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Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Tail Light

A few weeks ago I published a review of the Planet Bike Superflash Tail Light. I started using the Superflash last year and liked it so much I bought four of them (one for each bike I own). Well, the folks at Plant Bike have not been resting on their laurels—they’ve come out with the Superflash Turbo, a tail light with twice the power of the original Superflash!

Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Tail Light

Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Tail Light

If you look at the two Superflash units side-by-side you will not see much difference at all—they are the same size and weight and the only difference you will notice is in the color scheme. They both run on two AAA batteries and the batteries will last around 100 hours (in flash mode). If you turn both units on and hold them at arm’s length I doubt that you could tell them apart (they will both just about blind you). The real difference is seen as you get further away from the units. At 100 feet away you can easily tell the two flash units apart, and at 1,000 feet the difference will blow you away!

The Superflash Turbo has two different operating modes: steady (always on) and turbo flash mode. I think the steady mode on any tail light is a waste of time—even a bright light gets “lost” except on the darkest of nights. I always run my tail lights in the blinking mode since it seems to draw a lot more attention. However, the turbo flash mode is not just an on/off mode. The turbo mode is intermittent—the powerful one-watt power main light on top flashes first, then the two LEDs in the lower part of the unit flash in an irregular pattern.

The Superflash Turbo comes with brackets that should allow you to mount this tail light on just about any bike. It also has a clip so you can attach it to you seat bag or jersey pocket.

The Superflash Turbo retails for $35, which is just $5 more than the regular Superflash. To me, the choice between the two is a no-brainer: just buy the Superflash Turbo. The extra $5 gives you twice the light and a better flash pattern.

 

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Planet Bike Superflash Tail Light

I love cycling at night, but I also like living, so when I ride at night or in the rain I always have a Planet Bike Superflash Tail Light on my bike. This tail light can run up to 100 hours on just two AAA batteries and the half-watt LED light can be seen from up to a mile away.

Planet Bike Superflash Tail Light For Bicycles

Planet Bike Superflash Tail Light

The Superflash has a steady mode (light on all the time) and a unique flashing pattern that really helps motorists see you (this is the mode I always use). Last fall I went for a long off-road ride at night but I forgot my water bottles, so I phoned my wife and asked her to bring them to me at a park I was going to pass through later. My wife said that when she turned down the road going to the park she saw my flashing lights from over 3/4 a mile away and thought it was a police car in front of her! I now own four of Superflash tail lights (one for each of my bikes).

From personal experience I can tell you that you should never look directly into this tail light (you will be seeing red spots for at least 15 minutes). Considering how bright the Superflash is it is an incredibly compact unit, measuring only 2.75 inches tall, 1.5 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep.

You can mount the Superflash on your seat post with the included mounting bracket or clip it on your seat bag. Over the past ten years I’ve probably lost a dozen tail lights (from several manufacturers) when they fell off my seat bag after hitting a bump. Though I’ve not had this problem with the Superflash I now secure my tail lights to the seat bag with a simple cable tie (see the photo above). Cable ties are really cheap and you can cut the cable anytime to remove the light (I use cable ties for all sorts of things on my bikes). Planet Bike claims this tail light is weatherproof. I’ve used the Superflash in both rain and snow storms and in temperatures down to zero without any problem. As you probably know, the battery life of any light will be considerably shorter when the temperature drops below freezing.

The Planet Bike Superflash has a retail price of $30, but you can find in on Amazon.com for around $25. I believe this is a very fair price for a quality tail light. You could buy a cheap tail light for about half the price, but it is truly a case of getting what you pay for. If you choose to take the cheap route please remember to always carry your driver’s license and an organ donor card (the driver’s license is needed to help the police identify the body).

 

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Planet Bike Blinky 3H Tail Light

I do not think it is possible to be too well seen at night. In my opinion, being seen falls into two categories: passive (reflective gear) and active (lighting). I am amazed that so many cyclists are willing to put their lives at risk by not making a better effort to be seen by motor vehicles at night.

Planet Bike Blinky 3H Tail Light

Planet Bike Blinky 3H Tail Light

In addition a good tail light on my saddle bag (and a lot of reflective clothing) I also use a Planet Bike Blinky 3H Tail Light mounted on my helmet. The helmet mount is self-leveling which means it will always be visible to traffic directly behind you, regardless of whether you (and your helmet) are looking up or down. This light has three bright LEDs and a built-in parabolic reflector. In flash mode the light should run for about 100 hours on a single AAA battery. You can also run the light in continuous mode, but I think a blinking light draws a lot more attention. The Planet Bike web site claims the Blinky 3H can be seen from up to a mile away.

The Blinky 3H comes with both a helmet mount and a seat post mount. The helmet mount is Velcro and you can attach it to your helmet in under a minute. The list price is $23.00, but I got mine from Amazon.com for $18.00.

 

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