Drones and biking are the perfect pair. You don’t need to be riding through open desert trails to film yourself with a drone, either. Rapid development in follow-me drone technology has made it possible for drones to capture bikers in their elements even on dense, forested areas. If you’re seeking to get aerial video of your extreme sports adventures, here are the best drones for mountain biking (as well as a few other interesting accessories to consider):
The best follow-me drones for mountain biking
I’ve extensive outlined the best follow-me drones here. And the best follow-me drone for other sports like skateboarding, snowboarding or skiing is quite frankly no different than the best follow-me drone for mountain biking.
A follow-me drone is quite simply a drone smart enough to follow a pre-determined subject and keep them in the video frame.
The best follow-me drones use vision sensors, recognition tech and complex algorithms to track you — all without necessitating an additional GPS tracker for most scenarios. And these days, I’d only recommend a follow-me done that can not just track you, but is aware of its surroundings and can avoid other objects, like trees or bridges, in its way. From there, quality follow-me drones can intelligently navigate around those objects, even when flying at high speeds.
The six follow-me drones that I’d recommend in some capacity are:
Skydio 2+: the best drone for mountain biking
Of those, my top pick is the Skydio 2+, which costs $1,099 and comes equipped with six, 200-degree color cameras to see everything in every direction (in theory never crashing as it follows you).
By the way, if you shop between now and the end of September, you’ll save $50 off your purchase of any Skydio 2+ Drone Kit using Skydio promo code DroneGirl.
Skydio is a California-based drone maker. The Skydio 2+ drone films 4K60 HDR content and offers up to 27 minutes of flight time with the improved Skydio 2+ Battery. It can be purchased in a few different kit styles with varying accessories, but you’ll likely want the $1,549 Skydio 2+ Sports Kit, which includes the Beacon (more on that later), three batteries, two extra propellers, a dual charger, memory card and more.
The company put together a pretty epic YouTube video showing its drone flying alongside some downhill mountain bikers. Check it out here:
The Skydio Beacon: While Skydio 2+ does not necessitate a GPS tracker, it stands out thanks to a unique accessory: the Beacon. This roughly-$200 accessory provides GPS tracking, which does help if the Skydio 2+ can no longer see you (such as flying in an extremely dense area where the drone is higher than the trees and you’re on the ground). The Skydio 2+ Beacon extends the range of your phone up to 3km when using the Skydio App.
Custom RTH: An important feature of Skydio drones is the ability to set a custom return to home (RTH) point, so you can send a drone to a place of your choice should you get disconnected. To set up your custom RTH behaviors and designate a home point ahead of your next mountain bike ride:
- Open the Skydio App
- Select Settings > Drone >
- Set your desired Return Height, Speed, and other behaviors
- Launch your Skydio 2/2+
- Select the Home icon
- Select either Phone or Launch Point as your return location
- OR go to the Map to select and hold a custom Home point
Check out my full review of the Skydio 2+ drone here.
Drone-like camera for mountain bikers (and all sorts of bikers!) that doesn’t fly
While drones are great (hey, this blog is devoted to them), they’re not always the ideal tool for filming. You might be biking in a place where it’s illegal to fly drones, such as a National Park. Maybe you just don’t want to put in the effort to set up your drone, as even the impressive 46 minute battery life on the DJI Mavic 3 could cut short a ride. And perhaps the drone is just too cumbersome to pack, and you simply want a tiny action camera that can fit in your pocket.
DJI Action 2 Power Biking Combo (budget pick)
For that, consider the DJI Action 2 Power Biking Combo. The DJI Action 2 is a GoPro-like action camera from the same company famous for drones, bringing that silky-smooth, drone-like video to the ground.
The DJI Action 2 launched in fall 2021 as DJI’s second action camera, iterating on the DJI Osmo Action which first launched in 2019. The camera is small enough to fit in your pocket, and its best feature is called RockSteady 2.0, which combines EIS with algorithms to stabilize video footage.
Alongside RockSteady 2.0, DJI also gives the Action 2 a program called HorizonSteady, which holds your frame horizontal and steady — level to the horizon — to ensure especially smooth video, especially in situations such as where the photographer is running.
Check out my full review of the DJI Action 2 camera here.
The DJI Action 2 camera has been incredibly popular amongst mountain bikers, which is why DJI created what it calls a DJI Action 2 Power Biking Combo. Originally $483 (and since discounted by 25% off to just $363), the DJI Action 2 Power Biking Combo gets you not just the action camera itself, but accessories that are essential to mountain bikers, including a magnetic headband, a mounting kit, and a 128GB memory card.
DJI Osmo Action 3 (upgrade pick)
If you have the budget, you might do one better by getting the newer model, the DJI Osmo Action 3. While there’s no biking-specific combo pack, there are plenty of accessories well suited for mountain bikers including the Osmo Action Helmet Chin Mount, which is just $15, or the $45 Osmo Action Handlebar Mount.
While a bit pricier, it brings mega improvements to the Action 2, namely vastly improved battery life. Features a 1770mAh Extreme Battery, capable of up to 160 minutes of recording time, that’s a big difference from the Action 2’s 70 minute offering.
What are your favorite drones for mountain biking? Leave a comment below!
And for more reviews and analysis, check out my guides to the best camera drones, and the best follow-me drones.
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