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Product review: The Knog Oi bike bell

Product review: The Knog Oi bike bell

Black Knog Oi bell looks good next to a GoPro mount

Black Knog Oi bell looks good next to a GoPro mount.
(Photos and video by Ted Timmons)

I’ve been unhappy with bike bells in the past. I’ve found that standard ones take up too much room (for me) or rattle, and some don’t work well. So I’ve placed and replaced bells over the past few years, currently none of my bikes have a bell mounted.

Until now.

Knog, the Australian company that makes lots of little flexible-mount lights, went to Kickstarter to launch a new bike bell. I really like the shape, as it doesn’t take up much space on my bars and blends in nicely. Plus I’m a sucker for Kickstarter projects, so I backed it for a limited-edition model (under $24 including shipping).

They raised over $1 million (AUD, or about $750k USD) for the project, shipping the bells about eight months after the project. Granted, the shipping was almost three months late, but by crowdfunding standards that isn’t bad.







The bell came in a nice retail-friendly box. I carried it around for a week or so until I had time to mount it and get pictures. As you can see in the pictures, the mount is flexible enough to fit around bars. It uses a single screw- with a 2.5mm hex head. I wish it was 3mm, because I keep four different hex drivers within reach on the bike, but that isn’t one of the four. (perhaps I’ll talk about the hex drivers in a future post)

The semi-circle of the bell is mounted so it can move around- necessary to get a good ringing noise. The clapper is easy to flick, making the bell easy to use. Unfortunately the sound is on the soft side- it’s sufficient but no more. (keep in mind it’s louder than is in the video- I’m limited in camera gear and editing while on the road)

Edit- after riding some more miles, it’s far too quiet. It might work on the quietest of MUPs but even pedestrians will have trouble hearing it. I’ll try some of the bells recommended in the comments.

Verdict? For $25, it’s a stylish bell that I’ll add to all my bikes. I talked to Gladys Bikes, who said they are carrying the bell- I don’t know if they are in stock yet, but they certainly should be soon.

Programming note: I won’t be putting up a weekly video roundup, as instead I’m cycling in Southern Utah. That’s where I’m filing this review.

– Ted Timmons, @tedder42

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Product Review: Aquilo full-fingered gloves from Planet Bike

Product Review: Aquilo full-fingered gloves from Planet Bike

Aquilo Glove by Planet Bike

Hello Aquilo.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you ride year-round in Portland, you’ve pretty much got to have a pair of gloves — or two, or three, depending on the weather. With temps ranging between 30 to 50 degrees and skies going from sunny and cold to wet and mild and every other combination you can think of these past few months, I’ve been rotating through five different pairs. Yes five. I’ve got two pairs for when it’s raining, two that I use either on their own or as liners if it’s really cold, and my newest pair: the Aquilo gloves from Planet Bike.

I’ve been a fan of Planet Bike for a long time. They make reliable and utilitarian products at a fair price and you can find their stuff everywhere. I also greatly respect that they’re committed to bike advocacy and were one of the first companies in the industry to have a full-time staff person devoted it: Advocacy Director Jay Ferm (whom I first met at the National Bike Summit in 2006). (Disclaimer: Planet Bike has also sponsored many years of BikePortland’s coverage from the Summit).

But being a good corporate citizen wouldn’t mean much if you made bad products. Fortunately that’s not the case with Planet Bike.

With their headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, they have instant credibility for making gear that works in cold weather (not to mention Madison is one of only five “Platinum-level” bike-friendly cities). They offer two models of full-fingered gloves: the Borealis and the Aquilo. The Borealis is the best option when it’s really cold and wet and the Aquilo is meant for “spring-fall” — which makes a good choice for Portland’s relatively mild winters.

Aquilo gloves by Planet Bike





Aquilo glove by Planet Bike

When I put these gloves on for the first time, my impression wasn’t great. They felt too thin. That’s not a bad thing; but I knew I wouldn’t be reaching for these when temps dropped into the 30s. On a cold day I love a nice puffy and warm glove. But larger and heavier gloves can constrict movement, overheat your hands quicker and are more of a pain to stuff in a pocket and carry around. Once I realized the Aquilos weren’t intended for the worst conditions, I began to warm up to them. In the past few months I’ve worn them when morning temps are above 40 degress and it’s not likely to rain. They’re great at taking the bite out of a chilly morning but I’ve yet to overheat in them.

