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2016

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Double-O Bike Light Review


I backed the Double-O bike light Kickstarter project and use them for a while now. This is my verdict:
TL:TR Highly functional light with clever features, some teething problems
If you like to ride through the unlit woods at night, Double-O isn't for you, but that would.
It is a commuter light with a rather clever design.
DoubleO front and back open

The Good

  • It is huge. With the LED arranged in a circle you get a big patch of light, a much bigger surface than the bike lights you commonly find in the market. That alone improves visibility quite a bit.
  • Two of the 3 light modes are what you would expect: blinking and steady. The third one I haven't seen elsewhere: the odd and even numbered LED blink alternate. This is quite clever. Someone looking at it (that's: the other traffic participants) sees something moving, creating similar attention as blinking, but for the rider it is a steady light since the same number of LED is on at any given time. That's especially useful for the front light lighting the path (to some extend) in front of you.
  • The case is sturdy and the threaded cover that you use to screw it open and close (to change batteries) reliably keeps moisture out (trust me, my environment has plenty of that
  • The rubber band mechanism and the rubberised back making fixing the light at a handlebar or a seat stem very fast and reliable. My package even included a set of spare rubbers
  • Locking the lights with your bike lock works as advertised (but someone could steal the batteries if they get what it hanging there)
  • The low power LED lights make the batteries last quite long

The Bad

The original specifications proposed to use USB chargable fixed batteries and a magnetic fix for the light. The rechargable option was abandoned in favour of longer lasting standard batteries (and rechargeable battery in the Kickstarter delivery). While I generally understand the design decision for a general market offering, I would have found USB charging suiting my personal style (I'm used to have a zoo to be charged after my rides: The Garmin, the Bluetooth entertainment, the phone and the helmet).
The rubber band to fix the light at the bike works and it more efficient to produce, but the magnet solution has a way bigger cool factor. Also: When there's no pipe (read saddle stem) available or you want to fix it at your pannier rack, the rubber isn't the best fit. Eventually Double-O might release the fixtures design files, so I can print one for my purpose.

The Ugly

The battery holding mechanism (see the picture above) is flimsy. For a hipster ride that might be sufficient, but in a little rugged environment where I ride (kerbstone jumps, potholes, very uneven surface, the occasional trail) the vibrations make the batteries move, in my case even to the extend of bending the electrical contract latches. The batteries loose contact and the light goes off (or won't switch on).
I haven't found a solution, but I'm contemplating using a rubber ring around battery and latch or hold the pieces in place using a little dense sponge rubber.

Posted by on 2015-01-10 09:27 | Comments (2) | categories: After hours Cycling

Bikepad SmartPhone mount review


This is my field impression of the Bikepad SmartPhone mount having used it for a few weeks on my Montague Paratrooper pro

TL:TRThe Bikepad is a highly functional accessory to keep your phone on your bike fully functional. Is has quality craftsmanship and a sleek design. If I had an editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award to give (I actually paid for it), I would award it.

I do cycle for longer durations and some rough spots, so I like to keep a phone in reach. Not at last to keep SWMBO updated. When I learned about Bikepad and their claim " Basically the Bikepad creates a vacuum between its surface and the device. The vacuum is strong enough to hold the device" I had to give it a try. Here's the verdict:
  • The Good
    Works as designed. The surface indeed creates a gecko feet like suction that firmly holds the phone in place. You actually need some force to pull it our. The aluminium base is sleek and solidly build. I like the minimal design: everything is there for it to function and nothing more, form follows function at its best. The half pipe shaped aluminium connector can be easily fixed on a stem (I didn't try handlebar mount) and secured with a Velcro. It comes with a foam pipe segment to adjust to different pipe diameters.
    I tried to shake the phone off in off-road or city conditions, including falling off the bike and hitting the ground (that part unplanned), but it stayed nice in place.
  • The Bad
    Works as designed. For the vacuum to build a close contact between phone and surface is needed. For your iShiny® (that was my main test unit) or a Nexus 4 (the other phone) that isn't a problem. For anything that doesn't have a flat surface or buttons on the back, you need to test it. Also the various phone cases need to be checked carefully. I tested a Otterbox case, which has a ridge running around the back. This prevents the case body from contact with the pad. Only the ridge has contact, which provides not enough suction
  • and The Ugly
    When it rains it pours. If the pad gets wet, it gets slippery and looses its suction. When the phone already sticks on it and it is rained on, it gradually will loose the grip. Luckily the pad comes with a little shower cap rain cover. With the cover it looks a little funny, not as cool anymore - but it does the job. Anyway you wouldn't want to expose your iShiny® to the bare elements. Another little challenge: my stem is quite thick, so the provided foam pipe is too think to squeeze between stem and half pipe. I was left with a little cutting exercise or alternative means. I opted for Sugru that holds everything in place
To see more, check out some of their videos. In summary: a keeper.

Posted by on 2014-09-01 11:19 | Comments (0) | categories: Cycling

2015