The Vya range of commuter lights from Light & Motion uses a motion-activated sensor and plant-based materials to create a super compact, bright and eco-friendly headlight and series of taillights.
The Vya doesn’t have an on/off switch; instead, riders simply plug the USB end into the light mount and start riding. Once the Smart Sensor in the light senses motion, the light will turn on. Once you’re stopped for 20 seconds, the light will turn off. The USB in the light can also be used for charging – just plug it into a computer or any USB charger – no cord needed. The Vya is super compact, but bright. The Pro tail light offers 100 lumens while the regular version offers 50, and the Pro headlight offers 200 lumens (regular is 100).
The Vya Pro headlight senses ambient light and auto adjusts the mode with a daytime pulsing light for better visibility and a solid beam for nighttime.
The Vya line also features Light & Motion’s SafePulse, which is a slowly pulsing light beam rather than a flashing one. Daniel from Light & Motion informed us that studies have been done that show that flashing lights destroy driver’s depth perception, making it hard for them to properly locate and safely pass a rider. A pulsing light with an occasional staccato flash lets drivers know that the cyclist is there without being too distracting or affecting depth perception.
Light & Motion also has a mount for the Vya taillight that attaches the light to the seat rails, putting the light up high where it will be most visible but also allowing the rider to run a saddle bag.
The Vya will be available in June. Here are the four different models:
- Vya Pro Headlight
- 200 lumens,
- 2-6 hour runtime
- MSRP: $49.99
- Vya Headlight
- 100 lumens
- 10 hour runtime
- MSRP: $39.99
- Vya Pro Taillight
- 100 lumens
- 6 hour runtime
- MSRP: $59.99
- Vya Taillight
- 50 lumens
- 8 hour runtime
- MSRP: $39.99
Light & Motion knows a thing or three about building sturdy bike lights—after all the company got its start building dive lights and still manufactures all its products in Monterey, California.
The Urban 800 is a wonderfully versatile little light—and I do mean little. One inch in diameter and four inches long, it’s about the size of a fat lipstick tube. It also weighs just 122 grams, so it disappears when mounted on your helmet with the included helmet mount. Charging is handled through an included micro USB cable.
The 800 lumens are more than enough to show you the way, and when dimmed to low (175 lumens) it will run for six hours. The single CREE LED shines through a round reflector for a fairly standard beam pattern, but it is more than bright enough to spot potholes in the dark. You don’t have to worry about riding it in the rain either, as it is rated to be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes (though from the demonstrations I’ve seen, it will last even longer.)
On the sides are two amber lights that help increase visibility from the side, but they can also be turned off if you don’t want to use them. The stretchy rubber mount stayed put on a variety of handlebars, and the unit can swivel freely 360 degrees. New for this year is a removable mount that uses the GoPro interface for a clean mount on various other accessories. It can also be used as a flashlight with the included finger mount and lanyard.
Add up all these features and the Urban 800 is my new favorite bike light. It is just one in a whole lineup of Urban models from Light & Motion starting with the $60 Urban 350. Pick which one is right for you and you won’t be sorry.
- Price: $129
- Weight: 122 grams
- Output: 800 lumens
- Claimed runtimes: High – 1.5 hours, Medium – 3 hours, Low – 6 hours, Flash – 120 hours.
Lezyne released a host of new lights this year from the 1,400-Lumen Mega Drive headlight to the 7-lumen KTV taillight. Sitting in the middle of that lineup are the 400 lumen Macro Drive Duo and 20 Lumen Zecto Drive Auto.
Macro Drive Duo – $85
The Macro Drive Duo’s helmet mount makes it one of just a few lights that offer both headlight and taillight functionality in one package. This video does a better job of showing the Duo’s many the features and specs than I could in couple thousand words:
While many of us around the office were a bit skeptical of this idea at first, the Macro Drive Duo has grown on me during the test period. Though I’m not a huge fan of helmet mount lights in general, it was quite convenient to mount on my helmet and know I had a decent amount of light spilling out front and rear.
The single rear LED is far brighter than its diminutive size suggests, and it broadcasts a wide swatch of light regardless of the angle of the light on your helmet. That said, in terms of being seen from the rear, I wouldn’t be comfortable without additional rear lighting. Best to think about this as supplementary.
Out front, the 400-lumen “Blast” mode offers more than ample light to be seen in the city, but just a touch less than I’d like for true night riding on dark country roads. Some of that perception might be due to the light’s concentrated center beam, which provides decent illumination in the center of the beam, but not as much ambient spill as I would like in the foreground. Of course, it’s easy to be spoiled by light output these days due to the industry’s equivalent of a lumens arms race.
From my experience, most riders have a preference for handlebar or helmet mounted lights. If you’re in the helmet-mounted camp and find 400 lumens sufficient for your needs, the Macro Drive Duo is certainly worth considering as the $85 asking price is quite reasonable. And, if you like to swap between helmet and handlebar mounting, Lezyne offers an accessory handlebar mount for $4. Just turn off the rear LED and clip it to on. If you’d solidly in the handlebar-mount crowd, Lezyne offers the Macro Drive for $70, which is essentially the same light without the rear LED.
Zecto Drive Auto – $50
Lezyne’s Zecto Drive Auto rechargeable rear light incorporates motion sensing technology to turn itself on and off automatically after being stationary for three minutes. Check out this video for all the specifics.
From the get-go I’ve been very impressed with Zecto Drive Auto. It’s small, light, well constructed and puts out a lot of light. The LED battery level indicators on the side of the light are a very nice touch for knowing when you need to recharge. Event the shortest burn time of 2:45 is ample for most applications. I also liked the broad range of output offerings from the 5-lumen “Economy” mode, which is great for group rides where you don’t want to blind your buddies, to the 20-lumen “Daytime” mode that’s great for being seen on foggy or dreary days.
Also awesome is the super quick, simple and reliable strap or clip style mounting system. There’s a fringe benefit for the mountain bikers in the crowd too. This light works great on long-travel suspension bikes due to it’s small size. Since it protrudes out very little from the seatpost, you don’t have to worry about the rear tire smashing into your taillight on full compression.
Due mostly to force of habit, I didn’t often take advantage of the light’s automatic on/off feature as I’m pretty good about remembering to turn off my lights. Though it is nice to know you light will conserve energy if you leave it on and turn itself back on should you forget.
Overall, the Zecto Drive Auto is a slick little light that’s well worth the asking price.