This is a guest post from Pete Prebus. Pete runs Electric Bike Report and is enthusiastic about spreading the word about electric bikes because they have great potential to get more people on bikes and out of their cars.
Have you ever thought that something used for safety could also be fun? Well that is what the folks at MonkeyLectric decided on for their bike wheel light products. This bike wheel light attaches to the spokes and when turned on can create wild patterns as the wheel spins.
The only way I know to truly show you how this light looks is to show you. The following video is from MonkeyLectric so you know they are showing off their best stuff. Your results may vary and I am not sure we can all ride like the freestyle rider in the video — at least speaking for myself!
Okay, now that you have seen what these lights can do let me give you my thoughts on the pros and cons of the MonkeyLectric M133 bike light.
Add some bling to your bike! These lights will definitely set you apart from the crowd that just uses a simple head light and flashing tail light to be seen at night. You become the life of the party on your commute (party?) or cruiser ride around downtown! I think anybody that takes pride in making their bike unique should consider these lights.
Seriously though, these lights are pretty effective at helping you be seen from the side. They dont help much with being seen from the front or back so I would still recommend the traditional head light and flashing tail lights. With all of those lights there really should be no excuse that someone couldnt see you at night.
The MonkeyLectric light was very easy to install on my 26-inch crusier bike wheel and the instructions were very straightforward.
So far the battery life seems good. I would expect that with a light that uses LEDs and three AA batteries.
So if you bring the party at night with your crazy wheel lights, there tends to be the hangover the next day, right? What I mean is that the light strapped to your spokes in your wheel looks a bit strange during the day. This light is actually pretty large and my wife keeps telling me that I have a small piano attached to my front wheel (roughly the shape of the light). It also has a unfinished look where you can see some of the electronic stuff. It will be up to you to decide if you can live with this for the payoff at night.
I have been testing only one MonkeyLectric light in my front wheel, and, as I imagined, the rotating weight of the light gets a little weird at higher speeds. When I am going above 20 mph I can feel the out-of-balance weight effect of the light in my wheel (the light uses three AA batteries). To balance this out you could add an equal counter weight or another MonkeyLectric light to the opposite side of the wheel. Adding the second MonkeyLectric light adds more bling and I have seen a number of people do this.
I havent had a chance to ride it on consistently rainy days like you could experience in the Northwest. From the looks of the construction I wonder if it would hold up to that kind of abuse. Again, this is just me being curious about that; it maybe totally waterproof.
The price at around $60 seems a little high. It seems that this light could be produced for less money. At the same time you are getting a device that improves your safety and adds some serious style. That combo can be worth a lot.
Thats a wrap!
So what do I think about the MonkeyLectric bike light? Overall I like what it does for safety and adding some bling to my bike. It would be nice if the light were a little smaller and less expensive.
What do you think? Do you own a MonkeyLectric? Lets hear your thoughts on this light.
Editors Note (11/11/14): The product in this review, the MonkeyLectric model 133 reviewed in this post has since been discontinued by the manufacturer. The updated, new(er) and improved version is the Model M232 which has fixed the wheel stabilization problem AND comes in at the lower price of $49.90http://www.