HOWTO: Cheap Camera Handlebar Mount

Put a small camera in harm's way

I'd been looking around for a cheap handlebar mount for my small Canon Powershot SD400 to attach it to my motorcyle. Not finding what I wanted, I took some inspiration from making my climbing rope washer and decided to whip something up on my own. This mount was less than $5, making it a cheap way to attach a camera to a handlebar. Just about any camera should work, but I would recommend using a smaller one, I think the vibration on something like a video camera might hurt it. I did try a few methods to insulate the mount (and in particular the camera) from vibration as best I could, witness the rubber grommets for the mounting stud, as well as the garden hose sections where the mount attaches to the actual handlebar (this had the added bonus of protecting the finish on the handlebar from the hose clamps.)

Scroll to the bottom of this page to view a sample video taken while using this mount. There is some vibration but it is isolated to particular RPM ranges, in general the video is very watchable for using such an inexpensive mount.

List of parts:

The order of assembly is less important than actually getting all the pieces together, so if you don't want to follow this order exactly don't worry too much about it.
Steps to Create a Cheap Handlebar Camera Mount
assemble materials First I had to assemble my materials. The rubber washers were the hardest thing to find, but I located them at the local Ace Hardware in their small parts section.
drill end cap Drill the center of the end cap. I used a 1/4" bit. This is where your machine screw will be placed.
put machine screw into cap Assemble the machine screw into the pipe cap. I used a flat washer on each side while pinching the rubber washers directly in the PVC. You can likely skip the rubber washers but I am using them for vibration isolation.
cut pipe T Cut the pipe T roughly half-way down. The top portion is what you will be clamping to your handlebar. I used a Dremel, but a hacksaw would work just as well.
glue pipe cap Glue the pipe cap with your machine screw into the top of the pipe T.
cut to fit Since the space available on the flat part of my handlebar was too narrow for the full pipe T I had to cut the ends off to fit. In this photo the bar knob is shown installed on the thread of the screw.
wrap hose on handlebar Wrap your old garden hose sections onto your handlebar. I did this for three reasons: 1) to protect the finish on the handlebar when I clamp the device, 2) to help provide a "grippy" surface to clamp to, and 3) to attempt to reduce vibrations on the overall mount.
install hose clamps on handlebar Unscrew the hose clamps all the way, wrap around handlebar and start the thread again.
screw tight Aim the mount, screw the hoseclamps tight, stand back and admire your handy-work.
finished handlebar camera mount Fortunately for me the windscreen is large enough that the mounted camera (a Canon SD400) is protected from on-coming debris (small rocks, rain, etc.)
admire result Admire the results of your construction in building a very cheap handlebar mount for a small camera.

The mount works surprisingly well, and it would likely work for a bicycle handlebar as well. Unfortunately for me when I have my motorcycle gloves and helmet on it is extremely hard to see or hear if the camera is actually running in video mode. This is something that I will need to work on, many times I just hit the button to "record" and hoped for the best.

Sample video:

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Comments

James says: FZ6 huh?? Nice bike I got one too :)

Tim says: Nice job! I'm going to give it a go on my SV650 and see what comes of it.

Jake Ludington says: Looks like a great adaptation of my bottle cap tripod - wonder where you got the idea for the "bar knob" sitting on top. Thanks for the credit. ;)

shovelX says: dude thats bad ass, i am going to have to try mounting a camera somewhere in my car, i do a shit load of crazy driving

DarkCarp says: That Jack guy is a dick. Screw him.

Dave says: Right, Jack. You're the first person to mount a camera by putting a 1/4" screw through a stationary object.

Curtis says: Easy guys, I did get the idea for the bar knob from his original bottle cap tripod. The advantage to using it is that when you screw the camera onto the machine screw you can use the bar knob to set pressure against the camera to make sure that it doesn't vibrate and fall off (or come off-center.) That's a huge advantage over just using a straight screw and hoping that the threads tighten up when the camera is facing forwards, as opposed to say, off to the side.

Mikey says: I took an old half shell m/c helmet and actually bolted a thin sheetmetal flange to it as a mount for my miniature DV camera. The camera weighs just 4 ounces, and my head is the most stable tripod I've ever used! 100% foolproof, you just look in the direction of target and it's a done deal. Very steady and no worries of damage, unless you crash. Might I remind you, no touching of camera while moving. Besides being extremely dangerous (your eyes should be on the road at all times) there is always the possibility that you might accidently release the camera to the grip of mother earths gravity. And then you can kiss your toy goodbye.

Josh Byers says: Nice idea, although my wife might want me to sell my bike if she saw video of my driving... Is the mountain road Berthod Pass in CO?

Mikey says: I got a small gallery of cam pics over on Volusia riders.com http://www.volusiariders.com/album_personal.php?user_id=4938 There's the cam and theres the Spamcam and housing. I'm calling it the Spamcam because the weatherproof housing is actually a heavy duty refrigerator-keeper container made by - wait for it - - wait for it - SPAM.

