Taillights have been a big topic on several cycling forums lately, so I decided to document the taillights I have on my Trek 1220 before I move them to my soon-to-arrive Surly Long Haul Trucker.
I use three taillights mounted to my Jandd Expedition Rear Rack. The first is a RealLite, a 4″ x 6″ 18-LED 4 AA-battery operated light. The vendor claims that the batteries will run about 60 hours on flash. I’ve never timed it, but it does run a long time. I use it in flash mode.
Trust me, it puts out a LOT of light. I’ve had more comments on it than any other light I’ve owned. Here’s what others say.
Check out the warranty. You don’t see many like that. I’ve bought a couple of his lights and only had to return one because of something dumb I did that caused it to break where it was mounted. I don’t recall exactly what I did, but the vendor replaced it with no hassle.
My brother sticks his in his rear jersey pocket instead of mounting it to his bike.
Generator light with battery backup
The middle light is a Busch&Müller 4DToplight Senso Multi from Peter White Cycles powered by a SON generator hub. Flashing taillights are illegal in Germany where these are made, so they are steady-on. Some folks claim that flashing lights are harder for motorists to judge distance with and there are others that think flashing lights attract drunk drivers. I have a mixture of flashing and steady lights, so I guess I’m either more visible and easy to read or I’m a drunk magnet.
Since the generator stops working when the bike stops, this taillight automatically switches to battery power when it senses that the bike has stopped. That also provides a backup if there would be a problem with the wiring.
It has a huge built-in reflector that is highly effective.
The NiteRider is visible in bright daylight
I saw my first NiteRider taillight on Matt’s infamous Full Moon Ride. Matt had just bought his and was firing it up for the first time. It was amazing how far you could see the light in the daytime. I run with mine on any time I ride, day or night. If I could find a way to power it without the heavy waterbottle battery, I’d even forgo the headlight that you need with it.
What holds them on the bike?
The challenge was how to mount them. I had an old piece of aluminum that I bent 90-degrees and attached to the underside of the Jandd rack with two nuts and bolts.
It’s not pretty, but it does a good job of holding them on the bike. I haven’t seen any signs of metal fatigue in several thousand miles.
So, how do the look in the dark?
Here’s my first forray into the world of YouTube. After coming home from a ride the other night, I knocked off a quick video of my taillights. It’s sloppy, makes Sarah Palin sound smart and took me half a day to figure out how to edit and upload it. (Any 12-year-old kid could have done it in 10 minutes, but there is a shortage of 12-year-old kids at my house.)
The next one will be better, I promise.