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Verdict: 
Quality, bright side lights for your bike to enhance your visibility on the road
Weight: 
68g
Contact: 
Brightside Bright, Amber and Sideways
9 10

Brightside's Bright, Amber and Sideways is a well-built double-ended side light at a good price that attaches easily to your frame, and gives you an extra dimension of visibility to other road users approaching you from the side. Bright 15-lumen Cree LEDs at each end attract attention.

The Brightside has filled a gap in the market (a quick internet search only unearthed the Brightside and the Cateye Orbit Spoke lightset) in a bid to reduce the instances of SMIDSY (sorry mate I didn't see you) incidents. With too many accidents happening at junctions and roundabouts, the light is designed to give you all-round visibility to motorists approaching from your side – Brightside, not broadside.

Brightside top tube.jpg

Brightside top tube.jpg

The Brightside features the same four modes as its sister light, the Topside helmet light, two constant and two flashing. It shares the Topside's ease-of-use, reliability, water resistance and build quality, as well as size (about 7 x 3cm) and light weight (under 70g, including mount). Rain posed no threat to the casing, nor did sharing my 10-minute shower – its waterproof credentials are watertight.

It certainly seems pretty tough – it suffered no ill effects after I dropped it onto the office floor (hard but carpeted) several times from a height of a good 2.5 feet. The company said its lights have been "tested to destruction" and as an extra security measure has even introduced an automatic restart, just in case they do switch off after an impact.

Brightside says the lights are visible from 500m, far exceeding the warning a motorist would need to avoid you. I could only find a straight stretch of road 180m long to test visibility, but the Brightside shone out like the star of Bethlehem from that distance.

> Buyer's Guide: The best front lights for cycling

Like the Topside, the Brightside is very well thought out – there is a little hood at each end covering the lens, to prevent you being blinded by the light. The mount system is brilliantly simple – a rubber mounting strap hooks onto a semicircular plastic clip, which the light just pushes into in the blink of an eye. You can wrap it around your stem, down tube or top tube, and the clip has a rubber set to prevent slippage.

The only – very minor – 'construction' niggle I had was that one of the orange rubber O-rings was a bit loose on my sample, so it came off when shoving the light into my pack. No problem though as, unlike the helmet light, it doesn't matter which way round you insert the light – and it was easily resolved by just putting the O-ring lower down the light.

Run-times

Run-times are very good. Remember, they will vary depending on the temperature (ie, be shorter when it's cold) and how often you change between modes and turn them on and off, as these demand power from the battery. When the battery warning light changes to red it is a constant glow, then after a while it starts flashing as lack of power becomes more pressing.

The most power-efficient mode is fast double flash, which lasted 15 hours. The warning light was on for the last 40 minutes. Steady flash kept on flashing for a very reasonable 5 hours, with a low battery warning for the penultimate 30-odd minutes.

At full constant power, the Brightside beamed amiably for a decent 2hrs 15mins, and gave a 10-minute warning of impending darkness (blinking for just the last 2 minutes). As with the Topside helmet light, switching it back on in double flash mode extended its life by 8 minutes, and then, surprisingly, by another 10 minutes when I tried this ruse a second time. However, this is with an almost brand new light, so don't rely on it as a 'get out of jail' card.

> Buyer's Guide: The best rear lights for cycling

The amber light reminds me of the orange lamps you see on roadside skips. I did wonder if, when used in steady flash mode, the amber light could be misinterpreted as an indicator, with the possibility that a driver might expect you to turn. As the Brightside's inventor Aidan Gribbin points out, it doesn't flash in the same way as an indicator, and you have the option of using the constant mode or fast double flash.

The Brightside comes with a miniature micro USB charging lead so you can recharge it at work, and the power switch does triple duty as the means to toggle between modes and a charging/battery indicator light.

Brightside is a homegrown success story – it was conceived by Gribbin, a British cyclist and motorist, who launched the original Brightside light with a Kickstarter campaign back in September 2015, and followed it with the Topside helmet light. He intimates there are lots of new lights on the drawing board, so watch this space.

You can save £10 by buying both the Brightside and Topside helmet light for £49.99. 

Verdict

Quality, bright side lights for your bike to enhance your visibility on the road

road.cc test report

Make and model: Brightside Bright, Amber and Sideways

Size tested: Length 7.6cm

Tell us what the light 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?

