As many of you may remember, I outfitted the latest ICE (Inspired Cycle Engineering) Sprint 26 as the ultimate touring/commuting trike – full suspension, fenders, Rohloff 14-speed hub, and a SON dynamo to power the lights. Only one problem: I did not order the lights at the same time as I ordered the trike! That did give me time to do some research. Along those lines, I contacted Peter White of Peter White Cycles, and together we came to a decision as to what would be the most bang-for-the-buck lights for the new trike. As the long-winded title my indicate, the headlight is the latest Lumotec IQ, while the taillight, also from Busch & Muller, is the Toplight View Plus Brake Tec. So, how has it all turned out? Was it worth the wait? Read on!
I really did benefit from the wait, and the research. Most lights I’ve had have been battery models. I did have a bottle-generator one perhaps two decades ago – and that’s about it! So when it came to picking out units for this dynamo, it was great to be able to talk to someone as knowledgeable as Peter White. We discussed my riding habits, what I was going to be putting these lights on, and came up with these two lights. Let’s take a look at them!
Before we go any further: I do have to apologize for the quality of the photographs of the lights “in action”. Had these been battery-powered, I could have just sat on the trike and taken a nice, long-exposure shot. These lights, though, depend on the trike being in motion, and the result is not anything near crisp. OK?
After using the expertise of “my mechanic”, Walt Smith, I got to see the lights in action. Just the slightest turn of the wheel with the dynamo, and you get light! It doesn’t take much – and don’t do what I did, stare into the light and give the wheel a twirl! Blinding! When evening came, I took the trike out onto the rural road where I live, to see how it illuminated the darkness. I was impressed! In the daytime you have “running lights” that help others see you, but at night the “Senso” detects the darkness and you get the full brightness. I was warned by Peter that the lighting “geometry” is set to be at its best when mounted on or near the handlebars of a typical upright bike, so there might be some lesser performance when mounted lower down, whether it be on the forks of a bike or on a trike. I do have to say that I thought the illumination pattern looked awfully good to me. This is not one of those “see me in the daytime only” lights, but one that I would trust to show me where I’m going in the dark.
Now let’s look at the taillight, the B&M Toplight View Plus Brake Tec – with emphasis on the “Brake” part of the name. As with the headlight, it doesn’t take much motion of that dynamo-equipped wheel to power the light. And, like its partner in front, it is bright! Both of them share a feature, by the way, sometimes referred to as the “stand light”. What tha tmeans is, after riding for a few minutes, both lights have capacitors that store a charge that power the LED “standlight”, so that you’re not sitting there in the darkness. This is not just a handy feature, but a necessity, as far as I’m concerned. But let’s get back to that “Brake” thing again. This taillight senses when you are slowing down, and it glows brighter – like a brake light on a car! The light gets brighter, or “pulses”, when it detects the AC frequency from the dynamo, interprets a lowering to mean the trike is slowing down. This is a very nice feature!
While with Walt’s help (as in, he did all the work), the headlight is mounted perfectly. I can reach the switch easily from my seat, as well as give it a little tug if the light isn’t quite lined up on the road. The taillight, on the other hand, while the mount I selected for it would probably be ideal for most brackets on rear racks, the mounting bolts don’t quite line up with the holes on the rear of the new ICE rear rack. So, right now, while it does work and seems quite secure, it’s done with one of the bolts in a hole, and a zip-tie providing the rest of the anchorage. It’s what some might call “half-assed”, but it’ll do until I get a different mount, perhaps one to go on the neck rest. And yes, this was my handiwork, so don’t blame Walt.
Am I happy with these two lights? Definitely! They provide quite a bit of “hey, look at me!” during the daytime, while providing ample lighting at night. I would recommend them to anyone looking for good lights at a great price to go with a compatible dynamo.
Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ Premium Cyo T Senso Plus headlight and Toplight View Plus Brake Tec taillight
Pros: Very bright (80 lux headlight), standlight, pulsing taillight
Cons: I need a different mount for the taillight
Cost: Headlight: $104 = Taillight: $35
For More Information: I recommend going to Peter White’s website – http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&m-hl.asp