Contour Roam Review: Filming the ODI Gokart Invitational
Typically, after a long day wandering the halls of Interbike it’s easy to be lured into a deep sleep by a comfy and quiet hotel bed. However, after the exhibit hall closes the industry as a whole disperses into the neon glow of Vegas to eat exotic food, attend lavish parties, or ring cowbells at cycling styled athletic pursuits. This year, while the majority of the Interbike hoard were taking in a cross race generally devoid of beer hand-ups and racers ruining it for everyone, we were instead lucky enough to be invited to participate in the ODI Gokart Invitational at Pole Position Raceway just off the Vegas strip.
With absolutely no idea what to expect, I made my way to the track armed with the new Contour Roam in hopes of documenting some of the party while trying to find out if the Roam really is the easiest helmet cam to use on the market. What better way to test out the camera than in an unfamiliar setting with very limited time to get the mount set up?
Oh, and with the help of Eric Carter and Mike Montgomery, BikeRumor found its way to the podium….
Perched atop the track in our own private “skybox,” we watched as a who’s who list of MTB and BMX pros sauntered into the building. With Eric Carter and Brian Lopes leading the mayhem, the staff at Pole Position had no idea what they were in for…
The race was to be an endurance style event, with a 45 minute race time in 18 horsepower electric gokarts capable of 45mph on a 1/4 mile track. To make the racing interesting, and the lives of the staff more stressfull, each team of three would have to change drivers at least 4 times which involved signalling a pit stop (rarely happened), driving slowly into the pit (only when the staff was looking), and walking slowly to exchange drivers in a safe manner (yeah, right.). If you were lucky, and your pit stop went off without a hitch, you could be back on the track clicking off laps – as long as you didn’t forget the seatbelt.
After drawing names from a hat, I ended up on a team with Mike Montgomery, and Eric Carter. What!? Honestly, I had no idea people took gokarting so seriously, as many riders brought their own helmets and a few were even sporting custom Alpinestars driving suits with driving gloves. While most drivers were trying to look as pro as possible, EC went the other direction with his festive pink and purple butterfly, flamingo, bejazzled creation seen around the track aggressively blocking faster drivers as our car ran out of juice. Due to how much time was lost in the insanity of pit lane, fewer pit stops seemed like they might pay off, though after 15 or so laps the car’s battery would start to rapidly lose power.
From the very start of the race, Aaron Gwin jumped out to an early lead only to lead his team to victory leading every lap of the race. Team BikeRumor on the other hand got off to a pretty slow start, but with a smart pit strategy and consistent lap times, we worked our way up to 3rd place thanks to some aggressive blocking by EC on the final lap.
By far this was one of the most fun events I’ve ever attended while at Interbike, so a huge thanks goes out to Kevin and the crew at ODI along with all the Pros who made it out. While I’m not sure if we’ll ever be allowed back into Pole Position Raceway, let’s hope we can do this again. I want a rematch.
What about the camera?
Hopefully as you can see from the film above, the Contour Roam absolutely lived up to its billing. Due to the endurance nature of the race, most of the on-car footage was taken from the practice sessions since every pit stop meant a different car. With that said, at the start of practice I had less than a minute to get the mount attached to the car, though thanks to the Contour Flex Strap mount this proved not to be an issue. Not only that, but even after being rear ended by Decline (though it wasn’t their fault. Rubbin’s racing, righ?) at a pretty high rate of speed, the Roam didn’t skip a beat and the mount hardly budged. Not quite what I was expecting for such a simple mount.
I positioned the camera on the roll bar that was situated directly behind the driver, and with a bulky motorcycle helmet on, there was no way to actually see the camera while seated in the car. Thanks to the idiot proof on/off instant-record function I was able to reach back and turn the camera on without looking, knowing I was getting the shot. Also, due to the odd angle of the roll bar the shot would have been off axis if it wasn’t for the rotating lens Contour is known for.
While there are a few other cameras that offer slightly better footage quality, and the Roam still uses a Micro SD card which can be a pain if the rest of your electronics already have standard SDs, the Roam is one of the best helmet cams on the market from the fact that you will actually use it. The Roam is so easy to use, there is no reason to think twice about slapping it on your ride, flicking the switch, and going for a ride – recording every minute.