Date reviewed: November 2021 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £299.95 | innovv.co.uk
The majority of cars you see now have a dash-cam slapped on the windscreen, and while an increasing number of motorcyclists are growing interested in the technology, there’s still a fair bit of resistance to the idea of them.
The Innovv K3 on review here is one of the most popular models among bikers, and I’ve been using it on the Yamaha Tracer 9GT for more than eight months. I want to stress that, while BikeSocial is the editorial side of Bennetts insurance, we’re not trying to influence whether or not you choose to have one, and there are certainly no plans to do that!
A dash-cam will record everything you do on your bike, which can be great for those moments you wish you’d had an action camera, but primarily they could be hugely valuable in the event of an accident. And yes, the footage could be used as evidence against you, but the police would need a good reason to take it, which means they’re already sure you’ve done something seriously wrong. You won’t be getting a knock on the door because Mrs Miggins thought you looked faster than her cat in village high street.
The main unit has a quality feel to it with its aluminium case
To fit any dash-cam you’re going to have to strip some panels off, and most likely the tank, so if you’re not happy doing this make sure you budget for the work.
If you are okay with a bit of a strip-down, installation isn’t that tricky thanks to colour-coded plugs and sockets to join the cameras, remote, microphone and GPS antenna to the main unit.
The fused power lead incorporates a small box that steps the 12V from the battery down to a 5V output, and while there are useful open spade connectors that can be easily slipped under the battery terminals (as opposed to ring connectors that require the screws to be removed), there is a third wire that needs to be connected to a switched live, for instance an auxiliary power supply. This won’t draw much power at all – it’s just to tell the unit that the ignition is on – but it’s a bare wire so you need to solder this; crimps aren’t ideal on a motorcycle, especially those that cut into the insulation as moisture can creep inside and rot the wire. I found this cable a bit too short for my set-up, so I had to extend it a bit.
Fitting to the Tracer took a bit of thinking to find the best location for the control box (and still have access to the microSD card), and to work out where to mount the cameras.
The camera brackets use M6 screws, so you might get lucky and find somewhere that you can mount them quite easily, either direct or with the L-shaped brackets. There’s also a thin metal plate supplied, which can bend around the contours of the bodywork to stick a camera too. Unfortunately only one is supplied, and you need to use both of the double-sided foam pads to stick it on – one pad on top of the other – which doesn’t look great and seems a bit of a bodge.
It was this deformable metal plate that I chose to fix the front camera to the Yamaha. There’s no cleaning pad supplied, but I used isopropyl alcohol to clean the inside of the fairing before sticking the bracket on. It’s not the tidiest-looking solution, and it’s a fiddle to set it correctly before sticking down as one of the screws gets hidden, but it put the camera in the right place for me, and you don’t notice it unless you get on your hands and knees.
I’m not sure if there was some contaminant left on the fairing after I cleaned it, but a couple of weeks later I found the camera dangling from its lead. Luckily I’d routed the cable close to the fairing and frame, and secured it, so it didn’t fall into the wheel and get damaged.
No spare adhesive pads are supplied, so I cut some myself using 3M VHB tape, which has now stayed in place.
I fitted the rear camera through an existing M5 fastening hole in the tail of the bike. The brackets are designed in such a way that M6 screws are meant to fix into the bottom, but this limits how you can attach them and means you really need to use the L-shaped brackets. I had my own M5 screw go through the bracket into the bike, but because there’s not much clearance for the camera unit, I had to file the top of the screw’s head off.
Of course, the amount of work you need to put into mounting the cameras is going to vary massively from one bike to the next. Using the L-brackets will make life easier, and you can see how Nick Hodge did his in this video, but I like to keep things as compact as possible, so tried to avoid those brackets.
An adhesive pad is supplied for the GPS antenna, which gives a far better reception than relying on the main unit that could be buried under metal (or if it’s under the seat, your body). There’s no sticky pad for the power converter, and I’d have liked to see some zip-ties supplied, but overall the fitting experience is fine, if for me at least, not the very best I’ve worked with.
The remote control comes with a mounting bracket that – on many bikes – allows it to sit under the mirror stem. This won’t work if the mirrors don’t screw into the handlebars, but you could use an adhesive pad to stick it somewhere else if you like. The remote is nicely made out of aluminium, but I think it’s a bit thick and utilitarian-looking.
