Cycling lights are getting brighter, smaller, lighter, and more clever by the day. Over the past year the clever part has been the thing that perhaps garnered the most attention. Lights are still providing the same service as ever before (making the rider visible, and providing visibility for the rider), but a number of new lights have taken a slightly different approach to the former service, as well as playing around with a few other useful ideas. Here is a quick look at 6 cycling lights that caught my attention.
BLAZE Laserlight – £125
This is a well-presented 300 lumen light that has one unique feature to set it appart from anything else out there – it projects its own cycle-lane-esque bike symbol on the ground 6 meters in front of you via a bright green laser. The idea is that while the light is doing its usual thing (steady or flashing), the laser projection will be sending something physical (visual) 6 meters ahead to catch the attention of the car about to turn into the road in front of you. Rather than yelling, “here I come!”, this light says, “Oi, here I am!”. I hadn’t considered how this might improve the bus/truck blind-spot scenario.
Yes, I reserve the usual amount of skepticism about this actually working that I usually do, but then think of a small red laser-pointer flashing across a wall – you notice that pretty easily, so I’m not sure why I would notice a larger green laser-bicycle moving across the ground any less. Overall, I actually like it.
Brainy Bike Lights – £36 for a front/rear pair
Same symbol, different take on it. The Brainy Bike Light simply takes the regular bike light but shapes it in the universal symbol for “cyclist”. This light uses psychology as it’s source of power (along with regular batteries – no USB recharge here). They attract attention better and trigger empathy from other road users… that’s the claim…
CREATING quicker and more accurate identification of cyclists via the BIKE SYMBOL and helping cyclists to stand out on the road in urban light clutter at night and during the day…. TRIGGERING relevant associations in drivers’ minds; including vulnerability and recognition of the cyclist as a person.
Oh, and, seeeeriously. Look, I know he’s an academic, researcher, and professor, but come on man, clean that desk up! I’m not even sure an office that messy is even possible! I think it may have been set up like that to make him appear smarter. Ridiculous.
WingLights – £25/set
These are currently attempting to be funded on Kickstarter and the product is still in development in terms of versions for bull-horn or drop bars, etc (as is some of the website, it seems), but the idea is pretty simple. WingLights are indicators for your bike. They won’t light the way and aren’t meant to replace the usual light you would have flashing constantly (I can’t help but wonder if these would get lost in the flashing red lights from behind, or a bright front light). Nice design, clean execution, reasonably priced. Not sure how much they would catch on outside of a subset of urban commuter cyclists, and I’m not sure if this is a real solution to a real problem, but they’re a good effort, nonetheless.
Sparce Lights – $139.99
Sparse lights are the solution to the problem of what to do with your lights once you arrive at your destination. You don’t want to bring a backpack to the restaurant, but you need to bring lights for the ride home. With these, you don’t have to worry about that, or about forgetting them in the first place, because these fix to your bike permanently (kind of). The light, including the clamp, is one piece.
The rear light slides onto your seat post when it is out of the frame, and with a shim to fit your seat post correctly (from 26mm to 31.9mm). Obviously they can still simply nick your seat post and get a saddle and a nice light along with it, but it’s better than an easily removable light, in any case.
The front light fixes to your steerer tube (1″ or 1 1/8″), so you have to remove the stem and place it somewhere between that and the top of the headset. I’m not sure how much this would negatively affect your spacing at the top of the stem.
At any rate, these are pretty designery looking and solve the problem I had just a few days ago (no lights on the way home and it was darker than I would have preferred), but the USB recharging situation might get pretty annoying (thought the cables provided are 6ft long)…
Revolights – ~$199USD
I’ll start with saying that I think these actually look pretty neat-o and would probably be really functional at catching attention. The Tron effect is pretty cool, too. These have been around for a few years, but they have more recently developed a wheel that you can just pop in (more or less) for an easier installation.
Then again, I don’t think I could be all that bothered to attach all that crap to my bike, not would I really want it there when the sun is up. Looks a bit naff. Your call.
In the video they don’t appear to actually give off much light to see where you are going, so I would imagine that you would need a secondary light for that, if needed.
I’m not an advocate for hi-viz clothing, but it’s weird how 95% of the people in the video are wearing nothing but black. Nearly all of them. At night-time. Weird.
SEE.SENSE Lights – £80/set or £45 each
Finally, SEE.SENSE brings you a light that is a bit brighter than the rest. That was meant to be a double entendre on “bright”, but actually, they’re pretty luminous as well. The brighter of the options delivers 155 lumens from the rear, which is extremely bright for a rear light, and up to 250 lumens for the front.
It’s most cunning feature is that the light regulates the intensity or regularity of the flashing depending on the surrounding situation. I’ll let you find out more about that on the website (or the video), but that’s a pretty good party trick. It is also totally without buttons, so the water-resistant seal is presumably better (although saying “water-resistant” rather than “water-proof” makes me doubt this). The same motion sensors that changes the modes also turns it on and off for you. I don’t believe that there is a steady mode, having no buttons, so this is strictly a commuting light, and you will need a secondary light to illuminate the road ahead if lighting conditions aren’t good enough to do that for you.
I think this is possibly my favorite of the bunch.
So, the bar keeps getting raised for lights of all kinds, which is great for all of us. I am looking forward to see what kind of new cycling lights 2015 has tucked up its sleeve.
Header image: source