Planet Bike Superflash Turbo

Superflash Turbo

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of the Planet Bike Superflash tail light (I wrote about it here), so I was excited to learn that Planet Bike is releasing a new tail light this spring called the Superflash Turbo. From Planet Bike:

In 2006, our introduction of the Superflash tail light ushered in a new era of innovation in bicycle lighting. Building on our tradition, we are now proud to introduce the evolution of bicycle safety: the Superflash Turbo. We paired our time-tested design with a powerful 1 watt LED, then added the new attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern. It’ll give you peace of mind riding day or night.

Specs

  • 1 Watt Power LED plus 2 red LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile
  • New attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode for up to 100 hours of run time on two AAA batteries
  • Ultra compact vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options
  • Available this spring for $29.99-$34.99

This new model doubles the Superflash’s output from 1/2 to 1 watt while only raising the price by $5-$10 dollars. Planet Bike is sending us a sample to try out; look for a review within the next couple of weeks.

Planet Bike

27 Responses to “Planet Bike Superflash Turbo”

  • Dan says:

    Awesome. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares against the PBW Radbot, my personal fav. Thanks for the heads-up!

  • Zyzzyx says:

    Darnit, and I’d just outfitted a couple more bikes with Superflash lights. (I think I’m up to 7 PB SF lights now, all Stealth model)

    Eh… probably leave the old ones in place, except for my lowracer recumbent, it only has one, its a dark black and low bike, and could use more rear visibility during the day. Be curious to see some video on the ‘Turbo’ flash pattern, and if there’s more than one flash pattern to choose from.

  • RMH says:

    Love my superflash except for one niggling detail… why do they insist on a mount that is so easy to steal? Why not offer an option to mount permanently to a rack, for example. Even with the current rack attachment, it is still designed to be able to slip the light off via the integrated clip.

  • yangmusa says:

    Drat. Here in SF there are already a lot of people with the Planet Bike Superflash lights. It’s painful to ride behind them! Especially those people who are not good at aiming their light, and it points slightly up. I can’t imagine a light twice as powerful, my eyeballs hurt already.

  • Phil says:

    UK availability?

  • Alan says:

    @Phil

    No word yet. I’ll ask…

  • Adam W says:

    I love my Superflash and all….but what on earth is a \Turbo\ flash pattern? Does it somehow use your exhaust breath to incease the pressure going into the LED and therefore make the light brighter? :P

  • Pete says:

    I think the horsepower war that is developing among tail-light makers is getting a little out of hand. I really can’t imagine needing something brighter or more conspicuous than the existing PBSF. I can understand needing MORE lights, in different places, like on your helmet, etc, but not really needing any individual light to be a lot brighter than what’s already available. I also can’t see how they provide equal battery life with an increase in LED output, unless the new flashing pattern actually results in 50% less “on” time for the LED…
    Can’t wait for the test.

  • Don says:

    Could a next-gen front light be far behind?

  • Alan says:

    It seems even tail lights have joined the list of controversial bicycling topics along with footwear, friction shifting, sidewalk riding, rolling stops, helmets, and on and on. At least a couple of prominent bloggers have recently written about the issue of too-bright tail lights blinding following bicyclists. I suppose it depends upon when and where one rides. On my commute, I so infrequently see another bicyclist that it’s a moot point. On the other hand, in a heavily bike-trafficked city like Portland, it must be a real concern. As yangmusa mentioned, as these lights get brighter, it’s important that they’re mounted in a way as to not totally blind a bicyclist (or motorist) coming up from behind.

    Alan

  • Fenway says:

    It’s unfortunate that they’ve still not figured out how to integrate a reflector into most of their lights. One of the reasons I bought a PDW Radbot is the reassurance that if the batteries were to suddenly run out there would still be at minimum a serviceable reflector. Given the sometimes lax nature of battery changing by users that could actually save some lives.

  • Kevin M says:

    I think that a “too bright” light is fine when kept on steady mode and mounted lower than eye level, like on a fender or rack mount.

  • jnyyz says:

    wonder what the runtime will be? The runtime on the RADBOT on steady mode is not so hot.

    http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/taillights-pdw-radbot-1000-vs-pb-superflash-runtime/

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    Oh joy. Another epilepsy light. Please god let me not have to ride behind someone with one of these things on “turbo” mode.

  • Joseph E says:

    Many new car taillights are made of these 1 watt red LEDs, but they use a whole array of them. So if brake lights on a car don’t blind following vehicles, these should be okay, when on steady mode. However, I can imagine they would be annoying on a flashy pattern. I like how the PDW Radbot light has a slow, pulsing pattern, which is attention-getting but less annoying when you ride behind it (it’s on my wife’s bike).

