Saturday, September 12, 2009

Winter Drawers On ... v2.00

Just caught sight of two interesting bike lights from Princeton Tec which seem to take bicycle lighting to the next step.

The Swerve: the latest super-bright LEDs have taken rear lights into new realms of brilliance and conspicuity. The Swerve has two red 0.5w LEDs, one beamed through a diffuser to enable a wide spread of light and the other an intense focused beam. One of the switched modes alternates between the two LEDs and produces a curiously eye-catching effect similar to spotting an emergency services light down the road.

I ran the light against my current favourite rear light, the Blackburn Mars 3.0 and in all modes the Swerve was more conspicuous against the Blackburn's already good performance. The Swerve's flashing mode was particularly effective. However, the Swerve costs almost twice as much as the Blackburn but on a dark, rainy night with a hockey-mom with half a team in the back of the Windrush speeding up behind you you might be grateful for the Swerve's extra whoomph!

$29.99 : 2xAAA alkaline batteries, 70hours claimed. Handle bar, seat post, seat stay and fork mounts are included. Built-in clip allows for attachment to your helmet, pack or messenger bag.

EOS Bike : LEDs have transformed bicycle lighting in the last few years, but left cyclists with two choices when it comes to bicycle front lights ... okay ... maybe three ... low-powered, self-contained handle-bar lights ($15-$40ish) or expensive, high-powered, high-tech lithium battery powered units at about $1.00/lumen so that a 200 lumen unit is going to set you back about $200.

The less expensive lights are good for conspicuity, but do little, if anything to light the road/track ahead. The high-tech solution is incredible ... but seriously expensive.

The EOS Bike light is the first LED front light I've seen which puts the basic handlebar mounted light into the serious lighting class. Okay, it's one of the most expensive, but not much else compares to it in this section of the market.

The light claims 50 lumens which pretty much corresponds to the $1.00/lumen formula, so doesn't approach the brightness of the higher-priced rechargeable units, but it hits well above its class in comparison to any other regular, battery-powered bicycle headlight.

It has four modes; high-, medium-, low-power and a slow flash. All modes are highly conspicuous and the high-power mode will light your way at moderate speed on the road.

$44.99 : 3xAAA alkaline/lithium batteries, run-time variable according to mode. Includes helmet, handle bar and headlamp attachments.

Available from Halter's Cycles or your local LBS.