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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Quality, bright side lights for your bike to enhance your visibility on the road
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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
Magnified fish-eye lens
IP65 Water resistant
Long run times with Li-Ion battery
Four flash and constant modes
Weighs 68 grams
USB charger lead included
Full charge takes 3 hours.
Constant full beam 2hrs 15mins
Fast double flash 15 hours
Steady flash 5 hours
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
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.
About the tester
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