  • Micheal Blue says:

    I absolutely agree with Dolan Halbrook. Rear bike lights shouldn’t be used in flashing/strobe modes (unless it’s an extreme situation such as a very dense fog). Riding behind a biker with
    the flashers on is mighty annoying and unhealthy. The nervous system doesn’t like flashing lights. In nature flashing lights don’t exist. They could potentially trigger a headache or an epilepsy seizure, as well. Of the Flashers (bikers with flashing lights) the worst are the ones who ride on a bike path with the flashing modes on in the front and the rear. What’s the point? These Flashers are probably automatons who don’t care about others; in their heads is a false recording “flashing lights = better visibility”, and they cannot see beyond it. Flashing lights don’t equal being more visible on the road. The proper size, power, and aiming of the lights equals better visibility.
    So Flashers, do us a big favor and switch your lights to solid modes.

  • Doug says:

    I do most of my night riding in the winter. Since I live in a frigid part of the country, I don’t have to worry about blinding other riders since there are so few of us that ride all winter.

    I’ve always used two flashing rear lights. A Cateye TL-LD1100 (my all time favorite tail light) and a PB Superfalsh. This year I’ve become more conscious of how it looks to people in autos. I think all those flashing lights are too much and not needed. The Superflash especially is an annoying light when flashing, unless aimed properly. This year I run the Superflash on steady mode, one row of the Cateye on steady, one row on flash…or no flash at all.

    I’ve found the steady lights are more than enough for visibility. The only reason I now run a flash is to distinguish my bike from other reflective objects found along the side of the road like reflective driveway markers, and mailbox markers.

    Steady lights combined with other reflective material on my panniers and clothing make me plenty visible.

  • DudleyDawson says:

    I too would like to see a Radbot-like reflector integration. I AM jazzed about the new light using AA’s instead of AAA’s. Now I can use the same NiZn rechargeables that I use in my headlight.

  • Matt says:

    What do you guys think of PDW’s zZz flash pattern on the radbot 1000? Its not crazy strobe like in its frequency but enough to catch the eye, seems like a decent compromise that won’t send anyone into epileptic shock when they get up close.

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    @Matt

    I don’t mind the Radbot so much. The pulsing is slower and much less spastic. Solid is my preference but the PDW lights are fine.

    Funny, flashing isn’t so bad if it’s not super bright. Super bright isn’t bad if it’s not flashing. It’s the combination of the two which is really offputting.

  • Alan says:

    @DudleyDawson

    “I AM jazzed about the new light using AA’s instead of AAA’s. Now I can use the same NiZn rechargeables that I use in my headlight.”

    That’s the first thought I had when I saw the specs.

    Alan

  • Micheal Blue says:

    @ Doug, you wrote: “The only reason I now run a flash is to distinguish my bike from other reflective objects found along the side of the road like reflective driveway markers, and mailbox markers.”
    Why does your bike need to be distinguished from other objects? If the driver’s intention is to avoid hitting something, they will avoid mailboxes and driveway markers, as well. If the driver is spaced out, any amount of lighting won’t help. There is no need to be identified as a “bike”. There is a need to be identified as “something on the road not to hit”. Once the driver gets close enough to you, he/she will see you as the cyclist. There is no need to be seen as a cyclist from 500 meters away. If you want a better visibility, get lights that have a larger surface area to glow. A solid 50-lumen light the size of a post card will make you much more visible than a 200-lumen light 1/2 an inch in diameter.
    In Germany flashing bike lights are not allowed. I doubt they have a larger number of bike – driver accidents because of that. These flashing bike lights under clear conditions is one of the most non-intelligent ideas around.

  • Larry says:

    Where I commute, there are virtually no other bikes on the road. So my lights don’t bother bikes, and car drivers aren’t expecting to see a bike. I like the strobe flash because it is very noticeable. I want to be very noticed. Because the sooner they see me, the more time they have to figure out what they are seeing, and to adjust their driving. Part of what bugs drivers about bikes is when they “appear” at the last second, I think. At least, that’s how I feel when I’m in a car.

    I do my best to aim the lights at drivers’ eyes. I’ve got TWO Superflash lights on each of my bikes. At night and in weather, I run both. I think there is synergy with multiple lights.

    In three years of daily riding, I haven’t yet had to replace batteries in a Superflash light. I have had to throw several lights away because the seal isn’t good enough to keep 100% of the water out. In winter, the roads are heavily salted, and when salt-saturated water seeps into the light, it causes corrosion that eventually destroys the light. Still, I’m happy enough with the Superflash lights that I keep replacing them.

    I can understand the concern about light brightness on a bike path, but on the roads, not at all. In rural areas, drivers of oncoming cars use high-beams. In urban areas, there is so much visual clutter that it can be hard to be noticed at all.

    I think the idea of a brighter Superflash is great news!

  • Mark @ Planet Bike says:

    @DudleyDawson @Alan
    The new Turbo does still use AAA batteries. Sorry for the editing error on our part.

  • DudleyDawson says:

    @Mark
    bummer

  • Alan says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Mark.

    Alan

  • Bike Hermit says:

    Alan,
    Do you use a tail light in flashing mode? Somewhere, maybe Peter White’s site, I think I read flashing tail lights are illegal in Germany because of tests showing they distract drivers. I always use a bright tail light in steady mode. More disturbing are the strobe front headlights especially those with weak beams. Annoying and worthless IMO.

 
© 2011 EcoVelo™