Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tail Lights

A comparison of two tail lights.

The first is the an SX-6000 Extreme Mini-Pro by DuraVisionPro. It's pretty much this light. Retail price on their site: $19.99. Retail price at my LBS: $10.99.

The second is a Planet Bike Blinky Superflash. Retail price on their site: $29.99. Retail price at my LBS: $23.99.

Basically, this is a comparison between your basic bike shop LED tail light and one of the most popular tail lights sold. Is the Planet Bike Superflash really worth $10 more than the LBS competitor? I think so.

The first discriminator for me is the battery used. The Superflash uses two AAA batteries. So when the batteries need to be replaced, you can get batteries anywhere, and cheap. The SX-6000 uses two CR2032 watch batteries. They don't seem to last as long as they should, you have to make a special trip for them, and they are more expensive than the AAAs.

How do they work? Well, the Superflash is better again. In constant-beam mode, you can see how much brighter the Superflash is on the right.

The Superflash is even better in flash mode. This little video demonstrates the difference. You can see the Superflash, again on the right, blinks the two smaller LEDs at a fairly rapid rate, then periodically the big LED lights up.... POW! If you want cars to see you, this light is the one.

On the downside, there really isn't a less-powerful setting. In constant-beam mode, the Superflash only lights up that superbright LED. Out in traffic, this is clearly an advantage. If you're riding in a group with other cyclists, or riding on a trail, it may be too much. For those applications, the SX-6000 is actually a better tool for the job.

But if your primary goal is to be seen, the Superflash wins.


Chandra said...

I like the Planet Bike Super Flash. But my favorite is the Dinotte tail light. It is the brightest light I have seen so far!

The prices at your LBS seem much lower than MSRP, which is the selling price of many bike shops, if not more.

May I ask kindly inquire which LBS you are referring to?

Peace :)

Doohickie said...

City Cyclist on McCart south of Westcreek in Fort Worth.

Steve A said...

I like the PB light a lot, and use one on Frankenbike, but it isn't what I use to commute with. I've had rear lights go out without noticing for a while.

Doohickie said...

Yes, I generally carry a spare, and right now the SX-6000 fills that role.

RANTWICK said...

I still prefer multiple small blinkies, one on helmet, one or two on rear of bike in two distinct spots if possible. I like it that way because when one light fails for any reason, you're still good.

Good comparison there, Doohickie. I am always a little at a disadvantage, because many of the products that are available to me here in Canada are different, re-branded, etc.

Big Oak said...

I have a PB Superblinky also and love it. I've used it since last fall without replacing the batteries. I don't know when they will expire.

Johnny said...

I run two Superflashes: one steady and one blinking. I've had people tell me they're "crazy", but they saw me:)

Beany said...

Thanks for the review. I liked to read about the two tail lights although I do own a Planet Bike myself.

Dottie said...

Great helpful post. I love the Super Flash, even though I keep losing them and the money adds up :)

Rollz said...

Nice post. That planet bike light is great. I am like Rantwick I can't find one in Canada at any LBS. I will be visiting the U.S. soon to pick up to bikes and I may get a light too.

Rollz said...

That is two bikes...doh!

gonzo777 said...

I have a Blackburn Mars 3.0. I went on a nite ride with someone who had one and after having his (in "chase mode") catch my eye all evening I knew I had to get one. Retails ~$17 at my LBS in Indy.