People who commute by bicycle don't have to remove their pedals, racks or fenders when they park in public ... so why should their lights be any different? Well, because most battery-operated bike lights come off with the simple flick of a quick-release, or the turning of a single bolt. Massachusetts-based Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries, however, is attempting to address that problem with its Defender bike light. Not only is it theft-resistant, but it's also waterproof, and it looks like the light Dirty Harry would use - if he rode a bike.

Unlike most handlebar-mounted systems, the Defender doesn't consist of a bolt-mounted base and a quick-release light. Instead, both sections are formed out of one continuous piece of aluminum. It also can't be removed using a standard hardware store-issue screwdriver - a much-less-common security screwdriver is required, and comes with the light. While it's possible that a dedicated thief might be packing such a tool, it's highly unlikely that the passing opportunistic bike parts-pilferer would have one on hand.

The light itself incorporates six "ultra-bright" LEDs powered by three AA batteries, which should provide about 50 hours of steady illumination (or 100, in flashing mode). In its present pre-production form, the total light output is sitting between 40 and 60 lumens.

A tiny Allen key is necessary to access the battery compartment ... again, not a guarantee that the batteries won't be stolen, but enough to thwart the "Hey, I wonder if I could take this" types. Additionally, three internal silicone gaskets ensure that the light can be submerged up to one foot (30.5 cm) underwater, so it's safe to leave attached in the rain or snow.

The inventors of the Defender, MIT grads Brad Geswein and Slava Menn, are currently raising funds for its development on Kickstarter - they've already surpassed their goal, however, so it looks like the product should make it into production. A pledge of US$50 will reserve one for you, once they're ready to go (the estimated retail price is $70). A tail light is reportedly in the works, too.

More information is available in their pitch video, below.

Source: Kickstarter via Bicycle Design

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    About the Author

    Ben Coxworth

    An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.

    All articles by Ben Coxworth



    • Invent?? To me, the word invent implies making something that never existed before. Though they may have modified the basic design of a bicyle light, I don't think it can be said that they invented anything.

    • Even Edison noted that most "inventions" are built atop already existing science and technology, just implemented in a new and novel way.

      Matt Rings
    • It's amazing how hard it is for most people to "think outside the box". I couldn't find bike lights that did not have a quick release, so I used two pipe clamps to attach a cheap LED flashlight to the handlebar for my kid's bikes. But the need for a security screwdriver?! What's wrong with a hex head? What about your expensive derailleur or brake set? OK, there is a little bit of overkill here.

      Now we need someone to come out with a bike light that lights a tail light as well. It would be even nicer if the batteries were inside the handlebars with a headlight on each end. Sorry, that's probably too much to ask. Hmm... maybe I should make something like that.

    • I agree- just a styling attempt, not an "invention".

      Why not just put the lights in the handlebars themselves?

      You'd have to steal the handlebars themselves.... which is all you'd have to do to get ahold of this one!

      How is part of a gun intimidating? Is a hand grenade pin scary?

      Now, a grenade without the pin- that's a different story!

    • Also, wasn't that video title just a little bit cheesy? Anybody that buys into that kind of fear-mongering probably shouldn't be riding at night... maybe not even riding at all.

      Just my 2 bits. Concentrate on better handlebars integrated into lights- they could even look more like actual guns if that's the look you're looking for.

    • The cylinder of a revolver is as intimidating as the magazine from a semi-auto pistol. Not a bit.

      Gregg Eshelman
    • Absolute overkill. Worn out on BootGoosem, MultiRunRun, etc. products. I invested over 2 yrs., ago in "Africa Saver"! 3 updates, no product. Great P.R. which must have eaten the $360,000 total investments. Give'm 6 more months and extra $100.00 for improved model or 12 more for originally promised product.


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