Hi there, it’s Jim Dodson your Florida Bike Guy.
I want you to have a good tail light. In Florida you are required to have a tail light on your bike when you ride at night. Honestly, most of the people I know aren’t riding at night. So the question is, why do you need a good tail light during the day.
There are some pretty powerful studies that show having a daytime tail light decreases your chances of being hit by a car by about twenty percent. Now, this is in conjunction with a headlight which we will discuss on another day. One thing to bear in mind is that it can be a little confusing when you go out into the market place and shop for a tail light because you have the lumen issue, how bright it is and all the other features that make some lights better than others.
One of the things I suggest you do is to go to the Trek website and they have a page on clothing, visibility, motion and lighting. On there, they have a very good description of what you need and why you need it. There is some information on their strobe lights and how they work, the patterns that they use which they think are the most affective. But there are a lot of manufacturers that are on the market that have great tail lights.
I’ve got six lights here today that I want to show you. These haven’t been selected because I think they are the only ones that are good. We reached out to several manufacturers and they were gracious enough to send us some samples of their tail lights. And I also have a couple that I use that I purchased locally. So, lets talk about them.
In my view, the whole purpose of a tail light is to help you to be seen. As cyclists, we are on the road with vehicles and the drivers are distracted by all sorts of things. So the issue is are we going to be identified as a cyclist and capture their attention so that we are seen and they can avoid us. My big concern for cyclists are those who don’t have a tail light and those that have one but it’s not affective.
These six lights that I have here today all share some commonality. Most of them are in the range of 30 to 65 lumens. I’ve got a couple that are on the higher end. One is 160 and the other one is 250. They all are USB chargeable and they all have multiple modes of lighting and strobe effects.
Let’s look at the first one. This one is the Bontrager Flare R Tail Light. It was provided to us by David’s World Cycle and we want to thank them for that. It’s 65 lumens and they say that it is visible up to 2 km. day or night. This is a very powerful light. It’s waterproof and not all of them are. It has a mounting bracket that allows you to keep it vertical to the road when it is mounted to your seat post which is a nice feature.
The next one is the CatEye Rapid X2 Kinetic tail light. Again, this is a very bright light. It’s 50 lumens and has multiple strobes. Everyone recommends strobes for better visibility. The strobe picks you up out of a background and it separates you from any other kind of light that drivers are exposed to on the road. This is also a waterproof light.
The next one is by a company called Knog. It’s the Knog Blinder MOB V Mr. Chips tail light. This light is 44 lumens and they say that is visible up to 1.2 km. which is good visibility. This one also has different modes of lighting and strobe effects.
This next light is a Lezyne Zecto Drive Max 250. I picked up this tail light at a local bike shop. It has 250 lumens and has multiple modes of flash. It’s not waterproof but it is water resistant. And, of course it is USB chargeable. I’m currently riding with this light on my bike. I have it either on the seat post or on the frame. As you can see it has multiple strobe modes and three LED lights. I like using this light. Actually, I like a lot of these lights we are discussing today.
This next one is a German company. It’s the Lupine ROTLICHT tail light. This light is 160 lumens and it’s also the most expensive light of all of these. Most of these are going to be in the price range of about $50 give or take. This one though, is over $100. It’s very compact. It’s waterproof and it’s shockproof. It’s easy to use and has multiple strobe light effects. This also has an interesting feature that when you are riding along and you hit the brakes it has a sensor that detects motion and your change in speed, so it actually increases the lighting as you apply your brakes and slow down. This is a feature I didn’t see on any of these other lights. This light was given to us by the manufacturer.
This final light is the Serfas UTL-6 Thunderbolt USB. This is an old standby. I started riding with this light years ago. This one has multiple strobes and brightness control. I usually get through a three hour ride with this. It’s not waterproof but it is water resistant.
So, again these are six tail lights that I found that all share the common ability of the strobe effect which I think is important. All of them have good battery life, are USB chargeable, are very light.
If you would like, you can download this free resource from our website that goes over these six lights we just discussed. It provides a little more detail of each light and their features. If you have questions or concerns about lighting, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help.
Be safe out there and be sure to ride with good lights both day and night!