Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Velo/Trike Brake lights

I have very bright lights on all my recumbents from Dinotte or Design Shine lighting.  But No brake light.
Ever since I received my older Sinner Mango Velomobile and then saw on the internet that the new Velos’ had a working brake light, I have wanted one.  Being in a 7 foot long, bright yellow torpedo on the highway isn’t to bad for visibility. But riding in traffic or in a group, having a source of my slowing down/or stopping intent, is better for everyone! Adding a brake light to my Velo would be too costly, time consuming and a bit out of my skill set.   Recently I came across 2 new add ons that work as braking indicators for any bike, The Lucid Brake and Q-Lite Multi. I ordered the Lucid brake before I knew about the Q-Lite Multi, so lets look first at Lucid Brake.
Lucid Brake.
        Lucid Brake naked
This light first came to my attention as a Kickstarter program.  Very bright and easy to use. It seems to be the first of its kind to use an accelerometer chip to detect the slowing motion. It uses a button type Velcro strip to attach to your bike , helmet etc..
You can check out their website video here to see how it works.
YouTube Video:
Short You tube of the Lucid Brake video working on my Velo:
I have attached it to my Mango Velo mobile and it seems to work well within its limitations. When you decelerate to a stop the light comes on.  After using it for a few days I realised that it did not recognise a gradual slowing down, as one would see on approaching a stop. just the final, quick deceleration.  Great for letting people behind you know that you’ve come to a stop but not the slowing down. I was content with at least that much indication over none. 
Powered by 2 – AA batteries -Rear light Costs between $60-80 US.  Available on Line
Q-Lite Multi
q lite multi  q lite multi brake switch
Terra Trike has brought in a line of Lights for their trike shops dealers to offer their clients. One of which is a rear combo brake /signal indicator. It comes in two parts that talk wirelessly to each other.The rear light itself and a control pod. The control pod has one lead on a wire that goes to a silicone encased switch that mounts on your brake lever. Then as you pull on the lever, your fingers press on the switch, the light comes on and stays on as you continue pulling on the lever. This indicates intent and that you are/have stopped.   
On the Pod its self are the left and right signal;  a flasher button and a button to have the light on continuously.  The main rear light can be used with the pod or it can be used as general rear light if the pod dies or gets lost.  Having signal lights when riding in a group or traffic is great. Once you hit a signal button it shuts itself off in 30 seconds. You would still be wise to use hand signals as people are not used to a bike with indicator light.  The best feature is the BRAKE light! As you show your intent to slow down and/or stop it gives the people behind you warning! YEA! Now that is more like it.  The Pod is a bit larger than what I'd like, but its okay. It comes with a couple of stretchy Velcro loops so you can mount it near you hand. I will probably use a couple of zip ties later once I finalize the placement and to make it seek a firmer, more permanent. 
YouTube Video:
Here is a brief video of the Multi  on My ICE Adventure Trike:
It’s powered by 2 – AA batteries -Rear light / 3032 Battery- Pod   Cost $90 usd  Available from Terra Trike or their Dealers
Lucid Brake: Easy to use and mount but I wish it was a bit more sensitive to also showing a gradual deceleration
Q – Lite Multi : Works great, the pod is a bit bulky
If you want some type of basic light, the technology with the Lucid brake is great. Put it on and it does its thing.
If you want more of a typical full function indicator,  then the Q-lite Multi is a great current option.

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