If you have been following this site for the past few weeks, you know that we are giving away a Flashbak light to the winner of a Haiku contest. The contest has now concluded and I have decided that I will spend several hours on my roof overlooking Times Square, and with the assistance of beer consumption, eventually choose a winner. It could take days of consumption and contemplation, so thank you in advance for the patience of all the contestants. I may just scream the Haiku at the people on the street below and see what kind of reaction I get. It is New York City, so no one would probably even take a second look at me.
I introduced the Flashbak way back in this post, but never did an official "review" so that is what I hope to accomplish here. As I stated back then, when I first opened it I was a little intimidated. To me it was almost like opening a box containing a string of Christmas lights. For those of you that don't remember, here is what it looked like when I opened it. In case you are wondering I faced the lights down because I wanted to add intrigue and have readers guess what is was . . . I'm sneaky that way.
Most of the bike lights I have owned have attached to my bike with a simple screw bracket or zip tie. The Flashbak on the other hand contains three major components, all held together by rubber coated wire:
1) The Light rectangle
2) The Battery Pack
3) The On/Off "Remote" Switch
The lights and the On/Off switch also have metal spring loaded clasps that help to secure the device to, whatever. Here is my setup almost every day when I commute. I am able to carry pretty much everything I need in one rack bag.
I wanted to install the light in a way that would make it stationary - in other words I did not feel like attaching it for example to the back of whatever I am wearing because I do not often wear the same thing every day and I did not want to have to keep attaching the light to whatever I was wearing based on the weather. So I went with one of the setups that is shown on their web site - I attached it to the back of my rack bag. My bag has a top pocket and I stashed the battery pack there.
I ran the On/Off switch wire to my seat post and attached it to the lock cable that I use to secure my seat. I then used a reflective ankle Velcro strap to keep it from bouncing around when I ride. The On/Off switch is very cool because it also blinks and you absolutely know if the light is on.
The light runs on three AA batteries (mine came with them installed) and I have been riding with the light for about two months and it has performed like a champ. On one of my first nights out with it, I received a compliment on it from a rider that I passed.
As far as distance recognition, here is a picture of my bike about 40 paces out (end of the green arrow) to give you an idea of the testing distance.
And here is a short video at the same distance after sunset.
Overall I am very happy with the light. I think I would definitely use it with a backpack as well, but if I was just riding with a shirt or jacket, it might not make the cut. If you are a commuter and you use a bag on your rack or wear the same backpack daily, I think this light is a winner and would be well worth the investment. It's bright, the battery life is good, and the "remote" is a cool feature for sure. I also have five other lights on my bike and all together, it is really hard to miss me. On another note, I have ridden with it in heavy rain as well and there have been no ill effects.