Z1 Rider Mini 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for GoPro Cameras Review and Sample Footage

best gopro gimbal z1 rider gimbal

Today we're taking a look the Z1 Rider 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for GoPro HERO3/HERO4 cameras. This has to be one of the most versatile little gimbals available for the GoPro due to the fact that the power and boards are separated from the gimbal itself and can be mounted using any standard GoPro Mount.

z1 rider gopro gimbal stabilizer

I chose this particular gimbal over everything else for a few reasons.

  • 1. The 3 Axis Gimbal is separate from the handle, batteries, and control board allowing the lightweight unit to mount to any standard GoPro mount (helmet, bike, chest harness, suction cup, etc). Other GoPro gimbals are attached directly to a handle, which doesn't allow it to be used as easily as the GoPro camera itself.
  • 2. The motors are strong. Strong enough to withstand high winds when driving down the road and mounted to a motorcycle helmet. Strong enough to attach GoPro accessories like the Battery Bacpac, and HDMI Cable for an external monitor, or even a USB cable to power the GoPro from an external battery.
  • 3. It's also cheaper than some of the other gimbals available (personally I feel it should be more expensive).
  • Two sets of screws (long and short ones) are provided in case you want to use the GoPro HERO3/HERO4 Naked, or if you want to attach a battery bacpac. The Z1 Rider Gimbal can easily compensate for all of the extra weight. Attaching a USB or HDMI cable to the GoPro will easily throw the balance off of any gimbal, but once the Z1 Rider is powered on, it easily manages to keep the horizon of the GoPro very level.

    3 axis z1 rider gimbal

    The Z1 Rider can be adjusted so that you have a full range of tilt motion from low shots to high shots. Different modes can be chosen for Pan + Tilt Follow, Pan Follow Only (no tilt), or No Pan + No Tilt (locked off).

    gopro z1 rider gimbal

    Two buttons on the joystick control Tilt in one mode, or Roll in another mode. Unfortunately it does not have enough buttons to manage tilt and roll at the same time. Not a big deal since most people don't want their horizons off axis anyways.

    z1 rider large motors for gopro
    Motors on Z1 Rider about the size of the GoPro

    Obviously the benefits of the other GoPro Gimbals are the simplicity of having just a basic handle. I've managed to add a small L Bracket to my handle to simulate the same form factor should I want to travel extra small (albeit i'm left with a cord).

    The L Bracket + a GoPro Tripod Mount allows me to mount the Gimbal and still have room for a Smart Phone Mount to use the GoPro App for preview.

    DIY GoPro Z1 Rider Gimbal with L Bracket
    DIY L Bracket to Remote for Mounting Gimbal and Smart Phone Clip

    I do notice that my hands are much more steady with two handles, so by clamping the Z1 Rider to a 15mm PVGear Carbon Rod, i'm able to add a second handle and still have a very compact form.

    DIY two handle rig Z1 Rider Gimbal

    Remember that the main reason I wanted this particular gimbal is it's mounting versatility. So combined with a MogoPod Monopod I can get further extension for height and quickly switch to very (very very) low shots seamlessly. With my longer Carbon Fiber Boom pole. I can even simulate a Russian Arm while tracking a subject from a moving vehicle.

    Z1 Gimbal Mounted to MogoPod Monopod Boom Pole

    So while the GoPro HERO4 is a powerful compact camera with 4K recording and HDMI output, you can get even more out of it by using a good stabilizer. If you're considering a GoPro 3 Axis Gimbal, the Z1 Rider 3 Axis Gimbal is one that I highly suggest for all of it's versatility and strong performance. Find it through the link below.

    z1 rider gopro hero gimbal stabilizerz1 rider gimbal for gopro cameras
    find-price-button Z1 Rider Mini 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for GoPro Cameras

    65 thoughts on “Z1 Rider Mini 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for GoPro Cameras Review and Sample Footage

    1. Dennis Kane

      Hi Emm
      Can i rotate the Z1 from the handle ? I would like to mount the Z1 on a vertical boom pole and rotate the GoPro around 180 degrees
      Thank you

    2. Tex Willer

      I have the Z1 Rider and the MogoPod...
      Can you tell me exactly what kind of clamps and Rod you use?
      Some links... If possible...