Since fingers are warmest when they can touch each other (a la mitts), Planet Bike has opted for half-lobster arrangement on the Aquilos. At first I thought the lack of dexterity would bug me, but turns we only really need one of our two smallest fingers.

The Aquilos have all the features I look for in a glove: a large and soft fleece section on the thumb and forefinger for wiping water and various facial liquids; windproof material where it counts, reflective striping for safety; not too much padding (can’t stand “gel” gloves!) but enough to add some comfort; and extra material on the index and middle fingertips. I’m not a big fan of the velcro strap and the bright “Planet Bike” logo (I like my riding apparel to blend in and not be too loud or techy), but those are small nitpicks.

Overall this is a very solid pair of gloves. And the price is right too. Just $34.99 (the more stout Borealis is $41.99). That’s considerably less expensive than the other gloves I’m currently using: the $67 Winter Riding Gloves from SealSkinz and the $80 Crosspoint Softshell from Showers Pass (which I love, by the way).

Want to see more of our reviews? Check out the archives.

— This review is part of a promotional partnership with Cyclone Bicycle Supply who supplied us with the gloves at no cost. All opinions are our own.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Product Review: A warm winter cap from Bella Capo

Product Review: A warm winter cap from Bella Capo

cap_casual

A functional hat that also looks nice off the bike.

I love hats! As someone who bikes almost every day year-round, hats do many things for me. They keep out the elements (rain and sun being my biggest threats), they soak up my sweat in summer, they keep me warm in winter, and they also hide my sometimes disheveled hair.

I’ve worn hundreds of hats over the years, and it takes a lot of little things to go right for one to become a keeper. For the past few weeks I’ve been wearing one that has become my go-to this winter.

The Bella Capo winter cap is made in Italy for Portland-based Cyclone Bicycle Supply (suggested retail is $35.98). Unless you’re in the industry, you probably haven’t heard of Cyclone. That’s because they’re a parts and accessory distributor that sells to bike dealers and other retailers all over the country. All the Bella Capo caps stocked by Cyclone are made just for them by hand from a source in Italy.

Their winter hat is a gem. On the fabric front it’s a mix of nylon and wool. It’s got cozy ear flaps that fit all the way over my ears and — most importantly — they stay in place when I move. I’ve worn the hat in temps of 30-40 degrees. For me, it’s just the right warmth for 35 degrees or so and up (when I wore it to Mt. Hood in sub-freezing air and wind chill, I put another warm beanie cap over it). The outer fabric is also water resistant. I’ve worn this cap throughout the rain, sleet, and snow we’ve been having in Portland and it hasn’t failed me. I’m not sure how it would hold up to sustained rain, but the drops it has seen so far have beaded up nicely on the fabric.

Here’s a quick little water test I did this morning…


I switch between a lot of different modes throughout the day: In the morning I might be a bike commuter, then I turn into a reporter and sales manager, then I might throw on some lycra and do a training ride. The Bella Capo winter hat is a rare piece of my kit that works in all those environments. It doesn’t look too technical so I don’t look like a “cyclist,” yet it functions like one when I need it to. It’s warm enough to wear in near-freezing weather, yet still slim enough to fit nicely under my helmet (as you can see below).

cap-helmet

This is definitely a keeper. It will hang proudly next to my other hats* — but will mostly be off-the-hook and on my head.

You can find this hat locally at Pedal Bike Tours (133 SW 2nd Ave). If you want to carry these in your shop, visit CycloneBicycle.com

*Other winter hats I’m wearing are the Skyline Cap by Showers Pass and the Country Winter Cap by Rapha.

— This product was provided to me by Cyclone Bicycle Supply who we’ve partnered with for a series of reviews. All opinions are my own.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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Gimmick or godsend? My review of the NiteRider Sentinel with “Laser Lanes”

Gimmick or godsend? My review of the NiteRider Sentinel with “Laser Lanes”

laser_rear

The light has two lasers that project a bike lane on the road alongside your bike.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A bike light that creates virtual bike lanes wherever you go? That’s the promise behind the NiteRider Sentinel 40, a rear light that comes with a special “laser lanes” mode that projects two bright lines on the ground around your bike.

