Best Action Cameras For Mountain Biking (2023 Top Picks)

There has never been a better time to get into filming your bike ride with a helmet camera. There are more manufacturers competing and more camera models to choose from than ever! Which is great, but makes shopping for that next POV cam a little more difficult.

While GoPro has dominated the action cam market for years now, they face stiff competition from relatively new brands like DJI and Insta360, which is great for us consumers. Those three can be regarded as the current top brands in action cameras right now.

I made nearly a hundred mountain biking POV videos for YouTube in 2022 using last year’s top pick and learned a lot of the little details doing so. Hadn’t I spent so much time filming, editing and testing accessories, my choice for this year would have been a different one.

Here are my favorite POV cameras for MTB:


Best Value

DJI Osmo Action 3

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

gopro hero 11 nd filter edited 2

Best Quality

GoPro Hero 11 Black

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Insta360 One R 4K

Best Under $300

Insta360 One R 4K

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best Price-To-Performance Camera

DJI Osmo Action 3

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This camera is amazing. It has everything you need to film bike rides, with crisp footage, amazing stabilization, good audio and pro settings to get amazing cinematic video. And on top of that, it’s very attractively priced, setting itself apart from the competition. And with a 10 Bit color option, that’s even more impressive.

Small, rugged and very capable: the DJI Osmo Action 3.

The Osmo Action 3 is basically an improved Action 2 in a Action 1 housing. Which is a good thing and what a lot of people wanted to see, myself included. The benefits of ditching the modular design are big: replaceable battery and lens cover, and an SD card slot in the camera module. The reported overheating issues of the Action 2 (which I never had filming outdoors) are completely gone now.

The standard combo is limited in additional accessories. These are all of them.

DJI’s Rocksteady stabilization is among the best on the market. And with one of the biggest fields of view (FOV) at 155° it’s perfect for creating a sense of speed and capturing as much as possible in every scene and providing the viewer with reference points.

On top of all that, the magnetic mount returns. It’s extremely valuable for biking, where the perfect camera angle is everything. Using the magnets, the attachment stays in place at the right angle, resulting in consistently good footage. It’s even compatible with every single GoPro mounting accessory out there. Here are the best Action 3 accessories I use for biking.

Now, I published almost 100 MTB videos filmed with the Action 2 (which has the same sensor and software) and some with the OA3 on the Suspension Traveler YT channel and was enjoying using it every time. Even then, I didn’t quite use its full potential. The video quality constantly increased as my editing skills improved. You could bring even more out of this camera, rivaling the GoPro in terms of image fidelity. Especially considering the price! But see for yourself.

Example Footage

I took two of the best action cams out for some bike park laps and put the footage side by side.

✅ Pros

  • Good overall video quality
  • Excellent stabilization
  • Long battery life
  • Magnetic mounting to keep the perfect camera angle
  • One of the widest fields of view at 155°, which is crucial for MTB
  • 10 Bit colors
  • D-Cinelike flat color profile
  • Remote control via DJI Mimo app
  • Okay built-in wind noise reduction
  • Same mounting “fingers” as GoPro, for a wide variety of mounts to use
  • Replacable lens cover

❌ Cons

  • Unstable exposure resulting in footage too dark or flickering
  • FOV setting between Wide and Ultrawide would be nice
  • Tall due to the magnetic mounting adapter
  • High contrast can be difficult for color grading
  • New HDR mode drains battery fast

FULL DISCLOSURE: While I myself mostly film with the GoPro Hero 11, I don’t necessarily consider it to be the best overall action cam for most riders. It has so many features, that most (myself included) will never use, but pay for anyway. For most hobby filmers, there’s a better price-to-performance option in the Osmo Action 3.

Most Features & Accessories

GoPro Hero 11 Black

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

GoPro is the household name, synonymous with action cameras. They have been innovators of many technologies now seen in other cams and the Hero 11 is again at the cutting-edge of technology. Using the best settings for cinematic footage the GoPro Hero 11 could be mistaken for an expensive cinema camera on your helmet.

IMG 2243 edited
Truly the most versatile camera: GoPro Hero 11, here with a wind muffler on a chesty.

All that cutting-edge tech comes at a price tag tho, which is certainly a barrier to entry for some of the hobby videographers among us.

BUYING TIP: An edge over the competition is GoPro’s subscription service. A savvy marketing move as this may have increased the costs of cameras without a subscription, making it somewhat mandatory for a new purchase. But it also enables unique features like automatic uploads to the cloud, easy wireless offloads to the Quik phone app, and attractive discounts on anything found in the online store.

New this year is the 8:7 sensor, which captures raw footage in an aspect ratio close to a square, which is extremely versatile. From extremely wide fields of view to vertical video, everything is possible – even after recording using the Quik app.

This and the 10 Bit color setting (which means over 1 billion color grades) are the notable differences over the Hero 10. The Hero 11 is actually the same form factor as the Hero 9 and 10, and thus is compatible with all the existing, over 30 first-party and countless more third-party accessories – Like mounting options, external microphones, gimbals, ultrawide lenses, external lighting, and on and on. With options in those numbers, it’s not easy to find those truly useful for biking. That’s why I compiled the best accessories I actually use with the Hero 11.

