Light Up for Shorter Fall Days

Fall means less day­light, so send out some lu­mens to see and be seen

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Matthew Pioro

Send out some lu­mens to see and be seen

When paired with the right Garmin head unit, the com­pany’s Varia UT800 smart head­light A ($ 200, garmin.com) is eerily ac­cu­rate when it ad­justs its beam ac­cord­ing to your speed, and the light con­di­tions and type of ride. Sure, it’s not tech­ni­cally that eerie as it is sen­sors and al­go­rithms work­ing to choose be­tween high (800 lu­mens), medium (400 lu­mens), low (200 lu­mens), night flash (100 to 300 lu­mens) and day flash (more than 700 lu­mens), but it can still feel as if you have a light from the fu­ture. At the back, Garmin has a de­vice that is even more high-tech. The Varia RTL510 B ($ 400 for tail light and radar dis­play unit bun­dle) not only sends a red light rear­ward, but also radar waves. Your com­pat­i­ble head unit or radar unit re­ceives these waves, and then tells you if the coast is clear (green light), if a ve­hi­cle (or mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cles) is ap­proach­ing (yel­low light) or if some­thing is com­ing up quickly (red light), so pro­ceed with cau­tion.

The Fab­ric Lu­masense front C and rear lights D ($ 40, front; $47, rear; fab­ric. cc) are a stylish pair. Their good looks also come with some sharp func­tions. The rear light has an ac­celerom­e­ter, so when you hit the brakes, the chip-on­board leds glow more brightly – a brake light for your bike. The front light, like the rear, pro­duces 30 lu­mens and is easy to at­tach to your frame.

The com­pact Light and Mo­tion Imjin 800 E ($ 239, mec.ca) can strap to your bars or hel­met for il­lu­mi­nat­ing the trail ahead of you. It’s a ver­sa­tile and pow­er­ful light with four modes (800, 400 and 200 lu­mens, the lat­ter comes as a steady beam or pulse). If the Imjin gets wet, it will be fine as it’s built to with­stand get­ting sub­merged un­der 1 m of wa­ter. If your ride takes this light that deep un­der­wa­ter, well, that’s pretty ex­treme. The Vis 180 F ($ 100) can also take a dunk­ing. This rear light sends 70 lu­mens of red light out the back and flashes amber light to the sides to in­crease your vis­i­bil­ity. With an ex­tra at­tach­ment, you can set this light up on an aero seat­post or a rear rack.

The Kryp­tonite Al­ley F-800 G ($ 110,

kryp­tonite­lock.com) is now the bright­est light in com­pany’s lineup. But brand man­ager Daryl Slater says that set­ting this light to its bright­est mode isn’t al­ways the right way to take ad­van­tage of the high-pow­ered Al­ley. “Don’t use 800 lu­mens rid­ing around a ma­jor city, if you don’t need to,” he says. In­stead, he ad­vises that you think about how to max­i­mize bat­tery life. For ex­am­ple, 800 lu­mens will run the bat­tery down in 1.5 hours. You have 24 hours of life with eco mode. A good bal­ance seems to be the 400-lu­mens set­ting, which can burn for four hours. On your seat­post, the Av­enue R-75 H ($ 62) fea­tures chip-on-board (cob) leds, which of­fer a higher lu­men-per-watt ra­tio than other types of leds. The front and rear lights also come as a set ($ 145).

The Gi­ant Nu­men+ Tag head­light I and tail light J ($ 55/light, gi­ant-bi­cy­cles. com) can at­tach eas­ily to your bike via elas­tic straps. You can also se­cure them with their mag­netic clip mounts, which work quite well with the rear light and your jersey pock­ets. Each Nu­men+ Tag puts out a max­i­mum of 40 lu­mens.

The mec Daz­zle K ($ 8, mec.ca) is a clas­sic tail light that gets the job done: keeps you vis­i­ble out on the road. On your com­mutes, the five leds blink or hold steady, cast­ing their light roughly 750 m be­hind you. The mec Qu­at­tro L ($ 24) is slightly more “new school” than the Daz­zle with its usb ca­ble for top­ping up the bat­tery. (The Daz­zle comes with two aaa bat­ter­ies.) Still, the Qu­at­tro and its 90 lu­mens that run for five hours on flash mode and four on steady are the per­fect com­ple­ment for the old school tail light.

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