LED Valve Cap-Review

Makai Bikes sent me some LED Valve Caps to review.

Specs:

Bicycle Valve Light, 1 Red Led, Automatic Flashing, For A/V, W/Batteries (Ag10X3), One Pair

Cost: $11.89 includes shipping.

It’s a pretty simple install, place it on your tire valves and let the motion sensor lights do their work. Basically this thing will only work if there is movement.

I have it mounted on the Torker Cargo T.
valve cap led lights torker cargo t

On the first night I used them, they were super bright. I was on the road for about 45 minutes. I felt great about the visibility they provided. After the second night of use, another 45 minutes on the road, the lights already started to dim. My rear LED was so dim that it was barely visible.

I was surprised on how fast the batteries drained. The LEDs use watch like batteries and the last time I checked these things can add up if you have to keep buying them. So I figured, if the batteries drained in 2 days, with a total of 90 minutes, that means I’d be replacing batteries on a weekly basis. To me this LED light isn’t worth it…You’re better off saving your money and getting a rear blinky from Planet Bike…


14 Comments

  1. jdmitch August 19, 2009 11:56 am 

    Those are probably odd batteries too. Something cheap / simple like this that was motion sensitive and used AAAs would be sweet (obviously not same form factor), because then you could use rechargeable.

    Oh, and yes, PB Superflash FTW!

  2. Ghost Rider August 19, 2009 12:16 pm 

    I had the same experience with TireFlys…those things sucked down batteries like no tomorrow! Luckily, they use a fairly standard hearing-aid battery, but still…for a light so small, they use way too much power.

    At the same time, my Nikko Starlight is still going strong…well, it still lights up after more than a year of use — and on the same battery. I leave it on 24/7:

    http://www.bikecommuters.com/2008/03/07/just-ask-jack-lights-at-night/

  3. Rob E. August 19, 2009 2:19 pm 

    Disappointing. It might not change the review, but I have found that many electronics that come with batteries do not have high quality batteries out of the package. Or perhaps they simply have been around too long by the time you get them. Either way, I find that my first replacement set lasts much longer than the batteries I started with. But in this case it would have to be a pretty huge difference to make the lights worthwhile.

  4. Tinker August 19, 2009 5:27 pm 

    The batteries are getting cheap now, I bought a hundred batteries for my calculator, my digital caliper, etc. All use pretty much the same thing, 357A, AG13. Cost $3 on Amazon.

    The biggest problem is KIDS. Kids running around parking lots steal them with impunity.

  5. Todd August 19, 2009 11:13 pm 

    Thanks for the honest review. You make a great point about the batteries. These would be much cooler with a “aaa” type battery or something but than they would not be so small. We could sell them in bulk at a cheaper price, that way when the batteries die you could just throw out the old lights. Would that be a good idea? For example, something like 5 pairs of lights for $25? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  6. Guy August 20, 2009 11:13 am 

    I use a rear Cat’s Eye with a AAA battery for almost a year and it still goes with the battery that came with it and a freeby for the front I got when Muni was passing them out for riders without a headlights. Both are still going strong. But my commute is ususally during daylight hours and not very long.

  7. Elizabeth August 20, 2009 3:54 pm 

    Ghost Rider, where can we get those Nikko Starlights???

  8. Parepidemos August 20, 2009 4:06 pm 

    I had some kind of yellow motion-sensitive valve-stem light for a while (wish I could remember make/model), and I had the same problem.

    Mine used CR2032 batteries– I know because I bought several spares which I still have, because the yellow translucent cap fell off the valve light en route & the light didn’t survive the elements long after that.

    But I would not have replaced the battery again anyway, they were draining so fast. Back then I think the CR2032’s were something like $3 for a pair of them!

  9. Mike Myers August 20, 2009 5:37 pm 

    Like Jack, I had Tireflys. They are really bright but battery consumption is a PITA. Now I use the super bright fabric reflectors from Rivendell. Much better, IMHO, and no batteries. True, they’re not active lighting but still way better than generic plastic reflectors.

  10. Ghost Rider August 20, 2009 7:22 pm 

    Nikko Starlights can (or at least could) be ordered from any shop that has a KHS account.

  11. Alexis August 22, 2009 11:46 am 

    In Portland, if you buy bike lights from FreeGeek (for 15 bucks I think) that run on watch batteries, you get free batteries for life. Watch batteries run the system clock on nearly every computer, and since their business is recycling computers they’re swimming in them. It’s a cool way for them to save their customers money and get rid of all those batteries.

    http://bikeportland.org/2009/07/08/local-non-profit-offers-bike-lights-with-free-batteries-for-life/

  12. meligrosa August 29, 2009 8:55 pm 

    oh what a bummer about the batteries!! cool concept though, all super fun bike lights like that tend to be a little heavier with the price tag

    thanks; meli

  13. Buckwad September 7, 2009 10:34 pm 

    I’ve tried TireFlys.. these look very similar. Battery consumption was a problem, as was corrosion when they got wet. They did not last very long and made a pile of junk when they finally died.

    An inductance or hub-powered light would be much neater but likely a lot heavier. Oh well :)

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