Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 8 - Serfas Thunderbolt Blinky Tail Light

The Serfas Thunderbolt Tail Light has got to be the most popular tail light in Oklahoma City right now. Look around on your next group ride, and you'll probably see a bunch. I see them on quite a few Evoke Racing bikes, OKC Velo Bikes, DNA, Arrapahoe, etc. 

At only 35 lumens, it's not the brightest light on the market by any means. I think that my Blackburn Mars 4.0 was brighter. Serfas themselves make at least two models that are brighter (the USL-TL80 and USL-TL60 that are 80 and 60 lumens). Light and Motion and other companies have extremely bright lights too.
Why do I like the Thunderbolt so much? 

It has all of the features I need. It is USB rechargeable. That's super important to me. I don't want to replace batteries all the time like I used to do with my Mars 4.0. It may not be the brightest on the market, but I still feel very visible at dusk, dawn, and nighttime. It's "highly water resistant" according to Serfas and my own riding history in the wet. It seems like a durable product so far. 

I think lots of lights can claim all of the stuff I just said. The thing that really sold me on this light is how easy it is to mount. The rubber straps it came with allow you to put it on and take it off in seconds. No tools required. I can switch from one bike to another in an instant. It's not a pain to charge, because it comes off so easy. Unlike fragile clips (like my Mars 4.0), you never have to worry about this light flying off mid-ride (which is why I don't own a Mars 4.0 anymore, by the way). 

Have an aero bike? TT bike? No problem. The light works well on aero seatstays. If you use rubber bands or large O-rings, you can also put it around an aero seatpost. I idn't have any O-rings handy, so just used some ugly rubber bands to visualize how it can go over an aero seatpost on just about any TT bike. 

I also have a blackburn flea that I keep in case of emergencies. The white light of the flea is very bright. If you ride at night, inevitably you will have a close call with a vehicle that leaves you a little skittish. When this happens I usually turn on the flea for a little extra visibility, and some extra peace of mind. The reason I use it as a backup is because after about 2 years of owning it, it only holds charge for about 30-45 minutes when it is flashing. I usually ride longer than that, so I need something like the thunderbolt that lasts for hours without needing a recharge. Plus, if my headlight ever dies unexpectedly, I can unvelcro the Flea from my seatpost and move it to my handlebars. It's barely bright enough as a headlight, but it will get me home in case I ever need it.  

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