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Planet Bike Blaze 1 Watt Headlight and Superflash Taillight Review

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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Blaze Headlight and Superflash Taillight
I've been on a few bike rides this summer that wound up being longer than expected or I got a later start than I had wanted and wound up bicycle riding at night. As the days are getting shorter, that could happen more frequently.

If I get tied up, I don't want to have to miss my after work bike ride because it's too dark.

To increase my safety when I ride my bicycle at night I decided to get a bicycle light set.

After checking out different bicycle lights and reading many reviews I decided to buy the Planet Bike Blaze 1-Watt Headlight and Superflash Taillight Combination Bicycle Light Set.

Read more for the bicycle light set review and video of Blaze 1Watt and SuperFlash at night.

What's In The Box

  • Planet Bike Blaze 1-Watt Bicycle Headlight
  • Quick Cam bracket for headlight
  • Planet Bike SuperFlash Stealth 1/2 Watt Bicycle Tail Light
  • Seat Post bracket for tail light
  • Smaller bracket (for racks, smaller frame tubes, etc) for tail light.
  • Two rubber shim strips for seat post bracket
  • 2 AA batteries for headlight (installed)
  • 2 AAA batteries for tail light (installed)
  • Teeny Tiny Installation sheet

Initial Impressions

Buying the set saves around $15 versus buying the two lights individually so it makes sense to get the set. It's a good idea to have a light in front and behind when you're commuting on your bicycle at night to improve your visibility to motorists.

Both the headlight and the tail light seem well-built. They're mainly plastic but it has a nice heavy feel to it that gives me a sense that they're not going to break if you look at them funny (like some other plastic products.) They could probably withstand being dropped but I wouldn't make it a habit.

Both the headlight and tail light have fairly easily to replace batteries and there is a gasket in the tail light and an o-ring in the headlight to help make them water-resistant. This is helpful if you're bike riding in the rain but don't go dropping them in the toilet.

Each light has one button to control the light. The headlight has low, high and flashing (strobe) functions and the tail light has flashing and steady. Those are the order of the units I received which makes sense to me.

The "Stealth" version of the SuperFlash tail light has a clear lens with red LEDs as opposed to the regular SuperFlash which has a red lens

Both lights easily clip off their brackets so you can take them with you when you lock up your bike. That way some punk walking by can't just walk off with them. They're small enough to fit in your jeans pockets, though people might think you're happy to see them. (With the headlight at only 4.5" inches long, not that happy.)

The Blaze 1 Watt Headlight also makes a decent LED Flashlight when off the bike. Only do that in an emergency. Better to save your battery for your safety.

Light Output

Both lights are very bright and using them properly will help you see where you're going and make it easier for others on the road to see you. Don't look directly into the lights from close range.

This video shows the visibility of the lights at night. The camera didn't pick up how well it lights the path in front of you though.


The SuperFlash tail light is set to flash and the Blaze 1-Watt headlight is set to low. You can see how bright the lights appear in the dark and how the flashing will grab someone's attention. You can also hear that I start breathing a little heavy after a couple of miles of riding :)

Blaze 1-Watt Light Output and Operation

As you can see from the video, the light is very visible coming out of the front, even at the low setting. There are also slits on either side to improve your visibility to others from all angles.

The headlight has one button. Click it once and it sets the light output to low. Click it again and it switches to high. One more click sets it to flash quickly.

On my test ride I kept the light on the low setting. As I passed through some paths that had no street lights the Blaze 1 headlight made it possible for me to see enough to avoid any branches, rocks and potholes as well as keep me off the grass.

The high setting provided brighter light but I feel the low setting is good enough for me and will help conserve batteries. Use whichever works for you.

When the Blaze 1 headlight was set to flash mode, I found it difficult to see the path in front of me where there were no streetlights. That mode is probably best when there is enough light for you to see but you want something to increase your visibility to oncoming traffic.

The light was bright enough that I could see a couple of pedestrians a block ahead of me wearing all black and strong enough for them to see me coming so they made room for me to pass. I was passing a couple of other slower cyclists in an area between street lights that had some large trees and the light made it easier for me to get around them.

When you're riding through an area with street lights, the output from the light is barely visible as far as helping you see the road is concerned, but it's very bright so that oncoming traffic can see you coming. In between street lights, under trees and through areas with no street lights, the light proved very useful for me at a moderate pace of around 9mph.

The angle of view isn't very wide, nothing compared to the headlight on my old motorcycle, but it's enough to help you navigate any obstructions.

Blaze 1-Watt Headlight is one of the more powerful lights from Planet Bike. You can compare the Blaze 1-Watt Headlight to other Planet Bike Bicycle Lights in this video.