Brightside says: "The Brightside light is a compact and powerful bike light providing an amber light from both sides of your bike. Crossing junctions or roundabouts you'll still have a light shining at the motorists to draw their attention."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Bright Cree LED – 15 lumens each end

Tool-free mounting

Magnified fish-eye lens

500m visibility

IP65 Water resistant

Long run times with Li-Ion battery

Four flash and constant modes

Weighs 68 grams

USB charger lead included

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
10/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
10/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
10/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10

Full charge takes 3 hours.

Run-times:

Constant full beam 2hrs 15mins

Fast double flash 15 hours

Steady flash 5 hours

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
9/10

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well – does exactly what it promises, lighting you up from the side in all weathers.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Ease of use and fitting, and brightness of beam.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Nothing.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Can't fault this light for build quality and ease of use – but maybe it could be even brighter so it attracts attention in daylight too, like bright front lights do.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 170cm  Weight: 63kg

I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er  My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax

21 comments

Avatar
StoopidUserName [295 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Fibre flare? (The battery version is unreliable in rain for me, though I hear the rechargable version is far better)

Avatar
StoopidUserName [295 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Ps isn't a white side light illegal?

Avatar
ecycled [14 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
StoopidUserName wrote:

Ps isn't a white side light illegal?

 

Brightside light is amber (mentioned in article above and on manufacturer's website.)

"The new Brightside light is a compact and powerful bike light providing an amber light from both sides of your bike."     https://brightside.bike/

Avatar
SingleSpeed [311 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
StoopidUserName wrote:

Ps isn't a white side light illegal?

 

Brightside Bright, Amber and Sideways

 

Clues in title cupcake

Avatar
fenix [608 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Slightly cheaper option - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/F303-4x-Valves-Caps-bright-LED-flash-tire-For-...

 

Just glue them on your valve caps. The really stand out on the wheel.  

Avatar
ktache [524 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Fenix, had a couple of sets of Tireflys, plain white and red, white and blue, more trouble than thy were worth.  Don't know if they helped side visiblity, but drunk people loved them.  Was a while back, maybe 15 years so maybe better LEDs today, but it was the motion sensor that let them down.  If someone made them well these days with properly good and efficient LED and electronic motion sensor, rather than a simple spring, I'd think about them, but they would cost a bit.

I kind of like the idea of the Brightside, simple.  Saw someone with the red and white rim lights in the park the other day, they were good, very good, but a bit complex.  I like the straw spoke reflectors, but understand their passive nature, in fact I'm finding it difficult to get ones that fit my butted spokes.  Not had the water ingress problems on my original FibreFlare, and got a helmet one a while back.  Anything to help with the chrismas tree look.

Avatar
fustuarium [209 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Isn't it a bit late when a car is at 90 degrees to you? What's the reasoning they're not angle forward slightly at say 30 degrees?

Avatar
hsiaolc [343 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
fustuarium wrote:

Isn't it a bit late when a car is at 90 degrees to you? What's the reasoning they're not angle forward slightly at say 30 degrees?

 

Yes I was thinking the same thing.  Seems like they don't have much sense when it comes to the topic of to be seen. 

The most important side light is so that as a car driver myself as well I can see them coming from far way from the side so it is best they are aimed at an angle to the front side so I can see them coming. 

I would buy one if they redesigned it better. 

I prefer lights more than relfectives because in total darkness my car at stand still the headlight only point front and if cyclists come from the side with no lights I woudlnt' see them at all (since no light is shining on the relfectives) and it will be too late when they do come into view is when I already stepped on the gas and they are in front of my head light. 

 

Avatar
hsiaolc [343 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
fenix wrote:

Slightly cheaper option - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/F303-4x-Valves-Caps-bright-LED-flash-tire-For-...

 

Just glue them on your valve caps. The really stand out on the wheel.  

I think the valve light is a really good idea. I havn't bought one yet because none has made any with rechargable battery but I have been looking for one with that has it for years. 

I am still waiting for that version. 

Avatar
StoopidUserName [295 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:
StoopidUserName wrote:

Ps isn't a white side light illegal?

 

Brightside Bright, Amber and Sideways

 

Clues in title cupcake

 

looks white in the pic sweetness.

