Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Amusing.

Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to test out a selection of lights from Taiwanese manufacturer Infini, who makes lights for a lot more companies than you might expect. I ride on a multiuse trail on my daily commute, and only the foul weather has decreased the army of dark-clad ninjas patrolling the trails. Yikes! Time to break out the safety lights. What the heck did people do before LEDs?

Infini have recently released their "amuse" line of lights. Though they look confusing on the website, they start to make a lot more sense in person.

Check it out:



This style of light was first popularized by Australian manufacturer Knog,, who has a super cool and totally off-the-wall website, I might add. Their "frog" light is similar to the Amuse, but the Amuse has two LED's and one mounting strap, instead of the other way round. Both are available in a bunch of different colors of silicone, if you want.

The part that makes Amuse lights so useful is that there is no mount -- the light is it. No worrying about swapping mounts to switch bikes, no "what diameter is my handlebar? Will I have to back off my bar tape?" It's made out of flexible, durable silicone, so you essentially just stretch the little tail around whatever you feel like mounting the thing to -- it fits perfectly on essentially any handlebar or seatpost, and most fork legs or seatstays. They're too small to mount on many frame tubes, and unfortunately there's no convenient way for a walker or jogger to use one. Also, if you have the light in a horizontal position, like on a seatpost, be careful it's secure -- I bounced one off that way.

To save space, they come with a pair of CR2032 lithium ("watch") batteries, and last pratcically forever -- well, at least a couple of months, if I used the flash mode for every hour of every ride I did. They are brighter than you'd expect from such a tiny device. Most of the space in the common style of blinkie is the AA batteries, and the reflector for the bulb. While the twin diodes are quite bright, without any kind of shroud, the light isn't really directed. This means that, when it was quite dark and I had the Amuse mounted on my handlebars, the light distractingly flickered into my eyes. With a typical, cylindrical headlight, I've never noticed this.

I found the absolute best place for the Amuse lights was my helmet. They are so light I don't notice them up there, they mount easily to any of the vents in any of my helmets, and turning them on and off just takes punching yourself in the head. You could probably mount 847 Amuse lights on your head if you wanted, or at least one white "head" light and one red "tail" light. I had some concerns about their durability in rain-soaked Seattle, since the batter compartment is accessed by flipping up the backside of the light, but I've been in several big rains and my amuse lights still work fine.

While part of me feels like these things must cost a quarter to turn out in Taiwan, I found them selling online for only about $13, which isn't so bad. Available at your local bike shop now.

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