I did find the length of the remote cable meant I had to turn the main box around in order to get it to reach, but again, this will depend on the bike you’re fitting it to.
The free Innovv app – available for Android and iOS – is easy to set up and pairs quickly with the device for a live view (helpful when setting up), to access files that you can watch or download, and to adjust the settings. I’d recommend turning off ‘auto reconnect’ on the WiFi settings for this device, or it’ll pair when you’re riding and disconnect you from any sat-nav you might be using.
You can up the bitrate from the default ‘Height’ [sic] to ‘Maximum’, which should help reduce the blocky artefacts in faster-moving scenes to a small degree.
The Innovv is unique among the motorcycle dash-cams that I’ve reviewed in that it has a parking mode that starts recording if it notices a significant bump to the bike. This won’t see what happened before the event as it’s not loop recording constantly with the ignition off, but it could mean you capture what might have caused some damage, and could prove really valuable.
I have a 32GB card in, so with each 1 minute TS file taking up 140.3MB of space in the ‘High’ bitrate, you’ll only have just over one hour and 50 minutes of recording time on an empty card before it starts overwriting the earlier files. Now I’ve switched it over to the ‘Maximum’ bitrate, they take up 154.3MB, meaning one hour and 45 minutes on a 32GB card. Parked recordings, those that you trigger yourself by pressing the button when riding (in which case you get a minute-long clip saved to a ‘Protected’ folder, split equally between the time before and after you pressed it), and ‘Accident’ recordings (triggered automatically by a G-force sensor) all take up space that leaves less for the loop recordings; something to keep in mind if you’re relying on a clip still being there by the time you get home.
The Innovv K3 will support cards up to 256GB in size, which will give you a lot more space to play with, but do still be sure to erase unwanted stored videos every so often as they’re not limited, so you could fill the card up with them.
I’ve turned off G-force recordings as they were filling my card up too quickly, going off over even fairly minor bumps in the road in the low settings, or even when rolling quickly off the throttle, which also makes it harder to find clips you’re looking for in the loops. Note that you need to turn the button off, but also drag the slider above it all the way to the left.
With parking mode activated, I tested the current draw and found it pulls 19 to 21mA for the 30 seconds it takes to record these clips, which is very little. This is the same demand it makes on the system when the bike’s running so you don’t need to worry about its impact on the alternator.
During standby mode Innovv claims the device pulls 2mA when the battery is at more than 12.7V, and 0.08mA when it’s at less than 12.7V, which is in line with the figures I was getting when I checked.
There’s one button on the remote, which is fairly easy to press but not tactile in any way – I’d have liked a positive click I could feel through my gloves. There are three lights on there too, an oranage one for GPS, a blue one for WiFi (that annoyingly keeps blinking) and a green one for recording. If you press the button for a manual record the green light blinks twice every second, which is way too subtle to be useful – in the daylight it’s barely visible and at night you still have to stare at it too long to know what it’s doing; I’d much prefer the colour to change to red for an instant acknowledgement at a glance.
If the device stops recording (for instance a corrupt card, which I did suffer after about six months), the green light blinks on and off, which again I find much too subtle.
Footage is recorded in 1080P 30fps front and rear, though you can opt for 60fps if you drop own to 720P.
One thing to keep in mind with any camera is that the lens must be kept clean. The position I used on the Tracer seems to be really susceptible to catching grime, meaning when I went to pull some footage from the card recently, it was unusable; make sure you keep it wiped.
The lenses have light scratch resistance, but of course be careful – this isn’t the Gorrilla glass used on phones and can be marked with a sharp metal object.
I’m pleased to see that there’s no gap between loop-recorded clips, which means you can join them together if you want something longer. I have the K3 set to record in chunks of one minute, but you can also choose three, five or ten.
Overall the video quality is fine – generally in line with the other cameras I’ve tested (which also use similar, if not the same image sensors) – but not a patch on a GoPro or, as my test of action cameras showed, the Insta360 One R or One X2. Also, my opinion is that the Innovv isn’t the best dash cam at handling high contrast, and it’s not quite got the best clarity.
Whether you can read the number plate of a car will depend on the speed it and you are travelling (it could easily and more than legally be a closing speed of 120mph), vibration from the road surface and whether there’s glare from the other vehicle’s headlights at night. Ultimately, should the worst happen, in the event you can’t read a number plate it’s still more than likely that the footage will show exactly what happened, and could be of real value if you’re unlucky enough to need it.