    3. Do you know how to get out of the calibration mode or if there's a mac version for the calibration I have a feeling I'm stuck in the calibration mode because i get the blue light on the handle but no orange light on the gimbal itself.

    4. Jaa

      Hi everybody!

      Could anybody tell me the max loading capacity (weight) of the rider and/or the smooth? I read it can not deal with the RX100 (240g) - I have the S110 whose weight is 198g. Is it too much or will it work?

      Found nothing, whether on youtube, on their website or google.

      Thanx in advance,


    5. Emm

      Post author

      @user01 - You cannot mount a smartphone on this Z1 Rider gimbal. You'll need a different gimbal to do that. Check out the one from LanParte: httpss://cheesycam.com/nab-2015-lanparte-handheld-gimbal-for-smartphones-gopro-cameras/

    6. Kurt

      Hi Emm,
      ah o.k, many thanks.

      Only one part i miss - with which part of accessories have you connect the control rod from the gimbal (carbon rod to control rod)? Maybe you have also a link for me?


    7. Kurt

      Hi Emm,
      your solution is great!
      Can you tell me where i can get the "15mm PVGear Carbon Rod" (additional screws required?) - have you a link for this product?
      I want to implement the same way as the last part of the Video (with the external monitor)

      Can you give me a Shopping list? 😉 - what parts I Need?

    8. Emm

      Post author

      @NayTron - I'm still using the same set of batteries that came with the system. It's lasted a full day for all my projects and I just recharge every night before I use it. I turn it off whenever possible when I don't need to use it. I still haven't found the exact batteries for it.

    9. @Emm, Thanks! Mission accomplished. Works as it should now. Also, what batteries do you recommend? I bought some 18350's but they were the "button top's" so they didn't fit because they were a little longer.

    10. Hey Emm,

      So I've been messing around with my Z1 Ride for the past couple days and was wondering if your GoPro tilts when you make turns. Also noticed it's never fully leveled unless I use the button to level it out. Any advice? I tried doing a Firmware upgrade but I guess you need a PC? Thanks!

    11. Emm

      Post author

      @theidol - In one mode you can tilt, the other mode you can 'roll'. No panning on the remote, you would pan with your hands.

    12. G1

      Super nice !! Do you think you could attach the gopro with its housing ? eventually with a ND filter ?
      Brushless motor are waterproof, and controls are not on the gimbal so this could be used on a waterproof copter. Let me know, thank you and keep up the good work !!!

    13. Jason

      Woa Im so glad I checked your site..been awhile..This is amazing. Anything more to add since you've made this post? I'm really interested..

      Im new to gimbals, I didn't really understand the modes you were trying to demonstrate while on the boom pole. can you explain the modes a little more? It seems like you one off?

    14. Bill Strehl

      @SourceSeeker I haven't seen a single gimbal designed for use with the waterproof housing. I am guessing that is because the gimbals originated for use with quadcopters as opposed to divers. All of the 3 axis gimbals I have seen online seem to have their motors fairly well sealed but none are advertised as weather resistant let alone waterproof.

      You raise a good point which I have never seen addressed and that is how well they work in dusty environments.

      In order to work under water I would think a special waterprrof housing would need to be designed to hold both the GoPro and the gimbals inside the housing. I am guessing that would cost some seriously big bucks.

    15. Bill Strehl

      @ lolicht I put together what I think of a comprehensive overview of all the options know to me (we seems to change daily recently) and also on that website you will find links to 3 brands that use the Basecam/Alexmos controller board: https://goprouser.freeforums.org/new-gimbal-by-dys-and-an-overview-of-the-marketplace-t22181.html

      Also check the other posts and reviews there in that sub-section of the forums.

