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This might seem harsh but chic styling aside, the Spook ight seems little more than a gimmick for the ipod age rather than a serious commuting must-have, hindered further by our test sample’s problematic build quality. Despite this, with redesign there’s some potential for heavily laden bikes lugging trailers/tag-alongs and similar couplings.
The Spooklight isn’t an LED safety lamp in the commonly accepted sense; rather, it’s an accelerometer (brake light) and indicator set operated by a user-friendly wireless switchgear mounted to the handlebars. The clever part is the brake light operates automatically, sensing when the bike is slowing – obviously, touching the brakes brings it alive too. The operational range is pretty good even with the “lamp” fixed to a trailer, although at that distance, the sensors have to work harder, thus shortening the control panel battery’s already modest 10 hour runtime. The mounting brackets feel comparatively low rent, if serviceable.
Indication is simple; press the relevant arrow and the amber light will blink your intentions to other traffic. While undeniably compact, the turn signals are too closely spaced for others to interpret and hand signals remain the most effective means of communicating your chosen direction.
Given a full charge via mains or computer USB port, the retina burning LEDs will do their stuff for a claimed 60 hours, although ours was cut short in it’s prime, giving up the ghost (sorry) after only 15. It’s also possible to charge an ipod, mobile phone and similar gizmos on the fly.
Those whose handlebars resemble the bridge of the USS Enterprise will be pleased to note the Spooklight doesn’t interfere with wireless computers, heart rate monitors and other accessories so long as a few centimetres gap is observed. However, prolonged exposure to steady downpours saw our test unit stop functioning despite gentle cajoling suggesting suspect weather seals, possibly around the li-poly battery.
Unfortunately, this is more an expensive gimmick than a useful safety aid
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Make and model: Spooklight Rear LED light and wireless indicator
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Spooklight is an accelerometer (brake light) and integral indicator system which can also charge ipods, mobile phones and similar must-haves on the fly.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Touch sensitive, wireless control pad, USB or mains charged li-poly battery delivering up to 60hrs to the lamp and 10 to the bar mount.
Seems we may have a rogue model failing after 15 hours but this would ordinarily be honoured under warranty
Promises a lot but, in keeping with other turn signals, doesn't deliver as the signals are so close together as not to be legible to other traffic.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Spooklight is great fun, pleasing to look at as a novelty but this soon wears off. Traffic isn't used to seeing indicators and/or brake lights on bicycles and hand signals are the most effective way of communicating intentions. Ours seems to have been a rogue model, quickly expiring after only 15 hours use, although I have every confidence this would be rectified very quickly if you bought one.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A gimmick rather than serious commuting/safety aid.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, until the novelty wore off
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)