Leader Motorcycle Accessories
1″ handlebar mount (as tested): $119.99
Last fall, I was cruising down State Highway 385 from Deadwood, South Dakota, toward Custer, exercising a new discipline for me—filming video instead of snapping still shots. In an attempt to capture the spirit of the Black Hills Classic adventure, I had devoted a day of filming for our new Thunder Press podcast website feature. I quickly discovered that the unique talent required to hold a camcorder while riding a bike opposed to standing on a sidewalk with digital camera was… well, somewhat of a challenging learning curve. Actually it was more of a learning “if you ain’t careful you’re gonna ride right off the damn mountain” kinda curve. And while some of the riding footage I shot while rounding the long sweeper leading to Lake Pactola came out pretty well, my nerves were jangled by the time I finished. And there is no way I can recommend navigating a motorcycle while staring through a 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ LCD screen to anyone. So when I returned to home base, I began investigating alternative methods for affixing a camera to a bike. And let me tell ya, there are a multitude of options, with each manufacturer having their own spin on what is superior.
With an ever-expanding selection of electronic gadgets being adopted by the riding populace, the design of secure mounting systems has had to scramble to keep pace. This rapid proliferation has resulted in a myriad of swivel balls, u-bolts, sockets, extension arms, baseplates and clamps. Luckily the eCaddy by Leader Motorcycle Accessories has simplified the operation to a point that even an electronic Neanderthal like me can feel confident in the installation process. The eCaddy uses one of the most respected names in camera mounts, PanaVise, as the backbone of its product. The PanaVise section features a split clam shell design with internal teeth that grips a pivot ball and has a 1/4″-20 connection, the standard thread size for camera tripods. A speed nut with a rubber cushion takes up any slack. The clamping action is secured with a glove-friendly oversized wingnut, and comes in an attractive black anodized finish. The PanaVise is bolted to the eCaddy system that comes in either handlebar-clamp style or a control switch housing bracket version. I opted for the 1″ diameter handlebar mount. Before hooking everything together, I added just a touch of blue thread locker on the four bolts that secure the eCaddy to the Panavise—probably overkill but better than a highway littered with a broken lens and destroyed vacation memories. The eCaddy is a handsome, billet aluminum split clamp with a chrome finish. A notch is provided on the bottom edge to allow clearance for wiring or your brake line. Once you assemble the eCaddy and the PanaVise together, installation and removal from the bike takes less than a minute, requiring only a hex wrench.
The round handlebar clamp can be ordered in various sizes to fit 3/4″, 7/8″ 1″ and 1 1/4″ diameter tubing. This also allows the camera to be mounted on either your front engine guard or rear saddlebag guard, depending on the make and model of the bike, which is especially handy if running a windscreen or fairing. Plus this location provides for some great low angle shooting and, if mounted on the rear guard, actually allows filming of bikes as they approach and pass you (instead of always capturing the backs of rider’s heads). A variety of holsters and cradles are also available from Leader to mount GPS units, an iPod or an MP3. So now, get your eyes back on the road, ride safe and happy filming.