Review: Arclight Pedals light up the night with smart LED technology
Last year Redshift Sports announced its LED-equipped Arclight Pedals, which "magically" illuminate white in front and red in the rear, no matter which side of the pedal is facing up. I had a chance to try the things out for myself, and they're everything that was promised.
To recap our previous coverage, the Arclights are a set of sealed-bearing aluminum platform pedals, each one of which incorporates two weatherproof dual-color LED modules – one module sits inside a slot in the front of the pedal, while the other one goes in a slot in the back. They're held in place by magnets, so they can be pulled out for recharging.
Pressing and holding a button on each module powers it up, and allows it to be switched between Flash, Eco (battery-saving) or Steady modes. The pedals then serve as tail lights and be-seen type headlights, with the added benefit of their up-and-down motion making them more eye-catching to motorists.
As mentioned, though, what's really neat about the Arclights is the fact that no matter which way up each pedal is facing, its front LEDs will automatically illuminate white and its rear ones will illuminate red.
"Each pedal has embedded magnets located in specific spots, with the left pedal one polarity and the right pedal the opposite," Redshift co-founder Erik de Brun previously explained to us. "When a light module is inserted into a pedal, a hall-effect sensor (magnetic field sensor) in the module detects a North or South pole and knows if it is on the right or left side of the bike. Then we have a sophisticated accelerometer/gyro chip that lets us determine the rotational position of the pedal using gravity, filtering out any motion from actually pedalling and moving on the bike. Then we match up which side of the light module is up with which pedal it's in, and we know if it's in the back or front and set the color from there."
I found that the Arclight Pedals worked just as advertised, providing plenty of visibility, and offering a stable, sturdy foot platform. The LED modules were easy enough to pull out as needed, yet stayed firmly in place when on the road. And it should be noted that because the modules wrap around the outside edge of each pedal, they're visible to motorists approaching from the side – not just from the front and back.
The LEDs do go into a non-illuminated Standby mode if the modules' accelerometers/gyros don't detect any movement for 30 seconds. This made me wonder if they might go out when I was stopped at red lights, leaving me less visible to drivers arriving at the intersection. It turns out that even the subtle weight-shifting movements a rider makes when standing on their stationary bike, however, is enough to keep the pedals lit up.
Battery life is said to sit at 36 hours in Eco, 11 hours in Flash and three hours in Steady. Although I didn't put the Eco or Flash claims to the test – keep in mind that the LEDs do shut off when absolutely no movement is detected – the Steady figure was more or less what I got. All four modules can be charged at once, with a full charge taking about two hours.
Redshift also sent along its optional Multi-Mount device, which allows a single LED module to be mounted on the handlebars (as a headlight) or the seat post (as a tail light). It worked well, attaching quickly and easily with an included stretchy rubber O-ring. You can order the mount with a module of its own, so you don't have to pinch one from the pedals.
I don't have any real criticisms, although it's certainly possible that depending on what sort of pedals you're used to, the Arclights might seem pretty big and heavy. My set tipped the scales at 704 grams (1.6 lb) – for comparison, Shimano's different models of urban-oriented platform pedals weigh in at an average of around 508 g (1.1 lb) a pair.
The Arclight Pedals are available now via the Redshift website, priced at US$139.99. If you also want a Multi-Mount, it goes for $39.99 with an LED module, or $14.99 without.
You can see me doing a ride-by with the pedals in all their illuminated glory, in the video below. I kept my usual headlight and tail light off, to show how much the Arclights show up on their own.
Product page: Arclight Pedals