With the days being so short this time of year, I was intrigued by the pitch from an old friend who works for NiteRider, the light company based in San Diego, California. They sent me a Sentinel recently and I’ve been using it for a few days now.

sentinelboth

The light is larger in size than others I’ve used. It feels strong and well made. There are two buttons on the top of the light, one of them controls the light and the other controls the laser. The light and laser both have several modes so you can choose between a strobe, long flash, or steady (my preferred setting). Light many lights these days, the Sentinel is USB rechargable. The USB port at the bottom of the light and there’s a solid rubber closure attached to it that keeps the water out.

The light itself has a 40 lumen output, which is plenty bright for me.

Then there are the lasers. Lasers. I just like saying it. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but there’s still a part of me that gets excited when I think about lasers. Having two of them in my bike’s tail-light is like the coolest thing ever.

But beyond the coolness factor, are the Sentinel’s “laser lanes” really effective as a safety device? Or are they just a fun gimmick?

Testing the flashing mode on my office carpet.
via GIPHY

In their marketing materials, NiteRider says the lasers are “designed to project ultra bright laser lines on the ground, giving the rider their own virtual lane… so that cars can see when they’re getting a little too close.”

There’s no denying that the lasers are ultra bright. When I first turned them and then hit my legs, I almost felt like I should jump out of the way in case they burned right through my skin and shoes. When I snapped the light onto the mount on my seatpost (and I will point out that I like the rubber strap mount it comes with, which makes it easy to swap the light between different bikes) the laser lanes appeared just as advertised.

– Advertisement –


They’re definitely impressive at first glance. And from my perspective looking down at them while I ride around town, they add a feeling of stature and strength. Yes it’s just a strip of light (and a darn skinny one at that), but it’s something. It’s as if I’ve drawn a line on both sides of my bike that says: “Don’t cross these things or there will be trouble.”

But the true test is whether or not other road users can see them, and more importantly, will they adjust their behavior when they do?

Here are a few shots of them in the field:

laser_side

laser_above

My legs cut off several feet of the lasers toward the front of my bike. Also, as you can see, the lanes are only about 4-feet wide.
laser_far_rear

This image was taken about 30 feet behind my bike. Do you think someone in a car could see the lasers from this distance?

While riding up North Williams the other night, a friend who had ridden up behind me said, “Cool lights.” Then when I asked if he could see them from any distance behind me he said not, “Not really. I didn’t notice them until I was right behind you.” Then there was the TriMet bus operator. He noticed them while I waited next to his bus at a red light. He was very intrigued. “What do you think of these lights? Can you see them?” I asked as he rolled down his window to get a closer look. “Oh yeah,” he said, “I can see them.”

The one test I haven’t done yet is to get behind the wheel of a car to see if the lasers are still visible as I approach someone on a bike. My hunch is that even if they were visible, the person on the bike would already be visible too, so I’d already be driving more carefully.

In some ways I’ve felt like the lights are more useful to improve interactions with other bicycle riders. I ride slowly around town and too often get passed rudely by others. With these lasers, it’s like I’ve got a personal space buffer that will keep others as a safe distance.

Like the bike lanes they aspire to be, these laser lanes won’t save your life. But if you’re looking for extra visibility, cool factor, and a fun conversation starter, they’re worth buying.

The Sentinel 40 retails for $49.99. Get more info at NiteRider.com.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


The post Gimmick or godsend? My review of the NiteRider Sentinel with “Laser Lanes” appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Book review: Pedal Portland by Todd Roll

Book review: Pedal Portland by Todd Roll

Book: Pedal Portland: 25 Easy Rides for Exploring the City by Bike
Author: Todd Roll
Publisher: Timber Press, 2014
Price: $16.95

Reviewed by Nicholas Von Pless

Around this time of year, I’m inviting friends from afar to enjoy the summer we yearn for after a long slog of grey and rain. But with some dry spells and surprising summery days this winter, I was able to get a preview of the rides illustrated in Pedal Portland, the new book from Todd Roll. (If Roll’s name sounds familiar that’s because he also owns and runs Pedal Bike Tours (and he also happens to be the guy who commissioned the now infamous “America’s Bicycle Capital” mural.)

In Pedal Portland, Roll outlines 25 rides that cover the entire region. From familiar bikeways in the central city to regional gems in Gresham, Hillsboro, and Vancouver. Like the guided bike tours offered by Roll’s company, the skill level of the routes ranges from very easy to pretty easy, which is great for my out-of-town friends, and great for reinvigorating the fair-weather riders of our fine city.

