Slava Menn, co-founder of Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries, started talking to us about a commuter bike light project a while back, inquiring whether features like theft-proofness and ease of use were of importance. Since several of our contributors commute daily in major cities (Los Angeles, Portland) and the rest of us use our bikes for short errands, we gave them our feedback and went on about our business.
About a month later, we received these stunning photos of the Defender, their absolutely gorgeous commuter light concept. With looks like these, it’s a good thing they did end up putting a focus on theft resistance…
The Defender uses three AA batteries to power six LED lights packed in a bad ass six shooter gun barrel design. Right now, they’re claiming it’s in the 50 lumen range, but they’re still doing final testing. It might get brighter.
The casing is die cast aluminum and acts as a heat sink, dissipating any heat from the LEDs throughout the entire body. To keep it on the bike, it uses a Torx security screw, which Menn says is very uncommon (ie. you can’t buy it at the local hardware store). That makes it unlikely it’ll get stolen since most thefts of this type are opportunistic. Even the battery case is protected by a set screw, so if you’re using expensive rechargeables, they won’t get swiped either.
It’s sealed with three silicone rubber gaskets, which Menn says lets the light keep working even when submerged. Normal rain, even in Portland, shouldn’t affect it.
Weight is 232g and it’ll fit handlebars from 22mm to 32mm diameter. Battery life is rated at 50 hours on continuous and 100 hours blinking. The primary beam has a 30º spread with a periphery of 80º. It’s mainly to be seen, not to light up the night.
Menn and co-founder Brad Geswein, both MIT grads in engineering and business, have been working on the project for six months. Menn says the inspiration was a friend getting his bicycle light stolen, then got hit by a car on the way home. They surveyed a lot of city riders and found that light theft was a common problem. The other problem they found was that many riders used quick release models to prevent theft but ended up leaving them at home.
Suggested retail will end up around $70, but if you pledge $50 on their Kickstarter campaign, you’ll get one from the first batch as part of the deal. You’ll also get a T-shirt and water bottle if you pledge a little more. Go big on your support and you can get one of the limited edition Black versions shown here or even get custom laser engraving! They’re looking to raise $18,000 to go into production, part of which will be done in the U.S. Check the video below for more of the story and their, uh, comprehensive testing. Good luck guys!