      At the moment, I the 2 companies and 1 retailer using the controller you want are DYS (Dong Yang Model Technology), FeiYu Tech and the FunnyGo sold by copter-rc.com

      I also think that the Z1/SteadyGIM3/IFly use a contoller made by gemred.com. See the first page of this post about trying to talk to the Z1: https://goprouser.freeforums.org/gimbals-3-axis-fengyu-g3-vs-steadygim3-vs-funnygo-t21622.html

    16. Hi
      I'v a Z1-rider since january and used it skiing, and filming from a truck on a bumpy road. It's not as smooth as a "regular" gimbal, but the form factor is quite interesting. The ability to do a smooth vertical pan with the remote is nice, i used it to do almost undoable shots on a snowmobile , paning from the sky to the ground while driving hi speed in a forest ... But I still have some jitters and I can not update the FW, the new one upload in the utility, but I can not see the FW currently on the board, despite I can connect and see the pitch/roll/yaw values changing as I move the unit ... I had no feedback from Zhiyun ... does anyone has such issues ?
      I'd like to get the same form factor gimbal but with an alexmos inside ! 😉

    17. Emm

      Post author

      @Gear - Yeah I have one here. Very functional unit for mounting to bikes, helmets, and even poles. But without the 3rd axis not the best for walking or running while holding with your hand. Of course without the 3rd axis it's better for action sports and mounting so that it doesn't drift on it's pan. You will of course see some side to side motion if you move quickly. Here's a quick vid I posted on instagram. You will notice it does an excellent job keeping the Horizon very level, but there will be some movement on the pan axis.


    18. Gear

      Hey Emm,

      Have you tried the Hummingbird variation by iFootage? https://www.camotionllc.com/hummingbird-a-109.html

      I like that it is powered by a GoPro battery and that it's completely self-contained at the gimbal - so you can detach the handle completely and still mount it on standard GoPro mounts. (Yes it does make the gimbal assembly a bit larger, but this method eliminates all wires completely!

      It's an alternative that might be worth doing an A-B comparison w/ the Z1 Rider...


    19. Patrick

      No, I manually set the values which I have from the birdycam Facebook group.

      Varavon finally got back to me, I'm sending my unit to Korea...

      Thanks anyway!

    20. Emm

      Post author

      @Patrick - When you say you're using 'Proven Settings', does this mean you're typing the PID settings in manually, or are you importing Profiles? Importing Profiles could easily cause problems. Especially if you change whether your motors require the 'invert' option, your sensor orientations are changed, RC or Follow Modes are set differently. Did you happen to import profiles?

    21. Patrick

      Hi Emm,

      sorry that this is a little offtopic, but it´s at least gimbal related.

      Did you ever experience one of your various gimbals freaking out after maybe a minute of working just fine?
      I have a birdycam2 and can´t solve this problem. I have a Gh3 or 4 on it with very light lenses and I´m using community-proven settings, which work fine until the gimbal starts freaking out. It suddenly turns wildly on all axies and is unresponsive to joystick inputs.
      I´m in contact with Varavon but that takes it good time...

      Thanks for any info on that,

    22. Fionn

      Wow great review. Thanks for putting it all together Emm. Have you any plans to try it with the Blackmagic pocket camera ?

    23. Hi Emm,

      I have the Z-1 Pround and attempted to download and open the firmware tools and the firmware itself. The files seemed to be corrupt when downloaded off their server. (zhiyun-tech site) Let me know if you have a better resource or link that has worked for you.

      Thanks as always.

    24. Emm

      Post author

      @JSS - It is not using Alexmos, and unfortunately there is not bluetooth.

      As far as the electric boards, I have several different types, but the lightest ones and best bang for the buck are these that just recently came out. We have several of them.

