Princeton Tec Swerve

Princeton Tec has a new tail light dubbed the “Swerve” that is designed to compete with the popular Planet Bike Superflash. It features two high-powered LEDs (one with a diffused beam, the other with a focused beam), and two modes (one steady and one flash). It comes with a versatile mount that works on a fork, handlebar, seatstay, or seatpost, and it has a built-in clip for mounting on a helmet, jersey, or seat bag.

The Swerve, with its pair of 0.5 watt LEDS, should be brighter than the Superflash. I’ve seen side-by-side video beam shots comparing the two and it appears the baseline output of the Swerve may be brighter, but the strobe flash of the Superflash is definitely more eye-catching and intense. It just goes to show that there’s more to a light than numbers on a spec sheet. I was planning on picking up a Swerve, but after seeing the beam shots, I think I’ll stick with my Superflash for now. At $24.95 the Swerve is a great deal and a viable alternative, but it doesn’t look like Planet Bike has too much to worry about quite yet.

5 Responses to “Princeton Tec Swerve”

  • Vik says:

    In Canada http://www.mec.ca sells the Superflash for $14.75 so it also has a nice price advantage and if the battery life of the Swerve was quite a bit less due to the brighter LEDs that would also factor into my decision to buy one.

    The other question is can a light be too bright? I was riding my bike at night this weekend downtown and I could tell that my Dinotte light [200L-AA] and Superflash were the brightest things on the road. Since they aren’t aim down like car lights they shine right into people’s eyes. I wasn’t making any friends…lol…but, I was seen. At some point though you are going beyond safety and just blinding people.

    safe riding,

    Vik

  • Thomas Barone says:

    I too get a few complaints about the Dinotte rear tail light because of it’s brightness. My immediate responce is i say thank you for noticeing!!! Then if the complaints continue i give the two options—” you can either pass me “or “drop back far enough that the light isn’t bothering you!!”
    I do not EVER apologise for the light’s brightness!!!

  • Vik says:

    Tom,

    I can’t really support your position. Imagine if cars had headlights that operated like most bike lights and were not aimed down. Cyclists [amongst] other road users would be blinded when they passed a car – kind of like passing someone with their highbeams on. That isn’t pleasant or safe. As a road user cyclists need to find a way to get along with cars, trucks, transit vehicles, etc… that we share the road with. The attitude – “…like it or p*ss off..” isn’t helpful for developing a good relationship between cyclists and the rest of the folks that use the road. Given how vulnerable cyclists are I’d suggest that this good will is essential for safe road use.

    That’s one of the reasons I don’t own a Dinotte tailight.

    cheers,

    Vik

  • Alan says:

    I had a DiNotte and it was extremely bright. Just for kicks, I mounted it on the front of my bike one time and I was able to ride in the full darkness of night with no problem – that’s a bright tail light!

    I’ve wondered about that same thing you’re saying Vik, and I’m leaning toward the idea that it’s possible to have too much light; not so much because of auto drivers, but because it ruins the night vision of other trail users. I haven’t quite figured out if it’s a real safety issue or just impolite, but when I briefly ran an HID on my helmet, it seemed to irritate the heck out of my fellow MUP users.

    One thing I can safely say is that the Superflash seems bright enough for anything short of an airline runway. It’s cool that we have so many excellent options these days – thank goodness for the new generation of high-efficiency LEDs!

  • Vik says:

    I really like the Dinotte AA LED headlight, but if they wanted to take their product to the next level they’d use a focused optic like on the E6 that puts the light down on the road where you need it and doesn’t blind oncoming traffic – including other cyclists.

    Interestingly the one visibility aid for cycling I find most effective as a driver is not LED taillights, but reflective ankle bands. My brain spots those really far away as being a bicycle even though there are brighter things closer to me.

 
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