By Beth Carter
Posting in Cities
Designers with Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries developed a theft-resistant bike light to make urban cycling safer.
With many more urban cyclists hitting the streets, most cities are constantly playing catch-up to make their roads a safer place for both riders and drivers. However, even when a city has a good handle on how to make bikers and cars play nice, accidents are almost inevitable.
Painted bike lanes, neon jackets, lights and flashers all help to prevent run-ins on the road, but there's much we can't control: like theft. Bicycle and accessory theft has plagued the cycling world since its inception-- it's just an accepted reality of urban cycling. Now, a bike light has been designed with both the problems of safety and theft as its inspiration.
After a friend was hit while riding his bike in the dark because his light had been stolen, Brad Geswein and Slava Menn wanted to develop a light that fended off thieves. As it turns out, their friend wasn't the only one with this problem: one in three urban cyclists have had their lights stolen, and eighty per cent of riders frequently forget their lights at home.
In their quest to make city biking safer, the pair developed The Defender. The light locks sturdily to your handlebars making it extremely difficult to remove. Plus, it looks like a gun.
The light was designed by Ori Levin of Tsor Design, and is made of lightweight aluminum, ultrabright LEDs, and uses AA batteries that give the rider around 100 hours of battery life. "We've put it through extensive durability and reliability testing and it's nearly indestructible. No tool from a hardware store can remove it," says the Defender's Kickstarter page.
In fact, the security screwdriver included with the light is the only thing that can remove it, an the allen key provided is the only thing that can release the battery door.
The seventy dollar light is waterproof, uses around 40-60 lumens, and can be switched from steady to blinking mode.
A demo of the Defender:
Images: Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries
Mar 15, 2012
An interesting design, but only 40-60 lumens? About an order of magnitude too small as to what is needed for an effective riding bike light. Powered by 3 AA batteries, hopefully people will use rechargable NiMH batteries. Lets see, 100 hrs on a 2500 mah in series results in a average draw of 25 ma over the life of the batteres. Considering the output droop of these batteries, say a starting 50 ma for the lights. Each will need about 3.7v to function (the reason for 3 batteries), so they will have to be wired in parallel and each gets maybe 10 ma each. If you look at their formal web site, they state the 100 is only for blinking, only 50 hrs on steady. So even if they are drawing something more reasonable for illumination from the batteries for steady mode, say 100 ma each LED, they would get about 4 hours steady light. So my conclusion ia the light is good for a front end blinker and that is about all. It is not suitable for riding on dark roads to see obstacles in the road. As they say in response to an inquiry on their website "It's a "be seen" light. So it has 30?? spread. " So all the articles, including their website, should be a little more clear on what this bike light really is. Anyone who pledges money to the company should have a clear expectation to what the product really is, to what the competition is, and the chances of a sucessful business model. You need about 500-1000 lumens for a good riding bike light. Something like a single Cree XML-T6 (or SCC-P7) LED pulling at least 2 amps, or three lesser Cree's pulling 1 amp on 12 V. As far as security, I personally use a plastic woodworkers clamp to attach my lights to the handlebar. The light is bolted to the clamp. Does not scratch the bars, and has good clamping strength. I just unclamp and remove the light when necessary (and battery if the territory looks risky), and put it in my backpack with other stuff.
and an excellent presentation video. However, those "keys" are available in any hardwarestore around here. @tech_ed: If You really like it, install it upside down. But You're right, it's kind of pricey...
What? $70 for that? Come-on! I just purchased a 1000 lumen LED CREE flashlight for $30... My problem with this light also is the mounting. First, it mounts to the handle-bars...uh, that's where I put my hands...second, it's mount is too short. My hands would constantly bump into it. Why can't they create a mount that attaches to the handle bar post? That's out of the way and causes no interference? Meh...doesn't matter anyway...I'll never buy a $70 bike light!
Amazon sells a set of the security torx wrenches that this company uses for their lights for about $10 USD. They're not that hard to find.
They better hope that a police officer doesn't mistake it for a gun. Recently in Portland, OR a guy was shot and killed by police when he had a toy gun painted to look real.