Mikey says: Well, just join up on Volusiariders.com for free ( name/email req'd ). Then you can look at Treetop's real Spamcam. Yea. Lots of people doing this now.

Jesper Bram says: Nice one mate. The video seems a bit shaky though. I tried mounting a small bullet video cam to my handlebars with a small rubber mount that came with it. Shouldn't be more shock absorbant than your setup. But the video didn't shake at all. Maybe the camcorder have some build in shock resistance I don't know. Check it out at http://www.helmethairblog.com/entries/scotland-motorcycle-video-episode-1/ if you want.

Mike says: I notice another black piece connected to the screw possibly to shore up the unit snug the camera to the mount. Where did you get this piece?

fred says: try downshifting before the corner.....keep the rev's up in your powerband, then, that way, if you need some unexpected power to get the hell out of some idiot's way, you can just crank it. no offence, but looking at your speed, line and hearing your rev's, i'd recommend you take some lessons. ATTACK those corners, or they'll attack you.

leonard says: I bought a Tony Hawk helmet cam. It was made for skateboarders, but works great on the helmet when I ride my Harley. The only difference I see is mine appears more stable, but the wind creates more noise than the bike. Be happy to send you some of the video if interested. The helmet cam comes with rubber band and sticky mount. The unit goes on special from $100. to $50. after rebate. It is usually advertised at www.tigerdirect.com

John says: I made one just like this, except my pipe 'T' had a threaded side piece. I put a pipe plug in that, drilled a hole, then just ran a screw through the hole (from the inside) into the camera. It's basically just screwed down to the plastic part - I think that not having such a long standoff migh help reduce shake. Another thing that I'd add is a string or other strap from the camera to the handlebars to catch it in case it disconnects. Videos from my Minolta Xt on my Honda Magna are here: http://s45.photobucket.com/albums/f67/kirwan9/?action=view¤t=PICT0009.flv and here http://s45.photobucket.com/albums/f67/kirwan9/?action=view¤t=PICT0003.flv Thanks for the great tutorial!

Adilz says: Since mine is a sportsbike handletype, I can't use this mounting design. So I DIY'ed my own deisgn using a camera tripod and strapped it onto the fork bracket. You can see my mouting design and video samples from http://planet.time.net.my/sepang/adilz/

Timmy Keystone says: I use something that's called a knucklehead cambox. It works great. I found it on ebay and couldn't be happier. It has a lens that reduces UV and protects my camera lens also.

matt says: so awesome. thanks man.

kongzz says: Thank u so much.. I'll do it too... 555

eric says: i built 2 they work great im making 10 to take to bike week and sell them for beer money

Brad says: Thanks a bunch I am going to make this for my ride through yosemti

marco says: I just made one yesterday and went for a ride today. It worked perfectly. We're going to South Dakota this summer and this will be great.You're a genius and just as cheap as I am. Thanks.

Mark says: Nice Job. Only one thing. That FZ6 is WAY more capable of handling those corners faster than you were going. Rail them Man!!!

gershon says: I have a burgman 650 so don't have a nice handlebar, so I mounted a piece of PVC tube from handgrip to handgrip and then copied this. It worked great. :) The cost was $10.00 including tax.

mika says: Great idea man!!!I just put it on my 2003 fzs 600. You should try tie-wraps instead of those clamps.Much easier!!!Thanks!

Great says: Wow, great idea! Will try it

aris says: nice bro..i must have one like yours :D. may i made copy this tutorial instead of http://www.honda-tiger.or.id/forum/made-tripod-camera-t21777.html?t=21777 thanks.

Jesse says: I want to do this for my quad, but the problem is unlike your bars the only sport available is a small straight with a bend in it, so do I have any options to mounting this? Please write back thanks.

joe says: good job , my only mod would be to use the bottom half of the tee also. it would help protect the handlebar and make clamping easier. thanks again.

Todd says: I, too, would like to know where you got the black knob that shows on top of the screw/bolt in the 6th photo (the one where you said you had to cut the ends off the T. Thank you. Nice work!

Wing says: Yeah ... but then where does the GPS go ?? ;-)

Rene says: What about 1/2" Conduit Hanger http://www.electrical-supply.net/product.asp_Q_parentID_E_529_A_subCatID_E_576_A_prodID_E_2718 longer screw,one more hexnut;secure that camera with,little electric tape around handle bar.....that's what work for me .yama600.R

Eric says: Listen to fred. Downshift entering corners.

Jason says: Hi Curtis. Nice design ;). I will be building your mount soon. I have recently designed a rear mount for my KTM Superduke. If you want a rear view, then this might give you some ideas: http://www.users.on.net/~jsno/proj_micro/rear_camera_mount/index.html Cheers ;) Jason

Edit by Curtis: made the link a real URL, thanks for that Jason.
Rear Camera Mount for a KTM 990SD

Nathan says: Just built this, and it works wonderfully. I was not able to find a bar knob so I used a wing nut. Also, I didn't have any garden hose, so I used automotive heater hose (it's thicker too). Thanks for this write up!

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