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World’s Brightest Bike Light

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World’s Brightest Bike Light » image 1

Like most athletic gear these days, bike lights are getting lighter, more complex and more expensive.

This fall, a few well-padded bikers are lining up to buy the “Betty,” a blindingly bright light that retails for as much as $1,185. The Betty, made by Germany’s Lupine Lighting Systems, generates so much heat that if a rider isn’t moving fast enough to create wind, the light will automatically start dimming itself to prevent the light from overheating. At 1,400 lumens, it’s about as bright as a car’s headlight, the company says. There’s a wait-list of up to two weeks for the light, which is made up of seven LEDs.

Such durable light-emitting diodes are taking over a solid share of the bike-light market. They usually require external batteries, which are attached to a wire and must be stored in either a pocket or a water-bottle cage. Some need charging after just about every ride, if they’re used at maximum capacity.

Princeton Tec’s new $389 Switchback 3 has a trio of souped-up LEDs that can run for up to 50 hours, and a battery pack that charges up in two hours. The company also makes a single-LED version that costs $199. Japan’s CatEye, hoping to tap into the hard-core commuter market, is rolling out a line of lights called Single Shot, next month. The $80 and $100 lights don’t require an external battery but still get bright enough to light up the road, CatEye says.

Light & Motion’s new LED bike lights are called Stella, with two models ($199 and $299) that pump out 180 lumens — about as many as a Mag light, police officers’ big flashlights. But this one weighs just 300 grams, or about as much as two BlackBerrys.

Lloyd Chambers, a software engineer in Portola Valley, Calif., used to commute home from work with two military-grade tactical flashlights strapped to his bike and helmet. But these days, he’s strapped a Betty on his helmet instead. He says it’s impossible that anyone could miss him, but he gets strange responses from pedestrians. Recently, cycling home from work, he turned to look at a pair of teenagers walking into a grocery store. Says Mr. Chambers: “I heard one say ‘What is that? A car driving sideways?’ ”

For many cyclists, purchasing one of these lights might be overkill. For $20 or $30, LED lights that use simple AA batteries will flash bright enough for motorists to see.


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leave a response    7:30 am    October 4th, 2007     posted by : Mehdi    Permalink   
 Filed in : Luxury, vehicles    Tags: ,
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