By Karin Gelschus
While some riding cameras have been around for years, versatility and technological improvements have been key aspects of the products’ success in the market place.
A vital improvement is the sharing capabilities riders now have with their videos. In a time when social networking is all the rage, riders can share videos with friends on their home TV or people around the world via sites like YouTube.
These advanced products are sold mostly through distributors but also some dealer direct.
Erik Rutledge, who does product development for riding camera manufacturer MotoComm, says the cameras offer dealers a more diverse product line.
Cameras currently on the market differ considerably in price and technical characteristics.
Camera manufacturers MotoComm, VholdR and GoPro target numerous sports junkies as well as all powersports vehicles thanks to element-protected equipment.
“We do all outdoor enthusiasts, powersports users, snowmobiles, dirt bike, ATVs, motorcycles,” said Marc Barrows, co-founder of VholdR. “Then we do a lot with skiers, mountain bikers. The demographics are all over the place.”
The same is true for GoPro because the cameras are designed to withstand the rough treatment of powersports, says Theresa Blake, public relations account executive of Verde PR & Consulting, which works with GoPro.
“Professional, amateur racers and other athletes,” she said of their target audience. “In powersports, motocross and supercross. Also outdoor industry, including skiers, snowboarders, surfers, outdoor and climbers.”
About 10-15 percent of VholdR’s business is powersports, says Barrows. “That’s the percent of retailers,” he noted. “A lot of these guys do multiple sports. A snowboarder uses it, but he also uses it for his motorcycle.”
Due to the wide range of sports enthusiast targets, camera manufacturers say they are doing very well, despite the challenging economy. International camera manufacturer VholdR, which is based in Seattle, nearly quadrupled its business in 2009, says Barrows.
A main reason for VholdR’s success is because of the file-sharing capabilities and support the company offers, adds Barrows.
“Included with the camera is our Easy Edit software, enabling anyone to download, clip and share their videos to VholdR.com,” he said. “With the introduction of ContourHD1080p, VholdR.com is the only adventure sports community where you can share and watch Full HD video captured around the world. Today 70 percent of VholdR and ContourHD customers share their adventures on VholdR.com. We upgrade it all the time. It’s kind of like an iTunes.”
MotoComm, a manufacturer that focuses on low-definition cameras, also reports brisk business, partly due to the economy. A lower definition camera can cost almost half of what HD cameras do.
“Considering the economy, sales are going really well,” said Rutledge of MotoComm. “A lot of bigger dealerships want to stock this sort of thing.”
Dealers can get MotoComm’s products through Parts Unlimited or Tucker Rocky. MotoComm’s newest camera that came out a few months ago, RiderCam, has VGA technology. These files are much smaller than HD cameras, making it easier to do file sharing and video editing, Rutledge says.
“At the end of your ride, you can plug the included USB cord into your computer and transfer the AVI-format files to your PC or Mac for editing,” Rutledge said. “Or, if you just want to view them on a TV without loading to your computer first, no problem.”