$99 'Rear Red Blinky' Bike Light

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

The car headlights were surging up from behind. I was on my bike, and it was 10pm in the city. I glanced down and back toward my rear wheel, the pulse of my seatpost-mounted light a reassuring red glow on the road.

Bike taillights are requisite items for anyone who rides in traffic after dark. Most often, this means blinky LEDs that cost $10 to $20 at a bike shop. A new entry, the Light & Motion Vis 180 costs ten times what a cheapie blinker might cost (at $99), though its upgrades make it worth the change for committed riders of the night.

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Two views: Light & Motion Vis 180

To the point, this bike light makes you more visible to cars. Its quoted 35 lumens of brightness is almost comparable to a taillight on an automobile. Bonus: A pair of blinking amber-color lights on the sides of the Vis 180 give the light its namesake 180 degrees of glow.

It has built-in batteries that recharge via a cell phone micro USB cord. You can plug it into your computer for a charge. The company cites a run time of 4 hours on high and up to 8 hours of red light on pulse mode.

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Laptop-chargeable bike light

The Vis takes about 4 hours to recharge in full when plugged in. A battery charge indicator light on the base of the unit lets you know power status, an appreciated extra touch.

To fit on a bike, the light cinches onto a seatpost with a rubber strap. It has a tilt function to let you position it best on back of the bike. A push-to-remove feature allows you to take the light off without removing the mounting strap.

This spring, on late-evening commutes and into the night, I have clipped the Vis 180 on my road bike and immediately felt safer. Its $99 price tag is a stinger, no doubt. But if you can afford the price, this light will likely keep you safe for the long haul.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

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