SuperFlash Stealth Light Output and Operation

The SuperFlash Taillight has two modes, flashing and steady. There is a button on the bottom... err... well not really a button. There's I guess some thinner plastic that says PUSH, unlike the Blaze headlight that has an actual button. Anyway... Push the bottom of the light to activate it. It will turn on in flashing mode. One more click for steady mode.

There are 3 LED's in the SuperFlash. one very bright one, and 2 not so bright ones. When in flashing mode, 2 smaller LEDs will rapidly flash on and off about 3 times very quickly, then the brighter LED on top will flash on and off twice then the pattern repeats. As you can see in the video the flashing mode increases your visibility while bike riding at night considerably.

In the stead mode, the top, bright LED is constantly on. I'm not sure when this would be appropriate as the flashing mode seems draw more attention and I believe uses less battery power.

Below is a close up video of the SuperFlash Stealth Taillight in operation with lights on and off.

Conclusion

I'm very pleased with the Planet Bike Blaze 1-Watt Headlight and Superflash Taillight Combination Bicycle Light Set. At only $50 with free shipping (when I purchased it) it seems like a great value. Based on the reviews I read it's a sturdy set that should last a long time. Planet Bike's claims that the batteries will last 100 hours seem to be born out in other reviews.

Cheaper light sets, like the $15 Planet Bike Blinky Safety 1-Led Bicycle Light Set provide only the safety feature of a blinking headlight and tail light. The headlight doesn't provide you with much light to see with.

The next step up is the Planet Bike Beamer 1 and Blinky 3 LED Bicycle Light Set is $30 and provides a little better light coverage with the headlight.

Both of those options will improve safety when cycling at night but the Blaze 1Watt light kit had much brighter tail and head lights which I felt more comfortable with.

Tips

When the batteries run down I'll be replacing them with Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries. Regular rechargeable batteries lose their charge even when you're not using them. Eneloop batteries lose their charge much slower. After a year of not using them, the batteries will be almost as strong as when they were freshly charged.

Position the headlight as close to the center of your bike as possible for even coverage.

Aim the headlight in a way that gives you good visual coverage of the ground in front of you and can be seen by oncoming traffic without blinding them. The light can be pretty bright especially on high.

Installation

Both units are very easy to install and all you need is a Philips head screwdriver. Installation of both lights only took a few minutes.

How To Install Blaze 1-Watt Headlight

First thing you'll want to do is remove the Blaze headlight from the bracket. There's a little black tab on the bracket under the back of the light. Press it and the light will slide forward off the bracket.

The Blaze headlight comes with a Quick Cam bracket which works just like the quick release levers on the rest of your bike. Just flip up the lever and carefully pull out the strap through the metal post on the Quick Cam lever.

Slightly loosen the screw on the top of the bracket. This will allow you adjust the top part of the strap. If the "cam" end of the bracket is touching when you wrap it around your handlebars, click the top end of the strap 1-3 clicks until there's a slight gap at the cam end. That way the cam ends are close enough together to give sufficient force when locking. Tighten the screw when you're done.

Slide the bracket around your handlebars with the cam end towards the back. Spin the Quick Cam lever clockwise to tighten, counter-clockwise to loosen and then flip it up to tighten just like other quick release levers.

Slide the Blaze headlight back on top and make sure it clicks in place.

How To Install SuperFlash Stealth Taillight

You can attach the SuperFlash tail light to either your seat post, your bike rack or just clip it on to the strap available on most bike bags such as the under seat bicycle bags.

To attach the SuperFlash tail light to your seat post, unscrew the clip bracket from the post bracket. Wrap the bracket around the seat post. If the ends of the bracket are touching, use one or both of the rubber shims to make sure the bracket holds tight when you screw it in.

Screw the clip bracket back on, then clip the light back on.

3 comments

  1. Just bought the same two-light combo: the 1-watt Blaze headlight and the Superflash rear light. I got these because I needed something for when I get caught out road biking during or after dusk so I'd be seen by motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists. (There are other, better, stronger lights for use on unlit roads and trails.) For my purposes, the 1-watt headlight is almost more than enough--it is extremely bright, so bright as to be painful if you glance directly at it. Drivers and others NOTICE you. The tail light is also extremely bright, and both are noticable in daylight, never mind dusk or dark. Note, however, that the headlight can interfer with wireless devices next to it. This was noted in one of the many reviews I read. I think the interference is limited to just a couple of inches, since my wireless speedometer on the other side of the handlebar doesn't have problems, but my heart rate monitor next to the light does get interference. So it should be solved by moving my heart rate monitor to the other side of the handlebars. Other than that, this is a great combo if you want a light setup that gets you noticed any time of day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the additional info. My heart rate monitor is a watch so I haven't noticed any interference with the light.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It s indeed a great light BUT the moment the headlight is turned on it interferes with my M6 VDO speedometer. It seems that Planet Bikes product is not compliant with CE or UL

    ReplyDelete

 

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