Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bike Lights
Light & Motion

One thing all commuters, elite cyclists, and casual riders have in common is the need to see and be seen. Winter is a time of year when it’s hard to avoid low-light or no-light conditions while riding. A high-quality bike light is essential for safety, allowing you to see potential obstacles in the road and, perhaps even more importantly, allowing the four-wheeled, multi-ton variety of those obstacles to see you.

Good lights are an important investment. When choosing the brand and model, here are some factors to consider:

Light & Motion's VIS 360+
  • You’ll want a white light for the front and a red for the rear. 
  • Flashing lights are a plus for riding in traffic and usually prolong battery life. Many lights allow you to switch between a dim, bright, and flash setting. 
  • The brighter, the better. Brightness is measured in lumens. 
  • How large of a beam does it cast? (Light & Motion's website has a handy Beam Test feature for their models.) 
  • Where do the lights attach? And how secure is that type of attachment? Depending on your typical type of ride – trail vs. road, for example – you may want to make this your chief consideration. Which is more convenient for you – lights that stay put, or those that you can move on and off your equipment between rides?   
  • Helmet-mounted lights have the added bonus of pointing wherever you look. Lights that attach to your bike may be more convenient to leave on the frame permanently. 
  • How are the lights powered? Do they charge by battery or USB? What is their run time? 
  • Is the design durable? Simple? Attractive enough to attach to your daily ride? 
  • Common-sense tip: Ask another rider if he/she can see you easily. If your typical position and/or commuter gear on the bike obscures your lights, consider attaching them in a different place or trying a different model. 

ATC recently began carrying the Light & Motion commuter brand, rechargeable, high-powered lights that pay off ten-fold in the long run. The lights have received, dare we say, “glowing” reviews. Below are the models that ATC currently carries in stock.

VIS 360+
A helmet-mounted, 250-lumen beacon of awesomeness. Attaches and detaches fairly easily to most helmets without tools, so you can use it when you need it (the rear snaps into an unobtrusive mount you can leave on). Micro USB charged. A multi-colored LED indicator lets you know how much battery is left. Side lights provide enhanced visibility. The fit is very secure, and this light is BRIGHT. Run time 3 hours on high, 16 hours on flash mode, with additional settings. $189

VIS 180
50 lumens and super compact, these tail lights offer 180 degrees of visibility. Attaches at the back of your bike (or rack) and the side without tools. Reportedly 10 times the light of most powerful AA tail lights. Micro USB charged. Run time 4 hours high, 6 hours high pulse, with additional settings. $99

A 200-lumen handlebar light billed as the “lightest, brightest, most compact light in its class.” Side lights provide enhanced visibility. Attaches without tools. Micro USB charged. Run time 2.5 hours high, 24 hours on flash mode, with additional settings. $79 

**Other models may be available. Call us to check if what you're looking for is in stock (ATC 360: 512-382-1273 ATC Barton Springs: 512-494-9252). These make great holiday gifts!

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