CategoriesGear

Review: Fotodiox Aftermarket GoPro Mounts

aftermarket GoPro mounts
Some of the aftermarket GoPro mounts from Fotodiox.

I’ve been on the hunt for aftermarket GoPro mounts. Every few months, I break one of the stock plastic mounts that come with the Helmet Hero cameras. I have a grab bag of spares, so it’s not the biggest deal.

But I really want to some tougher aftermarket GoPro mounts, preferably made from aluminum. I’ve found a few over the past year, and I recently thought I’d hit the jackpot when I ran across Fotodiox. The company has a laundry list of aftermarket GoPro parts, including aluminum extender arms. I ordered enough of its GoTough accessories to help me get creative with camera angles.

Now, Fotodiox doesn’t have a compact handlebar mount – so I stuck with using my K-Edge GO BIG (I’m tempted to say the K-EDGE stuff is overpriced. There’s just one little thing, though: It’s never, ever failed me.) mount for the handlebar and suspension fork.

What I’m about to tell you about the aftermarket GoPro mounts from Fotodiox pains me. I don’t want to say it because the Fotodiox crew is friendly on social media and ships promptly when you place an order.

But holy cow, I broke one of the GoTough extender arms within 30 seconds of riding on my local trail. On a hardtail singlespeed with a short-travel, lightweight, cross-country suspension fork. Less than 30 seconds.

The guy in American Pie lasted longer.

aftermarket gopro mounts
Broken already – the Fotodiox aftermarket GoPro mounts.

And I feel a bit bad hanging Fotodiox out to dry in these terms. But as friendly as they are on social media, they dropped the ball when I sent an email on May 13 outlining the problems I had with their GoTough extenders. I sent the same info to them via their email form, too. If a company doesn’t at least say "Hey, we got your message" after a few days, my goodwill melts. And I tried to be nice about it (see text of the letter).

So, why did the Fotodiox aftermarket GoPro mounts blow up?

Each GoTough arm is made from at least two pieces of aluminum – I’m guessing it’s cast since I don’t see the telltale signs of CNC machining. The pieces are held together with either two or four tiny machine screws.

I noticed problems from the moment I test-mounted some the GoTough extenders. There was wiggle in all of them; I found the screws when I started looking for the source of the play. I then tightened all the screws with small screwdrivers.

It seemed OK, so I went for a ride. I figured a milk run to a trail nearby would provide an adequate test. Everything was fine as I rode to the trail. It all went to hell when I went off-road.

The Fotodiox aftermarket GoPro mounts have other problems, too.

There’s a lot of space between the "knuckles" that connect the GoTough extensions to each other. This means I had to tighten the pieces so much that the aluminum crimped noticeably. If they were each as little as a quarter of a millimeter thicker, Fotodiox might solve this problem.

As for the other problem -- the extenders need to be one piece. Screwing them together is screwing them up. They won’t be able to withstand the pounding of mountain bike or extreme sports with such small-diameter screws with just about two millimeters of metal to bit into. It just won’t work.

I’ll update when/if Fotodiox responds to my email. I hope they have some ideas.

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CategoriesGear

5 Tips to Make a Mountain Bike Video That Doesn’t Suck

santa cruza superlight, pima & dynamite, mountain biking, arizona, adventure bicycle company, wandering justin
My bike, ready to roll video at Pima & Dynamite.

Someone just posted a 17-minute mountain bike video on YouTube. It’s a painful slog through a trail – one camera angle The.Whole.Damn.Time. This sucks. And there is entirely too much of this visual colon exam brand of suck on YouTube, Vimeo and the rest.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m no film maker. I don’t even play one on TV. But I can tell you how to make a mountain bike video that doesn’t suck.

Tell a Story
Are you making a video just because you bought a GoPro Helmet Hero? Woah. Slow your roll. Think. Would you watch a movie because Sam Raimi or Quentin Tarantino just bought a new camera? Even if the answer is "maybe," you didn’t direct Army of Darkness or Pulp Fiction.

So before you pop that camera into a helmet mount, think. What about your ride could be interesting? First time on a particular trail? Your longest ride ever? A really cool race? Did your favorite trail just get a maintenance facelift?

Find the story … and tell it.

I'm ready for my close up.
I’m ready for my close up.

Vary Your Camera Angles
The video I mentioned above? One single solitary view: straight ahead. What a god-awful snoozefest. Whether the terrain is forest, desert, tundra or sewer tunnels, one viewpoint makes for dullness.

What can you do? Well, here are some of my go-to angles:
-Handlebar, facing straight. I always show a little front tire for perspective.
-Helmet.
-Handlebar, facing to the side and showing hand and brake lever.
-Handlebar, pointing down to show the fork. Great for technical bits.
-Handlebar, facing rider. Always good to get a person.
-Seatpost facing rear. Awesome for passing people!
-Seatpost facing front. Definitely shakes things up.
-Have a friend with a helmet cam. Mo’ angles, mo’ riders, mo’ fun!

If you whine "But that’s a lot of work during a ride, and I don’t want to hold anyone up" -- then don’t make your movie during that ride. Go with some people who don’t care (every movie needs stars) about some delays. Yeah, it takes some time to move the camera around. Or you can have a bike with SRAM 9.0 instead of XO and maybe an X-Fusion fork instead of a Fox – that way, you can afford three Helmet Hero cameras and not have to switch so much!

Keep Each Bit Short
I rarely show one clip for longer than 10 seconds. I keep most clips at 3-6 seconds. I also try to vary the camera angle every 3 clips or so. This keeps it all from getting monotonous.

Just forkin' around.
Just forkin’ around.

Font Something Once in Awhile
Flash some text on the screen. It can be something informative, funny, insulting, whatever. It’s just a nice way to add something extra to the story you’re telling.

Shorter is Better
If you are guilty of making a 15-minute mountain bike movie with a helmet cam, do me a favor: Invite a bunch of random people over. Sit them down and make them watch your opus. Within 60 seconds, people will be playing "Words with Friends" on their smart phones, squirming in their seat and looking for rafters in your ceiling so they can hang themselves by their belt.

But if you apply all the rest of these tips and jam it into a sub-5-minute package, they’ll ask when the sequel is coming out.

Have you seen an amateur mountain bike video that you love? Link to it in the comments!

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