Just in time for “dark season,” we received a FlashBak safety light. I’ve put this baby through the paces over the last few weeks. This includes freakishly warm temperatures at the beginning of this month, lots of rain earlier this week, and snowy slush yesterday.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Construction is simple, and use is straight-forward. There’s a battery pack, an illuminated pushbutton remote to turn things on and off, and the light rig itself: 10 bright amber LEDs embedded in a nylon strap. Several alligator clips are attached to the rig with paracord, so it can clip onto pretty much anything from jerseys and hydration packs to panniers and bookbags.
When I said the LEDs were bright, I meant it. Aside from cropping, this image came straight off my camera without any other manipulation. Other cyclists and a few motorists have also commented on how bright it is. You will be seen.
The on-off remote can be clipped to your backpack strap, to the front of your shirt, or somewhere else that’s easy to get to and see. It has a matching LED in it as well, saving you the hassle of doing that probably-familiar “is my light on?” neck-crane maneuver.
Here’s a video of it in action. There’s only one mode, and it’s a pretty eye-catching pattern.
I don’t know how many hours I’ve gotten out of it so far, but it’s still running on the original 3AA batteries that it shipped with. The battery pack also holds the electronics “brain” (embedded in waterproof epoxy) as well as a hard on-off switch to remove any possibility of accidentally turning it on when you don’t want to.
All in all, this is a solid-built rig that seems to hold up well in all weather conditions. It’s pretty much the brightest rear light I’ve seen on a bicycle before, and the amber color is a nice touch. I still usually combine it with a steady-lit red rear tail light and DOT reflectors, though. Some steady, bright-red LEDs and/or reflective piping added to this rig would be a great addition to the product line, in my opinion. Distance is hard to judge by flashing lights alone.
MSRP is $45. It can be purchased at a few bike shops in Austin, TX or on the manufacturer’s website: FlashBakOnline.com
Although this product was given to me by the manufacturer, I tried pretty much everything I could do within the parameters of my usual commute routine to break and abuse this product. The above is my brutally honest and unbiased opinion.
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