The Future of Bike Lighting

Glen McKenna

Even after all the neon has come and gone, the Tron aesthetic still feels remarkably relevant – the perfect visual accompaniment to our retro-futuristic age. A fantastic fusion of practicality and Tron aesthetics has arrived in the form of a DIY bike accessory kit called Revolights. It uses some cool tech to essentially turn your trusty two-wheeler into a light cycle, making it practically unmissable to nearby drivers.

Initially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Revolights was created by two Bay Area engineers, Kent Frankovich and Adam Pettler. Their patented system consists of two narrow rings of LEDs that mount to each of your bike’s wheels using a series of clips and ring spacers. Two Lithium-ion batteries, which are bracket-mounted to the front and rear hub, supply power to the LEDs, while a small magnet and integrated accelerometer provide speed and orientation data to the rings. The result is way cooler than something as practical as bike lights has any business being – as much art installation as it is traffic precaution, more music video than safety video.

The stated goal of Revolights is to increase visibility while you’re riding your bike, and it achieves this goal with aplomb. The system dynamically keeps the front wheel lights facing forward and the rear wheel lights facing backward at all times, all in a perfectly synchronized, white and red-illuminated display. The effect draws attention from outside eyes, while remaining visible as simply a stable headlight from the rider’s perspective. The batteries, which are charged via USB, last about four hours with a full charge.

It should be noted that all of this future comes at a price, and installation will take you the better part of an afternoon. If you enjoy tinkering, that shouldn’t be too much of a concern, and there are videos online to walk you through it step-by-step. If you just want to get up and ride, however, you might be distressed by the sheer number of nuts, screws, and clips that greet you upon opening the box. Don’t want to deal? Check out the pre-rolled Revolights Wheels, which were recently funded on Kickstarter and start shipping in a couple of months. [$229;]

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