Brightside Bike Lights
by Chris Galley
by Chris Galley
It’s winter, dark nights, fog and low light conditions, which means that you need to reach for those lights you’ve had for years. You open the drawer and find that the batteries have leaked in your precious but ancient lights and they are now useless. Time for an upgrade; but with so many lights to choose from, where do you start.
For the last few weeks I’ve been testing U.K. based Brightside Lights. Living within North Yorkshire, lights are definitely useful, with narrow roads and twisting lanes and poor weather at this time of the year. I’ve had many sets of lights over the years and overall I’m very impressed with various aspects of these little lights, which in my opinion punch well above their weight; that weight being around the same as 7 pound coins (insert Euro or Dollar depending where you are…). Let me first put a little context in here; these are very much commuter lights for urban streets. As I mentioned earlier, riding along Yorkshire lanes in the dark is not for the faint hearted, even if you strapped a car headlamp to your head! I really wouldn’t use these for hurtling through some of our dark woodland trails or the aforementioned country lanes either, as you might regret it.
However, in terms of what they are, a commuting light, then they’re more than ideal. These lights put out under 100 lumens in general, but they project it just far enough for you to see clearly and for especially for others to see you. All of the Brightside lights are made of a very robust and weatherproof material, and they charge up by USB either from a wall socket, a mobile power unit or a computer USB port. They have long run times depending on how you use them and you’ll easily get a long ride out of them on lower power settings. All in all, as a night ride around town and lit roads, they take some beating.
I have 3 different lights from Brightside to cover in the review here, so let’s take them one at a time:
1. Topside Helmet Lights. This light fits nicely onto your helmet using the provided rubber mount. The minimal weight makes it almost unnoticeable. However, I do have a slight reservation about the thickness of the rubber band, as it can press into your scalp depending on the type of helmet you have. A plastic tie might be better option for fastening. In use, this light has a crisp, bright rear red LED and front fisheye lens with a crisp white LED within the unit. As this sits on top of your helmet, it’s levelled at around motorist eye level, which from your perspective is spot on. Motorists will also thank you too, because it’s not a blinding light that distracts drivers like other lights can be. I particularly like the red light, which provides much some needed reassurance that others can see you as they approach you from the rear too. As with all of these Brightside lights, there are a number of settings: from continuous flashing to a steady light at both ends.
2. The Brightside side-lights. Amber LED’s facing to your left and right with various settings of steady or flashing lights. From a road safety perspective these are a must. Most road and cycle collisions are a result of impact from your side and these lights provide a great level of reassurance that you can be clearly seen on roundabouts and junctions. This unit can be fitted to the front or rear but either way they are one of few lighting options to provide this amber light reassurance. If you want to add that extra level of illuminated security, then this is the commuter option for you.
3. Brightside front light. No tools are required to fit any of these lights and this one fits neatly onto your handlebar using the universal rubber mount. There’s only one front LED in this device and again it features the fish eye glass. There are a number of lighting options including: full power, low power and flashing options. Having tested this extensively, I particularly like the flashing and steady light options together, which provides light to the tarmac and a flash for motorists.
The final aspect which I really like and I’m sure you will to is they don’t cost the earth. Having a light when cycling isn’t just a dark nights issue, as they are a superb safety accessory in poor weather, especially during winter, as we’ve found her in Yorkshire. Being lit up during the day gives motorists a further chance to see you, especially on winding lanes. If you want something light, robust and easy to use for your overcast and damp days riding, or to use for those low light urban rides, then these Brightside lights are just the ticket.