nut-r action mount
The action camera business is a popular one, we can safely say there's one main player but that's not to say there's not other decent brands out there offering the same video quality. But unless you're a highly skilled circus act who can film hand held whilst riding, you're going to need a decent mount to capture those moments when you conquer that hill, finally beat that mate in a spring or like us, have an encounter with a flock of sheep! We've been quite a few mounts with our GoPro, some good, some pretty poor. We came across NUT-R on Instagram and we were really eager to put their unique POV to the test...
Greig Petrie is the man behind the brand. He kindly loaned us one of his mounts to try out on a few rides for the Summer (no wants a drizzly damp Winter ride to film do they?!). The main USP (unique selling point - my wife is a business teacher so she'll love this terminology!) is that the mount is solely for the axles giving you an unique shot of the wheel rolling and close ups of the rider in front or behind. We was curious to see how user friendly it would be during rides.
It's a solid piece of kit made from stainless steel but with that come weight. Other mounts we have used have probably been half the weight. Our lifeline dual stem mount which we had been using is made from aluminium and we never had an issue with it. Up to this test, it had been the most reliable mount we've had so far. Worst must of been the plastic c*** you get with those GoPro attachment kits, ours cracked during a ride in Dartmoor and luckily we caught the mount before it smashed into a thousand pieces. It comes with a little instruction guide but you don't really need it to set it up on the wheel, it literally just replaces the nut on the QR. What you do need to do is set the mount at the right angle before you tighten and tighten well, we did have an issue which you'll read about later where the mount did become loose.
Questions we want answered was issues like how easy was it to access the actual camera and how solid the mount really was seeing as it also acted out as the other end of the quick release holding the wheel in place? Either way, it would make for an interesting test...
A pleasant mid-Spring evening gave us the first outing with the NUT-R mount. Nowhere more accessible to us than RP and as it's local, we could grab some quick footage. With that added weight to the right side of the wheel (we like to line up our QR levers symmetrically), our first worry was the impact the mount would have on the steering. Honestly, you don't really notice it at speed. Maybe when pulling off and you're leaning to that side, you might feel a slight weight difference. Some of you will say 'well that's not aero', OK, fair enough, it'll probably won't win no wind tunnel tests. We left the GoPro turned on but didn't start the camera, we wanted to see how easy it was to reach down and get it going. It wasn't. We don't have the longest of arms and we could just reach the buttons but then so did our face with the rolling tyre. We didn't fancy a Moari style tattoo on our face for the effort!
When we finally reached RP, we clipped out and stuck on the GoPro. No sign of looseness from the journey to the park and we rolled away. We was wondering how others would perceive it in terms of looks. It's not your stem mount bang on the mid-line maximising any aero' benefits. We didn't mind really, we was just looking forward to seeing what kind of angle we managed to get with the footage.
Well, the aim was to get film a whole lap of RP but we was misled by the battery life on the GoPro so only managed to get a minute of footage but we were loving the angle. Loved seeing the Fulcrum decals spin in the footage, it's an unique angle to view from, for us, it gives the footage a more authentic action shot compared to your usual fixed mid-line view from the stem.
The One v4.0
Well we learnt from our mistakes and made sure both of our GoPro batteries were fully charged for our next ride on The One series which was to take place in the Chilterns. A good number of riders turned up for the challenge, some new faces and some old (that's not a reference to age by the way!). One thing I did have to think about in preparation for this ride was when to whack the camera on and off because there was no way I was confident in playing around with it whilst rolling. Greig had mentioned in an email that he gets around it and it's possible with practice to turn it on and off, I didn't want to risk falling off or end up with a spoke piercing my face!
Some of the others did comment on the bulkiness of the mount, true it's not subtle but a minor thing in our eyes if you're looking for an unique filming angle. Again, we didn't feel much impact on the steering, our main worry was making sure it stayed on and that we avoided any debris (twigs etc.) that could knock it. Anytime the group stopped, we judged whether the next section of the ride was worth any footage. We was tempted to sling it on the rear wheel but as it was out of our sight when riding, didn't want to risk it coming off and not knowing until 30 miles later! (I've realised now that I have been using mount with the camera upside down, this is optional and probably explains why I was struggling to reach down - my bad!).
Turned out to be a cracking ride with some great people, we were hoping the footage collected reflected this. One aspect we were impressed with was the downhill footage we had managed to film especially the descent of Kop Hill. It really gives you a true and sometimes a scary sense of how fast you are actually travelling. Not sure you get that with a handlebar mount.
Another thing we have experienced with our mounts is a rattle with filming either from the dodgy surfaces or the GoPro housing not secure enough to deal with the bumps of the road we're riding on. The NUT-R mount performed ok in this area, the roads around the Chilterns at this particular point were quite awful in places and the mount kept secure and thankfully, my front wheel stayed in place for the whole ride!
Little Lumpy Sportive
Our last test was the lumps and other lumps of the Little Lumpy Sportive which was a cross-county ride across Surrey and Hampshire. Lumpy was an understatement but was a well organised, very homely and often very beautiful sportive. Made sure the batteries were fully charged again but one luxury I didn't have was knowing the route so had to be very particular when choosing to film our group of bandits riding.
Now, this is probably the only time when I had an issue with the mount but around 80 miles in turning last out of a junction, I felt a knocking from the front wheel and saw the mount spinning around with the QR coming loose. I had to swing over quickly otherwise my GoPro would of been in pieces. Couldn't of been worse timing as the group had rolled on and it was at this point in the ride I started to hit the wall. They say bad things come in 3's don't they?! Not sure I can confidently say that there was an issue with the mount itself, this was the first time an issue like this had presented itself and when I found the right hex key to use and continue on my way, the mount was solid again. But it was something I had wondered about when I first received the NUT-R mount.
Would you like to see some footage of Little Lumpy? Well you can't because my annoying little GoPro has decided it doesn't want to upload onto the laptop so for now, it's stuck on the SD card...Once I get it sorted though, you guys and girls can see first hand how lumpy Little Lumpy really was!
I approached Greig because I kinda had enough of the mounts we were using, it was a case of either them not being secure or just giving us the same angle as everyone else. We're not called notinthepeloton for nothing and are always looking to for quirky things. The NUT-R Action mount gives you that. We dig the close surface angle, watching the wheel spin as you speed down a descent or slow down for a corner. We've worked out post-test that we had the camera upside down (you can mount it the right way) so it's probably possible to turn the camera on and off whilst riding, whether you feel confident enough to do it or not is another question!
Is it secure? Yes, we did have that issue on Little Lumpy so it might be a good idea just to check every now and then when you've stopped at a set of traffic lights or at the usual cafe stop. Does it work with other cameras? Yes, it does, according to their website, the Virb is compatible as well as other cameras which use the GoPro mounting system. VFM? (Value For Money) We feel it sits in the reasonable price range. There's cheaper mounts out there but if like us, you've found they break easily or come loose at the slightest bump, they weren't worth it. It doesn't take long at all to mount on the QR whereas other mounts you might need to fiddle about to have confidence in it that it won't suddenly make a dart for it on a ride.
There's only one drawback which we can think of and it was when we were discussing the mount with our racing friend Sam that we realised you're going to find it hard to grab any racing action you may encounter. Most circuit and open road races don't allow video devices to be used whilst racing which is slightly annoying as this mount is designed for close action capturing. Plus, with the mount on the front wheel in particular, a lock of wheels whilst racing could result in a nasty crash. Apart from that, it's a good investment to make if you're planning a winter break in Menorca or Tenerife ascending/descending some of the popular climbs over there, the NUT-R Action mount does have a place in your digital draw of tech' goodies!