5 bike headlights that offer a little extra
While a good set of lights are an essential part of night-time bicycle commuting, advances in LEDs, batteries and microprocessors have led to a number of headlights that do more than just shine straight onto the road. Here are a few such "value-added" lights that caught our eye.
According to British product design student Emily Brooke, cyclists often get cut off by motorists when they're closing in on cars from behind, in the next lane over. This prompted her to create the Blaze Laserlight, which laser-projects a bicycle symbol onto the road approximately six meters (20 ft) in front of the rider. The idea is that drivers will see that symbol in the lane next to them, and realize that a cyclist is approaching from behind. And yes, it also works as a regular headlight, with a maximum output of 300 lumens.
It sells for £125 (about US$155).
ShineOn Dual Beam
The idea with this one is that motorists will pay more attention to a readily-recognizable human torso, than to a single point of light. That's why the ShineOn Dual Beam has – well, it has two beams. One shines forward like that of a regular headlight, putting out 500 lumens, while the other shines up and back onto the cyclist. And no, it reportedly doesn't shine into their eyes, so they should still be able to easily see the road.
It was successfully Kickstarted, and should sell for $110.
Hydra 3 Bike Light
Mountain bikers often use two headlights … a handlebar-mounted one that shines straight ahead, and a helmet-mounted one that shines where they're looking. The Hydra 3 is intended to serve both purposes, with a three-LED design. The middle bulb shines forward at all times, while either of the outer two – which point trail-left and trail-right – only come on when an integrated sensor detects that the bike is turning. In this way, they illuminate the corner that the cyclist is going into, which is what they'd likely be looking at already.
Although it was also on Kickstarter, the Hydra 3 didn't reach its funding goal – but it may still reach production.
It only makes sense that the faster you're going, the farther down the road you need to see. With this in mind, the Garmin Varia headlight wirelessly communicates with the user's Garmin Edge cycle computer, analyzing changes in the latter's GPS coordinates to determine the rider's current speed. It then responds by focusing or broadening the beam accordingly, keeping it narrow and bright (up to 600 lumens) if you're moving fast, or wide and less intense if you're going slow.
It's priced at $200.
Bike headlights are good and everything, but what happens if you get in a traffic accident that's disputed in court? Well, if you're using the Fly12, you can turn to the 1080p/30fps video that was shot by its onboard camera. It's even able to record footage in a continuously-overwriting loop, so you won't have to worry about events not being documented because the memory card was full. And of course, you can also use it just to record rides for fun.
The latest version of the Fly12, the 600-lumen CE, sells for $299.