As a keen cyclist, I am aware of the dangers a cyclist faces on a daily basis. I have been knocked off by cars because the driver has not looked before turning, and it is not uncommon for near misses. Thankfully I don’t often cycle in the dark, but in this situation, the dangers are increased exponentially. I drive too, and I have to admit it is easy to miss a cyclist sometimes, it is just one of them things.
Because I don’t cycle in the dark very often I have never invested in good lights, which is terrible of me, so I have been delighted to try out the new lighting system designed by Velohub.
These lights differ from many on the market by offering two very unique features. The first being they can be remote controlled and allow you to carry out directional signals. When you press the left or right button the (very bright) LEDs blink for your direction. This will enable you to keep your hands on your handlebar when making manoeuvres while also increasing the visibility of the manoeuvre.
The other feature is an innovative laser system which projects a light onto the road marking your territory and warning drivers to stay out of your space.
They also come with an ingenious magnetic mounting system that allows you to snap them on and off quickly.
These were successfully funded on Kickstarter, and you can now buy them directly from Blinkers for 199.00-Euros or £152.00 from Amazon. While this is a lot of money, it is the only system on the market with such a feature set, and if you cycle regularly in the dark, it is a cost worth paying.
One thing you need to be aware of before buying these is the mounting mechanism, in particular, the rear light mounting. You need a typical bike seat with two horizontal rails running down it, and you need enough room to attach the bracket.
The seat on my main road bike is quite far back, so the only available part of the rail is the angulated bit that goes back up to the seat, so I was unable to fit it on this bike. If I moved the bike seat a little, it would be possible, but I have finally found a comfy spot where I don’t get back ache so don’t want to risk anything.
I was able to fit them to my old and very mucky bike that I cycle to the gym with. It gets left outside in the rain frequently so I have given up cleaning it. It is actually a better option for me as the only times I cycle in the dark are to the gym.
Fitting the rear light was a quite fiddly, you have the top and bottom bracket plus a rubber washer to hold in place while your thread the screws. I think I ended up lying the bike down on the side, threading one screw, squeezing in the rubber washer in then finishing it off.
The front mount is much easier, there are two different sized brackets, and they just snap around the handlebar. You then need to slot the mount in and screw it on.
You also need to fit the handlebar controls; this is easy enough and similar to many other attachments for your handlebar, you use a rubber band hooped around the anchors.
While fitting the rear mount was a little fiddly once that is done, attaching the lights couldn’t be easier, they slot into the mount and are held firmly into place with strong magnets. They auto switch on when you slot them in making things a little more user-friendly.
The lights are charged up via microUSB, but you only get one USB cable, once they are charged you slot them in place and pair them up with the remote by pressing down two buttons. They have a claimed 20-hour battery life, but I have not tested this as my rides are typically less than 30 mins in the dark.
I don’t have a great deal to compare these too, I have some Lyzene lights which are good but nothing like these.
The front and rear main lights are very bright and perfect for very dark roads, you can optionally have them blink at various levels, though I prefer a solid light.
Using the blinker is just a quick thumb press, depending on your bike and remote placement you should be able to do this without removing your hands from the handlebar. If I am on a busy road coming to lights or a roundabout, signalling and accelerating is impossible, and I sometimes have to sacrifice the signal to stay on my bike, so having a convenient way to signal is great (and safe).
Because the lights are attached with magnets, if you park up it is advisable to detach them and take them with you to avoid theft, at least where I live. I supposed you could say the same about all lights, so at least it is effortless to remove and reattach these.
It is worth noting that these lights are massive, the blinker section is enormous, which is obviously essential for indicating and visibility, but during the daytime, you will probably want to remove them.
The front lights are rated at 100lm while the rear is rated at 30lm, however, the rear light will increase to 100lm when you break, warning drivers.
The front lights work very well for visibility and the blinkers are very bright and clear. It is a bit hard to judge the rear lights as I rarely saw them while riding, but testing them out in the garden they were bright and a big improvement to my existing setup.
I can’t comment on how effective the lasers are, I am pretty sure they don’t mark wide or far enough back to be classed as a safe distance for driving, but every little helps.
Looking on websites such as Evans, these are some of the most expensive lights on the market, so it is going to be a tough sell for some people.
However, you can’t put a price on your health. 2000 cyclists die every year in Europe because of accidents with cars. And 75% of the accidents happen in junctions, where visual interaction between bikes and other vehicles is critical.
Based on this, if you commute on a regular basis in an urban environment if you can reduce the chance of you being in an accident it doesn’t matter how much he lights cost, they are worth it.
Product Name: Velohub Blinkers Laser Bike Lights
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