Rear-View Camera for Bike

Dork factor or smart safety device? Like an automobile backup camera, the Owl 360 gives a small screen and a rear-facing lens to let a bike rider peek down and see an approaching car whizzing up from behind on a busy road. Announced at the Interbike trade show last fall, the Owl unit is just now coming to market at $199.

The company markets it as a replacement to a mirror setup or to the old-fashioned “craning your neck” technique to look back. It’s sold as “the first rear-view camera and screen that can be easily mounted to any bicycle.”

Rear View screen.jpg

Handlebar screen gives rear view

The camera system is “weather-resistant” and rugged enough for normal riding. (I.e., don’t plan on taking it for anything serious off-road.) Its battery is rechargeable and lasts for 10 hours of use.

In addition, there are flashing LEDs on the camera, making the unit do double duty for adding visibility as you ride and letting you see what’s coming up from behind.

Rear View Camera for Bike.jpg

Owl system — screen and camera — on a bike

What do you think? Is $200 worth the convenience of a digitized rear view? Or is the added cost and bulk of the Owl unit — not to mention a significant dork factor of a monitor screen on your handlebars! — make the product seem silly? If nothing, the Owl 360 is unique.

—Stephen Regenold

rear camera.jpg

Camera mounts on seat post

Posted by Dan - 05/25/2012 09:14 AM

My immediate concern with a product like this is theft. Also, it has to be pretty rugged, even for urban environments. I think it’s a cool idea but seems patently obvious that it will need some refinement.

Dan @ BladeReviews

Posted by Jason Goray - 05/25/2012 10:25 AM

I’m not sure if the lens angle is wide enough but if the thing had record capability, I’d consider it partially for documenting any incidents.

As it is, I can see parents who tow their kids in trail-a-bikes or trailers finding it useful.

Posted by whiskers - 05/25/2012 11:23 AM

My problem with this is that it attempts to find a high-cost, impractical, and inconvenient solution to a problem which has already been solved with a $10 helmet/handlebar mirror.

Posted by martin - 05/26/2012 11:02 AM

I’m sorry, this is nuts. Anybody who buys this doesn’t deserve their money.

Posted by T.C. Worley - 05/27/2012 06:50 PM

Seems like watching your back on this screen would be the cycling equivalent to texting and driving. I forsee some awesome over-the bar home videos from this thing.

Posted by mrlouis - 05/27/2012 11:04 PM

Amazing… it even doesn’t need any cables! Is the battery for the screen… hidden inside the case?!

Posted by Dennis - 06/01/2012 06:48 AM

I don’t think this has any MORE risk of crashing while watching the screen than a mirror has. Not like the screen brings up your e-mail and SMS traffic. Just use the same discipline you would with mirrors and you should be fine.

Having said that, Dan is on to something – theft risk. Plus, how is this better than a mirror; although I have yet to find a mirror I’m happy using they are an inexpensive means of accomplishing the same task. Now if this device can record what’s happening behind me that would be interesting.

Posted by Luke - 06/08/2012 03:26 AM

Like Jason said if this recorded it would be actually have a point.

Posted by Delfairen - 06/18/2012 08:47 AM

Originally made for Tandems where the Captain can’t see past the stoker. For that purpose they seem great. For a normal bike I think that its a waste of money.

Posted by Peter NZHPV - 08/20/2012 03:56 AM

I have a recumbent trike, turning it into a velomobile. Been looking for something like this as its near impossible to see behind, mirrors dont quite do it.

Posted by Mike - 09/24/2012 08:56 AM

I bought it was excited but very dispointed. The glare was impossible to see the screen and on a bumpy road the screen kept going blank. Needless to say it will be going back. I do thought think it s agreat idea if some way the screen could be made to been seen in the sun.

Posted by cctrekker - 11/16/2012 03:44 PM

Smaller, quick release screen or bluetooth / WiFi connection to your smartphone would be better. Recording a necessity.

Posted by MammaK1947 - 12/23/2012 08:51 PM

I intend to buy one of these for a cross country ride. I have had 1 handlebar and 2 helmnt mirrors and have an easier time identifying traffic by sound than sight. I am not as worried about theft as I am about doing anything that will help this 65 year old grandmother succede in her cross country quest. I’ll post how I like it in a a couple of months.

Posted by Miss Rose Mary Hebert - 02/02/2013 07:34 PM

Hi, How are you? I am fine.
Will you send me a request catalog?
My address here is:
Miss Rose Mary Hebert
P.O. Box 1529
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Then I will order it.
Any Questions? Thank-You, Rose Hebert

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