Many of the rides roll down familiar paths already identified by the city as greenways, so safety is really no concern. Furthermore, you can hit many of the multi-use paths — some of which I was delighted to find, like Beaverton’s eight-mile Waterhouse Powerline Park and connecting Willow Creek Greenway, on a raised boardwalk along the banks of Willow Creek and its wetland.

Passing through some of the popular streets like Mississippi, Alberta, Dekum, and Hawthorne, I found other reasons to enjoy this guide and improvise them when I lead others. Because the book is careful not to mention specific businesses (that run the risk of closing before press time), I noted bike-friendly and local businesses to visit, like North Portland Bike Works, Woodlawn Café, Breakside Brewing, Stormbreaker Brewing, and Moberi — a bike-powered smoothie cart.

Along the Willow Creek Greenway in Beaverton.
(Photo by Nicholas Von Pless)

For families and beginners, Pedal Portland allows the rider to acclimate and explore with general ease and safety, as each chapter infuses neighborhood trivia, and provides a fun scavenger hunt that one can only solve at 10 miles per hour. The book also offers an entire chapter of how-tos and riding tips to help you pedal like a local. There’s even a brief history lesson that will give you a deeper understanding of how Portland’s bike network came to be.

For those unfamiliar with certain areas (as I was in Beaverton), the cue sheets can be exhaustive and I found myself checking the book against my phone’s GPS, and still was marooned in dead-end business parks. Mr. Roll acknowledged the difficulty, and was pursuing perforated cue sheets or a GPS-assisted smartphone app. Still, the presence of way-finding signs along many of the rides provides added confidence to the journey.

With Pedal Portland, Roll has created more than just a collection of routes. The illustrations, maps, healthy serving of historical insights, and high-quality production value make this something worth adding to your library. And the best part? This book will inspire even more people — both locals and visitors — to enjoy the simple pleasures of a bicycle ride.

— Learn more and purchase the book online at TimberPress.com. You’re also invited to a launch party tomorrow (Thursday, 5/15) at 5:30 pm at Pedal Bike Tours 133 SW 2nd Ave).

Review: LIT road commuter/training tires from Velo Products

Review: LIT road commuter/training tires from Velo Products

A visit to Velotech-10

Meet the LIT tires, offered by Portland-based Velo Products.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This review was written by Scott Kocher, a Portland-based trial lawyer whom I met while biking in Forest Park last year. He’s also an alternate member of the City of Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee and a dedicated transportation activist.

——

LIT 360 Ultra-Reflective Road Tire (Retail: $49.99)

It’s impressive that Portland-based Velo Products took the crowd-funding route to make their LIT Tires concept a reality. The tires themselves are equally impressive.

I pre-ordered a pair last April because the company is local, they partnered to support the BTA with their sales, and the tire design has Portlanders’ needs in mind. As the months ticked by, I got e-mail updates, mostly describing manufacturing snags. At one point they offered to refund our money because of the delays. I stuck it out, and my tires arrived last week. I’m glad I did.

The advertised stats are:

  • 700×28 Aramid-bead, Folding
  • Puncture Protection Layer
  • Long-Life Tread Compound
  • Ultra-Reflective 9mm Sidewall
  • Weight 250g

They are true to spec. They weigh within my scale’s margin of error of the claimed weight. If you care, they’re only about 25 grams heavier than a 25mm Continental Grand Prix 4000s clincher, a stellar tire found on many race bikes including mine. As for width, the LITs measure almost exactly the same as the generously-sized 25mm Continentals, and the same as a 28mm Schwalbe Marathon Supreme or a 28mm Panaracer RiBMo PT. They fit fine in a standard road bike rim brake caliper and should fit any frame except some extremely narrow TT or aero frames.

A visit to Velotech-9

(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The LITs mounted easily without tools on my Weinmann XC-260 rims (ETRTO 622×20). The beads seated in the rim evenly when inflated, and they spin without any lumps. The reflective stripe on the LITs is wide and even, putting the one on my pricey Schwalbe Marathon Supreme to shame. The stripe is especially nice with disc brakes, which don’t get the sidewalls dirty like rim brake pads do when wet.

