I’m sure all of you know the sheer number of drone implementations across a wide variety of industries. Photography and cinematography are still leading the charge by pushing the bounds of what conventional cameras used to do. With drones, a whole another level of practicality has been introduced, and it seems as though it isn’t getting off the pilot seat anytime soon.
With that said, not only professionals are using drones to do their work. Many hobbyists, enthusiasts and even complete beginners to drones are starting to use them for increasing their productivity/popularity. With YouTube still being a huge hit, this sort of business practice is expanding to vloggers and adventurers as well… which leads us to today’s topic – best drones for mountain biking!
If mountain biking is your thing (and believe it or not, it is far more popular than most of you think), then I reckon the topic of this article will interest you. Even more so if you have your own YouTube channel where you share your awesome videos. Wouldn’t it be even more awesome if you could add aerial footage to your arsenal? Just think of what terrific sceneries you could capture while you and your bike cruise through the track. Amazing, right? Don’t believe such things are possible? Just go to YouTube and type in mountain biking drone footage and take a look at the first few videos that pop up. You’ll be amazed!
So, without much further adue, why don’t we start off with our topic and list out a few great drones to record mountain biking with?!
TABLE: 5 Best Drones For Mountain Biking
|5. HStone HS720||1080p||0.8km||23min||See best offer|
|4. DJI Spark||1080p||2km||16min||See best offer|
|3. Hubsan Zino||4K||4km||22min||See best offer|
|2. Autel EVO||4K||7km||30min||See best offer|
|1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro||4K||8km||30min||See best offer|
5. Holy Stone HS720
We’re starting our list of the best mountain biking drones with an affordable model that won’t take too much money out of your wallet. Times are rough and we gotta save where we can, and it seems as though Holy Stone’s HS720 is all about the cost cuts! Luckily, we’re still talking about a stellar drone here, one that won’t let you down in terms of performance and one that will provide you with all of mountain biking essentials.
Let’s start our journey with the specifications! The range on this beauty is pretty good, well over the typical numbers we’d come to expect at this price point. We’re talking roughly 800 meters, making HS720 much more than your typical backyard flyer. The flight duration is pretty sick too, clocking in at around 25 minutes. Slightly less than that if you’re hitting the throttle too hard or you’re recording aerial footage for the entirety of the flight.
Camera and Features
Now that you’ve seen everything there is to be seen regarding HS720’s specifications, let’s venture into the software side of the story and check out its features! There’s a whole bunch of them available – ranging from basic stuff like GPS, and altitude hold, all the way to advanced features like return to home, and follow me. The latter, however, isn’t the most polished feature out there, so you can’t exactly expect it to work as it should in tricky environments with lots of obstacles.
Last but not least, let’s focus on the camera. Unfortunately, the camera could be the worst part of this drone. It’s marketed as a 2K sensor that works great in any sort of weather, but in reality, it’s a slightly wider full HD resolution with inconsistent bitrate and awful vibration. Heck, for all I know, it could be an upscaled HD resolution, judging by the footage quality. Still images aren’t that bad, but the footage is outright awful. If you’re planning on recording footage with your new mountain biking drone, going for DJI Spark or any of the drones featured below is worth every extra penny!
4. DJI Spark
If you want professional-grade aerial photography but don’t want to burden yourself with a huge case, then DJI Spark is the ideal solution for you. This miniature drone can fit into any type of backpack. Come to think of it, it fits in most pockets too, making it an insanely portable device. But, with its portability comes excellent performance too. With the combination of those 2, it is not surprising to see DJI Spark ranking up massive sales from the moment it was released. You want to know what’s the hype all about? Well, here’s the deal…
Starting off with the main characteristics, you should probably know that DJI Spark weighs just 300 grams which is absolutely brilliant for such a mighty drone. Combine that with 143 x 143 x 55 mm dimensions and you’ll understand just how small this birdie is. But, despite its size, DJI Spark is a proper beast when it comes to raw performance. With up to 2 kilometers of flight time (when operated with its dedicated controller) and cca 16 minutes of airtime, you will be more than satisfied with what it has to offer. Even more so considering DJI Spark sports a mini USB port that allows you to charge it via power bank. Yup, you can charge this baby on the go, how cool is that?
Features and Camera
Even cooler is that miniature 2-axis camera/gimbal combo which is capable of recording fully stabilized videos in 1080p resolution. Furthermore, DJI Spark also has access to a wide set of features, including ActiveTrack (DJI’s version of Follow Me), TapFly (DJI’s version of Waypoints) and plenty other autonomous flight modes that will boost your productivity while mountain biking. There is even a pair of brand new features called PalmControl and PalmLaunch which offer fluent controlling with your bare hands. However, as pleasing as this might sound, I doubt you will use it frequently since you will be concentrated on biking rather than playing around with your new drone. All things considered, there is no doubt DJI Spark is a beast. Even though its size and look doesn’t give that out at first sight, once you start using it you will realize that your money was well spent!
