Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: Busch & Muller Lyt N Plus and Seculite Plus

When I got our Joebike BoxBike, I intentionally got the upgraded version that has the Avid BB7 disc brake up front an a Shimano Alfine dynohub as well.  Our neighborhood is pretty hilly and I wanted the added security of the disc brake.  The dynohub was really just a nice bonus.  How nice?

Pretty nice.

Since we had the dynohub I wanted to get some good lights for it.  The bike came with the standard Shimano dyno headlight, which does not have great reviews, and didn't come with a paired wired taillight.  Of course, I needed to check out my options on Peter White's website.

For the headlight, I knew I wanted an LED, so I wouldn't have to worry about replacing a bulb.  I also knew that I wanted a standlight, as I planned on these lights being the only ones on the bike.  I didn't really care about the 'senso' feature on many of the B&M headlights,as I generally run my headlights always on anyhow. Finally, the JoeBike never really gets over 15mph so I knew I didn't need a $300 headlight.  Plus, I'm cheap.

Peter had some lights on clearance but by the time I figured out what I wanted, they were gone.  So I got the Lyt N Plus (N for switched, Plus for standlight), which was around $40 or $50.  Here's the stock photo:

Lyt headlight
Compared to my Ixon IQ, the Lyt is not quite as bright, but still has an excellent shape on the road.  There is also more side visibility on the Lyt than there is with my Ixon IQ, which is nice, since I don't need 100% of the light distribution on the road at relatively low speeds on a cargobike.  Here's a few shots of the light installed:

Installation of the light itself was very simple.  I just needed a longer through-bolt for the fork crown, and tightened it down.  The angle of the light (up/down) is easily adjusted and locked into place by a small bolt below the body of the light. 

As far as the beam itself goes, I'm pretty happy with the headlight.  With a very small front wheel, It was important to get the beam pattern thrown on the road just right.  It's very easy to for it throw too far (too shallow of an angle) and lose a light of brightness.  It took me a trip or so to get it dialed in, but now I am happy.  I can tell that it is not as powerful as my Ixon IQ, but it is definitely enough for my purposes.  I don't think I would put it on a road bike, but it is great for the cargo bike.

For the taillight, I wanted to go with a fender mounted light.  The BoxBike already had a small, brake-actuated taillight that was mounted to the rear rack mounts, and I wanted to keep it.  Mostly I think the brake-actuated light is a novelty, but it also has an always-on switch and is a handy backup light.  The BoxBike has Alum fenders so I knew they would take a taillight well without any worry of doing damage to the fender.

Since I didn't think the extra weight and cost of the 4D Lite Plus was really necessary, I went with the Seculite  Plus for my taillight.  Installing wasn't too bad, toughest part was drilling the fenders, which took a while.  Worse was how stupid I was thinking I could drill the fender without removing the rear wheel - I put a 1/4" hole right through my rear tire.  That was about a month ago and it is holding up well with some tire sealant and a patched tube.

Removing a rear wheel with a  Nexus hub and a roller brake is a fairly involved task.  I won't go into a lot of detail here, but it took a while and it's pretty awkward with a 50lb+ cargo bike that is 7 feet long.  I'll do a how-to next time I have to take the wheel off.  Hopefully that is like 5 years from now.

After drilling the holes, the light simply mounts on with a bolt.  Jon helped me route the wire from the headlight to the taillight, along the bottom of the frame, up the lower strut of the rear rack and along the outside of the fender.  Now:

Both standlights work great, and I cannot express how nice it is to have a bike to just jump on and ride without worrying about moving my Ixon IQ from bike to bike or wondering if my batteries are charged. These little upgrades make riding that much easier, and as a result I ride more.  Having a bike that requires no advance preparation to ride removes practically all barriers to riding instead of driving.

I've been really happy with the results of this project.  Someday I would love to have dynamo lighting on the Surly, since it gets the most miles.  I think that is my dream project right now.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the tail light be mounted lower, with the reflector in a verticals position?