So far, I’ve put the LIT Tires to the test on two hilly rain rides, on roads littered with storm debris. They performed extremely well. Most importantly, they have excellent grip on wet asphalt. To the touch, the compound feels grippy, not the waxy texture I’ve learned to avoid. The casing is supple but not thin, and the ride feels similar to other tires of similar width and weight. Compared to a 23mm tire, the extra volume certainly adds comfort and reliability. Given that the speed penalty—or possibly gain—of a wider tire is a topic of current debate, the 28mm LITs should be a popular choice. The tires appear well-made, so I’m optimistic about durability and flat-protection.

(Photo by Scott Kocher)

Targeted at the urban commuter market, the LIT Tires would also be an excellent choice for year-round touring or training. The highly reflective sidewalls are a nice feature any time or place. As with any retro-reflective material, they only help with visibility by reflecting light back to its source. That means they’re great to help a person driving a car see you when you are in the car’s headlights.

Bottom line, congratulations and thank you to the folks at Velo Products for getting a great product to market. I look forward to getting another pair of them down the road.

Publisher’s Note: I’ve also used these tires and I’ve learned more about them from company.

Velo Products is a new company owned by Portland-based Velotech. Velotech also owns the Western Bike Works retail store at NW 17th and Lovejoy and several e-commerce sites including WesternBikeWorks.com, BikeTiresDirect.com, and Cyclocross.com. The LIT tires were designed and developed by Velo Products employees and made in Europe. The tires are just the first product in what’s expected to be a full line of “reflective accessories and urban riding gear” to come, says a company spokesman.

I received a pair of the tires last week. I echo Scott’s enthusiasm for both the tires and the company; but I do want to share an important caveat.

I used the tires for a big ride last Sunday down to Salem where I took part in the 50-mile “Gravel Grinder” ride (a.k.a. the “Perry Roubaix”). On the 70-mile ride to the start of the loop ride, the tires were great. Since the first two hours of my ride were before sunrise, I loved having the big reflective sidewalls and the tires themselves felt fast and stable.

Once on the gravel ride, however, things changed dramatically. I flatted right as the gravel started (most of the route was gravel). I chalked it up to just bad luck, repaired the tire, and went on my way. Then I got another flat a few miles later. Then another one. Then another. By the end of the day, I had pulled over 6 times to repair a total of 11 punctures: five in the front and six in the rear. All of them were classic snake-bites caused by sharp rocks.

I didn’t flat once on the pavement during the all-day ride which totaled 182 miles once we rode home from Salem after the Gravel Grinder.

In hindsight, it seems I chose the wrong tires for the conditions. Velo Products says the tires are for “training and winter commuting.” Not only does Velo Products not recommend them for gravel riding, but the type of gravel we encountered down in Salem was particularly sharp and nasty on tires. I heard there were a lot of flats on Sunday.

I told Patrick Croasdaile at Velo Products about my experience. After asking a bunch of questions about my set-up, he conferred with his design team and sent over this statement:

“We do not recommend using the current iteration of the LIT for gravel riding. This tire was designed as a performance-oriented, road, training tire. We suspect that, based on the sheer number of pinch flats, the tires were not adequately inflated. Once we have a 700×32 in production, we’ll encourage you to give this a go again.”

Salem Gravel Grinder

In action during the Salem Gravel Grinder.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

You can learn more about LIT tires on their crowd-funding page and purchase them online at WesternBikeWorks.com. There’s also this fun video created by the Western Bike Works crew.

(And yes, as you can see below and in our sidebar, Velotech/Western Bike Works, is a BikePortland advertiser.)

Light review: Portland Design Works’ Aether Demon and Spaceship/RADBOT combo

Light review: Portland Design Works’ Aether Demon and Spaceship/RADBOT combo

Just part of PDW’s large family of lights.

— Note from the Publisher: Please join me in welcoming Nicholas Von Pless and Alana Harris to the BikePortland team. Regular readers know that this site does not review products very often. That’s something I’ve been wanting to change for a long time, and Nicholas and Alana are going to help finally make it happen. Stay tuned as we post more reviews and fine-tune the format to make these as readable and useful as possible. Email feedback to jonathan@bikeportland.org. Thanks for reading. — Jonathan

Portland Design Works (known as PDW around here) launched in 2008 and they’ve grown up a lot since then. The ownership duo of Erik Olson and Dan Powell have carved a comfortable niche in a very crowded accessory market by focusing on quality design, attention to detail, and creative twists on seemingly mundane products. Today we’ll take a closer look at three of their popular light models: the Spaceship 3 head light and the Aether Demon and RADBOT 500 tail lights.

