In July we introduced the Blazing Amazing Bike Laser Light and investigated and answered questions on the legality. There are strict import restrictions on lasers, however the Blaze bike light has been cleared so there a no problems there. It is now time to revisit the light share some video for you to get a first-hand look.
To recap, for those who came in late, the Blaze bike light has an integrated laser which projects a symbol of a bike on the road or path ahead. It’s a very beautifully designed and manufactured light which screams premium… including £125 price tag, which is about $270 Australian (incl. shipping).
If you go by the comments I received from other riders, the Blaze is “awesome” and “unbelievable”. There was genuine curiosity in the tech, and other bike riders on the road noticed. But did the cars notice? Lets get to that in a moment. First is a video which shows a closer look at the Blaze.
I’m not the world’s fastest bike rider, but I am certainly too fast for the Blaze. The problem I faced riding a road bike or commuter bike is that at the speeds I was travelling, the road and path vibrations scrambled the laser projection so that it wasn’t clear, essentially rendering it ineffective. This doesn’t mean it’s useless, rather means that if you are a speedy bike rider then you won’t benefit from the effect of the laser projected bike symbol. The type of bike rider who will benefit is a relaxed urban rider; the slower speeds, heavier bike, and lower tyre pressure will dampen the road vibration and project the laser symbol as you expect. This is a premium light with a big style factor so will likely be suited to a style and fashion conscious bike rider.
While we’re talking about issues with the light, the mounting system is slightly fiddly to setup, but it works very well – after initial setup the light can be removed extremely quickly using the release mechanism and pocketed to avoid theft. This also makes recharging convenient.
The recharging cable is intuitive, but it’s also fiddly. Firstly, it relies on a magnetic connect and easily slips. Secondly, when connecting the cable, because the light doesn’t stand or rest easily on a flat base or flat side, I was conscious of avoiding the precious sand-blasted aluminium housing from being scratched when setting up to charge. It is probably quite durable though the Blaze really does handle like a product you want to look after.
The light intensity is 300 lumens for high and 100 lumens for low, as well as having a flashing light at 100 lumens. I tested the Blaze in pitch black conditions and, while I did adjust to the available power, more light would be nice. More light requires a bigger battery however, and so the Blaze, as it is, suits urban dwellers where streets are often lit. The light and laser combination worked well, but in daylight the visibility of the laser dwindles. The flashing light is good during daylight and when it darkens the laser then starts to become effective.
I found it easy to adjust the angle of the light and laser simply by rotating the light and mount slightly, to point the beam closer or further away. This is useful for adjusting in different traffic condition. Similarly, the mounted light also allows a bit of left and right rotation. The good news is that it doesn’t move about while riding, but you can simply ‘micro-adjust’ it easily by hand.
Blaze with hinged mount and rubber protection strip (a few thicknesses are supplied)
Interesting mounting solution, but it does work
For security, the blaze is easily and speedily removed
To turn the laser on, first the light needs to be turned on; the light can then be turned off so just the laser is visible, though as the light and laser work well together. The buttons were a little temperamental; was I not pressing them properly? Where did the flashing mode go? I know! When the light is not mounted, the laser and flashing mode are not available, that makes sense.
Regarding the run-time, the information from Blaze is ambiguous: “With both the laser and LED light in flashing mode on full brightness, the light should last at least 18h from fully charged. It lasts 32h as a low-intensity flashlight.” For a Blaze owner, I wouldn’t anticipate epic bike rides which would take the Blaze to its limits. This light will see you through a few bike rides and in between you’ll probably have it on the charger and ready to go.
The most important question of all – does it make you safer?
This may be a little anti-climatic, but I can’t answer this question. Other bike riders and pedestrians noticed when the vibrant green bicycle symbol appeared. So it is good if you are riding through pedestrian zones to encourage pedestrians move away (or will they be attracted to the light like moths?), but I can’t confidently say that I noticed any behavioural change from motorists and I used it quite a lot around intersections and other stretches of road where vehicles would overtake. Generally I try to avoid being a bike ninja, so I don’t wear black and I have a good rear bicycle light – it’s all about different ways of increasing visibility. I simply don’t know if the unique aspects of the Blaze add to that visibility with respect to drivers.
Even though I don’t know how much it influences or improves safety, I like the Blaze for its high quality and thoughtful design as well bringing new technology to the bike. For owners, the Blaze is more than just a bike light or laser, it’s a lifestyle. A lot of bike riders supported the Blaze (through their crowd funding) and Blaze founder Emily Brooke already has plans for more bike accessories which I am looking forward to.
Find out more and purchase from blaze.cc