WingLights360 improves upon a clever idea
Three years ago, we reviewed a nifty li'l cycling product known as WingLights – LED turn indicators that magnetically attach to the ends of one's handlebars. Well, British startup Cycl is back again, with its new-and-improved WingLights360.
Like the original model, the 360 version consists of two handlebar plugs that replace the bike's existing plugs, along with two corresponding waterproof LED modules that fit into the ends of them. Strong magnets in all four aluminum-bodied parts keep the modules stuck in the plugs even when riding over rough roads, yet still allow them to be pulled off by hand when the bike is left unattended.
When the rider is about to make a turn, they just tap a rubberized button on the end of either LED module. This causes it to start flashing amber for 45 seconds, or less if it's manually shut off by tapping the button again.
One of the main things that WingLights360 adds is non-flashing front (white) and rear (red) LEDs that serve as running lights when the cyclist isn't turning – these not only help draw drivers' attention to the bike, but also make them more aware of its width, so they don't pass too close. When the rider is turning, the tap-for-amber-flashing function still applies. A steady longer press of the button initially activates the running-light mode.
Other improvements include LEDs that are both more energy-efficient and brighter (30 lumens as compared to 16); a screw-in mounting system that keeps the plugs more securely attached to the handlebars; more powerful magnets; a USB-based battery recharging system (a 30-minute charge should be good for three hours of use); and increased side visibility of the lights – hence the 360 in the name.
If you're interested, WingLights360 is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$55 will get you a set, when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is $80.