Check out the video below to see some clips...
The Innovv’s microphone is relatively large with a foam cover; it doesn’t look waterproof, though I haven’t killed it by deliberately washing it. It’s worth keeping it away from the front of the bike of course, and away from rain; some users pop it under the seat, which will make the engine sound better thanks to less wind noise, but I figured it was more important that it could pick up speech if that were needed.
I have it tucked behind the clocks where wind does still manage to spoil riding clips, but it’s got a fairly good chance of picking up audio. I’ve found it to be pretty good, though any noise around – like passing traffic – can interfere a little thanks to over-enthusiastic noise reduction. Again, it’s not high-end action-camera quality, but it’s not bad.
The supplied cable is long enough that you could tuck the mic up into your lid, but there’s no way to easily disconnect it, so this isn’t really an option. The best bet is to experiment with a position that works for you.
Rated IP67, The Innovv K7 should be completely protected from dust and be fine if immersed for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1m. Of course, the main unit will most likely be kept under the seat, where it’ll be protected from the worst of the weather.
You can watch and download the clips on your phone, but if you pop the card out of the main unit, you can copy them all to your computer.
Recording as TS files and MP4 are both options, and while MP4s are more compatible with a wider range of software, TS are less likely to be corrupted if power is cut during recording. That won’t happen when you turn off the ignition as the device is permanently wired to the battery, but if a serious incident caused all power to be lost, TS is the better bet.
I had no problems working with these files on a Mac’s desktop through QuickTime, or in Adobe Premiere Pro.
You can also use the very good Dashcam Viewer, which at first the GPS from the footage wasn’t compatible with, but having just checked for firmware updates (you get no alerts on the app that there’s been one), mapping now works fine in both TS and MP4 video file formats.
The remote GPS antenna gives the Innovv K3 a much better chance of displaying accurate speed and location data, and it’s certainly not bad. Speed seems fine (you don’t have to show it on your clips if you don’t want), and the accuracy is typically within a few metres.
You’ll need a little know-how to convert the data displayed on the clips (unless you turn it off) into something you can check on Google – on screen it might show ‘N47•35•60 E3•31•60, but for Google to understand this DMS (degrees, minutes, seconds) data, it needs writing as 47°35’60”N 3°31’60”E.
Yes, you can use a GoPro or many other action cameras as a dash-cam, but you have to keep in mind that it might not be quite as reliable. And you’ll need to run two to cover the front and rear.
First of all, you need to put your camera into loop recording mode – you can set this to be the default start-up mode on a GoPro, so check your device.
You’ll also need to supply power to the camera, which can stop it being waterproof, plus be wary that it doesn’t overheat and shut down just when you need it. While unlikely to be a problem on modern devices, it’s best to not push the camera too hard, so avoid using 4K.
Finally, don’t forget to turn it on! The beauty of a dedicated dash-cam is that it works automatically all the time, so you never have to think about it. If you want to film your trips, you’ll likely still need an action camera as well, so more expense and more to stick on your bike, but it is important to understand the limitations of both devices.
While not that common on bikes, according to research carried out by Money Expert, around three million UK car drivers now own a dash-cam, which resulted in 5,000 cases of police action within 20 months.
Almost two thirds of those who completed the survey had used footage as part of an insurance claim, and just under a third said the footage had helped them prove they weren’t at fault.
Earlier research by Aviva indicated that 17% of people who bought dash-cams did so because they’d previously been involved in an accident where they couldn’t prove their innocence.
There aren’t all that many options when it comes to motorcycle dash-cams, but I have reviewed some of the market leaders…
Don’t expect a motorcycle dash-cam to give the image and audio quality of a GoPro, or offer the polish and premium feel of something like a Nextbase car camera (though it’s taken a while for these to get to that point, and they’re still not always perfect in operation).
Ultimately, all the motorcycle dash-cameras I’ve tried are, at their core, quite similar, and there’s certainly room for improvement in the Innovv K3 around the remote control’s legibility, but overall it’s a good way to ensure your bike will capture every metre of road you travel. While I prefer the mounting options on the compact (and cheaper) Viofo MT1, and in my side-by-side comparisons that seems to have the edge in picture quality, the Viofo’s certainly not without its faults, and the Innovv’s addition of parking mode is one that many users will definitely consider well worth the premium.
BikeSocial members can save 10% on the Innovv K3, as well as other dash-cams at bikesocial.co.uk/join