Xtreme Lites

This article was published in 2001, in Newsletter 38.

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The Xtremelites kit includes battery housing, cable ties and light holders

‘So how much did you pay for those silly lights? We had a good laugh about them.’ That was Ben Hayward mechanic Kevin’s reaction when he saw them. ‘Did you get them out of a cornflake packet?’ asked Lisa Woodburn.

Decidedly un-cool then. ‘For FUN and extra SAFETY’ it says on the packet. I guess I’d agree with the first part, but I can’t say I’m terribly convinced by the latter.

What are they? We were canvassed about this product from New Zealand by email earlier this year, so when we were sent a sample, we thought we’d give it a go. The pack includes three LED small lights – red, green and yellow – plus a battery housing and fixtures. The idea is to mount the battery pack near the hub in the front wheel, and the lights 120° apart at the end of the spokes. When you ride in the dark, persistence of vision means you see circles of colour.

Basically it works as advertised, but you have to ride fairly quickly and not be in terribly bright ambient street lighting to get the best effect. I think it would attract some attention from the side, but its use as a safety aid is questionable. Would Dutch-style reflective tyre walls be more effective?

The kit comes with a Velcro pouch and cable ties to attach the battery pack and wires, and three curly rubber contraptions for holding the lights, mounted in short plastic tubes, to the spokes. It’s not hard to fit, though I was extra careful to make sure everything was completely secure. I did not want a mass of wires and batteries coming loose at 20 mph. The fittings supplied have certainly held it in place properly for the last month.

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Lights are mounted in tubes attached to the spokes

So ten out of ten for ingenuity, and not enough ribbing that I wouldn’t keep them on for the winter. A fun little stocking filler, perhaps, available by mail order for US $15 including post and packing from http://www.xtremelites.com.

David Earl