      Yuneec Electric LongBoard
      find-price-button Yuneec E-GO Electric Longboard Skateboard

      I also tow my daughter to school on another one.

      Off to school today! This is she rolls.. #electricskateboarding #eglide

      A video posted by Emm (@mrcheesycam) on

    25. JSS

      Hey Emm,

      any thoughts on using a different battery/power source for this? Maybe converting or adapting to a more readily available power source.

      Also what are the electric skate boards you guys use in the videos?

    26. I know there's the usb external mic adapter, but when I hooked up the hdmi out, it didn't send audio to the external monitor.

    27. Emm, what I've been trying to figure out is how to monitor audio and hook up an external mic. Have you been able to get that setup working on a gopro? I guess you could use the Juicedlink passthru box, but I've only got the Feiyu-tech G4 at the moment, and I'm trying to keep my setup nimble, as to allow me to get in and out of cars without bumping into things.

      Thanks again for your great research. You're the only one doing this, man... and you're the king of it. Many sincere thanks.

    28. Regarding your calibration question, no I haven't tried callibrating it. I don't think it is a callibration issue--it was a weight issue. If I was just holding the gimbal with the gopro, monitor, and 52mm variable ND filter, the gimbal was fine. But under normal use (for me) it could not handle all that weight while I was hiking through snow up a mountain. I think it is just a limit on the motor.

      Rob's question regarding the RX100: No it will not support an RX100. I tried it.

    29. Hi Emm, I can't see any image that you posted with the cable connected to the GoPro USB. The Z1 Pround does come with the micro USB cable to charge the GoPro while using the gimbal. This is one of the main reasons i bought the Z1.

      I do like the concept of the Rider especially when recording on the end of a pole. The Pround does get a little heavy after 10 or 15 minutes at the end of the Yunteng pole. The cool thing is the button on the pole that allows you to turn the gimbal on or off.

    30. Emm

      Post author

      @Robert Peak - I haven't used the Z1 Pround, but I looked at each one of them. Here's an image showing a cable connected to the GoPro USB. Is that not powering up the GoPro?

      I've actually had mine for weeks, and have used both an HDMI and USB external power with it, so I don't find my GoPro dying. Mine can also support a battery bacpac and an HDMI cable. I wonder if the Z1 has been tuned differently than the Pround? Have you tried to calibrate yours to see if it fixes any hiccups?

    31. Rob

      Any thoughts on using this (or modifying it for use) with the Sony RX100III..... Think it might be possible?

    32. I have the Z1 Pround and have done some testing with it. Yes, it does have a stronger motor than the Feiyu G3 (which i also have), but it isn't as robust as they make it sound. Also, the Rider doesn't have an option to power the GoPro like the Pround does. Using these gimbals in real world situations, you quickly find your GoPro dead, especially when using a monitor on it.

      Using the Z1 Pround with a GoPro Hero4 Black with monitor and 52mm ND Variable filter, the motors would hiccup and give out after about 5 minutes. I tried this over and over and the video was not good with the filter on. I have not tried my SRS mini nd filters on it yet, but will do so soon. I doubt the motors will have a problem with the SRS filter.

      One other problem I have is getting backup batteries for the Z1 Pround. The first set that I got from Amazon would not fit into the handle housing--they were 1/8" longer than the supplied 18650 batteries. I have ordered others to see if I have this problem with those as well, but haven't received them yet.

    33. Dylan

      I have this crazy idea of mounting it on the recently reviewed PVGear 3 Way 15mm Rod Base Plate rig; as a B roll camera, stabilized walking/running shots and selfie hosting.

    34. I can definitely see mountain bikers using this to stabilize footage. I wonder how much abuse they can take. Would be such a nice improvement to have stabilized footage. I've got a Feiyu-tech g4 and it works great. Good find, as always, Emm.

    35. Ryan

      Ordered and waiting on the Z-1 Pround, the version of this that has the handles attached. Needed something simpler and portable. The motor size and quality seem good. Excited to test it out!

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