Aether Demon tail light – reviewed by Alana Harris

Details:

  • Product website
  • USB rechargeable
  • Price: $49
  • 0.5 watt LED
  • Available at local bike shops

Need proof that good things come in small packages? PDW’s Aether Demon tail light will cast behind you an intense halo of protective light with its four powerful settings, so you can have a safe journey on the road. While it looks similar on the surface to other lights on the market, the Aether Demon has some nice touches that make it easy-to-use and easy on the environment.

When I first received the Aether Demon, I noticed its relative lightness compared with other lights I’ve used. This is due in part because the Aether Demon doesn’t require your typical set of triple or double “A” batteries, and instead can be plugged into your computer with a USB cord, included, to recharge its compact, lithium-ion battery. This feature got rid of two worries of mine that usually apply to bike lights: having to carry around spare, disposable batteries, and having to then worry about recycling the countless used batteries that typically pile up in my junk drawer. (Eliminating this weight also makes this light a more viable option for use on your helmet, if that’s what you’re looking for.)

(Photo: PDW)

The feature I find most rewarding, however, is the fact that the Aether Demon will remember which mode you were last using when you turn it on so that you’ll no longer have to cycle through all the light settings to get to the one you were just using. Similarly, you won’t have to repeat this process in turning it off; the Aether Demon shuts down just like your phone, by holding its power button for a couple seconds. You can choose from a standard, solid red light stance, to an erratic flashing that demands the attention of other travelers on your road. Pick the less intense blinking setting to save battery life, or go with the “Group Ride” option that won’t blind or distract your fellow cyclists, while still alerting others around you to your position.

This LED light charges in under 3 hours, and in its most powerful setting lasted me around 7-8 hours before signaling the need for a recharge; a blinking, blue light turns solid when the battery has again reached full capacity after being plugged in. Using this 0.5 watt light as I pedaled home on some busy streets that make up part of my daily commute truly eased my mind as cars whizzed by on a typical rainy and dark winter evening. The Aether Demon definitely works to ward off on-coming traffic, which is a priceless virtue that a great, local company has made available for the very reasonable price of $49.

Spaceship 3/RADBOT 500 Combo – reviewed by Nicholas Von Pless

Details:

  • Product website
  • Price: $49 for the combo
  • Batteries included
  • Available at local bike shops

After I picked up these lights I was excited to get to work on a review; but after installing them I went on a ride and thought, now what? What do I write about a tail light that I can’t even see? Are the lights automatically good if I avoid collisions?

Fortunately, our winter weather has been a great testing ground. I have ridden this light in thick fog, snow, and of course it’s been dark and grey most of the time.

Upon first unleashing the RADBOT 500 (tail light) from its minimal packaging (definitely a plus), I was pleased to find that it easily slid onto my existing generic mount. However, I struggled with the flexible mount for the Spaceship 3 front light. I should have taken a cue from the lack of packaging to check PDW’s website, which has PDF instructions to go with every light. Nonetheless, the flexible mount resulted in being one notch too short or too long. Despite the fit not being perfect, I’ve found that I like how the mount retains flexibility for different needs – downward for low visibility, and outward to alert drivers.

(Photo: PDW)

The Spaceship 3 has provided an experience that has been nearly out of this world (ha ha). I’ve historically gone with a cheapo light that costs $8 with an $8 battery, but even compared to high-powered lights used by friends, Spaceship 3 outshined anything else I’ve seen so far. In steady mode, the ‘ship’s beam lit up every street sign, and I could read every street name without slowing down and squinting. Pointing at the ground, the trio of powerful LEDs clearly marked my course. This was extremely helpful when finding a smooth path in the snow, biking at night along the Springwater or near PIR, or making my space known when joining a Midnight Mystery Ride.

The RADBOT 500 comes with 2 lighting patterns that are brilliant and unique, so I felt confident and safe while riding. The RADBOT also comes with a “Euro reflector” for added safety. The power button, which you hold for a second, remembers your last setting.

As a combo, these lights both offer sleek and sturdy design, especially with RADBOT 500 boasting see-through packaging. And maybe this is silly, but a huge perk of both lights are the buttons! I mean, they feel like real buttons on real electronics. It’s not rubbery feeling, it doesn’t feel like a toy, and I’m not afraid of accidentally turning them on and running out the battery. At $49 for the both, this combo makes a lot of sense.