Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bicygnals BIC241 - front and rear bicycle lights with wireless turn signals / indicators

I snagged one of these off eBay out of NZ. The good: The lights work great! All 8 batteries were included, hex wrench included, very nice appearance and packaging, and terrific customer support! The bad: the mounting is insufficient - not robust, and with 8 batteries, it's heavy.

Bicygnals BIC241 demo

The wireless setup is awesome! The lights work great too - quite visible, and the whole light pod is sturdy and nicely packaged. The signal triggers were good, but could be a little better via easier triggering and more affirmative feedback that they've been triggered. Obvious affordable methods for the trigger improvements are not obvious to me, so I give a nod for a good design, but mention this for the record, as it could be improved.

The mounts that I got with the unit were crap and didn't keep the lights on the bike for more than two blocks from my house on moderate roads (no big potholes, but not silky either). Both the front and back units easily survived full asphalt impacts with minimal scrapes after falling off the mounts, so kudos to a robust pod product! I e-mailed the company in Europe, who replied quickly to say they had some initial quality issues with the mounts, and they promptly sent me new improved mounts (internationally for free!) that hold the lights securely, but the mounting is still not what I would consider robust.

The front mount always vibrates vigorously, even when I manage to find a smooth road. The rear mount is much more stable (less weight to support), but its cool break-away feature does not hold up to rough roads and it would pivot off its rear-ward line after such conditions. I expect that the rear mount's plastic friction break-away nub would quickly wear with daily riding, making this issue worse. The unit basically makes you use its head and tail lights, since the mounting takes up most bikes' handlebar and seatpost real estate. I would like to be able to use more powerful head and tail lights for my winter commuting, for example. For the first in the industry with wireless, weight comes with the batteries required with the first attempt - something to expect and deal with, but it is noticeable and not optimal. I'm sure there are some applications where the mounting can be customized to work and/or it will work well as it is.

For regular commuting, this is very cool product with excellent customer support, but the mounting issues kill it for me. I hope to see improved attempts at this concept, and, regardless, wish Bicygnals the best of luck with their business.

Bike setup: cyclocross bike using full pressure touring tires