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Soul Cruzers LED Bicycle Wheel Light Kits: Review

Back in April the kind folks at Soul Cruzers sent us an LED bicycle wheel light kit. Basically it’s designed to light up your wheels by attaching a string of LED lights to your spokes.

soul cruzer LED lights

Their website states the following:

LED bicycle LED wheel light kit. Fits up to 2x 29″ wheels

Red-Blue-White-Green-Purple-Yellow -Pink

Comes with AA batteries, zip ties and EZ to follow instructions

Price $24.95 for a set, both wheels

When I opened up the package to install the lights, I noticed one of the light sets wasn’t working. From the looks of it, the batteries that came with it went bad. I went ahead and replaced them with a fresh set. Soul Cruzers does recommend replacing the “oem” battery with a higher quality like Duracell and the like. After installing the fresh batteries, the lights worked great.
soulcruzer LED lights review

The Soul Cruzer directions say that I need to loop the wire on every other spoke. The bike I installed the Soul Cruzer lights on was my daughter’s bike, the Nirve Ultra Liner.

Though their site states that the LED lights will fit a 29″ wheels, the Nirve Ultra Liner is equipped with 700c wheels and you can see from this photo, the wire doesn’t completely go all the way around. Does it really make a big difference? Well yes and no. If they say it will fit 29″(700c) wheels then you’d think the wire would be long enough, right? But when you light up the LEDs, can you really tell where the gap is?
Soul cruzer LED lights review

To answer the questions above, look at this photo. You can see a gap on the rear tire around the 5:30 position, the front wheel has a gap on the 3 O’clock position. Another thing I’ll mention, the rear wheel has fresh batteries, while the front has the OEM batteries. On a fresh set of batteries they stayed lit for 5 hours, while the OEM batteries started to go dim after 20 minutes of use.
Soul Cruzer LED light review

So how do the Soul Cruzers LED wheel lights look while spinning? Well, I gotta tell you, they do look great! It’s probably one of the better ways to get seen by cars because the bright colors help you be seen by anyone. From pedestrians to drivers, they’ll see you!
Soul Cruzer LED bicycle wheel lights
There were 2 things that didn’t like, for one, the length of the wire. It probably needed another 5-6″ to properly fit a 29er(700c) wheel. I figured Soul Cruzers had probably designed them to fit on the beach cruisers they sell, and those have 26″ wheels, so if you have a 26″ wheeled bike, they would be fine. Another thing was the OEM battery — they really should last longer than what they did. But if you plan on using these lights on a daily basis for your commute or for bar hopping, then I’d recommend using rechargeable batteries.

Other than those 2 things I mentioned, I have to say the Soul Cruzers LED Bicycle Wheel Lights are pretty fun to have on a bike! Oh I forgot to mention that they do have a blinker setting. So you can have one wheel run solid while the other blinks. I actually like the idea that the LED light isn’t just kept in one small container like traditional LED lights are, but these lights allow you to have lights on a larger scale. They would be great to supplement your front and rear LED lights to give you that added visibility.

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Sangre’s “Lightcycle”

Now that TRON: Legacy is opening in theaters on Friday, this signals the perfect time to show you a wild and wonderful creation reader “Sangre de la Cruz” sent in for us to share:

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Here’s some of the details as provided by the creator:

Anyway. what started as a project to eliminate headphones from my bike ride,

Evolved into an Ipad stereo / GPS mapper / performance monitor

Added better speakers

And finally framed it with el wire to make it a bit more visible.

I’m riding with my Ipod and headphones for about a year, when I swerve into the lane to prepare to take a left turn, without shoulder checking. There was a vehicle there that had to slam on its brakes to not hit me. Totally my fault. Believe me, I didn’t lean without checking my blindspot after that. But it still nagged me that I couldn’t hear traffic coming up behind me.

I get an Ipad. I decide to build a mount for it, and use the built-in 2watt speaker. Woot, no more headphones.

The Ipad is protected with a “Zagg Shield” a vinyl wrap that cusions and protects it from scratches.

The Mount is simply a hard shell ipad case that the ipad snaps into, sitting in a second soft silicon ipod skin to protect the underside from spray, (both from bestBuy)Fixed to a GPS motorcycle mount. I ended up building it on a lark, because although I knew Ram-Mounts was coming out with an Ipad mount in 3 weeks (from then, its out now), I wasn’t willing to wait. Drilled some holes into all of it, to line up some countersunk machine screws and locking nuts with caps

So, I’m totally in love with this thing. I’m using Motion-X GPS-HD app. which is a sport GPS. It’s designed especially for bikers/hikers/skiers, pretty well anything that isn’t driving. They also have an excellent driving app that’s separate. I got tunes rocking all the time with its built in itunes player. But I’m not happy with the 2 watt output.
Another thing: with the GPS app giving me performance metrics now, (distance traveled, avg and top speeds, altitude and speed charts) I find myself biking farther every day, my 6k commute, becomes 10k, and then 15k as I circle my town to get to work. And I find I’m doing 30-40k on the weekends too.

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So, speakers.

A little research turns up http://xm-i.com/en/stereo-speakers/x-mini-max-ii?page=shop.product_details&flypage=coddii_fly_default.tpl&product_id=1&category_id=1 . These speakers have internal battery, great sound, 10hrs of play time on a single charge, and recharge via USB. An important consideration, because the whole unit pops off as a single piece, and plugs into a USB hub to recharge.

I add a T shaped piece of aluminum (grabbed from Home Depot, the kind used to frame 2×4’s in construction) between the hard case and the GPS mounting plate, and use a 60 minute epoxy to glue the speakers to the plate after roughing both surfaces to allow the epoxy to better grip.

Now I have 5 watts of power or 2.5 times the volume of the ipad alone. Its actually ear splitting at max volume, In traffic, in high winds, I keep it at 70%.

Now, I found I had to make a playlist that was public friendly. One day on the way home, I was at an intersection, beside a family of pedestrians, when the Violent Femmes singing “Dance Mother******* Dance” came on at near max volume.

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As for the El-wire. I simply wanted to add more visibility to my profile. And look as stunningly cool as possible while doing it. I sincerely regret not getting the cobalt blue. I faltered at the last second and went with red as I wanted to match the Kona Fire mountain frame. But I regret that decision. The red just isn’t as sharp as the blue would have been.

The 5mm elwire runs about 1.33 a foot, and it took about 40 feet to do the whole bike. I soldered the connectors and drivers myself. each wheel has its own inverter and 9v battery. The bike itself runs on a 12v 8xAA battery pak under the seat. I used some simple plastic zip ties to affix it to the frame, and epoxied the wires to the rims of each wheel.

I run with the el wire solid on, but the drivers also give me strobe and slow flash and various blink options.

You’re welcome to share as much or as little as this as you like. Im thrilled that anyone would be interested. Everyone at my work is mostly sick of me talking about it hehe, although they were pretty darn impressed with the ipad stereo.

Now, you know we love some DIY around here at Bikecommuters.com…and the funkier, the better. Hope you enjoyed this creation too!

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