Let’s face it, Car drivers are morons. Not all of them but enough to make life on a bike a little risky. They barey concentrate on the task at hand as they pilot their 1 tonne beast through your streets and you’re lucky if they even see you. And that’s during the day. At night you’d be a mug if you didn’t light yourself up with something that can scorch the retinas off a flying fox.
Also, when it comes to lighting I like something that can light up the trail, rather than just be seen. Tripping through back alleys, across fields, and along unlit bike trails is much more fun when you can light it up.
To wit, I present to you some of the best options for bike lighting, and they all happen to be Australian.
Ay-Up make some of the best lights for commuting. Like most of the lights I’ll feature here, they multi-sport or mountain bike lights. They’re designed with enough power in mind to allow you to fly down singletrack at night. That kind of power might be considered overkill by many but I’m of the opinion that until car drivers spontaneously vaporize under the glare of your beams you don’t have enough power.
The Ay-Ups are very popular in mountain bike circles, which means they work. Lets face it, if you can ride off road with these lights they’re more than good enough on the road. They’re also a hell of a lot smaller than they you’d think possible and they come with little red caps that act as a rear light. You swivel one light to face rearward and it frightens the buggery out of any suburban 4WD driver thinking of idly running your over while playing with their radio and mobile phone.
Kits start at $230 which makes them unreasonably cheap for a quality light. Try the Ay-Up website for more information.
I know almost nothing about CNC Delite beyond what you can already see for yourself at their website. The thing I like about these guys is they have options for dynamo lights. Now, most of you probably just choked on your Wheaties when I mentioned dynamos but let me tell you the modern dynamo light kicks arse. It has very little friction and can light up a pathway better than…say…my $300 Nitelight set. (I know this because my wife has dynamo lights). A dynamo hub is as close to frictionless as you’d ever want. Most of these cheapo hubs that adorn the $500 fixies would have produce friction than a good dynamo hub. The only real problem with a dynamo on a fixie is that it somewhat spoils the look. And the look is everything right? Oh well.
|Set-up looks a bit too fussy for a casual commuter but hey, it’s Ktronik dude.|
As an avid reader of mountain bike magazines it seems to me that HID Technologies were the first to produce a product locally that beat the overseas opposition in terms of price and performance. I’m yet to see anything other than a glowing review of these fellas. Even the diminutive Pygmy was deemed an excellent light. It’s surely good enough for the commute.
Like a lot of mountain bike lights, the set-up is a bit fiddly. So you’d have to be willing to make a small sacrifice of your time each time you set them up…when you leave home, arrive at pub, leave the pubs, etc. There’s a lot of on-and-off with commuting that you dont get mountain biking. So think about whether you want the world’s most awesome lights or a little less light with a little more convenience.
|Bike light and bug zapper, if needed.|
These guys have a more comprehensive range of lights, rather than just sport or mountain bike lights. The Commuter 4 looks perfect for a bright but convenient commuter light.
Nightflux have been well regarding in mountain biking for a while now. Friends of mine have used and liked them and their products have been well reviewed in mountain bike magazines. I’d be willing to take a punt on the Commuter 4. It has a 4 watt output and will be well made and built tough (based on other products of theirs I know). Combining that with a light that fits on the bike without the fiddle and you’ve got an almost perfect balance of convenience versus lighting. For $155 you get everything you need (and it charges via USB).
These guys are purely aimed at mountain biking and they’re very definitely a premium product. This makes their desirability as a fixie light somewhat unlikely but if you do happen to have a spare $1,000 and you want the best lights you can buy then give Radical Lights a looksee.
I’ve left these guys till last (while others were in alphabetical order) because they’re almost synonymous with fixies. Knog were a design company from Melbourne who seem to hit the right note of coolness and practicality for urban hipsters world wide. People too cool to even think about sullying their bike with a light suddenly festooned them with Knog lights. Go Knog!
Knog are really only in the flashy light market these days. They did bring out a serious light up the road light at one stage, it won an Australian Internation Design Award but was found wanting in the real world and has dropped off their product roster. If you want the coolest lights money can buy then definitely get a Knog, but if you want the brightest lights money can buy try one of the companies above.