3. Hubsan Zino
The middle of the pack spot belongs to Hubsan Zino, a miniature little bugger that’s versatile, foldable, lightweight and 4K ready! Yep, a whole lot of adjectives crown this interesting model, so it’s only logical of us to dig deeper and see if it’s worth your hard-earned money. Spoiler alert – it sure is!
When talking about performance, one can’t say Hubsan Zino falls behind top-tier drones. Yes, it’s specifications aren’t exactly state of the art, but they’re still darn close to the priciest premium models out there. In other words, Hubsan Zino can reach approximately 4 kilometers away from its transmitter which is more than the average range at this price point. On top of that, it handles more than 20 minutes of casual flight, which is somewhat of a golden standard these days.
Camera and Features
As mentioned above, Hubsan Zino is a 4K-ready drone! What this means is that its supports 4K resolution, be it at a lower framerate. The footage is still smooth enough, but more thanks to the onboard 3-axis gimbal than the framerate count.
As for the features, everything you’d come to expect from a $400 is available. GPS is the front-runner, packing impressive precision and paving the way for additional reliability features such as failsafe, return to home, altitude hold and similar. Last but not least – what makes Hubsan Zino such one of the best drones for mountain biking is the fact that it’s foldable and small, meaning you can take it with you no matter where you go. After all, the best camera is the one you have with you at all times!
2. Autel Robotics EVO
The second spot belongs to the original EVO by Autel Robotics. In the world packed with white and various gray gradients, AR is a company that dared to be different. But, that’s not all – we’re not just looking at a pretty drone here, we’re looking at a proper beast too! Let’s take a closer look and you’ll understand why the original EVO is ranked as the second-best drone for mountain biking!
There’s only a handful of drones that can go toe to toe with Autel Robotics EVO in terms of raw performance. Not only is this foldable bugger extremely fast but it can also fly for extended periods of time and do so at such a massive range. That said, EVO delivers around 7 kilometers of range and close to half an hour of flight time. That’s about what we’d come to expect from such a robust and high-price drone.
Camera and Features
When talking about whether or not you should buy Autel Robotics EVO, a good portion of the answer can be found by examining its camera. And it’s a great one, don’t get it twisted! The original EVO is capable of recording 4K footage at 60fps, bringing forth crystal clear definition and butter-smooth frames. It allows for quite a bit customization, but the auto settings are almost always one step ahead of most beginners and intermediate users.
EVO’s set of features should not be taken for granted either. In fact, this orange beauty is on level terms (features-wise) with other premium drones like DJI Mavic 2 Pro or Parrot Anafi. It’s equipped with a ton of heavy-lifters such as GPS, object tracking, obstacle avoidance, failsafe, return to home and more. We’re talking about a premium drone here, so it’s not surprising at all!
1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Finally, at the top spot of this list, I present you the one and only, DJI Mavic 2 Pro! Even though the original Mavic Pro would do this task just fine, the second generation Mavic Pro offers several additional perks, some of which might come in handy during more complex mountain biking environments. So, without any further adue, let’s see what’s this bad boy all about!
DJI Mavic 2 Pro has everything it needs to become an instant hit with the audience. That’s because it sports impressive hardware that’s crammed together in an impressively small product. It’s almost identical to the original Mavic Pro, but with absolutely no compromises when it comes to performance. Yup, that’s right! DJI Mavic 2 Pro features the same (or even better) performance as Phantom 4 Pro, and does so featuring a much smaller package. In other words, it has up to 30 minutes of flight time and 8000 meters of range, all of which we are already used to seeing with DJI’s current-generation flagship drones.
Camera and Features
Moving forward, it’s also important to add Mavic 2 Pro’s 4K-capable camera which is mounted on a miniature 3-axis gimbal ever. It works like a charm and can provide with buttery smooth aerial videos time and time again. Features-wise, this birdie is nothing short of spectacular, but that was to be expected. All DJI GO app features are present so you should have an easy time setting things up and enjoying your mountain biking experience with this little bugger.
Finally, DJI Mavic 2 Pro also sports omnidirectional obstacle avoidance which can be of crucial importance in rough mountain biking environments. If you’re thinking of fyling this thing autonomously most of the time, and that’s highly likely since you’re reading this particular piece, then you’ll really appreciate Mavic 2 Pro’s complex OA system. In the end, I believe I don’t have to say anything else about the brilliance behind DJI Mavic 2 Pro. It’s an absolute beast no matter how you look at it… and as such, it definitely deserves the top spot on this list!
FAQs: Best Drones for mountain biking
What makes a good drone for mountain biking?
Before dashing out a large sum of money, it might be a good idea to double-check what exactly are you looking for. Drones are not nearly the same when it comes to the type of performance they provide, but I guess I don’t have to be the one to tell you that.
