Supernova's E3 tail light 2 is designed to be used with their front-facing dynamo lights and it's a brilliant bit of kit in every sense. It's tiny, powerful, well-designed and beautifully made.
Weighing in at just 15g the tail light 2 is effectively just three LEDs and an alloy mount. There's no standlight in there, but if you pair it up with a Supernova E3 front light the tail light will run off that when you stop. Supernova say it'll stay on for four minutes, in reality it's double that.
There are two versions of this light, the one we have (that attaches via two bolts to a rack plate) and a seatpost-mountable one with a rubber O-ring. Since the seatpost one is deisgned to be mounted vertically they're slightly different in design but both have a good range of visibility and are very bright. The horizontal unit has two outer LEDs with a sort of reverse-conical lens that disperses the light, and there are machined grooves in either side so that you can see it well from the side. On top of that, the LED lenses extend out of the alloy body for even better visibility. The middle LED is a standard domed shape and brighter than the other two, and there's a handy groove cut into the top so it's easy to check the light is on when you look over your shoulder.
In use with an E3 Pro 2 front light and an SP hub dynamo, and it's a fit-and-forget joy. I mounted it to a Tortec Velocity rack (I had to drill and tap some holes in it as it doesn't have a standard rack plate) and that's been the sum total of effort. No batteries, no worrying about whether it's on, no worrying about being seen. It's as bright as a battery-powered LED unit, tiny, neat and good-looking. All-round visibility is excellent.
Any problems with it? Not really. It's expensive, and ideally you'll already have an E3 front light which isn't cheap either. But you're getting a quality item here, no doubt about it. Think of it as an investment.
There's been some talk on light reviews in the past as to whether a small light is inherently less safe because drivers find it harder to work out how far away you are. My take on that would be that if you're pinning your hopes of safety on the ability of a driver to succesfully triangulate distance from 100m away based on something that's at best 10cm across, your prospects aren't good.
I'd rather rely on a nice bright light that'll get you seen. This is that. On an overnight ride or on really busy roads I'd be tempted to supplement it with a flasher, but it's plenty good enough for daily duties and should last pretty much for ever.
Excellent little rear light that's the perfect companion to Supernova's E3 front beams
road.cc test report
Make and model: Supernova E3 Tail Light 2 dynamo rear light
Size tested: grey
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
For many years it was not possible to build a rear light with such small dimensions and such brightness that is road legal in Germany. The dazzling bright light of these precious gems guided by the clever Twin Beam Technology provides the best possible safety. The new E3 Tail Light 2 is a typical Supernova product that is expanding the technical limits while having a functional, puristic design.
The stand light electronics of the puristic rear light has been neatly integrated into the front light. This innovation makes the extremely small design possible.The CNC-machined rear light only weighs 12 g and is 100% waterproof. It is also one of the brightest rear lights that is road legal in Germany. The new side illumination of the lighting system further increases traffic safety.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Light colour red
Stand light 4 min *
Housing colours 8 colours
Illuminant 5 mm custom made LEDs
Length x width x depth 11 x 30 x 15 mm
Material 6061 Aluminium
Weight 12 g
Installation 50 mm standard
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty much perfectly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pricey, especially considering you've already bought a front light.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium 853
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.