15 June 2008

How well doth it light the way?

Posted by todd under: Breezer Uptown 8 .

Reader Brian B. passes along a couple of Breezer questions (thanks, Brian!):

I ride on a bike path that is not well-illuminated. In the winter, it gets dark early. Will the hib generator of the Uptown 8 cut it? Also, I am looking at the Novarra Fusion. You mentioned Joe Breeze gave a point-by-point comparison. Could you post that or pass that on privately? What about the “hub brakes” on the Fusion. Do you think they are superior to the V-brakes of the Breezer Uptown 8?

To take these one at a time: The Uptown 8’s light is more of a be seen light than a seeing light, in my opinion, if you’re going fast. At the speeds I ride (English country gentleman), it does just fine, and I ride home at midnight.

I asked Joe Breeze, owner/founder of Breezer Bicycles, for an answer to the question, and here’s what he said:

“I ride a Villager with the stock B&M Oval Plus with Halogen bulb. I’m fine with the lighting in unlit areas for speeds up to 20mph on pavement. Beyond that, I’m on my toes. New Breezer Uptowns have LED headlights which offers more visibility if not more lumens.”

I have the older-style Breezer Uptown, so I can’t say how well the new light does. If it’s brighter than the old one, I would feel pretty good at trusting it on a bike path at moderate to low speed.
I will pass along Joe’s info on the Novara comparison in a future post.

One Comment so far...

torrilin Says:

25 June 2008 at 2:06 pm.

I’ve test ridden an Uptown with the LED light. On the up side, it’s quite efficient. On the down side, it’s not as visible in daylight as the halogen bulb in the older light. I haven’t tested it in night-time conditions. Most of my riding is in daylight, and the most common reason for me to turn my lights on is that it’s foggy or rainy… so the LED is a minor downgrade for those purposes. (in general tho, if money is no object, get the Uptown… it is a lovely bike and is very well thought out) IME the more visible a light is in daylight (even poor daylight) the better it works at night. The LED light has the blue tinge that is common in “bright” lights. This is very bad, since such lights tend to blind glare sensitive people easily and they do more damage to night vision than a warmer toned light. So it’s a basically good light with some common weaknesses.

The halogen light on my Villager works well for being seen and for seeing. It is very bright, so it can be seen a good 200 or more yards away. It definitely meets WI’s legal requirements for a front headlight, even on a fairly bright street. On dark bike paths, it’s bright enough that I can see the road well and ride at full speed (which is slower than Joe Breeze *g*). If I was doing a lot of night riding, I’d supplement it with a headlamp on my helmet. It can be difficult to read street signs with just the generator light, since it’s aimed well for seeing the road. Having a light I can aim directly at signs would be helpful.

On both the Uptown and the Villager, the front’s standlight has a very short duration. I consider this a problem, and I would not be comfortable using the front light as my only light for night riding. It would be too easy to disappear visually to crossing and opposing traffic. Again, a helmet headlamp would solve this problem.

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Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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