Hard to Miss: Bike Lights Like You've Never Seen Before

As seen on Shark Tank on ABC, this was one of the first reviews of Revolights bike lights:

Urban bike lights are designed to get cyclists noticed at night. If a lighting system more “noticeable” than Revolights exists, I haven’t seen it. And judging by the overwhelming response I’ve received while riding with the wheel-mounted lights for the past two weeks, neither has anyone else.

Literally, within 15 seconds of leaving my house with the Revos for the first time, a passing cyclist hit the brakes to ask about the “badass wheel lights.”

revolights bike lights.jpg

The author taking Revolights for a spin; photo by T.C. Worley

Since then I’ve put in about 100 miles of night riding with the spinning LEDs slicing through the darkness and lighting my way. Reactions have ranged from pedestrian comments and inquiries like the aforementioned to a city bus matching my pace for several blocks so that passengers could take pictures of the lights with their smartphones. No, seriously. Without the lights, my bike’s not flashy enough to draw attention, and I’m not nearly good looking enough for it to have been for any other reason.

After two years of design and testing, Revolights are now on sale in the U.S. and Canada for $250 (sales will expand overseas in 2013).

Revo Pic1.1.jpg

Can you see me now? Good.

While $250 is steep for commuting lights, the Revos are something new and totally different. You can’t be missed riding at night with these blazers mounted on spinning wheels. Safety is their No. 1 theme, though the bling and pure coolness factor definitely isn’t lost on anyone either.

The concept for the design was born out of a practical dilemma. Fresh out of a mechanical engineering master’s program at Stanford, Kent Frankovich was frustrated by the helmet-mounted light that he had been commuting with at night.

“I thought it was silly that you would try to light the ground with something on your head,” said Frankovich. “The wheel was the closest thing to the ground. I just had to figure out how to make it work as a light source.”

Frankovich prototyped a wheel light shortly afterwards before joining entrepreneurial forces with business student Adam Pettler in October of 2010.

Revo pic2.1.jpg

Side by side: Revolights’ ground–up system sets it apart

The San Francisco-based duo designed and produced several iterations of the lighting system before turning to the power of online crowdfunding to kickstart the operation last fall. The initial funding goal on Kickstarter of $43,500 was exceeded within a week, and after six weeks nearly 1,500 backers raised more than $215,000 for the bike light “REVOlution.”

continued on next page. . .

Posted by traci - 11/06/2012 11:11 AM

Let me know when they come out with 650s

Posted by Carl W - 11/06/2012 12:17 PM

They’re really cool!
just a thought, if they run on accelerometers, would they end up pointing upwards when going downhill/pulling a wheelie or downwards when going uphill?
Fantastic stuff though, i’d love a set!

Posted by Foxshadow - 11/06/2012 01:43 PM

Bling with a purpose, very sweet.

Posted by Pat–GJ - 11/06/2012 02:41 PM

Hey Carl,

I just talked to Adam, the co-founder of Revolights, and here’s what he said in regard to your question:

“The accelerometer only controls the lights at low speeds (<3-4mph). So once moving quick, they run off the magnet by calculating the wheel’s period of rotation (using an electronic component known as a hall effect sensor).

So to answer the question:

a) when going up a steep hill very slowly, they will point forward into the road, or “parallel” to what would be flat ground.

b) when rippin’ a wheelie, as long as your tires are spinning, the arcs should remain pointing “bicycle forward”.

Posted by T.C. Worley - 11/06/2012 03:31 PM

Well when they come up with one that I can wheelie at will with, call me.
All joking aside, the price is not bad at all for the “don’t get run over” factor.

Posted by jaja - 11/06/2012 04:07 PM

sick! want some

Posted by KC - 11/06/2012 04:39 PM

The colors remind me of Tron.

Posted by Jill Fassler - 11/07/2012 05:35 AM

What is the price on a set of these lights?

Posted by Sean McCoy - 11/07/2012 10:08 PM

Those look awesome. Nice review.

Posted by Jean Baron - 11/09/2012 08:57 AM

Very cool – I want to get these for my husband who night rides. Great article too!

Posted by Carl - 11/12/2012 08:56 AM

Many thanks for your response. i find them genuinely interesting and would be a fantastic addition to a bike.
would look great on a mountain bike for longer exposure photography at the trails too!

Posted by Gearmunk - 11/12/2012 11:46 AM

What an excellent idea. It looked like, from the video, that the red rear lite blinks when you decel, which is a brilliant design.

Posted by testpilot - 01/09/2013 03:09 PM

just one nitpick:
you weren’t hit by a car “ironically”, you were hit “incidentally”
(and I’m sorry that you were hit, of course)

Posted by Bruce Schneider - 01/12/2013 03:15 PM

Pay really close attention to the measurements and the bikes that WON’T accept their product on their page. My girlfriend made the mistake of purchasing these for me as a Christmas gift only to find out afterwards that they won’t fit. I consulted with Kent via email and he attempted everything possible to get me riding, but to no avail. The lights are awesome to say the least and I’ve waited just like everyone else who had seen the video. I guess I’ll just have to wait a little bit longer until this company and it’s braintrust comes up with something that will fit my bike and others like. Nice guys with a very nice product nonetheless.

Posted by shyam dhruv - 01/29/2013 11:20 PM

i was recently in San Francisco and i saw a set of these roll down fisherman’s wharf, i did a double take after seeing them in person, they looked really good! i wish i would have caught up with the rider but he was gone!

Posted by sosa - 11/26/2013 04:47 PM

these lights do look really awesome! Buuuuut I opted out of buying them. they are very bulky, and you have to screw them directly into your rim, if I wasn’t mistaken, at the show I saw these at.. In other words you have to ruin a pair of rims to mount them. Not only that, once installed the way you have to wire them and the battery pack etc; makes your wheels spin lop-sided! NO BUENO. In other words they are great for show, and they are bright as all heck. you will look realy cool with these on. it will turn heads. but funcionality wise it is a bad idea. imho. cheers!

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