Cyclists have never had so many options when it comes to being seen. A number of lighting products like the Torch T1 helmet and Flux backpack have hit the market in recent months. We've even seen glowing bike frames. Revolights – a system that sees the lights pulled off the handlebar and seat post and put onto the wheels – can now be added to the list.
Revolight designers feel that other lighting systems only do half the job. Either they light up the ground in front of the bike without delivering a high level of side and rear visibility, or they light up the rear and flanks without shining any light on the ground ahead. The designers also feel that a headlight designed to illuminate the ground shouldn't sit as far as physically possible from it on the handlebars or the helmet. They created Revolights to address these perceived shortcomings.
The Revolights system uses a pair of rings for the inside and outside of each wheel. Each ring has a series of 12 integrated LEDs and clips onto the wheel. When the Revolights are installed, each wheel has 24 LEDs ready to shine.
The reason that the picture looks like only half of the lights on a wheel work is that a combination of magnet and accelerometer tracks movement so that the LEDs trigger on only when they're in the appropriate position. Only eight lights per wheel are on at a time. In this way, the white front LEDs direct light forward and the red rear LEDs create a taillight effect. Since the LEDs are mounted to the sides of the wheels, they're highly visible from all sides of the bike.
Though the lights are constantly flickering on and off, they're designed to appear as a solid arc to the human eye. They create the arc at all speeds, including during a stop.
Revolights are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries mounted to each hub. The batteries run for four hours.
After several refinements and a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, Revolights are officially ready for the streets. The company launched the lights for order last month. They come in 27-inch and 700cc sizes and retail for US$250 for a front and rear set.