Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baiyu Superbright Spoke Lights

Got me some cheap Chinese spoke lights for my crap commuter bike. I had been thinking for some time about the need to improve side visibiIity on my daily ride and concluded that some kind of wheel lighting was the way to go. So I ordered these on amazon for $13, shipping included. They arrived remarkably quickly, shipped from China complete with curiously worded “English” instructions, in time to make a little Christmas gift to myself. I see them as an experiment. I know they’re cheap, in every sense. But, hey, 13 bucks.

My wife has had Monkey Lights—the self-proclaimed “world leader in bike wheel lights”—on her commuter bike for the past year, and she loves them. They’re solidly constructed, bright as hell (220 lumens), and can be programmed to make a gazillion different cool patterns. But they cost $60 per wheel. At the risk of sounding cheap, I’m going to say that that’s steep for a light on a crap bike that itself is probably not worth $60 (not counting the studded tires, anyway). And given that Monkey Lights are fastened on by what are essentially zip cords, they strike me as entirely, even invitingly, stealable. So I was open to other options.

I’ve been riding with my cheap Chinese spoke lights daily for about 6 weeks now, and, so far, I can report, they work. My Baiyu Superbrights are not actually as “superbright” as the monkey model, but they’re bright enough, I figure. I just need to be visible. The quality of the light show is beside the point. Are they built to last? Probably not. And, sure, the mounting device that’s included is useless, a piddly plastic screw that is supposed to hold the light in place by being clamped over one spoke. Don’t even try to use it. Instead, three small zip cords will do the trick nicely. And, if you care, the Baiyu weighs considerably less than the monkey unit (not that that matters much on a commuter), operating on three AAA batteries, as opposed to three AAs in the monkey.

Best of all, though, my cheap Chinese spoke lights look so cheap, so crappy, with their retro plastic casing and 1980s font and color scheme, so much like a dollar-store-crap child’s toy, that I have no worries at all about them getting stolen.  

And while the $13 light show may not be monkey quality, it's still pretty cool.

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