And it's still really shit compared to a (working) fibre flare

 

Avatar
cyclisto [195 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

For a start, just put your wheel reflectors

Avatar
Simon E [3020 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
cyclisto wrote:

For a start, just put your wheel reflectors

Yep. Moving things are better, so I have fitted 3M scotchlite spoke reflectors while my overshoes have reflective trim. They don't need recharging and are unlikely to be stolen if I leave the bike unattended.

If you want to go super-duper-mega reflective just cover your bike with black tape like Leviathan has - http://road.cc/content/forum/210988-my-health-and-safety-abomination-bike

A good front light is critical. A good beam spread is more important than brightness. At night road positioning is just as important as in daylight.

Avatar
fenix [608 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
hsiaolc wrote:
fenix wrote:

Slightly cheaper option - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/F303-4x-Valves-Caps-bright-LED-flash-tire-For-...

 

Just glue them on your valve caps. The really stand out on the wheel.  

I think the valve light is a really good idea. I havn't bought one yet because none has made any with rechargable battery but I have been looking for one with that has it for years. 

I am still waiting for that version. 

These are absolutely dirt cheap. There's no demand for usb recharging. Ive a set that's years old on my bike and still flashes on my infrequent night rides.

Avatar
Jamminatrix [157 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

IMO - Having a bright, well-illuminated front headlight with a good beam that is aimed toward the ground will make you much more visible from the side.  Your natural rocking motion of the handlebars side-to-side makes the headlight beam move, which catches the driver's eyes more.  Our eyes are naturally drawn to motion.

 

Same thing for reflector tape.  Adding just a couple small pieces to the side of a frame or your rim does wonders.

Avatar
Redvee [321 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
StoopidUserName wrote:

Fibre flare? (The battery version is unreliable in rain for me, though I hear the rechargable version is far better)

 

I've found the opposite, I've had a FibreFlare (battery) on my helmet for years with no issues and mounted in such a way that I can change the batteries without removing it from my helmet. The rechargable one is a swine to turn off after a damp ride and I leave it to run flat.

Avatar
ClubSmed [310 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
hsiaolc wrote:
fustuarium wrote:

Isn't it a bit late when a car is at 90 degrees to you? What's the reasoning they're not angle forward slightly at say 30 degrees?

Yes I was thinking the same thing.  Seems like they don't have much sense when it comes to the topic of to be seen. 

The most important side light is so that as a car driver myself as well I can see them coming from far way from the side so it is best they are aimed at an angle to the front side so I can see them coming. 

I would buy one if they redesigned it better. 

I prefer lights more than relfectives because in total darkness my car at stand still the headlight only point front and if cyclists come from the side with no lights I woudlnt' see them at all (since no light is shining on the relfectives) and it will be too late when they do come into view is when I already stepped on the gas and they are in front of my head light. 

I have straw spoke reflectors and a knog frog on each of the front forks / seat stays so that the reflectors are constantly lit giving me the extra visibility at greater angles.

This is obviously on top of my normal lights front and rear

Avatar
Jeffmcguinness [33 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I use a Ding FL1 - here it is with and without floodlight element

Avatar
Zermattjohn [227 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
fenix wrote:

Slightly cheaper option - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/F303-4x-Valves-Caps-bright-LED-flash-tire-For-...

 

Just glue them on your valve caps. The really stand out on the wheel.  

 

Is it just the top, clear part that contains the bulb? Can't figure out how/if they attach to Presta or only to Schraeder valves.

Avatar
ribena [182 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I like the Cateye Orbit spoke lights. The CR2032 batteries seem to last a couple of winters on flash and they appear robust. A light attached to the wheel seems to attract a lot of attention, plus it's easier to tell you are moving at speed. A lot of people seem to overtake bikes as if they are stationary objects.

Avatar
fenix [608 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Zermattjohn wrote:
fenix wrote:

Slightly cheaper option - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/F303-4x-Valves-Caps-bright-LED-flash-tire-For-...

 

Just glue them on your valve caps. The really stand out on the wheel.  

 

Is it just the top, clear part that contains the bulb? Can't figure out how/if they attach to Presta or only to Schraeder valves.

As i said glue them to your valve caps. I think they're normally for car tyres.

Avatar
Dr_Lex [407 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Disappointed no mention or pictures of monkey lights.