BikeGlow Bicycle Lighting — Review

A few weeks ago, Chris Cobb of BikeGlow sent us a sample of their bicycle safety lighting to test. I’ve had a chance to install it, play with it and ride several nights with it.

bike glow

Powered by two AA batteries, this light kit is comprised of a ten-foot length of EL wire and quick-disconnect battery pack. The light functions in both steady and flashing modes. Included in the kit is a full roll of electrical tape. No mounting brackets are included…the electrical tape is meant to both seal the battery pack and to mount the light tube and battery pack to the bicycle. At very first, I was a bit taken aback by this mounting method, but quickly realized that it makes the light incredibly versatile…no brackets and a full roll of tape means that I can swap the BikeGlow from bike to bike as the mood strikes me!

I had some concerns about water resistance of the kit (I have an uncanny knack for getting caught in the rain), and asked Chris for his input:

One of the beauties of the tape, besides the ease of use and flexibility, is that you can literally wrap the whole battery unit and connector wire in tape. It then becomes completely weather resistant. The light [tube] itself is waterproof.

I haven’t tested the waterproofness of the light yet, but at some point I KNOW it’ll get soaked. I’ll report back if I have any problems with it.

Mounting is simple — simply wind the light tube around the bicycle’s frame, affixing it at a couple points with a strip of tape. Pick a place for the battery pack (the pack comes with a belt clip, too), tape it into place and plug the light tube into the pack. Done!

The flashing mode is more of a pulsing effect — and it catches the eye with a mesmerizing glow. The beauty of EL wire is that it can be used to outline pretty much any part of the bike you want…you could even use the BikeGlow tube to accent your body, your backpack, your panniers or whatever your heart desires. It is incredibly flexible stuff.

The light itself isn’t particularly bright — it doesn’t need eye-searing capabilities like rear blinkies or a headlight. However, it is amply bright enough to help motorists distinguish you as a bicycle in those crucial side-vision encounters nighttime cyclists face, where blinkies and headlights don’t offer much in the way of side visibility.

in action

BikeGlow comes in eight colors: aqua, blue, green, pink, purple, red, white and yellow, giving the color-coordinating cyclists among us the perfect color to accent our bikes. And, for the price of $24.95 for the kit, that’s a pretty good deal for adding some visibility to your night rides. I have been unable to test the battery life beyond running the light for about 8 30-minute nighttime commutes, but BikeGlow estimates that a pair of AA batteries will last 120 hours. Not bad at all!

For more information or to order your very own BikeGlow lighting system, please visit the BikeGlow website.


12 Comments

  1. Ken Sturrock March 10, 2009 11:09 pm 

    Neat idea, but electrical tape? I just don’t know if I could bring myself to do that to a bicycle. On the other hand, it might be a cool porch decoration for select occasions.

  2. Marrock March 11, 2009 4:05 pm 

    Would using something like zip ties on the light cause too much pressure on them?

  3. Ghost Rider March 11, 2009 4:27 pm 

    Marrock, I don’t think so…I wouldn’t really crank a ziptie down hard against the light tube, of course, but I think mounting this way wouldn’t be a problem. What, you don’t like the janky electrical-tape look?

  4. Elizabeth March 12, 2009 10:23 am 

    I think I’d worry about taping to my bike frame.

  5. Ghost Rider March 12, 2009 2:44 pm 

    Elizabeth…why is that, exactly? The electrical tape included in the kit leaves no residue.

  6. Elizabeth March 12, 2009 4:47 pm 

    oh.. well.. if no residue… that was my concern – the stickiness left behind. (no residue even after a rain, too?)

  7. Raiyn March 14, 2009 11:38 am 

    Honestly Elizabeth, even if the electrical tape were to leave an adhesive residue (as many do with age and weathering) it’s easily removed with denatured alcohol. Even plain rubbing alcohol 70+% would work, albeit a touch more slowly. Now if it were duct tape…. the denatured stuff would be your best bet but I’d be far less inclined to use duct tape on my rig.

  8. Raiyn March 14, 2009 11:41 am 

    Err, what I meant was the rubbing alcohol’s strength was 70+ percent. like what you’d get from the corner drug store.

  9. Ghost Rider March 14, 2009 12:48 pm 

    Tape residue (even the stuff duct tape leaves behind) can be removed with a variety of things: denatured or isopropyl alcohol, WD40, Goo Gone, mineral oil, etc. No deal breaker!

    And, you’ve got to admit, the tape method of affixing these lights might seem kinda janky, but it is INCREDIBLY versatile…this thing can mount anywhere!

    Or, if you’re handy with needle and thread, you could make some custom commuter clothing. EL wire makes a great clothing accent…why, check out our friend “Techno Larry”, the guy we met at Disneyworld a few years ago:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3458/3353777269_4fd7d973bb_o.jpg

  10. Bosrican March 22, 2009 6:50 pm 

    Interesting concept. Am I the only person who thinks that these lights should be rigged so that the act of pedaling charges and powers the light?

  11. Ghost Rider March 22, 2009 7:11 pm 

    Bosrican…I suspect that a dynohub could easily power a length of EL wire like this.

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