Monday, October 11, 2010

Reelights

A recent comment on my blog led me to this website - an Australian distributor for the rather nifty Reelights. I had purchased a set of these previously from a local bike shop for a 'normal' bike and they work very well. From the site I saw they now had a version that fitted to a rear rack with a generator unit attached via a cable. Previously the light and generator were an all in one unit and therefore it had to be mounted at wheel level on the axles (either front or rear). These lights are very popular in Europe due to their set and forget nature - once installed they just work without ever needing batteries and they have no discernible affect on the bike's performance. This looked like a great new gadget for the trike so I ordered one!

In this shot you can see the light, the generator unit and the magnets that attach to the spokes and provide the power as they spin past the generator -

The installation was very easy and the thought that has gone into the product is quite impressive. For example -
  • The generator unit can 'slide' once attached to the seat stay to ensure it can be positioned the correct distance from the magnets attached to the spokes.
  • The magnets that attach to the spokes are well designed and could be attached to any wheel regardless of the spoke pattern.
  • Any excess cable can be wound into the generator unit.
  • The mounting bolts for the light are able to be adjusted to fit different mount points on rear racks.
  • The light also has reflectors on either side.
A video of it in operation follows -

video

Now the Reelight company just needs to work out how to put a front light on a Christiania where there is nowhere to mount the generator unit!

And just another interesting footnote regarding the delivery of this light. It was posted in Melbourne on a Tuesday and I received it in Canberra the following Monday. On the Friday afternoon I ordered some computer memory from America (go Aussie dollar!) and it was this package that arrived first (about 30 minutes before the light!). Australia Post really needs to lift its game!

4 comments:

  1. How have you got on with them? We have them on our Madsen, and found it was worth getting an extra magnet kit to improve them at low speed. We've paired with some Pedalite pedals so there is plenty of non-battery light going on.

    http://www.pedalite.com/

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  2. Actually I did put an extra magnet on as I had one left over from a Reelight set where I did not use the front light. I found three magnets made the 'standlight' function work after a shorter distance.

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  3. Hi there - I've read your blog with fascination. I am considering getting a Christiania too. I live in an area with some hills and was wondering if the derailleur gear option would be better than the hub gears. How steep are your hills ? Was any hill just too much for the trike?

    Lastly, how long does the standlight last for? Long enough for traffic lights? Are they bright enough to see, or would you need additional lighting for that. I can see any mounting points either. A friend suggested gaffer taping a maglite type
    torch to the top of the box.

    Hope to read more posts..

    Edit - can't seem to post as anything other than anonymous - sorry!

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  4. Hello anonymous! Re the gears when I installed the derailleurs I also installed the motor so I am not sure if they are 'better' option for hills then the hub gears. From memory the gear range on say an 7 speed derailleur with a 'granny gear' would be comparable to the gear range on a hub. It certainly is easier with hub gears though as you can change gears whilst stopped - very handy when you need to shift down to low gears to get moving again with a heavy load! Also I had the benefit of the 'Schlumpf Mountain Drive' so no hill was to steep when I had low gear selected on that.

    Re the lights I only have the rear reelight installed and it lasts a while when stopped so easily does traffic lights. It is not as bright as some of the battery operated rear lights around but given its install and forget nature I am very happy with it. I sort of did what you suggested re the taping of light to front box - I wrote about it in June 2009 under the 'gadgets' post. Now I use a helmet mounted light - see April 2010 post.

    Glad you like the blog!

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