We've seen indicators on bikes before but the Bicygnals up the ante a bit with a wireless connection front to rear for all-round indicating visibility. It's a clever system that gives a bit of extra confidence to riders who want to be more visible in traffic. It's not without its faults though and we're not convinced that it does away with the need for hand signals, either on a practical or legal basis.
The Bicygnals come clipped together - the two units form a neat oval shape and you can store them in the bag provided when they're not on the bike. The two lights clip onto mounts that also feature reflectors, which is a nice touch. I was a bit worried that the heavy front unit (250g) would either bounce off the mount or move it out of position, but I had no problems on test. They look neat, if a bit big, on the bike and while you wouldn't put them on a Carbon racer they're certainly not out of place on a hybrid or urban machine.
So to use. Install the (supplied) batteries then hold down the on/off buttons on both to pair the units. This takes a few seconds and can be repeated if they lose each other when turned off, which they do from time to time. The Bicygnals have three modes: indicator only, indicator and static light or indicator and flashing light. they flash periodically even when unlit, just so you know they're on.
The indicators are controlled big two big, friendly buttons on the shoulders of the front light which are easy to locate and use; press once to turn them on and again to cancel, they turn themselves off after half a minute or so. The rear unit picks up the signal within about half a second. It's possible to accidentally hit the button but you generally notice, at least at night. We missed the audible signal that the Winkkuu mirror has though.
The front and rear lights themselves are described as 'high power' LEDs; in reality they're the kind of output you'd expect from a normal bar-mounted flasher. They're decent enough as being-seen lights but the fact that they're sandwiched between indicators means there's no side visibility, which is an issue around town. Waterproofing is another issue: the Bicygnals aren't waterproof so you'll need to be more careful than you would be with a normal set of well-sealed LEDs.
So, do they work? It's a little hard to quantify how effective they are as indicators, but cycling around town using exclusively the indicators – without hand signals – cars have generally been attentive, not overtaking when I'm indicating to turn right, for example, and using a left indicator as a cue to pull out of a side road I'm turning into. So yes, the message seems to be received and understood on the road.
I personally think that even though the Bicygnals are pretty big units the indicators still aren't far enough apart to make sense unless they're used in conjunction with the middle light: bikes don't have corners and that point of reference makes all the difference. On a bright sunny day you'd struggle to see any of the lights, so they're not to be relied on in every circumstance.
Both of the above points are factors in my main gripe with the Bicygnals: they will be seen by some as an alternative to hand signals, whereas they should - in my opinion - only be used as an additional signal, not a replacement. The main reason for this is that the Highway Code says you should signal with your hands, and until the existence of bike-mounted indicators is officially recognised in print you'd be on shaky legal ground if, for example, you indicated right and a car came past and collided with you – especially since it isn't illegal to fit a flashing, non-indicating orange light to your bike. Okay, the Bicycgnals are compliant with the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations for flash times and such, but that's kind of moot when bikes are specifically exempted from having indicators.
My worry would be that less competent cyclists who aren't confident in traffic will look at Bicygnals as an alternative to taking their hands off the bars – after all, that's what the box says – when they should be learning proper cycling craft and using the lights as an extra level of defence. Used like that, I think they're a useful addition to your urban armoury.
Good as an extra defence in traffic but not without their faults, and not really an alternative to a hand signal
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bicygnals bike indicators
Size tested: n/a
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?
Front and rear bike lights with 2.4GHz wirefree indicators. The manufacturers claim there's "no need to take your hands off the bars" to indicate. The two lights clip together for storage
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Complies with Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations
Front Switches Control Front and Rear Indicators
5 Super Bright White LED’s Head Light
3 Super Bright Red LED’s Rear Light
Flashing and Non-Flashing Lighting Modes
8 Super Bright Orange LED’s Front Indicators
6 Super Bright Orange LED’s Rear Indicators
Tell Tale Indicators
Ergonomic and Adjustable Front and Rear Clamps
Integrated Front and Rear Reflectors
Front and Rear Units Clip Together for Easy Carrying
Storage Carry Case INCLUDED
4 x ‘AA’ Batteries in Front Unit INCLUDED
4 x ‘AAA’ Batteries in Rear Unit INCLUDED
Low Battery Indicators
Swivel Rear Clamp
A well put together set of lights. I had my doubts about the way the heavy front light attached but there were no problems
They work well, but I don't think using the Bicygnals means you can do away with the hand signals. Front and rear lights are not as powerful as most competing LEDs
Wearing pretty well, waterproofing could be better
As lights go, they're pretty weighty
Easy to use and fall to hand well
Not cheap for a set of lights - obviously you're paying for the extra functions if you want them
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well - some issues with the lights recognising one another and the lights aren't that powerful. Waterproofing could be better too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
An extra level of security around town - the more lights the merrier!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I wouldn't be confident binning the hand signals on account of running them
Did you enjoy using the product? More than I thought I would
Would you consider buying the product? Not for me but they have a market
Would you recommend the product to a friend? To some friends, yes - not dyed in the wool bikies though
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I\'m testing... My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with Ultegra 6700
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: time trialling, commuting, 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.