Interbike 2010: Light & Motion focus on commuters

As much as we love the chance to ride our bikes every day, there’s no denying that the daily commute gets noticeably hairier as we close in on the year’s shorter days.  The numbers back up this impression:  62% of bike accidents take place during and after the evening commute.  With riders’ safety and peace of mind in mind, Light & Motion have released a pair of extremely bright, American made rechargeable commuter lights designed to ensure visibility from all angles.  Details after the jump…

First, the Vis 360 (shown above and below) is a helmet-mounted combination head/tail light.  The 4 lumen blinking tail light is paired with a 110 lumen headlight and a pair of extremely bright amber side markers.  Because it is helmet mounted, the Vis 360 is ideal for riders who lock their bikes outside.  The USB-chargeable system uses a single battery pack, is well balanced from front to back, and runs 2 1/2 hours on high.  Being able to direct the headlight toward traffic merging from side streets and the lights’ high location also helps to increase visibility and visually separate the cyclist from other lights on the road.  The Vis 360 retails for $169.

From a more traditional mold is the Vis 180.  A belt- or seatpost-mounted light, the Vis 180 puts out an astonishing 35 lumen in a steady or pulsing red beam.  Also USB-rechargeable, the Vis 180 runs for 4 hours on high (8 hours on pulse) and retails for $100.  We’ve been promised one to review and will let you know how it goes!

www.bikelights.com

Comments

Editz - 10/01/10 - 12:51pm

35 lumen for $100? DiNotte does 120 lumen for $149.

Marc - 10/01/10 - 6:30pm

Editz, That’s true, but the DiNotte is not self-contained like the L&M, making it a much bigger package. I’ve seen the DiNotte out on the ride (a guy on my regular commute has one)- and it’s incredible. I really think that L&M are targeting a different customer here. marc

RED - 10/01/10 - 9:56pm

From the moment this light was introduced, I was very excited about it – when I saw one on the shelf, I grabbed it instantly.
However it will be going back. Light output is excellent, you would be VERY visible with this. (it blows away my usual three: 2x Fleas and a Skink – those lights each have a very narrow hot spot). Anyway the Vis 180 has four modes ( some slow pulsing, and at least one solid) but no fast blinking/pulsing. It literally will light a dark room if you use it inside, very wide light coverage. But the flaws… the mounting strap is far too short. It’s probably great on 27.2, but it will just barely fit my 31.6 seatpost when you loop the rubber through as designed, which makes it quite awkward to put off/on – a longer length would be easier to get your fingers around. It will not fit my wife’s aero seatpost (Kuota) at all. If they were smart, they would have included a longer strap which you would trim to length. If they were really nice, they would include two straps, with holes set at slightly different/staggered lengths for different installation circumstances so you get the best tension regardless of what you strap it to. I guess you could shim something underneath the one strap if you are in between holes. With regards to the aero seatpost, I even tried improvising with things I had lying around. The L&M bracket cannot be used with zip ties, because the tie would prevent you closing the light to remove it! Maybe if you used those release-able zip ties from the hardware store (or cut your zip tie each time). Velcro straps might work but would have to be quite slim to fit the slots (and you risk your shorts). It might be an improvement if they instead had hooks/flanges on each side of the light and just used an O-ring around the seatpost? If you leave the bracket on the post, you need sufficient height ABOVE it to slide the light up to slide it in/out. This means if you have a shorter seatpost, a curved or setback seatpost … you may have to remove the whole bracket when you want to remove the light. Again “if they were nice” they would include some kind of rubber to work with thin/sharp edged aero seatposts (the Garmin rubber wedge that comes with the cadence sensor isn’t bad). The bronze colour was a bizarre choice. The finish seems like the colour may flake or abrade, mine looks imperfect at the edges and I have never even gone for a ride with it! The micro-USB was another bizarre choice. The bracket that lets you adjust the angle only gives you discrete increments, which is ok, but I wonder about the long term survival of this arm if you ride rough surfaces that would jar the extended light around. Cobbles anyone? In short it doesn’t have the greatest mounting flexibility. While they say you could clip it to a bag, you certainly would not clip it to clothing. The power button feels rather vague in operation, no distinct click:click:click like some other lights. Which is fine unless you operate the light while riding and need to feel it. All in all, not a bad light, just not perfect for my needs and for the money it has to be. The absolute killer for me is that it won’t fit the aero seatpost and the thought of it flying into the spokes if mounted on the seatstays means it’s going back to the shop. Hope this helps, and I’ll be interested in the BikeRumor review later!

Marc - 10/03/10 - 9:35pm

Red,

Thanks for the in-depth comments. I’ll certainly be checking back when it comes time to write my review :) Seriously, I’m sorry that the 180 didn’t work for you- but am glad that you figured out that it wouldn’t work for you before it was too late…

marc

john wilkinson - 10/12/10 - 12:32pm

Red – you are spot on with your comments. Found the same issues and alerted L&M. Mounting strap does just barely fit around my 31,2 seatpost but actually I wanted to mount the 180 below the seat clamp but this was not possible as the strap is too short and also the mount too big. I would also like to be able to use a cable tie to be safe but this is not possible as one needs to close the unit completely before it will pop out of the mount so it can be recharged. I can no longer use a saddle bag as the 180 takes up the space – (previous blackburn was mounted below the seat clamp).

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