Anyway, here are the key traits that make a good drone for mountain biking:
Considering all 5 drones featured in the list above house great cameras, picking the best one out of the bunch seemed a bit tricky. And I was right – not only was it tricky, but it was also borderline impossible, which is why I decided to name two models instead of one. So, as far as camera quality goes, DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Autel Robotics EVO are slightly better than DJI Mavic Air which is at the third spot. They’re both small, lightweight and capable of recording buttery smooth aerial footage that is bound to sweep you right off your feet… so you can’t really go wrong with either of the two!
DJI’s OcuSync technology has really pushed the boundaries in terms of the operating range of their flagship drones. By implementing it into their highly portable DJI Mavic 2 Pro, they have basically created a small explorer capable of tacking any sort of trip you can put it up to. We are talking about up to 8 kilometers of seamless transmission which is by far the longest operating range out of these 5 drones featured above. The closest runner-up is Autel Robotics EVO which can get almost identical flight time in urban areas but can’t get near the Mavic 2 Pro in clear and unobstructed environments.
If flight time is at the top of your priority list, then DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the drone you should look for. With up to 30 minutes of flight time and realistically 25 (with 4K recording on), there really are no other portable drones that come near it. Most of the time, you will be looking at models bearing 20 to 25 minutes. But not DJI Mavic 2 Pro – it can endure darn close to half an hour in the air. Talk about power efficiency, am I right?!
What makes a good drone for recording mountain biking?
If you want to have the optimal performance when it comes to recording aerial footage, then there are a few traits you should pay close attention to. First being hardware image stabilization. I cannot stress this enough, guys – if you want smooth videos with no shakiness whatsoever, then hardware stabilization is a must! Without it, you will experience shakiness, jello effect and won’t even be able to control your camera’s movements mid-flight. Needless to say, those things can make a difference between making and breaking this whole deal.
Second of all, you should also pay attention to the features to your potential drone-to-be. Obviously, GPS is a must as well since it provides access to a wide array of supporting features. Some of those are crucial for decent mountain biking experience. Mainly, I am referring to follow me (or ActiveTrack – DJI’s version of follow me) mode which gives you a bunch of functionality to start off with. Additionally, you might also be interested in features such as Orbiting and Terrain Follow, both of which can do a great job as far as mountain biking footage is concerned. You are free to experiment with those as much as you like… until you get that perfect combination that will amaze everyone watching your clips.
Last but not least, you need to make sure your drone can be easily packed together with your belongings. In the list down below, there are several miniature drones including DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Spark which make for great traveling companions. Others, however, require their own backpacks/cases which could overburden you on your trip. I’m not saying you shouldn’t opt for bulkier models, I’m just suggesting you should take the size into consideration before making your purchase.
Take DJI Spark and, let’s say, DJI Phantom 4 Pro, as perfect examples. The former is so small that it will basically fit into the pocket of your trousers or jacket. On the other hand, the P4Pro is a bulky drone that comes packed with a hard-shell case for easier transport. It’s heavy, bulky and can be considered a burden for traveling, but does possess far better performance and camera quality than the Spark. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your preference and whether you are looking for pure quality or willing to compromise a bit for a travel-friendly experience.
Should you pay extra for hardware stabilization?
Like I already explained above, hardware stabilization is of crucial importance for every drone meant for recording aerial footage. It’s a basis of what good aerial photography drone must have and as such, I believe you should pay the extra for it. As a matter of fact, take 3DR Solo as the perfect example. You can get the drone for dirt cheap money, but if you want a dedicated gimbal for it, I’m afraid you will have to splash out quite a bit of money. We are talking about comprehensive and highly sophisticated devices here. They’re not cheap to manufacture… but to justify for that, they do indeed make quite the difference in terms of image quality. So, once again, paying extra for hardware stabilization systems (AKA gimbals) should never be in question as they are definitely worth the money.
Setting up the stage
Now that I’ve covered everything you should know about great aerial photography drones, it’s time to guide you through your first steps. As al beginnings, this can prove to be a tricky one as well. There are many functions and features these premium drones come with and you will mostly be using a few of them. So, with that said, let’s see how to set the stage up for your very first mountain biking video:
- For optimal results, you should always examine the surrounding area and get the feel for where exactly your drones should be positioned in order to get the best footage.
- Experiment with different opening shots. Perhaps panoramic views aren’t always the best options. This depends heavily on the type of area you are into… Practice makes perfect!
- Try out Follow Me/Active Track mode. Simply select yourself on the drone’s FPV display (or your smartphone, in some cases) and enjoy the hands-free footage. This allows you to fully concentrate on your biking rather than tampering with the drone all the time.
Mountain biking, as cool as it can be, gets so much more awesome when there’s a drone recording the best moments. Take YouTube for example – there are a plethora of awesome mountain biking videos recorded solely with drones. And each of them is fucking awesome, pardon my expression.
So, if you are still not sure whether you should buy a drone or not, perhaps watching those videos will convince you. After all, if you don’t record your adventures, did they even happen?
Thank you all for reading! I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Until next time,
Happy mountain biking!