Winter is upon us...go to work in the dark, come home in the dark.
My biggest fear while riding during darkness is being visible and more important than that is to gain the attention of motorists without-
1. Blinding them
2. Annoying them with some akward light configuration
Tall order, but I have used the Planet Bike Superflash for a couple years now and have had moderate success using it. I'll never forget the motorist that brushed against my left leg from the front to the back of their car. Then they honked their horn as if it was my fault and took off when I caught them at a light.
Now I have researched, read comments, read countless reviews and looked for the best light, best bang for the buck and trying not to break the bank in the process.
If money was not the issue I would probably go with "Dinotte". I have used one for my front light for 2 years and it was probably the best investment I ever made. My bank account has shrunken since my spouse has retired and I have been looking at other alternatives.
Everybody has their own personal opinions about what works for them and as for me I found a nifty taillight named "Radbot 1000" from a company called Portland Design Works. Is there anyone out there that has experience using this light?
I received mine yesterday and comparing with the Superflash...WOW! Wanna know what impressed me the most? It has a reflector as part of the design, so should you forget to turn it on or your batteries die unexpectedly, this reflector actually works and since the majority of states in the US require one, it could really save your "tail feathers" in an accident case. $26.60 from Amazon.com.
Beside that-this is absolutely the "brightest" light that I have ever used and although I have not "road tested" it as of yet I can tell that it will be noticed. It has 3 modes and surprisingly enough it reviews with what they call a "zZz Pop" mode that is missing on the unit I just received . I have emailed PDW and asked about it, but it is NOT going to be a deal breaker for me.
The 3 modes are "slow flashing-more like a fade effect from low to high", "fast flashing mode" and "steady on". The slow flashing mode is my preference since it is also the brightest.
Anyway, if anyone wants to chime in, I look forward to your responses.
Any blinky is better than none. I say the more the better. It is also important to have reflectors on you, your helmet, your bike, and especially to the side because many cyclists are hit from the side as being unseen. I use the stickons reflectors all over my commuter bike in addition to two rear blinkies and a forward headlight.
In my first post regarding the Radbot 1000 I mentioned that a particular flash type was missing. I received a reply from PDW and found it rather interesting. See the response below-
> Thanks for the email and thanks for picking up our Radbot. The short answer
> is your Radbot doesn't have that flash mode. The long answer is this:
> We initially heard quite a bit of negative feedback from shops (who told us
> they wouldn't buy the Radbots), and from customers who agreed, that the LED
> turned off for two long during the zZz Pop flash pattern, making the light
> "unsafe" for someone riding the bike...that is about the worst kind of
> feedback you can hear about a light that you hope instills confidence to
> ride at night.
> We made the decision, after consulting with some of our distributors, to
> make a running change to the flash pattern of the Radbot to be more in line
> with what we were hearing people wanted (this is the more steady flash w/o
> the pop you see on your light). We are hearing quite a bit feedback that
> people don't like/didn't expect the new flash pattern, and that many people
> loved the original flash pattern all along. In fact that specifically is
> what lead them to buy the Radbot.
> Currently, Erik our product manager is meeting with our light vendor about
> making another switch to the flash pattern (another running change) to get
> us back to where we were when we started.
My response back to PDW (FYI-they have been very courteous and quick to respond to inquiries)...
Did not expect this type of response, but it does make sense. My initial impression: The POP pattern drew us because it was "unique" and we figured it was another way to capture the attention of the motorist.
However, based on what you just shared in your email..that is a very "valid" point. Any amount of time in the darkness could be just enough time for someone to get involved in an accident. Aaagh..that makes it tough for you guys.
What about building in an option that allows the user to switch either to the POP mode or the SLOW FLASH mode???? That takes the responsibility from you and leaves it with the consumer?
There is a "video on You Tube" where someone is showing that they depress the ON button for about a half-second, then immediately the 1.5 second you built in and when it comes on the POP feature is gone? (Has anyone seen that)?
I would think if that's the case, you should be able to build it in and hopefully then everyone's happy.
By the way...The missing mode was NOT a deal breaker for me since I think you have a GREAT product. (Congratulations)
Anyway, just thought someone might find this useful.
BT BOB and I agree. Get more than one light. The lights you use are dependent upon several factors. Getting the brightest light this side of a pulsar might get the drivers attention but if I'm riding with you and following you I might get blinded or a migraine. So, if just commuting and solo I'd say bright is right but if group or dual riding be wary if the lights are too bright. I think the Planet light I've followed was impressive but too bright, at least in one of the modes. I think it had another that was tolerable.
I like to put a light on my saddle height and usually one on my helmet too. It is interesting but in Michigan, the law says we need to have a "reflector" and a light, unless it has a reflector in/on it does not conform to the law, even though a reflector is meager in comparison. Serfas makes a nifty light that easily attaches onto a seat post or seat stay. It has one light in the middle and several in a line on either side. It is very visable but the battery life does not break any records in my experience or that of my cohort. Nevertheless, I like it because it is easy to release. I personally avoid purchasing lights that require time to put on or take off and especially if a tool is required.
SIDE VIEW is crucial. I've read that most impacts from autos are from the side. So minimally, keep those white relfectors that come with your bike or put them back on when night travel happens. If you don't have them most shops keep them around and probably will give you a set or three. I like using blinkers from the side. There are many types. I have some that attach in the spokes and there are some that are motion activated that screw onto the spokes or onto a valve stem.
Using reflectors as BT suggests is a good idea. In that case you don't have to worry about batteries running out and one reason at least we should use more than one light anyway.
I think that for just a couple of bucks you can find those tiny lights that emit a pretty darn bright light and are light weight. As I mentioned elsewhere recently, as you know, many lights use 2032 batteries. So when you get your ROAD ID, purchase one of their blinkers which has an on switch by turning it so you don't need nimble fingers, and purchase your extra supply of batteries from them as they charge about 20% or less of even discount battery places.
I think the driver who brushed the rider as told above simply did that on purpose. Every incident, even if you can't ID the driver should be reported to the police. I am tired of hearing from the police that drivers complain about us when their malicious acts end up not being reported and then when a real deal incident occurs it is considered an "accident." We need to report incidents of "aggressive driving" and provide the best descriptors possible.
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