Waterproof rear lights

by radar   February 16, 2011  

Do they exist? Thinking

So far have killed 3 Flea lights (originally won on here via Schwag grab) - Madison stopped responding to emails sadly, so lifetime guarantee not up to much there. Angry Which is a shame because they were fab lights - just not waterproof.(Front light is fab and appears to be waterproof - maybe I shouldn't say that probably kiss of death Confused )

EDIT: actually that is 5 Flea rear lights die. I had three sent back to madison, and I've got two knackered ones on my computer desk

Killed a Lumicycle rear light - which again surprised me.

Have killed off virtually the entire recent range of Cateyes.

Best light was a Vista - yonks old, bought from Freewheel many moons ago. That lasted and lasted until it fell off and fell into a grid. Crying

Any others worth looking at, or do I have to face upto the fatc that nobody makes a light that will survive on the back of a bike day in day out with British weather?

12 user comments

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Forgot to say - currently borrowing my two sons' Knog lights which are dying (having lasted a full two weeks, they might snatch the record for uselessness from Blackburn yet, they have to fail in less than a week and a half to get the new record!)

Before anyone asks - no I do not live in some bizarre feature from early 90's MBUK land (bog snorkelling on a bike say). I just ride up and down hills in the Peak District to get to and from work.

posted by radar [55 posts]
16th February 2011 - 21:14


maybe the exposure flare or niterider cherry bomb? which knog ones did you kill? the boomers are good if you make sure the silicon is seated well, and a bit of silicon grease helps too on any rear light...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7830 posts]
17th February 2011 - 0:22


Been running a Smart 1/2W rear LED over winter, still working on the original batteries and very bright.


DaveP's picture

posted by DaveP [467 posts]
17th February 2011 - 9:11


Do you run a mudguard? no light out there can survive constant spray.

Also, have you looked at how they fail? corroded inside? fell off? etc.

Might help get you a better answer

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [457 posts]
17th February 2011 - 9:42


Useful stuff (especially for Smart lights IME)


posted by Sheffield_Tiger [2 posts]
17th February 2011 - 13:04


Knog light - they are strobes

Smart - sorry forgot killed one of them too

Mudguards - no don't/can't use them (no space to put them on)

How do they die - water ingress - methinks probably corrosion, some have very clear signs of corrosion others nothing apparent. I do put grease or vaseline around joins on cases to help limit ingress. When it is wet I also bring them inside to dry them out on the radiator. If I'd dropped them I wouldn't really be complaining as that would be a karma thing....

Thanks for the replies so far. Couple to look at. Contralube looks useful, particularly for the cateye type split in half aaa batteries type set up (as oppossed to the flea/lumicycle fully sealed setup (does that make sense)

posted by radar [55 posts]
17th February 2011 - 13:28


Build your own. I did. Those below are Luxeon III Red-orange (200-1400mA) with no current limiter. If you are hooking them directly to a battery, you need a BuckToot or BuckPuck to (efficiently) control the current.



These are surface-mounted power LEDs on a hexagonal puck, tightly epoxied to hunks of aluminum for heat sinks. These survive outdoors (Boston weather) 365/24/7.

posted by dr2chase [16 posts]
18th February 2011 - 18:15


You need mudguards, end of.

posted by vinnn [40 posts]
18th February 2011 - 18:34


Wow. Respect to the guy who's made his own LED lights, I've always admired a home-made solution to a problem.

Although to be honest there's a little product development still needed. Or perhaps a lot.


mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [374 posts]
18th February 2011 - 20:02


DIY lights look impressive. But a) I paid no attention in phtsics at school so don't have a clue, and b) I could ask my dad, but that would be just wrong (and would probably lead to many months of not talking).

I really like Fleas particularly the charging options, but at £20+ a go I'm not prepared to pay that for just 2 or 3 months use (which is the most I've managed out of a rear). I can get a smart for about a tenner, and a tube of waterproofing lube. Perhaps that is the smartest way to go?

posted by radar [55 posts]
18th February 2011 - 21:36


ppf. It's funny how cyclist's will spend money on most things,then skimp on life saving devices like lights etc!(I am speaking generally,not at any individuals!) Most battery lights fail eventually in my experience. I converted to dyno hubs on all my bikes with led lighting front and rear many years ago. As a precaution I always carried clip on battery lights 'just in case' but have never needed them. my mtb has a supanova E3 front with matching rear,(used in many muddy 24hr events!) my road/commutors use B&M led front & rear dyno lights. None have failed to date.I did heatshrink all my connections for added protection. Sorry to sound geeky, but I have spent hundreds of pounds on battery lighting,only to be let down by the manufactures claims!


posted by peasantpigfarmer [47 posts]
19th February 2011 - 12:58


I am more than happy to spend money on 'essential' potentially life saving kit. But I am not happy about spending good money on kit that isn't going to survive more than a couple of months.

From the responses so far - it would suggest 12 months is a fair lifespan considering I don't (and can't) run mudguards.

From my experience I ran a vista light rear for many years without mudguards. But vista don't appear to exist anymore.

Cateye, Blackburn, Knog are all big names whose products I would expect to survive. It appears that Blackburn and Knog do not fair quite as well as Cateye.

At the end of the day I want to be seen when commuting, I don't have bottom less pots of money to throw at lighting. Why should I spend £20+ on a light only for it to fail in under 10 weeks, and then have the products importer go quiet about a supposed 'lifetime warranty'.

Yes I do hope Madison are listening - shaming them into good customer service should not be how it should work.

posted by radar [55 posts]
19th February 2011 - 15:01