have on the motorcycle, it is likely a hard drive camcorder will not record anything to the hard drive and be in "buffer overflow" mode.
Your best bet will be those that don't have this known vibration issue - either miniDV tape or flash memory.
At the $ level you are talking about, the camcorders will typically have only digital stabilization (Optical is better but most likely not available at your budget point).
You might be able to get away with a "hybrid" - that which has an internal hard disc but can also record to flash memory. Since they use the same highly compressed file type, I would pass - but perhaps they are "good enough" for you.
As well, high speed on a motorcycle would also mean high volume level. Most camcorders depend on their auto-mic gain to limit the audio so it does not get muddy or clip ("static" sounding). That means you probably want some sort of manual audio control.
The least expensive camcorder - of which I am aware - with manual audio control is the Canon HV300. It is about 2x more than you want to spend. Some lesser Sonys have a "MicRefLevel" setting in the menu for very rudimentary "Normal" and "Low" (for high audio levels) audio gain.
I have been looking at the sales and found HiDef Camcorders under 400.00 that look pretty nice for the money. They say they have image stabilization but I dont know if the format also contributes to the results.
I will mainly use the camcorder for home movies but also I want to do a special project having the camera mounted somewhere on my high performance motorcycle to get as close to an example of what it is like to take the bike on a high speed run or some stunts with the best results.
I dont know if the image stabilization is adequate for something like this and if the format would make a difference.
The ones that write to an internal hard drive are attractive as they seem to hold a good amount of recording and one can download the videos on to storage media to keep the drive empty for more video taking which seems like it would be the most compact and direct way to go about this.
However not actually having used these I am not sure if my assumptions are correct.
How good is the image stabilization for a project like this and is a hard drive the best media format for the project?
Aside from this project the main use will be the usual home videos of the kids and vacations etc. but I do have this one project to consider as well. It will be for distribution to family and friends only so it does not need to be of professional quality and my budget will only allow me limited choices such as the about 400 buck hard drive High Def sort I have been seeing on sale.
Thanks in advance for any advice.