Tag Archives: Bike lights

New Bike Turn Signals Offer Added Awareness

by Ben CoxworthGizMag

As any dedicated bicycle commuter will tell you, it’s important to let motorists know when and in which direction you’re turning. At night, however, drivers might not always see your hand signals. Using illuminated gloves is one solution, but British startup Cycl is now offering another: LED turn indicators that attach magnetically to the ends of your handlebars. They’re called WingLights, and I recently had the chance to try them out for myself.

Gizmag checks out a set of WingLights magnetic turn indicators (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Gizmag checks out a set of WingLights magnetic turn indicators
(Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

First of all, there are indeed other bar-mounted signal lights in existence. What’s different about WingLights is the fact that they can be easily pulled off when not in use, keeping them safe from passing parts-thieves when the bike is parked.

Additionally, users won’t have to bother with the extra inch-and-a-half (38 mm) of bar width that each unit adds, when riding during the day.

Each WingLight consists of a handlebar plug that replaces one of the bike’s existing plugs, and a corresponding waterproof LED module that fits into the end of it (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Each WingLight consists of a handlebar plug that replaces one of the bike’s existing plugs, and a corresponding waterproof LED module that fits into the end of it
(Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

The idea behind WingLights is simple.

Each one consists of a handlebar plug that replaces one of the bike’s existing plugs, along with a corresponding waterproof LED module that fits into the end of it. Powerful magnets in both parts keep the two stuck together even when riding over rough roads, yet still allow them to be pulled apart by hand when the bike is left unattended. The two LED modules can then be magnetically stuck together end-to-end, to form one unit that can be tossed into a bag or hung off a pack using an included carabiner.

To activate either WingLight, you just press the rubber power button on its end – no silly Bluetooth smartphone apps, or anything like that. This causes front and rear LEDs in the module to start flashing, which they continue to do for 45 seconds before automatically shutting off. If you want them off before that, you just press the button again.

Each one is powered by two CR2032 coin cell batteries, that should be good for up to 2,000 uses before needing to replaced.

Each WingLights plug equipped with a rubber ring that can be expanded by twisting the plug once it’s been inserted, ensuring a snug fit. (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Each WingLights plug equipped with a rubber ring that can be expanded by twisting the plug once it’s been inserted, ensuring a snug fit. (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

According to the instructions, the plugs will fit in any straight bar with an inside diameter between 17 and 19 mm. They’re each equipped with a rubber ring that can be expanded by twisting the plug once it’s been inserted, ensuring a snug fit. In the case of the 17-mm handlebar on my city bike, however, the steel washer at the end of that ring would not fit inside the bar.

I could just manage to shove the plug in by taking the washer off, although a plastic collar built into the end of my wonky handlebar grip still kept it from sitting flush. So … I mounted the WingLights on my full-suspension mountain bike, instead. I know, it’s not the sort of bike that can really “relate” to turn indicators, but it sufficed for testing purposes.

Once I got riding, the WingLights worked great. They were bright, easy to activate, and the plugs stayed securely in the bar while the LEDs stayed firmly attached to the plugs. In fact, if you pull on one of the lights without holding onto the parked bike, the whole bike will tip sideways with it before that light comes off.

I also appreciated the sturdy aluminum construction of both the plugs and lights. Even when you’re not using using them, the two LED modules are kinda satisfying to hold onto.

The two WingLight LED modules can be magnetically stuck together end-to-end, to form one unit that can then be tossed in a bag or hung off a pack using an included carabiner (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

The two WingLight LED modules can be magnetically stuck together end-to-end, to form one unit that can then be tossed in a bag or hung off a pack using an included carabiner
(Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Should you be interested in buying some WingLights for yourself, they can be ordered from Cycl for US$50 a pair. Just be sure to measure the inside of your handlebar first, and remember to use them along with hand signals, not instead of them.

Product page: WingLights

Bicyclists Can Now Wirelessly Control Their Lights

By Ben Coxworth, GizMag

Headlights, tail lights and even turn indicators certainly make cycling safer, but reaching around to operate all those devices at once could be a bit awkward. That’s why Bontrager has announced its new Transmitr system. It allows multiple lights to be controlled from one handlebar-mounted remote, via the ANT+ wireless protocol.

