GoPro 911

A while ago, I was recording a round-trip through my backyard with my GoPro HERO 9, to be shared with those of you who would like to create a Real Life Video (RLV).

If you are on an indoor cycling platform that supports using your own, like Rouvy or BigRingVR that is.

I had a route in mind that would be just under two hours, which would be more than enough for most indoor sessions.

At least for me these days – I’m done spending longer rides than that indoors as it is way more uncomfortable than riding long hours outdoors.

(Ironically, for years and years, indoor rides and riders have been ridiculed, as the hard core outdoor riders believe that you’re actually just freewheeling when riding indoors.)

About halfway through my ride, I swapped the battery and continued.

You don’t need to unmount the device to do that, just open the compartment on the side of it.

(This does however, occasionally lead to breaking a finger nail – I wish they would fix that…)

But perhaps I indadvertedly touched/moved the closing ring on the mount or it just vibrated loose, but when I got home and wanted to stop the recording, the unit was gone…

I – obviously – didn’t notice it falling off and despite the odds, I even backtracked my route the next day, but I didn’t find it.

And even if I would have, the chances of it still being intact and functional where slim at best.

I’m still baffled at how this has happened, for I’ve been using my HERO 9 on several expeditions, speeding downhill at over 80+ kph – when any unevenness is felt tenfold – or riding horrible goat trails, but never did I feel the unit was about to snap off.

As I not only use my GoPro on these alpine expeditions, but also as a “security” measure while cycling here, I got Paula’s permission to buy a new one.

(She was suspicious, though, as she knew I already checked out the new GoPro HERO 11 😎)

It arrived a few days later and my 40-second “Gritty Corners” clip was part of my first recording with it.

So, is my new GoPro HERO 11 Black any better than its predecessors?

Yes, but…

Much of the devil is in the details.

As is the case with most new devices for any brand, there are upgrades you may or may not notice.

Or care about.

The processor is – noticeably – faster: I do not experience “stutter” when I end a recording and it saves immediately.

My HERO 9 would frequently take up to a minute to save a (longer) clip…

The megapixel (photo) increase – from 20 to 27 – will most likely not impress most of us.

You might be more impressed with the all-new 1/1.9 inch sensor on the HERO 11, which is capable of shooting at up to 5.3K/60fps, compared to 5K/30fps on the HERO 9.

Plus, if you frequently post to “social” media streams – I don’t, not counting YouTube – you will love the ability to capture videos with the new 8:7 aspect ratio.

Here’s what that looks like:

Image taken from the GoPro website

You will keep the “wider” view, while capturing more of what’s going on at the top or the bottom of your shot.

Most of what you share on your preferred “social” platform is shifting to vertical aspects, but native width content like on TV’s and YouTube is still as important.

So instead of choosing landscape or portrait mode, you can use the 8:7 aspect ratio, so you can crop later without losing any aspect ratios for other uses.

If you do use the 8:7 aspect ratio, the fps on 5.3K will drop to 30, but you still have 4K/60fps available.

There’s a whole lot more to it, the (HyperView) Digital Lens having countless FOV – field of view – options combined with HyperSmooth.

And believe it or not, the latter has improved even further in version 5.

With or without the additional “Horizon Lock” option, you can literally get out for a rough mountain bike trail ride and the footage will look it was shot in a car rolling over smooth asphalt.

I’ve seen that in action on my HERO 9 as well and it will of course negate the real life experience you feel when you are actually riding that trail – flow and grit included – so for more “dramatic” videos, you might want to turn it off 😂

If you want to what that looks like, here’s an example:

Trust me, if you can’t tell by the noise my bike makes: my kidneys ended up in my arm pits and my nuts in my throat 🤪

Less important to me, but no doubt exiting for others, is the 10-bit color processing for more vibrant pictures.

It comes with new modes namely: Light Painting for dark environments, Vehicle Light when shooting from within a moving car and Star Trails for the night sky.

Whatever…

And even while GoPro claims prolonged battery life – new “Enduro” batteries – I’m still underwhelmed with the performance of those.

This is obviously related to and/or influenced by outside environmental conditions and what mode your shooting in, but I have yet to record any clip longer than ±50 minutes continuously on one battery and they usually run out faster than that.

As a result, I already had four “old” (blue top) batteries – and I lost one “Enduro” (white top) – with my HERO 9, but I got a new one with my HERO 11, so I have two of those as well.

If I venture out on my own and cannot recharge them in the “team car”, I usually take at least one spare with me.

Then again, as I mostly only record getting out of and back into the city whenever I’m cycling my backyard, even with the occasional extra take in between, one battery often suffices.

But if I want to continuously record for a RLV project of two hours, I’ll need at least three.

So far, I’ve only produced one of about an hour and I don’t think I’ll make many more of them as I didn’t get the impression there’s much demand for it 😂

And I have enough RLV’s from VeloReality and Tacx that have footage I like more than the same scenery I see while riding outdoors…

In any case, if you – like me – currently have a GoPro HERO 9 or older and consider upgrading, the new GoPro HERO 11 won’t disappoint.

But if you’re happy with your HERO 9 and not too obsessed with the – impressive – extras the new action cam champion offers, just wait until your device gives in.

Or until you lose it…


And yes, I’ve made it all but impossible for it to fall off again, by using a hand wrist strap attached to one aero bar, as well as a Garmin rubber ring used to fixate an Edge or Varia to the other 😎

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