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Tag Archive: commuter lights

Product Review/Sneak Peek: Planet Bike Super Flash….TURBO!

(STAFF WRITER’S NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, this post was delayed…A WHILE)

I arrived home from work the other day to find a small brown box addressed to ‘lil ol’ me!

Oh! What could it ever be!?!?

Planet Bike

Mark from Planet Bike sent out a new product to try out that will be released this  Spring!

<INSERT DRUM ROLL HERE>
Introducing the NEW 2011 SuperFlash TURBO!

Planet Bike Super Flash Turbo

Here is an into from the ‘wordsmiths’ at Planet Bike:

In 2006, our introduction of the Superflash tail light ushered in a new era of innovation in bicycle lighting.  Building on our tradition, we are now proud to introduce the evolution of bicycle safety: the Superflash Turbo.  We paired our time-tested design with a powerful 1 watt LED, then added the new attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern. It’ll give you peace of mind riding day or night.

Superflash Turbo tail light (#3070)

  • 1 Watt Power LED plus 2 red LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile
  • New attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode for up to 100 hours of run time on two AA batteries
  • Ultra compact vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options

MSRP     $34.99

In my initial inspection of the light I couldn’t find any major differences. The Turbo is the exact size of the tried and true original Super Flash. The housing is identical, with the exception of the red “TURBO” printed on the clear face and the big RED Super Flash lense

Since I had just ridden home from work, my first chance to test this light out would be on my next trip to and from work.

The next day, I suited up and clipped the Super Flash Turbo onto my bike. It was a bit overcast, so ambient light was at minimal levels. I felt as if I was being followed by a group of glow-stick swinging club kids! The TURBO light pattern is definitely more eye catching…

(side by side comparison of the Turbo & Standard Super Flash light pattern)

I am excited to say I was one of the most visible people out on the wet streets of Portlandia!

Many more miles of commuting ahead of me… I’ll give you an update at a later date…gotta ride!

Princeton Tec PUSH Review

Now that the sun is going down earlier in the day, having a good light system can help you see and be seen on the roads. ThePrinceton Tec PUSH was sent to us to see if it was up to par with bike commuters’ needs.

Princetontec Push

SPECIFICATIONS
POWER 100 Lumens
LAMP Maxbright LED
BURN TIME 63 Hours- 4/14/63 hour run times
LIGHT MODE High, Low, and Flash mode- Side-view windows create 260 deg of visibility
BATTERIES 3 AAA Alkaline or Rechargeable
WEIGHT 115 Grams
MSRP: $50, but can be found online for as low as $34 (Google it)

One of the things I liked about the PUSH is the fact it is self-contained. I don’t have to mess with battery packs and wires.

Princetontec Push

Here’s a neat little feature: a side-view window with a flashing red LED light for added visibility. Does it work? It does; when I asked people if they could see the red light from the side as I was riding by, they all agreed that it does pop out. I like the idea of the side view because we pay close attention to front and rear lights, but not enough on side markers. The red LED gives drivers an additional way of seeing you.

Princetontec Push

100 lumens is pretty bright in my opinion. But it’s hard to capture that on the camera. However, 100 lumens is bright enough to see with and when you switch to flash mode, cars will certainly see you from a distance. I would like to point out that since the light was mounted on my cyclocross bike, I rode the local mountain bike trail system using the PUSH as my primary light. The PUSH lit up the trail with enough light where I could safely see and travel at the speed that I normally ride the trail with.

push

Overall, the Princeton Tec PUSH, is a pretty good light. It serves as both a BE SEEN and TO SEE light system for your bicycle. As I mentioned, it is bright enough to use for mountain biking. Battery life on it is pretty spot on with what the specs show. The MSRP is around $50, but after Googling it, I found it for about $34! I would definitely recommend this light to anyone who is in the market for a decent light system at a great price.

push

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

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…

Review: Planet Bike’s “Blaze 1W” Headlight

A few months back, Planet Bike sent us two versions of their “Blaze 1W” headlight to test. Russ got the dynamo-powered version, and I got the battery-operated model.

blaze 1w

The light is only a bit bigger than many of its cousins; a slightly wider body and about 3/4″ longer than other PB lights. Much of this extra length comes from a cast aluminum heatsink that separates the head of the Blaze 1W from the rest of the body. Here’s a comparison shot of the Blaze 1W next to two other PB lights, the Beamer 1 and the Beamer 5:

comparo

The light has two brightness settings and one flashing pattern. The flash setting is the same one used by Planet Bike’s class-dominating “Superflash” taillight, and it sure gets attention…two half-power blinks followed by a full-strength blast. A friend riding in front of me stated, “it’s like being chased by the paparazzi!”

Other similarities between the Blaze 1W and other lights in the Planet Bike line include power from 2 AA batteries (I use NiCad rechargeables) and the exact same handlebar mounting clamp. I’m not a huge fan of the mounting clamp; while it is adjustable to fit a wide variety of handlebar diameters, I’ve found the mount can slip if you don’t get it as tight as it’ll go. I learned a trick from our longtime reader and friend Quinn McLaughlin…his suggestion was to add a strip of hockey-stick griptape to the handlebar just under where the clamp sits. This works like a charm and eliminates any of the slipping gripes I have with the PB mount.

I was excited to try this high-powered light — having used only low-power LED lights for years, I’ve often “outrun” the beam as I ride home from work in the dark. And, truly high-powered lights can be tremendously expensive, keeping me away from them. PB intends this light to to split the difference between “to see” and “to be seen” lights on the market…with a 1-watt Blaze LED, this light cranks out an impressive blast of light.

Let’s compare that beam to the other PB lights I have on hand…my nighttime picture-taking skills leave a bit to be desired, but I hope you’ll get the idea. In the following photo, I have the Blaze 1W, the Beamer 5 and the Beamer 1 arranged from left to right. Using freshly recharged batteries and a white backdrop, I’ve got the following beam comparison:

beam comparison

Hard to tell which is the brightest, isn’t it? I thought so, too, so I set up another comparison between the two I considered brightest, the Blaze and the Beamer 1. These next two shots are from a distance of 25 feet in near-total darkness. First, we have the Beamer 1:

beamer 1

The bicycle the light is aimed at is barely visible (but my “yard art” shines nicely!). Now, let’s take a look at the illuminating power of the Blaze 1W:

blaze 1w

Perhaps still a bit hard to tell, but in real life the difference is pretty impressive! Details are far more visible than with lesser-powered lights…and this extra visibility is crucial for dark commutes on poorly-lit routes where cracks and road hazards loom.

It is possible to “outrun” this light, too…but you’ve got to be traveling pretty fast to do so. And, of course, this light isn’t suitable for offroading or 24-hour racing…it’s not THAT bright. For around-town riding, though, if you really need more light than this baby puts out, you’re looking at big bucks for another brand’s HID/LED lighting system.

For bike commuters on a budget, this light is totally worth the price and should be at the top of your list for affordable nighttime riding. It offers impressive performance at a fraction of the price of a really high-end light system. Even if you only use the Blaze 1W in flashing mode, you WILL get the attention of motorists — this light is well-neigh impossible to ignore.

Check out more information on this light and the rest of the line of commuter-friendly products by visiting Planet Bike’s website.