The car headlights were surging up from behind. I was on my bike, and it was 10pm in the city. I glanced down and back toward my rear wheel, the pulse of my seatpost-mounted light a reassuring red glow on the road.
Bike taillights are requisite items for anyone who rides in traffic after dark. Most often, this means blinky LEDs that cost $10 to $20 at a bike shop. A new entry, the Light & Motion Vis 180 costs ten times what a cheapie blinker might cost, though its upgrades make it worth the change for committed riders of the night.
To the point, this bike light makes you more visible to cars. Its quoted 35 lumens of brightness is almost comparable to a taillight on an automobile. Bonus: A pair of blinking amber-color lights on the sides of the Vis 180 give the light its namesake 180 degrees of glow.
It has built-in batteries that recharge via a cell phone micro USB cord. You can plug it into your computer for a charge. The company cites a run time of 4 hours on high and up to 8 hours of red light on pulse mode.
The Vis takes about 4 hours to recharge in full when plugged in. A battery charge indicator light on the base of the unit lets you know power status. A needed extra touch.
To fit on a bike, the light cinches onto a seatpost with a rubber strap. It has a tilt function to let you position it best on back of the bike. A push-to-remove feature allows you to take the light off without removing the mounting strap.
This spring, on late-evening commutes and into the night, I have clipped the Vis 180 on my road bike and immediately felt safer. Its $99 price tag is a stinger, no doubt. But if you can afford the price, this light will likely keep you safe for the long haul.
--Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.