How to: mount your GoPro on your GoKart

GoPro cameras are everywhere.  No doubt you’ve seen them at some point in your travels at the track; they’re one of two cameras that SKUSA allows at all, and they’re so popular that the brand name ‘GoPro’ has virtually become synonomous for ‘action camera’.  If you’re wanting to film your on track exploits (and who doesn’t?!), its a great choice.  One of the best part about the GoPro is that you can mount them in all sorts of crazy positions to get some epic action shots, but how to do that on a kart?  I’ve got a few that I really like.

The Helmet

Mounting on the helmet seems to be one of the most popular options – and with good reason, the curved sticky mount that comes with the camera is designed for helmets, and takes seconds to install.  I’m not really a fan of this POV for a few reasons;

  • The angle of the camera has a huge impact on the quality of the footage (and most of the videos on youtube seem to be about 90% drivers lap, 10% racetrack  or 90% sky, 10% racetrack)
  • Too much vibration.  Your head gets rattled around a lot in karting, and attaching a camera to it just makes videos borderline nauseating to watch.
  • Too high up.  The overhead perspective can be cool, but for some reason it doesn’t work with a helmet mount, I think its the lack of a fixed perspective.
  • I don’t want to stick an ugly black adhesive mount to my shiny (and expensive) custom painted helmet…maybe its just me.

However, in some situations a helmet mount is desirable (like at an indoor track), but there is a better solution!  I stuck mine on the side of my visor in a way that it doesn’t interfere with my vision, and gives an eye-level perspective.  To get the best results, you’ll have to switch the camera to ‘upside down mode’.  Mounting it this way will obviously be affected by what kind of helmet you have, I have an Arai SK/GP5, and theres just enough room for a sticky mount.  If you absolutely must mount it to your lid, a sticky mount on the chin is a decent option too.

Helmet

The Radiator

If you’re a fan of the ‘over the shoulder’  perspective (and who isn’t?!), then mounting the camera on the radiator is a great option.  Using the ubiquitous adhesive mount, simply stick it on a bare spot on your radiator.  Be sure to clean the spot well, and make sure that theres no residue of grease or oil that will prevent the mount from adhering properly.  Also keep in mind that the adhesive that GoPro uses can start to fail if exposed to high temperatures (which, if you’re getting that hot, you’ve probably got bigger problems)  In my experience, the further outboard you can place it the better, as you’ll get a better shot of driver and track.  This POV is great because you can see the on track action as well as the driver doing his/her thing, and you get that great, heroic, wide angle third person view that GoPro has become famous for.  Its also silky smooth and vibration free.  Personally, this is my favorite.

Radiator

The Front Faring

If you’re a SKUSA racer this is actually your only option per the rules, and thats a shame because its a pretty uninspiring view.  Sure, you get a great sense of speed, but a lot of the videos turn out with no point of reference, so it just looks like a disembodied camera hurtling around the track.  If you have a Hero3 (or WiFi equipped Hero2), you can use the GoPro App or WiFi BacPac to fine tune the view, and (depending on how high its mounted on the faring) you can sort of angle the camera down and maybe catch the very edge of the front bumper, and even the drivers feet.  Again…pretty boring.

...meh.

…meh.

The Bumper Bars

Its sort of an unconventional place to mount a camera, but the bumper (AKA Nerf) bars can make for a cool perspective for some of your video edits.  This one is simple, as you can just use the Handlebar/seat post Mount and a small piece of radiator (AKA Heater) hose to act as a vibration reducing shim.  On the front bumper bar, my favorite place to mount it is looking back at the driver, or you can face the camera forward and get an extremely low POV for some cool ground-level shots.  If your track hasn’t yet mandated the CIK-FIA rear bumpers, you can also attach it to your rear bumper to act as a chase camera.  I don’t think id want to watch an entire race video from this perspective, but if you’re looking to splice in some different angles for some variety its a great choice.

Looking forward, great sense of speed...

Looking forward, great sense of speed…

...and looking back.

…and looking back.

The Chesty

GoPro’s chest harness, AKA “The Chesty” is an awesome accessory to have if you’re filming some Mountain Biking or obstacle courses, but karting?  Believe it or not, it makes for a cool perspective that would look good in an edited video (but don’t film an entire race this way).  Getting the right angle is key here, its the difference between great footage and ‘why the hell did I even try this stupid idea’.  If you have the GoPro app its super easy, otherwise you might have to try the ‘ol trial-and-error method to see what works.  At the end of the day, this POV is just a frame full of steering wheel, but if you’re creative you can do something fun with it.

Chesty

Don’t let these be the end to your creativity, though.  People love the GoPro for its versatility, so go nuts with those sticky mounts!  Got any cool videos or edits that you’ve done?  Share them in the comments!

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6 responses to “How to: mount your GoPro on your GoKart

  1. There’s a killer argument pro mounting it on the helmet, which you got totally wrong: it actually is the least vibrating part of the entire kart-river system. Your torso and neck (and the cushioning of the helmet) actually absorb most of the vibrations, allowing you to keep your head relatively still and having clear vision. Your neck works like a shock absorber. The angle problem can be solved by getting an action cam that has a screen on the back (like my SJ4000) and have someone adjust it when you sit in the kart. The elevated position actually gives good vision of what’s happening ahead.

    Top of the helmet is the only viable and practical installation location really.

    • Valid point, and it’s certainly a matter of personal preference! I prefer the fixed, on-kart perspective myself, and i’ve never had issues of vibrations before. And mounting the camera on your helmet isn’t even a legal option at the track I race at (for safety reasons, mostly), so we’re limited to the front faring.

      Fortunately if you have a Wi-Fi GoPro and a smart phone, getting the angle right isn’t really a problem anymore! Still seems like a lot of folks don’t bother to check before recording…

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Hi. I wanted to mount my GoPro to the radiator. However, I wanted to know what the temperature range it can withstand before it melts the glue on the mount or do you have another way of mounting it to the radiator? Thanks

    • Great question! The adhesive on the mounts is 3M VHB Tape. It should be good up until 90ºC/194ºF, but make sure that you have the cleanest surface possible when you stick the mount on, and give it plenty of time to adhere properly. So if it’s a 2-stroke that you’re working with, then the mount should be fine as long as you stay within the optimal range for your engine. I had mine mounted to a shifter kart radiator for a long time with no issue, but I did have to replace it at one point since it was getting a little weak. Just make sure you keep an eye on it and tether your GoPro just in case something happens. Loads more info here if you want to know more about it all.

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