01 November 2014

Rear Lights Dynamo Powered - Short Review

A rainy Saturday today, so no ride.  I hope tomorrow will be dry, and Jerome and I will get out from 730AM.  Start from my house -- others are of course welcome.

For a long time I have used simple battery powered rear lights.  Given the lower power requirements, batteries will last even through a long ride with extensive night riding.  But batteries do run down, and out, and it is especially inconvenient, even dangerous, if it happens at the wrong time.  

Also, my favorite rear lights for many years, the "fibre flare" series, have not been as durable as I would like.  The all around visibility is great, and the quality may have improved over time.  But a few stopped working almost immediately after I got them (problems with the switch) and others suffered water damage or broken fastenings after a year or two in use.  
Fibre flare
So recently I have started to experiment with using my hub dynamo to power rear as well as front lights.

On the Bike24.com site there are lots and lots of dynamo-powered rear light options.  Unfortunately, most of them affix to a rear rack.  What rear rack?  I do not use one and have no plans to start.  Some of them also affix to mudguards.  Also not ideal, for someone who uses removeable mudguards, or none at all, much of the time.  

Jerome does have a rear rack, so I got him what looks like a very nice, thin, bright Busch & Mueller light that will affix there.  This cost around 10 Euro (plus tax/shipping).  I look forward to a report.

The choices are limited (and a bit more expensive) for dynamo lighting with other mounting options. I have a Philips rear light that attaches to my seatpost (approx 20 Euro), and a Busch & Mueller that attaches to a seat stay (approx 15 Euro).  Both are very bright compared with typical rear lights on bicycles.  The Philips attachment is not as durable as I would like ... so I worry about how long it will last.  Both are easy to connect, though it does require a wire along the top tube between front and rear lights.

I think the Busch & Mueller Secula Plus attached to my seat stay is going to be my favorite.  It has a very bright standlight, which the Philips lacks.  So it will be much safer for urban riding where I will be stopped at an intersection waiting for a traffic light, for example.  For now I have put it on the Yamabushi, my primary commuting bike.  I think the best place in winter.
Bright standlight!


Richard said...

Do you foresee any issues with their being always on, rather than blinking? Wondering how motorists will perceive them, given that most people use blinkies

David Litt said...

"Do you foresee any issues with their being always on, rather than blinking? "

No. Just go to a major Audax online forum (the U.S. randon forum, for example) and ask that question, and you may get a flurry of opinions ... or a link to an old thread on the subject. There is a long running debate about whether blinking lights "attract" a sleepy/careless motorist to steer toward you -- some, very limited evidence -- and so Audax rules typically require a NON-blinking, constant rear light.
For long distance night cycling I would suggest one constant rear light, and any second light (helmet rear, for example) could be blinking. Many cyclists prefer blinking because it extends battery life dramatically -- but that is not an issue with a dynamo powered LED rear light.