Similar to the DJI Action 3, it has horizon leveling, which fixes the horizon while the camera rotates like using a gimbal. But that’s only available in de-warp lens mode, so only of limited use for MTB, except for awesome follow cams.

A quick word on the GoPro Hero Mini 11, which is basically a Hero 11 in a smaller case with compromises. It’s in a similar price range while missing main features like replaceable battery, photo mode and hinsight mode at no real benefits for bikers. If you’re after a smaller form factor camera, go for the DJI Action 2. It has similar limitations, at a better price. And not to mention the awesome magnetic mounting system!

Example Footage

Test footage of all the different ProTune settings on the Hero 11, including 10-Bit color, stabilization and wind noise.

✅ Pros

  • Professional-level video settings
  • Consistently great exposure and image quality
  • Huge number of features and modes
  • 8:7 sensor with the ability to change image crop after recording
  • 10 Bit colors
  • Flat color profile for editing
  • Relatively good built-in wind noise reduction
  • Most accessories and mods available
  • Remote control via GoPro Quik app
  • Replacable lens cover

❌ Cons

  • Expensive camera and first-party accessories
  • No front touch screen
  • No 25p framerate
  • Options can get overwhelming, but it also has an easy mode
  • Poor battery life
  • Paid GoPro auto cloud upload too slow to be useful

Best Value Action Cam Under $300

Insta360 One R 4K

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Insta360 was the first mover in this intelligent modular design, shortly adopted by DJI with the Action 2.

7A315581 7343 4393 986A 71F14018DFF4 1 201 a
The unique modular design of the Insta360 ONE RS. // Photo by Maik Kleinert

Their ONE R model line introduced a 4K lens, battery cube and Mounting Bracket as the baseline. Their current lineup One RS is available already, although not under $300 MSRP. If in doubt, go with the slightly more expensive, newer RS model. It’s a completely new and improved camera, even though the name is very similar (apart from one letter).

It shoots crisp 4K video at 60 fps and up to a whopping 6K in the widescreen mode for the ultimate footage for post-production tweaking. Another new mode is their active HDR video mode for those incredibly well-contrasted videos with better highlights and shadows. 

Accessories are definitely noteworthy since individual modules can be exchanged depending on your needs. Their adaptive design has 3 interchangeable parts: one battery, one processor (base plate), and a host of quick-swapping lenses like a full 360-degree lens. So in the case of crash damage to the camera (which is not uncommon in MTB) individual parts can be swapped.

Example Footage

Footage including the 360 camera module.

✅ Pros

  • Unique modular design
  • Replaceable modules
  • Price-to-performance
  • 360° capability as add-on
  • Built-in wind cover over mic

❌ Cons

  • Bad audio quality
  • Tall including the mounting adapter
  • Non-replacable lens covers
  • Not the best battery life

Best 360° Camera For MTB

Insta360 X3

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This one has the potential to be the best overall in terms of video quality. Only price and form factor are holding it back for a biking-specific application. While it falls short on usability compared to regular action cams, it’s in a league of its own within the 360° cameras.

4CB68444 EFFE 4595 AFB0 4509F2DF7BDE 1 201 a edited 1
Tall and powerful. // Photo by Maik Kleinert

This one has the potential to be the best overall in terms if video quality. Only price and form factor are holding it back for a biking-specific application. While it falls short on usability compared to regular action cams, it’s in a league of its own within the 360° cameras.

While the Insta360 ONE can turn into a 360° camera, the X3 is a dedicated one. And it shows with some unique features for a complete powerhouse package. It’s basically a professional-grade camera with tons of settings and options to get the best footage out of it. While filming and in post-production.

It’s also one of the few options eliminating the dreaded “GoPro effect” – the fact that trails always look less steep, and less scary on POV video. With a huge FOV in 360-mode, the trails actually look steep like you see it through your own eyes. That 360 mode is also what allows it to keep the horizon horizontal like a gimbal (saving extra accessories) even in the widest FOV setting – something other cams can’t do.

While a handlebar mount isn’t my preferred accessory, if there was ever a camera to take full advantage of it, it’s this one. Since you can change the angle and direction even after filming in editing, a 360 cam like this is perfect for third-person shots of yourself riding! Switching between front and rear-facing shots within the same ride.

Example Footage

Our favourite professional videographer and mountain biker getting everything out of the Insta360 X3.

✅ Pros

  • Massive 5.7K video resolution in 360 mode
  • 4K single lens (like a regular cam)
  • Flat LOG color profile for color grading
  • HDR video mode
  • Best at showing steepness
  • Good audio quality
  • Removes selfie stick from footage
  • Auto-track persons or objects for follow cam
  • Wide FOV horizon-leveling mode

❌ Cons

  • Tall form factor not ideal for MTB
  • Pricey
  • No accessories in the box
  • Non-replacable lens covers

The Smallest Action Cam

Insta360 GO 2

Quality: ⭐⭐⭐
Usability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Accessories: ⭐⭐

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

There isn’t a smaller camera on the market that can shoot a wide 120-degree field of view with this level of stabilization. The Insta360 GO 2 is a fraction of the size of competing action cams, yet it still packs big features into its tiny and extremely light (26.5 grams!) footprint.