Along with the remote, the system currently includes the 700-lumen Ion 700 RT headlight and the 65-lumen Flare RT tail light. Both lights are USB-rechargeable, and can be turned on and off plus set to different operating modes via buttons on the remote. They can also be operated directly, using controls on the lights themselves.

Additionally, if two of the tail lights are used side-by-side, the Transmitr system allows them to serve as turn indicators. In fact, a single remote can control up to seven (!) lights, along with displaying their battery status.

The Transmitr Remote is priced at US$70, with the Ion 700 RT headlight going for $160 and the Flare RT tail light for $80

Xeccom Lights Makes Biking After Dark Safer

Russ Lowthian

DSCF4099With Daylight Savings Time a thing of the past, until next spring, having a powerful bicycle headlamp can be a very important safety feature to maximize your cycling activities as the days grow shorter. Recently, here at HaveFunBiking, we were asked to review the Xeccon “Spiker 1210” Bike Light and “Geinea III” rear light. After using both of the lights in both commuting and trail riding scenarios, we found the Spiker 1210 with 1600 lumens, to the dollars invested, to a good buy.  For rear light visibility the new Geinea III also proved worthwhile to checkout.

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The light kit comes with several mounting options so it can easily be mounted to a bike helmet or to the handlebars.

For commuting one of our staff members with a night vision problem found the Spiker 1210’s, with 1600 lumens made all the difference. The light once again, allowed her the confidence to again safely ride after dark. With four steady light modes and four more strobe (Fast/Mid/Low/SOS) settings the Cree XP-G R5 LED lens can easily help alert oncoming motorists, while giving a person a wide beam to light to see the path or lane ahead – and in the high beam mode a riders has the visibility, at night, of a full two-lane width road under normal weather conditions.

The Xeccon 1210 kit comes with several mounting options so the light can be easily mounted to a bike helmet or the handlebars of a bicycle. In all of our tests, we found it was best to use the 1210 as a bar light to project a wide light pattern in front of the bike and use a smaller lumen spot helmet light as a companion, for added visibility. The light kit also comes with a lithium battery.

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Mounting the battery under the seat was one option that worked well

The Li-ion battery that comes with the 1210 is in a well-protected waterproof ‘brick’ casing that is rated at 7800mAh.  At full power, (high beam) it can light up the road or trail for approximately four (4) hours. On the low beam mode setting we found the battery will last up to 12 hours. To monitor the battery level the unit has a built-in color indicator light to show you what percentage of time you have before you need to re-charge.

For mountain biking at night we found the same configuration worked well by mounting the 1210 unit on the handle bars and using a second light mounted to the helmet. This setup made maneuvering the off-road single track trails, at night, equal to riding on a dark cloudy day or near dusk/dawn conditions.  Here is a U-Tube video showing how this light preforms on a single track course at night.

Xeccon’s Geinea III

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This little taillight shine bright or flashes a red beam of over 160 lumens.

This rear light has to be seen to be believed. This little beauty, the Geinea rear light will pump out 160+ real lumens of light, weighs only 23 grams, and is easy to mount and recharge. Housed in a red case this lightweight tail light has evolved to make it user friendly. Any one of the four modes (steady high, steady low, slow strobe and fast strobe) can be used in the day or night for safer visibility. Putting this rear light, side-by-side several other popular rear light models on the market we were very impressed. At night the light beacon shows the silhouette of a rider over 150 yards out and in daylight the strobe mode is eye catching.

The Geinea, has an optical lens reflector built into the aircraft-grade, waterproof aluminum casing and allows a runtime of  a little over an hour on the high-beam or it can last up to over six hours on the flash-mode. With a build-in 80mAh, USB rechargeable battery the Geinea III can be fully recharged in less than 2.5 hours using any number of electronic devices, having USB connections for charging.

Along with bicycle lights, Xeccon also makes lights for underwater diving, Here is their website http://www.cycling-lights.com/spiker_1210_cycling_light.html for more information.

Just an FYI, in the United States, Daylight Saving Time will again resume at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, so a brighter light will come in handy for the next several months.