Thinkware M1 system for recording your adventures – or shenanigans.