INSTA 360 Go 2 Action Cam edited

Despite the name, it can’t film 360° videos, but has a vertical mode for content catering to platforms like Instagram, YouTube shorts and TikTok.

It comes with a handy carry case and its own design of a clip mount. Additionally, it can make use of the widespread GoPro adapters, increasing both the footprint (as it sits vertically like in the picture) and the variability

While the actual camera unit doesn’t look like much, the image quality for such a tiny thing is impressive. The size is definitely a compromise tho. Settings, colors, exposure and most of all the audio quality are lacking. Especially wind noise is deafening.

Compared to the other action cams on this list, you are probably better off with a heavier, more capable, and rugged camera platform in most use cases on a bike. The GO 2 isn’t class-leading in any of the criteria for video quality, only in the size department making it the one that’s most likely on you in your pocket.

Example Footage

With a good setup, the Insta360 GO 2 can definitely hang with the big boys!

✅ Pros

  • Tiny, unnoticeable form factor
  • Extremely light
  • Wide 120° FOV
  • Good video quality
  • Good stabilization
  • Can mount to standard action cam accessories

❌ Cons

  • Worst audio quality of all on this list
  • Lacking features
  • No screen
  • Max of 64GB internal memory
  • Poor battery life

Now let’s get into how to actually choose the best camera you can currently get for biking so you can make the best decision for yourself.

Buyer’s Guide

POV cams come with a ton of features and not all of them are useful in a biking application. These are the most important criteria in a helmet cam for filming mountain biking videos.

Features to look for in an action cam for MTB

Image stabilization

Only modern image stabilization makes our MTB footage actually enjoyable to watch. With a good camera it makes no difference where it’s mounted to – helmet, chest or bike – it’s perfectly stable and without jitters. Here’s me using the chest mount:

Chest-mounted action cam filming one of the best jump lines I have ridden.

Video resolution

Pixel counts are not just a vanity metric. The way stabilization works is by cropping into the picture, reducing the output resolution. So you actually need to record in higher resolution than you’d expect. And in MTB Higher image resolution allows to make out details in the trail. Obstacles and trail surface is what make mountain biking (riding and watching) so exciting.

hiker blocking downhill track
This snapshot would be even weirder without the handlebar and my hands in the frame.

Field of view

Without the opportunity to adjust angles mid-ride, the camera needs to capture as much as possible at any one time. And a wide FOV allows that, making it essential for creating a sense of speed and capturing reference points like arms, handlebar and bike frame that the viewer can identify with.

gopro hero 11 nd filter edited
The standard mounting mechanism now.

Mounting options

The helmet cam must be mounted somewhere. The ability to mount to a wide variety of objects is the unique selling point of action cams. Incidentally, all on this list can make use of the same, established GoPro mount – the two little feet with a hole through them. This opens up all the first and third-party mounts.

Battery life

Outlets are rather hard to come by on a mountain. When you spend all day on the trails, long battery life is critical. This or at least swappable battery units to keep the camera rolling. Those batteries are usually tiny, taking up no space in your pocket, backpack or hip-pack.

Form factor

The best size and weight are those that go noticed. Overall height is actually the most important measurement. Only a low profile can mount below a helmet visor for one of the most immersive views possible. And on top of a helmet, the risk of catching branches is higher with a taller camera.

DJI Action 2 helmet visor mounted
Tiny DJI Action 2 on the helmet visor mount.

Irrelevant features for MTB specifically

And then there are a couple of features highlighted in commercials or spec sheets but have very little application to bikers who film POV (point of view).

High Framerates (frames per second )

First and foremost is a number, that keeps going up year after year, but is actually irrelevant to most of us. Unless you plan on slowing down the footage in an editing program for extreme slow-motion effects, high framerates are pointless and only fill up the memory quicker. I exclusively shoot in 25 or 30 fps.

Photo mode

With both hands on the handlebar, taking photos is actually impossible. Or is it? At least with a dedicated photo mode. Most action cams have such good stabilization and resolution, that most people just take screenshots of their video footage. Fun fact: All my YouTube thumbnails are produced that way.


At prices for a high-tech cam beginning at around $300, it’s not out of reach. Forking over 500 bucks and above isn’t necessary to film great videos. Even cameras from the previous year are not far behind and are worth a look.

Whatever your decision falls on, don’t forget the bread and butter of any action cam: the mounts and accessories (chest mount is a must for MTB).

Besides a cam and your favorite mount, all else is optional. And the greatest benefit of all is having those amazing days of riding forever caught on camera – to relive those memories is priceless!

Please note, that I use affiliate links to the amazon product pages for your convenience.
Make sure to compare prices and shipping costs for your location.


My #1 Recommendation: DJI Osmo Action 3

The OA3 is super easy to use, has great video and audio quality, a wide selection of custom and GoPro accessories, pro settings to dial in, vertical mode and magnetic mounts for quick and easy dismount out on the trails. All at a reasonable price.

What more can you ask for?

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