Lights - rear
Cateye make some great value lights that perform well, and the Omni 5 (or TD-L155-R, to give it its catchier name) is one of them. There's a lot to like about this rear blinky. It's not the most powerful or the sleekest, but it's a great all-rounder.
Blackburn's Mars 4.0 rear light is a clever little light that comes with 3 different mounting options.
We really liked it when we reviewed its previous incarnation 4 years ago; though it's changed a bit since then, it's only got better.
There's nothing truly innovative about the Niterider Solas rear light - it has plenty in common with other modern tail-lights, but it does its job well and is carefully thought out.
The Solas is a modest sized light in the Smart 1/2w mould - you've probably seen a million of them by now. Translucent red casing for 180 degree visibility, vertical clip (nicely curved in on itself with a retaining noggin for added security) and a clear plastic circle over the LED. Unlike some others, the Solas just has the one LED which pumps out a healthy 2W of power.
We reviewed Light and Motion's Vis 180 a couple of years ago and liked it. Since then, it has shed some weight, gained even more lumens and still costs a lot.
The Vis 180 is a (micro)USB rechargeable rear light that is seriously bright, and is visible through 180 degrees. It achieves this through two dedicated amber LEDs pointed to the sides, as well as obviously the main red rear facing light.
Oh my, the RSP Evolve rear light and the Cateye TL LD600 look as if they were separated at birth. Same cigar-shaped profiles that's bang on for trailers, tag alongs, identical number of LEDs, fuel source - interchangeable mounting hardware to boot!
Ok, so we've established some uncanny similarities but before we get side tracked with the rights n' wrongs of badge engineering, let's get some facts straight. First and foremost, the internals are genuinely very different.
The Topeak RedLite Mega rear light is reckoned to be the brand's most technically advanced safety light and I found it to be one of the best performers out there.
The Cateye Rapid 3 rear light is rather like a good party guest - charismatic, confident but never brash. Bucking the trend for USB recharging cables, those not wanting to be tied to technology can pop a spare AA cell in the seatpack and be ready to go in a matter of minutes.But beware - in constant mode the battery will drain eye-wateringly fast.
This cute wee RSP Silicone 3 LED rear light has plenty going for it: USB charging, a rubber strap that will fit any bike, a built in reflector and a rrp of just £20.
The LED revolution has worked wonders for rear lights. The addition of USB charging adds versatility and silicone straps mean that clunky mounting bracket are a thing of the past. I'm all in favour of that but what I'm not so keen on is the arms race to produce rear lights that are more like weapons than safety aids.
The One23 Super Bright 0.5 rear light is just that. By my reckoning (not to mention singed retinas of those behind me), its good to eight hundred and fifty metres in flashing - and the lens profile ensures 180 degree visibility.
The price is the real shocker. Only a few years back this sort of performance would set you back thirty odd quid. Here you'll get change from a tenner at many online retailers - batteries included!
The Blackburn Super Flea rear flasher stretches a good design to its true potential with excellent optics, weathertight casings and decent mounting hardware whether affixed to seatposts, clothing or accessories.
Measuring 33x23x46cm it's about as genuinely bijoux as you get while still doing the job on dark nights. Blackburn doesn't quote figures but it seems broadly in thirty-odd lumen territory. Run times are quoted as fifteen hours steady, twenty-eight in flash/strobing.