I needed some lights for my now beltless Trek Soho DLX, so I turned to a review by Take The Lane’s Bill Bean where he was bragging about some batteryless lights he picked up at a bike conference.
I decided to take his advice and ordered a set of Reelight’s SL600s.
The lights are based on the electrodynamic induction principle, and work when two spoke mounted magnets pass some cooper wire. The light flashes every time the magnet passes, so two flashes per rotation. The SL600 has a built-in capacitor so the lights stay flashing for a while when you’re stopped. I have noticed that the capacitor doesn’t work very well in the cold. If someone knows why a capacitor is affected by the cold, please leave a comment as I’m curious to know why.
My previous bikes all shared low powered removable LED lights. These were great to begin with, but when you start using your bike daily for commuting the less time you spend fiddling to start your trip the better. Since Reelights are fixed to your bike you don’t have to remove them when you lock up and you don’t forget them.
I have one complaint with my rear light. I bought the model that mounts to my rear rack and it’s quite exposed and get’s knocked a fair bit going in and out of bike racks and my storage shed. The plastic is quite brittle and most of the decorative trim has been knocked off and the reflector is cracked. If I was buying again I’d get the seat post light. Also another weakness is how I wrapped the electrical cord around the rack supports. Again when putting the bike into my shed and bike racks the wire get’s dinged and one of these times it’ll snap. When it happens it should be an easy fix. The good part, is that with all the abuse, the lights still work!
These lights don’t light up your path, but the low powered LED lights ensure you are well lit up and visible. And you can kiss batteries good bye!